This month I promised to answer readers specific questions so here is the first one. Thank you to the reader who provided this question.
Although this is a simple question it is a really good one. In life many of us find that we fall in love more than once and sometimes this happens when we are already in another relationship. We still love our old partner but a new person steals our heart and tempts us away. It can also happen when we are single and meet two people with different qualities and wonder who would make the better partner. This often leads to an emotional dilemma that can cause considerable suffering and tear our lives apart as well as the lives of the people we are close to.
Let’s look at the issues involved. If you have been reading my articles over the years or are familiar with my website you will have realised that love isn’t something that comes and goes – it is a state of existence – in fact, the state of connection and oneness that bonds everybody to everything. We experience feelings of love when we remember that this is our true state of being. This means that we are in love with everybody! Our problem isn’t so much as falling in love, it is deciding who we should fall in love with. Coming back to the question, the first answer is yes, it is possible to be in love with more than one person, providing this is not about having our needs met. This throws up the question of what is called ‘special love’ – believing that there is just one perfect person who is our soul-mate. If in principle we can be in love with anyone, how and why should we choose just one person to spend our lives with?
To answer this question we must ask ourselves what we expect from a partner and a relationship. Is it to fulfil our needs and take aware our anxieties and insecurities? Most relationships start in this way and the falling in love happens when those needs are met mutually by both partners. The problem is that if the relationship depends on those needs being met and we find that they are not, we might start looking for somebody new. We might still love aspects of our original partner but we believe we must fulfil some other important needs through another person. For instance we might love the reliability and responsibility of our existing partner but crave the rebelliousness, passion and risk-taking of another potential partner. In trying to choose one from the other we are falling into a split mind that is impossible to resolve because we are trying to have our needs met. I hope you can see that this is quite different from feeling love for all the people you meet in your life.
To settle down with just one person means that we commit to forming a life-long partnership with them. In other words we recognise that a good relationship is not about having our needs met but working with a partner to heal our needs. The best way to do this is through honest and meaningful communication about the issues that really matter for both partners. If we can do this we will stop comparing people and believing that there is a perfect person who will take care of us.
Although we could commit to virtually any person and have a good relationship, there will be people in life that we meet who are a better ‘fit’ for us than others. They will share similar values, interests and outlook on life and both partners will find it relatively easy to enter into a healing relationship. The more healing that happens in such a relationship, the more we would love other people, without trying to get anything from them.
I hope this goes some way to asking the original question.
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