True love never dies be it in a breakup or from when people pass love doesn't die. It doesn't matter if a couple breaks up if their feelings of true love will still be there if not it was not true love to begin with.
Can You Love Two Men At Once?
Men we aren't married to find us smart and extraordinary because they don't live with us in the grind of ordinary life, with kids, mortgages and sinks strewn with toothpaste and their newly shaved facial hair. In old boyfriends, we find our lost youth; in new men friends, we get the endorphin rush of being on a first date.
The trouble starts when sexual crackle between two people who aren't married to each other erupts into a roaring bonfire love, an urgent attraction that is both dangerous and delicious.
These are the stories in the "Naughty Men" chapter of the book, depicting men who cross the line, propelled by a "passion I need and am not getting at home," as one man accounts for his "justified" philandering .
Esther, a widow who was a great advocate of Romantic Ideology, confesses: "In the seven-plus years that I have been dating since the death of my husband, I have never been seeing just one person." Also Iris, who was married to the father of her children for fifteen years, loved two people at the same time:
"I got involved with another man while I was still living with my husband. We did it openly. My husband even supported it for a while and the three of us lived together—to see if we could make it work. During that brief period, I had sex with both of them—one upstairs and one downstairs."
Although both Esther and Iris have loved two people at the same time, each really craved the old-fashioned romantic love. Thus, later on in her life, when she had three potential lovers, Iris admits that "I don't like having three men from which to choose. I liked the simplicity of one." And Esther admits: "I subscribe to Romantic Ideology.
I want the Perfect Guy...or one slightly imperfect guy. But my experience has been just the opposite. There isn't just one who has been able to satisfy me." Several songs describe this phenomenon; for example, "I've got two lovers and I ain't ashamed, Two lovers, and I love them both the same"
Despite such testimonies, it is not obvious how to explain this phenomenon as emotions are typically partial and exclusive. This is especially so in romantic love which requires a lot of energy and resources.
People sometimes express the difficulty in loving two people at the same time, by posing it as a logical contradiction: "He cannot romantically love both me and her at the same time."
A plausible way of explaining this difficulty is to claim that romantic love is based upon a few significant characteristics of the beloved, and hence loving more than one person at a time may not be entirely unfeasible,
as the additional love would be based upon a different set of characteristics, and thus the two loves could be considered complementary rather than contradictory.
Another context for such polyamorous love is having two romantic relationships which are at a different stage: One could be at the infatuation stage and the other at a later, more mature stage.
It seems that there is no logical contradiction in romantically loving two people at the same time, and the issue here is psychological, as it generates profound emotional dissonance.
The dissonance stems from the fact that by definition, emotions demand partiality, that is, the preference of one over another, which entails some sort of exclusivity. Emotionally, it is extremely painful to imagine your lover in the arms of another person.
Indeed, most of those who told of being romantically in love with two people at the same time and pleased with the experience also claimed that they would not like to be at the other end of the relationship; that is, they would find it enormously difficult, if not impossible, to share their beloved with someone else.
How can human society cope with such emotional dissonances? One approach may be to adapt our accepted norms concerning romantic and sexual exclusivity to reflect the occasional dissonances of our reality, a change which has indeed begun to take place in modern society.
People now allow their spouses to have more freedom in their personal relationships with others, and attitude is more flexible also concerning sex. In many societies, for example, extramarital sex is disapproved of socially; nevertheless, the transgressor is only mildly criticized for such activity.
Indeed, extramarital affairs begin to be described in more neutral terms. Instead of the highly negative terms of "adultery" and "betrayal," some people begin to use the more neutral term of "parallel relationship."
The deeper problem, however, does not concern normative values, but rather emotional ones. Even if this process of relaxing of moral norms continues, and there is no reason why it shouldn’t, a major problem remains: the partiality that colors our emotional system, and in particular jealousy, fear, humiliation, and sorrow which are associated with realizing that your beloved partner is in love with someone else.
“Only you and you alone can thrill me like you do/And fill my heart with love for only you.”
“Well, I've got two lovers, and I ain't ashamed/Two lovers, and I love them both the same.”
Emotional partiality and emotional diversity are both essential to emotions and in particular to romantic love. However, they appear to conflict with each other. Can the two coexist? Which one has a greater romantic value?
“No other love can warm my heart/Now that I've known the comfort of your arms.”
Emotions are partial in two basic senses: They focus on a narrow target, as in one person or a very few people, and they express a personal and interested perspective.
Emotions make us preoccupied with some things and oblivious to others. Emotions are not detached theoretical states; they address a practical concern from a personal perspective
The intensity of emotions is a result of their focus upon a limited group of objects. Emotions express our values and preferences; hence, they cannot be indiscriminate. Emotional partiality is like a laser beam that focuses upon a very narrow area and consequently achieves high intensity.
However, over-focusing on something is likely to lead to obsession that impedes our functioning, as our thoughts repeatedly dwell on the same object, and there is no development in such repetition.
In light of the partial nature of emotions, we can reduce emotional intensity by broadening our scope, or increase it by limiting it. Counting to 10 before venting our anger enables us to adopt a broader perspective that can reduce anger.
A broader perspective is typical of people who can calmly consider multiple, diverse aspects of a situation; it is obviously not typical of people who are undergoing an intense emotional experience. In contrast to the partial nature of emotions, intellectual reasoning is not partial;
it focuses broadly, rather than narrowly, on the target, and it can avoid adopting a personal and interested perspective.
Intellectual reasoning is a detached process, examining diverse implications and taking us far beyond the current situation.
“My whole mentality is that I eat what I want within moderation, and I have a little bit of everything. If you deprive yourself, you get moody and unhappy, and you have to enjoy life.” —Nina Dobrev
Emotional diversity is the variety and relative abundance of the emotions that humans experience. Quoidbach and colleagues (2014) argue that such emo-diversity is an independent predictor of mental and physical health, reducing, for example, depression and doctor visits.
They further claim that experiencing many diverse and specific emotional states (e.g., anger, shame, and sadness) can have more adaptive value than experiencing fewer or more global states (e.g., feeling bad).
Since the diversity of these specific emotions provides richer information about our environment, the agent experiencing such diversity is in a better position to cope with various environmental events.
In addition to emotional diversity, expressed in greater shades of emotions (though probably not 50 shades of gray), we can discern two other related diversities — sensory diversity and overall affective diversity. Sensory diversity refers to greater diversity in an awareness of sensory contents, such as smell, sight, or taste.
Overall affective diversity refers to greater diversity of general affective experiences, such as listening to music, enjoying walking in nature, and enjoying reading or dancing.
An increase (up to a point) in such diversity typically enhances our flourishing, as it is based upon a broader range of satisfaction and thus has a more solid foundation that is more likely to endure over time.
“My heart belongs to only you/I've never loved as I love you…./It's just for you I want to live/It's just to you my heart I give.”
“A little bit of Monica in my life/A little bit of Erica by my side/A little bit of Rita is all I need/A little bit of Tina is what I see.”
Partiality and diversity are present in the romantic realm as well; romantic partiality, emphasizing the unique place of a beloved, is more central. This is obvious in infatuation, in which the beloved is essentially the only person who is on the lover’s mind. The partiality aspect is evident also after infatuation, though in a weaker form.
We must be discriminative in love. We cannot love everyone; our romantic love can be directed at only one or very few people. For most of us, having one romantic partner is more than enough, as one partner exhausts our entire mental resources.
More energetic people can have two, three, or even five romantic partners; but even they cannot have hundreds of romantic partners at the same time.
Since romantic love, like other emotions, is bound by certain parameters, such as our time and attention, the number of its objects must be limited as well. This limitation in the number of possible objects enables us to focus upon those who are closest and most relevant to us.
Profound romantic love is also diverse, not necessarily in the sense of having more lovers but rather in considering the beloved to be complex, and having diverse characteristics. Such love involves a comprehensive attitude that takes cognizance of the rich and complex nature of the beloved.
The lover’s comprehensive attitude is diverse in the sense that it does not focus on a simple narrow aspect of the beloved, but a comprehensive perspective that includes all aspects of the beloved.
Sexual desire is much more partial than romantic love. It focuses on the short-term details of a few external parts of the partner's body that are instantly revealed by sense perception. In romantic love, we see the forest and the trees, whereas in sexual desire we focus upon one or several trees.
This difference between romantic love and sexual desire reveals a difference between two senses of romantic diversity: (a) holistic diversity, as when love is directed at the beloved as a diverse, whole person; and (b) type diversity, as when love is directed at various individuals.
The first form of diversity, which is highly praised, seems to underlie long-term profound love. The second form of diversity is more disputable. Polyamorous lovers practice the second type and maintain that it does not damage the intensity and depth of their love
“Too much honey is delicious, but it makes you sick to your stomach. Therefore, love each other in moderation. That is the key to long-lasting love. Too fast is as bad as too slow.” - Romeo and Juliet
“I never smoke to excess — that is, I smoke in moderation, only one cigar at a time.”
It is apparent that both partiality and diversity are important in romantic love. It is also clear that extreme partiality or diversity cannot sustain long-term profound love.
Extreme partiality involving very high intensity and instability, as in infatuation, typically cannot last long, as the system cannot remain unstable for a long period and still function normally; it might explode under the pressure of a continuous increase in emotional intensity.
Similarly, extreme diversity would abolish the unique nature of the beloved. Love is not like a library book; you can’t replace it every week.
In light of these considerations, flexible (or limited) partiality and moderate (or limited) diversity can be useful in various circumstances. For some people — currently about 5 percent of couples in the U.S. — polyamory consisting of two partners is a good solution.
This does not eliminate the value of the prevailing monogamy, which advocates strict partiality and hardly any romantic or sexual diversity. It merely indicates that monogamous relationships are not the only ones of value.
The issues of limited partiality and diversity also do not deny that there are occasional situations in which strong romantic intensity prevails; they merely imply that such situations do not typically pertain.
Substituting "love" for "gold" in Plato's statement (in Phaedrus), one can say, “As for love, let me have as much as a moderate man could bear and carry with him.”
M I Ro