Heartbreak

The Healthiest Thing You Can Do When You’re In Love With Two Men At Once

Photo: Riccardo Piccinini / shutterstock.com
a woman seated between two men who are both interested in her

Developing romantic feelings for more than one person at the same time can feel excruciating for many people. Overall, society emphasizes — and seems to favor — monogamy.

For many, an inability to fit into society's "normal" idea of romantic relationships has led to mental and emotional distress, especially when one finds oneself attracted to more than one person at the same time.

It is not uncommon to feel a sense of guilt or shame in liking or even loving two people at once.

“Is there something wrong with me? Am I a bad person?” No and no.

It may be that it's time to consider ethical non-monogamy (also known as consensual non-monogamy).

In short, this is an umbrella term for alternative relationship styles that consist of seeking some sort of physical and/or romantic connection with more than one partner.

Before you say, "No way!", take a moment to consider that, despite stereotypes about polyamory or other types of non-monogamy, it's not about a free pass to cheat or trying to "have your cake and eat it, too". It's about finding an honest system of relationships that works for you and your partner or partners.

Of course, this comes with a big caveat: All partners should be aware of this relationship dynamic and are in agreement with it.

RELATED: Yes, I'm Polyamorous And No, That Doesn't Mean I Collect Husbands

Non-monogamy isn't for everyone

If polyamory is not a viable option for you, for whatever reason, that is okay. 

Instead, I would recommend getting your thoughts out: write them down on paper, type them in your notes app, speak them into a voice memo, etc.

Whatever your preferred method, just get these out in some fashion. Because sometimes when ruminating, we do not process the full thought, or we are so focused on the emotion behind the thought that we lose perspective.

Write (or whatever your process is) what you love about these people. How you feel when you think about them, when you interact with them.

What wants and needs are being met? Also, what are your wants and needs? Can either of these people meet them? Additionally, which ones can you meet?

Not all polyamory looks the same 

Under the umbrella of ethical non-monogamy (or ENM), we have:

  • Polyamory
  • Open relationships
  • Swinging
  • Casual sex

This is not an exhaustive list. With regards to polyamory, this dynamic consists of relationships where partners can have multiple romantic or sexual relationships at once. And, due to the nature of this article, I will focus on polyamory specifically. 

RELATED: 3 Things You Must Know Before Entering A Polyamorous Relationship

Polyamory comes in many forms

The forms of polyamory include:

  • Hierarchical
  • Egalitarian
  • Relationship Anarchy
  • Polyfidelity

I will give a brief breakdown of the first two.

All relationships are different. As such, sometimes commitment levels differ.

Hierarchical polyamory

These partners use terms such as "primary" and "secondary" to clearly mark the difference between the relationships.

Egalitarian polyamory

This is practiced when partners are considered equal, with no hierarchy. 

I know this can sound intimidating, but don't panic! 

Beginning polyamory can bring about a lot of insecurities. Many people will think that they are incapable of being polyamorous because they would feel jealous.

However, jealousy is a normal, valid, human emotion–one that is not solely reserved for monogamous relationship dynamics.

As an aside, with jealousy, it is necessary to consider where this emotion stems from: Is it from the relationship itself? Is it from within you?

Either way, it is worth communicating to your partner(s). If your jealousy stems from an unmet need in your relationship(s), this needs to be communicated.

However, if this is some internal insecurity or anxiety, it is important to acknowledge this within yourself, perhaps to your partner(s) as well, and then make efforts to address this insecurity.

RELATED: 4 Surprising Ways A Polyamorous Relationship Cured My Jealousy Issues

Every circumstance is different.

Only you know your own circumstances, so only you know if polyamory is a topic that can be broached with those in mind.

Falling in love with more than one person can be terrifying and agonizing. But know that this does not reflect poorly on your character.

If anything, it shows that you have much love in your heart.

RELATED: Being Polyamorous Is Teaching Me How To Channel My Jealousy For The Good

Miki Anderson is a licensed clinical mental health counselor in North Carolina, with in-depth knowledge on anxiety, depression, trauma, ethical non-monogamy, and kink lifestyles. More information is available on her website

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