Can I Be in Love with Two Men at Once?

Readers:

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Dear Robin:

Eight years ago (before I met my husband of 6 years “Charles”) I had a relationship with one of his friends and co-workers (“Dan”).  That’s actually how Charles and I met – at the company Christmas party.

Dan and I fell in love hard and fast and were together a year but he was transferred to Chicago (I live in Los Angeles) and we couldn’t maintain the long distance relationship.  Long story short, we broke up and I later ran into Charles at a bar. Upon recognizing each other we struck up a conversation and here we are today: a happily married couple.

Except there’s a problem, and it feels like a big one.  I’m relying on you to tell me it isn’t!

🙂

Dan was transferred back to Los Angeles 8 months ago and he and Charles are working together again.  Dan is married and seems very happy, so Charles thought it would be cool for us all to start hanging out together.  Charles is not the jealous type.

Robin: I think I’m still in love with him.  I can’t stop thinking about him and every time we have plans to see him I am nervous, excited, obsessed with my appearance, and generally messed up in the head.  He feels the same way (don’t ask me how I know that).

I think Charles and Dan’s wife can see the connection between us so maybe this will handle itself on its own, but do you think I should avoid Dan?  Do you think it’s possible to love more than one man at a time?  What is wrong with me?

I truly love my husband and my marriage but there is something going on here and I don’t know what to do.  I’m stressing out and we are supposed to have them over for dinner this weekend!  Even worse, last time we went out to dinner the guys started planning a trip for us all to go on.

Jen

Dear Jen:

Simmer down, pot roast.  I’ve got you covered but first you have to relax.

Unknown

Thank you for the additional information you provided me in our message chat today. I’m here to tell you that while you are dismayed by your situation, you are not alone.

I have received several letters similar to yours since I began this great social experiment.  I think the time has come to visit the subject again seeing how many people seem to experience the same thing.

Before I jump in with some advice, I want you to admit you are already treading in dangerous waters.  You wrote, “He feels the same way (don’t ask me how I know that).”

I don’t have to ask you how you know that, because I know already.  You and Dan have been doing a little private pow-wowing, haven’t you?

Texting, emailing, Facebooking, Twittering, Flittering, Linkedinering, Pinteresting, Instagramming: whatever you call it, it’s what we legal types would compare to either an improper ex parte communication or an improper communication with a represented party.

In other words: you been talkin’ to somebody you ain’t supposed to be talkin’ to.

bad-girl-you-make-me-nervous

As of press time you hadn’t confirmed or denied my assumption so I made an educated guess, although I believe it is wholly possible you and Dan have such a connection and energy between you that all you need to “know” he feels the same way is to be in the same room with him.

If that is the case, I’d bet my last dollar (and it’s just about down to that, so please share this blog, people!) your husband and Dan’s long-suffering wife are probably noting with concern the chemistry.  You should assume the same and perhaps adjust your behavior accordingly.  Stop wearing that low-cut dress every time you see them and stop laughing at all of Dan’s jokes – he’s just not that funny.

First things first: I think it’s important that you sit down with Charles and explain these unresolved feelings you have about Dan and that you think you may still be in love with him.

Unknown-6

Just kidding.  Don’t do that.

Jen, I think I know what may be going on here.  Every single letter I have received on this subject, and there have been many, have one thing in common: the prior relationship ended unnaturally.

What I mean by that is either it ended as yours did via geography or for a number of other reasons except for the natural cycle of a relationship: meet, fall in love, drive each other crazy, wish death upon the other, break up.

For example, the last time I addressed this subject the couple in question had an affair (one was married) and the affair was unilaterally terminated by the man’s wife. Boy, what a killjoy she was, no?

If your relationship with Dan was as strong as you make it out to be, you could have stayed together.  You told me what you do for a living and you certainly could have moved to Chicago with him.  He also could have stayed in Los Angeles.  The problem is: he didn’t ask you to leave with him or offer to stay, and you didn’t offer to move with him or ask him to stay.  Hmmm….

I want you to think about that for a moment, because you may have some very rose-colored glasses perched upon your nose and I encourage you to set them down in order to fully assess your current dilemma.

You told me you fantasize about a life with Dan, but that you love your husband very much.  I believe you are suffering from the boredom that comes along in marriage and indulging in a fantasy born from the premature but likely eventual demise of the Dan relationship rather than the very real relationship you have with your husband.

You asked me if I think it is possible to be in love with two people at once.  I do.

I ran a poll on this question yesterday and the results were interesting.  As of publication time today, the votes are basically equal between “no” and “yes” combined with “not sure.”

I combined “yes” and “not sure” because I think “not sure” means yes.  Please don’t think that means I am a rape apologist, because I have problems enough as it is.

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Given the poll results, I agree it’s possible to have love for two people at once.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t really matter what the true answer to that question is for you, Jen, because you are playing with fire.  As I’ve mentioned before, if you are going to jump into an extra-marital affair, and I believe that is where this will lead if you aren’t careful, you had better be damn sure you are ready to lose it all before you step up to the table.

I’m not certain that avoiding Dan and his wife is the answer because absence makes the heart grow fonder (except in Dan’s case when he moved to Chicago and married someone else).  Instead, give it a few more outings and try to view Dan in the proper light: he is just a man you once loved in a relationship that neither of you cared enough about to continue when faced with a geographical challenge.

Look at what you have at home and ask yourself: am I willing to lose Charles for a dalliance with an ex-boyfriend who didn’t even love me enough to ask me to move with him?  How would you feel if you knew Charles was pining away for an ex-lover? I bet you wouldn’t like it much.

Pay more attention to what is happening in your own marriage and spend time learning how to appreciate each other again, or this sort of crush/flirtation/maybe love will happen over and over again, not only for you, but for your husband too.

Plan special occasions, be romantic, and channel some of that hot and heavy horniness you feel when you think about or spend time with Dan into your own marital bed.  Don’t worry – that’s not cheating.  That’s smart.

A mirage can be a beautiful thing, but in the end, it will always be what it is: a hallucination based upon need that satisfies nothing.  While gazing at a mirage can be pleasant once in a while, chasing it will only end in a continuing thirst and miles traveled away from where you truly need to be.

Those are the deep thoughts I came up with when I saw this view this morning:

IMG_2432 IMG_2433

For a moment I could squint my eyes and imagine I live on a beautiful lake with mountains behind it and nobody else for miles, instead of a suburb facing Beaverton that sometimes provides a spectacular lie with fog and light.  It’s lovely, but it’s still a lie, and when the fog clears I always come back to loving the lights and the city below me.

-Robin

PS: let’s run the poll again, shall we?  Please vote!  It’s totally anonymous.

[wpdevart_poll id=”1″ theme=”0″]

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Chad

    Great article Robin… pining is very time and emotionally exhausting…

  2. ssirish

    This is some really sage advice that will be helpful to a lot of people in similar situations.

  3. askdescamp

    Ssirish: thanks! Sage advice: I do it all the thyme! Chad, thanks to you as well!

  4. Colleen

    Loving more than one person could be possible if the parameters of the relationship allow for that openness. If your love vows don’t allow for polyamory, then loving more than one isn’t wise, kind, or loving.

  5. Brett Johnson

    Awesome. Best article yet De Camps, Der Kamp or whatever you go by. For real. This is an all too common issue for the Get Mine Generation (X) and soon to be far worse for the Fuck You Its Mine Generation (Y, Millennials). The answer is clearly YES but the “Whatcha gone do about it yo?” Is the correct question. You nailed it. Process flow: Assess. If good, chill. If boag, fuck it, be happy and get yours. Just be prepared for the fall out.

  6. YouCanLeadAHorticulture

    Wow, amazing advice as per usual. The most salient piece of advice being: how would you feel if the roles were reversed and your spouse were pining away. Part of me wonders though, if the letter writer’s husband is encouraging this because he wants to get into swinging? Maybe he sees this as a convenient beginning point for a new lifestyle? I can’t say that lifestyle is for me and my partner, but plenty of people do it safely and enjoyably.

  7. Susiefnhomemaker

    Spot on Robin. You can’t help who you fall in love with, but what you do after the fact is completely on you. Jen needs to keep her head real around what she already has. As Erma Bombeck, another one of my favorite columnists used to say, “The grass is always greener over the septic tank.” In other words, everyone has shite that smells.

Comments are closed.