I’ve always wondered if it is possible to fall in love with two people, not necessarily at the same moment, but have the two overlap. I am not talking about the kind of love that it physical, or is a crush or infatuation. I’m talking about the type of “complete love” that is “scientifically defined” as possessing the three qualities of intimacy (sharing exclusive information, emotional connection and closeness), physical attraction (sex, to be blunt) and commitment (not necessarily marriage, just the notion of the couple’s commitment to maintain the relationship long term).
Now from an evolutionary standpoint, it’s to humankind’s advantage to have the answer as “yes”. Considering the ultimate goal of any living organism is, regardless of its complexity, to pass on genes, then as many men and women cross-loving as possible is the best way to go about it. But we’re not animals (in a sense) and we are more inclined to parent our offspring with someone we are intimate with, definitely have sex with (till love takes its course and waxes and wanes anyway) and be committed to each other and their kids.
So the little Darwins in us would compel us to do our best to fall in “complete love” with as many partners as possible.
But society doesn’t always endorse polygamy, and those that do allow it don’t normally have that high a specimen as expected. Somehow we are told, no rather, we feel wrong/guilty about being intimate with two partners at the same time, having sex with both (hopefully not in the same bedroom) and being committed to both. I don’t have the stats to back me up but it is very difficult to find someone who is totally in love with two partners and is completely fine about it. And if there are numbers the ratio will be very small. What I believe is the case is that men (or women) would be seeking out “what’s missing” in the first partner in the second. It’s usually the physical attraction or some intimacy – another person is often easier to talk to about personal problems than a partner who just can’t take your shit anymore.
So what gives? Darwin vs society? Just like… almost everything! We are wired to do things but not keeping within the constraints of society suddenly makes us outlaws. Probably for the better, sometimes.
But hey, two out of three ain’t bad, right?
post inspired by a psychology podcast