Love is a beautiful thing, it is a natural emotion but there are so many myths that need to be dispelled about the topic of love. Questions like is there love at first sight or do we fall in love after some time with someone? Can you love more than one person at the same time? These could be great questions for another day, you know?
According to a paper by Carmen Lynch et al, for the Proquest Journal, they noted that "falling in love with a particular person at a particular time may not exactly be preordained but our personality structure and degree of emotional maturity makes our choice of partner - the shape of our relationship, and even the anatomy of its demise very nearly as inevitable and predictable as if directed by the gods".
In other words, falling in love is not by mere coincidence. We have a choice to make and this choice is largely determined by our emotional maturity and personality, and what subsequently happens to the relationship afterwards.
People fall in love with different people at different times. Each time with a different experience. There is a lingering question of the gender differences in the experience of falling in love. Who falls in love more quickly, men or women? Contrary to the widely held belief exists that women are more romantic and tend to fall in love faster than men, responses from 172 college students in a study done by Marrisa Harrison and Jennifer Shortfall in 2010 indicated that although both men and women believe that women will fall in love and say "I love you" first in a relationship, men reported falling in love and expressing it earlier than women reported.
But asides from trying to find out about how we fall in love, what determines it and which gender falls in love earlier, could there be a difference in how we love when we are single and when we are engaged or married? Is it possible to love more than one person at the same time?
Falling in love is described as an obsessive feeling of loving someone, this differs from loving someone altogether. Falling in love is a transient experience, but loving someone is a product of a long time commitment to someone you truly care about. So, in the absence of the obsession, it may seem possible to love more than one person at the same time, especially when there is no evidence of commitment from one or the other partner in the love relationship.
A senior lecturer in my university once said to us one time, "marry with your head, not your heart because the heart can fail on its own but the head controls the entire body". This statement also inputs some rationality and consciousness into the act of loving someone. That means you should try to control your feelings and love when your head is clearer.
But then, what is the implication of this? You can choose to love as many people as you want as long as you are not committed to any of them yet.
This brings to the fore, the concept of "double-dating" in relationships.
Double-dating in a relationship is a situation when someone deliberately commits to loving two people at the same time. Usually, when people want to love, they focus all their energy on loving one person. They put all their hopes on this one person and blocks off all others that may be coming their way. However, things often get really wrong when that person betrays their trust and love. This has prompted several people to consider spreading their love tentacles wider per time.
Double dating in a relationship is not always the case of two people in a relationship, and one of them being in another relationship with someone else. It can also be seen to occur between two people who are not yet in a relationship but have something going on between them. Ladies have more chances of being approached by multiple men, studies have shown, and they are more likely to see different people at the same time, especially when they are still single, or when the man they prefer the most has not made serious advances or proposals towards them.
The reason for this is, they try to love from the head more than they do so from the heart so as to avoid heartbreaks that they may not be able to deal with later. The consequence of this is that ladies tend to get committed to and love which suitor is most serious and committed. This goes the same for guys too, people love those who treat them specially, more than those who do not.
From observations and interactions, I noticed that most guys can get on with different girls per time but would expect a lady to stick with them only. Why is it so? When a lady sees two different guys, none of which is committed to her already, one of the guys may accuse her of double-dating when he finds out about this, even when the guy has not taken the relationship with her to the next level.
From a panel interaction, I had with three ladies in company with two other guys, one of the ladies commented that "there is a difference between double-dating and double-commitment". While she spelt out that double-commitment or cheating is wrong because both partners have become committed to each other, the majority of the ladies admitted that there is nothing wrong with loving more than one person at a time, so long none of them has gotten serious.
5 Reasons Why Loving Only One Person While Single May Be Wrong
- You rob others of the chance to prove themselves to you
- They may end up dumping you
- Singleness means 'nothing'
- You don't know who is who
- You may end up offending those who truly care about you
You rob others of the chance to prove themselves to you
They may end up dumping you
During the panel discussion that I cited earlier, one of the ladies used a universally true statement, "do not put your eggs in one basket". This holds true for most things including relationships and in this case, you risk putting all your eggs in a basket that you are not even sure of. Choosing to stick to only one person who has not shown commitment to the relationship can be risky because they may end up dumping you.
Singleness means 'nothing'
You don't know who is who
You may end up offending those who truly care about you
When Is It Right To Love Only One Person?
Like I mentioned earlier, double-dating in a relationship is considered wrong when both partners have shown commitment to the relationship and one is trying to play smart over the other by seeing another person as well. But what exactly is this commitment and at what point can we say that someone is committed to the relationship with you?
Even though, I have listed some reasons why loving only one person when you are still single may be wrong, if you are convinced that you should be with someone, loving only them or staying committed to them becomes a risk worth taking.
- Women and Men in Love: Who Really Feels It and Says It First?: The Journal of Social Psychology: Vol 151, No 6 (tandfonline.com)
- Redalyc.Interpersonal Variability of the Experience of Falling in Love
- The Romantic Relationship: Why and How People Fall in Love, the Way Couples Connect, and Why They Break Apart - ProQuest