Monday, July 6, 2015

Why I Hate Love Triangles: Can You Love Two People at the Same Time?

Depends on you ask, for sure. And if you see this conversation on the internet, it’ll seem like many people think you can. Ask people in person and the statistic feels like it changes.

I’m a stanch believer in people being different. Trying to say what is “natural” or “normal” is a foolish argument, especially considering curbing our natural and selfish impulses to make other people feel safe and happy is what society is all about. I also believe that “free love” (in terms of having multiple partners) is an acceptable choice for those who are honest. Cheating, which is by no means the same thing, is never okay, and while shit can happen in which the crime is not so terrible, a cheater is always in the wrong. I believe this one hundred percent.

So, while I do not tolerate people who would lie about their love lives to others they claim to love, if a person were capable of falling in love with two people, it does not necessarily make them a bad person.

But is it possible?

Part of my perception is that I am incapable of having a romantic love with more than one person. I have never had even a crush when there was already someone occupying my attention (though I have occasionally had one replace the other.) If I start to notice my attraction or gain feelings for someone who I’m not in a relationship with, it’s a clear sign that I’m emotionally checking out of that relationship, and an impending break-up is on the horizon.

Not only am I very particular in who I like, not only do I get tunnel-visioned when it comes to things I love, I’m not a very social person. I find the more people in my life, the more difficult my life is. Being responsible to a boyfriend is a lot of work—tiring, frustrating—but worth it, if I am in love and he loves me back. To have more than one wouldn’t add to my pleasure, just add to the obligation I owe other people. I fall in love rarely, but when I do, I fall in love hard, and I don’t find value in falling in love that much for two people. It’s not only something that I don’t tend to do, it doesn’t even sound appealing.

I don't feel like that's a typical way of looking at others. I'm not a visual person, and many of my friends are much more easily attracted to others. This has been hard for me, because I have a hard time knowing when a person is just being callous or a disinterested sex maniac, or it’s just a healthy method of collecting new stimuli.What is an acceptable amount of looking at other people, and when are they just trying to force themselves to be in a monogamous relationship?

I remember a distinct conversation I had with a friend of mine. She informed me that she had crushes on pretty much everyone. It surprised me, and I couldn’t even begin to picture what that would be like. I asked her, “So, if you walked into a room with two people you had a crush on, would one eclipse another? Or would you still like them both the same?”

“Both the same,” she guessed, not really sure on what I meant.

Even though I recognize that some people do like multiple people, I still have a hard time believing you can really romantically love two individuals at the same time. Or, at least, love two individuals and have it not affect your ability to love them. Being with them might be able to illicit feelings of love, but part of being in love is thinking about them when they’re not around—those who have two loves will often ignore one when they aren’t with them—favoring conversations with the other.

And most times multiple partners leave someone unsatisfied. The biggest argument against monogamy—other than the idiotic, it’s not natural—is that you can’t expect one person to fill all your needs. Which is true, though I would say that in most cases, friendship should be what supplements it. You should be able to get what you need from them sexually or there’s no reason not to just remains friends and find someone who does give you what you want.

But, from what I’ve witnessed, when one partner looks to others for something that is lacking, the other partner must either look to others or lack it as well. I’ve seen people argue things like, “I love her, but she’s really bad in bed,” and not consider that if you think she’s bad in bed, you’re probably not doing the trick yourself. Even if you are, say, an awesome stud, if you’re not into it, it definitely affects your ability to perform. Having sex with someone who it’s not really working for tends not to be that great.

If you’re getting your emotional and conversational needs from one girl, it’s likely that you’re starving the other for attention. It’s possible that she doesn’t need the emotional interaction you do and this is a good way to not have to end the relationship. Fine, but again, this is definitely information she needs to have.

While I acknowledge the possibility, I haven’t as of yet seen people “loving two people” who actually seemed to love both of them. Unless everyone had flings going around, someone was left lacking basic relationship benefits. The person  who loves those people will do unfair things, like not tell them about the other relationship—even when the partner needs to make an important decision the existence of the other relationship would affect. I read an article about a woman who was moving 2,000 miles to be with someone when he informed her—halfway across the country—that he was cheating on her. This is a prime example of selfishness in which it’s not just the issue of you fulfilling your “natural” needs, but actually letting someone make a big choice in her life without giving her all the information. This would be unacceptable if we were talking about something as unemotional as pay, let alone something as important as, “You will never be the only one in my life.”

When one or both parties know about the other, I have, as of yet, to see a lover who respected them. You love him? Then why are you bad mouthing him to your other boyfriend? If you really did care about him, you probably wouldn’t be saying how bad he is in bed to make the other person feel better. It sounds less like you love and care about them, and more like you enjoy the way they make you feel. If a person values herself by the amount people want her sexually, then loving multiple seems more about validating herself than it does about the intimacy and bond.

I do believe that being in love with two people means that you’re not really in love with either, but I will acknowledge I could be wrong. If I found a couple who enjoyed free love, then good for them. And if a guy wants that in his life, it’s his prerogative, but not with me. I am far too narcissistic to think I need to share, and do not want to have to develop another relationship to compensate for his lack of attention and support.

So, while I can identify with the whole appeal of the “two guys fighting over me” concept, the actual love triangle promoted in books tends to turn me off. I read one story in which a goddess judged the love of the protagonist, planning to kill whoever she loved least, and found that the girl loved “both exactly the same.” I stopped reading then and there.

The book was already lacking in real love, barely watching the characters engage, focusing primarily on their looks, and this just had it for me.

When I don’t like love triangles because I feel they diminish the passion between two characters. I find it to be the writer’s fantasy of being able to have her cake and eat it too. I don’t need to watch these men get hurt and just accept the wishy washiness of a teenage girl, and I don’t want to see that behavior promoted.

I can love a triangle where one side is unrequited, but if the girl is “in love with two men,” I call bullshit and go back to Harry Potter.