Why You Can't Love More Than One Person

by Paul Hudson

I’d like to think that most people don’t fall in love very easily. Nevertheless, there are those who claim to fall in love on the regular. Moreover, there are some individuals who claim to be capable of being in love with more than one individual at a time.

This concept seems foreign to me, but for the sake of philosophical inquiry, I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look into how it is that some people have trouble falling in love at all while others seem to be falling in love left and right.

There are only a handful of explanations that are feasible. The first being that the individuals in question only think they are in love with multiple people when in fact they aren’t.

Love is a voluntarily accepted illusion. Sure, when we fall in love, we feel that we’re in love, but feeling – like everything else we experience – all originates from the brain.

To be clear, I’m talking about romantic love and not the love between parent and child or brother and sister. I am talking about sexual, romantic love. What really differentiates the two is the sex. So falling in love is basically accepting that you care deeply for an individual mixed in with the urge to jump his or her bones.

The beauty of love is that once it takes hold of us, it takes on a life of its own. It’s basically an obsession. How long this obsession will survive depends on how justified our obsession is.

If we quickly get disillusioned, then we fall out of love. If the person turns out to be really great then we are likely to stay in love for a bit longer. This gets more complicated as more often than not our minds start to invent flaws in order for us to feel more removed and less dependent, but you get the picture.

Very often we believe ourselves to be falling in love only to quickly realize that it wasn’t love, but rather infatuation. You can surely be infatuated with multiple people, but can you be in love with multiple people?

That really depends on how you define love. If you define love as caring greatly for a person and having romantic/sexual thoughts for that person, then sure, you can love multiple people. But love isn’t quite so shallow.

I often think that people never actually fall in love, but rather work towards being in love. When you fall for someone, you are greatly falling for someone that doesn’t actually exist.

You don’t know the person entirely and therefore only love the things that you do know about him or her. The rest remains a mystery and when finally realized is often the wakeup call that has us running out the door.

Love is something that is created and maintained over time. It takes time, energy, work, dedication and focus – just like anything else worth doing in life. For whatever reason, human beings love the idea of having things given to them.

No one wants to have to work for anything – we’d prefer it all handed to us on a silver platter. That’s why people love the concept of love. It levels the playing field by promising even the poorest, dumbest, most naïve person a chance at experiencing the greatest phenomenon known to man.

It’s something that every individual in the world can experience and be a part of. It doesn’t discriminate. Anyone can be lucky enough to fall in love – it’s all chance, so people would like to believe. Just about everyone’s brain is capable of it.

However, the belief that love is something so readily found gives people the illusion that it doesn’t take work to maintain. We love the concept of love because it gives the laziest man the chance to "have it all" – since love is all that you need in life, right?

In reality, building and maintaining love takes a lot of work. Any fool can fall in love, but only a few can stay in love. Life throws a lot of sh*t our way.

In fact, the higher your aspirations, the more difficulties you will face, the more troubles you will have to deal with. Life makes loving very, very hard. This is why I have a very hard time believing that a person can truly love more than one person at a time.

There simply isn’t enough time to love more than one person. Time is a reality that we all must abide by. There is only so much time in a day, in a week, in your life to do the things that you want to and have to do.

Relationships take up a whole lot of time and energy – the more you love a person, the more time and energy you will devote to them. So is it possible to think that you are in love with more than one person? Sure, but only on the earliest stages in which true love has yet to take form. The fact is that you don’t have enough time to love more than one person at a time properly.

There aren’t enough hours in the day. Falling in love is an illusion. Loving is a full-time job. If you think you are in love with two people, then chances are that you don’t truly love either of them.

Photo via We Heart It

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