Warning: Spoilers for Netflix’s P.S. I Still Love You ahead.
The highly anticipated sequel to the Netflix hit To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before came out recently, and it tackles an age-old question: Is it possible to be in love with two people at the same time?
In To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, main character Lara Jean Covey is in a loving, committed relationship with the internet’s boyfriend, Peter Kavinsky. And yet… a past fling keeps popping up, making her question her feelings.
“It definitely can happen,” says Rachel Sussman, LCSW, a licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert, when I ask her if being up in your feelings about two people at once is really a “thing.” Sussman says she sees it mostly among single people who are dating and find themselves falling for more than one potential partner (à la The Bachelor). But, she says, it can also happen during infidelity (à la — sort of — Lara Jean).
Of course, it’s pretty normal to have friends and even crushes outside of a committed relationship. “I don’t think any one partner fulfils everything,” Sussman says. But if you’re in a monogamous relationship, developing strong feelings for someone other than your partner can be super stressful.
Lara Jean uses the same strategy Sussman suggests for deciding between two loves: a pro/con list. In the movie, she runs down the advantages of each guy with a friend, but you could also speak to a therapist or just jot down notes to yourself.
As tough as it can be when you’re anxious, you can also do your best to tune into your gut. “Try to spend enough time with both people to see if the answer can come organically,” says Sussman. As you continue to learn more about each person, you’ll organically begin to feel like you fit better with one over the other. You’ll also be able to start to differentiate between what’s truly love and what feelings might be fueled by lust.
Of course, people in polyamorous relationships have a totally different view on loving two people at once.”We think of romantic love as this zero sum game, that if you’re going to love more than one person that means you have to take love away from somebody else,” Amanda Wilson, co-founder of #open, a dating app for people in or looking for open relationships, tells Refinery29. But that’s not the case, she says. For partners that practice polyamory, dating, crushing on, and loving multiple people is par for the course — though it still typically requires a ton of honest and open communication to successfully pull off.
Wilson also points out that there are different types of love and ways that we love. She also says that there’s a difference between falling in love, and being in love with someone.
So, yes. It’s possible — even normal — to find yourself in love with two people at once. What you do with those feelings, though, is up to you. The experience might be a sign that it’s time to do some soul-searching, like Lara Jean had to, or go to therapy. It could prompt you to talk with your primary partner about your feelings. In the end, the goal is to end up with the person who is (or people who are) right for you.
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