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Can you love two people at the same time

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Can you love two people at the same timeAsk Brenda who fell in love with Ali, married him in the teeth of searing opposition, stayed married to him despite his occasional philandering and loved and cared for him through the most tormenting times of a sexually transmitted disease which finally got to him. “I believe true love happens but once in a lifetime. I can never love another man the way I loved Ali,” says an emotionally wounded wife of 12 long years.

Is it possible for one person to be in love with two people?
Yes, says happily married Philip, senior manager in a well established firm. “Love has so many faces and so many facets. Someone can appeal to your intellect and capture your heart. Someone can win you through the beauty of her personality. Both can be wonderful in completely different ways. And your heart may respond with love towards both of them. And the love you feel for each could so very different in its intensity and depth.”

Come to think about it, isn’t it true that we love both our mom and dad from the depths of our hearts? But the love we feel for mom might be more gentle and deep, caring and protective. And the love our dad commands could be based on the sheer strength of his protective presence in our life, a pillar in the ever-changing sea of time. And then, don’t we share our love equally between our children, appreciating each one of them for his or her own special qualities?

Not everyone gets to settle down with the first love of his or her life. Invariably parents, circumstances, call it destiny if you will, intervene to throw a spanner in the works between that first love and your final goal – marriage.  And so you go your different ways until you meet another someone, another person you come to love either by chance or by arrangement.

In many cases unbeknown to you, there may smolder small embers of nostalgia for how it used to be but which still does not prevent you from giving your best to your present sweetheart.

Laxmi for instance met Ravi who wooed her to distraction. His intellectual prowess and communication skills found a way to her heart which he unfortunately failed to value. He two-timed her and exited from Laxmi’s life. Then she met Ram, loyal, passionate, slightly immature, yet committed to giving his love a final shape. She married him sharing a mutually rewarding partnership with him. But waiting in the wings of time was Prasad, soulful, gifted and romantic, the epitome of every romantic Hindi film. Laxmi was attracted to him, longed to see him by day and dreamt of him by night.

Torn between the two, she sought her best friend’s advice. She was told, “It’s okay to feel that way. But don’t act on it. We always hold a special place for some people in our hearts. It’s not voluntary. Just acknowledge it to yourself. Once you understand your emotions, you can handle it. Your heart is powerful but your mind can achieve what your heart cannot.” Laxmi slowly understood that Prasad was the mirage and Ram the real thing.

When we look for our life-partner we construct an image of the perfect soul mate vis-à-vis our needs and dreams. Naturally, it’s a given that no one person can satisfy every one of our desires. And when someone seems to come close to our ideal we decide – this is it! But even with a near-perfect partner, there will always remain parts of us that are not fully explored in the most lasting of our relationships. Besides, who can vouch for the enduring loyalty of the human heart which has its own little frailties and foibles, its own inner impulses and compulsions?

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