A Burning Question

There is a question that is burning in my mind right now, so much so that it truly isn’t even allowing me to take advantage of the fact that my son is sleeping and I should be too. It’s quite the odd question too, just something I randomly think about when left with nothing else to think about, or when thinking about certain people…like my best friend Kiwi (a name I wouldn’t have chosen for her, but she loves that nickname so we’ll leave it at that). Anyway, here is my question; is it possible to love more than one person in your lifetime?

I ask this because several of my friends seem to think so. I once had an interesting discussion with one of my friends about how there are different people to fill different kinds of love, like the “learning love” kind of love for example. You know the one I’m talking about, your “first love” so to speak. Many of us aren’t exactly proud of our “first love”, but I think it’s more or less because of how those loves end. Abruptly, without any hint of the ending coming…usually the breakup is harder on one person than the other, although it’s still hard for both in their own individual ways. It’s hard for most to admit it, and I’m only going to admit it now because I’ve truly thought about it. My first love was not Matt by any far stretch, and I really don’t wish that it had been because I wouldn’t have learned the lessons I learned from that other person. My “first love”, which I like to consider my “learning love” was actually Neil. Our relationship lasted just over a year before he suddenly broke up with me, after spending that very year telling me that he loved me and wanted to be with me always. I thought I loved him, and maybe I did…or perhaps I simply just loved the idea of love. Towards the end, we did grow apart. I remember questioning him as much as he questioned me. His behavior started to be too immature for me, and I spoke to Karen about it several times. He dumped me suddenly and harshly, I didn’t see it coming…although I should have. I was blindsided by the promises he always gave me. I was stumped when it finally happened because I couldn’t believe that someone who spent so much time making promises would not actually end up keeping them, and I cried many a tears over it.

But my healing process was really only a month or so, after that I was just lonely. I wasn’t used to not talking to him. It was a habit more or less and breaking it was difficult. I learned, thanks to that relationship, that investing yourself in someone 100% is never a good idea. Sure, you can give your heart and love someone with all of it, but giving them every ounce of energy and time you have is just not a good idea, because what are you left with if something were to happen? I was left with, well, nothing. Nothing but a credit card debt from paying our way when he wasn’t working. I paid for all of his trips to come and see me up at school, something I do regret now because perhaps I would have spent more time making friends at that school and having fun instead of worrying about my relationship with him, because that’s really why I paid for his trips. I was worried that if he didn’t see me often he would forget about me. I suppose I didn’t have to worry about that in the end, because he forgot about me anyway.

Although I no longer have any feelings towards Neil, I still wonder what exactly made him stop loving me…if he ever did love me that is. Was it my insecurity of myself? Or just something completely unavoidable? At the time of the breakup, I couldn’t see why we had drifted apart. Even though I had moved to go to college, I still gave our relationship attention.

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Sometimes now, I wonder what is keeping Matt in love with me. I may be slightly smarter and wiser, but I’m really no different. I still carry the same emotional baggage of my own insecurities. I still can’t see what makes me so great. I mean really, Matt is an insanely good looking guy, he could land any girl he wanted and he choose me and I can’t help but wonder why. Every time I ask him, he replies “Why not?” as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world.

I guess it goes both ways though, because the rare occasions when Matt asks me why I love him (usually after I ask him), I reply with the same answer…because it makes sense to me. He’s every thing I could have ever wanted in a man and more. He does things without me having to ask. He cares for me in every single way, and loves that I care for him in every single way. He’s happy to come home and just hold me, we never have to spend money on each other to feel spoiled.

But there is a fear a me in…a fear that one day perhaps Matt will wake up and decide that I’m not the person he wants to be with. I worry that we’ll grow apart in some way and that it’ll be too late to repair things and drift closer. I let him have his space, and he lets me have mine because I know that’s just as important as spending time together. I love my alone time. I love to spend it either with my friends or simply just reading. Matt prefers his alone time to be spent with his friends chilling out, and that’s not a problem with me. I try not to entertain my fears by worrying about him cheating, because I know he never would…he’d end it before he cheated on me because that’s just the kind of person he is.

But enough of these thoughts, the whole point of this post really was to just get them out of my head so I could sleep without wondering. What about you? Do you think that it’s possible to love more than one person in a lifetime? And does finding your true love make all those previous loves mean that they never were actual love? Answer in the comments, perhaps we could get an interesting debate going on.

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About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
This entry was posted in challenges, changes, growing up, insecurties, issues, lessons, opinions, pictures, ranting, telling stories, this is my life. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to A Burning Question

  1. Amanda says:

    I absolutely think you love more than one person in a lifetime. Just because someone isn’t ultimately “the one” doesn’t mean you can’t truly love them. I’m not a believer in “soul mates” or at least, not that we only have one soul mate. There’s so many people in this world, it’s pretty implausible to think that your soul mate would be geographically accessible.

  2. jules says:

    Wow…some heavy hitting questions this morning. Although I don’t have the answers, I too share the same fears.

  3. paula says:

    i do think that we can love more than one person in a lifetime…

    all those people we have to go through to find “the one” are people we’ll LOVE… we can’t guess they are gonna be forgotten in a year or so… so we give everything, and we love them deeply….

    then hearts get broken… love ends… heart fixes itself…

    that’s just life

  4. Fea says:

    Absolutely we can. My father adored my mother, but she is long dead now and he has a new wife and he loves her too.

    I just don’t think it is ever the exact same love. I think there is more than one romantic love.

  5. Shannon says:

    I believe love is a choice. It’s a decision you make. Because I can 100% guarantee that if you spend more than a year with a person you will find plenty of reasons why staying with them won’t “make” you happy. Our society perpetuates the idea that a person “falls” in and out of love. I don’t believe there is such a thing as “falling out of love”. I believe you make a choice to stop loving a person. Love is an action. It requires effort and energy and dedication. It requires work. Some days (or weeks or months or years) it requires a lot more work and some days it requires less, or no work at all! Some may think this is not romantic but I disagree.

    Like most people, my husband and I went through the early infatuation phase where everything is wonderful. But it is simply unfair to equate those feelings with “true love” or to interpret that to mean you have met your “soul-mate”. We make a choice every moment of every day to either invest in our relationship and work to make it better, or to stop putting in the work.

    To me, that makes my relationship more secure, knowing my husband is committed to acting out love, even when he doesn’t feel it. Because trust me, there are some days I am not at all loveable! But having spent ten years working hard at loving each other makes those years so much more meaningful. If it was something that just “happened” to us then it wouldn’t be nearly as valuable. Our choice is what gives our relationship so much meaning.

    It is certainly true that, at some point, your partner/husband/boyfriend might decide to give up. We can’t control other people. You can only be satisfied that you gave your best and that, hard as it would be, you would survive without them.

    So my short answer is: you love whoever you choose to love. And also: love requires constant action. It’s not something that happens to you, it’s something you do.

  6. Avitable says:

    I think the capacity to love is almost infinite, but loving one person doesn’t mean that past loves go away.

  7. fncycwgrl says:

    There will always be “someone” in our lives that we will get/give something from/to…

    We never know at first these reasons, and may still not know after they are gone but, the lesson is still there.

    We are all entangled in each others live for a reason. To get or to give…we will never know…

  8. Bubblewench says:

    Yes, you can love more then one person, and that love will always be valid.

    I have loved a few men/boys in my life. Then I met Scott and it was different. Like you said, it was just right.

    I will always remember the loves in my life, but I love Scott the most and will spend the rest of my life with him. Cause the big thing is – he loves me back the same way. And that’s the best thing ever.

  9. I completely believe that you can love more than one person in a lifetime and “the one” doesn’t cancel out the past loves. That being said…

    I also believe that “the One” is not determined by the fact that you are a different person than with others (because I don’t think people change that much). I think that it’s all about compatibility. The hubby and I have talked about this alot and we see how our personalities probably wouldn’t work out as well if we were with other people. Sometimes people are just more compatible than they are with others. As much as all relationships are hard work… I think you know you found the one when you can be completely yourself without them running away screaming.

    BTW yeah I LOOOVED the cloud like feeling of that first movement after the epidural… 😉

  10. Kim says:

    I agree that you can love more than one person, but I think they are different kinds of love. I loved my first husband, I thought, but it turned out that I loved the idea of being in love.

    Now Gregory, that is love ! Will always be, even though I lost him too soon. He will always be my husband and I will always be his wife….and I will always Love him , just as I did in life. Does that mean I won’t ever love anyone else? I hope not, even though it is the very last thing on my mind at the moment. I just hate to think that he would be my last love, and I am only 39. He will probably be my last great love, and I am ok with that.

  11. Blaine says:

    Wow. I need to read this a few more times before I can post a good comment. And let it sink in.

    (Awesome post, btw. Very well written, as usual!)

  12. Jessica says:

    I’ve never been in love, but the lazy and vulnerable part of me want to say ‘no’ because falling in love with more than one person would take effort and hard work. Not to mention it implies that I’ll have to get my heart broken.

    But I really do hope you can love more than one person in a lifetime. It affords the opportunity to grow and learn from each experience. And that way, when you meet your great love (as kim put it) you’ll know the value of what you have because of the experiences with the others.

  13. Litzia says:

    I don think you can love more than once, I know you can, a life time it’s so long (unless you die young) that you will be a different person, maybe not in essence but people changes a lot in many things, someone’s for good, someone’s for bad, some just for different things, so there are two things that are impossible:

    One its knowing that you are gonna love someone ( as a couple I mean) all your life, you can love someone as a person all your life, there are relationships that ends in good terms and you can still love that person but not in a couple way. And there are others that last all of their life’s, but that determined by a lot of different things, sometimes love disappears just as it came, it arrives like magic it grows by taking care of the other, and it should keep it that way if you continue to taking care of your couple, but the “ in love” part the “loving as a couple forever” can disappear simply as it started, and it will only remain the love for a person but with out that spark of being in love forever, and that’s natural because we are humans, its kind of sad, but kind of good also, because maybe that means that you need to meet another good partner in your life.

    The other thing that its impossible its: to not fall in love again, its really difficult some times but the humans have the ability of doing it, with time and taking the risk, and of course one person who loved before someone, can love another, because it will be in a different moment, you will be a different person, and each couple will have a special place in your hearth, and maybe it can became another love of your life
    My dad says so, there’s not one love in your life, you have de possibility of loving many people in a very intense way, in different stages of your life. And my dad it’s on his third marriage, he its an excellent father, and have an excellent relationship with his ex wife’s (one of them my mom)

    So as all in life, the only wise advice I can say to you its enjoy the moment and do not worry about the future, today Matt and you are in love, so live for today, that’s all that its certain and all that you must worry about.

  14. Cri says:

    oh oh. you can love more than one person.( i think) but i think love is different each time. in a way. ahhh, how can i explain myself here? i really agree with what adam said. he summed it up perfect. i was with a boy before taylor. and we had been best friends since before kindergarten. you would think that that would have lasted forever. but it didn’t and then i met taylor (rather i knew him before, but anyways) with him, it was just so much more. its hard to explain. but you probably know what i mean 🙂

  15. I think you can definitly love more than one person. I think each love is important, it makes us who we are.
    I have been with my husband 18yrs this year and it feels like we have grown together so much that our love has been different loads of times(does that even make sense?)
    I bloody love this blog, it is offically my favourite!!

  16. Becky says:

    After thinking about this for many years myself, I am not sure I have the answer. I think there have been some great answers given already.

    It seems like each time you fall “in love” with someone, that you NOW know what love is. Then it ends. Does that mean it wasn’t love? I think it’s what you make it for yourself. If you allow yourself to love someone, who can deny that it is in fact love.

    I have loved many men (ok, not that many, but enough) and each time I have felt basically the same thing. At the age of 36, I met the man I am still with (I am 39 now) and it is different. I often wonder what makes it different. Is it the amount of love in the relationship, is it that this is truly love where the others were not, or is it just… different. I think back fondly of some of my former boyfriends, and some not so fondly. I was loving to the best of my ability at the time I was with each of them.

    Is it possible that I have learned to love to my full capacity, and that is what makes this a better, more enduring and endearing relationship? Or is this simply another stop along the way? I have a feeling I am with my life partner, but I did not get to this place alone. I do give credit (like you) for the past relationships I have had. They have molded me into the person I bring to my current relationship. They have taught me a lot about how to love someone, how to show someone love, how to let go, how to hold back, and most importantly of all…how to accept the love being offered to me. I honestly think that is the biggest difference for me. I have someone who shows me all this love, and I have finally gotten to the point in my life that I can accept it, and enjoy it, and cherish it.

    If I could go back in time and bring what I bring to this relationship, to any of my old relationships, who’s to say that any of those relationships wouldn’t have been the one to stand the test of time.

    I can only echo what someone else had already said. Cherish your time with Matt. Love completely, like you will not be hurt. And most importantly, accept the love he has for you.

    What a great post.

  17. Sarcastica says:

    Oh my gosh guys LOL all of those answers are WAY more deep than I expected! All of you are right of course! It’s interesting though how this is never really talked about, I mean everyone ALWAYS talks about “true love” and “soul mates” but never the great learning experience loves that lay forgotten at the bottom of repaired broken hearts. Most books and movies are not about the learning loves, but the true loves.

    I guess all we can really do is live for the moment and love without regret or hesitation. Thanks for participating everyone! Sorry I couldn’t respond individually to your comments but there is just so much to say and so little time to say it LOL! I am reading them and loving them though 😉

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