By Eva Nogales, Psychologist and Sex Therapist
Can you love two or more people at the same time? Nearly all of us have wondered this at some point in our lives. Usually, when one of the members of a couple falls in love with another person, which happens many times, this brings on tremendous feelings of guilt, while trying to hide their feelings in order not to hurt the other person. He/she will try to avoid or suppress what he/she feels for the new person, or alternatively they will simply choose infidelity. Besides this, others tend to automatically think that the love for their partner is not real, that something is wrong in the relationship, that it is impossible to love two people at once.
But what is love? Is it something finite and countable?
Can we weigh love as we weigh a potato sack? If I have five kilos of potatoes and I want to give them to Julia, she will receive five kilos, but if Sandra appears and I also want to give her potatoes, I'll have to take a couple of kilos from Julia's bag to give to Sandra, so Julia will lose potatoes and Sandra will only have two kilos.
Does love work like this? Do you take away some love for one person so you can give it to the other one?
Let's just think for a moment about the love a mother has for her child. They say it is the greatest love, but when she has another son she doesn't have to spread the love she feels for the first one. She won't love the first child any less just because there are now two, or three, or four. (Yes, of course, but that's different, isn't it? You can't compare a mother with a partner, the love of a couple is more ruled by the rules of a sack of potatoes than by the rules of a mother's love ... mmm, this is not clear to me).
We've learned to love in a way and we've never raised the possibility of a world beyond. We only know the concept of monogamy, but there are different ways of loving and there are other types of true love, all of them real and feasible. The problem is we are so sure that what we know is the right thing, the moral and natural way, the logical love, that we are unable to critically analyse how we relate to others. We assume that this is the way love is, and that's it. These are the laws of love and these are the laws you must follow, otherwise you'll be judged or punished in one way or another, by your environment, your partner and even by yourself.
"Polyamory" is one of these alternative ways. A different option, a lifestyle chosen by many people throughout history that remains today as an alternative to the imposed traditional monogamous model. The basis of polyamory is the idea that the ability to love is infinite and there is no need to be limited to one person. And their values are, among others, loyalty, respect, communication and negotiation.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a great film directed by Woody Allen which tells the passionate love story between three people. (Look at this link to watch a film scene: https://youtu.be/M0MG7pMpX9s