Is it possible to love more than one person? Experience tells us 'yes'; it is possible, indeed recommended to love more than one person, but it is when we try to define love, we often hit a speed-bump! To many people, 'love' is almost synonymous with 'intimacy', to most others, love is a warm feeling, no more, no less. Love, as we have found though, is an action, a choice that we make, a course that we actively pursue! To be sure, love, true love involves those warm feelings; we are human beings, or at least spiritual beings having a human experience, so feelings are unavoidable: even the most hardened criminal has feelings! The trick is not to let your feelings control you, but to control your feelings!
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the secondary definition of 'intimacy' is, 'something of a personal or private nature'. Again, it is possible to share things with more than one person, but how can it be possible to share your most personal matters with more than one person & yet still have that privacy which most of us value so highly? Is it possible to be intimate with more than one person? Some might say 'yes' & others might say 'no', but really, most of these are those who equate intimacy with love! To love multiple persons at the same time is fairly simple & easy: just make the choice to do what is right in whatever case & you will have acted in love toward them; the difficult part here is determining what IS right! Even to feel love toward multiple persons at the same time is possible & even natural; our human affections, often called feelings, can be directed toward any number of people at once & even be genuine: the 'rub' here though, is that because they ARE simply feelings & therefore subject to change at a moments notice, when the feelings change, so does the love!
Intimacy, on the other hand, being of a more personal & private nature, is best shared with one other person! It is entirely possible to be open about everything, to forgo any privacy, sharing every intimate detail, but people are just not built that way! This, as well, is where feelings shift the balance! If one person has shared their intimacy with more than one other, the green-eyed monster often rears its ugly head! Feelings of jealousy come fairly natural to most if not all people; we as human beings, naturally follow the Creator's Design when we expect the person that we are intimate with to share their intimacy with us alone! Whether officially a marriage or just a simple relationship ( most popular nowadays ), intimacy is best shared between only two people, otherwise, one is simply asking for trouble ( a monogamous relationship brings enough trouble )!
We're not just talk about sexual intercourse ( usually simply termed 'sex' ) either; intimacy involves so much more than the simple sex act, in fact, it need not involve sex at all! Baring one's soul to another individual, revealing their most personal & private thoughts to another is just one instance. Though intimacy most often involves sexual intercourse, one's intercourse with another need not be of a sexual nature to be classified as 'intimate'! Using Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary yet again, 'intercourse' is defined as 'connection or dealings between persons or groups ' & secondarily as 'exchange especially of thoughts or feelings : communion'! When it comes to intimacy, sexual intercourse needn't even be on the table; simply sharing one's most personal & private thoughts with another is often more than intimate enough; as in 'sharing an intimate secret'!
Sexual Intimacy is something which is very rare in today's world scene of open relationships & 'free' sex ( thanks in large part to things like the condom )! While most people who enter into a relationship, especially one of a sexual nature, are looking for intimacy, too often what is found there ( at best ) is a love based on feelings, an intimacy of sorts which is limited to the personal or private feelings of one or the other individual. To love, truly love another in an intimate way is to be willing to bare one's soul, so to speak, to that one individual! Again, to be intimate, especially sexually, with multiple persons, while it IS possible, is not advisable, nor does it come naturally; we just weren't built that way!
Charles Haddon Shank