Who should Bella choose? This is the question the Twilight saga revolves around - and it's difficult not to get swept away by this fanciful romance. You are either for Team Jacob or Team Edward.
But as much as love triangles make riveting film fodder, they are usually a great deal less romantic and more painful in reality. There's no denying that you are betraying both loves - and possibly yourself. How do you decide who is the right man for you - or whether you are better on your own for now?
It's certainly not uncommon for a woman to find herself loving two men. The reason she is drawn to two men is often that she has grown apart from her long-term partner; now she can't decide between them because each satisfies desires the other doesn't. Conversely, in both relationships certain needs go unfulfilled. She wants both men for what they bring to her life.
Stereotypically, women seek emotional comfort and men seek physical comfort when they experience an unmet need or a void. These roles are changing, however, and some women have a need for the thrill of passion and sex outside their partnership. While revenge can occasionally be the stimulus, many women turn to another man because they feel lonely and neglected at home. They seek affirmation that they're still desirable and attractive.
Whatever the motivating factor, it is unlikely that both men are loved with equal intensity. You may feel more for your new partner because it's a newer relationship that's still in the 'honeymoon' phase, and while you may be cognizant of why you chose to be in the older relationship, you may not feel it on the emotional level any longer. But the original relationship is usually based on reality, whereas your crush on the new man could be due to idealism and enchantment.
An emotional or physical affair is thrilling thanks to its illicit nature but once the instant gratification wears off and you reflect on your actions, you're faced with remorse, guilt and self-loathing. You could be in total conflict with your beliefs and value system. Of course your primary defense would be to blame your partner for the situation.
This roller coaster of emotions can cause psychosomatic symptoms such as insomnia, headaches and even ulcers. You could also experience wild mood swings ranging from despair to manic excitement.
You may have tried to sever ties with the 'other man' only to find that, despite your best intentions, you are hooked on the attention and excitement he brings to your life. You may not have resolved the issues in your primary relationship, so the reasons you sought solace outside your relationship are still present. Then, each time you attempt to cut ties with the other man but allow him back into your life, you perceive yourself as weak and the self-loathing begins again, perpetuating the vicious cycle.
Until you understand the real reasons why you were open to an illicit relationship, you will continue to be drawn to a dual love life. This will invariably have a negative impact on your original relationship - it may turn into something that you are both just existing in, while your new partner may want more over time if he is unattached. You may then be forced to choose. But how do you choose? The most effective way is to put your true thoughts and feelings on paper.
But don't make it a list of pros and cons - create a journal focusing on your original relationship. Include how you met, the qualities you fell in love with, how you saw your future together. Then evaluate how either of you diverged from this path. Also reflect on the real reasons you chose to be with him. For example, perhaps it's his character and warmth, or the emotional or financial security he provides. Look at whether this fits in with who you are right now and how you see your life going forward. Then create a journal about your new relationship. Your decision should find you.
If you decide to rebuild your primary relationship, it's going to take honesty. Both of you are responsible for making your relationship space sacred again. Understand what your personal voids and values are and learn how to stretch to meet the other's needs. Bring back the romance and fun, and use this opportunity to rediscover your partner.
If you choose your new love, know that you will have to face any unresolved inner conflict, and that the same dynamics you faced in your previous relationship will probably present themselves again. Often suspicion sets in when needs are not being met in the new relationship - one of you may worry that the other is cheating again. Your infatuation may crumble and you will be faced with the inevitable reality and challenges of a new relationship.
If, when evaluating the qualities you love in each person, you find that the fulfillment of your needs is split between them, it could be that neither is right for you. There's nothing stopping you from walking away from both people.
It may be important to be on your own and work on yourself. Once you're happier within, the person who'll complement you should be drawn into your life.