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3 Questions To Ask Yourself When Caught Between Two Loves

Love-Triangle

Getting caught in a love triangle is not a pleasant place to be in, is it? Being confused about who to choose, so that both of you will be happy is an intimidating place to be. Have you ever got caught in a love triangle? And what to do when caught in a love triangle?

Consider these scenarios:

  • Madeline has been married to Ron for 7 years, and she’s having an affair with Quinton. The chemistry with Quinton is amazing, and he says that he’s ready for Madeline to end her marriage and build a life with him. Ron is a good man, but she feels a million miles away from him. She feels stuck and alone.
  • Jorge has been seeing two guys for several months—Paul and Erik. Jorge adores Paul’s intellectual curiosity, and he feels close to Paul’s family and network of friends. However, Jorge finds Paul to be socially awkward and “low energy.” Jorge is drawn to Erik’s adventurous spirit and unpredictability. At the same time, Jorge worries about Erik’s drinking and history of relationship turmoil. Jorge worries that his inability to commit puts him at risk of losing them both.

These snapshots of people caught in love triangles are pulled from situations I have seen many times over the years with therapy clients, students, and friends. Although Maddie and Jorge’s situations are clearly really different—an affair versus dating—there is a common thread between their stories. Both are at a crossroads in their love lives, needing to make a difficult choice between two loves.

Feeling caught in a love triangle is painful! Feeling stuck and unsure how to proceed can create ruminative thoughts and emotional suffering. And, the longer a person is stuck, the more opportunities they have to behave in ways that are deceitful or that otherwise increase their chances of losing both partners altogether. Further, watching yourself behave deceitfully erodes your sense of your own integrity.

Related: How To Let Go Of A Married Man, Even If You Still Love Him

What should you do if you find yourself caught in a love triangle, unable to figure out your next move? As Albert Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

So here are three questions you can use to help you get unstuck. These questions invite you into a new stance vis a vis the love triangle, and a shift in perspective can open up a new pathway toward insight and clarity.

3 Questions To Ask Yourself When Caught In A Love Triangle

1. “In which relationship do I feel most able to bring in my fullest and most wholehearted expression of myself?”

People caught in a love triangle often make side-by-side comparisons of their two love options. We can easily imagine Madeline and Jorge making pro-con lists, weighing the positive and negative qualities of each partner, and making a decision from there.

It’s not that this approach is bad or wrong per se, but it’s limited, as it leaves a huge variable out of the equation: you. It ignores the fact that YOU plus ME equals WE.

We are so much more than static and contained sets of personality traits and qualities that can be listed and compared. Intimate relationships are wrought in the dynamic space between partners. How you “show up” to the relationship changes how the other person “shows up” for the relationship.

And vice versa. Intimate partners create dances of interaction composed of choreography that profoundly affects each of the dancers. Therefore, a far braver question is one that asks, “In which relationship do I feel most able to bring in my fullest and most wholehearted self?”

This is a question that invites introspection, and the ability to introspect—to turn your attention inward in order to examine your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs—is essential for the creation of a healthy and happy intimate relationship.

caught in a love triangle
3 Questions To Ask Yourself When Caught Between Two Loves
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Alexandra H. Solomon, PhD

Alexandra H. Solomon, PhD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University, a licensed clinical psychologist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, a regular contributor at Psychology Today, a popular resource on Instagram. the creator and leader of the Intimate Relationships 101 E-course, the host of the Reimagining Love podcast, and the author of Taking Sexy Back: How to Own Your Sexuality and Create the Relationships You Want (February 2, 2020; New Harbinger) and Loving Bravely: 20 Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Get the Love You Want (2017; New Harbinger), which was featured on the TODAY show. She is an international speaker and teacher whose work has been featured on six continents. You can visit her online at dralexandrasolomon.com.View Author posts