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Can You Love More Than One Person Romantically?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/15/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 423 times Debate No: 70124
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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1. Love is defined as "an intense feeling of deep affection." It does not specify being limited to only one person at any given time. It is merely a feeling with no other connotation to it.
2. Depending on the situation, love may be confused for infatuation or even lust. None of these are the be regarded in this debate, as this pertains only to love in the romantic sense.
3. No one person can be everything to someone. It is entirely possible to love two different people for two different reasons. "Different people awaken different beasts in you."
4. In the event of death, the loss of a loved one always takes a toll on someone, but that does not mean they cannot love again.
5. Upon finding another person to spend their life with, they do not disregard their love for the person who has passed.
6. Rather, they continue loving them, as well as their new partner.
7. Monogamy is a concept created by society and made acceptable by society. Some societies, however, practice polygamy, polyandry, polygyny, etc.
8. These types of relationships run on the same groundwork any monogamous relationship would be support, compromise, and most importantly, love.
9. Sex is not the end all, be all, deciding factor of romantic relationships.
10. It is entirely possible to love someone without having sex or even an intimate relationship with them.

Non-controversial Premises:
1. This is merely a definition, taken word for word from a dictionary. That, in turn, makes it fact, and therefore, non-controversial.
2. This is both controversial and non-controversial. It is non-controversial because my partner will agree that this debate pertains only to romantic love and not lust or infatuation or anything of the sort.
5/6. Assuming my partner believes in the idea of remarrying after being widowed, this is non-controversial, as no matter what side of the debate you take, I'm sure you'll agree that real love does not just fade away.
7. Yet again, controversial and non-controversial. It is fact that some societies practice different forms of relationships. Whether or not these are acceptable, socially or morally, is open to debate, and my partner most likely has a different view on it.
8. It's safe to assume my partner would agree with this. The aforementioned traits can be found in any successful romantic relationship. They are the groundwork for any type of relationship to work.
9/10. This is, again, another thing I assume my partner will agree with. Sex does not equal love and love does not equal sex. One can exist without the other, it's just often that we see both.

Controversial Premises:
2. This is controversial merely because the idea of love vs lust/infatuation seems highly debated. However, whether or not these can be mistaken is irrelevant to the debate(see non-controversial premise number two).
3. It can be argued that the "right person" can be everything to the one they are right for, but I disagree. The mere idea of someone being everything you've ever wanted implies some sort of perfection, which is, by human standards, impossible.
4. One can assume that the death of a loved one will affect almost anyone, yes, but the idea that they can love another person in that way is controversial. I believe they can. Look at all the remarried people in the world. Most of them are older. At that point, you aren't marrying simply to repopulate the planet, so there has to be some love involved somewhere.
5/6. See number four.
7. The idea that monogamy was created in society is controversial. Some may assume it's natural, but this is not the case, as even in the animal kingdom, poly-amorous relationships are often seen. About 90% of mammals have numerous mates.
10. There is always the argument that love and relationships are basically the same, and that humans need to repopulate the earth to keep the species around, but this is untrue. Love and relationships are not the same thing, and, while re-population is important, it has nothing to do with love. Just because you love someone, does not mean you have to have sex with them, and the same goes the other way.


1. I agree with the definition of love, yes, but I feel as though the idea of it being limited to one person should be implied.
2. Agree, it is possible to confuse love for something else, such as infatuation or lust. However, I feel as though that would be the only reason it would be acceptable, or even possible, to "love" more than one person to begin with- it wasn't really "love" at all.
3. It's possible, as mentioned in the previous premise, that you can be misled in your "love" approaches, but you cannot love different people for different reasons. If it's really love, that one person will be "everything" to you.
4. Disagree. If you truly gave your heart to someone and they pass away, you can't simply replace them. That was your love, and now they're gone. You can't just fall for someone all over again in the same way. It was special.
5. Agree.
6. Disagree. You do not love the person, as they are no longer alive. Rather, you love what you remember of them. It's less like romantic love, more something like nostalgic love.
7. If monogamy was created by society, so were poly-relationships. The animal kingdom argument is invalid, as certain species, such as penguins, mate for life.
8. These are good groundwork for a healthy relationship, yes, but a healthy relationship, at least one of romantic nature, involves two people, as you can only truly love one person.
9. Agree.
10. Agree. However, many relationships based on true love do involve sex, and some relationships are set of merely for sex. These usually do not involve love, at least not from both sides.
11. Branching off premise two, love is a voluntarily accepted emotion originating from our minds. We, as humans, do not fully understand the mind just yet. Almost everyone wants to be in love, so they lead themselves to believe they've loved every person they've been infatuated with.
12. Romantic love needs intimacy.
13. In order to build intimacy with someone, you need to commit to them and spend time with them one-on-one.
14. There simply aren't enough hours in a day to commit to more than one person, which in turn means that you can't built intimacy with them all, but rather, just with one.

Non-controversial premises:
1. As my opponent stated, this is simply a definition. It is fact and facts are not controversial. It is her interpretation of it that it controversial.
5. Agree. You can't simply throw your love away like a toy you're finished playing with as a child.
9. Sex is not the primary focus in a relationship based on love. If it is truly love, sex could, or could not, be a part of it, but it is not the most important.
10. Yes, you can love someone without sex, but you can also have sex with someone without love. For example, if that's your job, it doesn't mean you'll love each and every person who pays you.

Controversial premises:
2. The idea of a "first love," for example, is ludicrous. It most likely wasn't love, and was merely infatuation or lust.
3. No human needs to be perfect to be what another human is looking for. It does not imply perfection, it merely implies a proper set of qualities the other happened to find attractive.
4. Love is not a toy, you cannot just say you're bored of this person and don't love them anymore and go find a new one. It's like when children throw their blocks on the floor when they don't feel like building, and they run off to play with something else. They get yelled at.
6. Just because they are gone does not mean it's alright to find someone new and assume you feel the same about them.
7. Claiming that we're like animals in our mating rituals can go either way for either side. It's a somewhat invalid argument in that sense.
11. Love is all the mind, something we don't understand. This brings me back to the idea of a "first love." It doesn't make sense because you only get one love.
12. And you should be intimate with this love. They are yours, and yours alone. In turn, it is necessary to build something stable with them, one on one.
Debate Round No. 1


1. It is not necessarily implied, because it is not necessarily true.
3. "Everything" implies a "perfect" match, and "perfect" is just not possible. It's a well known fact taught to people from a young age that perfection simply does not exist in any form. While someone may have a lot of qualities that imply a decent match, they cannot be everything. Sometimes you have to love many to learn what you really like.
4. Just because they were your love does not mean you cannot find another. When something replaceable dies, people do just that- replace it, to fill the hole in their hearts. It's no different with love than it is with a dead pet. You love a pet in a different way, yes, but when one dies, people often get another because they are used to the presence and attachment.
6. Just because they cannot physically be with the person who has passed, does not mean they cannot love them. They can keep their love for their past lover, and still kindle a new love with the one they have found.
10. This is true, yes, but even so, the one sided love is still love. Just because that person falls in love with someone who does not return these feelings, does not mean they cannot find someone later to love in the same sense, who may or may not reciprocate.
11. We do, in fact, understand the mind. People study psychology and things of that nature all the time. Psychology can tell you all about the chemical reactions involved in falling for someone. It isn't impossible that someone has loved everyone they've been "infatuated" with.
12. Romantic love does not need intimacy or devotion to one person. Look at the Mormon lifestyle, where a man has many wives. It is a known rule that each of these wives is to be treated with no favoritism. Everyone is equal and gets the same amount of time with their husband. I don't recall often hearing about unhappy Mormons, so they must be doing something right.
14. If you really love these people, it won't be hard to make time for them. Also, it is not stated that these people must all be loved at the same time, so, assuming they are not, this is not really an issue.


3. The idea of "everything" does not imply "perfect." I agree that perfection is merely a myth. It is humanly impossible. However, when you love someone, you love them with their imperfections. It is, in some cases, the imperfections that make you love them. There is a difference between "perfect" and "liked" or "preferred."
4. You say that people replace things because they become used to their presence. Just because people do this, does not mean they will feel the same about the replacement as they did towards the original. Going off your pet example, if my fish dies, and I get another fish, it won't be the same as the original. The original was the one that won your heart, and if you try to replace that, chances are, it won't work.
6. A love can only be kindled where there wasn't one before. Again, going off the example in premise number four, the replacement does not live up to the original unless the original wasn't love. It's a bit like movie sequels never living up to the original, unless the original was terrible and the sequel redeemed the series.
10. But why would you love someone who does not love you back? Putting all your devotion and feelings into something going nowhere makes no sense, and, since you don't start loving someone right when you meet them, at first hint of non-reciprocated feelings, the person claiming to be in "love" can simply leave and find a relationship that will work.
12. Yes, Mormon men have many wives, but does that really mean they love them all? No, it does not. It runs on the same principle as having sex with various people and not having to love them all, or even marrying various people without love. Also, the idea of a Mormon relationship, or any poly-relationship for that matter, seems, to me, more reminiscent of a friendship. After all, are love and support and things of that nature not the building blocks of a stable friendship as well?
14. But in fact it will be hard to make time for too many people and keep them all happy and not play favorites. People have jobs, hobbies, friends, responsibilities, and you all too often hear about the stress of daily life. It is actually rather difficult to maintain a steady life, even with just one love, let alone many of them. It just can't work.
Debate Round No. 2


3. The idea of loving someone for their imperfections seems silly to me. It's like saying that you love someone because they're rude, don't shower, and like to make children cry. That's an imperfect person, for sure, and I see no reason to love someone like that. Yes, there is a difference between "perfect" and "preferred," but that does not mean that someone' preferred person isn't perfect to them. Because perfect does not exist, it cannot be found in one preferred person, but rather in a few preferred people, be it over time or all at once.
4. The idea is really more along the lines of learning to love something even when the original target for your affections is gone. It's only human, and perfectly acceptable. Everything needs love, so if we all only love one thing, what happens if two people love the same person? Logically speaking, at least one person out there will never be loved. At some point, though, everyone is loved, at least once, by someone, so at least once, someone has to fall in love with more than one person. Sometimes it just comes about for one person through the loss of another.
6. But what about when the movie and sequel are both fantastic? Love is, as you said, a bit like movies. Sometimes the original falls out of favor for the sequel, but that doesn't mean you don't still enjoy the first one. If they were both good movies, you have a right to enjoy them both. If all the targets of your affections are something you prefer, like we discussed in premise number three, it is perfectly fine to love them both.
10. We do not control who we fall for. Love is, while an understandable phenomenon, not something we can control. We do not just close our eyes, point at someone, and say, "I'll go fall in love with that one today!" It's hard to walk away sometimes, especially when we've taken a particular liking to someone who may not feel the same in return.
12. Support and some type of love are, as you said, very important to friendships, but in any kind of relationship, be it one-on-one or poly, it is a different kind of support and a different kind of love. Poly-relationships are intimate, but intimate in a group. Intimacy does not always mean one-on-one.
14. Daily life can be stressful, I agree, but wouldn't the idea of someone you love, or a few someones you love, be a great de-stresser? One of the best ways to relieve the stress of daily life is through love, or happiness, which can be brought on by love. And if the people you love love you in return, they will understand that things like this take time, and, coupled with the busy hours of the day, it is sometimes hard to spend time together. You do not have to be with someone at all times to love them. Long distance relationships work because of this.


3. What you described is not imperfect. Instead, it is just simply not a good person. Imperfect is not bad as you are trying to hint at. Imperfect is human and acceptable. In addition, just because someone's preferred person is perfect in their eyes, it doesn't meant they are "perfect" as a whole. That does not make them perfect to all of society or by anyone's standards other than the person who loves them. This is alright, though, because when you love someone, their imperfections become perfect. Not their flaws, like what you described. Their imperfections.
4. The way you're wording things now, it seems as though you're saying that the person mentioned in the previous premise, the one that likes to make children cry, deserves love as well. This is highly controversial, as some would say that such a person does not deserve love if they are incapable of giving it, which is how you make this person seem. Also, your argument doesn't make sense, as not everyone is loved. Some people are not. Some people go through life alone and then die alone, never loved and never loving anyone else. The idea of love coming about for some through the loss of others makes people sound disposable, much more so than you've previously stated. This makes the idea of poly-relationships even less appealing and more nonsensical, as if to say, "if one person walks out, it's fine, there are more."
6. The issue here is that, at some point, you do prefer one over the other. You will always prefer one over the other in every and any situation. People are no exception. Favoritism is a natural occurrence in people, and in a relationship with more than one person, you will, no matter what, love one most of all. Your relationship with the others will not compare.
10. While we don't control who we fall for, we can develop preferences like we discussed in premise three. If someone hurts you, however, you have no reason to love them, and walking away should not be a problem. Staying in any type of abusive relationship should not be an option and no one should love someone who hurts them.
12. Intimacy in a group screams "high school cliques" to me. Romantic intimacy, however, practically requires one-on-one, simply because of the aforementioned favoritism, and the fact that, you cannot for any reason, love more than one person in the same romantic way.
14. Yes, someone I love would be nice to have around to ease stress, but here comes the favoritism topic again. Having to decide which to spend time with, if there were many, would simply be more stressful. In response to what you said about them understanding, how can you guarantee that? Some people require constant attention and don't cope well with being alone. If you're busy with one of these other lovers you mentioned, you'll be playing favorites and upsetting one of the others. This topic is a reoccurring theme, as, whether intentional or not, someone will always be more a priority than another.
Debate Round No. 3


3. I agree that imperfect is not a bad thing, it is just a human thing. I suppose I should've worded it differently. I have to disagree, though, and say that that someone's preferred person is, in fact, apparently perfect, if viewed that way. If at least one person sees it, it is a formed opinion, and whether or not society agrees with it is irrelevant. Someone is idolizing someone else in a way that humans cannot and should not be idolized.
4. Now you're just being judgmental, which is inappropriate for this debate. There is no way to determine whether or not this person is capable of giving love or not, so this part of your argument is rendered invalid. The idea that not everyone is loved is a very pessimistic world view. There has to be someone who loves anyone. Even what's considered the worst of people have been known to have spouses, for example. And people are in no way disposable, it's just not wrong to find another to share your love with when the originals pass.
6. Disagree, simply on the grounds that true love can conquer any situation, no matter how corny that may sound, especially if the situation is being solved for the benefit of those you love. If you honestly do care about them in a way that's not being mistaken for lust or infatuation, you'll be able to figure out how to make it work.
10. But what if they didn't always hurt you? What if you loved them for years, and suddenly something happens to change how they act towards you? Then, can you really say you didn't love them? Years later, can you claim it was infatuation or lust? No, you cannot. At some point, you loved them. Even if you don't still love them, or you won't still love them by that time next year, that does not mean you never did.
12. High school cliques are nothing like a poly relationship. Poly relationships have rules. One of them is, "don't try to force relationships to be something they are not." You can't try to be the number one top dog or the priority. You don't treat your partners as disposable or less important than others. In any consensual poly relationship, these rules are known and observed.

Therefore, it is possible to love more than one person.

As made evident by this debating, all remaining premises are controversial.


3. You don't seem to realize that society is the masses and, in this world, the masses pretty much rule. The opinion of one unknown person is, more often than not, irrelevant. It takes more than one voice to start a riot, because in a crowd of voices all talking at once, no one will even notice that one. Society's opinions of a person do count, more so than the opinion of that one person that romantically loves them and sees them as this idea of "perfect." It's not "perfect" as in idol worship, but "perfect" as in accepted for who they are. That's what love is, and you can't just give something like that to everyone.
4. Having a spouse does not imply love, either, though. Even if you're a terrible person, if you kill people and steal and lie and cheat, you can still get married. How you got married, however, is questionable, and there is always the chance no love was involved from either party.
6. Corny indeed, and completely untrue. Some things in life just don't work out as planned, no matter how hard we try. This has nothing to do with whether or not love was involved. Rather, it's about passion and work ethic and a little bit of luck, all of which can be present without love.
10. This is most likely a case of mistaken love, something that was not meant to be. It should never be hard to walk away from things that hurt you and no one should allow themselves to be hurt in any situation, whether or not they think they love the person hurting them.
12. But how do you guarantee that the participants in this relationship will follow these rules? Consider this my "pessimistic world view," as you called it, but people can lie. There is no way to make sure people follow established rules. The law says not to kill people but murderers exist, so what makes you think rules in a poly relationship are different? Yet again, they are like high school cliques. It does not make sense to try to confine all these people into one relationship and hope they can love each other. Favoritism and human nature play a part as well.

Therefore, it is impossible to love more than one person.

As my opponent stated, all premises at this point seem to be controversial.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by TBR 1 year ago
I sooo thought this was done. How many more of you are there? When is this assignment OVER!
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