Love more than one person
Can You Be In Love With More Than One Person At The Same Time?
Sometimes, falling in love can feel like riding in an Uber Comfort with a final destination in mind. Other times (like on this season of The Bachelor), the route to romance looks more like a Lyft Line with multiple stops. Whether you're currently smooching more than one sweetie or you're deeply invested in Pilot Pete's love life, you might be wondering if it's really possible to be in love with more than one person at the same time.
Nearing yet another colorful finale, bachelor Peter Weber (aka "Pilot Pete") told Entertainment Tonight that he fell in love with not one, not two, but three of this season's contestants. "This experience has shown me that there's not just one soulmate out there," Weber said. "I've definitely been able to give my heart to more than one person."
While living in a mansion with a bunch of people who want to date you might not be all that relatable (or maybe it is! I don't know your life), experts say falling for more than one flame is actually pretty common.
"A loving individual can certainly feel deeply in love with several people at once," Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. "That said, the nature of real love would indicate that the person’s behaviors not, in any way, harm any of the people who are loved."
Francisco Roman/Walt Disney Television/Getty Images
If you and your boo(s) are in a consensual polyamorous relationship or have recently visited the option of opening up your relationship (or you've elected to live in a house full of people who are all dating your boyfriend), you may already candidly discuss seeing other people and how you envision your relationships unfolding. However, if all parties involved are looking for something monogamous, the experts share the importance of proceeding with extreme compassion and mindfulness.
While it can be cathartic to express your feelings, it's crucial to understand how your words or actions may be interpreted. (Read: If you, like Pilot Pete, tell everyone you're seeing that you want to marry them, they'll likely be caught off guard when you call it off to be with someone else. )
In addition to being mindful of your actions, Manly recommends checking in with your emotions. While it's possible to feel head over heels for Derek from accounting, Mara from improv, and your new gym buddy Alix, Manly says you could also be experiencing extreme attraction.
"It’s so important to differentiate between being in love and feeling connected to, attracted to, or aroused by a person you are dating," Manly says. "Real love is generally built over time, whereas feelings of attraction and desire tend to arise early on in a relationship."
According to dating coach and dating app expert Meredith Golden, when you're dating around or swiping through apps, you might find a lot of people you're attracted to. And that's totally OK: Spending time with more than one person can help you better understand what you're looking for from a relationship.
The more time you spend with each person, the easier it will be to ascertain which person is the best fit in the long run.
"It's typical to like multiple people during the dating process," Golden tells Bustle. "The reason I tell clients to date multiple people until they are ready to commit to one person is because it puts feelings in perspective."
But as you start to develop more ardent feelings, Golden stresses being transparent about what you can realistically give your dates, like how much time you have to send with them and whether or not you're seeing other people.
For Shula Melamed, MA, MPH, and well-being coach, falling in love with more than one person may change the types of relationships you were initially looking for. "Love is one thing, but living your life with another person doesn't necessarily always align with a long-term partnership," Melamed tells Bustle. "Be curious and see if you are on the same page and want the same things."
If you're wondering how to start the "I love you, but I also love other people" conversation, Melamed suggests communication with your partner(s) directly. Take them out on a date, turn off your phone, and ask about how they envision their future. You won't know if they're open to exploring different types of relationship dynamics until you talk about it. "Ask yourself if this person wants similar things to you," Melamed says. "Do you converge on important topics and pursuits in life?"
Of course, if you're looking for something monogamous, but you've found yourself catching feeling for more than one cutie, Manly says you should give yourself a little extra time and space to process. Once you've gotten clear on your needs and desires, spend one-on-one time with each person in a variety of situations, to see how your relationship weathers good times and bad.
"The more time you spend with each person, the easier it will be to ascertain which person is the best fit in the long run," Manly says.
Remember: Although Pilot Pete has to make a choice by the season finale, you have both time and agency to decide what type(s) of relationships are right for you.
Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist
Meredith Golden, dating coach and dating app expert
Shula Melamed, MA, MPH, and well-being coach
5 Reasons It’s Normal To Be In Love With More Than One Person
by Amanda Chatel
Although we're often taught to believe we can only love one person at a time, it's time to really rethink that. While it might be easy if there were just one person for us, as in "The One," and once we find them we were set for life, things are really not that simple. Life, in general, is not that simple. And, honestly, I like to believe that as much as lack of simplicity can throw a wrench in things, no one really wants it that simple.
And considering the rise of non-monogamy today, more and more people are proving that there's not just one person out there for everyone. “When it comes to being in love, all bets are off,” dating Coach Francesca Hogi tells Bustle. “Everything is ‘normal.’ [Being in love with more than one person] is probably a lot more common than people realize.” Well isn't that a relief for each and every one of you out there who is currently in love with more than one person — or thinks you could be.
Aside from the fact that “all bets are off” when it comes to being in love, are there actual, rational reasons as to why this normal? Yes. Here are five of them.
1. We All Have Our Own Definition Of Being 'In Love'
One of the best parts about love is how we make it our own. How I define love and how you define love are probably very different. “The thing about love is it’s completely self-defined,” says Hogi. “One person can interpret their feelings as love, another as infatuation, another as lust.” Since that’s the case, it allows people to label it as they see fit. One person's lust, is another's concept of love.
2.We Can Love More Than One Person At A Time
“We all know that we can love many people at the same time,” says Hogi, “So who's to say being in love is any different?” If we’re capable of loving multiple people in different ways, as there are many different kinds of love, to say that we can only be IN love with one person at a time contradicts that first thinking. This is especially true if being “in love” is defined differently, from person to person.
3. Love Is Complicated
Love isn’t simply a matter of the proverbial heart, but an intricate medley of hormones and chemicals that come together to make us feel the feeling that we, as human beings, have decided to call love. Love changes over time, come and goes, strengthens and weakens, and can totally disappear only to come back again, later on, for another round.
In theory, love may seem simple, as in you love that person or you do not, but the reality is that love is as complex as things can get; it’s not black and white. Because of this, to think that to love only one person is the only “normal” way to love, is actually doing our ability to love a disservice.
4. Attraction Is Biological
We don’t really have much control over whom we become attracted to because biology is out of our hands. While one person can appeal to certain aspects of our desire, someone else can appeal to another entirely different set of aspects of our desire. Although these multiple desires can be categorized as lust or infatuation, as Hogi said, love is something we personally define. What this means is that feelings for more than one person can definitely be interpreted as love for more than one person. Which, again, is totally normal.
5. Love Doesn’t Necessarily Die
If you’ve been in love with someone, that love doesn’t always die. Although my first love and I broke up well over a decade ago, I still love him very deeply. I loved him very deeply during the relationships that followed and even through my marriage; and I’m not alone in carrying this love for a former partner.
“Many people freely admit they'll always love an ex, even though they consider themselves to be in love with their current partner,” says Hogi. “The bottom line is, having feelings for more than one person at a time is completely normal. The question then becomes how to proceed, and with whom!”
Images: Fotolia; Giphy (5)
Is it possible to love two people at the same time?
Man and woman Cheating
- People are not naturally monogamous. In some cultures, relationships with several partners at the same time are normal.
- Infantile love often becomes the cause of betrayal.
- A crisis is an opportunity for the growth of each of the partners and the couple as a whole.
- Sometimes loving two people at the same time is good for official relationships.
Danielle is 41 years old, married and has two children. For three years she has been dating Pavel, who has a wife and a child. “I could not imagine that I would fall in love with someone other than my husband Mark, with whom we have been together for 20 years. I still love him. But I also love Pavel, I understand that I can’t live without him. They are both part of my life. Mark knows nothing about Paul. Pavel, who also has a family, arranges everything as it is. Sometimes I ask myself: is this really true love or just a romantic fling? You can't have everything at once!"
Daniella's case is not uncommon. Moreover, women live a “double life” with less guilt, if not without it at all – just like men once did. But still, these relationships are not simple, it is difficult to maintain balance and harmony in them. Society no longer condemns such connections as before - at least now there is less pressure from public opinion. But even if everyone involved accepts such relationships, managing them is as difficult as forbidden romances on the side.
What is love?
Is it possible to love two people at the same time? “In theory, yes. And why limit yourself to two? - answers the psychologist and psychotherapist Marcello Bruognolo. If someone can afford it, why shouldn't they? There are societies in the world where polygamy is practiced. For example, Arab countries.
It turns out that one-on-one relationships are nothing more than a matter of norms, social conventions, traditions, and needs?
“We are not born to be monogamous,” says psychotherapist, psychologist and psychoanalyst Bruno Bonchatto. “However, we exist in the so-called urban family model, in which the concept of property is applicable to marriage. But no one says that this model is ideal and best suits our nature. Love is the admiration of oneself through another person. By knowing the other, we discover ourselves.”
The reason for such infantile behavior is almost always disappointment. In childhood, we did not receive true love
“Love is, first of all, a desire and an opportunity to give something to a person whom I respect. And this ability requires maturity,” adds Marcello Bruognolo. - In practice, for many, to love is to pretend. More demanding than giving.
Such behavior is very similar to that of a child, when a child demands love and care. If a person continues to pretend, he never grows up. The reason for such infantile behavior is almost always disappointment. When we were kids, we didn't get true love. Most often - because the mother could not satisfy her own need for love and was not capable of a mature feeling.
What is emotional betrayal: the opinion of men
This scenario is often repeated from generation to generation. An unhappy mother is not satisfied with her relationship with her husband. She transfers the need for love to the child and therefore cannot give him real, realized love. If both parents are completely independent of each other and live love in someone else, it is unlikely that their children will behave differently.
Change to grow
“Actually, we usually love because we lack something - affection, confidence, recognition. We are trying to fill the void and are looking for satisfaction in another person, says psychotherapist Consuelo Casula. “Mature love is a relationship between two autonomous people who want to be realized as individuals and are not afraid that this will hurt the other.”
Many relationships come to a standstill because we want our partner not to change—that is, not to develop. We are afraid that he will leave us. Or, on the contrary, we demand that it change and become the way we want and how we picture it in our imagination.
A couple grows and develops when both participants realize the need for change and are able to talk about it with each other. If this does not happen, we stop seeing understanding from the partner and feel like a reproach for not meeting his expectations. In this case, there is a risk of falling in love with someone else, someone who is more in line with our desires.
Different types of love
“My heart always beats faster when I think about Lena,” says 38-year-old David. - A year ago, she burst into my life like a hurricane. And it seems that I fell in love for the first time. I have never experienced such physical attraction to my wife Sveta. My wife is an open person, she understands me and supports me in my work. Lena is unpredictable, elusive and mysterious. She both attracts me and makes me suffer. And I need them both equally."
46-year-old Veronica has been having an affair with a 54-year-old man for nine years: “He has been married for 30 years, he has two adult sons. The wife is his age. She is a good person. Accepts his frequent departures or pretends to believe in "business trips". With me, he feels younger. I'll make him laugh, we travel a lot, we have fun. But he will not leave his wife, although they have not slept together for a long time. He loves her in his own way and says he would feel like a scoundrel if he left her. This is how we live, between ups and downs. And I feel like I can't leave him."
In parallel novels, the same person experiences different feelings. “We always love in different ways, because those we love are different. We build relationships with each one in a new way,” explains Consuelo Casula.
Besides, there are three components in love, which are combined in different ways each time: affinity of interests, attachment out of respect, and sexual attraction. If a person starts a parallel relationship, most likely, one of the official components has changed or weakened. In a lover or mistress, we are looking for what we have become missing.
For example, in a habitual and now asexual relationship with a wife, there may be respect, affection, and friendship. And then with the mistress the physical aspect becomes the main one - there is an explosion of unbridled passion.
Why are parallel novels so enduring?
Controlling two novels is hard. Especially when both partners are dear to you and you do not want to lose any of them. Therefore, when a lover or mistress is persuaded to leave his wife or husband, a kind of protective mechanism often turns on.
“It's not uncommon for a man to be afraid to leave his wife because being her husband is part of his identity,” says Consuelo Casula. - And then he comes up with excuses like “I can’t leave my wife, because she will suffer a lot, she doesn’t deserve it, she is the mother of my children” ... And remains in those and other relationships. The conflict and painful situation for all continues. Partly due to the fact that the mistress allows this, respecting his marital status.
Sometimes it is easier for the central couple to divorce their former partners and legitimize their relationship if everyone knows everything
“I'm in love with a married man,” says 45-year-old Vera. - I'm also married. For three months we were almost inseparable. Then he was afraid that everything was getting serious, and decided to end the relationship. But in fact, the romance did not end: we see each other every day, we talk on the phone for a long time. He says he wants me, that we should not part. He loves me? Do I love him? I should have said enough, but I can't imagine life without him. Meanwhile, my own marriage fell apart. I don't think about the future, I can't imagine being around anyone else, and I still believe I can start over with my husband."
If everyone knows everything, change is inevitable
For many, the ideal situation is like this: official and unofficial loved ones know each other and accept each other. Is it possible? The following story is an example of the fact that the conflict can be provoked not only by the deceived side.
“I had a terrific romance for three years,” says 46-year-old Arseniy. - Masha is eight years younger than me and gave me a boost of vital energy lost in marriage. Which, however, was full of love. One day I talked to my wife and she understood me. But this created problems with Masha. Incredible. Having ceased to be a secret mistress, she changed and became jealous instead of a wife.
Usually in parallel novels, the second partner knows about the first, but not vice versa. He is the keeper of the secret, and therefore his power in relationships is greater. When the mystery ceases to be one, the relationships within the triangle change.
“As long as a lover or mistress knows about a husband or wife who is not aware of an affair, all is well,” says Consuelo Casula. - When a lover finds out that the official life partner knows everything, he feels used. If both partners know about each other, the official spouse has more power.”
But the second partner is not always alone - he can also have a family or a long-term relationship. In such cases, possible jealousy of a husband or wife is balanced by thoughts of one's own spouse. Sometimes it is easier for the central couple to divorce their former partners and legitimize their relationship if everyone knows everything. “This is a way to finally break free, sometimes after years of secret relationships,” comments Consuelo Casula.
No way without jealousy
If a person has two parallel novels, he has to reckon with the jealousy of one of the partners or both. This complex feeling is associated with character, fear of losing or destroying relationships. Jealousy can manifest itself only when the official partner notices a change.
“I realized that my husband was cheating on me when I saw how he had changed: he became silent, distracted at work,” says 52-year-old Nadezhda (married 18 years, has a 17-year-old daughter). “Maybe he cheated before, but this time he seemed to want me to know everything. I don't want to lose everything, so I don't say anything. I'm sure he has a mistress. I think he will leave me."
“If one partner's behavior changes — he comes home too late, leaves for the weekend — the other will feel that something is wrong,” says Consuelo Casula. “But this is where independence and maturity come into play. Any crisis is an opportunity for growth if everyone takes a share of the responsibility. If the relationship is built on dependence, need, obsession, disappointment, the second one will either really not see, or pretend that he does not see the obvious.
Fidelity should be a free choice
“I've been cheating on my husband for half a year with my colleague,” admits 33-year-old Anna, mother of children aged 6 and 2. “I was the most faithful wife in the world until I met him. Since then, I have been struck by an incurable disease. Is it possible to put an end to children, husband, home? It happens. The biggest mistake was to fall in love, but we women love first with the head, and only then with the body!”
In our culture, fidelity is considered a prerequisite for true love. “This concept is associated with social stereotypes,” explains psychologist Bruno Bonchatto. - Our society is strongly influenced by the Christian religion, we confuse the concept of love with self-sacrifice. And we impose love forced, unnatural.
In fact, loyalty should be a free choice. Hence conflicts if we feel that we can no longer or do not want to be faithful to someone we no longer love. Morality has changed, but not enough to eliminate contradictions.
In some cases, new love can help the official partner, who, without an influx of fresh energy, is in danger of withering away. “In such cases,” concludes the psychotherapist Marcello Bruognolo, “to love two people at the same time is even good. It benefits everyone involved in this triangle.”
Text: Prepared by Ksenia MedvedevaPhoto source: Getty Images
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Is it possible to love your children equally?
Whom do you love more - father or mother? Children - even those who managed to elude the answer by blurting out: "I love chocolate!" — experience anxiety and guilt caused by this seemingly innocent question. But, apparently, it is not so innocent if parents from generation to generation ask it to their children, as if really hoping that they will thoughtfully and seriously say: “Of course, you! I love you more than anyone in the world!”
As adults and trying to analyze our own feelings towards our children, we are confronted with an echo of the same question: who do I love more - son or daughter, older or younger? And do I love my children enough? Do I love them "equally"? For some parents, these thoughts can be really painful. Why? The answer often lies in our personal history.
Loving your children in different ways is natural. It is worth thinking about if the attractiveness of one of them becomes too strong for one of the parents, if we are not just touched, but enchanted by the child. Such excessive feelings can hurt both their object and other children. Brothers or sisters will be forced to observe the passion that a father or mother has for one of them. At the same time, it is difficult for parents to believe that they love the child not as he is: they simply saw a part of themselves in him, imposed on him a fictitious image of their own unfulfilled desires and ideals. "Narcissistic" love is unlikely to help a child grow - it is even dangerous. Sometime many years later, on the couch of a psychoanalyst, the over-loved child will find that it was not his love of music that made him become a musician, but the pleasure that playing the piano gave his father.
Parents-Children: A Complex Relationship
The bond with your child is one of the most complex that an adult can create, for several reasons. Our feelings for our own children are influenced by the relationship between parents, family history, experience of interaction with other people.
“As children, we saw how mom and dad played with us endlessly in “differences and preferences” - they compared us with brothers, sisters and just strangers. We remember how we felt then, and we don’t want our children to experience something similar, ”says psychotherapist Natalya Dyatko.
We convince ourselves that we will love our own children equally, and we demand from ourselves an equal attitude towards everyone, but it is impossible to achieve it. Therefore, in response, there is only a feeling of guilt in relation to the child who annoys you or does not feed your pride in him.
Children are so different from each other, our connection with each of them is unique and unique.
“Even if parents are not aware of this, their feelings towards each child are special,” explains existential psychologist Svetlana Krivtsova. “The bond that unites a mother and a teenage daughter is not the same bond that unites her with a teenage son. We unequally love a 20-year-old young man and a one and a half year old baby. The nature and personal qualities of children also matter. We unwittingly associate their traits with our own, creating the basis of a special, unique relationship.”
But admitting (even to ourselves) that we love children in different ways is not accepted. Moreover, it seems almost indecent: if there is no equality, then I still love one of the children more than the other? feelings, invariably remember how differently their children were born, how differently they behave in the same situations… Their story conveys the unique feelings that they actually experience for each child,” explains Natalya Dyatko.
The French psychoanalyst Françoise Dolto often said that many siblings have completely different parents. What does it mean? Every child is born at some point in the life of the father and mother. A woman who gave birth to her second child at 35 is no longer the same woman who gave birth to her first child at 19. Can you imagine that her relationship with these two children is the same?
“My wife and I planned the birth of a second child, because we wanted Katerina to have a sister - first a play partner, and then just a close person for life,” says 33-year-old Sergey. - Now the daughter has a younger sister, and Katya hates her. And he asks: “Take her back!”
“Igor is now six years old, and Dasha is nine. Everything that Igor has, Dasha needs, and vice versa. And both constantly whine: “I want you to read only to me, play only with me, and he (her) would not exist at all.” I try to break between them, but I can’t do anything, ”admits 37-year-old Olga.
Many parents believe deep down that children's jealousy of mother and father is what happens in other families. We are convinced that we ourselves will never repeat the mistakes that make children jealous and envy.
“I will never compare children to each other,” say mothers expecting a second child. I will never take sides in a conflict, and I will never take pets for myself,” says Margarita Zhamkochyan. “If both children know that they are loved equally, why should they fight and compete?”
But the children look at this situation with different eyes: "I want to be the only one." To prevent resentment, parents try, for example, on the birthday of one child to give a comforting gift to another or never allow themselves to be alone with one of them for a long time.
“Such “alignment” does not make children happy – it only hinders the individual development of each,” says Natalia Dyatko. - Evaluating the measure of our love quantitatively - less, more, strongly, passionately - we only feed children's jealousy. We give the opportunity to manipulate us. Children easily get used to this: “You always scold me - you just don’t love me!” Or: “Well, you’ll forgive me, because I’m your very, very favorite little princess!”
“I do everything so that there are no offended people in the family”
“I was the youngest daughter in the family and for many years I felt two very strong emotions at the same time: the tender and unconditional love of my parents and the frank hostility of my older sister, who saw me as a rival. When I was expecting my second child, I thought of only one thing: to prevent a repetition! None of my children should feel disadvantaged! The first year of life "on two fronts" was very difficult. The illnesses of my youngest son, Anton, forced me to spend a lot of time alone with him. This whipped up a sense of guilt, and I switched to Vanya (he is two years older than Anton). Then it seemed to me that I was too concerned about the development of the elder, and the little one grows like grass in a field. My throwing continued for a long time: each child pulled the blanket over himself. Without offensive reproaches “You love him more!” Of course, it was not done. I myself more than once timidly asked myself: “Whom do you still love more?” And with relief I realized that my feelings for each of the children are strong and deep. There is also a third love - for both of them as a single whole, for their brotherhood. I physically feel when one of my sons is missing: longing for the missing prevents me from fully loving the other. During my school years, things changed a bit. It seems that the boys understand that I pay more attention to those who need it more at the moment. I never tire of repeating to each individual how much I love him. But I never say that I love him more than the other. Because it's not true." (Oksana, 32 years old)
Assume that you really love all your children in different ways and ask yourself: how exactly do I love them and what are my feelings about? In Masha, her gentleness is dear to me, she is always so kind and attentive to her loved ones, in Misha - gaiety and bubbling energy, and at the sight of little Zoya I am overwhelmed with happiness simply from the fact that she is in the world. Emphasize their dissimilarity, tell them about it.
Can this approach hurt the child? “Only if mom or dad openly neglects one of the children or, conversely, overemphasizes their feelings towards the other,” says Natalya Dyatko.
Any extreme is bad. Each time, explain to one why you are currently paying attention to the other. For example: "I'm going to the store with your sister because she needs to buy new clothes, and I'm playing loto with you because it's your favorite game."
At the same time, pay attention to each child, but in your own way: one needs physical contact, another needs words, and the third needs not words or kisses, but the feeling that parents are always on his side, that they are his reliable rear. The fourth, on the contrary, needs freedom and the opportunity to show their independence.
“Children feel good only when we build our relationship with each of them individually,” says Svetlana Krivtsova. - Just as a father and a mother cannot have exactly the same requirements for a child, so each of the children must have their own, unique relationship with each of the parents. This confirms his uniqueness, the value of his personality: "I am who I am, and my parents see and respect this." Such an attitude creates a sense of self-worth in the child, teaches them to trust themselves and value themselves.
Alas, many people know from their own experience how painful jealousy and hatred that a child can experience in relation to parents in childhood. We see how our children suffer from these feelings. And we continue to hope that this heavily loaded ship will move easily and gracefully towards the beautiful island of Utopia, where everyone loves each other equally and where peace and harmony reign. Oddly enough, instead of thinking about how to get there, we will have to change the goal.
“Imagine a nest with many chicks,” says Margarita Zhamkochyan. “They squeak and open their beaks when the mother bird brings them food. How does she decide who to give this worm to? After all, everyone is squeaking - both those who were fed last time, and those who have been waiting for a long time ... Is there justice in the bird world - such as we imagine it to be: so that love and food are equally divided? We don't know - we only know that the mother bird has to feed everyone so that all her chicks grow up and fly out of the nest. The world is not arranged so that everyone is equal, but so that everyone has a chance to survive and grow.”
We often find ourselves held hostage to traditional beliefs, thinking that we should love all our children “equally”, while they jealously see that no one gets more attention and love.
In fact, salvation is completely different: to give each child what he needs at this particular moment. Thus, we help his brothers and sisters to understand: at the moment when they need our support and participation, they can safely count on us. And it is this knowledge, and not abstract "equal love" that allows children to feel comfortable, confident and protected.
Such different and such same love
“How do I love my children? Don't know. My twin sons are seven months old, and from time to time I ask myself this question, says Maxim Potashev, master of the game “What? Where? When?". - Of course, they behave differently, please and annoy me on different occasions. But it has nothing to do with the power of love. I am absolutely sure that children require a differentiated attitude towards themselves, someone needs more rigidity, someone caress. These requirements are dictated by the child himself, and it is important for parents to understand in time and correctly what exactly they need at the moment. I think that this different attitude still does not affect love.
“With the birth of my first child, Andrey, I had a lot of different fears, and love for him was more like madness.