Love Dilemma: How to Trust Your Gut and Make the Right Decision19 min read

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The best way to explain a love dilemma is with a story. So, here is a typical story that I believe you can relate with

Note: You can skip the story

"Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Kate who was caught in a love dilemma. She had been in a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend, Jake, for several years. Despite the distance, Kate was deeply in love with Jake. She was convinced that he was her soulmate.

However, Kate soon found herself falling for someone else – her coworker, Sam. She couldn't help the way she felt and found herself drawn to Sam's charm and good looks. Despite her feelings for Jake, Kate began a steamy affair with Sam. Sam didn't know about Jake.

As the affair continued, Kate was torn between her love for Jake and her growing feelings for Sam. She knew that she was being unfaithful and felt guilty about it, but she couldn't seem to help herself. She wished she could combine them both into one person. She wished she didn't have to choose or lie.

Soon, the cheating, and secrets, made her less emotionally available to Jake. Jake tried to complain but was fed excuses, ranging from an increased workload, and meetings, to impromptu events. Of course, they were all lies. 

Meanwhile, Jake was struggling with his own feelings. A former lover had moved into town recently and was making advances on him. He still had feelings for her but never gave in due to his respect for Kate. Nevertheless, he was increasingly feeling neglected as the distance between him and Kate kept growing. He didn't know about Kate's affair with Sam yet. But something felt off.

One weekend Jake visited Kate and their love rekindled. However, before leaving that Monday, he saw a text on Kates's phone when she was in the shower. It was Sam informing Kate that he had brought the wristwatch that she left in his apartment to work. This was the missing piece, evidence that Kate was cheating, and Jake was heartbroken.

That same day Jake confronted Sam. In a matter of minutes, a heated argument turned into a fistfight. Jake eventually ended the relationship with Kate. Sam, on the other hand, felt disappointed and stopped speaking with Kate.

Kate was devastated and felt lost. She tried to win back Jake's affection, but it was too late – Jake was done with her and blocked her line. Besides, it was an opportunity for him to follow his heart and get back with his ex.

Kate had lost the two men she loved and was dealing with heartbreak. She began to question whether true love even existed. She wondered if Jake had already gotten back with his ex before the issue and if Sam had only been using her. She pondered for days but thinking about it only made her feel worse.

Through the pain and heartache, Kate learned some valuable lessons about love and relationships. She realized that respect, trust, and communication were essential in any relationship. She needed to be honest with herself and her partners. She also learned that infatuation and lust were fleeting. Happiness and true love require sacrifice and dedication.

Thankfully, Kate was able to move on and find someone new. She learned that love was not enough, and love dilemmas existed to test our values.

What Is Love Dilemma?

Like all other types of internal conflicts, Love dilemma is a complex, confusing, and counterintuitive feeling of attraction towards one or more people. If an individual is experiencing a love dilemma, they may feel overwhelmed with confusion and unhappiness if they try to ignore or fight it. On the other hand, if they allow themselves to go with the flow, they may experience a mix of happiness and anxiety.

People who believe in following their hearts may be tempted to flow with it. That is, to express romantic love to more than one person without the knowledge of the other parties involved. Or to keep striving for the affection of someone who is seeing someone else.

If this sounds familiar, it is because it is common. Love dilemma is as ingrained in our lives as any other type of internal conflict. And it doesn’t simply go away when people get into a serious relationship or get married. This is true even till old age.

So, if love dilemma with its confusing temptation is bound to linger throughout our lives, it makes sense to want to know exactly what it looks and feels like.

Torn between two lovers

Over the years, I have often found myself torn between two lovers, and sometimes trying to win the affection of someone else.

Back in the University, I had a crush on a lady in my department. But, I also had a crush on another lady in my lodge off-campus. Unlike what most movies make you think, I wasn’t plotting to play both ladies. I genuinely cared for both. Anyway, nothing came of both. 

However, it made me think about just how complex and destructive things can get without anyone particularly planning for them to be that way. (planning is often required to keep things from going badly)

It made me recall when I asked my Dad, why some men have secret families and claim to love both. His response was that I will understand when I come of age. Now, his response wasn’t particularly to encourage bigamy, but a way to deflect the question, because it was an awkward topic to get into. But I won’t deflect it. Let’s talk about it:

Love in all other forms (Philia, Storge, or Agape) is not and cannot be limited to one person. It is the reason we can love all our friends, family members, and colleagues at once. Why then do we all of a sudden think love gets limited when it comes to Eros? 

Ever since I was 20, I am not sure there has ever been a moment when I was not attracted to more than one lady at a time. Yet, I intentionally avoid getting committed or lying to any. Call it fear of commitment, or being a wimp, I just haven’t been able to.

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Love triangle

Back then in school, I had a male friend who I loved like a brother. He too felt the same toward me. But we also had a mutual female friend and ended up in a love triangle. 

If you are naughty-minded, then you know this was the perfect formula for a threesome. But it never happened because one of us broke the love triangle. It wasn’t me.

(Okay, I will just say it here. If you are having an affair with two friends, telling them not to tell each other is dumb. If they are going to kiss and tell, they are going to. And, you will be the only one deluding yourself by thinking you’re playing them.)

A Love Triangle is a kind of relationship where at least one person in the relationship loves two people who may (or may not) know each other. If you are one of the two competing for the love of the third, it is considered “rivalrous”. But, if you are the one torn between two lovers, then it is considered a “split object” Love Triangle.

Love Triangle comes in different forms. It could be between colleagues (as is popular in school settings), friends, or even family members. It could be a lady having an affair with her bestie’s boyfriend or husband. It could be a guy having an affair with his brother’s girlfriend or wife. It could be a stepson having an affair with their stepmother. And things just get more fucked up from there on.

My advice to you is, if you ever find yourself in a love triangle, exit as soon as possible because just like Ponzi schemes, they are built to fail. (You must end the love triangle because it is neither polygamy, bigamy, or at least polyamory – which all require a level of truth and honesty – but inherently unstable and harmful).

Choosing between two partners

Supposing you are a guy or lady still stuck in their juvenile delinquencies, you may think, “well I wish I was in more love triangles”. Heck, this whole love dilemma thing might seem like a blessing from the universe, god, or whatever you believe in.

But, if you’ve grown up, you know that life is more than chasing happiness (which you will never get a hold of by the way), but rather building meaning. Hence, choosing a partner is at the foundation of erecting any meaningful romantic structure in your life.

Recommended Content: How to live a happy and meaningful life

Whilst it will be adventurous to enjoy the breath of “love”, meaning can only be found in going deep. This is because it is only when you get committed to a relationship that you can truly experience loyalty, sacrifice, safety, teamwork, unconditional love, and genuine respect. It is only when you know someone else (who is by all counts better than you) was forfeited for your sake that you can let down your guard and feel peace, joy, and gratitude. 

That said, committing to someone is a serious deal. You do not want to commit to someone who does not understand that the relationship is beyond looks, good sex, or money. You want someone who understands that commitment is an invitation to go deep into each other’s hearts and access areas that have never been explored before.

Hence, when you want to choose a partner, the most important thing to look out for is how well they understand the purpose of a relationship. Are they committing to; 

  • Show off (because other ladies or guys their age are now married)
  • Avoid shame (because they are close to menopause, or getting old)
  • Have fun (because you look goddam hot) 
  • Reap where they didn’t sow (because you have the money and influence they crave), or 
  • Join you in building a fulfilling life (a life you will look back at in your old age and be even more grateful you got committed to them).

Of course, there is no other way to find out other than dating them for a while and having deep conversations with them. 

Difficult relationship decision

The truth is that it is very unlikely that you will find the perfect human to go on this journey with you. Besides, you are not perfect yourself. So, how do you decide?

I once read somewhere that when you toss a coin, you are not necessarily surrendering an important life decision to fate. When you toss a coin, whatever side you hope it landed on while it was in the air, is the decision you should take, whatever the outcome.

Once upon a time, I was having one of my love dilemmas and I couldn’t shake the angst. So, I took a long walk. Along the way, I thought to myself, who will I regret not having as a partner? The answer was clear. 

You must think about things in the long term to avoid regrets. In the long term, what will be unbearable or worth it?

  • Beauty will fade.
  • Children can be adopted
  • And everyone will sooner or later figure out how to not starve

But what will remain is their attitude and mindset.

If you find someone who 

  • thinks critically, 
  • is willing to learn, 
  • has vision, 
  • supports you, 
  • listens to you, and can 
  • correct you, 

you have most likely struck gold.

Trust and honesty in relationships

Honesty and trust are foundational for a healthy relationship. The absence of this often makes many love affairs (like the love triangle) end in so much pain, because the truth always comes out. 

There can’t be honesty and trust if any or both parties are unable to handle hard and even harsh truths. Most people hate the truth because it makes them look and feel bad.

If you are experiencing a love dilemma, chances are that if you follow your feelings, you will likely end up doing something that you won’t be able to own up to. The truth that you are cheating will be unbearable to you, and this is what will prompt the lies and avoidances.

In other words, even though the dilemma may persist, the only way to avoid it from affecting our relationship is by strictly abiding by the truth. This is not easy.

If you get into an open relationship, polygamy or polyandry, where you can follow your feelings without shame, then laying with many lovers, may work.

Communication in relationships

Love dilemma is normal. We should be open to talking about it. Because when we hide our feelings, they often become stronger.

The temptation lurks within our hearts already. But the rational part of us often tries to help us make the best decisions. This is why, when you find yourself leaning toward one lover, it is often because the other lover is leaving a need unmet. 

For example, Kate may have cheated only because she needed sex. This is a truth many people ignore when they venture into long-distance relationships. When you stay apart for too long, the pain of lack of sex might become unbearable. And soon, the rational mind will agree with the emotional mind to give in to the temptation (besides, it’s not like they don’t already fancy fucking the person).

Hence, effective and unrepressed communication is key to helping both partners understand each other’s desires. It is unlikely that someone will cheat on a partner they are absolutely crazy about. If anything, they will want to bogart them.

If you have a partner who likes things being dynamic, then you should strive to keep things dynamic. New places, food, shows, sex positions, and much more. Else they’ll find an alternative.

People often say what they will or will not do in subtle, silent, yet overt ways. Ask questions. Listen closely. Communicate deeply. Never neglect.

Seeking advice for a love dilemma

If your partner will not listen or help remedy the cause of your love dilemma, you must take action. Perhaps it is time you let them know what the consequence of their actions or inactions may lead to.

If you feel that lack of travel, sex, or some other itch you have may cause you to cheat, let them know. Perhaps, bringing it to their awareness may jolt them. But if they remain adamant, then you will have to decide if the temptation is something you can bear. Or if you will have to end the relationship.

For example, if you love busty ladies and your partner doesn’t have those watermelons, the dilemma may ensue. Will you cheat on them with someone who has those, or is it something you can handle? If you can’t imagine yourself in a lifelong relationship with a partner who does not have those watermelons, then inform them that it is going to be an issue. Perhaps they will opt for surgery, or maybe end it with you. Whatever the case, infidelity, lies, heartbreaks, lawsuits, and bad blood will be averted. 

The example above is silly but real. Cheating and nasty breakups happen every day due to similar reasons. It may be due to the size of the penis, tightness of the vagina, body odour, beauty, and much more. 

Disclaimer: I am not advising anyone to go for breast or penis enlargement surgery. I’m not discouraging either. 

But this goes beyond just physical features. It may also be due to differences in perception, values, or habits. Think religion, philanthropy, or smoking.

Hold on to truth and effective communication. And almost all romantic relationships you will ever start will either get stronger or end gracefully. Ignore it at your peril.

Coping with a love dilemma

Let’s assume you have decided you are going to compromise a thing or two because you think this person is ‘the one’. Does it mean your desires vanish away?

Of course not. So, how do you cope with the temptation that stands by your window? (because sometimes the watermelons can be right outside your window bouncing, all day)

Whilst some people can simply employ willpower and discipline to overcome the dilemma, it can erode the level of happiness in the relationship overall.

What works best is to; 

  • Develop awareness of your nature and desires (hopefully, this content has opened your eyes).
  • Find other aspects of your partner to focus on and find enjoyment in. 
  • Practice self-care and find other activities like writing, singing, or painting that will fill the void. And
  • Reach out to friends, family, or a therapist who will assist you in resolving your emotions.

Moving on after a love dilemma

If you had not known better and had allowed your love dilemma to ruin your past relationship(s), remember there will be another opportunity to get it right.

As much as we believe in soulmates, and the perfect one, the truth is there are nearly 8 billion people in this world. Hence, there is someone else out there who can fill the void. 

You may not feel the euphoria you felt in your first relationship. But perhaps the whole episode taught you that feeling good is not everything, and what feels good is not always good. Besides, you could find someone else who will make you happier than you have ever felt in your entire life. 

The point is, don’t give up on love and happiness. But, also don’t make them the cornerstone of your life.

Finding happiness after a love dilemma

True happiness is a product of little good things coming together.  And, those things don’t just happen because we wish them to. They happen because we work for them.

There is a huge difference between a couple who only parties like monsters on their birthdays and anniversaries and a couple that kisses and hugs every morning.

“A fit body, a calm mind, a house full of love. These things cannot be bought — they must be earned.”

— Naval Ravikant

If you are looking for happiness after a love dilemma, then look to build a healthy lifestyle. Also inculcate truth and effective communication within your relationships. 

Self-discovery through a love dilemma

“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.”

– Kim McMillen

Sometimes, you can’t tell what you value until you look at the things you’ve invested time, money, and effort into.

Who you date ends up being a representation of what you value, and by extension who you are. 

It’s unlikely a high-value person who knows and values themselves will choose or stick with someone who is no good. The reverse is also true.

So, by upgrading yourself, your relationships automatically get better. And, this upgrade is through personal development. (This is what we teach people in the Pawns community.)

Conclusion: Sailing the waves of love dilemma

As I mentioned, I had a lot of crushes in school. However, I no longer fancy those of them who aren’t growing, leveling, and stepping up. 

Although my personal development journey has improved my choices, it exposed me to new waves of love dilemmas. Now, I have to struggle with picking between ladies who are also improving themselves. 

All these bring us back to where we started. It’s like Mark Manson once said, “Problems in life never end; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded into better problems. If all of your problems are ‘good problems to have’ then you are pretty much winning at life.”

Recommended Content: Finding Harmony Within Chaos: 3 Steps to Resolve Your Internal Conflict.

I enjoy writing long-form SEO content for self-help and personal development blogs. I can also do simple graphics design and copywriting. I’m an author, coach, logician, introvert, and storyteller. I love simplicity.

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