In his 1970 hit, singer Stephen Stills belted out advice for the love sick everywhere with the line "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with."
A new study shows many people have taken that advice to heart. Researchers in Europe polled nearly 2,000 people during a three day opera festival. One in seven admitted that they were in a relationship with someone who was not the "love of their life."
Twenty-five percent said they were in love with two people at the same time, while 17 percent admitted meeting "the love of their life" after getting together with their long-term partner.
Psychologists say this is not uncommon, and it's not necessarily a strike against love.
"There's a percentage of people who end up marrying folks who aren't the love of their life and even that being the case most of those couples actually can make it. So, I think it's kind of uplifting because there may be other things that keep relationships together," said Dr. Scott Bea, Psy.D.
Researchers said the majority of those polled did claim to be head over heels for their partner, even if they were not their true love.
The results showed it can be hard to find "the one" and although the general perception is that women tend to fall in love more often than men, it was intriguing to see that in reality both men and women fall in love on average two times in their life. What is alarming is that so many people claim to be in long term relationships or even married to someone Interestingly, more than half of those polled thought they have been in love on occasions but looking back don't believe it was the "real thing."
For people who believe they are stuck in a "make-do" relationship, Bea says to look at the glass as half-full.
"I'd encourage people who might find themselves in that 1 in 7 number to actually feel good about it because any relationship that lasts is going to go through difficult times and you may be staying for better reasons than you think. You might actually consider the good reasons for staying and not necessarily the fact that you're enduring or the things you thought that you were missing," said Beau.
That includes celebrating your wins as a couple rather than focusing on the losses in your life.
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