Love Triangles

Love-Triangle-crpI want to have a quick chat about love triangles. How do you all feel about them?

Generally, I have to admit, they annoy me. I don’t mind when a girl is leaving a guy, or getting over a guy, or realizing a guy isn’t all that, and ends up falling for another. In cases like those, it’s not really a love triangle as much as it’s just life. People grow up, their eyes open, they grow apart, they move on (hopefully to bigger and better things).

You always choose Mark Darcy. Always.

For example: You always choose Mark Darcy. Always.

What I hate is the idea that a girl can be desperately in love with two people at once. Where it can drag on for books, and books, and books. First, this is because I just do not believe a girl can love two people at once. She can love one and be attracted to another. She can lust them both. She can love one as a friend. She can be in the process of getting over someone she once loved while falling for someone new. But to me love is very much a choice. We can’t help who we’re attracted to, or who we initially “fall” for, and yet the decision to love them means choosing them above everyone else. It means, Bella, that even though your wolf buddy has a nice pack,  maybe you’re just human (for now) and see what every other person in the world sees: nice abs. Or maybe not.  But to be absolutely in love with two people? I say no way.


There are two choices here: Edward or Nobody. Either is fine with me.

This is something that drives me bananas. The drawing out. The agony. The Who Will She Choose? The Which Boy is Better?  I mean, does anyone you know really have these problems? Two insanely hot guys who want to fight over them? It’s not an issue I ever had or wanted. I like my love story with my one boy thankyouverymuch.

And then there are  endings. I realize there is no way to please everyone and that an author has to be true to her heart, but there are certain characters who are just supposed to end up together. They go together. If Mia from The Princess Diaries series (SPOILER ALERT) had not ended up with Michael Moscovitz (Fake Man of My Dreams) and instead wound up with that dry cleaning fluid smelling corn hater JP, my world would have been broken. At least for a little while.

Why did she get on that plane?

Why did she get on that plane?

So what’s the best way to resolve a love triangle in your book? Some people kill off characters, which I feel is a major cop out. Some make one guy so utterly horrible that the MC would be an absolute crazypants for choosing anyone but the other guy (raising a couple of questions: 1. Was he always an a-hole and if so, why was she ever attracted to him? Or 2. Why did he suddenly change?).  Then, some people just fall into step together without a choice, like Katniss and (SPOILER ALERT) Peeta (don’t even get me started on Gale’s craptastic ending. He turned into a war-hungry douche and I still preferred him). And there are the worst: The girls who get both guys. I’m referring to a trilogy that just concluded which will remain nameless. That ending inflamed me with total grumpiness because at the very least, she shouldn’t get both guys.

Because while I've always been Team Damon this has really gone one for too long. Are there no other boys?

Because while I’ve always been Team Damon, this has really gone on for too long. Seriously, are there NO other boys?

Recently, I read the finale to a series I loved. And it had an epic love triangle. I was very satisfied with the ending because it was very clear who the MC should be with. There was no question. For me, by the second book there was no doubt. But for so many I’ve spoken to that’s not the case. So did I like it because it went the way I wanted it to for my team? Maybe. Mostly I think it’s because the writer did a good job convincing me to love one guy over another. I’m willing to do that. I’m willing to fall in love with a different book character if the author convinces me. This happened in The Queen of Babble series by Meg Cabot (if you haven’t read them, do it. They’re adorable).

So really, what do I want? I guess I want love stories–even ones set in dystopic worlds, even ones with paranormal creatures, even ones with the most fantastical backdrops–to be more authentic. I want to see girls like Lenny in The Sky is Everywhere, who makes mistakes with one boy but clearly loves another. Or Aura from The Shade trilogy, who really loved her boyfriend–but he died. And she falls genuinely in love with someone else despite that pull she’ll always feel to her old boyfriend’s ghost. Or stories like Better Off Friends, where there’s only one boy (because even with one person, sometimes it takes time to get there). Those, typically, are my favorites.

I didn’t realize when I began this that I had so much to say. Whew! Thanks for listening!

9 thoughts on “Love Triangles

  1. I totally agree with you! Personally, I think that if you can fall in love with someone else than you obviously love that person more than who you were already with. Otherwise, the original person would have been enough. The whole crazy love triangle thing happened in James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series (which he dragged on for SO MANY BOOKS) and it really made me angry. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who doesn’t fall for the stereotypical love triangle! 🙂

  2. Okay. Let me begin by saying that I really liked what you’ve written here, and agree. I have never ever been in love or even like, with two guys at the same time. Usually if I liked someone, really liked someone, it was kinda irritating if ANOTHER guy tried to get close to me. That would be even more true when you love someone I think. I was hugely irritated by the Jake thing in Twilight, I mean don’t get me wrong I love Twilight but the “who will she be with” thing bugged me. I didn’t feel like Stephanie Meyer created that question, but rather the fans. I never wondered who she would be with. It was rather like Jacob had this massive guy crush, and Bella couldn’t make friends with a girl? I dunno… but I love the books and when I read them I’m not bothered by it anymore because I think Stephanie Meyer did a fantastic job plot wise wrapping it all up.
    I really don’t care for love triangles at all. I think a lot of authors feel this makes the female character stronger or something, but to me it’s just something to put up with (when I love other things about the book), and a reason to stop reading the book(when the book isn’t that good anyway). So, yeah. 🙂

  3. See, I know you may find this hard to believe, but I agree with you — but the author has to do it convincingly. I don’t think every girl should end up with the first guy she kisses (like Lennie’s first make out sessions were not out of love but out of grief), and I love stories that show that it’s the next or the third or some totally different guy she ends up loving. I just read “Sex & Violence” about a guy who’s a self-admitted “manwhore,” and he finds love and comfort in someone you aren’t expecting way, way, way into the story. I LOVED it, even though there were other girls beforehand he also lusted after and had chemistry with…

    But if an author has to resort to making the second guy (or girl, but love triangles are mostly guys) an unexpected a-hole (out of nowhere or through novellas that should not be considered canon) and making it seem like the MC NEVER really loved the first person, then that’s NOT authentic to me. I don’t care WHO the MC ends up with if, like you said, if the author is true to the characters (including THE OTHER GUY) involved. But the love triangle I hate is not even a love triangle — it’s the author rewriting history trying to force everyone to see things her way. And honestly, I really believe the author switched sides, if you will, when she realized the fans wanted someone else.

    I also think that the love triangle you struggled with is a weird, inimitable exception, and it could be thought of as a widow finding love again. But right now, I’m sort of OFF of love triangles. And I found a support group if you will here.

  4. It depends on the love triangle. If it’s really obvious who’s going to be picked it’s no fun. I like a little mystery you know?

  5. Hate hate hate love triangles. Hate them. I can almost never get beyond the original “true love” (case in point…. I’m still team Stefan even though I totally dislike Elena at this point ). There is plenty to angst about without falling epically in love with every tall dark and mysterious male that crosses a characters path. I have SO much more respect when a YA romance takes it upon itself to show characters in love making selfless, kind decisions in regards to each other.

  6. I’m not a huge fan of love triangles but I WILL entertain them if they’re done realistically. Like you said, you can’t be IN LOVE with two people at the same time and I totally agree with that. I favor endings where it’s one or neither – never both. Lol.

  7. My mom is a writer and her publisher (and many also do) forbid love triangles in the books. It’s crazy, but interesting. They are kinda over used, but it does create the most interesting story for teenagers. 🙂 Sometimes I’m torn apart by whose side I’m on!

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