To Love Triangles or Not to Love Triangles?


I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s day! Of course, showing your love for your significant other, friend or family should be an everyday thing. Although there’s nothing wrong showing a little extra tender loving care on Valentine’s day. Commercialism of the day be damned.

And in honor of Valentine’s Day,  today’s post, a follow up of a previous post, is a new series I’ll be featuring on my blog from now on. A series inspired by Prince Hamlet’s phrase “To be, or not to be.” Where as Hamlet is contemplating death and suicide. The series will contemplate specific story lines and tropes instead. And asking readers and writers their personal views about it.

In To Romance or Not to Romance?, I asked readers and writers about romantic story lines. For example, historical fiction and historical romance are two different type of novel genres. You can’t not have romance in a historical romance. But a romantic story line in a historical fiction, doesn’t make it a historical romance. The romance is not the core of the story but a narrative thread. A side or sub plot.

I also asked whether romantic story lines were necessary to the novel. Or if it’s a reading or writing preference. You can read the post and the answers here. Well, today’s post is part two and second in the “To or Not to” series. This time contemplating the romantic trope of love triangles.

A love triangle is a romantic relationship involving three people (or sometimes more). Where one of the three will not get the boy or girl. And there’s usually two forms of triangles. Either one person is unsure of which of the two is their true heart’s desire. Or two rivals competes for the heart of the same person.

Love triangles has existed in literature since time immemorial. I’m exaggerating but you get my drift. The oldest love triangle I can remember reading is Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales The Miller’s Tale. But I’m using the term love triangle loosely here. As the love triangle in that story dealt with an adulterous affair and cuckolding the husband. Another love triangle is William Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet (Romeo/Juliet/Paris).

Moving up the current timeline, there’s a love triangle in The Hunger Games (Katniss/Peeta/Gale). Love triangles were also explored in television shows like Roswell (Liz/Max/Tess). As well as, Dawson’s Creek (Joey/Pacey/Dawson), Veronica Mars (Veronica/Logan/Duncan) and That 70s Show (Donna/Eric/Hyde).

In soap operas like Passions (Luis/Sheridan/Antonio) and General Hospital (Lucky/Elizabeth/Nicholas). And if you’re an anime, manga and Asian drama fan, in Hana Yori Dango (Makino/Domyouji/Rui). Also better known as Boys Over Flowers in English speaking countries.

Now, I’m just quoting books and shows I’ve read and watched. So feel free to throw in some other love triangles you know in the comments. Anyways, love triangles is a romantic trope that’s been done before and still is. To the point that it’s almost cliche. Yet, it’s still not tiresome, unless it’s done frustratingly wrong. And if you want proof of one done right, just check Twitter. And you’ll still continue to find ongoing debates on who Katniss Everdeen should be with. FYI, I’m team Peeta.

But the question is, why do we like to read and/or write about love triangles? Especially when the individuals themselves bring enough baggage and issues. Enough to complicate their own HEA. So why throw a third person in the mix?

Even in my own NaNoWriMo 2015 novel, Dreaming of You, I’d introduced a love triangle. Three separate triangles to be exact and with the couples involved, adds up to a love pentagon. From the synopsis, I only intended one triangle but as the story went on I realized there was two. And then I had a brain spark to reintroduce the ex-wife. The love triangle trope happened organically. But it’s also a story line written in to serve a particular purpose. Personal growth for the characters involved.

So, readers and writers, what do you think is the purpose of the love triangle trope? For the added conflict, tension or confusion to the will they or won’t they end up together question? Is it for the development of a strong and loving relationship of the OTP (one true pairing)? For the personal growth development of the individuals involved? That it’s a popular trope to write and read? Or it was just thrown in to up the word count.

What are your thoughts? Are love triangles a tried and true method of adding conflict? Or just tired? Like them or hate them? Why?

To love triangles or not to love triangles? That is the question.


Which is your most favorite or frustrating love triangle from books, TV, movies, etc.? Why? Which couple from the triangle were you rooting for? Why?


Credit image:, Image sources: Lionsgate, Summit Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, HBO and The CW; left to right: The Vampire Diaries, The Hunger Games, True Blood, This Means War, Gossip Girl, Twilight

Read what other blogger/writers had to say about love triangles:

On the Young Adult Triangle Cliche

Love Triangles: Why Are There So Many in Teen Fiction?

Timeless Thrill of the Love Triangle

The Love Triangle Trope Part One and Two

PS Can You Catch My Flow?, a poetry chapbook, will be soon available in print. And I’m looking for a few more good blog hosts. At least 1-2 more for the last week of March. And 8-10 hosts for April.

The tour dates is from March 1-April 30, 2016. During Women’s History Month and National Poetry Month. If you’re not busy doing the A to Z Challenge. Or the National Poetry Month 30 poems in 30 days Challenge. And would like to take part, click the banner below to the sign up form. Looking forward to hearing from you! 😀

PSS You can find the ebook at Smashwords and Amazon.  Don’t have an Amazon Kindle? Then download the free Amazon kindle app for your phone, tablet or pc! Just follow the link here.

Sign Up For the tour banner- Can You Catch My Flow-






    • According to Wikipedia (although I’m not sure how true it is) most people have been in a love triangle at least once. And you’re right love triangles for the sake of drama is meh. A lot of the Asian dramas I’ve watched, obviously introduce love triangles more for the drama and conflict. And less because it works and suit the story.


  1. Love pentagon. LOL.

    The Hunger Games love triangle worked well because of the world they lived in. It added authentic tension to the story, and that’s the key. There should be a bigger purpose than just making the MC stress. One that irritated me to no end was Legends of the Fall, I think because the woman was pretty much the only woman around, so all the brothers acted like idiots. Seriously, there are more women. Go look. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I remember Legends of the Fall. Three brothers liking the same woman. And why did she have to kill herself because she couldn’t have the man she wanted? She should’ve looked around too. Or go back home and moved on with her life.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t do love triangles because they’re over done. I stick with just two and focus on them. 🙂 My favorite love triangle was for The Hunger Games but I was rooting for Peeta from the beginning. Oh, and I agree with the above comment…Camelot had some love triangle. I think that’s the most epic one.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was rooting for Peeta too. In fact I read the series for him and not Katniss. Couldn’t wait for his scenes. And yes the Camelot scandal was an epic triangle.


  3. I’ve seen a fair bit of ‘love triangle hate’ around, and I think it was ‘Twilight’ that caused the hate to peak, but it’s just another tool for the writer. Essentially, it must fit with the characters and the plot. Don’t use it just for the sake of using it, because you might think it’s the latest trend. It must work for your story. In real life, I don’t think they happen as often as they do in fiction, perhaps novels, film and TV need to reflect that, and not fall to the temptation to over do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In a link I’ve shared, The Love Triangle Trope Part 1, the blogger/writer talks a bit about their disdain of the love triangle using Twilight as an example. They state it makes it hard to like the main character who’s seemingly leading the guys on. That I can understand but essentially the real bother is using that trope because it’s a trend and not because it suits the story.


    • I’ve never been a fan of The Bachelor or any similar shows. Just the fact of one guy kissing all those women…I tell my kids ‘sharing is caring’ but that’s just eww. I don’t mind love triangles as long as the third wheel doesn’t cross the line and eventually wises up to step back and let the couple be a couple. As for the couple, I like it when there’s an instant attraction, then a growing trust, respect, love and belief that they belong together.


  4. Love triangles exist everywhere! There are the kind of readers who hate them and will go out of their way to avoid them and rant about them, and then those who adore the not knowing which guy the main character will end up with, or girl, and will fangirl about the book all the more. I went through my time period of really disliking love triangles, but now I don’t mind too much. I just think you need to at least do it well. Give a GOOD and totally realistic reason as to why there are two guys in the picture to begin with (you’re gonna have to be unique here) and then in that case it is okay to have a love triangle. But throwing one in for the sake of having one in there? That doesn’t fly with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, when it comes to love triangles, it’s a reading preference. There are reasons to like just as there are reasons to dislike them. But as you said throwing that trope or any other for that matter just for the sake of it or because is trending is dishonest to the reader. At least have the trope serve a purpose to the story, do it well and turn the cliche on its ear.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Agree with the above comments about the epic Camelot triangle. Also, I agree it worked well in Hunger Games. There are so many out there now though. They work well in some stories and not so much in others. I guess it depends on the storyline. Does add tension. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it does add tension which I can see why that trope is used. But on Hunger Games, I didn’t even realize there was a love triangle until the second book. Peeta and Katniss were the true couple. To me Gale wasn’t even in the game.


  6. I don’t know that I have an opinion about love triangles. If it’s interesting, I dig it, but mostly for the characters, not for who they end up with.

    I have a WIP that has a triangle, but I don’t think it counts as a love triangle since guy 2 isn’t interested in the girl. She just doesn’t know that yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, Korean dramas love using that trope, ex Cheese in the Trap, Kill Me, Heal Me, Madame Antoine…well that one is a love square. I was team Domyouji. Makino was too reserved around Rui plus he’d never noticed her because he had always been in love with his childhood friend who was a model (forgot her name). She was more her true self around Domyouji.


  7. Fantastic post! As an author who is 2/3 pantster and 1/3 plotter, book 2 in my series wound up having an underlying love triangle theme running through it. I didn’t see it coming but once it presented itself it was very fitting and turned out to be the best way to showcase everything that was at stake. Knowing that the character who lost out to the ‘chosen’ one will eventually get their #HEA made it easier to write through the tangled ball of emotions they’ve been left with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to see the love triangle helped out in the story. That’s one of the amazing things about writing. How something can sneak into your writing and present itself as the best thing for it when originally you had something else in mind.


  8. […] It’s been a long while since I did a ‘To or Not to’ post. So as a refresher or if it’s the first time you’ve come across this post, let me tell you what this post is about. It was first inspired by the famous Shakespeare line from Hamlet. It’s a question posed to readers and writers of their feelings and thoughts about a specific topic. So far I’ve done a ‘To or Not to’ about romance subplots and including prologues in a story. The reasons for writing under a pen name and the love triangle trope. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Another really interesting topic! Personally, I prefer not having love triangles, but I think they’re fine if executed well. They need to be realistic and serve a purpose to be engaging. Also, all members of it need to have some redeeming qualities. I’ve read lots of love triangles where one character kind of sucks, and I have to wonder why it’s even a question as to who to choose lol I’ve read some really good ones, too, though. The Hunger Games is a great example. Team Peeta for the win! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • Never understood how a love triangle can be a love a triangle when one on the characters is just horrible too. Being the only one to see the goodness in him/her has got to be considered cliche. And the choice between the two shouldn’t be so obvious.
      I was Teem Peeta from the very beginning, from the bread he tossed at her. Since then, though Katniss didn’t want to, she always noticed Peeta. When it came to Gale, though they were friends, it was all about hunting and surviving. He was always there next to her so there wasn’t a point for him to draw her gaze.

      Go Team Peeta!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Right? There are some characters I just don’t understand. They clearly are the much worse choice, and yet, the character in the middle still can’t decide. And yep, that’s definitely a cliche. Those factors make for an ineffective, unrealistic love triangle. Very well said! I don’t think there was ever a point I was rooting for Katniss and Gale in a romantic sense. I was all for Peeta from the very beginning, too. Go, Team Peeta, go! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s