Random Things in Motion #23: A Love Triangle is Okay Except When…

I have a confession to make: I am not automatically repulsed by love triangles.

To be honest with you, I oftentimes welcome them with open arms! I see them as one of many ways to portray relationship conflicts and character dynamics, and I always look forward to how they will build meaningful connections to one another (without the cattiness and unnecessary drama of course) and how these bonds will grow with the plot. For me, love triangles are okay until they are not.

I have certain “red flags” when it comes to LTs. There are many, of course, but in this video, I talk about my top three “LT Fails” that make me want to throw a love triangle to a wall. And kick it for good measure.

They are the following:

1.) Wishy-washy heroine;
2.) LT overtaking the plot;
3.) Nice guy vs Asshole.

I discuss all three of in the video, complete with funny/silly re-enactments! Check it out!

How about you, do you like love triangles? If you do, when is a love triangle no longer okay for you? Let me know!

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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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    • FayeFaye says

      Yes, good love triangles are actually okay with me. Unfortunately, it’s because so many of them contain wishi-washiness that makes me hate 80% of them :(

  1. says

    Honestly, I’m that person that will put a book down at the first hint of a love triangle. There are so few that don’t dissolve the plot and hide it behind 1500 pages of comparisons and angst. I always pick the guy who loses, anyway, so then what should be a great book is colored by my irritation that my favorite didn’t get the girl (because it’s usually 2 guys, let’s be honest) and he’s sad so I’m sad. Or I just start hating people. So I guess for me, a love triangle is okay…except when there’s a love triangle.

  2. says

    I may be one of the few, but I love love triangles — at least usually I do. Here are my rules:

    1.) The 3 characters have to have substance.
    The 2 competing members must be able to be believably attracted to the hero/heroine.

    2.) The final choice must fit.
    There must be believable reasons for the hero/heroine to chose one of the 2 competing members.

    3.) Don’t drag it out!
    It’s ok for the hero/heroine to be indecisive for a time. But be mindful not to overplay this; it can get old fast.

    • FayeFaye says

      I agree with all of these three! There are some love triangles out there that I completely adored – Cynthia Hand’s UNEARTHLY series for one, where the love triangle wasn’t the center of the story, and that both had substance and were equally important i the grander sceheme of things.

    • FayeFaye says

      Awww, thank you so much Keionda!!! <3 <3 I usually don't mind them as long as the situation is the following: The two competing males like her but she is not aware of it and so she develops relationships with them that are not based on love (at least not yet) and that the final decision will feel right ;)

  3. says

    Same here. When I hear the phrase “love triangle” in a book I don’t automatically shy away. And it doesn’t hurt to have something spice up the romance. There are plenty of books with a love triangle in them that I liked and the romance didn’t bother me at all but I can also name a lot of books that I did not like because of it. Have you read House of Night series? If not, don’t. I made the mistake of checking it out because it was so freaking popular and ohmygosh I wanted to wash my brain with sulfur after the first few books. It wasn’t a love triangle. It was worse. Basically, every male character that pops into the story forms a romantic attachment to the main character who I can compare to Anastasia Steele when it comes to her mental capacity :(
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    • FayeFaye says

      Oh, man. Seriously? I remember reading a book like that and it was awful – I hate it when everyone basically forms a romantic relationship with the MC. That’s just pushing it! Sounds more like a fangirl’s fantasy with her favorite boy band or something.

  4. says

    I don’t hate love triangles either. I think they can be done well and read realistically, and there have been quite a few that I actually enjoyed. For me, the turning point is when things aren’t handled realistically. I also agree with your points. Also, when the two love interests are basically the same person, or are complete opposites, it usually bothers me a little – I like them to be more balanced.

    I also don’t think love triangles should be thrown in just for the sake of it. There should be some reasons or influence on the plot. Also, they shouldn’t just be there to show how awesome the main character is and how everyone wants to be with them, which can get super annoying!
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    • FayeFaye says

      Oh, yes, love triangles that feel random, or love triangles that are used to be the main driving force of the story, or to add some complications in the relationship without making it substantial, are the worst! :/ I want it to feel more natural! That’s why I prefer a love triangle that is subtle, where there are two love interests who gradually like the character but they are all friends WITH EACH OTHER first!

  5. says

    In general I don’t mind love triangles either but totally agree with your three red flags. I think the wishy-washy heroine is the WORST though. I am glad to see someone not completely opposed to them. I thought everyone was!!
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  6. says

    I totally agree with you- I don’t hate love triangles, unless they are ridiculous. And I have a lot of the same feelings that you do on what MAKES them ridiculous. Yeah, if you are more concerned with two dudes than say, the fate of the world? You need to go away. (And your portrayal of that was so funny that I seriously had tears in my eyes from laughing- I LOVE IT!)

    It’s hard though, I think the time I hate love triangles the most is when the people I want together do not end up together. This JUST happened in a book I read, and while I loved the book, now I don’t know how to feel about it anymore. I feel like I am the one who lost out on the love interest, and that is not normal ;)
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    • FayeFaye says

      HAHA, my mother watched that reenactment and almost peed herself laughing because of how ridiculous it was! But yes, heroines who are more concerned about your lovelife despite the world turning to shit need to go away. Far away before I go SHE-HULK on them.

  7. says

    I really don’t run away from love triangles either. In fact, if the book is good, then I’ll read it with open arms. There have been so many books I HAVE read and loved which had a love triangles in them, and it really didn’t bring the story down or overtake the plot. Like The Hunger Games, the Infernal Devices, Splintered, Throne of Glass….

    IT GOES ON. AND YASS, I FEEL YOU ON THE NICE GUY VS ASSHOLE. We need more depth in the relationship than that. Great post, Mary <3
    Nirvana @ Quenching the Quill recently posted…Reading Slumps are the WorstMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I like the one in ToG, too! I think it’s mostly because the love triangle was just in the background and even without the romantic dilemmas, the people competing for the heroine’s affections are still included in the plot!

    • FayeFaye says

      Aw, Joy :P You’re cuter, admit it! Now go make a Youtube channel and spread forth the cuteness! :P

      And yep, LTs that take over the plot – immediate and certain TURN OFF.

  8. says

    The reenactments are funny and on-point! :D I am honestly okay with love triangles. It makes the book more exciting seeing who ends up with who. What I don’t like is the ‘torn between’ being selfish and indecisive for a veeeeeeeeeeeery long time (almost to the end of the book). Like can’t you just choose one and be honest with the other? Or don’t just choose one at all. I instantly shudder when the love triangle gets too dramatic. I know at one point, there’ll be drama and angst but some love triangles are all over the top with it that it becomes unbearable.

    Great post/ video discussion, Faye!! :D I’m looking forward for more of this yay!
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    • FayeFaye says

      Thank you so, so, so much Abby! If this certain part (the “choosing”) is dragged out to kingdom come, I get pretty pissy about it, too.

  9. says

    I honestly would rather not have love triangles in my books, but I will still read them if they are handled properly. All those situations you mentioned are enough to push me away, however. Especially, the one where it takes over the plot and the main character can’t fucking make up her mind. I’m also not a fan when the author switches team on me once the MC has already made her decision. UGH.
    That’s a sure way to get me to DNF a book!
    Great post, Faye!
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    • FayeFaye says

      Hahaha, I don’t think fans of that loveteam would particularly love it if that happened either, because they’d feel manipulated. Which is kinda what happened in Queen of Shadows ;___; it broke my heart, man!

  10. says

    Like you said, it REALLY depends on how the entire triangle is actually executed. Sometimes it just seems like the MC loves one love interest to death, but the next moment she’s completely uncertain of her love because she also loves ANOTHER boy to death. I don’t really mind this much, but she’s NEVER ABLE TO MAKE UP HER MIND! And you’re right, lol, the bad boy vs good guy trope has been exhausted now.
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    • FayeFaye says

      I HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS. It only goes to show you don’t really love the first boy “to death” because you’re easily distracted by someone else. Ugh. That feels so much like cheating to me!

  11. says

    I’m kind of over them but there have been some that I’ve loved like in The Arcana Chronicles and The Dark Elements series. I think I love the ones where you love all the love interests. But I really hate when authors just kill one of them to make it easier for the MC like you said.

    • FayeFaye says

      Oh yeah, when someone is killed enough or made OOC in the end to make the decision easier… I think I could rip pencils in half in brute thumb force if I read a situation like that!

  12. says

    New fire mixtape of 2k15: You are the apple of my pie ┌( ಠ‿ಠ)┘
    haha but no really, the nice guy VS the asshole trope makes me self-combust. It pretty much gives off the message that girls need to bear with asshole guys in order to discover the golden heart within. Can this please stop? Or can the heroine at least call the asshole out on his shit instead of finding emotional abuse sexy?! Please. Just. Please.

    Also, I loved what you said about the characters having substance first. I don’t want to read about an MC having to choose between 2 love interests! I want to read about a person who has lived a life before the story started and who eventually has complicated feelings for 2 people, who have also lived a life of their own and have hobbies/family/LIFE that doesn’t revolve around the MC!
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  13. says

    YOUR LITTLE PRESENTATIONS WERE SO CUTE HAHAHHAHHA. I have a hate love relationship with love triangles. It honestly depends on how they’re done!

  14. says

    I definitely am with you all the way on all three aspects of a potential love triangle. I also dislike when it is drawn out, for example in the Stephanie Plum novels it’s been 20 books and almost 20 years of the bad boy/good boy love triangle, with a heroine who is only wishy washy when it comes to them. Ridiculous!
    Sometimes there is an original element, or it’s believable, but I can’t think of one right now.
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  15. says

    I don’t mind love triangles too much. I used to avoid them, but nowadays I don’t midn them to much. For me the most important thing for a good lvoe triangle is that both boys seem to have a chance and I feel the connecting with both of them. I don’t want a love triangle just because of the drama, I want it to feel realistic. And beside that mostly the same reasons as you, I don’t want the heroine to go back and forth too often. She needs to make a decision eventually. Great post!
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  16. says

    Hooray! I made it on the video!

    There are a lot of other points that I agree with as well – when the two guys are total stereotypes and when one transforms into a despicable character just to make the choice easier. I so agree with those. It, once again, makes them less like people and more like characters. Phony, fake characters.
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  17. says

    Faye you totally made me laugh with your video! I’m not usually up for a love triangle, but the three red flag items that you list make a love triangle even more unbearable. The wishy-washy heroine has to top that list for me. I completely lose respect for her and feel like the guys should just pick another girl altogether. Wonderful post and video! :)
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  18. says

    AHA, this is great, I love this. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t immediately dislike love triangles, they can be pretty fun if done well. Plus I always say, the more romance the better. Helloooo, multiple love interests to swoon over? Sign me up ;)

    3.) Nice guy vs Asshole is so overdone, along with its variation of best friend vs bad boy. For me, I hate predictable love triangles. I feel like predictable love triangles just screams “it’s obvious I’m only adding this other love interest just for drama and angst.” I don’t really want to be able to guess who is going to end up with who right from the start of the book.
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  19. says

    Yes yes and YES! Oh gosh Faye, you’re absolutely absolutely hilarious! You actually changed your outfit to play another character. That’s commitment right there. Love triangles are fine, as long as they’re written well but not where characters are falling in love, but an attraction between them instead. I’m waiting for the day where two male love interests realise they don’t need the heroine and fall in love with each other.

    Awesome discussion vlog Faye, absolutely loved it! <3
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  20. says

    I have to be honest, I’m *wary* of love triangles, but I generally won’t let that stop me from reading a book. I don’t seek them out, but I don’t mind them. SOMETIMES. For me, it just has to feel natural and needed for the story. I don’t like the ones with unnecessary drama, or the ones that take over the story-line. And please dear God let’s move away from the nice guy vs. the bad boy trope. I’m SO over it. People are more widely diverse in personality than that.

    But I like love triangles. I do. Some of them are amazingly developed and well-written, and I love how they portray a wide range of relationship conflicts and character dynamics. And they do make for some entertainment while reading. ;) I also loved what you said about the hero/heroine being dense. I like slow-burning romances! Gimme those relationships with characters who start out as friends (or even enemies) and give them room to grow. Let’s save the I love yous for the next book (if there is one, which let’s face it, with love triangles they are usually more prominent in series). And LOLOL at your examples in the video. Those cracked me up. Loved this discussion! :)
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