In recognition of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d write today about a subject that’s lately become a bit of a pet peeve for me: love triangles/vees.
There are two things that bother me about such setups. The first is that there is always going to be a loser. The girl will pick one of the guys (or the guy picks one of two girls, or whatever the particulars of the V), and the other guy will have his heart broken. I hate reading about broken hearts. I end up empathizing way more with the heartbroken guy than with the guy who got the girl, even if I was rooting for the latter guy. It ends up spoiling the whole romance plot, because there can be no happy, really.
Which kinda ties in to the second thing that bothers me. During the whole courtship phase, before the girl picks one or the other of the guys, she’s leading them both on, and there are kissing/make-out scenes with both. So here, 1) does she really not have a preference between the two guys as to which she likes better? Because when I was a teen, I definitely had a hierarchy of guys. I may have had a crush on multiple guys, but if they were all to approach me (dream on!) I’d definitely have had one I crushed on most and would have pursued him exclusively.
And 2) why does she not feel crippling guilt while she’s busy making out with one guy behind the other guy’s back? If that were me, I would not be able to get into the moment because I’d be too busy thinking "two days ago I was kissing OtherBoy and oh god what if he found out about ThisBoy or ThisBoy finds out about him, I’d be in such deep crap" (because I never swore as a teen. truth) "and they’ll end up both hating me". It would be that desire not to hurt anyone’s feelings (including my own) that would mean I’d pick one guy from the outset. Bear in mind here, she’s not pursuing two guys, they’re pursuing her and have made their interest known. So it’s not like she’s picking a guy blind as to whether he’ll like her back.
I mind less triangles that develop when one of the two competitors is out of the picture for a while. But I do still expect that if the girl believes the first guy will be returning, she’ll refrain from fooling around with the second guy. If she thinks the first guy’s gone for good, well… I’m willing to accept a broken heart when he returns, in that instance. It’s my one exception.
Anyway. Maybe that’s just me. Obviously love triangles work for a lot of people, or they wouldn’t crop up so regularly in books. ;)