Friday, April 10, 2015

Discussion Question: Why Love Triangles?

Why do authors include love triangles?  So many people are anti-love triangle and even if they aren't, it's not like they like them, they just may not mind them.  So what's the point?  Is it just to create issues for the new happy couple?  It does seem like love triangles are more likely in the second book of a trilogy.  You have the first book and at the end, the guy and girl realize they love each other.  Finally!

Then in the second book, their relationship is new, they're going through things, and then the lack of trust and confidence in the new fragile relationship happens, or the guy is keeping a secret from the girl, or he feels like he has to handle things on his own (alpha male stuff) and they grow apart.  Basically, instead of growing together and working as a team, misunderstandings, etc. keep them from truly being happy and then just to make things worse, along comes the OTHER GUY.  Just to screw things up even more. 

Now sometimes the other guy is introduced in the first book.  Obviously there are variations.  But why?  Why do so many authors turn to love triangles to create the drama?  Is it just laziness?  Do they take a class that tells them they should include one?  Is it the dream of every teenager to have two hot guys fighting over them?  (Uh…yeah, probably).

Are there any books that have love triangles where you actually thought the love triangle was important?  Integral to the plot?  There are actually a few that I can think of, to be honest.  One in particular where the love triangle is very important plot-wise (not just creating drama between the couple) and if certain events hadn't happened, it would have changed the series forever.  

So what do you think?  Why do authors include love triangles?  Do you hate them?  Like them?  Don't mind them?  

Posted by:  Pam


  1. Love Triangles are less annoying than instalove for me. Love triangles are only annoying for me when there's either no resolution or the wrong kind--like when the girl/guy winds up with the person I didn't want. I would think they include love triangles to give readers someone to root for, to add drama, I'm not sure but it sure would make for an interesting discussion. Great post!

  2. I wouldn't say laziness. I think that in some books, it is wish fulfillment. But only in some, because that portrayal hasn't been completely developed. Most authors seem to use love triangles as a way of reflecting the main character's inner struggle. In Wings by Aprilynne Pike, we are introduced to a human boy and a non human boy. The main character, in choosing between the two characters, is meant to be choosing "allegiances." Would she rather live like a human or with the other people? In Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods series, Jack, not a main character with a PoV, is choosing between the romance that has been laid out since birth for him or the girl who's only just met and who's awakening him in a different way. (The usual struggle of fate vs. choosing your own destiny). In Adaptation, we have a bisexual love triangle. It's not only just having the MC explore her own sexuality though; it provides a lot of the mystery of the plot too -- and I've seen that device used in a lot of other books. A lot of LTs aren't designed for wish fulfillment or Teams (though I think many authors are indeed aware of people's annoyance with LTs and would hope to arouse passions in their readers)... and LTs have been around in classical literature for ages. It's not isolated to YA. The symbolism and impact on character and plot -- well, some authors go with LTs for that and other authors do other things.


    I don't like LTs particularly but I won't hate a book if there is one. Since I don't really ship couples together, I'm never super invested when a LT is introduced and I've to choose sides. It's less anti-drama for me than ... a dislike of how LTs seem to take away agency from the MC in doing other plot things unrelated to romance. I think, though, that a lot of the hatred for LTs in YA is because YA has trilogies worth of LTs whereas classical lit with LTs often resolve the LT in 1 book hahaha.

  3. You already know my feelings on this subject. :P I hate them so so much. The idea of them is what I have a problem with, so I will never consider any love triangle to be a "good" one. A girl being torn between two boys is just so awful to me. I don't think that's romantic in the least.

  4. I am trying to think of a love-triangle central to the plot and you have me curious as to what you are thinking of. I do know some people actually enjoy love triangles - much to my surprise. I think they are just a way to add drama. I would be fine if that trend ended.

  5. Hi, I've been following your blog for a while but this is my first comment. I really hate love triangles. It is never romantic, someone always loses, and even if it does add to the plot or theme of a book, I think it's always a bad idea. In my opinion, a good author will not need a LT to accomplish those things. I have gotten so fed up with LT's. I have not read a book with a LT in it since the beginning of last year and let me tell you, I'm a happier reader.

    Oh and I really love your blog!

  6. I am generally speaking not a fan of love triangles. Although I do think there are exceptions - of course I can't think of any right now. I often think that love triangles are expressly to create conflict withing the couple and that just makes me mad. It's pointless. There are plenty of other ways to create real conflict between the couple. I also think that when there's a love triangle, you lose the magic of the relationship. If a girl loves one guy, then starts falling for another, she obviously didn't really love the first.

    I wish I knew why authors continue to do this. It doesn't make sense and so many people hate them. Ugh.