Book Pet Peeves #4: Love Triangles

July 18, 2014     erinbook     Feature, Pet Peeves

Ok guys, it’s pet peeve time again. So what do I want to rant about today? Love Triangles.

No, not that one. This isn’t Psychology class.
Ugh yes, like that. *rolls eyes* So love triangles, why do I hate them? There are several reasons for this.
For one, in most cases, love triangles are just plain lazy. Books in which the love triangle is the source of the main conflict say to me “I couldn’t think of a more immediate or dramatic conflict”. Books in which the love triangle is pushed just as much as the main conflict say “I don’t think my conflict is strong enough to keep an audience so I added in another potential romantic partner.” No on both accounts. Love triangles do not make a good conflict and if your main conflict isn’t strong enough then that’s a problem that needs to be worked on, not covered up.
I find that love triangles often drag on for much longer than they are worth. I’ll admit that sometimes a love triangle can work but this is only because the author knows when to stop and resolve it. Unfortunately, many keep the drama going much too long and it becomes grating and irritating. I do not need two or three or (heaven forbid) four books that follow some girl who cannot make up her mind which beau is the better potential partner.
Another common piece of the love triangle drama is the “you love me, you just don’t know it yet” line that is often given to the neglected party. Oh dear god, stop! That these characters presume to know what is in someone’s heart or mind before they do is more than a little offensive. Maybe they WILL come to find that they care for you but you telling them that you know better than they do is not attractive or respectful. When I see a character do this I want to punch him in the face.
These triangles always seem to follow the same trope, one of the potential partners is the old friend while the other is some new dangerous toy to play with. Can we get some change-up in here somewhere. This old vs new game just gets on my nerves. The resolution is always messy and rarely done maturely (not that stringing two people along romantically is very mature) and someone always either dies or never sees or speaks to their “love” again. Or sits back and watches like a sad little puppy which is dignified for nobody.
Speaking of dignity, there is none for the characters who love these indecisive females. Self respect, what self respect? These characters will do anything for their beloved, whether it makes them ridiculous or not. I can’t find these puppy dogs attractive, I just can’t. I want a character with some self respect who won’t wait around for the protagonist to throw them a bone. Stop pining and act like a respectable human being!
Also, none of these so called “love triangles” are actually anything triangular. Here A likes B and C likes B, but there’s nothing but animosity between A and C. Not a triangle, folks. Just a lot of hurt feelings in a sort of V shape.
I think I have made my point, there are plenty of reasons love triangles are not a good source of conflict. As with everything there are a few exceptions but they are few and far between.
What are your feelings on the love triangle? Share them in the comments.
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