Love Triangle

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search

"You love her
but she loves him
and he loves somebody else.

You just can't win."

A is in love with B, but B is in love with C, resulting in wacky hijinks. Alternatively, A and B are both in love with C, who is torn between the two and must make a choice. In the latter case, A and B tend to be Betty and Veronica; in the former, A will usually be a Romantic False Lead or Hopeless Suitor.

Can sometimes lead to A stepping back because They Just Want Their Beloved To Be Happy. Alternately, A is a total jerk or Clingy Jealous Girl, making it completely okay for B to get C. Of course, A could just engage in a bit of Relationship Sabotage, perhaps even to the point of Murdering The Hypotenuse, but that would be overly cynical.

Very common in Soap Opera.

Note: More people than three, in more geometries, is still sometimes called a "triangle." The notion of more elaborate combinations is explored further in Love Dodecahedron.

There is an exploration of all the possible triangles in Triang Relations. See also Two Guys and a Girl, Cock Fight, Wrong Guy First, and Unrequited Love Switcheroo.

Sibling Triangle is a special variant. Compare Friend Versus Lover.

God help you if you happen to get caught in a Psychotic Love Triangle.

Examples of Love Triangle include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Most shoujo manga series require a love triangle at some point.
  • The anime TV series Kimagure Orange Road is built partly around the long-term problems and implications of the triangle between Hikaru (A), Kyousuke (B), and Madoka (C).
  • In Shakugan no Shana, there is Shana to Yuji Sakai to Kazumi Yoshida.
  • In Martian Successor Nadesico where our main hero, Akito, is practically pummeled by affection by nearly every female character in the show, the main contenders being Yurika, Megumi, and Ryoko. Yurika has the distinct advantage of having known him at some point during their childhood, but her attempts to impress him are in vain for the most part. He actually appears to be going steady with Megumi in the 4th episode, which concludes with them kissing and walking along holding hands in mutual affection. However, their mutual attraction seems to begin and end there, as the Clingy Jealous Girl routine disqualified her later when she tried to move their relationship into adult territory. Ryoko is a more subtle contender in that she has strong feelings for him, but doesn't actively seek him out due to her pride. In any case, she seems to have garnered more attention from him than either of the other females (albeit not enough for him to see her as much more than a friend). Also, he does develop feelings for Yurika at some point, though her Clingy Jealous Girl antics are what kept the romantic flame stunted throughout the series. He winds up with her at the end as a result of finally caving in to his [somewhat coerced] feelings for her.
    • Also, given the parodic nature of the show, it was perhaps a subtle jab at harem anime, rather blatantly implying that the guy just might fall for one of the girls in the harem if they all weren't so aggressive about garnering his affections.
    • One may question the legitimacy of Akito's feelings for Yurika, as he pays her very little attention throughout the series and offers a ridiculous explanation during the last few minutes of the series finale.
  • Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl is so centrally about a Love Triangle (with additional hangers-on to the point of Unwanted Harem-ness) that the opening credits show A, B, and C standing on a triangle. Also, chapter 7 of the manga is titled "Girl Triangle".
  • Kagome and Kikyo and Inuyasha.
    • Also Kouga and Kagome and Inuyasha. Purely hetro in canon, but any combination of three according to fan works.
      • As well as Naraku and Kikyo and Inuyasha. This anime loves using this trope.
  • On Keroro Gunsou, Tamama (A) vies constantly with Angol Moa (B) for the attention of Keroro (C), who seems somewhat oblivious of Tamama's semi-platonic jealousy and Moa's crush. Keroro Gunsou even has a scenario with both types of Love Triangle rolled into one: Giroro (A) and Koyuki (B) both have a crush on Natsumi (C), who has a crush on Saburo (D). Unlike most of the above examples, the triangles aren't central to the plot of the series.
    • Another one involves Giroro's kitty Miss Furbottom (A), Giroro (B), and Natsumi (C). The narrator is quick to lampshade it.
  • Kaitou Saint Tail was in love with Asuka Jr, but so was Rina.
  • The initial triangle in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann of Simon/Kamina/Yoko leads to a very tragic outcome.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch had Lucia, who was Kaito's girlfriend, but then Michel took Kaito's memory, leaving him open to Michal, who was Michel's symbiote. Meanwhile, Lucia's trying to find Kaito, and when she does, get him back.
  • Ichigo and Aoyama-kun both had their share of admirers in Tokyo Mew Mew—the latter, a squad of fangirls; the former, Mission Control and a Stalker with a Crush.
  • Berserk has used this trope repeatedly throughout its run. The major one was the triangle of Guts, Casca, and Griffith. Guts's and Casca's romance with each other is undercut by their (separate) loyalty and attraction to their leader, Griffith. Said attraction is emotional, with implied physical undertones in both cases. Griffith himself seems incapable of entirely returning either's feelings, but does care deeply for both and shows a certain amount of emotional and arguably physical attraction to Guts. No, it does not end well. Later, the initial triangle is echoed in the relationship between Serpico, Farnese, and Casca: Serpico seems to be in love with Farnese, who needs him very much but seems to be paying more attention to Casca. There are hints of a triangle between Isidoro, Schierke, and Guts as well. However, if you add Judeau to the first triangle and Roderick to the second one, it begins to seem more like a Love Dodecahedron...
    • You probably need to add Guts to the Serpico, Farnese and Casca plus Roderick.
      • Serpico, Farnese, and Casca? She pays more attention to Casca because that sort of her job; to babysit her. In fact, instead of being romantically interested in Casca, there have been numerous times where she's shown to be jealous of her.
        • A more plausible secondary love triangle would be between Guts-Casca-Farnese. Currently, Guts is still completely in love with Casca, who unfortunately can't love him back due to a series of unfortunate events, but he is totally devoted to her and only her and it is, in fact, the whole reason why Guts is on his current mission. Farnese, on the other hand, is in love with Guts, but he doesn't see her as anything more than Casca's caretaker. While she cares for Casca a lot (which brings on some more implications) and she knows that it really isn't Casca's fault for acting like such, Farnese still can't fight with her inner feelings that Casca is ungrateful toward Guts which causes some resentment on her part. Wonder how that's going to turn out...
  • Subverted in xxxHolic, where Watanuki only thinks he's in a Love Triangle with Himawari (C) and Doumeki (A or B). In reality, Domeki and Himawari aren't particularly interested in each other romantically at all. In fact, the person Domeki and Himawari are both interested in is quite likely Watanuki himself... this actually makes this instance a rather interesting example of becoming a Double Subversion.
  • A Love Triangle is practically a requirement for a Macross show. Each and every installment has featured one.
    • Macross7 is notable for one of the more irritating love triangles in that Mylene has a dedicated, loyal suitor in Gamlin, yet is unable to decide between his obvious affection and the brash emotional personality of Basara, who by all indications isn't even aware of her potential feelings for him and generally irritates the hell out of her more often than not. And besides that, Basara's not only attracted the obvious romantic attention of a biker girl secondary character, but is locked in a pseudo-love triangle over the Enigmatic Minion Sivil, with his competition being The Dragon of the series' first half, Gigil.
    • In stark contrast, the love triangle in the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross, involving Hikaru, Misa, and Minmay is among the most well done examples of one.
    • In a change of pace, Macross Plus had Two Guys and a Girl.
    • One of the more audacious moves is in Macross Frontier, where Alto gets the attention of two Idol Singers Sheryl and Ranka (above). What's audacious about it is that, despite dispensing GALLONS upon GALLONS of Ship Tease so that it could've gone either way, the Love Triangle is never resolved in the show. Every subsequent iteration nonetheless features the Love Triangle quite strongly (and some actually end it).
  • Escaflowne, a spiritual successor to Macross, (as stated by Shoji Kawamori) was not without its share. The principle triangle involving Van Fanel, Hitomi Kanzaki, and Allen Shezar.
  • The principal love triangle of Full Metal Panic! encapsulates the primary female leads of the series, Kaname and Tessa, and their individual versions of affection for male lead Sosuke (who is unaware or just beginning to understand that he's in love with Kaname, and mainly sees Tessa as his superior officer and friend, much to her frustration).
    • Plus the fact that Sousuke and karate club president Tsubaki can hardly stand each other is undoubtedly fueled by the fact that they're both smitten with Kaname.
    • Depending on how you look at it, there is a weird, warped sort of love triangle between Sousuke, Gauron, and the twins Yu Fang and Yu Lan. With Gauron being completely and obsessively in love with Sousuke, the twins loving Gauron, and Sousuke... hating Gauron.
      • The most important triangle could be the one between Sousuke, Kaname and Gauron. Except in this case Sousuke wouldn't have to chose between two people, but rather between two different life styles and/or two versions of himself: the weaker, gun-toting, socially clueless version that he is with Kaname, or the cold-blooded, unstoppable killer that Gauron became fascinated with once upon a time. All this became rather obvious at the end of the first season, and The Second Raid has only managed to take this further by having Gauron trying to Murder the Hypotenuse.
  • Nobuta wo Produce: a classic high school Love Triangle, notable because the three started out (and eventually ended up) as close friends. Akira was head-over-heels in love with Nobuta, but Nobuta had a shy crush on Shuji. Shuji and Akira also had a ridiculous amount of Ho Yay played up between them.
  • Kaze no Stigma: Ren with his two best friends (a guy and a girl), and Kazuma with Ayano and Katherine (both type 3).
  • Much of Ef a Tale of Memories revolves around the love triangle between Kei, Hiro and Miyako.
  • Super Robot Wars Original Generation series, has Mai Kobayashi, and Latooni Subota both going after Ryusei Date. Who does Ryu love? Latooni's giant robot. That, or Lune's giant robot. Or Lamia's. Or maybe Aya's once it got equipped with a skirt...
    • Kusuha might have been in there at some point, but she was destined for Bullet by game of origin.
  • Prétear had a Love Triangle in the Backstory (Sasame-Takako-Hayate), although it isn't revealed until much later. Then there is Mawata's crush on Sasame—and Sasame, depending on the adaptation, either likes Himeno (who likes Hayate), or still loves Takako, enough to betray his friends and join her.
  • Princess Tutu has two. First there's Ahiru/Mytho/Rue, Ahiru has a crush on Mytho but he's in a relationship with Rue. However, with his heart coming back together, he falls for Princess Tutu, who is Ahiru. This in turn, causes Rue to turn evil. Whoops. Also implied but never stated is Fakir/Ahiru/Mytho.
  • A rather odd Boys Love version resides in Yami no Matsuei, involving Tsuzuki Asato, Tsuzuki's partner Kurosaki Hisoka, and Hisoka's rapist/murderer, and psychotic doctor, Muraki Kazutaka, who has a strange fascination with Tsuzuki. Fanfictions naturally ensue.
  • Fruits Basket has a not-exactly-love-triangle... Kyo and Yuki never precisely compete for Tohru, but they both care about her and their rivalry sometimes extends into this. (Creating multiple Crowning Moments.)
    • Then there was the twisted Love Triangle in the manga, which involved Shigure, Akito and Kureno. It was solved in the end.
  • In Elfen Lied, Clingy Jealous Girl Yuuka has been in love with Kouta since they were kids. Homicidal maniac Lucy has also been in love with Kouta since they were kids. Kouta doesn't really remember any of it, though, due to Trauma-Induced Amnesia caused by Lucy murdering his parents, but now he's going to the same college as Yuuka and Lucy has dropped back into his life as a completely innocent girl with no memory at all, or indeed the ability to talk, except for occasional moments of clarity/Ax Craziness. Also, Yuuka and Kouta are cousins.
  • Averted brilliantly in Bakuman。 as Takagi shuts down the love triangle between him, Miyoshi and Iwase as soon as he's aware of it, remarking how stupid the whole situation actually is.
    • What makes it even better is that the possibility of it becoming a distracting Plot Tumor is killed from the get-go, unlike in a lot of other Shonen manga where the Love Triangles are allowed to linger for years without contributing to the plot or showing any signs of being resolved. The author must really dislike Ship-to-Ship Combat...
    • Well, it would appear that Plot Tumors don't get killed off that easily as Iwase is back with a vengeance and Tagaki seems to not be as willing to shut it down so conclusively this time.
    • And the Plot Tumor is awesomely gone again. Thanks guys!
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, Nodoka and Yue are in love with Negi. It's largely oblivious on Negi's part, along with his knowledge of the feelings of many other students of his class...
    • Nodoka and Yue eventually decide to be friendly rivals and support each other against other girls in the race. Later yet, Nodoka starts thinking of an alternative solution to this delicate problem...
    • There is also Konoka/Setsuna/Tsukuyomi, although the latter seems oblivious to it.
    • And possibly Natsumi/Kotarou/Mei, though Kotarou seems completely oblivious ... though he does certainly make things hard on Natsumi... I mean tough on her! You know, difficult? Not...
    • Negi himself is thirty love triangle at least.
  • Ruka, Shiori and Juri engage in a messy one in Revolutionary Girl Utena. It turns Ruka into a Manipulative Bastard for a short while trying to resolve it. It works... sort of.
  • Touma, Mieko and Urara in Sakura Diaries.
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, though Mion is the only who showed clear romantic interest in Keiichi, there is a sort of minor love triangle between her, Keiichi, and Rena.
    • In the last episode of Rei, Rena confesses to Keiichi, though it may have been exaggerated by the magatama's power, it's still heavily implied that she loves him without the magatama.
  • In the second Kujibiki Unbalance there is a love triangle between Chihiro, Tokino, and Ritsuko. This does not apply to the first version since in that version, Ritsuko is the only one that has any romantic involvement with Chihiro. However, due to it being only 3 episode out the supposed 26, it may be possible that there was some kind of love triangle and Ritsuko simply won in the end.
  • Like Macross, it is very common in all seasons of Gundam.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam has Amuro, Lalah and Char, Amuro, Fraww and Sayla, Amuro, Hayato and Fraww, Amuro, Sayla and Lalah.. Damn it Amuro! There's also Bright, Mirai and Cameron. In the end, Amuro accidentally killed Lalah, who was protecting Char. Fraww hooks up with Hayato. Sayla ends up with no one. And finally, Bright ends up marrying Mirai and they have children.
    • Zeta Gundam has Kamille, Fa and Four. Kamille ends up with Fa (albeight in the sequel). Four dies.
    • Gundam ZZ has Judau, Rou and Elle, Judau, Beecher and Elle, Judau, Roux and Glemmy.. Damn you too Judau!
    • Chars Counterattack had Quess, Hathaway and Gyunei. Things turned ugly for these three.
    • G Gundam has Domon, Rain and Allenby. Rain became Domon's Victorious Childhood Friend, while Allenby gave way to them.
    • After War Gundam X has Garrod, Tiffa and Ennil and Sala, Roybea and Jamile. Garrod and Tiffa got together and so is Jamille and Sala. Graceful Losers Roybea and Enni apparently made a Last-Minute Hookup
    • Except for promotional images, Gundam SEED's main triangle are Kira, Flay and Sai. Kira and Sai patch things up and moved on with their lives, plus Kira ends up with Lacus. Flay on the other hand dies in the end.
    • Gundam SEED Destiny has many courtesy of Athrun's harem. Damn you three Athrun! In the end, Luna goes with Shinn, Meer dies, Cagalli breaks her engagement to Athrun BUT Word of God stated that Athrun returned by her side at the end.
    • Gundam 00 has Saji, Louise and Andrei. Andrei attempted to Murder the Hypotenuse but failed thanks to The Hero Setsuna's intervention, and the until-then Star-Crossed Lovers Saji and Louise are able to reconcile.
    • Gundam Unicorn has two: Micott, Banagher, and Audrey and Banagher, Audrey, and Riddhe in the light novels. Whether the latter triangle will appear in the OVAs remains to be seen.
    • Gundam Age has Flit with Emily and Yurin. Damn you, Flit! It is revealed that Emily wins and becomes Asemu's mother in the end.
      • Asemu gets his own love triangle, involving Romary and Zeheart. Romary seems to choose Zeheart at first, but by the end of the second generation, marries Asemu.
  • Naruto and Lee loves Sakura, who loved (and might still love) Sasuke. That's one. But, what's this? Ino loves (or loved) Sasuke too? That's two. Now, Ino might have feelings for Sai. That would make three. Of course there are some who believe Ino actually has feelings for Shikamaru who might like Temari. That's four. Kakashi's old friend Obito loved Rin, who loved Kakashi. That's five. And finally, Hinata loves Naruto. That's six! And now things are getting real interesting since Hinata confessed her love to Naruto, so it looks like he'll have to choose between Sakura and Hinata sometime soon.

Shonen Jump Question:
Naruto and Sasuke kiss (accidentally) in the first chapter where they appear together. Does this add a special dimension to their rivalry?
Masashi Kishimoto Answer:
I didn't have any particular reason for it, other than to surprise readers. I mainly did it because I don't think there has ever been a manga where two rivals kissed. Also, by having this encounter, it was easier to set up the love triangle: Sakura, who had intended to be the first one to kiss Sasuke, has it stolen by her rival Naruto, Sasuke and Naruto are rivals, so there's and added tension there. And so on and so forth.

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Asuka/Shinji/Rei.
    • Masterfully executed in Rebuild 2.0. Shinji starts to open up Rei and she gets the idea to get Shini and Gendo closer by organizing a dinner for them. Asuka becomes jealous and cooks for him as well, getting some knife cuts in the process. During the elevator scene, Asuka discovers that Rei has tons of cuts and realizes that Rei is seriously interested in Shinji. So, she asks her about her opinion on him. Her reaction to the answer is more than suspicious.

Rei: I am... I am not sure.
Asuka: You Japanese are so reserved, just say what you feel damnit!
Rei: I don't know. Although... being with him makes me feel warm inside. And I... I want him to... to feel the same way. I want him to get along with his father and to feel warm inside. That's all.
Asuka: Is that so. (storms off, visibly disturbed) She's just as much of an idiot as he is. She doesn't even realize that she likes him!

      • Plus the fact that when Shinji gives Rei lunch for the first time, she actually blushes. It's a very faint pink blush but it's there. Afterwards, her monologue indicates that she never thanked anyone for anything before - not even Gendo.
    • More disturbingly, there's the End of Evangelion's Love Triangle between Gendo/Ritsuko/The Magi Supercomputers. Also, if you want to get into hopeless Love Triangles, there's Ritsuko/Naoko/Gendo/ Yui/Fuyutsuki ( Rei is Yui's clone. And therefore Shinji's mother. Above "normal" A/S/R Love Triangle just got very very squicky.) and Misato/Kaji/Asuka/Ritsuko. Though that Love Triangle may just be an attempt by Asuka to attract Shinji's attention. Yeah... Have we mentioned Eva is weird?
  • Horrifyingly deconstructed in School Days, which appears at the beginning to be a light-hearted High School romantic comedy. Then Boy (possibly) gets Girl A (who he is dating) pregnant, which causes him to become an absolute Jerkass and start sleeping around. Girl A murders Boy, then Girl B (who Boy was dating but never got around to breaking up with) finds the body and confronts and murders Girl A. Girl B then takes Boy's rotting, decapitated head and relaxes on a nice boat with it.
  • Ichinensei ni Nacchattara: Three ~7 year olds: Miho —> Touta —> Iori. Iori, secretly a genderbent highschooler, wants no part of it.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple has a minor one between Kenichi, Miu, and Renka, although it's fairly obvious that Renka doesn't have much of a shot. Later on, there's also a possibility of a Kenichi, Miu, and Shigure triangle.
  • Gantz Has one between Kei Kurono, Masaru Kato and Kei Kishimoto then one between Kei Kurono, Tae Kojima and Reika Shimohira but later the second Kei Kurono makes it into a love rectangle.
  • Honey & Clover has two main love triangles (and a third one in a flashback): Takemoto and Morita both fall in love at first sight with Hagu, who is oblivious to their feelings; Yamada is in love with Mayama, who in turn is in love with an older woman named Rika; in the flashback, Shuu was in love with Rika, who was married to Harada (who was Shuu's best friend and died in an accident).
    • In the end, Hagu does not return Takemoto's feelings and instead falls for Morita, but she chooses to stay with Shuu (her uncle) because she believes he'll be able to take care of her better; this love triangle is left unresolved and open-ended because although Hagu chooses to stay with Shuu, she is still very much in love with Morita and vice versa. Mayama wins Rika over, and Yamada is implied to find a new love in Nomiya, a guy who she works with and ends up helping Yamada come to terms with her unrequited feelings for Mayama. While Rika felt mutually about Shuu in the past, they decided it was best for them to stay apart because Harada's death made both of them emotionally unstable (after it is implied that Shuu almost pushes Rika off of a rooftop because he believed that the Rika, who became depressed over Harada's death, would probably be much happier with Harada).
  • Samurai Champloo - It's been said that Mugen, Jin, and Fuu all have crushes on each other.
  • A brutally twisted version of this occurs in Mirai Nikki considering how two ends of the triangle, Akise and Yuno, are both Yandere (Yuno even more so) for Yukiteru. However, in chapter 51 Yuno stabs Akise in retaliation for him kissing Yukiteru and later kills him by cutting his head off.
  • There's a HUGE love triangle in Kojima Akira's "Wa!" that it's no longer a triangle, but a circle. See for yourself: [1]
  • In Area no Kishi, it is revealed in a flash back that the protagonist Kakeru realized that he had a crush on childhood friend and football teammate Seven. After working up the nerve to confess his feelings, he happens upon Seven as she is confessing her feelings for his older brother, Suguru.
  • In Durarara!!, Masaomi claims that there is a "love triangle" between Mikado, Anri, and himself. It's... more or less true, though it's mostly played for laughs than really anything serious.
    • On a side note, there's also Namie -> Seiji <- Mika and Haruna -> Nasujima-sensei -> Anri.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! (the manga more so than the anime, anyways), Anzu is in love with Yami Yugi, Yugi is in love with Anzu, whilst Yami Yugi has no feelings, other than extreme loyalty to Yugi, for either of them. It's just more fun to joke that Yami and Yugi are gay.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Yubel loves Juudai and insists that Johan has stolen Juudai's love away from her. Johan and Juudai have a metric fuckton of chemistry together. And once Juudai regains his memories of his past, he loves Yubel. And in a sense did when he was a child, though not (yet) in the romantic sense, since he sent her into space to try to heal her of her insanity.
  • In Shugo Chara! the sub-plot seems to be Amu's love triangle. Ikuto and Tadase are both in love with Amu, but Amu loves Tadase. In the manga Amu says that she fell in love with his outer-character. Amu also seems to develop feelings for Ikuto as the story continues. Only Ikuto and Tadase kind of hate each other.
  • In Cherry Juice, Minami begins falling for his step-sister Otome, after she finally gets up the nerve to ask out his best friend Amane who she has been crushing on for years. As Minami becomes increasingly more jealous of their relationship, Otome starts to realize that she has the same feelings for him (which has been obvious to her friends and grandmother for a long time.)
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula, Karl Lichter von Randoll wants Asuka Sugo, who's in a relationship with Hayato Kazami, and at one time (in which Hayato and Asuka's love hasn't developed until towards the end of the TV series), Randoll made a bet that if he wins the Spanish GP, he gets Asuka's kiss. Thankfully, he didn't.
  • The main love triangle in Star Driver involves the main protagonist Takuto, the heroine Wako, and Wako's arranged fiancé and childhood friend Sugata. Sugata is devoted to Wako but doesn't seem to mind the fact that Takuto and Wako are gradually becoming closer, Takuto and Wako show an interest in each other in spite of the engagement circumstances, and Wako seems to harbor strong feelings for Sugata than one would predict (and she is a Yaoi Fangirl for Takuto/Sugata) -- make of what you will with that. Nevertheless, the love triangle is even lampshaded in an episode, where Takuto wonders if they were all really friends or if he was only a "third wheel" to a "couple."
  • In the second half of Gun X Sword, Van is surrounded by an unwanted harem, with Pricilla and Wendy making a triangle as the main competitors for his interest. Arguably, though, the most significant triangle for him is the one involving himself, his dead fiancee Elena, and his most important love interest: Wendy. Meanwhile, Wendy is also involved in a triangle with Joshua, whom Yukiko seems to like too. It's not clear whether Wendy even realizes that Joshua has a crush on her, though.
  • There are currently three love triangles in Kimi ni Todoke: Sawako/Kazehaya/Kurumi, Ryu/Chizuru/Tooru, and Kazehaya/Sawako/Kent. All 'Bettys' win in the end.
  • The "main" love triangle in Ouran High School Host Club bottles down to Tamaki and Hikaru for Haruhi.
  • In Xam'd: Lost Memories, there's the hero Akiyuki, his best friend Furuichi, and their mutual love interest Haru.
  • Zero, Yuuki, and Kaname from Vampire Knight.
  • There are a few standard love triangles in Onidere, but a hilarious one occurs between Tadashii (the boy), Saya (his girlfriend), and "Angie" (Saya again, wearing a Paper-Thin Disguise). To add to the hilarity, Tadashii sees through Saya's disguise immediately, and is so incredibly confused.
  • Cantarella has a perfect love triangle, illustrated [2]
  • Tenshi ni Narumon has, for majority of the series, something akin to 'love quindrangle' Noelle-Yuusuke-Natsumi-Fuyuki/Raphael-Mikael-Noelle, but it turns out Mikael never was interested in Noelle in that way (he is in fact in love with Raphael), so here the chain breaks. And poor Natsumi is the one left out..., as well as more traditional triangles Muse-Eros-Silky-Noelle, kinda tragical, because Muse and Eros are just dolls and Silky expresses weird fixation/hatred towards Noelle. Also, Miruru-Gabriel-Sara-Mikael - where the one with poor luck is Sara.
  • Madoka Magica: Sayaka loves Kamijou. So does Hitomi. Oh and it's strongly implied that Kyouko loves Sayaka, but that doesn't really interfere with the aforementioned triangle.
  • In Gankutsuou, there are two major love triangles, in two different generations. Edmund Dantes and Fernando Mondigo were both in love with Mercedes, who was engaged to Edmund. Fernand gets proactive. In the next generation, Franz and Eugenie are both in love with Albert, who is engaged to Eugenie. Franz had long ago made the decision to support Albert and Eugenie, and dies without Eugenie or Albert ever knowing that there was a love triangle.
    • Then there's a more minor love triangle, when Maximilian and Franz's fiancee, Valentine, fall in love. Decidedly resolved when Franz pledges his support to Maximilian and helps him rescue Valentine from her family. The most easily resolved triangle, what with the hypotenuse being a gay Shipper on Deck.
  • There are at least three in Bleach, though very little of it is explicit given Kubo's hesitance to properly develop romance. The main one which is the generator of most Ship-to-Ship Combat in the fandom is Ichigo, Rukia, and Orihime, where Orihime is the most explicitly in love with Ichigo who seems to ignore it (though has a powerful urge to protect her), and Orihime fears Ichigo's attention belongs to Rukia. Secondly, Ishida seems to have somewhat of a crush on Orihime, who again is pretty explicitly in love with Ichigo. Thirdly (and the most open to interpretation of the three) is Yoruichi, who has been living with Urahara for over 100 years, while Soi Fon was emotionally devastated that Yoruichi left the Soul Society for him.
  • In the background of Fairy Tail both Jet and Droy are trying to win Levy's heart. Most ship tease with her recently has been with Gajeel instead, but the two of them seem to be Just Friends, if that. Not that it stops Jet and Droy from hating him that much more.
  • S-Cry-ed had one between Ryuho, Mimori, and Scheris (which was part of a Love Dodecahedron if you take Kazuma and Straight Cougar into account!) In an ironic turn of events it ends with Scheris dead, leaving Ryuho and Mimori to possibly hook up, but Ryuho refusing to accept Mimori's advances and using Scheris dying because of her love for him as the reasoning for this. Scheris must have been laughing in her grave.
  • Tokyo Crazy Paradise has one with Akira, Ryuji, and Tsukasa. Possibly with Asago, Tsukasa, and Ryuji.
  • True Tears has a confusing and somewhat depressing web of love. The main character, Shinichirō is in love with his childhood friend Hirome, who is also in love with him, but because she thinks they're half siblings acts coldly towards him and pretends to be in love with a rival basketball player, Jun, who is actually in love with his own sister, Noe, who is in love with Shinichirō. Jun and Shinichirō then agree that Jun will go out with Hirome if Shinichirō will go out with Noe, as they believe that that is what the one they love wants. Meanwhile, Shinichirō's friends Aiko and Miyokichi are dating, but Aiko has feelings for Shinichirō and Miyokichi doesn't know. Hilarity Ensues.
  • RIN-NE: The two main triangles are between Rinne, Sakura, Tsubasa and Rinne, Ageha, Sakura. Rinne and Tsubasa like Sakura (Sakura's feelings are unclear at this point) and Ageha crushes on Rinne who only tolerates her


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Marvel Comics has some truly legendary love triangles. The archetypal X-Men love triangle had Jean Grey torn between stoic Cyclops and bad boy Wolverine. The Fantastic Fours Invisible Woman is devoted to her husband Mr. Fantastic but drawn to the passionate Sub-Mariner. Of course, there's also The Avengers Crystal/Black Knight/Sersi love triangle, which threatened to turn into a Love Dodecahedron because of Crystal's husband Quicksilver.
    • And then there's Jean/Scott/Emma...even though "Jean's dead again", that doesn't stop the writers.
    • The younger generation isn't free from this either. Young Avengers has Kate Bishop in a Betty and Veronica situation with Patriot (Betty) and Speed (Veronica), and Stature is in a tweak of the Superman variation with Iron Lad and the Vision, whose brain is patterned off Iron Lad's memory engrams.
      • The only stable couple? Wiccan and Hulkling, the resident Yaoi Guys.
  • Archie Comics has a Love Triangle subtrope all to itself.
  • An interesting (and classic) variation happens with Superman. Clark Kent is smitten with Lois Lane, who is completely infatuated with Superman. So...Clark's only competition is with himself?
    • Echoed in the relationship between Batman and Chase Meridian in Batman Forever. Also happens with Spider-Man, whose love life is all over the map.
    • Happens in the same fashion to Hal Jordan. At about the same time that Hal received his ring, Carol Ferris broke up with him in order to focus on running her father's business. Of course, that didn't stop her from chasing after Green Lantern whenever she got the opportunity.
    • Different adaptations of the Superman mythos (i.e. the 90s' Lois and Clark TV series) will throw in Lex Luthor as a competitor for Lois' affections. Results may vary.
    • Superman's ex-girlfriend Lana Lang is also in competition with Lois for his affections. In some versions of the story, Lana is just as unaware as Lois that Clark is Superman. In other versions, Lana has known since high school, and it was the initial reason they broke up—resulting in her rocky marriage to Clark's friend Pete Ross, making this a Love Dodecahedron. Superman himself long carried a torch for his college girlfriend Lori Lemaris, and was bitterly disappointed when she rejected him for Ronal, whom she married (Lori and Ronal are both merpeople, incidentally). Superman and Lori are now "Just Friends."
      • Looking over the covers, Lana and Lois' rivalry for Superman's affections was a potent one. The most simple solution would have been to pair the women, but hey, I just think too much of all the potential Does Not Know His Own Strength accidents in intimate relationships when one is super and the other is not, and the girls seemed well-matched.
  • Does Clarabelle Cow go out with Goofy or Horace Horsecollar? Some of the comics involving them play with this trope.
  • Subverted in the erotic furry comic, Omaha the Cat Dancer. In this series, Omaha runs away from her lover, Charles Tabey Jr., in utter desolation after he blew up on her for a dark secret she had to confess (She was already married, had broken up with her husband long ago, but never actually divorced yet) and goes to a small town where she starts a passionate relationship with another man. However, Omaha learns that Charles was hospitalized with a nervous breakdown because her leaving him and she decides to return to him. Before she does that, she explains the full situation with her new boyfriend and he is understanding enough to encourage her to go back. After all differences are patched up, Charles makes a point of inviting that man to their New Year Eve's party to show his appreciation for helping Omaha at that tough time he himself put her through. As it happens, the pair get along so well they agree to take Omaha to bed a threesome and a fun time is had by all.
  • There are so many of these in Teen Titans, I don't even know where to start.
  • Empowered/Thugboy/Ninjette. Type 4, or a type 6 if you have your yuri goggles on.
  • German artist Walter Moers once wrote such a story, involving a (male) fir tree, a (female) triangle (as in the instrument; forms a pair with the tree) and a toblerone bar (male, bisexual) who cheats with the triangle. While they're in a tent. (Triangle / triangular story, get it?) As the author Lampshades: Doesn't that sound pretty constructed?
  • Sin City is normally not the sort of place you might expect a love triangle, but we have at least two:
    • Dwight bounces back and forth between Gail, the badass prostitute and Shellie, the sweet waitress.
    • Then we have an All Love Is Unrequited situation. Marv loves Nancy, who loves Hartigan, who only loves her in a platonic manner. It's a rare example in that Marv and Hartigan never knew each other.
  • Elf Quest has a few, complicated by Recognition. This is a "mating urge" bringing together a pair that are a good genetic match to produce gifted children, and traditionally a Recognised couple will become lifemates.
    • Leetah's choice between Rayek and Cutter.
    • Dewshine, Scouter, and Tyldak (when Dewshine and Tyldak recognised, but couldn't stand each other)
    • Dewshine, Scouter, and Tyleet, when Scouter and Tyleet recognised, ending in a stable threesome
    • Ember's choice between Mender and Teir.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Bend It Like Beckham: Jules adores Joe who only has eyes for Jess. More triangular in that multiple supporting characters mistake Jess and the boyish Jules for a couple.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean turns this into more of a Love Pyramid, with Will and Norrington in love with Elizabeth, and Jack attracted to Elizabeth. Elizabeth loves Will and is also attracted to Jack. Hilarity Ensues many times over.
  • The Philadelphia Story, as well as many other classic screwball comedies.
  • House of Flying Daggers with Leo, Mei, and Jin
  • This is the premise of Francois Truffaut's Jules And Jim
  • Casablanca is a classic, with Victor loving Ilsa who still loves Rick but whose duty lies with Victor...
  • In Pearl Harbor, we have Evelyn torn between her boyfriend Rafe, who was believed to be dead, and his best friend Danny, who befriended her after Rafe was reported to be dead.
  • The Chinese film Painted Skin is just basically one big love triangle pileup. With certain supernatural elements. But no, it's mostly a bunch of love triangles (pick a main character, any main character).
  • Anchors Aweigh had the triangle between Clarence, Susan, and Joe. Clarence eventually finds another girl, and Joe and Susan end up together.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Ur Example: the Trojan War was a consequence of the Love Triangle between Helen, Paris, and Menelaus.
    • And then the whole problem caused by the triangle between Achilles, Breisis, and Agamemnon.
  • One Arthur C. Clarke story has a love triangle between some minor characters (due to the relationship-stretching difficulties of space travel) which all the participants are completely aware of. It's also "completely equilateral", if you get Sir Arthur's meaning. This editor would provide more information but he can't even remember whether it was a short story or a novel.
    • Rendezvous With Rama has several triangles, including one equilateral, although only the two men of that triangle appear in the story.
  • The Wheel of Time has all of Elayne, Min, Aviendha, and Rand's angsting before they settled on a polyamorous relationship. There was also Berelain's determined pursuit of Perrin, which utterly trashed his relationship with Faile, and the whole complicated set of customs and rules that put Bain, Chiad, and Gaul in their position.
  • Nikolai/Sonya/Marya form one in War and Peace. Natasha/Anatoly/Andrei form another.
  • The English Patient: the title character's affair with Katharine Clifton.
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream, anyone? Helena loves Demetrius who loves Hermia who loves Lysander, who loves her back. And that's before the fairies start mucking around with their relationships.
    • It's resolved early on when Hermia decides to leave Athens with lysander secretly.
    • Then Helena, Who's a Yandere by the way, decides to tell Demetrius of this, who by the way loves Hermia and hates Helena. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Warrior Cats loves these. Spottedleaf and Firestar liked each other in the beginning, but she died and promptly began stalking him from above. He then fell in love with Sandstorm, although for a while she wasn't so sure he wasn't still in love with Spottedleaf. And he somehow managed not to realize that he and Cinderpelt weren't Just Friends.
    • Then, the sequel series gives us two more. Brambleclaw and Squirrelflight love each other, but they fall out for a while and Squirrelflight hooks up with Ashfur. They make up in the end and become mates, but Ashfur never forgives her, causing him to go insane, betray the Clan, and try to kill her children--forcing her to admit that they aren't hers. Brambleclaw, who had no idea, left her because of this. As of now, their relationship stands on uncertain ground. Stormfur was also sweet on Squirrelflight for awhile, but later fell for Brook.
    • And then there's the infamous Crowfeather/Leafpool/Feathertail/Nightcloud triangle. Crowfeather fell for Feathertail, who then promptly died, and later ran off with Leafpool because they could never be together because of the boundaries between their Clans, but eventually returned. To prove his loyalty, he hooked up with a cat from his own Clan, Nightcloud, and a kit with her. It was later revealed that Leafpool actually had Crowfeather's kits and was forced to give them up to her sister at first or risk punishment. When this was revealed, he rejected her completely and declared that his mate was Nightcloud and his kit was Breezepelt.
    • Not to mention the fact that Lionblaze used to love Heathertail, but gave her up (much to her dismay) because they were from separate Clans and he couldn't be a great warrior if he was seeing a cat from another Clan. They grew to hate each other, and now Heathertail and Breezepelt may or may not be Just Friends.
  • In Les Misérables, Eponine loves Marius, who loves Cosette, who (eventually) loves him back after a bit of trepidation. A loony, an emo kid, and a Mary Sue! Hooray!
  • The Lost Fleet at least for the first four books. While its clear that Desjani is head over heels for John Geary, Geary is already in a relationship with Rione, which gets conplicated when they find out Rione's husband may not be dead. And they're all on the same ship.
  • In the Darkest Powers series, Chloe has feelings for both Simon and Derek, and both of them have feelings for her. Simon and Derek are brothers. Awkward. In a refreshing change from most female protagonists who find themselves in this situation, Chloe doesn't toy with either of them. She's also honestly confused about her own feelings, and barely realizes that she has more-than-friendly feelings for Derek. In the end, it turns out that she does like Simon, but just as a friend. She's honestly in love with Derek, even if it takes both of them a bit of time to work things out and get together. Some completely understandable angst ensues between Simon realizing that Chloe likes Derek, and Chloe and Derek finally figuring out that their feelings are mutualomg, but everyone involved is actually mature about it, completely free of pettiness, and no one resents anyone because they all act like rational people.
    • In the beginning, it looked like the triangle would be a rather generic Main Character Girl vs. Alpha Bitch for The Nice Guy between Chloe, Simon, and Tori, though this was resolved fairly early when Tori’s mother warned her to stay away from Simon practically under threat of death. Tori then tells Chloe that Simon is all hers right before hitting her in the head with a brick and hog-tying her as revenge for making her already crappy life even MORE miserable. Though, she gets over her crush after being forced to spend a few days alone with him. And then later on it turns out they’re half-siblings, which explains why Mrs. Enright was so adamant about Tori staying away from him. Cue awkward music!
    • Also played with in The Reckoning when Tori makes a comment about Derek actually not looking so bad, though this was more a casual observation and a chance to tease Chloe than anything serious. Doesn’t stop Chloe from getting mad, though.
  • In John C. Wright's The Golden Age, The Phoenix Exultant, and The Golden Transcedence, Phaethon is in love with his wife Daphne Prime, who drowned herself in a simulated dream, and emancipated a partial personality, Daphne Tercuis, whom she thought would be better suited to Phaethon, and who is madly in love with him. Owing to Laser-Guided Amnesia, neither Phaethon nor Daphne Tercuis know this at the opening, and because Daphne Tercius derives from Daphne Prime, she had most of her memories, and Phaethon confuses the two of them. Eventually he realizes that most of his fondest memories of Daphne are of Daphne Tercius and asks her to marry him in her own right.
  • I don't think that it's too much of a stretch to suggest that Harry Potter's Harry/Hermione/Ron love triangle (however imagined) was one of the more vitriolic fandom debates of the last decade.
    • More explicitly illustrated HP love triangles include Harry/Ginny/Dean, Harry/Cho/Cedric, Ron/Hermione/Krum, Hermione/Ron/Lavender and Snape/Lily/James.
  • In the The Hunger Games series, Gale/Katniss/Peeta.
  • In the Brazilian book The Devil to Pay In The Backlands, Otacília loves Riobaldo, who likes her and could even love her back if he wasn't already in love with Diadorim, who seems to love him too, but he has his own reasons - besides being both male - to stay quiet.
  • Erik/Christine/Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera. Of course, some people ship Christine and Meg.
  • The Mortal Instruments: Clary falls for Jace. Long time best friend Simon has always loved Clary, but Clary doesn't find out until later. Alec has a crush on Jace, who doesn't find out at all. Simon has a crush on Isabelle, Alec's sister. She loathes him when they first meet but he grows on her. By the end of the first book, Jace has fallen for Clary as well. Oops. Later, Maia is introduced. She likes Simon, and he likes her back. But we can't let anything in this story be simple. Sorry Simon.. By now, Magnus Bane has been introduced. Guess who ends up with him? In City of Glass, yet another player is introduced, Sebastian. Clary has a short fling with him. Oops again. Only it turns out that Jace and Clary aren't actually related. But in Sebastian aka Jonathan's case, it's for real. And he knew it. And this is to say nothing of Jocelyn's love history, which is simpler (Lucian/Valentine), or other side love interests like Isabelle's fling with Meliorn or Maia's ex Jordan. In the end: Clary/Jace. Alec/Magnus. Jocelyn/Lucian.
  • The Mysteries of Pittsburgh has main character Art Bechenstein falling for both Phlox and his friend Arthur in a bisexual variant.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: By the book Deja Vu, one has clearly developed between Maggie Spritzer, Ted Robinson, and Abner Tookus. Maggie loves them both, but in different ways. She was engaged to be married to Ted. However, she calls off the engagement to Ted and says that the two should just be friends. She tells Abner how she feels about him, but he does not forgive her mistreatment of him, and their relationship comes to an end. The book Home Free has her hooking up with Augustus "Gus" Sullivan, and apparently Abner finally forgives Maggie. Whew!
  • In John C. Wright's Count To A Trillion, Blackie accuses Menelaus of trying to steal his fiancee, whom Menelaus has never met.
  • The infamous love triangle between Bella, Edward, and Jacob from the Twilight saga.
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere an Autumn Tale, Catarina regards her brother's love for Raechel as making them this.
  • Taylor Anderson plays with love triangles as sub-plots in his "Destroyermen" series.
    • The first one introduced involving Chack, Selass, and Saak-Fas (eventually a fourth party, Safir, gets thrown into the mix). Chack initially loves Selass, but Selass puts him down and chooses Saak-Fas, another suitor. After Saak-Fas is lost in battle, Selass refocuses her love on Chack. Oddly enough, this same battle is what makes Chack forget about Selass and when Saak-Fas is found alive as a prisoner of war/rations for the Grik, Selass is unable to mate with Chack for a while. Once Chack meets Safir, Selass becomes the unlucky suitor instead of Chack.
    • Is somewhat downplayed and possibly subverted with one of the human Destroyermen, Dennis Silva. Silva attracts the attention of the human nurse Pam, and Lemurian warrior Risa. His solution to this is that he has relationships with BOTH of them simultaneously, as he loves them equally, and both females seem to consent with this.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Every Korean drama. Seriously.
    • For instance, The First Shop of Coffee Prince: Yoo Joo once left Han Seong for DK. She returns to Han Seong, but has a borderline flirtatious friendship with Han Kyul, who likes both her and Eun Chan. Han Seong also has romantic feelings for Eun Chan, but her feelings for him seem to be platonic.
  • Grey's Anatomy: Dr. McDreamy, Meredith, and Dr. McDreamy's wife. An interesting example, in that the audience is primarily rooting for the "interloper."
      • A bit of Ensemble Darkhorse working here, maybe? Since Kate Walsh's Addison Shephard was popular enough to receive her own show.
  • Practically every show on The WB and UPN that had more than a handful of episodes had at least gone through a long Story Arc centered on a triangle, including, oddly enough, the Professional Wrestling franchise.
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike and Angel(us) compete for either Drusilla or Buffy.
    • During season 3, Willow is torn between Oz and Xander, and Xander is torn between Cordelia and Willow.
    • A short-lived triangle existed between Oz, Willow and Veruca in season 4.
  • Third Watch: Bobby Caffey is in love with his colleague Kim Zambrano... who is still in love with her ex-husband Jimmy Doherty.
  • Merlin [BBC] has, as in the legends, the Arthur/Gwen/Lancelot love triangle.
  • The third season of Degrassi the Next Generation has a truly grim Love Triangle that ends (after many, many twists) with all three people hating each other and vowing to never see each other again. Later seasons overused the Love Triangle to the point of insanity; an absolute majority of the cast has been in at least one Love Triangle, and some of them have been in two or more.
    • The aforementioned lovetriangle essentially recreates a love triangle from Degrassi High that was just as catastrophic. It will forever be remembered not only for breaking up what was perhaps Degrassi's most popular couple ever, but also for being the first time the word "Fuck" was uttered on Canadian TV.
    • Averted in Season 7, as Mia and Holly J are both interested in Sav. Sav decided to date Anya.
  • Lost: Much of the drama of the series involves Kate trying to figure out whether she loves Jack or Sawyer.
    • Further muddled by the inclusion of Juliet, an extra love interest for Jack who gets stuck on the Island with Sawyer after Jack and Kate leave and the Island moves.
      • Finally settled in the Grand Finale where the pairings settle as Jack/Kate and Sawyer/Juliet.
  • Jeff and Marty over Jeannie in Randall and Hopkirk Deceased (both versions), Marty has one advantage of being Jeannie's husband (or fiancé in the newer series) but one huge disadvantage in being dead and invisible to Jeannie.
  • Sophie, Paul, and Megan in the third season of Slings and Arrows are a textbook love triangle. In the show's backstory, Oliver, Ellen, and Geoffrey have a more complicated (type 12) relationship.
  • Stingray: Atlanta Shore is in love with Troy Tempest, but in the pilot episode Troy meets and goes all dewey-eyed (well, as dewey-eyed as a puppet character can get) over Cute Mute Marina. This is such a key part of the show that it's even lampshaded in the closing titles.
  • In Babylon 5, Sheridan-Delenn-Lennier. With ultimately violent consequences when the latter suddenly switches from I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy to Love Makes You Evil.
  • The Closer: Agent Howard is in love with Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson, who's in love with Agent Howard... now. But back in DC Brenda had an affair with her superior, Chief Pope. Ironically, she's now working for Chief Pope again, this time in L.A., and he still has feelings for her, but she's over him and married to Agent Howard, resulting in a very grudging I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
  • On Angel, Fred is pursued by both Gunn and Wesley during Season Three. Gunn wins at first, but Wesley eventually gets with her, a year after Fred and Gunn break up and just before Fred's death.
    • There's also the Angel-Cordelia-Connor love triangle in Season Four, complicated by the fact that Angel and Connor are father and son and that Cordelia is possessed by the Big Bad.
  • Glee has love triangles for the kids AND the adults. The kids are Finn, Rachel, and Quinn while the adults are Will, Terri (Will's wife), and Emma.
    • The Will/Terri/Emma triangle has been (mostly) resolved because Will found out Terri was faking her pregnancy and promptly divorced her. The Finn/Quinn/Rachel triangle was resolved as well as Finn learned the baby wasn't his. The second triangle was replaced with a Rachel/Finn/Jesse triangle though
  • In the season 1 of Heroes, the triangle of Peter, Simone and Isaac was epic and led to catastrophic consequences.
  • Stargate Universe has Eli, Chloe, and Lt. Scott.
    • Stargate Atlantis had Ronon, Keller and McKay. Interestingly, she chose McKay.
      • Possibly Subverted Trope because it is hinted that Ronon doesn't actually have feelings for Dr. Keller, but is making it look like he does to screw with Mckay, getting Rodney to finally make his move.
  • The Steve Harvey Show had Steve, Regina, and Warrington Steele (Regina's college boyfriend who is a big Jerk Jock)
  • The Office (American version), in one of the most hilarious love triangles ever conceived, with Andy Bernard and Dwight Schrute competing for the affections of Angela Martin. It did lead to accusations of Soaperizing, however.
    • Not to mention triangles between Jim Halpert, Pam Beasley, and Roy Anderson... followed by Jim, Pam, and Karen. As well as at least one episode of Jan, Carol, and Michael and another of Andy, Dwight, and Erin. Andy, Dwight, Angela was hardly the first (or last with the newer Dwight, Angela, Isabelle triangle) time that show has used a love triangle.
    • The British version also highlighted the tension between Tim/Dawn/Lee, as well as Rachel/Tim/Dawn.
  • Battlestar Galactica has its own heaping helping. Starbuck is torn between Apollo, who marries Dee, and Sam Anders, while Tyrol used to be involved with Boomer, but marries Callie and has a son with her. Or so he thinks. Even Colonel Tigh gets in on the action, falling in love with a Six, but still has feelings for his not-actually-dead wife.
    • The Original Galactica series had Athena-Starbuck-Cassiopia
  • Chuck: Chuck loves Sarah Sarah loves Chuck back but her ex boyfriend Bryce wants Sarah back and Sarah still cares for Bryce there are more to Sarah:Cole Chuck:Lou and later Jill.
  • The Vampire Diaries: Stefan and Damon compete for Elena (because she looks like Katherine, a woman whom they both used to be in love with).
    • There are lots of other triangles in the show as well, but most importantly as of the second season both of Elena's best friends also have love triangles of their own.
  • Gilmore Girls does this with Lorelai, Luke, and Christopher and Rory with Dean, Jess, and Logan.
  • Two notable examples on Farscape - John, Aeryn, and Gillina in the season one finale, and John, Aeryn, and John in season three. Yes, that's right. John Crichton is involved in a love triangle with himself.
  • Two examples in Doctor Who: First between the Doctor, Rose and Jack, and later between the Doctor, Amy and Rory.
    • Jack and Rose are both in love with the Doctor, and also fancy each other. The Doctor cares about Rose in his own way, but the show leaves it ambiguous whether it's deep friendship or romantic love, and the Doctor Cannot Spit It Out either way. All three pairings get sweet and emotional kissing scenes. The Doctor eventually solves the Rose side of the problem by convincing her to live Happily Ever After with his half-Donna clone, which is messed up on a whole lot of levels.
    • Amy and Rory are Happily Married, but Amy also quite fancies the Doctor. The Doctor wants nothing of that, pushes Amy and Rory together and freaks the hell out when Amy tries to kiss him against his will. Just as well for Rory, since the Doctor literally can, and does, fly Amy to the moon and take her on a spin amongs the stars.
      • Amy turns out to be completely shameless during her and Rorys wedding.

Amy: [moves up to the Doctor] You absolutely definitely may kiss the bride.
The Doctor: [Casually puts his index-finger over Amys lips] From now on, I leave all of the kissing to the brand new Mister Pond!

      • And later:

Amy: Oi! Where are you off to? We haven't even had a snog in the shrubbery yet!
Rory: Amy!
Amy: Shut up, it's my wedding.
Rory: Our wedding!

  • Alias included several love triangles; however, the most prominent were between Will/Sydney/Vaughn and Sydney/Vaughn/Lauren.
  • Fringe appears to be setting up a mind-frak of a love triangle between Peter, Olivia, and Alternate!Olivia.
  • The three-season long back and forth between Telema, Kwame, and Soji in Tinsel. Then there was also Angela/Reginald/Amaka, then Reginald/Amaka/Sunom before Sunom killed Reginald.
  • Beautifully (and possibly uniquely) done in an episode of Community; when Troy and Abed develop a simultaneous crush on the new librarian, their response is to approach her at the same time, explain the situation and invite her out on a mutual date so that she can determine which of the two she'd prefer to see again. She ends up settling on Troy, but he breaks it off when she says some unflattering things about Abed.
  • The season 4 finale of iCarly ends with Sam kissing Freddie, which makes a Carly/Freddie/Sam All Love Is Unrequited Love Triangle canon for now.
    • In the season 5 premiere, the sequel to the season 4 finale has Freddie kissing Sam and returning the feelings Sam has for him. However, that didn't last long though.
    • Miranda Cosgrove even hinted at some magazine interviews that there was a love triangle in the show.
  • The trope has become a game show - GSN's Love Triangle. Wendy Williams hosts the show, designed to chop one branch off the triangle after 30 minutes of somewhat intrusively personal questioning. The show debuted in the spring of 2011 for a first season of 36 episodes. Williams' hammy hosting is one of the many reasons nobody expects a second season.
  • In Frasier, Niles was in love with both Daphne (who was oblivious, and his unseen wife, Maris, finding himself torn for several years because he refused to cheat on or break up with his wife, yet couldn't get rid of his feelings for Daphne. Contrary to most triangles of this kind, however, Maris was so evil that fans spent all those years screaming "dump the bitch!" instead of rooting for Niles' marriage to succeed.
  • Rookie Blue loves this one. Lets see: Sam/Andy/Luke, Dov/Gail/Chris, Andy/Luke/Jo, Traci/Jerry/Dex...that's every single one of the rookies in one at some point over two seasons.
  • In AMC's The Walking Dead, there is a type 4 between Shane Walsh/Lori Grimes/Rick Grimes—now that Lori's husband whom Shane and Lori thought was dead has returned and the affair with Shane ended.
  • The Amazing Race 2 had Wil/Tara/Alex. Wil and Tara were married but separated, but Tara still started flirting with Alex, and cost them the race by doing so.
    • Zach/Flo/Drew on Season 3. Zach and Flo were friends seeing if they could be more, but Flo fell for Drew instead.

Myth And Legend[edit | hide]

  • The King Arthur stories largely revolve around the triangle of Arthur, Guenivere, and Lancelot. Interestingly, each of them originally came from an entirely different story line, and merged together sometime in the 15th and 16th centuries.
    • 12th century actually. Though the most complete version of the myth, the Morte Darthur, was written in the 15th c.
      • The originator of the Arthur - Guinevere - Lancelot triangle is widely believed to be the French poet Chretien De Troyes, who wrote about it in his Lancelot or The Knight of the Cart in the late 12th century.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Defied in the song Au fond de temple saint from the opera The Pearl Fishers: when two close friends realise that they have fallen in love with the same person, they vow to renounce her so they do not become enemies.
  • "Hide Your Heart" by Kiss has a variation of this. Rosa and Tito are together, but an (implied to be unhappy) Rosa hooks up with Johnny anyway. It doesn't end well for Johhnny.
  • The song "Withered Hope" by They Might Be Giants describes a love triangle between Withered Hope, her "Soul Mate", a crook, a motorbike, and Sad Sack (who of course loves Withered Hope).


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]


Radio[edit | hide]


Theater[edit | hide]

  • In Phantom of the Opera, The Phantom loves Christine, who's in love with Raoul (although some argue that she also had feelings for the Phantom).
  • The relationship between Eliza, Professor Higgings and Freddy in My Fair Lady may be considered this.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Kain from Final Fantasy IV spends the majority of the game fighting with his best friend Cecil over Cecil's lover, Rosa. He even maintains his affection for Rosa through his two Face Heel Turns.
  • Final Fantasy VII has the famous love triangle between Cloud, Aerith, and Tifa. One death and one relationship upgrade later things work themselves out.
  • Played with in Skies of Arcadia. While Aika and Fina both show occasional feelings for Vyse, none of the three ever show any real desire to resolve the triangle. In fact, the two girls only seem to have an issue when Vyse shows interest in a third girl. Subsquently, some hints in the game drop that Vyse eventually becomes smitten with Fina, but he never acts on his feelings.
  • Drakengard has an interesting Love Triangle between Furiae, Inuart and Caim that's only alluded to as being serious one or two times in the whole game.
    • Although in all fairness, it's partially due to the brutal editing job done on the outside-of-Japan versions.
    • And the sequel repeats the trend by setting up another triangle between Nowe, Manah and Eris. In the end, it is Manah who gets the guy.
  • There are several examples in Warcraft 3: The Stormrage brothers, Malfurion and Illidan, with Tyrande Whisperwind. Winner? Malfurion. Then Frozen Throne gives us a new triangle: Arthas-Jaina-Kael. Who wins? Probably nobody, since Arthas has completely thrown away his soul and love to become Lich King, and as of World of Warcraft, Kael is just thinking to have a hot sex with Kil'Jaeden.
  • Dragon Quest V tries to have one of these, but you will feel absolutely horrible if you go for the woman other than the one that's obviously supposed to wind up with him. Let's review the choices the Hero has, shall we?

Flora: You've known her for a day. Seems nice enough, though shy almost to the point of a Hikikomori. Useless in combat. Has a fiercely determined suitor already.
Bianca: Obviously loves you. Is cute and tomboyish. You've known her since childhood, when you exorcised a haunted castle together, rescued her from being held captive, and got a Glowing Ball of Plot Significance, with a promise to meet again. Your Pet Baby Wild Animal recognizes only her bow. Her mother died, and her father is in a bad way, but will recover from sheer joy if you marry her. If you don't marry her, she will be forced to become a mistreated barmaid.

    • But if you marry Bianca, you still feel like a jerk since the lavish wedding Flora's father had planned for his daughter becomes the lavish wedding for a stranger instead. Oh, and the remake adds a third bride, Deborah, and choosing her means dumping both Flora AND Bianca for a woman who literally just showed up.
    • The DS version does also tone down the Bianca-bias a bit, and removes the Diabolus Ex Machina if you don't select her.
  • Fire Emblem has one of the weirdest love triangles in existence. Priscilla loves Raven, who is partial to Lucius, who returns his affections. Lucius is his male companion and Priscilla is his sister. Needless to say, Priscilla and Lucius's supports are brimming with unspoken hostility.
  • Arcueid --> Shiki <-- Ciel. Technically, there are 8-9 girls in love with him, but this is the set that has the triangle relation to it. In the more or less canon ending, Arcueid wins by default. Ciel's route makes Arcueid scary because she's losing/lost. Actually, Ciel and Akiha can also more or less make one of these as well, as, unlike the above, they genuinely hate each other. A lot.
  • Hey, did we tell you about the Mario/Peach/Bowser triangle yet?
  • Geo/Luna/Sonia, Mega Man Star Force. Funny that American fans tend to see more hints of Geo/Luna, while Japanese fans do the reverse.
    • Star Force 3 flirts with it. Depending on whose item you reclaim in the Stolen Items quest (Sonia's bag or Luna's handkerchief), one girl gets to hold hands with Geo while the other pigs out in an angry fit. If you pick Bud's shirt, both of them pig out.
  • Sakura and Nemu in Da Capo form the game's real triangle with their adamant refusal to accept Junichi pairing up with the other. Both say more or less that they'd be perfectly okay if he would pick any other girl, like Mako or Kotori or even some catgirl maid. Who... really does show up later.
  • Implied between Max, Grit and Nell in the first Advance Wars, before never being mentioned again. It was never one hundred per cent explained what happened, but Grit left Orange Star for Blue Moon to give Nell and Max the room they needed.
  • Kingdom Hearts has a bit of a Love Triangle between main protagonist Sora, his best friend and rival Riku, and their mutual love interest and childhood friend Kairi. It tones down considerably following the first game, probably because Riku knows how his two friends feel about each other and wants them to be happy.
  • Sayo, Itsuki, and Akira in the first chapter of Suika. In the second during the alternate route, Mie and Sayaka and in the third route, Akane, Touko and Yoshikazu. Only one of these ends well.
  • Alicia and Princess Terria both like Waffle in Tail Concerto. Waffle seems to slightly favor Alicia by the end, but nothing is explicitly stated and he's apparently fond enough of Terria that Cyan has decided he's his rival for her affection.
  • One exists in Jade Empire, between Silk Fox, Dawn Star, and a male player. You can exacerbate it by expressing an interest in both of them, resolve it by expressing an interest in only one, or if you have a high enough Charm skill you can have them both.
  • Mass Effect has either human love interest, Liara, and Shepard, assuming Shepard led both of the others on enough.
    • The second game introduces some potentially complicated ones, as Shepard can have expressed an attraction to as many as five characters (either gender) over the course of the story. Even if you don't engineer one between some of the characters in the second game, a meeting between Shepard's love interest from the first and the second in the upcoming third game could turn violent (Jack and Ashley is probably the one that would lead to the most bloodshed).
    • The third game can potentially feature one straight-up if Shepard pursued a romance in both the first and second game. It's hard to argue that when the developers explicitly described the ensuing situation as a "Love Triangle". Given the possibility of NEW romance options in the third game, this could quickly get out of hand.
  • Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark contains a severely underdeveloped one that might exist between Nathyrra, Aribeth, and a male player. The sequel has a slightly better defined one (though Neeshka's romance plot was cut from the final game) between Neeshka, Elanee, and a male player and a rather obvious tension for female player's affections between Casavir and Bishop (whose romance plot fared slightly better than Neeshka's).
  • Canvas 2 gives us Yanagi, Kiri, and Hiroki. Yanagi loves Kiri loves Hiroki, who loves her back but pretends he doesn't to support his friend. Five years later, Elis and Kiri love Hiroki, who is completely oblivious and can pick from five other heroines instead.
  • Vanguard Bandits as a few of these, with the Triangle being determined on which of the Multiple Branches the player decides to head unto.
  • The Tokimeki Memorial series is fond of these, as the protagonist usually has a rival for the affections of most of the potential love interests, and befriending both the intended date and the person who likes them will result in said rival becoming quite bitter towards the player (until things are smoothed over and the rival decides I Want My Beloved to Be Happy and tells you to take care of them). Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side 3 actually allows the player to set up a love triangle with the datable guys, so that they'll fight over you instead.
  • Gets messy in Eien no Aselia. First, Kouin loves Kyouko loves Kouin, but Yuuto more than him. Yuuto is oblivious. Turns out surprisingly okay. Kotori also feels jealous of how close Kaori and Yuuto are since despite her rather blatant hinting he still hasn't caught on yet. This one doesn't end very happily until both Kaori and Kotori's memories get erased anyway though not exactly terribly, either.
  • There's an implied Triangle in Fallout 3 between Amata, the (male) Lone Wanderer and Sarah Lyons. The UST with Amata is fairly evident right from the beginning if you take the right conversation options while Lyons' only hint is a single line she drops at the end of Broken Steel where she expresses sorrow that if they would've met under different conditions, they might have "become... friends".
    • This being Fallout, you can screw it all up by damaging the Vault and forcing Amata outside, leading to her being interrogated and executed by an Enclave patrol as well as sending Lyons into Project Purity where she dies from radiation.
  • Fear Effect. Trailers for Fear Effect Inferno reveal that one would have developed between Hana, Rain, and Glas. Hana loves Rain very much, and she begins to show affection to Glas. Rain loves Hana very much, and she appears to want to have sex with Glas and maybe more than that. Glas begins to show affection to Hana, and he appears to be willing to have sex with Rain and maybe more than that. This would have been one complicated Love Triangle and how it would have been handled is not revealed. One trailer indicates that Rain and Deke have formed a relationship. Talk about complicated relationships!

Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • Two in A Profile. Miou and Rizu love Masayuki, who used to date Miou until they broke up and starts out somewhat in love with Rizu. Messy, that. The other triangle is Kaine loving Miou loving Masayuki. Since both triangles together only contain four people, everything is settled once Masayuki starts dating any of his three options.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, there's the one between Bob, Jean, and Voluptua; and more recently between Bob, Jean, and Slick.
  • Platinum Grit has the protagonists in a massively dysfunctional love triangle. Jeremy likes Nils but beats himself up over thinking naughty thoughts about her. Nils enjoys teasing Jeremy but is terrified at the thought of developing a real emotional attachment to anyone and is retreating into no-strings casual sex with strangers. And Kate (who may or may not have had a badly thought out same-sex relationship with Nils at some point) initially just felt pity for Jeremy, but is finding herself more and more attracted to him, but she's too embarrassed to come right out and say it. And even if she did, he'd almost definitely beat himself up for suddenly thinking naughty thoughts about her too.
  • In My Roommate Is an Elf, both Jacinda and Sebastian more or less start flirting with Griswold as soon as they meet him. Griswold seems more attracted to Jacinda though, but Sebastian sees it all as a competition.
  • Girl Genius has several with the main one being the one between Gil, Tarvek and Agatha.
    • Amongst the minor characters there is a love quadrilateral. Both Violetta and Snaug are interested in Moloch who in turn fancies Sanaa, who in turn possibly fancies Tarvek, thus linking the triangle and quadrilateral into a septagon.
    • There was also a love quadrilateral in the previous generation, with Bill Heterodyne, Klaus Wulfenbach, and Aaronev Sturmvoraus all in love with Lucrezia Mongfish. She wound up marrying Bill, but now Gil and Tarvek, the sons of the two unchosen suitors, are courting Lucrezia's daughter, Agatha.
  • In Sandra and Woo Sandra and her friend Larisa have both fallen in love with Cloud who seems to prefer Sandra.
  • In Nip and Tuck, Gilly overestimates his chances in one of these.
  • In Maggot Boy, Davey is in love with Sam, who loves her boss, who loves no one. And more recently, Davey and Carville are both competing for Sam, who still is in love with her boss.
  • In American Barbarian, Rick is glad when he realizes this is not a possibility: the other man is Uli's brother.
  • In Blue Yonder, Kevin thinks he's in one, and that Jared is the Romantic False Lead. Lena disabuses him of the notion.
  • Homestuck has a few, complicated by the great amounts of Ship Tease and the fact that the trolls have several different kinds of romance, in each of which only they are expected to be monogamous.
    • Firstly, we have the Dave-Terezi-Karkat-Jade love square. Dave and Terezi are friends, with Dave possibly having feelings for her; Terezi and Karkat have something going on in the red quadrant but it's unclear exactly where they are; Karkat canonically gets a crush on Jade later on, who rejects him; and Jade has had a bit of Ship Tease with Dave.
    • Secondly, we have Kanaya-Vriska-John-Rose. Kanaya canonically had a crush on Vriska, who never found out; Vriska canonically has a crush on John, but so far he has not figured this out yet; John has some Ship Tease with Rose; and there is some indication Kanaya has gotten a crush on Rose. To complicate matters, Vriska also had a thing for Tavros, who didn't feel the same way, instead getting a crush on Jade, who also rejected him, thus bridging the two squares.
    • Among the trolls there's also Eridan and Sollux both having feelings for Feferi (and Eridan having unrequited black feelings for Sollux), and both Sollux and Equius having feelings for Aradia, though at least in Sollux's case it's unclear here whether his feelings are red or pale.
    • Finally, Jane, Dirk, and Roxy all have a thing for Jake, plus sometimes Dirk's autoresponder, and Roxy also has a bit of a crush on Dirk as well.
  • In No Rest for The Wicked, Perrault speculates about some gallant woodsman who helped November and promised not to tell November's fiance.


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • As Told by Ginger, "April Fool's": A is Dodie, B is a boy named Dustin, and C is Macie.
    • As Told By Ginger again, "Love With A Proper Exchange Student" (the next ep in production order, actually): A is Dodie again, B is an exchange student named Joaquin, and C is Ginger.
  • Hey Arnold!, "Gerald vs. Jamie O": A is Gerald, B is an older girl named Chloe, and C is Gerald's older brother, Jamie O. Not to mention Helga/Arnold/Lila, Helga/Arnold/Ruth, and Brainy/Helga/Arnold. This show lives off of this trope.
    • It was even parodied in the episode "Quantity Time" when Helga and Big Bob went to see a musical called RATS. The singers started this:

Male Rat #1: "I love her"
Female Rat: "But I love him"
Male Rat #2: "And darn it, he loves me!"

  • South Park gives us the bizarre Love Triangle of Saddam Hussein/Satan/Chris. Yeah. For Fanon examples, see One True Threesome.
  • Gargoyles had this for one episode after Goliath's daughter, Angela, joined the Clan. After months of thinking that they would never see a female Gargoyle again (except for one who's psychotic, genocidal, and Goliath's ex), the young trio Gargoyles instantly leapt at the chance to woo this comely newcomer, creating an annoyingly aggressive romantic rivalry for her. Eventually, Angela angrily put her foot down on this and told them to be patient for her to respond, while consoling them with the delightful fact that she has 15 sisters back on the magic island of Avalon. (For the record, she chose Broadway; Brooklyn would find a mate while being Unstuck in Time and the creator said Lexington would eventually get a male suitor.)
    • There's also a subtle one between Goliath, Demona (the aforementioned ex), and Elisa. The girls don't directly fight over Goliath, but he's becoming close to Elisa at the same time that he's realizing that his relationship with Demona can't be salvaged. Demona does hate Elisa more than she does other humans, but it's unclear whether or not that's because she recognizes her as a romantic rival on some level.
    • More triangular examples include the one between Princess Katharine, the Magus and Tom, and the one between King Kenneth II, Finella, and Constantine.
  • You won't believe how many Love Triangles fit into Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. There is of course Gadget who is admired by Chip and Dale. Then there's Tammy's mad crush on Chip, combined with Gadget making her jealous. Gadget herself shows too much interest in Sparky for both chipmunks to just sit and watch. Monty is heartbroken since Désirée hooked up with Errol. And so forth...
  • Danny Phantom starts off with Danny, Sam, and Paulina before it moves to Danny, Sam, and Valerie.
  • Jimmy Neutron features Jimmy/Cindy/Nick and Cindy/Jimmy/Betty. It only fits that Jimmy/Cindy and Nick/Betty happen.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Tootie loves Timmy, who's in love with Trixie. Early episodes set up the possibility of a well explored love triangle. Then Flanderization set in...
  • And just to dust off an old classic, in Popeye, Olive Oyl is always being courted by Popeye or Bluto, who compete for her affections. Olive will sometimes favor Bluto depending on the short, and she's rather fickle, prone to suddenly leaving Popeye for Bluto because she's "tired of" him. Despite this, Popeye always takes Olive back after letting Bluto have it; except in "Barnacle Bill the Sailor" where he snapped at her and put her in her place at the end, which might just be a Crowning Moment of Awesome for Popeye.
  • Teen Titans featured Kitten/Robin/Starfire for an episode.
    • not sure if that counts as Robin was not torn between the two females. He only dated Kitten because her super villain father threatened to destroy the city if he didn't.
  • Subverted in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Just about the ONLY episodes where Aang isn't in love with Katara are the ones in which she is in love with or being pursued by Jet. That's two episodes.
    • In The Legend of Korra, there was one prior to the series between Aang's son Tenzin, Toph's daughter Lin and Pema. In the end, Tenzin married Pema, with some implication that Lin is still a bit bitter about the whole thing.
  • The Daria/Tom/Jane triangle was a major arc throughout Daria's fourth season.
  • Young Justice has had three love triangles: Kid Flash/Miss Martian/Superboy, Miss Martian/Superboy/Artemis, and Aqualad/Tula/Garth. The only triangle that is so far resolved is the third one, Aqualad discovering that his crush Tula and his good friend Garth are a couple and eventually pulls a I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: Peep loves Heloise, who has Single-Target Sexuality for Jimmy.
  • Kid vs. Kat: Phoebe has a crush on Coop, but Coop is terrified of her and is in an unofficial relationship with Fiona. Unfortunately for Fiona, Phoebe seems to think Murder the Hypotenuse is the best solution to this.
  • In one episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shredder dopes three of the Turtles with a pizza laced with a love potion (Donatello demurs, because he's driving), causing the three to fall in love with Irene, and fight with each other over her affections. She, of course, is oblivious to the fact that she has three mutant turtles lusting after her, but is delighted that she is suddenly the target of three anonymous suitors.


Real Life[edit | hide]


"I love you!"

"But I love him!"

"I am so conflicted!"