What You Need to Know About Love Triangles


In romantic relationships, there are situations and problems that have always been relevant. And the love triangle is one of them. And this problem has probably appeared together with the concept of relationships itself. Nevertheless, everybody who finds themselves in the middle of the love triangle always feels as if they’re the first who get into such a difficult situation. Let’s talk about what a love triangle is and why it happens and try to understand its essence.

What is a love triangle and why it happens

First, what is a love triangle? Most would probably answer: it’s a husband, wife, and lover. But it would be more accurate to say that a love triangle is a situation in which one of the spouses or intimate partners (regardless of their gender) has a lover. Often such a problem arises when relationships get complicated because of frequent quarrels and mutual misunderstandings.

Love triangles are usually divided into two types:

  • When two lovers struggle to win the love of the third one.
  • When one person is in love with another, while he/she loves someone else.

Models of a love triangle:

1) Husband, wife, and wife’s lover

The “husband, wife, and lover” model is a classic case in the love triangle psychology. Such situation is easier to consider from the position of each participant. A woman in this model has no intention of harming her husband. Her motives are aimed only at herself: she wants to feel desired and loved. She wants to feel like a real woman once again. A woman deprived of her husband’s attention easily surrenders to feelings on the side. For her, a date with her lover is a source of pleasure. As a rule, both participants in this affair don’t plan a long, serious relationship.

For a lover, being in such situation isn’t convenient at all. The woman’s husband isn’t a competitor for him because he doesn’t plan to steal the woman from him. At the same time, the lover doesn’t have to stick to any rules of traditional relationships. The position of the husband plays a key role in such story about a love triangle. From the way he behaves (whether he doesn’t know about the affair/pretends that nothing’s happening or decides to end the relationship) the outcome of the love triangle depend.

2) Wife, husband, and husband’s lover

For the husband, his lover is a sexy woman the affair with whom is shrouded in mystery and based on romance and intimacy. Such relationship is a real extreme for him. He realizes that it’s forbidden, which turns him on even more. He had been faithful to one woman for many years, and now all his free time and thoughts are given to his affair. He pleases his lover with gifts and sends her dozens of sweet emails with tender words. But statistics show that a very small percentage of men actually break up with their partners for their lovers’ sake. The thing is that it’s difficult for men to get used to new relationships.

Sure, the daily routine of family life gets boring, but this boredom is easy to overcome if you find a lover. An affair on the side brings new feelings to the man’s life, but it’s important to stop this relationship in time; otherwise, the man risks losing both partners.

Why love triangles happen

This problem can occur for a number of reasons:

  • there’s no love and understanding between spouses, and they’re looking for them on the side;
  • no satisfaction from sex;
  • distrust and jealousy;
  • lack of personal space for one or both spouses;
  • new love.

There are no specific reasons, such as “for a love triangle to appear, there should be tension within a family.” All situations are individual. Is there something similar in them? Yes, and this is the emotions all three sides experience.

One of the reasons why the love triangle relationship occurs lies in certain male traits, such as polygamy. Of course, men would love to sleep with as many women as possible. After all, this is a genetic and evolutionary program. However, any civilized man is able to control his sexual instinct. Accordingly, this factor is important, but it doesn't determine men’s behavior.

Some men simply want to try sex with someone else. Such desire often appears if the husband had few sexual partners before his wife (and maybe she’s even the only one). What if everything is different with other women? The saddest thing here is the disappointment that men experience in the overwhelming majority of cases: sex with another woman practically doesn’t differ from the one with his wife, but the family is already destroyed.

Sometimes problems with mutual understanding become the reason for a love triangle. Wife constantly criticizes and judges her spouse's interests and doesn’t give him personal space. A lot of couples suffer from this, and it’s not surprising that husbands want to leave such wives.

Also, a man can simply fall in love with another woman. As a rule, men suffer from deep doubts about the correctness of their actions, but they can’t resist the power of love.

Is there a way out?

Got in the middle of the love triangle and were exposed? Here’s a love triangle advice for you.

  • Don’t pay attention to your offended partner’s provocations. You’ll have to go through tears, reproaches, anger, and other features of a failed relationship. Even if you have kids, there’s no reason to keep the relationship afloat.
  • If you’re going to leave, then leave for good. Don’t come back for a shirt you forgot or call your ex out of habit.
  • Don’t try to ease the pain with alcohol. The best way to survive the breakup is to devote all your free time to your new love.

Books and movies that can help you understand love triangles

Love triangles aren’t a rare phenomenon. Complicated relationships are often emotional and end tragically. That’s why writers and directors love this topic.

Movies about love triangles

Jules and Jim

This movie is not just a new wave classic but also one of the best examples of love triangles in movies. Two friends, Jules and Jim, find themselves on opposite sides of the barricades, when the First World War begins. Before the war, they were both in love with Catherine, but only one of them married her. The film teaches a lesson in polyamorous relationships which aren’t easy, even when all three experience the strongest feelings. The love between all three is so destructive that peaceful resolution of their relationship is simply impossible.

love triangles in moviesPretty in Pink

Director John Hughes knew a lot about teenagers’ feelings. That’s why he directed several films about love triangles. The movie tells about a modest outsider Andie who has a loyal friend Duckie and secret love, a rich guy named Blane, whose friends constantly mock both her and Duckie. At some point, Andie has to make a choice between her loving friend and the one she has feelings for.

The Age of Innocence

It’s a brilliant and passionate Scorsese's adaptation of the Edith Wharton’s famous novel. In Age of Innocence, the main heroes live in the age of tough class traditions in late-XIX-century New York. A young couple that hasn’t yet faced relationship conflicts is going to get married. But the groom falls in love with another woman...

Books with love triangles

Jane Austen “Sense and Sensibility”

The plot revolves around the Dashwood family or, which is more precisely, around the two elder sisters Elinor and Marianne. After the death of their father, the estate they lived in became the property of their brother and his family. After a series of disappointments, they are forced to move to a distant relative. From this moment, everything starts. In a new place, the older and more restrained Elinor meets her love, and the emotional Marianne finds hers.

Paul Bowles “The Sheltering Sky”

Postwar years. Port and Kit have been married for 12 years, but their relationship has reached a dead end. They are rich enough to spend all their time traveling. Hoping to find harmony and sense in life, they came to North Africa, bringing their friend Tanner with them.

Anna Todd “After”

That’s a classic case of love triangles in books. A typical good girl Tessa falls in love with a typical bad guy Hardin. At first, they can’t stand each other, but their relationship soon turns into passionate love. Tessa has a boyfriend standing between her and Hardin, and Hardin has a terrible secret that the reader learns in the end. The main characters will have to go through lies, betrayal, and misunderstanding. The plot isn’t new, but the novel is easy to read, so the book is addictive.

Famous love triangles in history and nowadays

Nobody is immune to a love triangle, and often famous personalities become its victims. Here are some of the most famous love triangle stories.

famous love trianglesGeorge Harrison - Patty Boyd - Eric Clapton

Patty Boyd, the legendary 60's model, met her love on the movie set. George Harrison fell in love at first sight and married the beauty in 1966. Harrison wrote a few songs for Patty (the most famous of them is Something), but three years later, their relationship cracked. By that time, Patty had already heard a lot about her husband's cheating, so she also started an affair with their mutual friend, Eric Clapton. In 1974, Boyd and Clapton told George everything. Harrison didn’t get mad at the couple and later even became a best man at their wedding.

David Beckham - Victoria Beckham - Rebecca Luz

Some famous love triangles end well. In 2002, a happy Beckham marriage was on the verge of falling apart because of David's affair with his assistant Rebecca Luz. Beckham himself swore that the affair was nothing but Luz’s speculation. It seemed that the scandal would inevitably lead to a divorce, but Victoria's trust helped the family get over the crisis. Victoria believed David. After this, Beckham proposed to Victoria once again. They also made the same tattoos on their hands to remember this moment forever.

Lady Diana - Prince Charles - Camille Parker-Bowles

When talking about famous love triangles in history, it’s impossible not to mention this story. Prince Charles and Diana met when she was 16. At that time, the heir to the throne had an affair with Diana's older sister Sarah. Shortly after the breakup, Charles turned his attention to her younger sister and realized that Diana was the one he was looking for. On February 6, 1981, Diana said yes to the prince, and on July 29, they got married in St. Paul's Cathedral. Despite the birth of two beautiful children, the princes of William and Harry, the family life of Charles and Diana turned into a nightmare. Charles’s long-standing romance with Camilla Parker-Bowles (by the way, Diana found out about it only after the wedding) resumed in the mid-80's. Diana, in her turn, became closer with James Hewitt, a horse riding instructor. The tension between Charles and Diana intensified after both spouses’ taped telephone conversations with their lovers were leaked into the press. Then came dozens of interviews, during which Charles and Diana accused each other of ruining their relationship.

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