SparkNotes Blog

How to Tell if You’re About to Be in a Love Triangle

Fictional characters always seem to be caught off-guard by love triangles, but you and I? We could see one of those things coming a mile away. Most of us, anyhow. Maybe you’re a little unsure. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve read a book or watched anything on TV at all. If that’s the case, here’s how you know your love live is about to take a turn for the melodramatic:

1. You know two boys total. One of them is goofy and likable. The other one is tall and dangerous.

2. Your crush confesses that they have a crush of their own. You hope that it’s you, but it probably won’t be.

3. You’re the only human in a town full of vampires and werewolves.

4. You’re an unwed maiden who has just come of age, and your family is keen to marry you off to a wealthy suitor. Little do they know, you have your eye on the poor (but ruggedly handsome) stable boy.

5. You’re an Athenian woman being forced to marry against her will. You and your lover take to the woodland, where fairies abound.

6. One of your love interests is fair-haired and friendly. The other one is dark-haired and brooding.

7. You just married the king to secure a political alliance—unfortunately for you, he’s still hung up on his ex, who is dead.

8. You know two girls your age. One of them is a kindly orphan, and the other one is an aristocrat who hates you. You instantly fall in love with the second one and vow to win her heart.

9. You find yourself romantically involved with Zeus.

10. You are the foil to your love interest’s other love interest.

11. You believe that your husband has been eaten by zombies, so you promptly begin dating his best friend.

12. You’ll probably end up with your childhood best friend, but there’s also this mysterious new guy with roguish good looks and a tragic backstory. You should probably date him first.

13. You’re flirting with a dashing viscount when a phantom appears and kidnaps you.

14. You’re married to an old Spartan king, but a young Trojan prince is asking you to come away with him.

15. You fall in love with a boy who’s already in a relationship. His girlfriend is horrible.

16. You fall in love with a girl who’s already in a relationship. At best, her boyfriend is a jerk. At worst, he has been sent to kill her.

17. You’re a dystopian heroine being thrown into a televised death match with a boy you sort of know. Your best friend back home is extremely hot.

18. You’re a girl. You’re friends with two boys who are both equally in love with you. You have one female acquaintance who will be revealed, in the fullness of time, to be in love with the boy you don’t choose. Since he can’t date you, he settles for her. It’s a happy ending for everyone involved.

19. Your only friend at wizard school is a kid with greasy hair. You immediately meet a kid with hair that is less greasy.

20. You’re a young revolutionary in nineteenth-century France, and you just spotted a pretty blond girl across the way. Also, a street urchin is obsessed with you.

21. The woman you’re in love with is a metaphor for the American Dream, and her husband is a racist.

22. You’re the doppelgänger of your boyfriend’s previous love interest.

23. You’re the town blacksmith, and you’re in love with the governor’s daughter. Unfortunately, she’s being courted by a handsome commodore, and everyone thinks they would make a suitable match.

24. You’re in love with a perfectly adequate, caring, and compassionate man, but everyone ships you with the rakish bad boy.

25. You’re very content in your relationship when suddenly an old flame comes to town.

26. You are in love with Person A. Person A is in love with Person B, who has spurned their advances in favor of Person C, who is looking for love in all the wrong places so they are in love with Person D, who is actually in love with you. It’s not a love triangle so much as a love hexagon, but you get what I’m saying.