What Is A Love Triangle?

A love triangle is a term that you have probably heard of before. Whether you have heard it in real life or in a movie or TV show, you might be wondering exactly what a love triangle is and how to deal with one.

What Is A Love Triangle?

In this article, we will look at what a love triangle is, typical types of love triangles, and how to deal with a love triangle.  

What Is A Love Triangle?

A love triangle is essentially a tricky love situation where a person loves two or more people. The other people reciprocate the feelings separately but share a rivalry for the central person’s love and affection. 

It is different from a throuple or a polyamorous relationship.  The person at the center of the love triangle doesn’t have to be in a committed relationship with either of the other people for it to be a love triangle.  

A love triangle can be formed of any mixture of emotional, sexual, or romantic feelings.  Love triangles can be made up of people of any gender or sexuality. 

Love triangles are inherently stressful and upsetting for the participants who are competing for the love of the central participant.   

Models Of Love Triangles

There are two main types of love triangles that form.  

Competitive Type

A common type of love triangle is labeled as the competitive type. This is where person A and person B in the triangle are competing with each other for the love and affection of Person X. 

In this type of love triangle, person X often isn’t committed to either person yet. Neither person A nor B has established a firm relationship with person X and person X might not want to be in the love triangle.  

Confusion Type

The second common type of love triangle is known as the confusion type. This is where person A and person X are in love in an already established and exclusive relationship. 

However, person X may become confused about their feelings because they also like person B. This can also cause confusion for person A if they find out about the triangle. 

Love triangles don’t have to only feature two people. There can be any number of lovers involved in a love triangle (see also “How To Be A Better Lover“). 

Why Love Triangles Happen

There is no hard and fast reason why love triangles form or are allowed to form. This can be one of the reasons why love triangles can be so hurtful. 

However, there are a few common reasons that have been identified through people talking about their love triangle experiences.  

Sexual Dissatisfaction

Sexual Dissatisfaction

Having a mismatch between libidos in a relationship is more common than people realize. If someone in a relationship has a libido that is significantly higher than the other person, it can be tempting to find sexual satisfaction elsewhere.  

Polyamory and polygamous relationships are fairly hard-wired into humans. However, if polyamory isn’t discussed with the existing partner a love triangle forms. 

If you are feeling dissatisfied with your sexual relationship with your partner, it is always worth talking about it and trying to reach a compromise rather than seeking extramarital satisfaction secretly.

Mutual Agreement

Sometimes, relationships just aren’t right on an emotional, romantic, or sexual level. This can often be the case in arranged marriages that occur for the benefit of business transactions or social status.  

In these instances, the couple can choose to mutually agree to take lovers. This can help them avoid living in misery for the rest of their lives and avoid the complications that can occur if they were to divorce. 

This is similar to polyamory, however, the central marriage is legal and transactional only. 

Jealousy And Suspicion

If you have caught your spouse cheating on you, your relationship may be changed forever. The trust that you once had for them is likely to be permanently destroyed and your feelings toward each other may have changed.  

In all the heartbreak, jealousy, and anger that you experience after catching your spouse cheating, it can be common to find love and affection elsewhere. This causes another love triangle to form with you as person X instead of person A. 

Lack Of Personal Space

It is natural for partners in a relationship to be close to one another. With that comes an opinion on hobbies and passions. It is perfectly normal and healthy for members of a couple to have different hobbies and interests. 

It is also very healthy to do these things apart from each other.  

However, if your partner regularly passes judgment on your hobby, labeling it childish, a waste of time or money, or something equally negative, it can affect your relationship. 

If it is a constant thing that leaves you unable to enjoy your hobby, it can be common to seek love and support externally. 

Finding New Love

Sometimes relationships just come to a natural end. It is very easy for relationships to become stale over time and for one, or both parties to feel undesirable, unappreciated, insecure, and unloved.

When love isn’t expressed anymore, people become lonely.  When people become lonely, they often seek out companionship and love elsewhere.  

How To Deal With A Love Triangle

Love triangles rarely have happy endings for all involved, however, it is important to deal with a love triangle if you find yourself in one.  

Whether you are person X or person A in a confusion-type love triangle, it is important to have an honest conversation with the other person that you are in a committed relationship with. 

This will be uncomfortable, painful, and will involve a lot of emotion and heartbreak, but it is necessary. 

Once everything is out in the open, it is important to work out the purpose of the love triangle in your life.  Why it started, if the problem can be solved, or if the original relationship has run its course.  

A counselor can be beneficial in making the process smoother and help to mediate when emotions are running high. Ultimately, it is important to take responsibility if you are person X and accept the consequences of the love triangle.

Final Thoughts

Love triangles are different from polygamous relationships. They often cause a lot of pain and heartache for the people involved no matter what the cause or the outcome. 

If you find yourself at the center of a love triangle, it is important to own up to it as soon as possible. 

Emily Baker