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Love Is Not Geometry

I hate love triangles. Aside from oversimplifying the incredible difficulty of sorting through one’s feelings, love triangles are overused, cliche excuses to “stir the pot.” Not to mention, a majority of love triangles promote the idea of competition in the pursuance of affection. They idealize and romanticize the belief that people should be made into options and that in the end, it’s only the chooser’s feelings that matter. While this outdated trope is incredibly harmful to the expectations of relationships for people across all gender and non-binary identifiers, for this post, I will be focusing particularly on the role of women in love triangles and how that formula breeds intense competition between women.

Growing up, I remember thinking that if a boy wasn’t choosing me over another girl or, that if two boys weren’t beating each other up over me, I wasn’t doing this whole “love” thing right. Love was supposed to be a competition; there was always someone who had to be won or won over. It was a game of who could fight the hardest for the attention of the object of their affections. As I’ve gotten older, as I’ve been dragged into the mix of triangles I had no desire to be a part of, I’ve realized why they make me so uncomfortable.

My biggest issue with love triangles is that I hate the idea of having to fight against another woman for the attention of a boy who, in reality, probably doesn’t like either of us very much because, if he did, there’d be no choice to make. Women are too often pit against each other over everything from men to VMA awards. We live in a world that would much rather watch women tear each other down than support each other and I think love triangles play into that negative energy. When a woman’s value to a story becomes directly tied to her male counterpart (think women as love interests), she is much more likely to fight tooth and nail to avoid being written out. It’s a form of patriarchal manipulation— forcing women onto opposing sides— because when, we can’t find solidarity within each other, we feel as though we are fighting alone. It’s ridiculous and archaic and when we alienate women from each other, it is harder for us to find the sisterhood we so desperately seek.

My other issue with love triangles is that they look at lovers and relationships as in the light of objectification and ownership. We often look at relationships as a transactional exchange of property. When two people are dating, they’re taken or spoken for. It insinuates that there is no choice, that one person is completely content with being an object owned by the other. This is a common theme when we’re talking about a triangle in which two male characters are fighting over one female. She’s often treated like a prize to be won rather than as a person who has every right to make a choice about which person she’d rather be with.

While there’s so much more to be said about the issues of love triangles (Love is Not Geometry Pt. 2?), I’m going to leave you with this thought— we are too old to allow people to treat us like we’re disposable and we are far too young to be wasting our love on people who treat us like we are.

Featured image here.

3 Responses to “Love Is Not Geometry”

  1. LEMONADEmouth

    YES GIRL, YES!!!!! Great post! Your first paragraph is so strong. You highlight so man reasons as to why these “love triangles” are horrendous. You could have gone in so many directions with this, and I like the direction you take.

    There is a serious issue with the lack of sisterhood among women today. That is largely in part due to the fact that, as you said, so many women look and place their value and identity in a male or even female, partner. If this is an issue of relationships, we can see that relationships would be better off and much healthier, across the board, without so much grief.

    Conquest is another issue. It’s indicative of so many other problems created by cultural patriarchy, oh I don’t know, like relationships as sexual conquest, or even rape. Need I say more? On the sentimental side, if this is an issue of love, would couples not be far better off, and happier, when love is naturally expressed because it would be honest, rather than fought over and bid on??? Hello!

    …I think P2 is a good way to go

    Reply
    • thefeminstawakens

      I agree and that’s part of what I want to get into in P2…this idea that someone wins and someone loses and the double standards associated with whether a man or woman is in the position of being fought over.

      Love triangles create a lot of really dangerous expectations for relationships and I remember having a really skewed version of the reality of love because of them. Love should not be a contest and it’s sad to watch media continually perpetuate a very twisted ideal. It creates and normalizes the expectation that competing for love is the right way to be in love or pursue love. Triangles are unhealthy and so is their glorification.

      Reply
      • LEMONADEmouth

        I’m glad you mention that relationships create dangerous expectations. I know for women sometimes we don’t think about that because we are so “into” someone. That is dangerous because it causes us to, well, not make sound decisions sometimes (the same is true for guys too!). Looking at it from a female perspective of simply trying to choose between two people we like–not having been bit against anyone–we often do the same thing. Who do I like more? Who is better? Which ones pros and cons outweigh the other? It’s not always a conscious thing but definitely something that happens.

        Reply

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