Love Triangles (in Fandoms), Jealousy, and Polyamory (some random musings)

So a little while back I started reading more on why polyamory makes sense – after all, people accept that we can love more than one friend at once, and more than one family member, so why not more than one romantic and/or sexual partner? And I basically think that makes sense. I actually was reading this stuff and thinking it made a lot of sense even BEFORE I realized, fully, that I was asexual and would never be interested in typical sexual-romantic relationships. I was reading about this stuff prior to identifying as ace – which only officially happened for me in October 2013.

I grew up in such a “monogamy is the only way of life” mindset, and when I first came across the idea and realized it made sense in theory, I still wondered if I could actually, in the real world, handle any form of polyamory without being jealous.

Then, at a later point in time, I realized I might identify more with being aromantic than being romantic anyway, so maybe it’d be irrelevant in my own life, because in non-romantic contexts, almost everyone accepts polyamory as the default, although they don’t use the word.

(You’re expected to have more than one friend. To love more than one family member. It’s not always the case, but it’s also quite acceptable to not even be able to pick who you “love more”, out of your best friend or your closest family member, for instance.)

But I’m still not sure if polyamory is really for me. If what I have with the non-romantic relationships in my life really “counts” as similar… and also, after all, I’m not identifying as aromantic right now – I’m identifying as wtfromantic. And I just don’t know.


What I do know is that I watch a lot of TV shows. A lot. And pretty much all of them rely on monogamy as an important backbone of some of the drama – especially the love-triangle type of drama.

There are a few different types of love triangles in fandoms. In all of the TV shows (and movies I’ve ever watched), the characters only have binary genders (male or female, even if they’re trans or break gender norms, they still identify as a boy/man or a girl/woman) and in the majority of cases, people have only monosexual orientations (gay or straight, as bi characters, while they do exist, are quite rare. And other orientations (pan, poly, ace!, etc) don’t seem to exist on the TV I watch.

So the types of love triangles include:

Type 1: Two people (A & B) both interested in Person C, and Person A and Person B don’t know each other. If it’s easier to read with names, let’s use some gender neutral nicknames: Sam doesn’t know Alex. Alex doesn’t know Sam. Sam likes Pat. Alex likes Pat. Pat is at the center of this love triangle.

Type 2: Two people (A & B) both interested in Person C, and Person A and Person B are close friends/siblings/etc. In this case, Sam & Alex love each other but in an obviously non-romantic way because hey, they’re the same gender and they’re straight, or they’re siblings, or whatever. But now they’re… both feeling feelings for Pat. Oh no. Love triangle drama.

For both of the above two types, Person C – “Pat” – will often (but not always) find himself/herself feeling “torn” between both people, and more importantly often be well aware of the fact that both people are interested.

(The other option might be that “Pat” is oblivious and the secret of “Sam”‘s love or something is part of the drama, as “Pat” & “Alex” are happily dating or something.)

Type 3: Person A likes Person B, but Person B does not know A exists… and Person B is busy being “in love with” person C. This means that Sam likes Alex. Alex doesn’t know Sam exists. Alex is in love with Pat.

Type 4: Person A likes Person B, but Person B thinks of Person A as “just a friend” and never even considers sex/romance with Person A. Person B, again either has a major crush on or is in a committed relationship with person C. This means that Sam essentially wants to be having sex with AND building a monogamous partnership with Alex. Alex likes Sam but only as a friend. Alex is in love with Pat.

For both types 3 and 4, this doesn’t have to be in a love triangle situation – the interactions between Sam & Alex can sometimes exist without a Pat, but when it is a love triangle situation, they usually use the excuse that Alex doesn’t see Sam “that way” entirely because Alex is so blinded by Pat’s existence (or perhaps because Alex is already in a committed relationship with Pat, so Sam can’t be an option for Alex.).

Yeah, okay it can get complicated, lol, but you get the point. Can you think of a love triangle that doesn’t really fit into any of these?

So lately, in my new state as an aware asexual, I have found myself watching love triangles play out on TV shows and wondering why polyamory wouldn’t work for many of these couples. What is the big deal about your girlfriend having sex with another guy, if both you and the other guy make her happy? Especially if you’re all friends. If you all love each other dearly, can’t you just be happy for the other 2 people in the love triangle instead of possessive and jealous?

This little blog post has no point. I was just up late, not able to sleep, and I decided to share some of my thoughts and make my blog have some of the “Fandom” stuff mentioned in my Blog’s title. I’ll maybe do specific fandom stuff some other time but for now I’m being super vague. And I have more sort of fandom-related ideas that also, again, cross over into the ace & (a)romantic spectrum conversations, so maybe I’ll post a new post on the subject sometime soon!



5 thoughts on “Love Triangles (in Fandoms), Jealousy, and Polyamory (some random musings)

  1. It requires a lot of interpersonal communication skills and most TV love triangles can’t manage the most basic relationship-related communication.


  2. Well, polyamory is a thing in the wuxia genre. It does not come up in every story, but it is known that polyamory is an option. For example, in one famous wuxia novel, there is a female character pining after both of the male protagonists, and she cannot make up her mind which one she wants to marry, so her father tells her to just go ahead and marry both of them (that does not end up happening because, well, plot happens, but her father’s suggestion was serious). That said, in wuxia, it either generally a male character with multiple female partners, or a female character with multiple male partners … no quads or anything else more complicated.


      1. One of the reasons that wuxia has intrigued me so much is that it is different from what I am exposed to in English. In the English-language novels I have read, there are quite a few homosexual characters and even a few bi characters, but no trans characters I can think of (I am not counting Kitchen because that was translated from Japanese), voluntarily celibate adults are few and far between, and the only English-language novel I’ve read with polyamory is The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (okay, I can think of a second one, though I do not like this novel – At All Costs by David Weber). In wuxia novels, polyamory is a thing, it is way easier to find voluntarily celibate characters (though I do have some problems with how celibacy is presented, as I talked about on my own blog), I can think of three trans wuxia characters, yet homosexual characters … uh, I can think of two wuxia novels which bring up homosexuality as a concept, but there is a distinct absence of characters who actually are homosexual. And bisexuality/pansexuality is not even mentioned as an abstract idea…


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