Have you ever noticed many of the most popular soap operas, TV shows, books, movies…will have some sort of love triangle? Twilight, The Vampire Diaries (two parts of that love triangle just one best chemistry couple or something like that at the People’s Choice Awards, which btw was the forbidden love leg of the triangle), Titanic, Pearl Harbor, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and many more. It doesn’t stop at adult shows, even The Little Mermaid has a love triangle. Some could even argue Breaking Bad (His love to cook, Skylar and Walter White) is a love triangle. My point is the media has sensationalized The Love Triangle. Arguably, many of these shows are geared towards women. In many of these triangles we are pulling for the forbidden love interest, the one out of the primary relationship with the commitment. Anybody watch The Vampire Diaries? How many of us were pulling for the bad brother, Damon, hook up…over the Sweet Stephan romance? I know I was! Another example. How many wanted Rose to ditch her commitment to Cal and be with Jack, someone she had known for 3 days at the most? It is sensationalized in Hollywood as love conquers all. You don’t really see the aftermath. Sometimes, the person who is left out of the triangle in the end is villanized, and we feel justified in their hurt thinking they deserved it.
I have been pondering lately how much of these media messages are reflected in our relationship choices. How do these media messages change our relationship dynamics? These are exciting love triangles. They boost ratings. They sell merchandise (Team Jacob, Team Edward), They sell books. They sell movies. We love them. But why?
Is it because we are looking for that special someone to spice up our lives for us? To come in and rescue us from the mess our lives and relationships become? Has the mass media sensationalized them so much that for us they have become a cure all for whatever ails in our relationships. The answer becomes to turn outward, instead of turning inward to our spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends. Turning inward would be great, but let’s face it folks, sometimes, you can’t turn inward. Sometimes we really are with broken people. Sometimes we outgrow each other. Sometimes your partner is uncooperative in helping to heal the relationship and meet our needs. Sometimes it is healthier to leave than to stay. Sometimes we can’t stay. But sometimes we can stay, and we don’t.
Humans by nature are serial monogamous and what we see in Hollywood is one way that serial monogamy can look. Perhaps, the love triangle speaks to a place in our psyche, and pulls at our subconscious. However you think about it, The Love Triangle is alluring and we often find ourselves caught up in it, and the thought that love conquers all… even if only in the movies. But love triangles aren’t the way they are portrayed in the media. Good people get hurt. Good people who don’t deserve to be hurt, get hurt. They aren’t always villains, they aren’t bad people, they are people with feelings and emotions. These love triangles hurt everyone involved at some point. They aren’t the cure all. They can feel good at the time, but they leave a wake of hurt, resentment, betrayal, distrust, anger and frustration behind that can last for years, if not forever. Even though biologically humans are genetically wired for serial monogamy the society in which we live and our socialized norms are not. Until our societal norms are aligned with our biological needs there will always be a wake of woe involved in a love triangle. ~ C