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Sex and the SafeRide

Love Triangles

By Danchai Mekadenaumporn

Features columnist

Somehow, you’ve found yourself in a love triangle.

We’ve seen them in movies, on TV, and in books. I bet that there are more than just a couple of trashy romance novels devoted to this topic. But now you’re thinking, “This is the real world, this is me, and how the hell am I supposed to work this out?”

Depending upon your situation and exactly what point you’re at in the relationship, you have different options. Let’s take a classic fraternity love triangle: you’re a frat boy and you have a girlfriend. You have a fraternity brother. You both are in love with your girlfriend. She’s in love with you, but she’s confused about how she feels for your brother.

In that situation, you don’t really have a lot of options. I’m sorry about that. You can wait it out to see how she feels. You can approach your fraternity brother, and if he’s a decent guy, he’ll back off. But most of the weight of the decision lies with your girlfriend.

Now suppose that you’re the fraternity brother in love with someone else’s girlfriend. You have a few options here. Let’s assume that no one knows about your feelings. You could pursue your own selfish interests and try to win his girlfriend over. Of course, you’d only do this if you hated your brother and everything he stands for or you like to make everyone around you uncomfortable.

The second option is to shut up and ignore your feelings. You’ll probably be miserable for a while, but hey, at least you have morals and stood by them. The third option is to let her know how you feel, back off and let her choose for herself. This may still cause some bad blood if your brother found out you did this; especially if she leaves him for you.

If you’re the girl, chances are you’re confused as hell. On the one hand, you’re dating a great guy, and on the other, there is another possibly great guy. You can’t seem to ignore your feelings for either of them. You might feel like a horrible person, but the truth is, you’re just human.

No one ever said that we were genetically predisposed to only have feelings for one person at a time. However, you’ll still have to make a choice, and it isn’t exactly a win-win situation for everyone. But you can take solace in the fact that you have two guys fighting over you. If at some point you notice that your feelings are stronger for one guy or another, you should probably go with that one. There’s no point leading anybody on.

My suggestion: if the relationship is going well, let it play out. The second guy should just back off if everything is going well, and if it happens that things don’t work out between the couple, hey, maybe they’ll work out for you. Just don’t do anything that will eat away at your conscience.

Let’s take another situation. Suppose the two men don’t know each other. In this situation, it’s every man for himself. You really have no stake in the other man’s feelings, but if you’re the guy trying to weasel in on someone else’s girlfriend, I’d say that maybe you should try to work on your ethics. At least wait until their relationship is crumbling to pieces. However, that doesn’t mean that you should go in and destroy it yourself. Just let your feelings be known, and she’ll make a decision if she wants to.

One more situation to analyze: you and your boyfriend just broke up. How long do you wait until you start dating his best friend? Depending on how long you two have been going out, how tight the friendship is, and how crazy your ex can get, it could be a while.

Technically, you’re not doing anything wrong. So technically he can’t get mad at you. But feelings are feelings, and we can’t really help those, now can we? Your best option is to wait a couple of weeks, and be totally honest with everyone. Sneaking around, denying your feelings, or denying anyone else’s feelings will only cause resentment all around. Being honest might hurt their friendship for a while, but if they’re really friends, they’ll find a way to patch things up.

Let’s hope that you don’t find yourself in any of these difficult situations. They’re not exactly fun and there’s the potential for a lot of hurt along the way. Just remember, though, people can never help the way they feel. They’re entitled to their emotions; it’s their actions that you’ll have to look out for.