Having two people compete for your affections may seem like the ideal scenario. It’s not only flattering, but you’re given the power of choice. After all, pop culture romanticizes love triangles all the time, but the reality is a little more complicated than being “Team A” or “Team B.”
“If you find yourself caught in a love triangle, it’s worth taking some time out to consider whether the product is worth the price,” dating coach, Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C, tells The Date Mix. “Love triangles inevitably get very messy, often with lots of feelings hurt on all sides. It is hard to resolve things in a way that works for everyone. Even if you come out on top in the end, it’s likely you will have endured some emotional wounds and scars.”
You can either be one of two people competing for the same person, or be the person two people are competing for. Regardless of which scenario you’re in, things can get pretty messy. It can get even worse one person is already in a relationship but is starting to develop feelings for someone else.
So what can you do when you’re caught in a love triangle? According to experts, there are a few essential things you need to do.
Get real with yourself about the situation
You can’t always choose who you fall for. But you can decide what you’re going to do about it. You know yourself. If you’re not completely comfortable being in a love triangle situation, then the guilt, shame, jealousy, and anxiety will do a number on you.
“If you’re prepared to go through this gauntlet in order to possibly end up with a relationship you think will be worth it, go for it,” Bilek says. “If not, perhaps it’s time to look for a serious relationship in calmer waters.”
Have a positive and fulfilling life outside of the situation.
“Make sure you have positive things to fill your time,” Carol Queen PhD, Good Vibrations sexologist and author, tells The Date Mix. “Don’t pine.”
Instead, read a good book. Start a novel. Catch up with your friends. Binge-watch premium TV. Just fill your life with things you truly enjoy.
Treat each person with respect.
If you’re in a situation where two people are going after you, give both of them the respect they deserve.
“Never pit the other two against each other like they’re divorced parents competing for your attention,” says Mayla Green, sex and relationship expert. “Don’t share what the other did in an attempt to make them jealous. Keep your feelings about the other person to yourself. You want to keep jealousy at a minimum, so avoid talking to one person about the other.”
The key here is to keep it as drama-free as possible.
Be honest about what you want and what you’re comfortable with.
“Focus on clarity, transparency and simplicity,” dating coach, Michelle Baxo, says.
One way to mess up an already tangled situation is to be wishy-washy about what you want. If you haven’t made up your mind about being exclusive with just one person, say that. It’s important to communicate openly and honestly so everyone can manage their expectations. According to Baxo, a love triangle requires mature communication, honesty, simple rules/expectations, and integrity from all parties involved.
Being caught in a love triangle only really works in the movies. But if you happen to find yourself in one, these tips can help you deal with it in the right way.