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Topic: A question about one man - two women love triangles

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Subject: A question about one man - two women love triangles
Date Posted: 3/23/2011 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 3/16/2011
Posts: 7
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I noticed one bothersome thing in many romance novels. If there is a competition for the hero’s affection between his first love and another woman, the first love usually loses, as the other woman is usually the main heroine and therefore is in the centre of the attention and destined to end up with the hero by the author.
I just wanted to know: is this really a stereotype in romance novels or is it just an unfortunate coincidence that I just happened to run into so many such novels?
And, if I am wrong, could you give me some counterexamples please? Where the first love does win over the other one?
It may seem a strange question, as I usually don't even like love triangles, but I am just curious: why do the authors that use this type of love triangle prefer this stereotype (when there are two heroes and one heroine the outcome sometimes may be different, as I noticed)?

Date Posted: 3/23/2011 10:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I can't really give that many examples. But I've noticed that this is more common in older historical romances.  The "evil former mistress" is a common theme.  Newer ones-not so much.  At least in my experience that's how it's been.

Date Posted: 3/24/2011 12:04 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I think it would be hard to write a romance that way... because if the guy has a first love, and then another love, his going back to his first love would seem kind of anti-romantic, wouldn't it?

I thought of a sort-of example - Almost Perfect by Susan Mallery. But I'm not sure he loved either woman in that one.

What examples have you seen with it happening with the heroine?

Date Posted: 3/24/2011 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 3/16/2011
Posts: 7
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"I think it would be hard to write a romance that way... because if the guy has a first love, and then another love, his going back to his first love would seem kind of anti-romantic, wouldn't it?"

Maybe, but I think it’s much more anti-romantic when the hero leaves his first love for another woman, especially when he does marry another woman for convenience and, instead of trying to prevent this marriage in some way, he accepts and later even falls in love with his wife-for-convenience, tossing his first love aside like a used glove.

"What examples have you seen with it happening with the heroine?"

I don’t remember them all, I just tend to forget the books I didn’t like. If I remember correctly, there are “Red petals” by Debra Hamilton, “Dangerous deceptions” by Patricia Harrison and “Shades of blue” by Karen Kingsbury. There are also other titles, which I forgot.

Date Posted: 3/24/2011 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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he accepts and later even falls in love with his wife-for-convenience, tossing his first love aside like a used glove.

If he gets married, he SHOULD toss aside the first love even if he's not in love with his wife. Most romance readers can't take a cheating husband.

Two of the ones you mentioned are historical romance so if the new lover becomes the wife, it should be assumed that she's the heroine (it was just too difficult to get divorced in those days and in most cases, the only way for him to be with the first love is for the wife to die.)

Date Posted: 3/24/2011 2:34 PM ET
Member Since: 3/16/2011
Posts: 7
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"If he gets married, he SHOULD toss aside the first love even if he's not in love with his wife. Most romance readers can't take a cheating husband."

I just expressed myself badly. If he is already married to the other woman, of course he shouldn’t cheat on her. I just wanted to say that he should have tried to avoid this marriage.

Date Posted: 3/24/2011 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2010
Posts: 8,495
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The only way I can think of the first love scenario working out is if say the first love disappears, or he thinks she's died something along those lines and then suddenly she reappears in his life just as he was about to marry just for the sake of settling down.