What’s TV without a little romance? Television excels at putting characters together for a little romantic interlude; sometimes the pairing is just perfect for each other, and other times opposites attract. And sometimes, it’s both options simultaneously. The love triangle is a classic TV situation. Most often it’s a woman struggling between two men, both of whom are excellent choices for her future romantic happiness, but the decision that must be made is a difficult one. Some love triangles can drag out for years on television, the person in question vacillating endlessly between her two choices. Sometimes both options are given a chance before it ultimately ends for whatever reason. Love them or hate them, you can’t escape the love triangle on television.
10. Cersei/Jaime/Brienne (Game of Thrones)
This is not your traditional love triangle. Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth can barely stomach each other at the start, but Brienne promised to keep Jaime safe and she did her job fairly well. Over the course of the journey back home, Brienne gradually begins to warm up to Jaime and he to her. But who is waiting for Jaime back in King’s Landing? Cersei, the only woman Jamie has ever loved–who is also his twin sister and mother of his three children, born through incest. Definitely not your average love triangle. Who would Jaime choose? He does love Cersei deeply, but he is also beginning to see options outside of a life by her side. Brienne keeps Jaime on his toes and isn’t afraid to challenge the so called Kingslayer. One never knows in the world of A Game of Thrones, but with Jaime and Cersei growing further apart, hopefully it will be Brienne who picks up the pieces.
9. Jack/Kate/Sawyer (Lost)
Traumatic events bring people closer together, and surely surviving a plane crash is one of the more extreme examples of a traumatic incident. When the Oceanic 815 crash-landed on the mysterious island, Kate and Jack were instantly drawn together as she helped patch his wounds and Jack proved himself a leader and hero. But at the same time, Kate couldn’t deny her attraction to sarcastic redneck Sawyer, with a letter in his pocket and a tragic backstory. Sawyer might have been the antihero of the early seasons, but he deeply cared for “Freckles.” The love triangle lasted almost the whole run of the show and in the end, Sawyer fell in love with someone else and Jack had to save the island. Though Kate would have ultimately chosen Jack to live out their lives, she does wait for him in the great beyond until he’s ready to move on with her.
8. Dawson/Joey/Pacey (Dawson’s Creek)
All American teenager Joey Potter has been deeply in love with Dawson Leery for quite awhile when the hit teenage soap opera begins. The pair were best friends their whole lives and now, having reached high school, Joey thinks it’s time for them to grow up and acknowledge their feelings for each other. For the first two seasons of the show, Dawson and Joey dance around each other, finding new and exiting ways to hurt one another before remembering how much they care for the other. During all of this, Dawson relies on his other best friend Pacey Witter, whom Joey tolerates in moderation. But by the third season, Pacey’s views on Joey change and he finds himself falling for his best friend’s girl. When Joey must make a choice, she chooses loveable and irascible Pacey, leaving Dawson crying on the docks. While Joey and Dawson do give their relationship one more shot eventually, in the end Pacey and Joey were just meant to be.
7. Ben/Felicity/Noel (Felicity)
Were you Team Ben or Team Noel? In one of the most popular young adult TV shows, Felicity Porter decides, at the last possible second, to change the direction of her life and follow Ben, the boy she has a crush on but who doesn’t know that she exists, to college. Once Felicity is secure in college, her objective is to find a way to become friends with Ben. Along the way she meets her residential adviser, Noel. Felicity and Noel hit it off and the two begin a relationship, but Ben is always in the back of Felicity’s mind and she finds excuses to see and talk to him. Over the course of four seasons, the trio find themselves in romantic situations and Felicity goes back and forth between Ben and Noel as she tries to sort out her feelings. The love triangle had its ups and downs, but we can all agree that the lowest point was Felicity cutting off her beautiful head of hair in a hasty reaction.
6. Chuck/Blair/Dan (Gossip Girl)
This love triangle is tortuous because it was clear all along that Blair and Dan would never work. Ever. Blair and Chuck belonged to each other and Dan was a distraction. But we digress. Chuck and Blair had instant chemistry from the start of season one, but their acerbic and contentious personalities kept them from fully realizing their relationship until the bitter end. In the meantime, while Chuck was trying to become a better man and Blair was scheming and plotting for various reasons, Dan, a boy from the wrong side of the New York island, grabbed Blair’s attention. Dan might have been the ex-boyfriend of Blair’s best friend, Serena, but on this show that never mattered. Audiences were forced to endure Blair and Dan trying to find common ground before Blair decide to fight for Chuck. But don’t worry, Dan got his happy ending too, marrying Serena in the series finale.
5. Neal/Emma/Hook (Once Upon a Time)
As the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, you would think that Emma Swan’s love life would be more of a fairytale. But alas, Emma’s romantic story is hardly the stuff of Disney. Emma and Neal met and formed an instant bond, taking care of each other as two lost souls trying to find a home. But when Neal learned that Emma had a destiny to fulfill and a family to find, he left her, breaking her heart in the process. Eleven years later, the leather clad Captain Hook entered the picture, full of swagger and guyliner, seeking revenge on an old foe, but getting Emma to open up more than she had in recent years. To make it more complicated, did we mention that Hook’s first true love was Neal’s mother? When fate shoved Neal back into the picture, Emma’s heart was torn between her past true love and the idea of a new chance. At the end of season three, Emma apparently has made her choice, smooching Hook. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Neal died halfway through the third season. Sometimes love triangles end in unexpected ways.
4. Eric/Sookie/Bill (True Blood)
Sookie Stackhouse has quite the dilemma on her hands when it comes to her men. On the one hand, Bill introduced Sookie to the world of the vampires. He’s sweet and charming, managing to even charm Sookie’s grandmother. Bill likes to talk about true love and has protected Sookie. However, recently, he has stopped being that sweet guy and has become corrupt with power. On the other hand, Sookie could go with Eric, the sarcastic bad boy. Sookie and Eric flirt over the seasons, even when Eric is trying to manipulate Sookie for his own ends. But when Eric’s memory is wiped, things between the pair heat up and their sexy encounters leave audiences breathless.
3. Spike/Buffy/Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Another girl torn between two vampires, only this time the girl is the slayer. There is no question that Buffy and Angel were true loves, but they were doomed to never be together. If ever Angel experiences true happiness, like he has with Buffy, he will lose his soul. And when this plot point happened in the second season, Buffy was forced to kill Angel in order to save the world. Don’t worry, he comes back. But Angel knows he can’t stick around Sunnydale forever and leaves for Los Angeles (and his own spinoff). Blonde rocker Spike, who served as an antagonist in season two, reenters the picture, and Buffy and the vamp have some serious chemistry. But when Buffy dies (again) and is brought back (again) it’s Spike who helps her deal and she begins to turn to him with increasing frequency. But does Buffy really love Spike or is she just using him? Unlike some other love triangles, this one is left unresolved, Buffy deciding that she is cookie dough—and just not ready to have a real relationship with either man yet.
2. Fitz/Olivia/Jake (Scandal)
Olivia Pope and Fitzgerald Grant are deeply, completely and utterly, in love with one another. They may hurt one another, but they always find their way back. So why the conflict? Well, for one, Fitz is married and has children. Oh, he’s also the President of the United States, Olivia manipulated the polls to put him in office, and it’s possible that Fitz helped kill Olivia’s mom. Jake Mallard seems like the better option: safe, reliable, funny and unmarried. But, sadly, he’s also a trained killer who has been spying on Olivia and working with her father in various nefarious operations. Maybe Olivia is better off with her Gladiators instead.
1. Stefan/Elena/Damon (The Vampire Diaries)
History repeats itself as brothers Stefan and Damon fall in love with the same girl, this time the high school student Elena. Initially, Elena and Stefan begin a relationship while Elena is wary of Damon, who seems darker and more sinister. But eventually, as so often happens, Elena and Damon grow closer and feelings begin to develop. While she eventually falls for Damon, Elena chooses Stefan over Damon. That is until her vampire transformation and Stefan’s attempts to fix Elena begin to annoy her. With Damon, Elena felt free and so she left Stefan for his brother. And as if that weren’t enough, eventually, Damon begins to doubt Elena’s feelings for him. The back and forth continues some more until Elena chooses Damon…and then in the season five finale, Damon says goodbye to Elena before apparently dying?! Who knows what is the works for these three now but we’re sure it’ll be torturous.