Ah, the girl-focused love triangle. For generations, male and female audiences alike have lived for watching two dudes fight over a woman, and oftentimes it can seem like a choice between the lesser of two jerks. Given the option, we would have loved to see these popular heroines — from Greek mythology to ’90s TV — embrace singledom instead.
Helen, Paris, Menelaus (The Iliad)
Paris only wants Helen so he can brag to all his friends that he’s bagged the hottest broad – and rather than take the hint from her running off with him that their marriage might not have been the strongest, Menelaus starts a war so massive that it disrupts an entire civilization. Helen would have been better off playing the field a little while longer – we’re sure Ancient Greece would have thanked her for it.
Buffy, Angel, Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Angel’s a brooding sad sack most of the time, and after his first night of passion with Buffy, he tries to destroy the entire world. Spike not only threatens her life several times, but also attempts to rape her in one episode. After boyfriends like this, it’s no wonder Buffy starts experimenting with girls in the comic books that pick up where the TV series left off.
Katniss, Peeta, Gale (The Hunger Games trilogy)
Being forced into a nationally televised fight to the death is obviously pretty stressful, and yet both Peeta and Gale still expect Katniss to put aside all her other issues and pick which one of them she likes the best. Give the girl a break! She’s the unwitting public face of a dangerous political uprising, and she’s hungry!
Roxane, Cyrano, Christian (Cyrano de Bergerac)
On the one hand, Roxane has Christian, who’s easy on the eyes but can’t even talk to her without being fed lines. On the other hand, she’s got the witty but unconventional Cyrano, who assumes that because she’s pretty, she must be too shallow to love him, and therefore decides to force Christian onto her. If we were in Roxane’s dainty French shoes, we’d leave these two goons to try their long con on some other girl.
Bella, Edward, Jacob (The Twilight series)
Sometimes Edward breaks into Bella’s house to watch her sleep at night, which pretty much makes him a stalker. Jacob’s not much better, especially in the movies, where Taylor Lautner possesses all the emotive qualities of a very handsome brick wall. Maybe if Bella had stayed in Arizona she would have survived her whiny teenage years and gone to a nice liberal arts college, instead of being married (and undead) at 18.
Christine, Raoul, The Phantom (The Phantom of the Opera)
The Phantom would do anything for Christine – except he’s a psychopath, so “anything” includes blackmail and murder. Raoul seems like the logical choice by comparison, but he uses her as Phantom bait at the risk of her safety, and also keeps calling her the wrong name. (Since when does “Christine” shorten to “Lotte?”) Frankly, we think Miss Daáe should have pulled a Lady Gaga and ignored them in favor of her music career.
Kate, Jack, Sawyer (Lost)
Be honest – does anyone like Kate? Most of the time it seems like her only purpose on the show is to bring out the worst qualities of both Sawyer and Jack, in the form of dickish behavior and frustrated man-tears, respectively. Kate, honey, you’re supposed to be a badass fugitive on the FBI’s Most Wanted list! You should own that island.
Heathcliff, Catherine, and Edgar Linton (Wuthering Heights)
Catherine loves violent, unruly Heathcliff, but marries Linton instead for his wealth and status. How does Heathcliff react? By seducing Linton’s sister Isabella as a form of revenge (even though he hates her) which in turn causes Linton to retaliate by disowning Isabella. This upsets Catherine so much that she locks herself in her room, falls ill, and dies in childbirth. At that rate, spinsterhood would probably have been a better option.
Sookie, Bill, Eric (True Blood)
Like Buffy before her, Sookie’s got a choice between the chivalrous gentleman and the snarky bad boy – except Bill reports all her activity to the vampire queen and then cheats on her with his ex, and Eric is constantly trying to manipulate her. Fortunately, she decides for herself that they’re both no good – but it’s too bad it takes her four seasons and more than a few murdered friends to figure it out.
Rose, Jack, Cal (Titanic)
We all know how much of a creep Cal is – but what about Jack? Let’s face it, if he weren’t played by the gorgeous Leonardo DiCaprio, he would be about as interesting as a wooden post. At the very least, Rose deserves not to be plagued with survivor’s guilt for the rest of her life just because her boring new boyfriend wouldn’t fit on the raft.