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The Non-Expert

Gleesome Threesome

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we help a confused young woman make the best of a beast with three backs.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.

 

Question: hello. um ive been having a hard time i guess it would b stop liking someone. there is this guy who i LOVE to death and he says he loves me too but the thing is that he has a gf(aka my x bestfriend) and he likes her too. he says he loves me more and would do anything to b with me and that he wants too but hes not doing anything to b with me. like he wont break up with her….also my mom says hes playing with me…and using me…..so iono if i should stop liking him or just go about my days. acting like i dont like him when i do…i really hope this makes sense if not just tell me … thanks!—amanda

Answer: Dear Amanda,

Why would that not have made sense?

Your predicament is known classically as the love triangle. I’ve been lucky enough to get caught in a few of these over the years (17, if you were wondering), and my first inclination is to tell you to march posthaste to this guy’s house and sleep with him (unless you’re under 18, in which case sex would be illegal. Unless he’s also under 18—then it’s great Jerry Springer fodder!) I’m going to assume by your letter’s complex punctuation, grammar, and syntax that you are in fact over 18, and have likely completed at least two semesters of vocational school—air conditioner and refrigerator repair, specifically.

Anyway, back to the sex. You’re wondering what this irresponsible coitus would accomplish, right? Probably nothing. However, we know this guy likes you—indeed, you say, even “loves” you, penultimate only to that eternally sought yet rarely achieved romantic superlative, “LOVE”—and wants to consummate that like with you. Besides, you fix air conditioners for a living, which is only slightly more glamorous than podiatry. It might be wise to avail yourself of the easy lay. (Tangential aside: please email me, I have procedural questions about disconnecting freon hoses.) You can’t really blame the fellow for his wavering, either—he’s being circumspect is all, and probably just wants a sample cup before buying a waffle cone’s worth.

But enough of my vulgar fantasizing (unless you’re into it—are you?). Your prose indicates an air of intellectual sophistication. I feel, therefore, it may be apropos to approach your conundrum from a scholarly angle—specifically, using advanced geometrical diagrams. As previously mentioned, you are in a love triangle: a passionate, lascivious pull between two suitors and one being sought. One that, for all intents and purposes, looks like this:

Where an arrow = passionate feelings (positive or negative), A = “this guy,” B = “x bestfriend,” and C = you.

I know: math can be very confusing. We should probably establish some names. You can still be you, Amanda (C). Your not-quite beau shall be known as Finnaeus (F), and your estranged girlfriend we’ll just call Whore (W).

Now it appears so:

Now, let us forget for a moment the backstabbing, deceitfulness, and murder love triangles usually entail, and concentrate solely on the shape. Above we have a love triangle in its most simplistic representation, wherein Finneaus is being pursued by two potential mates—you and Whore, in this case—and enjoying it very much. Observe that the arrows point only toward him. This is because he does not reciprocate similarly amorous feelings toward you or Whore. I know you both believe he does, but you are delusional with love.

The above diagram is rudimentary, and does not cover all the basics of the tripartite relationship. Next we must ask ourselves: What of the relationship between you and Whore? You’ve already established it as an adversarial one (“x bestfriend”), and you seem to be quite firm in your conviction here. Assuming Whore is aware of your boyfriend-stealing intentions, it follows that she feels the same way. Thus:

I’d say that about captures the situation.

What conclusions may we draw? First, consider the very realistic possibility that Finnaeus and Whore may eventually come to truly love one another. This is not what you want to hear, but to be rigorous we must draw our findings from all possible angles. Let us examine this possibility in the same manner as above:

Of particular note here is the blatant absence of Amanda (or “C”—though why “C?” Let's call you “A”) and the obvious disappearance of the old triangular relationship. But don’t fret. You’ve not completely vanished from existence. With the reconfiguring of the old relationship, a new one may now be expressed as follows:

An undesirable result (unless we add inhalant chlorofluorocarbons, luscious air-conditioner-repair sorority sisters, and a certain fun-loving Non-Expert to the equation—if you get me).

Let’s hope, though, that days and nights alone with fruity wine are not in your future, and consider the opposite possibility: You manage to win Finnaeus’s heart, and the two of you fall in love and live blissfully thereafter:

Maybe not as blissful as first thought, huh? It should have occurred to you that Whore would not go quietly—you snaked her man. Notice that her general bitchiness and ill will toward you—here exemplified by the classic “Amanda’s got syphilis” representation—is not similarly projected toward Finnaeus, even though he is just as much a party to her newfound misery as you are. The reason? She thinks she can win Finnaeus back. Also, she knows that by hurting you, she is effectively hurting Finnaeus, who will become embittered with the whole situation and begin to reconsider his sexuality altogether. This will bring us here:

You and Whore are now not only back at square one in your shared relationship, but boyfriend-less, as well. Meanwhile, Finnaeus has discovered that the handsome video store clerk at his local Blockbuster wasn’t just being abnormally friendly.

Again, for science, for progress, we’re merely considering all possibilities here.

One factor which we’ve not yet taken into account is how your mom plays into all of this. You mentioned you sought her advice, and that she quickly deduced Finnaeus is a player. My first reaction: keep her out of it, lest it all backfire disastrously.

You have now stopped speaking with your mother because, once again, she gave you the wrong advice about guys and it didn’t go over well with Finnaeus. Meanwhile, Whore and Finnaeus, who are now socially off-limits because you used poor judgment (i.e., listened to your mother), have found a common bond in thinking you’re a moron.

I know, Amanda. I do not envy your situation. There are plenty of potential outcomes to this debacle, 99 percent of which are not ideal. And it doesn’t get easier—just when you think you know the score, you find that each love triangle presents new challenges, daunting questions, and exponential mathematical possibilities. Consider:

You just never know, Amanda.