Love triangles are a long-standing trope, not just in romance but in all sorts of entertainment. There are good reasons for this. They are compelling. They are easy to understand. And they hit our buttons about being competitive, about winning, and about being chosen.
But what if love triangle stories weren’t about having to choose? What if they were about trying to make the triangle work?
Our romances often feature polyamorous relationships. Frequently, we include polyamory in the b-plot involving secondary characters as a way of providing impetus for our main couples to examine monogamy and decide if it’s the right choice for them. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t.
This engenders a range of reactions to our work: Some positive, some intrigued, and some very much opposed. That’s okay, because we’re all looking for different things not just when we read, but when we imagine happily ever after.
But, while it can seem odd to talk about realism when it comes to the romance genre, we do always want to note that polyamory — where people choose to be romantically and/or sexually involved in more than one relationship with full honesty about that with their partner(s), and with agreements regarding their activities to be honored — is a real thing. It’s a choice people make. Sometimes for a little while, sometimes for a long time. Sometimes it works well for them, sometimes it doesn’t — just like monogamous relationships.
Ultimately, polyamorous people and characters are just as capable of being faithful and loyal. They are just as capable of being deeply and obsessively in love. They are just as capable of being screwed up and jealous and needing to find a way to deal with that.
Because we write LGBTQ+ romance, we spend a lot of time talking about how everyone deserves a happy ending, and how everyone’s happy ending looks different. This Valentine’s Day, we’d love to encourage readers to explore polyamorous romances — whether they’re about a heroine with a handful of great boyfriends who are happy to hang out together, a triad that’s deeply in love with each other (and needs a really big bed), or the couple that likes to tell each other about their adventures when the “zip code rule” is in play. More configurations to explore means more stories to tell, about a wider range of experiences, and we are always down for that.
If you’re a reader or writer of polyamorous romance, please let us know what books you love and why these stories pull you in.
Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese are authors of the gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry (Starling (September 10, 2014), Doves (January 21, 2015), and Phoenix (June 10, 2015)), all from Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella Midsummer, Book One of the Love’s Labour series, about a summerstock Shakespeare company, is from Dreamspinner Press (Summer 2015). They also have a forthcoming story in Best Gay Romance 2015, edited by Felice Picano. Racheline is a NYC-based performer and storyteller; Erin is a writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. They write stories and scripts about the intersection of private lives, fame, and desire. You can find them on the web at http://www.Avian30.com.