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Can't choose between your Betty and Veronica? Take a Third Option!

Bob is in a Love Triangle with two girls, Alice and Carol, who often have a Betty and Veronica dynamic. He likes both of them, and both of them like him, and he can never, ever choose between them. While this dynamic has plenty of dramatic potential, on occasion the writers will want to shake it up a bit. To avoid showing favoritism to either of Bob's existing love interests, they may have him fall for a third girl: the Third Option Love Interest, Donna, whose job is to shake up the status quo of the relationship and breathe new life into it by tempting the vertex of a love triangle to Take a Third Option.

The Third Option Love Interest can be of either gender depending on the initial triangle. They can sometimes even overlap with the Gay Option.

May lead to a Love Dodecahedron... or, since Status Quo Is God, Donna may be Put on a Bus, leaving the original two Love Interests to duke it out. Sometimes Alice and Carol will lay aside their rivalry and unite against the interloper — each would rather lose Bob to the other than to anyone else. However, in some cases Donna/Bob will become the Official Couple.

In Fanfic, the Third Option Love Interest is a frequent target of Die for Our Ship, since both Alice/Bob and Carol/Bob shippers will descend on her with the fury of Hell. Also, expect accusations of the character being a Canon Relationship Sue (which may or may not be true). May also be Third Option Adaptation.

Examples of Third Option Love Interest include:

Anime and Manga

  • While there are half a dozen girls after Tenchi Masaki in Tenchi Muyo!, there really might as well just be Ryoko and Ayeka, the only ones who really have a chance. Until Tenchi in Tokyo, which introduces Sakuya Kumashiro into the equation. She's probably one of the biggest examples of the Die for Our Ship effect relating to this. Though she eventually succeeds in winning Tenchi, she doesn't survive to the end of the series.
    • The third OVA introduces Noike who shows up already arranged to be married to Tenchi by a very powerful matriach of the Jurai royal family. Ryoko and Ayeka are not amused. Fan reaction, oddly enough, is less extreme than what Sakuya faced, but that's probably because the third OVA seems to get even more Fanon Discontinuity than Tenchi In Tokyo (the latter being treated as relatively more acceptable because it's just an alternate universe anyway).
  • Sasuke Uchiha from Naruto has two girls that have a crush on him pre-time skip, Ino and Sakura. Post-time skip he gets another admirer in Karin. At best, Sasuke never shows romantic interest in any of the girls. At worst, he stabs through them to further his revenge.
  • In Parallel Trouble Adventure Dual, Yayoi, Mitsuki Sanada, and D's chances with Katsuki are apparently ruined when he meets Mitsuki Rara. A Tenchi Solution later develops when it is implied the girls themselves apparently come to an unspoken mutual agreement to all share him by living together, even in the newly created combined world.
    • For his part though, Kazuki only really shows any reciprocated feelings for Mitsuki Rara.
  • Fumina Konoe in Shakugan no Shana.
  • In the 11th volume of the Sorcerer Hunters manga, Carrot fell into a serious relationship with a girl named Mousse, leading Chocolat and Tira to confront him with their true feelings. However, it turns out Mousse wasn't even real (?) and the plot turned out to be a set-up for the epic Final Battle in which Carrot eventually chose Tira.
  • Bleach has Senna from Memories of Nobody. By the end though, Ichigo/Rukia shippers and Ichigo/Orihime shippers can rest easy.
    • On the canon side, another potential choice is Tatsuki Arisawa, a childhood friend of Ichigo's and Orihime's best friend. She has little effect on the overall plot, but she has had a few Ship Tease moments with Ichigo. The other most popular secondary love option is the arrancar Nel, who's quite affection toward Ichigo (though there's a good chance that's just because she's a touchy-feely person, not necessarily because she's romantically interested in him). In the end, Ichigo chooses Orihime aka his Betty.
  • Let's face it, you can argue that Asuka's Betty and Rei's Veronica or vice versa until the Angels come home, but either way, Kaworu is one damn successful third option. Though he fails miserably in the manga, where he's gotten an "evil" upgrade and any attraction on Shinji's part is only expressed both briefly and posthumously.
    • Mana Kirishima from the Girlfriend of Steel game. She has an unusual amount of hate directed at her, when you consider that she's a Canon Foreigner who barely even appears anywhere outside of her own game.
    • It seems Mari Makinami from Rebuild of Evangelion could fit in the spot... She does.
  • The first two seasons of Zero no Tsukaima saw a wide variety of love interests for Saito, but by the end of season two it was pretty much narrowed down to Louise and Siesta. Enter Tiffania. Louise's reaction in particular could be heard from space. And then Tiffania was pushed to the back and replaced by Princess Henrietta, whereupon both Louise and Siesta were simply dumbfounded and stricken with worry: Louise had a Heroic BSOD and Siesta finicked about how she could easily remove all opposition and be alone with him.
  • Ukyo Kuonji in Ranma ½. Until her arrival, the primary contenders for Ranma's affection had been Akane (Betty) and Shampoo (Veronica). Although she never escaped Unlucky Childhood Friend status, Ukyo was still a relatively plausible third option and remains a popular choice in the fandom; she's even hit with Die for Our Ship less often than Akane and Shampoo are, in direct contrast to the common trend of the third option getting hit by the hardest with Die for Our Ship.
  • In xxxHolic, the Double Subverted Love Triangle between Watanuki, Himawari, and Doumeki has a monkey wrench thrown into it when it's revealed that... the one he cares the most about is his boss and mistress Yuuko Ichihara, for whom he sacrifices the right to leave the shop forever, until she returns to him. Doumeki is... less than pleased about this arrangement, and Himawari's reaction has yet to be shown. However, this has not discouraged Doumeki from still pursuing Watanuki and acting like his husband.
    • Watanuki's feelings for Yuuko and the pairing itself is becoming more and more canon. Especially after chapter 193, where Haruka pretty much comes out and has a heart-to-heart talk with Watanuki, giving him a relationship-advice pep talk ( "If you believe that you can meet, you mustn't do anything to make her cry, then."). Which prompts Watanuki to go into one of his melancholy worshiping moods of Yuuko, holding her pipe and saying her name.
  • In the SHUFFLE! anime the main character, Rin Tsuchimi is being pursued by Lisianthus (Gods) and Nerine (Demons), and his childhood friend Kaede. Who does he fall in love with in the end? The close buddy and tease, Asa.
  • Tamaki's prospect arranged fiancee Eclaire Tonerre sorta fills the role in the Ouran High School Host Club anime.
    • The Yamato Nadeshiko Kanoya also kinda fills this role in the manga, representing Tamaki's "dream version" of Haruhi, although Tamaki has never really compared Haruhi to Kanoya.
    • Also, Haruhi's close friend Mei who developed a big crush on Tamaki and wanted Haruhi to help her win his heart, though Haruhi seemed more or less (really less) inclined to help. Mei eventually pulls a I Want My Beloved to Be Happy when she realizes that Tamaki's in love with Haruhi and possibly vice versa.
  • In the Kimagure Orange Road manga, Sayuri Hirose attempts to be the third option for Hikaru's Betty and Madoka's Veronica. The catch is she means nothing to Kyousuke, so her attempts to seduce him were unsuccessful.
  • Athena in Hayate the Combat Butler. Hayate openly admits that he likes her, and several of the other girls reactions are shown as they either accept it or decide to keep trying. Even Nagi puts her trust in Hayate to do the right thing by abandoning her fortune and disinheriting herself, giving a strong feeling sense of incoming resolution. But it's a subversion because she leaves at the end of the arc, leaving us with the original unrequited love dodecahedron.
    • Although she was the last (officially) introduced to the viewers, she's actually the first girl that Hayate'd met, and she had appeared in flashbacks before Hinagiku had officially entered the harem.
      • Um.. by her own words, Hinagiku entered the harem on her first appearing, she just hadn't realized it yet. By Maria's wordings, she knew Hina would enter it before her first appearance. Athena has also reentered the harem officially as of ch 300.
    • Athena is probably Hata's vision of the Third Option Love Interest for fans, since the fandom was generally split between Nagi and Hinagiku, and she's taken from both of the Ships.
    • Post-Golden week chapters have given us Chiharu's entrance into the harem and potentially Luka/Ruka, who would actually fill this slot well, since we didn't even know about her existence until Golden Week had ended.
  • In Air Gear, the love interests Ringo (the Betty), and Simca (the Veronica), (and Akito) for Ikki were shaken up by the arrival of Kururu.
    • There's also Kazu. When all three girls (Simca, Ringo & Kururu) find out a way how Kogarasumaru can still participate in the Glam Scale tournament they all hasten to tell Ikki about it thinking 'whoever manages to tell him first will secure their future at Ikki's side'. So, who's the one who gets to tell Ikki first? Kazu, of course! It's played for laughs but it does make one wonder...
      • He's a speed freak, so it only makes sense that he would beet the girls.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia: Russia's part of a canon Psychotic Love Triangle, harboring Mad Love for Lithuania and being chased by his sister Belarus, but he also seems to display some interest in his southern neighbor China in a couple of strips (if "putting on a panda suit and stalking him" or "inviting him to live at his house in a very creepy way" can be considered Ship Tease, which it probably can given Russia's nature). Many fans happily take this third option, especially given the two countries' extensive real-life history together, to the point where Russia/China is actually more popular than Russia/Lithuania and Belarus/Russia combined. Russia gets plenty of other love interests in fanworks, of course, but China is the one who has the most canon support after Lithuania and Belarus (even if he probably isn't very happy about it in canon).
    • Similarly, Poland is a viable third option for Lithuania who's actually way more popular than the other two options.
      • He's also a pretty popular option for Hungary below, considering their good relations.
    • Greece and Turkey are the most canon-supported Betty and Veronica pair for Japan. However, fans almost never view Turkey as having a real chance to get Japan's attention and hence almost always treat England as the Veronica instead (making him a technical third option) and bring up America as a plausible third (fourth?) option too. In fact, an entire article could be devoted to all the *other* "third options" chosen for Japan in fanworks, but England and America are the ones that have the greatest fandom support and actual canon interaction with Japan.
    • Also, in regards to England's "love life", we have America, Japan and France. Then Himaruya reveals that he's working on sketches for Portugal. Cue to fangirls latching onto Portugal and hoping they become this in one, two, three...
      • But Wait! There's More! India has entered the fray as well, having been one of the more important English colonies in the past. While the fandom tends to pair him up with Prussia due to their Bollywood dancing scene that's easy to see as a Dance of Romance, some people have also added him to England's list of possible love interests...
    • While Hungary is more often than not paired up with her ex-husband Austria or her old friend/enemy Prussia, some fans think that her other enemy Turkey shouldn't be completely discarded due to the Foe Yay prospects. And now that Romania has received a face and profile, fanarts of him and Hungary having loads of Foe Yay are springing up too...
    • Korea himself might find the way into this too. As even though he groped Japan and China, he does take interest in Taiwan and is surprisingly nice to her. To summarize, both are actually the third option for each other, considering Taiwan's own share of ship tease also related to China and Japan...
    • Spain, who's mostly trapped between chosing Romano and Belgium, has to option of being paired off "rather" easily with Netherlands. The bonus is in form of Ship Mates that shipped of Romano and Belgium sweetly.
  • Feldt Grace from Mobile Suit Gundam 00. She loses, though. Sort of..
  • In Vandread, romantic tension is developing between Hibiki and his three love interests, and then in the second season a Girl in a Box shows up and decides he's cute.
  • Vivian Wong is this in the fifth season of Yu-Gi-Oh!. There is an intense rivalry over Yugi by his close friend Anzu, who cares for Yugi a lot but is mostly interested in the Pharaoh and the aggressive Bratty Half-Pint Rebecca who is quick to shower him with affection. When Vivian starts trying to shoehorn in, Rebecca and Tea are quick to unite against her, including Tea cheering Rebecca on in her duel against Vivian.
  • Ayase from Guilty Crown appears to be this to Shu.

Comic Books

  • Cheryl Blossom of Archie Comics, the character in the page picture and the former Trope Namer. She was a bombshell redhead introduced in the '80s who saw the original Betty and Veronica going after Archie and decided it would be fun to show them up. She makes her big debut in the 90s in the Love Showdown storyline, where Betty and Veronica escalate their competition for Archie, which ends in Archie choosing Cheryl Blossom instead (although the Status Quo is restored in a follow-up special). Since then, however, she has apparently started going out with the nerd of the cast after getting to know him on the internet, in a Throw the Dog a Bone moment.
    • Cheryl is also shown as being in the way of Reggie too. A humorous issue shows her winning a talent contest (with Archie and Reggie as the judges) over Betty and Veronica. What'd she do? Batted her eyelashes at them.
  • In what is a hilarious and awesome example, when the '90s Supergirl goes to an alternative Earth to take the original Silver Age Supergirl's place (it's long and complicated, but awesome), she ends up marrying the original Superman. In the wedding splash panel, you can see Lois Lane and Lana Lang saying "Please oh please — let it be a hoax! Or a dream! Or an imaginary tale!"
    • And Lori Lemaris, a friggin' mermaid, was Supes' original third option winner.
    • For a time in the 80s, Cat Grant was definitely in the running. Lacking any L's in her name probably doomed her.
  • Early in The Amazing Spider-Man Betty Brant (brunette) and Liz Allan (blonde) are competing for Peter Parker. Then Aunt May introduces them to her best friend's niece, Mary Jane Watson. They are both aghast at the thought of having to compete with this knockout beauty. Mary Jane's face is only shown several issues later, but fitting in with this trope, she turns out to be a redhead.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man recently decided to go with this trope; at the end of Ultimatum arc in Ultimate Spider-man, Kitty accidentally revealed to MJ that she still had romantic feelings for Peter. 6 months of unresolved plot development, Peter is now in a romantic relationship with Gwen Stacy.
  • With Batman this tends to happen. Usually torn between Catwoman and Talia al Ghul, writers have recently decided to add Wonder Woman to the mix, although Batman doesn't like to acknowledge it. Sometimes.


  • In the Disgaea novels, Laharl is given a rather big harem of girls as the novel series goes on, but Flonne and Etna are his closest friends and therefore his primal love interests, and he is not all that fond of the rest. But in the 3th novel we are introduced to Ozonne, Flonne’s little sister, and she & Laharl hit it off pretty well.

Live-Action TV

  • Many fans felt that Nina filled this role on Angel. Of course, Cordelia was MIA at the time and Buffy was busy with her own series...but when has that ever stopped anyone?
  • Series 3 of Robin Hood had the title character in a Love Triangle with outlaw Kate (Betty) and villainess Isabella (Veronica). If you're wondering where his traditional love interest Marian is, she'd been Killed Off for Real at the end of the previous series, and became the third option when Robin also dies and is reunited with her in the afterlife.
  • Kurt from Glee spent most of season one deluded that he was a mix this trope and Gay Option to Finn. He wasn't. Then again, Kurt hooked up with Blaine...
  • Early seasons of Smallville had Chloe (Betty) and Lana (Veronica) as possible love interests for Clark, naturally leading to Die for Our Ship from fans when Lois Lane showed up.
  • The season 1 finale of Community had Jeff in between Granola Girl Britta and Hot Teacher Slater. He ends up choosing Annie, although he hasn't been romantically involved with any of the three in season 2.
    • It is revealed by the end of season 2 that he has been secretly seeing Britta but they break up once others find out about it.
    • In season 2 Annie still has feelings (including a lot of resentment) towards Jeff but there are hints that she and Troy might get closer. In the season finale Abed becomes a third option out of the blue.
  • During Season 7 of Degrassi we had the love triangle of Holly J (Veronica) and Mia (Betty) going after Sav. The two girls brutally tear into each other for Sav's attentions, finally leading to Mia thinking Sav picked her... until it turns out he likes Anya.
  • On Gossip Girl, Colin was this to the Dan-Serena-Nate triangle.
    • Also, fans were crazy in Season 4 to know who Blair would pick - Chuck(Vanessa) or Dan (Betty)? Turns out she picks Louis. No one was happy.
  • In What I Like About You Holly leaves for England, while Vince and Henry both expect her to choose one of them. She comes back from England with a new guy, Ben.

Video Games

  • In Tales of Legendia, the two women who were fighting over Senel most aggressively were Shirley and Chloe. Unfortunately for them, it's revealed that the one Senel loved was Shirley's dead sister, Stella. And the guy never actually gets over her either.
  • Aside of the Betty and Veronica dynamics with Kotonoha and Sekai, there are three potential Third Option Love Interests in the School Days games: Otome, Setsuna and Hikari.
  • Tailtiu in Fire Emblem: Geneaology of the Holy War could easily be this for Prince Lewyn: Serious, honorable Erinys and flirty, clingy dancer Silvia compete for Lewyn's affections (well, Sylvia does most of the competing), but the player can easily push them aside and pair him with Tailtiu, a girl with no prior plot connections to him. Erinys's Cool Big Sis Annand could have also been this if she'd survived.
    • A male example would be Arden for Ayra; Lex and Chulainn both have canon crushes on her, but Arden is her third predestined lover even if she never speaks to him outside their chapter five love talk.
    • Lachesis has... two of these, actually. Her most "canon" love interests are Finn and Beowulf, to the point that in Thracia 776 her son Diarmuid is implied to be Beo's kid and her youngest Nanna is all but shouted to be Fin's child. However, if she gets enough love points with either Dew or Naoise, she can have love talks with them as well.
  • If the player restores the deleted romance with Neeshka in Neverwinter Nights 2, Safiya can become the third option with Elanee as Betty and Neeshka as Veronica. Similarly, if you restored the deleted romance with Bishop, Gann becomes the third with Casavir as Betty and Bishop as Veronica.
  • Final Fantasy VII has Aerith and Tifa being the main Betty and Veronica for Cloud, although the date scenario has Yuffie as a Third Option Love Interest, although you can go for the gay option with Barret.
  • The DS version of Dragon Quest V introduces Debora, who functions both as this and as the 'Veronica' to Bianca and Nera's Betties. After showing no interest in the hero's actions or his completion of the Engagement Challenge he completed in order to possibly marry his sister, and turning an indifferent eye upon Bianca's entrance into the equation, she breezes in and offers herself as a third option at the last possible moment—although, naturally, she views herself as the ONLY real choice. (Even her dad is surprised at this!)
  • In .hack//G.U., Haseo can romance almost any character, though the two canon options would probably be Atoli (Betty) and Shino (Veronica). However, play your cards right, and Endrance, who is a dude, will win Haseo's heart, much to the chagrin of every female in the party.
  • It's possible for Tatsuya to either romance Maya (Betty) or Lisa (Veronica) in Persona 2: Innocent Sin. However, it is also possible for him to start a homosexual romance with Jun.
  • In Subterranean Animism, those playing as Marisa had to choose between the two biggest contenders of her harem (in fanon, at least) Alice and Patchouli...and Nitori, a character that had only been introduced the previous game and had little, if any, connections with Marisa prior.
  • The Updated Re-release of Catherine gives one to Vincent: the Naive Everygirl Rin. Who's actually a very girly-looking boy. And an alien.

Web Comics

  • In Bittersweet Candy Bowl, both Lucy and Tess were love interests for Paulo, but he ended up choosing Jasmine, a girl introduced at the last minute.
  • Homestuck has this with Vriska, who had romantic feelings for Kanaya, Tavros, and plausibly Terezi. She ends up asking John out, and dying before hearing a response. On the other hand, due to her species' romantic customs, she could have plausibly ended up with all of them in different quadrants..

Web Original

  • Whateley Universe example: Thunderbird has all four of Sizzle, Aztecka, Tesla, and Widget interested in him for almost a year. They all lose out when Chaka realizes Thunderbird is a total 'boy scout' type and snaps him up in about ten minutes.

Western Animation