One-third of Americans have been in a love triangle

Linley SandersData Journalist
January 27, 2021, 5:00 PM UTC

With heartbreak ballad “Driver’s License” — written by Olivia Rodrigo about an alleged love triangle between herself and two other Disney stars — dominating airwaves, YouGov decided to ask Americans whether they have ever been in the midst of a love triangle themselves.

The poll shows that one-third of Americans (33%) have experienced a love triangle, where two people compete against each other for the romantic attention of another person. About one in five Americans (19%) say they have been the person that others were competing for, and a similar number (18%) have competed over someone else. (Respondents could select both “yes” options if they applied, so the total number of Americans who have been involved in a love triangle is not the same as adding the two values together.) 

More than two in five (45%) 18-to 24-year-olds have been in a love triangle, the most likely age demographic to identify with the romantic struggle. One-quarter (27%) of 18-to 24-year-olds describe themselves as the pursued, and 23% say they have competed for someone else’s affections. About two in five 25-to 34-year-olds (39%) and 35-to 44-year-olds (40%) have been in a romantic relationship where a third person is waiting in the wings.

Only about one-quarter (26%) of 45-to 54-year-olds admit to being tangled up in a love triangle at some point. About one in five (18%) say they were competed for, and 13% say they competed against someone else. For Americans over 55, love triangles are the rarest. One-quarter (24%) have been in this situation, with 12% identifying as the person who was desired by two individuals. About one in six (17%) of those over 55 were pursuing someone in the love triangle.  

See the data from this YouGov Poll 

Methodology: 6,131 US adults aged 18+ were asked “Have you ever been a part of a "love triangle," where two people compete against each other for the romantic attention of one person? Please select all that apply.” The response options were: “Yes, I have been the person two people were competing over,” “Yes, I have been one of the two people competing over someone,” “No, I have not been part of a love triangle,” and “Don't know.” Respondents could select both “yes” options if they applied, but the “no” and “don’t know” options were exclusive. The survey was conducted between January 25 – 26, 2021. The responding sample is weighted to provide a representative sample of the United States. 

Image: Getty