Two men are technically fighting over a woman, or making up deals about her. Either they are rivals, or one has her as a Love Interest
while the other plays the role of the protective father figure. However, the whole thing is really about the relationship between these two men.
The woman is not really one of the players in this social game. It is strictly between the men. It's really about their
relationship with each other and their feelings for each other. Doesn't have to include any Ho Yay
, their relationship doesn't have to have sexualized overtones. They may be, or pondering becoming, Heterosexual Life-Partners
Sometimes used as a way of portraying the development of an Arranged Marriage
While this trope is usually about two men using a woman as playing field for their relationship, it can also be about two women using a man in the same way. The number of players may also be larger than two. In either case, it's about heterosexuality as a social dynamic between individuals of the same gender.
with Friend Versus Lover
, where neither the friend nor the lover really want to be friends and genuinely are
fighting over the mutual interest.
Anime and Manga
- Bakuman。: The Ashirogi Muto team decides they do in fact want Kaya hanging out with them at college to deflect suspicions of gayness arising from two hot young men who are constantly together.
- In one Ernie arc, the local beauty queen suddenly takes a romantic interest in the protagonist. What he doesn't know is that she wants him only because he is his girlfriend's boyfriend: The sudden romance is a ploy in a competition between these two women, and he is merely a pawn.
- In Fiddler on the Roof, the traditional Arranged Marriage custom is portrayed as an emotional and social affair between the groom and the father, the bride hardly being relevant to the process. And thus the plot is setting up for a massive backfire.
- Sweeney Todd is playing the Destructive Romance version of this trope with Judge Turpin. Mutual bonding in the scenes with the "Pretty women" song, and on the surface helping with the plan to force Todd's daughter to marry Turpin. However, the one Todd plan to sacrifice is not his daughter, but secretly Turpin instead.
- The entire plot of This Means War! is this trope turned on full blast.
- In North and South (Trilogy), Madelyn is manipulated into an Arranged Marriage based entirely on his friendship with her father. This scenario is gradually rolled up retroactively after the protagonist loses contact with her only to find out that she's suddenly getting married.
- Adding this dynamic was the reason for the inclusion of both Aunt Harriet and Batgirl in the 1960s Batman Adam West series. Not for nothing are Batman and Robin considered the original ambiguously gay duo.
- Wicked has a Rare Female Example with Elphaba and Glinda. They're caught in a Love Triangle with Fiyero, but the story is more about the relationship between the two women than it's about Elphaba/Fiyero or Glinda/Fiyero.
- In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hermia's father is trying to force her to marry Demetrius, leading to this exchange with Lysander, the man she really loves:
Demetrius: Relent sweet Hermia, and Lysander, yield thy crazed title to my certain right.
Lysander: You have her father's love, Demetrius. Let me have Hermia's. Do you marry him!
Egeus: Scornful Lysander, true, he hath my Love; and what is mine, my love shall render him. And she is mine, and all my right of her, I do estate unto Demetrius.
- Cyrano de Bergerac is a classic example. To some viewers it seems clear that Cyrano and Christian come to care more about each other than either do about Roxanne