Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.

Following

One True Threesome
aka: OT 3

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screen_shot_2020_11_12_at_34634_am.png
First Guy: Tomoko... I love you.
Tomoko: I... I...
Second Guy: But Tomoko, I also love you.
First Guy: But now two of us love you. Who will you choose?
Tomoko: ...Why don't we all just... fuck each other? You know, just... one big fuck pile.
Beat
Second Guy: ...Yeah okay.
First Guy: Sounds good to me.
Advertisement:

In any given fandom, if there is any Shipping going on at all, there will usually be a particular couple substantially supported by both the Canon events of the series or story, and the general consensus of the fandom regarding Fanon. Even if some parts of the fandom aren't thrilled about the nature of the relationship, it's generally agreed that the relationship does exist and cannot be easily ignored. These unbreakable couples usually (but not always) consist of The Protagonist and their Love Interests, though they're often seen among villain groups as well. What makes this relationship unique can really only be decided by the individual viewer, and they are called OTP: One True Pairing.

In some cases, love rivals may compete for a single love interest, and the fandom is wholly divided over which one most deserves to get the girl or guy, with large fandoms developing into factions devoted to one relationship over another. Or it may just be a matter of a standard Love Triangle or a particular corner of a Love Dodecahedron where, because romantic relationships usually consist of exactly two people, one of the competing parties is eventually going to be disappointed. And sometimes, because of Fan Dumb, this can go overboard and cause Ship-to-Ship Combat.

Advertisement:

In a display of Take a Third Option, some fans adopt the concept of the OT3: the One True Threesome. It's just like One True Pairing, except that there are three characters involved; most often this means the Hero, the Love Interest, and one of their best friends with whom they've both had homoerotic subtext at some point. That way everybody's happy, the sex is kinkier, and no matter who's involved, there's always a little homoeroticism happening. It's like Give Peace a Chance, only instead of Peace, it's Three-Way Sex. While these groupings are most often the result of combining two other disputed couples, there are some examples of characters who simply group together in this way without the fandom splitting them into pairs; Power Trios are especially ripe for OT3ing.

See also Type 8 in Triang Relations; while other relationships modeled by that trope may include three characters, the distinction of the OT3 is that all three characters are involved and in some degree of love with each other. On rare occasions, it's been proposed as a solution to Type 7, Type 9, or even Type 2 Triang Relations.

Advertisement:

OT3s are a part of shipping. The in-universe subtext that fuels said shipping goes under Threesome Subtext. If they're in a canon relationship, you're looking at Polyamory. As a philosophy, polyamory may be present in shipping as well.

Note that, while not necessarily covered by this exact trope, sometimes fans will go even further and have an OT4, OT5, etc.

Not under any circumstances to be confused with the most notorious part of the Church of Happyology.


Examples


    open/close all folders 

    Card Games 
  • Harpie Lady Sisters, Queen's/King's/Jack's Knight, Dark Magician/Dark Magician Girl/Dark Magician of Chaos (feel free to substitute with other magicians), pretty much anything remotely human in Yu-Gi-Oh! that comes in threes.

    Comic Strips 
  • Some fans of Peanuts have suggested this as a way to resolve the Marcie/Charlie Brown/Peppermint Patty triangle.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: Defied. Although she isn't entirely opposed to Shinji and Rei having some feelings for one another, Asuka is not up for having an "Israfel Special" any time soon. Meanwhile Rei has confessed that she loves both Shinji and Asuka, but she does not want to disturb their relationship. The author also said that was his favorite Eva three-ways relationship, but it would not happen in this story, regrettably.
  • Doing It Right This Time was directly inspired by the above story, in which Asuka, Rei and Shinji will (eventually) go the "Israfel Special" route. The author of Advice and Trust is rather a fan...
  • In Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità, Germany, Italy, and Japan ended up in a polyamorous relationship after Germany and Japan agreed to share Italy at Italy's request.
  • Misfiled Dreams seems to be leaning towards Ash/Emily/Jenny Jr. It says something when even the characters themselves have taken notice of this.
  • My Immortal has Ebony/Vampire/Draco. And they actually do have a threesome in Chapter 43. Plus Voldemort's past self.
  • Nobody Dies: One of Kei's demands when she took Tokyo-3 hostage included delivering Shinji and Asuka to her, wearing ribbons, and only ribbons.
  • Thousand Shinji: Shinji and Asuka got together early in this story. Rei was incredibly jealous of—and attracted to—Asuka, but she was reluctant to get her out of the way because it would get Shinji upset... and furious with her. She settled on trying to have a threesome with them. Her first clumsy attempt was a catastrophic failure, but at the end of the story the three of them got together (in fact, the FOUR of them got together since Shinji also hooked up with Misato).
  • Confirmed with an Important Haircut Kaname/Sousuke/Eija of Divine Blood are a One True Threesome with Kaname and Eija being Heterosexual Life-Partners rather than Les Yay as confirmed by a question from Mizuki.
  • Moonstuck fandom has a small following for Sunshine/Woona/Meadowlark. The author herself likes to tease the fans with it.
    luna no you can’t take them both to prom...OR CAN YOU???
  • A Wings of Fire fanartist, in response to the hate between Starflight/Fatespeaker fans and Starflight/Sunny fans, drew this picture of all three dragons cuddling together. The subtext is obvious.
  • Neo/Dean/Smith in The Matrix and Supernatural Crossover Hunting Series
  • The Queen Who Fell To Earth has Harry/Hermione/Original Character May. Given the influence of Pern culture, threesomes are quite normal in the Weyrs (for example, Millicent Bulstrode is in one with two bisexual Muggle boys).
  • In Hetalia School For Vampire Hunters, Elizabeta and Roderich are introduced as a Happily Married couple, but shortly afterward are shown to be accompanied by Gilbert, who proceeds to flirt with Elizabeta and then smack Roderich on the behind while the latter blushes and the former smirks. It quickly becomes clear to the reader that the three are all in a relationship together.
  • In Age of Dragons, Amell and Brosca decide that instead of fighting over Zevran they'll just have a Relationship Upgrade and then invite him to join that.
  • The Frozen/How to Train Your Dragon fic "Almas cruzadas"- and its English translation "Crossed Souls"- feature Hiccup being basically forced into a political marriage to Elsa to face the renewed threat of Drago Bludvist, despite his existing relationship with Astrid. As events unfold, with Astrid basically acting as Elsa's combat instructor and bodyguard, although Elsa initially assured Hiccup that they could get the marriage annulled once the current threat was over and he could continue his relationship with Astrid, the three of them find themselves increasingly drawn to each other.
  • Ginny Weasley: Double Life is a Harry Potter fic with Harry/Ginny as a primary pairing, but adds the additional element of Milikan, a talking snake with Hypnotic Eyes who hypnotises Ginny to regard Milikan as her best friend and Mistress. This swiftly leads to Ginny falling for Milikan even as she retains her relationship with Harry; while Ginny has been 'programmed' not to tell Harry about Milikan, she often thinks how lucky she is to have the two most remarkable people she knows fall in love with her.
  • Used to great extent in the Lost Girl / Merlin (2008) Crossover fic Lost in Camelot; after Bo and Kenzi are sent back in time to Camelot, Bo initially forms a relationship with Merlin to deal with her chi-feeding needs, but she is also attracted to Morgana, and when Kenzi realises that Merlin and Morgana are also interested in each other, she suggests to Bo that she 'simply' bring all three of them into one relationship so nobody's unhappy. Despite a few 'teething troubles' in the early days due to Morgana's uncertainty about her own feelings, a close call when Bo is captured forces Morgana to face the thought of losing her, pushing Morgana to accept that she loves Merlin and Bo equally, with the triad sharing a kiss under the moonlight.
  • "Tingle" sees Peter Parker, Yelena Belova and Kate Bishop come together after the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home and Hawkeye (2021); Yelena explicitly reminds the other two that polyamory is more common following the Blip (Avengers: Endgame) as people returned from being Snapped to find that their spouses have remarried while they were "dead".
  • My Father's Son: An enforced trope at first then takes a more straightforward turn in this story. Rhaegar is already married to Elia Martell for several years, but due to his father's growing madness, they weren't on the best grounds. Then Aerys II, in a fit of paranoia, decided to also legally bind him to Lyanna Stark in a political move to surround his supposed enemy Tywin Lannister. Ironically enough, because Rhaegar and Lyanna hit it off so well, she ended up inspiring both Rhaegar and Elia to improve themselves, and in time become a true Joint marriage with even some lesbianism thrown in to connect the wives.
  • Seventh Endmost Vision: A rather spoilery version. Aerith apparently hoped for this with both Tifa and Zack; a photograph of her from their SOLDIER days shows her looking at both Tifa and Zack, despite the fanclub magazine it was shown in making open attempts to pretend that Aerith was only looking at Zack.
  • The "Stranger in a Strange Land" series doesn't waste time seting up a Nightwing/Supergirl/Batgirl triangle. When Kara sees Bruce boasting about his female companions during a party, she hugs both Dick and Babs and proudly proclaims "hers" are "prettier".
  • The Total Shuffled Island Series popularized DJ/Dawn/Samey as well, though it's still much more niche than DJ/Dawn or DJ/Samey on their own.
  • A Thing of Vikings sees Hiccup formalize Berk's alliance with Norway by taking Wulfhild, half-sister of King Magnus the Good, as his concubine on top of his marriage to Astrid, with the three soon finding a balance that allows them all to fall in love with each other. Astrid's grandparents are also in one, and their advice is crucial to helping the younger triad achieve an equilibrium that actually works.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Book of Life:
    • Joaquin/Maria/Manolo (better known as Tres Leches) is pretty popular since all three are great people who remain good friends even after the whole Triangle thing gets resolved. Even Jorge has admitted to loving the ship, occasionally posts pictures on his Tumblr, encouraged stories for it at least one, and joked about it being his original intent!
    • Joaquin and The Adelita twins too, due to the twins showing a lot of interest in him near the film's end, mixed a bit with Pair the Spares.
  • In Corpse Bride, Victor ends up learning to love Emily enough to want to join her in the Afterlife after believing his chances with Victoria are over. And Emily loves Victor enough to step aside and push him back to Victoria (who dearly loved Victor to begin with). ...Oh well, there's always the Afterlife.
  • Frozen:
    • Kristoff/Anna/Elsa (or "Kristelsanna" as it's called). Most Elsa/Anna fans like Kristoff too much to bash him much, so he's either made into Anna's platonic best friend or added into the Elsanna action. More rare is Anna/Kristoff/Elsa, which doesn't involve incest.
    • Due to their cameo, Rapunzel and Eugene from Tangled get shipped in various threesomes and foursomes with Frozen characters. Much of it is Kissing Cousins due to the fanon that Rapunzel is Anna and Elsa's first cousin.
  • In Inside Out, Fear, Anger, and Disgust are all shipped together by some fans, especially after the absence of Joy and Sadness from Headquarters in the film caused the three emotions to have to work together to try and help Riley.
  • While the Luca fandom is still picking up speed, no one can deny that Alberto/Luca/Guilia would work as a ship given that all three of them have wonderful chemistry on a platonic level.
  • The Princess and the Frog has Naveen/Tiana/Charlotte for those who think Tiana and Charlotte would make a cute couple but don't want to tear apart the Official Couple. It helps that both Charlotte/Tiana and Charlotte/Naveen tie up Charlotte's plot-thread about wanting to marry royalty.
  • From The Road to El Dorado, Chel/Tulio/Miguel for those that like the Miguel/Tulio paring but don't hate Chel. It helps that both Tulio and Miguel go slack jawed when around her, or that Chel flirts with both about equally, and of course there is Miguel and Tulio's relationship. Considering the ending, it's almost-sorta-kinda canon!
  • Toy Story:
    • In Toy Story 3 after Bo Peep got Put on a Bus, Woody/Buzz/Jessie became quite popular. It was implied to be canon in "Spanish Mode".
    • Woody/Bo/Buzz/Jessie has also picked up in popularity. Toy Story 4 gave it a large boost after Bo Peep was reintroduced.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Descendants has a few possible options.
    • Pre-series stories sometimes have the core V Ks involved with each other. This can evolve into their canon love interests (primarily Ben, Doug and Jane since they appear and were confirmed in the final film) being brought into the relationship.
    • Ben/Mal/Uma and Mal/Ben/Audrey have followings though more the former.
    • Jay/Carlos/Jane. Lonnie may be thrown in here as well.
    • Ben/Mal/Evie/Doug, mostly due to the girls' chemistry with each other and the actors behind Ben and Doug having a great bromance.
      • The series "Package Deal" explores a relationship developing between Mal, Ben and Evie, as Mal and Evie were girlfriends back on the Isle of the Lost and Mal asks Ben if he would be willing to 'share' her with Evie as she can't give either of them up. The subsequent series explores how Ben and Evie become involved with each other beyond their existing bond with Mal, Mal affirming in a talk with the Fairy Godmother that, in contrast to the idea that fairies can only have one true love, she considers Ben and Evie to be her only partners rather than consider one 'above' the other.
    • Uma/Gil/Harry.
  • The Devil Wears Prada has Miranda/Andy/Emily as the most popular threesome pairing. It covers two very popular pairings, that of Miranda/Andy and Emily/Andy. It has also been known to sometimes become a foursome, and include Serena. It has the most fanfics of any threesome on Archive of Our Own. It's also very popular on YouTube to make a video about the three. If you are more into crossover pairings, there's Miranda/Andy/Cruella de Vil, which is surprisingly popular.
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Ferris is dating Sloane. Ferris has Ho Yay with Cameron. Cameron has Ship Tease subtext with Sloane. All three actors have wonderful chemistry, and it's clear that all three characters love and care for one another above all else — even Ferris, who is extremely selfish, obviously cares a lot about Cameron, and swears he'll marry Sloane. Of course these three get shipped together.
  • Inception:
    • Arthur/Ariadne/Eames is quite popular. As is Arthur/Ariadne/Cobb.
    • Cobb/Mal/anyone isn't the most popular combination, but it makes a lot of sense, metaphorically speaking, as Mal exists only inside Cobb's head at this point.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) has Napoleon/Gaby/Illya, fueled by their chemistry as co-protagonists, the Napoleon/Illya Ho Yay, Illya and Gaby's canonical attraction, and Napoleon's flirtiness.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers: Having unexpectedly copious amounts of Tony Stark/Bruce Banner Ho Yay, along with expectedly copious amounts of Steve Rogers/Tony Stark Ho Yay, some fans have resolved this with an OT3 that's worth it for the Portmanteau Couple Name alone: Stark Spangled Banner.
    • Similarly, those wanting to run with the Steve/Tony Ho Yay but not wanting to break up Tony/Pepper go with Pepper/Steve/Tony and those who want Tony/Bruce go with Tony/Bruce/Pepper.
    • With the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this expanded to include any combination of the foursome Steve/Bucky/Sam/Natasha, and any variant combinations with the pairings above.
    • As the two loves of Steve's life, Steve/Bucky/Peggy is also popular.
    • Since the release of Captain America: Civil War, many fans have happily rolled Stucky, Steve/Sam, and Sam/Bucky together into one big Steve/Sam/Bucky OT3.
    • And with the two biggest pairings in the fandom being Steve/Bucky (Stucky) and Steve/Tony (Stony), some fans Take a Third Option in this shipping conflict and ship Steve/Bucky/Tony (Stuckony).
    • What do you do when you can't decide between Clint/Natasha and Clint/Coulson? Why, you ship Strike Team Delta, aka Clint/Coulson/Natasha!
    • Peter Parker has two within the fandom as well. Peter/MJ/Ned and Peter1/Peter2/Peter3.
    • Others solve the problem by the simple expedient of letting the entire cast of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have a wild orgy.
  • Patchwork ends with Jennifer and Ellie 'killing' Madeline's personality and then having Garrett brought back to life, creating the possibility for them to have this kind of relationship as Jennifer and Ellie remain active in their shared body and each appear fond of Garrett at least.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
  • Red Notice: Hartley and Booth have lots of Ho Yay, but Hartley and Sarah also have some good relationship subtext going on and are actually lovers, and all three of their actors have great chemistry with each other. Most fans' solution to this is just to ship all three of them together.
  • Since the Holmes/Watson/Mary love triangle is pretty much canon in Sherlock Holmes (2009), it's no surprise some fans have taken to OT3ing them. The three of them do seem quite cozily domestic with each other in that last scene... Irene is sometimes added to the mix as well.
  • The fandom of Singin' in the Rain loooooooves Don/Kathy/Cosmo. Don and Kathy are the Official Couple, and have great chemistry, but Don and Cosmo's bromance is also pretty Ho Yay-heavy, and rather than evolving into a Friend Versus Lover situation, Kathy and Cosmo get along great. In particular, there's one really cute scene that the fandom has latched onto with shipping goggles, where Cosmo and Don share a Man Hug, followed by Don kissing Kathy... which is then followed by her pecking Cosmo on the cheek, who gets so embarrassed he falls over. So a lot of fanfic authors make them a triad — everyone wins!
  • In Skyfall James Bond seduces Severine, the villain's kept woman. The villain Silva caresses Bond while he has him tied to a chair. Later, when Severine enters the picture again, Silva greets her by saying, "Darling, your lovers are here." This has led to not a few fics positing a ménage à trois in the event of Bond joining or being forced to stay with Silva.
  • Sky High (2005) has a surprising amount of Will/Layla/Warren fics, given the amount of Die for Our Ship going on in the fandom.
  • Star Trek (2009):
    • Kirk/Spock/Uhura. McCoy often becomes a part of this arrangement too.
    • Supported by Paul Gadzikowski's fan comic The Hero of Three Faces (story arc starting here).
    • Star Trek Into Darkness adds more fuel, marketing them as the main Power Trio. In the 2009 movie, Kirk's interaction with Uhura consisted of her clearly rebuffing his attempts to hit on her. Now they're on decent enough terms to discuss her relationship with Spock, and one scene is described elsewhere on this wiki as "a three-way lover's spat".
    • The sequel resulted in a lot of threesomes involving John Harrison aka Khan, mostly John/Kirk/Spock.
  • Star Wars: As a trilogy of trilogies, each about a trio, this is no surprise.
  • Flynn/Lora/Alan is a Running Gag in TRON fandom, backed up by the fact Lora dated Flynn before marrying Alan. However, few are actually brave enough to write it.
  • Venom (2018) has Eddie/Anne/Venom, thanks to the canonical Eddie/Anne relationship and the copious amounts of Ho Yay between Eddie and Venom, culminating in a scene where a Venom-possessed Anne makes out with Eddie to transfer the symbiote back to him. Anne's fiancé Dan will occasionally get thrown in to make it a foursome, given how well he and Eddie get along.

    Literature 
  • Almost Night uses this to solve the conflict between Ed and Bocaj.
  • For The Chronicles of Narnia, Peter/Susan/Caspian and Edmund/Lucy/Caspian are fairly popular, particularly because of the movies. There is also Susan/Caspian/Lucy, although it's rarer.
  • In Deltora Quest there’s Lief/Barda/Jasmine.
  • The Eagle of the Ninth has Marcus/Cottia/Esca.
  • Guenevere/Arthur/Lancelot in The Fionavar Tapestry and probably plenty of others.
  • The GONE series has the Devils trinity, which consists of Drake/Caine/Diana. This ship is popular, mainly because these three characters have many conflicting (and popular) ships, like Cake (Drake/Caine), Caina (Caine/Diana, actually canon) and Driana (Drake/Diana).
  • It might well have solved some fairly major problems if the setting of Gone with the Wind had been one in which an Ashley/Melanie/Scarlett One True Threesome had been a possible option.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry/Ron/Hermione, the three main characters.
    • Harry/Ginny/Luna is a popular pairing, even being named Flaming Nargles.
    • James/Lily — being kind of important as a couple — are often paired with Lupin, Severus, or Sirius depending on the author's favorite '70s era student.
    • When it comes to Marauder's shipping, Fan-Preferred Couple Sirius/Lupin might be joined by either James or Tonks, with the added bonus that Sirius and Tonks are cousins.
    • Lunar Harmony (Harry/Hermione/Luna) has a relatively small but dedicated fanbase.
    • Ginny/Hermione/Luna also has some fans.
    • Harry/Hermione/Draco combines three of the most popular ships (Harmony, Drarry, Dramione)
    • DGB (Draco/Ginny/Blaise) has a popular following, and Hermione/Draco/Blaise has become mildly popular in smutfics.
    • Hermione/Snape/Lucius and Hermione/Snape/Lupin are popular for those who like older men.
    • Some other themed OT3s are Bellatrix/Lucius/Narcissa (Death Eaters) and Katie/Alicia/Angelina (Gryffindor Quidditch Team).
  • For the Hurog duology, Tisala/Ward/Oreg is very, very popular. To the point that there are almost no fanfics about other pairings. The Ho Yay between Ward and Oreg is just that obvious. And as Tisala is the most badass woman of appropriate age, there is no serious competition for her.
  • The Infernal Devices has Tessa/Will/Jem.
  • Very nearly canon in The Lions of Al-Rassan with Ammar/Jehane/Rodrigo.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • There's Arwen/Aragorn may be joined by either Boromir or Éowyn. Throw Faramir in the mess for extra points.
    • Éomer/Aragorn/Faramir, or Legolas/Aragorn/Arwen, or even Aragorn/Arwen/Frodo.
    • Legolas/Aragorn/Éomer, Aragorn/Faramir/Boromir and OT4 Sam/Frodo/Merry/Pippin.
    • Rosie/Sam/Frodo isn't as popular, probably because Rosie barely appears in either the books or movies, but it's out there. Considering that Rosie and Sam kept taking care of Frodo after they got married, this one works really nicely.
    • Aragorn/Legolas/Gimli has its fans. They manage to stick together through practically the entire journey.
  • The Maze Runner has Thomas/Newt/Minho as its most popular threesome pairing, with tons of fanfics for it. The three are the most popular characters, share lots of Ho Yay all around, and have great chemistry with each other. It is made up of three popular ships: Thomas/Newt, Thomas/Minho, and Newt/Minho, and helps to avoid any shipping wars. Fans have also been known to either throw Teresa in or have her replace Minho.
  • In Les Misérables fandom, there is the technically canon threesome of Joly/Musichetta/Bossuet, and in some fanfics the main love triangle is solved by shipping Cosette/Marius/Éponine.
  • The Moomins: Moomintroll/Snufkin/Snorkmaiden is a very popular three-way ship. Moomintroll's canon Love Interest is Snorkmaiden, but Snufkin also gets a ton of Ho Yay with him, to the point where it's debated whether it's actually intentional Homoerotic Subtext note  and making Moomintroll/Snufkin the Fan-Preferred Couple. Those who can't decide which pairing they like best often just do both at the same time. The liberal atmosphere of Moominvalley also makes it easy to imagine that the characters would be accepting of polyamory.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Percy/Nico/Annabeth has its followers in the fandom.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Theon/Jon/Robb (abbrev: THEJOBB) seems to be popular. Jon and Robb are close; Robb and Theon are close; Jon thinks Theon is an asshole, and we know what that means...
    • Jon/Tyrion/Dany has its followers. Considering that Jorah told Dany she needs 2 husbands, it's not out of the question.
    • Jon/Robb/Sansa is also popular, as is Daenerys/Jon/Sansa (which has the bonus of resolving a lot of Ship-to-Ship Combat). It helps that Jon, Robb, Sansa, Theon and Dany are all Launchers of a Thousand Ships.
    • For those who believe Lyanna and Rhaegar to be Jon's parents it is not unheard of to find Rhaegar's wife Elia Martell being not just okay with it, but involved as well.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe gives us Jaina/Zekk/Jag, which almost became canon in the Dark Nest Trilogy. Ben/Taryn/Trista (hinted at), Zekk/Taryn/Trista (also hinted at), Ben/Jacen/Tahiri (we could ship... on Ship!), Luke/Corran/Mirax (Luke even hinted as such in I, Jedi.), Luke/Corran/Mara (more Stackpole subtext, which is not very subtextual unless it's Ho Yay but a lot more subtextual than his spiritual heir Troy Denning), Ahsoka/a clone/another clone.
  • some The Stormlight Archive fans have decided to find their own ending to the love triangle with Kaladin/Shallan/Adolin, or even Shallan/Adolin/Kaladin.
  • In Further Tales of the City, Anna Madrigal jokes that Mary Ann, Brian, and Michael are her favorite couple. The trio really don't mind this notion at all.
  • Laurence/Granby/Tharkay in Temeraire is quite popular. Meanwhile fanfic that only pairs Laurence with one person tends to have shades of this anyway, since Temeraire must be taken into account.
  • The Truth has the Newspaper OT3 William/Sacharissa/Otto.
  • Twilight:
    • Obviously enough, Edward/Jacob/Bella. Even in the first book, there's Ho Yay between Edward and Jacob. Then Breaking Dawn gave us Edward telling Bella she could have as many kids as she wanted with Jacob.
    • The relatively popular Alice/Bella/Edward, Alice/Edward/Jasper and Edward/Bella/Carlisle.
    • It’s weird that there isn't more Edward/Bella/Rosalie, given that Carlisle and Esme initially hoped to set Edward up with her, and the way Rosalie and Bella get quite close in Breaking Dawn.
    • From the wolves the most popular ones are Jacob/Embry/Quil and Jacob/Seth/Leah.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • The Love Dodecahedron practically asks for this. Firestar + Sandstorm + Spottedleaf neatly solves all the drama caused by Firestar's love for both she-cats. Although Spottedleaf being Sandstorm's aunt might squick some shippers.
    • Crowfeather + Feathertail + Leafpool is nearly the exact same situation as above, with Crowfeather having first loved one she-cat, then another after the first died.
    • Squirrelflight + Ashfur + Brambleclaw could make Squirrelflight not have to choose between the two toms.
    • Squirrelflight/Brambleclaw/Stormfur works quite well, as both toms were interested in her in the second series, and were also close with each other during their journey. Stormfur even joined ThunderClan for a while.
    • Graystripe + Silverstream + Millie has its problems (the two she-cats never met) but both love Graystripe a lot and what with all three of them inevitably sharing StarClan together, it's less crazy than it sounds.
    • Hollyleaf + Ivypool + Blossomfall became reasonably popular on sites like Tumblr.
  • Water for Elephants: August/Marlena/Jacob definitely has some appeal. This will really take off once the movie comes out, since it stars Robert Pattinson, Christoph Waltz and Reese Witherspoon. Curiously similar to Sophie's Choice, since both older males have volatile tempers due to mental health problems, both younger men are sort of 'adopted' into an established marriage and both younger men end up sleeping with the woman.
  • Wings of Fire: Moonwatcher/Qibli/Winter is a fairly popular solution to their Love Triangle in the second story arc.

    Music 

    Professional Wrestling 

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • David/Jonathan/Michal.
    • Some churches will outright state that God is a third party in any sanctified marriage, although it is not intended to imply anything sexual.
  • Classical Mythology: Achilles/Patroclus/Briseis, Hercules/Iolaus/Alcmene, Zeus/Hera/Ganymede, and Persephone/Adonis/Aphrodite. Hades (Persephone's husband) can also be thrown into that last one.
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh: Gilgamesh/Enkidu/Shamhat.
  • Maybe Loki/Sigyn/Angrboða from Norse Mythology relationship is this.

    Theater 
  • The basic idea behind the "Two Ladies" number in Cabaret.
  • The ending of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder seems to at least imply this, as the Love Triangle between Monty, Phoebe, and Sibella never really gets resolved.
  • The Phantom of the Opera:
    • While Christine is almost unanimously shipped with the Phantom, some ask why she couldn't have chosen both her Victorious Childhood Friend and her Stalker with a Crush. (Hell, the Phantom probably would've taken anything he could get...)
    • Additionally, Phantom/Christine/Meg in the fanfic/fandom zone. Two girls? Joys of the flesh indeed. I don't hear the Phantom protesting too hard...
  • In Wicked, a great deal of the tragedy that unfolded could have been avoided if Elphaba/Fiyero/G(a)linda had become a threesome. Considering Fiyero was with both Elphaba and Glinda at different points in the story, and Elphaba and Glinda's strong bond with each other is by far the most important relationship in the play, it's not too hard to scrounge up enough evidence to make a case for it.
  • Sometimes in opera, the usual "tenor and baritone fight over the girl" plot can be spiced up with a bit of Ho Yay, making this this ideal outcome (if only everyone survived). The Metropolitan's 2016 productions of Les Pecheurs de Perles and Roberto Devereaux stand out as examples—and, coincidentally, they featured the same tenor and baritone.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
  • Danganronpa:
  • Strongly implied canon for one of the endings of Date Warp with Janet/Linds/Rafael.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • Mion/Keiichi/Rena is without a doubt the most popular. They're close friends and it helps fix their love triangle. Keiichi canonically likes either one depending on the arc as well, so it makes sense he could love both at once. Mion and Rena get along well as well, so it's easy to ship them together.
    • Shion/Mion/Keiichi usually happens when people enjoy the twincest subtext between Mion and Shion but also ship Keiichi/Mion. Shion/Keiichi/Mion is also popular because Keiichi is very similar to Shion's canon love interest, Satoshi who is in a coma throughout the franchise and presumed dead.
    • Rika and Satoko have a close Homoerotic Subtext filled relationship while Hanyuu probably knows Rika better than anyone else. Obviously Satoko/Rika/Hanyuu is a thing.
  • Katawa Shoujo:
    • Emi/Hisao/Rin is a pretty popular OT3 due to people enjoying their interactions.
    • Hisao/Shizune/Misha has shippers. It helps that it's a canon love triangle as Misha is in love with Shizune.
    • Lilly/Hanako/Hisao, too. Lilly and Hanako are noted to be extremely close, both appearing frequently in the other one's route, and it's even reflected in how you get onto their routes — most walkthroughs lump the two together, as the paths to the two routes are identical up until the final choice before the route lock.
  • Nasuverse:
    • Tsukihime: Shiki/Arcueid/Ciel and Shiki/Hisui/Kohaku are the most common. Both somehow supported even canonically. First in Ciel Good End where Arcueid and Ciel effectively and begrudgingly "share" Shiki. There is much teased at, but unconfirmed attraction between them. Second is the main theme of Kagetsu Tohya's sidestory Flower of Thanatos in which Shiki together with humble servants Hisui and Kohaku lives in the isolated Tohno Mansion, where Shiki practically can do with both maids whatever he wants, and Kohaku is very enthusiastic when they both serve him at the same time (including sexual desires, or periodic rapes) although it's not so simple as it seems and Shiki begins to have regrets.
      • With Melty Blood there is also Shiki/Akiha/Sion, notable as Sion is probably the only girl interested in Shiki Akiha gets along with. Or Satsuki/Sion/Riesbyfe as the Back Alley Alliance.
    • Fate/stay night: There are Shirou/Saber/Rin and Shirou/Sakura/Rider or Shirou/Sakura/Rin. Both are expanded at various levels in Fate/hollow ataraxia and many other associated works or materials, and are very popular in fandom.
      • Shirou/Saber/Rin is based on the Unlimited Blade Works route where in the Good End of this route, some fans believe that this is what was going on behind the scenes (doesn't hurt that Rin discovered that she is bisexual in the original Fate route while sleeping with Shirou and Saber).
      • Shirou/Sakura/Rider is based on the Heaven's Feel route, where Shirou is mind-raped by Rider disguised as Rin in the original game. Rider also stays with Sakura in the endings, and leaves it ambiguous whether she needs to replenish her mana without Sakura's knowledge, while it's openly stated that Shirou depends on Sakura to live his life.
      • Shirou/Sakura/Rin is based on Shirou being with Sakura in the True End of Heaven's Feel, while Rin still has feelings for Shirou, even after she leaves for London alone. Interestingly while not confirmed, there are even hints of this occurring in the Normal End of Fate.
      • Another favorite triad is Shirou/Sakura/Rider, which is also a sort of opposite for the previous. It's most evident in Fate/hollow ataraxia Eclipse story's The backside of Kibisis, in which they have a hot threesome scene, and although this turns out to be actually just Rider's illusion, it's clear how things are.
  • The protagonists of Zero Time Dilemma are conveniently divided into trios during the Decision Game, but one of these groups includes a kid and another turns out to be a woman and her parents, so Team C (Carlos/Akane/Junpei) naturally became the most popular threesome pairing. It's fueled by the fact that, in-universe, Carlos is really determined to get Akane and Junpei together, despite only knowing them for a few days, and often asks questions about their relationship.

    Web Comics 
  • City of Reality is a literal, and deconstructed Mary Sue Topia, to the point where, when a person catches their spouse cheating, the natural and normal reaction is to join in.
  • Collar 6 gives us the canon couple of Sixx/Laura/Ginger. Made possible as all the girls were already into polyamory beforehand.
  • Dumbing of Age fans wasted no time in shipping Amber / Danny / Ethan once Danny was confirmed to be bisexual and attracted to them both.
  • There appears to be a number of El Goonish Shive fans that ship Sarah with one of the Official Couples of the comic, Tedd / Grace. She has received some Ship Tease with both of them, but she is or rather, was part of another Official Couple. However, given certain developments in the comic, she is now free to fulfill the wishes of the fans.
    • Given some additional traction by this (probably) non-canon "Sketchbook" page. And further Ship Tease when a Q&A claimed to be "out of space" to discuss it and a "Wrong Answers Only" Q&A wasn't prepared to give a solid "yes" in case it wasn't a wrong answer. And the NP story "Blanket" appears to be an extended riff on there being Only One Couch.
  • Girl Genius fandom has strong (although not exclusive) support for Agatha×Gil×Tarvek. While Gil's the more traditional Designated Love Interest and proposed to Agatha even before he knew her background, as Violetta points out, Tarvek is equally devoted to Agatha and would be a much less politically troublesome match. The Cinderella parody done in one of the interludes ending with Agatha-as-Cinderella marrying both Gil and Tarvek indicates that the writers think it's a perfectly reasonable resolution to the romantic plotlines. In-universe, it's been acknowledged as a possible outcome by several characters. The in-universe betting pool has Gil at 2-1, Tarvek 3-1, and Both at 5-1, showing just how likely some find it.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court:
    • Jack/Zimmy/Gamma has popped up among certain fans after a revelation or two in the comic. Mostly for laughs, but a few not so much.
    • When Jack is introduced with a girlfriend, Jenny, who refers to Annie with "my love," Jack/Jenny/Annie cropped up in response.note 
  • Homestuck It's pretty common to see some love triangles resolved this way, creating pairings like Dave/Terezi/Karkat or Eridan/Feferi/Sollux. More unusually, because trolls in Homestuck canonically have four different kinds of romance and usually desire to fulfill all of them, it's common for OT3s to involve multiple different relationship types. (It doesn't help that one of said relationship types inherently requires a threesome.) Using the earlier example, it's not unusual to see people shipping Eridan, Feferi, and Sollux all in red relationship (that is, a normal human romantic one), but it's arguably even more common for people to ship Eridan and Sollux both in a red relationship with Feferi but in a black relationship with each other. Needless to say, fics with lots of different pairings and multiple quadrants for each character can get very... complicated.
    • John's Dad/Rose's Mom/Dave's Bro was at least popular in the fandom's early days (it didn't hurt that Mom/Dad was an Official Couple and Mom and Bro were Dave and Rose's biological parents). Things became complicated after the Scratch, wherein alternate versions of Mom (Roxy) and Bro (Dirk) swapped roles with Rose and Dave while Dad stayed the same.
  • The Law of Purple's Lette/Blue/Synn is pretty much canon.
  • Magick Chicks: When Faith tells Tiffany that she loves her, Tiffany counters by bringing up Faith's habit of sleeping around. So Faith said she'd agree to stop seeing other girls, if Tiffany asked her to. Tiffany considers it for a moment, then asks about Faith's boyfriend, Ash, which is where Faith drew the line and proposed they form a threesome instead.
  • Ménage à 3: According to some fans, Gary/Yuki/Zii (because Yuki is crazy-jealous respecting both Gary and Zii, and both Zii and Gary have expressed interest in each other at certain points, it seems like the relationship might actually be stable).
  • Questionable Content:
  • Siren's Lament: Lyra/Shon may be the official couple with Ian as the unlucky suitor for Lyra but the ship of Ian/Lyra/Shon set sail quite early on due to Ian proposing it. Ian trying to join in on a hug between the two before they started dating helped kick things off, and was reinforced by Shon carrying Ian bridal style when Ian nearly passed out and Ian's habit of flirting with Shon to annoy him, and Shon on at least two occasions responding in kind.
  • Something*Positive: Davan/Vanessa/PeeJee, anyone? Vanessa has even stated that she would not be averse to such a set up... the author, on the other hand, is. Davan and Peejee will never be a canon item.

    Web Original 
  • Camp Camp has a few possible triads, some popular and others not. They include
    • Max/Neil/Nikki
    • Max/Preston/Space Kid
    • Nerris/Harrison/Preston
    • Nerris/Ered/Nikki
    • Harrison/Preston/Max
    • Harrison/Neil/Max
    • Snake/Neil/Max
    • Tabbi/Erin/Sasha
    • Gwen/David/ Jasper, albeit only possible in AUs.
    • Crossovers with Xray And Vav can feature Gwen/David/Mogar and Hilda/Gwen/David/Mogar.
  • Helluva Boss:
    • While Moxxie and Millie are already an Official Couple that fans adore seeing express their love, there are a decent number of fans that like adding Blitzo to the mix, as not only does Blitzo express both familial and sexual interest in the duo (he outright shows in "Loo Loo Land" that he wants to have a three-way with them), the trio often act like a group of dysfunctional but caring parents towards Loona, who Blitzo is already the adoptive father of.
    • Some Blitzo/Stolas shippers threw Verosika into the mix after "Spring Broken", noting that she and Blitzo may not be completely over each other and that Verosika, being a succubus, may not care about Blitzo sleeping with other people. Meanwhile, even though Stolas and Verosika have yet to interact onscreen at the time of this writing, the subtle but unmistakable parallels between them have led a lot of these shippers to assume they'd get along like a house on fire. Not to mention the logic and appeal inherent in shipping two of the biggest perverts on the show with a succubus...
    • Not long after their debut, plenty of fans who like C.H.E.R.U.B took to shipping all members of the trio together, since whenever they show their true colors, their conflicting interactions provide prime Belligerent Sexual Tension bait. There are a few that go the Fan-Preferred Couple route with Keenie and Collin since her frequent aggression towards him makes for a good Tsundere dynamic, along with them both being sheep-angels, but Cletus acts as a good mediator for the two, along with how the show effectively dares the fanbase to ship them by having Blitzo call him a sheep-fucker.
  • Mystery Skulls Animated: Arthur is jealous of Lewis and Vivi's relationship, but the series is ambigous as to how; the fandom solves this by shipping the three together, though whether it's a complete or partial triangle depends on the writer.
  • Off the Page and into Life:
    • Henry loves Gail, Gail loves Henry, Terrence loves Henry, Terrence and Henry have a lot of Ho Yay, and Terrence and Gail sometimes veer into Foe Romance Subtext. Naturally, many people (both In-Universe and out) have pointed out that a threesome would solve a lot of problems. Gail, Terrence and Henry did not agree. (Ironically, all three muns for those characters have said they liked the idea.)
    • Gail's entangled in another OT3 with her best friend Meg and her boyfriend Morpheus. And with Jackson and Tim. And Sam and Henry. Gail gets shipped with everyone.
    • To a lesser extent, Frederick with his ex-girlfriend Gloria and Gloria's new girlfriend Emily.
  • ProZD's suggests this trope should happen when it comes to anime love triangles. Currently the page quote.
  • In the Red vs. Blue fandom, portraying Agents North Dakota, New York, and Washington as lovers is fairly popular. Being three of the nicest characters in a series full of clueless, bitter jerkasses probably has something to do with it. note 
  • RWBY:
    • Blake had ship tease in the show with both Sun and Yang across the first five volumes. One solution to the fandom shipping wars between Blake/Sun (Black Sun) and Blake/Yang (Bumblebee) was to create the fairly popular ship Sunny Bees, consisting of all three characters together.
    • Once Volume 5 confirmed that Ilia used to be in love with Blake, threesome ships of Ilia/Blake/Sun and Ilia/Blake/Yang exist. However, the big solution, given the already existing Sunny Bees threesome, was to simply add Ilia into the mix and make it a One True Foursome.
    • Taiyang has two daughters by two different mothers who are two years apart in age. Both of their mothers were in Taiyang's team in school. Instead of arguing about whether Taiyang/Raven or Taiyang/Summer is the better ship, fans went for the threesome. This generated the meme "Entire Team, Qrow" due to there being no hint that Qrow was ever a likely love interest for Taiyang; the joke is that, as the only member left out of the ship, Taiyang must be determined to land Qrow and score the entire team.
    • Ruby Rose is most commonly shipped with Weiss Schnee, her Defrosting Ice Queen partner, and Penny Polendina, a Robot Girl to whom she is the first friend. After a moment in the Volume 7 finale where both Ruby and Weiss cuddle up to Penny at the same time to comfort her, Ruby/Penny/Weiss has become a common ship.
  • That Guy with the Glasses:
  • In Welcome to Night Vale there was clearly some sort of romance between Childhood Friends Cecil and Scoutmaster Earl, even if it was only one-sided. Earl apparently died in the episode he was introduced, but it wouldn't be too much of a stretch for him to come back and for their relationship to blossom. Except, Cecil's now in a committed and frankly adorable relationship with Carlos the scientist. This was the only logical conclusion for many.
  • Whateley Universe fandom has the triangles of Thunderbird/Chaka/Riptide and Stalwart/Fey/Bugs and Molly/Chou/Dorjee resolved this way (the latter was resolved by canon Polyamory).
  • Xray And Vav has Ash/Xray/Vav.

"And so anime was solved forever!"

Alternative Title(s): Ot 3, One True Triad, OT Three

Top