A third wheel is someone in the love triangle who doesn’t end up with the girl or guy since the object of their affections will usually pass over them for someone else. Still, in many ways fans tend to root for the third wheel usually for he or she may be the underdog or the one who’s more of a long shot. However, many times it’s better that they stay third wheels since many would probably not make compatible or viable partners to the object of their affections or have some issues preventing happiness anyway. Here are some examples and my explanation why they’re probably better off without their beloved or why their beloved is better off without them.
1. Eponine Thenardier
From: Les Miserables
Beloved: Marius Pontmercy
Why she didn’t get the guy: Marius never considered Eponine as a love interest as well as no more than a friend or someone he felt sorry for. Not to mention, he falls in love with Cosette and ends up with her.
Why we root for her: Eponine is from a much poorer family and in many ways has to rely on herself. Also, she’s very loyal to Marius and is willing to do anything to make him happy (at least in the musical) even if it means him not returning her feelings. Also, she risks her life for him. Cosette on the other hand, may have been the kind of girl we’d feel sorry for but as an adult living with Jean Valjean, many fans don’t find her that interesting.
Why they’re better off apart: In many respects, Marius and Eponine are much better off without each other because it wouldn’t work out if they got together. For one, Eponine’s parents are the Thenardiers (yes, the innkeeper and his wife who mistreated Cosette before Jean Valjean came along). And it’s pretty apparent that the Thenardiers wouldn’t make the best in-laws and are certainly not people you’re willing to trust. Also, they’re willing to steal from just about anybody. Not to mention, Eponine steals from people as well but she has her standards. Then there’s the notion that if Eponine did end up with Marius, she wouldn’t find her life very happy with him. Sure she may have a roof over her head and fancy clothes to wear, but she wouldn’t be fully accepted in neither Marius’ world nor in his family. It’s also not helped by the fact that Marius’ mother also married a guy outside her background who her family didn’t like. Though she loved the guy, she died when Marius was little which resulted in a custody battle between his wealthy noble maternal grandfather and his dad. And the maternal grandfather won as well as made sure that the elder Pontmercy would never see his son again and that Marius would never know of his dad’s existence. Of course, Marius does find out about his dad when his old man dies and ends up becoming a revolutionary because of his daddy issues. If Eponine and Marius had kids and Marius died when the children were still young, there’s no doubt Marius’ family would do the same thing to her as they did to his dad. As for Cosette, despite her childhood, she seems pretty well adjusted as well as has a great dad in Jean Valjean who saved Marius’ ass. Besides, Cosette is fairly pretty and well off enough that Marius’ family accepts her. Trust me, Marius and Eponine are better off as friends.
2. Sidney Carton
From: A Tale of Two Cities
Beloved: Lucie Manette Darnay
Why he didn’t get the girl: Lucie Manette already had a boyfriend when the two of them met who was his client Charles Darnay who she later married. Not to mention, she only sees Sidney as a friend.
Why we root for him: For one, he really loves Lucie even though he’s perfectly content to be in the friendzone as well as hang out with her family once in awhile. His love for her also makes him a far happier guy who’s willing to do anything for her to make her happy such as taking her husband’s place at the guillotine. Also, he let Lucie know he loved her unconditionally.
Why they’re better off apart: For one, Sidney probably is an alcoholic and isn’t a very ambitious attorney compared to his partner Stryver. Also, he’s not that fun to be around with and can get fairly depressed. Not to mention, even Sidney can admit that Charles Darnay is a better choice since like Lucie he’s French as well as willing to hold a steady job and fairly well-adjusted (though he has issues with his family).
From: Wuthering Heights
Beloved: Catherine Earnshaw Linton
Why he didn’t get the girl: Catherine wanted to leave Wuthering Heights for a wealthier lifestyle so she dumped him for Edgar Linton while Heathcliff was away.
Why we root for him: For one, he’s handsome, dark, and mysterious. Second, he always loved Catherine since they were kids for she was very sweet to him. Third, we also feel bad for how Catherine’s brother treated him on account of his background as well as everyone else.
Why they’re better off apart: Despite his status as a romantic hero, Heathcliff is a complete bastard, especially to those who hurt him in any way, and that includes Catherine. Sure he was treated like shit for being “different” but that doesn’t excuse him for what he does when he gets back from his adventures. Not to mention, forgiveness isn’t one of his virtues and he doesn’t care who gets hurt from his schemes. For one, to get back at Catherine for marrying Linton, he basically marries Linton’s sister Isabella out of complete spite and inevitably neglects her afterwards. Then he also mistreats Catherine’s alcoholic brother as well. Overall, he’s basically selfish, cruel, and controlling as well as has absolutely no remorse for his actions. Also, there’s a possibility him and Catherine might have had the same dad since we don’t know where Heathcliff came from or why he was brought to Wuthering Heights to begin with.
4. Severus Snape
From: The Harry Potter series
Beloved: Lily Evans Potter
Why he didn’t get the girl: Mostly because he had a falling out with Lily by calling her a “mudblood” during their Hogwarts days as well as hanging out with the future Death Eaters of Slytherin. Also, she ended up marrying James Potter, one of the kids who used to bully him at school.
Why we root for him: Well, we don’t actually root for Snape since Harry might not have been around if he and Lily got together and the fact there wouldn’t be s story either. However, we like him because he’s a very powerful wizard, has a great deal of charisma, and was willing to do everything he could to defeat the man who killed the woman he loved and protect her son. Not to mention, he’s said to be one of the best loved characters in the whole series. On the other hand, James was kind of a jerk as a teenager as well as died young.
Why they’re better off apart: For one, we don’t get to see Snape’s good side until he hears of Voldemort’s plan to kill Harry. Before that Snape was a Death Eater and even then, he was willing to let Voldemort kill Lily’s husband and son as long as he spared her. However, Lily was willing to die than see her own son killed. Still, if Voldemort went after someone else, Snape probably would’ve still stayed a Death Eater. Also, though Snape may be willing to protect Harry, he doesn’t like the kid for basically looking like his dad and treats him pretty terribly, too. Not to mention, Snape came from a broken home with a pure blood supremacist mother and a muggle father who constantly bickered at each other so he probably has no idea how to have a healthy relationship. Then there’s the notion of what he might have become like if he did end up with Lily, one can only wonder.
5. Jay Gatsby
From: The Great Gatsby
Beloved: Daisy Buchanan
Why he didn’t get the girl: Well, she probably wasn’t too into him to begin with and settled for major asshole Tom Buchanan when Gatsby left to fight in WWI.
Why we root for him: Because this guy was willing to work hard and rise to riches so he could have Daisy and he loves her a great deal. He also gives lavish parties and is a far nicer guy than Tom Buchanan.
Why they’re better off apart: Though we may agree that Daisy is better of dumping Tom for Gatsby, she’s also a real piece of shit in her own way. In Gatsby, he’s certainly would be better off without Daisy. For one, she leads Gatsby on for years and makes him think he has a chance to win her heart, even though she’s not going to leave Tom at least on a permanent basis. Also, Daisy’s pretty shallow as well as only receptive to displays of wealth, which Gatsby has. Also, she’s pretty much responsible for his misery and partially for getting him killed and doesn’t even show up at his funeral.
6. Erik, The Phantom
From: The Phantom of the Opera
Beloved: Christine Daae
Why he didn’t get the girl: Christine only viewed Erik as a mentor and never considered him as a love interest material since he was much older than her. Besides, she preferred guys her own age like Raoul, her fiancee and childhood friend.
Why we root for him: Because he’s more of an underdog since he’s ugly and lonely in his opera basement who can use a friend. However, he’s also brilliant, charming, dark, and mysterious. Also, has had a hard life and has good taste in the finer things. Not to mention, he wears half a mask.
Why they’re better off apart: If his physical attributes were the worst part about him, we wouldn’t hold it against him. However, he has an ugly personality to match. For one, he’s controlling, has a terrible temper, and doesn’t take rejection well at all. Second, he’s not above bullying the opera staff in order to get his way. Third, his relationship with Christine is kind of creepy since he’s obsessed with her to the point that he stalks her and later kidnaps her so he could have her all to himself. Then there’s the fact that he’s only seen on New Years Day Masquerade Ball which is also kind of creepy in itself. Sure he may be enchanting, but Erik is the kind of guy you’d sure as hell want to stay away from.
Why she didn’t get the guy: Ivanhoe basically passes her over for a childhood friend in Rowena, though he does save her. However, he only sees her as a friend.
Why we root for her: For one, she’s Jewish and spends the entire time supporting and pining for Ivanhoe. Also, even Sir Walter Scott himself though Ivanhoe should’ve ended up with her. Besides, Rowena is kind of useless.
Why they’re better off apart: Well, she’s Jewish, she’s in England, and she’s living in the Middle Ages. Also, at that time intermarriage was unheard of (or so we thought.) Not to mention, if Rebecca and Ivanhoe did end up together, imagine what kind of crap the two of them would have to deal with from people who may not know any better (and, yes, Antisemitism was rampant in those days). Also, consider the fact that the story was written in the 1800s where interfaith marriages were kind of controversial and this story kind of makes the idea acceptable. Thus, for Ivanhoe, Rowena was the safer bet. Sorry, but Sir Walter Scott had to have it happen.