Second Love Interest Syndrome

Today, I want to talk about second love interest syndrome. This is a term that I learned specifically in relation to kdrama. It refers to those times when a heroine (or hero) has two love interests, and she (or he) picks the “wrong” one (the one you don’t ship). This has been on my mind as Gillian’s Shippy Awards have been running, since there are VERY divisive opinions on Sarah J. Maas’ ships, considering that Celaena shows up on most unshipped with two of her love interests. There is SO much passion put into a ship, and the sense of betrayal when your BTP (book true pairing) doesn’t end up together is REAL.

gif this is my hell parks

WARNING: There will be spoilers for the romantic outcome of various kdramas, mangas, and YA novels in this post. Read at your own risk.

Since kdrama’s the initial home of Second Love Interest Syndrome, the term, I’ll start there. I’ve been fairly lucky so far, but even I have been hit with it a few times. Will I ever get over the pain of Me Ah Ri choosing an older guy with whom she acts like a very sexy baby instead of the incredibly hot guy her own age with whom she is sassy? No, I will not. Then there’s My Sweet Seoul, where the heroine chooses the older guy with whom she has zero chemistry over the younger guy with whom she really worked. FRUSTRATION. I don’t even know how to talk about Big, where the mid-twenties heroine ends up with a high school student; shoving him into Gong Yoo’s body for most of it doesn’t make it less creepy, and they don’t even want to show his face at the end of the drama. SUCH ROMANCE. My ships have a long history of not panning out in the I Need Romance series. Nail Shop Paris is notable for being the one time the one I thought I was the second love interest actually got the girl.

The one that betrayed me the MOST, though, was Flower Boy Ramyun shop. The heroine chooses a snooty high school student

gif flower boy ramyun shop first love interest

over THIS adorably sleepy, wonderful guy who is also not still a teenager.

flower boy ramyun shop abs

I MEAN. LOOK. AT. THAT. (I promise he’s also a really nice guy and not just massively hot but like gah.)

The manga that I feel most betrayed by are Beauty Pop and Ouran High School Host Club. Ouran, actually, was just the fucking worst because honestly I shipped her with all but two of her options. I shipped her with FOUR guys out of six, and she chooses the one that I massively MASSIVELY unshipped, and oh my god I am still so mad about it. Like, to me, it’s not shippy to think of the heroine as your daughter for a long period of time or to be a total idiot but hey maybe I’m weird. >.> (judgmental cone boobs are judgmental)

gif ouran high school host club shake*shakes series*

In manga, what you find a lot is that the bitter glasses guy often loses out to the more approachable, popular guy and graaaaaar. Manga that will always be my fave for not falling into second love interest syndrome is Cat Street.

Alright, YA, it’s time to look at you and your many romantic betrayals. I love a well done love triangle, which I’ve said before. Multiple love interests is awesome. However, when my ship doesn’t come out on top, I’m going to be forever angry. A lot of the authors I’ve shelved as not for me were because they didn’t pick the ship I ship, because clearly they look for different things in romance than I do and I don’t know how that could get resolved.

This happened to me A LOT in paranormal romance. Like, a lot. My tippity top betrayals I couldn’t even finish because the hurt was too real and I got spoiled before I finished and seriously why even bother?

Wolfsbane - Andrea Cremer
Vanish - Sophie Jordan
The Iron King

Both the Nightshade books and Firelight had the exact same romantic pattern, so I’m going to talk about them together. In both, the heroine has been sort of destined from birth for a particular guy in her wolf/dragon shifter community. That guy is a total pompous dick and she wants none of it. Enter hot forbidden love interest guy who is sweet to her. They fall in love immediately. Then he turns into a total dick. Meanwhile, the first guy has become much kinder because he’s realizing what he’s lost. I sit there totally shipping the first guy who’s had a positive plot arc, but nope she’s sticking with the guy who’s now absolutely horrendous. Lovely.

Julie Kagawa’s betrayed me with two different series. In both books, the heroine goes for a guy who is solid and controlling and, worst of all, boring. Why you would ever ever ever want to be with Ash when you could be with the hilarious, sassy Puck I will never understand.

And Richelle Mead. Oh, Richelle Mead. I shipped Rose and Dimitri at one point, I really did. You brought in the incredibly sexy perfect Adrian, and I tried to hold strong, but then Blood Promise happened and like I can never ever ever ship Rose and Dimitri after that. But does she end up with Adrian? No, no, she doesn’t. She’s magically not bothered by all the abuse and everything is hunky dory. Yeah, no. I am OUT of here.

gif vampire academy let's burn it
I once loved this ship. Let’s burn it.

Some other titles that hit me with Second Love Interest feelings: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen (and Rob did nothing to fix this tbh), Unteachable by Leah Raeder, and Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.

Let’s not even get into my CWB pain (Arrow, The Flash, iZombie, Gilmore Girls, and Gossip Girl have all broken wonderful ships that should have lasted *weeps*).

Have you ever been hit by Second Love Interest Syndrome?

5 responses to “Second Love Interest Syndrome”

  1. Ellie says:

    I agree on all fronts! The one KDrama that I was pleasantly surprised about the ending was Dream High! The couples that made it in that series were ones I loved. I was SO SCARED She would choose the stereotypical guy…
    Ellie recently posted…I HAVE AN AGENT!My Profile

  2. Hannah says:

    As long as we’re talking manga, I’m massively disappointed with Kiss of the Rose Princess’s endgame ship. I shipped two of the four guys with the heroine and of course she goes for the most typical love interest imaginable, who was not one of my preferred guys. Also, the fact that all the “official” Alice in the Country of Hearts (non-spinoff) adaptations go with Alice/Blood, which has got to be my third least favorite ship in the franchise. I mean, Julius is the best choice, obviously.

    Can’t remember too many books where this has happened lately but I WAS massively disappointed that Euphoria by Lily King didn’t explore the Bankson/Fen angle of the triangle like, at all. I feel like it was only included in the one scene it appeared for some kind of shock value (like everything else in that entire scene honestly), because it was never ever brought up again.

  3. I CANNOT EVEN TALK ABOUT NIGHTSHADE. That trilogy made me so angry. Like, literal throw-the-book-across-the-room fury. Ugh. I’ve read one book by Andrea Cremer since, but I admit I’m so cautious as to what I pick up. As far as Second Love Interest Syndrome in general, I get it. Ohmygosh I get it. I am notorious for picking the wrong guy in a triangle. Sometimes I get won over by the other guy enough to feel okay about how things end up, but so often I’m left hurting for MY guy. I admit, it’s kind of why I’m afraid to move on with the Throne of Glass series. I am so into Chaol at this point (I’ve only read book 1) and I am so worried the series will be ruined for me if I don’t flow with the romance wherever it goes. (The other half of the reason is because I gave my HOF ARC to a friend and was like “I’m gonna buy a finished copy” but I haven’t yet so I feel the need to wait until the book is in my possession before I go down that rabbit hole. But I digress.) This post understands me.
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  4. I’m curious about your broken ships of Arrow, The Flash and Gossip Girl (this one gave me a ginormous collection of broken ships).
    Deyse @ Bound with Words recently posted…#CRAMATHONMy Profile

  5. I always say I’m not much of a romantic reader (I don’t like it when there is too much focus on the romance), but at the same time I do get invested in my ships.

    The crash and burn between Caelana and my favorite guy was hard, but at the same time I’m starting to get on board with the new ship.

    One that I simply can NOT NEVER EVER understand is the end ship in Ruin and Rising. Gaaaah.
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