Twilight's Bella Swan might be juggling vampire and werewolf love, but she's facing some very human relationship issues.
What to do when you're at the apex of a love triangle? Can you smooth over jealousies and keep everyone civil?
We took our questions to one of the nation's best, Carolyn Hax, right, whose advice column is syndicated by The Washington Post and is published on Wednesdays in the Herald-Leader.
Question: In Eclipse, Bella loves her best friend, Jacob, like a brother, but he's looking for romance. Is it naïve to try to keep a friend just a friend, even if the love is lopsided?
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Answer: It's not completely naive, because sometimes one friend gets over the romantic feelings, or the other friend develops them. There has to be a Plan B, though.
If nothing changes, then remaining close can encourage false hopes, which would be selfish on Bella's part; it's not uncommon for people in her position to hang on to love-struck friends because they enjoy the attention and the security these friends offer. A true best friend will understand that Jacob is pining and vulnerable, and will make his feelings a priority.
Q: The jealousy and tension between Jacob and Bella's boyfriend, Edward, grows unbearable for Bella. Can't everyone just get along, or is that only a storybook dream?
A: When everyone knows where everyone stands, then everyone can get along. But asking love-struck people to feel secure is asking a bit much — and although all passions eventually dissipate, there's probably not much chance the series will follow these characters into complacent suburbanization.
Q: Later, Edward doesn't put up a fuss when Bella wants to see Jacob, saying he only wants her to be happy. Is that because he's a fictional character, or are there really guys out there who would act that tolerant of a potential rival?
A: There are absolutely guys like that. Some of them are genuinely interested in taking the high road and think it's not their place to decide whom their loved ones befriend. Some are also shrewd and realize that standing between two friends is a great way to romanticize their attachment, which is exactly what he doesn't want.
Q: "Team Jacob" will hate me for asking this, but it sounds as if everyone would be better off if Bella just told Jacob to move on and get a life. Or is that too cold?
A: If Jacob doesn't let go, then Bella will have to do it for him. No one knows when any two people reach that point except the two people involved. Letting go doesn't mean that all hope of their getting together is gone; if anything, letting go is their best chance of winding up together, since it gives both parties a chance to see things more clearly.