Ok, so in an upcoming project of mine, I have an MC in a romance with two women. The first girl left him for no apparent reason, and another one told him she was visiting family, and never really came back. Now, well, both are back, and both want to be with him again.

OK, so after some answers, I need to clarify some things. So, the character who dumps him is doing it to protect him because she has some...problems she needed to resolve. The girl who abandoned him had controlling family who was forcing her to stay at home rather than venture out to the world. Of course, she managed to escape, but that's the justifications. Take it as you will.

I'm not asking for you to write this out for me, but asking your personal opinions on which is worse: Getting dumped for no reason, resulting in immediate heartbreak, or being abandoned, which is more gradual.

So, I guess the question is, which sucks less, being dumped for no reason, or being abandoned?

  • FYI, they each have redeeming qualities for a romance, and each had justification for such actions that they took. But I can't really get into it without writing the darn thing. – Kale Slade Nov 6 '18 at 17:26
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    I am voting to close, this looks like an opinion or polling question, it has nothing to do with the craft of writing. Any writer could make either girl look better than the other; period. Either girl could be made better by explaining herself, and the MC can be given character traits that push him to forgive, or reject, either girl. The only answer, from a writing point of view, is to find a reason to choose the girl that will create the most conflict for the MC to deal with; conflict and wondering what will happen in the next few pages is what keeps readers turning pages. – Amadeus Nov 6 '18 at 18:41
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    Hi Kale! Welcome to Writers.SE :) Sorry you've fallen afoul of our on/off-topic definitions. If you'd like to read more about what is and isn't on-topic here, the best place to look is our On-Topic Summary -- hope that's helpful! – Standback Nov 7 '18 at 8:44
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    Asking for opinions is considered off-topic on many SE sites. Dunno about this one: I can't see what are the possible reasons for closing. Maybe it's OK here. But you definitely are asking us not about writing at all. You are asking whether it's better to be abandoned or left, which is not about writing at all. This is subjective and this happens in real life too, not just in writing. – rus9384 Nov 9 '18 at 6:52
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    A question that got closed doesn't dishonour you. It's part of a learning process. Though the question is closed, answers that got upvoted are deemed by the community potentially useful to other users as well. That's why the system won't let you delete the question. – Galastel supports GoFundMonica Nov 9 '18 at 19:40

One is an adult who made the decision to address her family obligations before pursuing a relationship. It sounds like it was a private issue among the family which she didn't have the liberty to discuss before, now the crisis has passed (or she has wiped her hands of it). She is stoic, noble, loyal… maybe secretive but that seems like a virtue when it's the MC's secrets. Still waters run deep. She may never open up about her family.

The other is a runaway who has never lived on her own, is in full defiance/rebellion mode, and is completely dependent on the MC. Random brothers/cousins/uncles may show up to avenge her honor by killing both of them, or forcing him into a marriage to cover the scandal. Even if they can't track her (or don't want her back), she might have some unrealistic expectations of the relationship and how much attention she deserves in exchange for this romantic gesture.

Am I missing something? How is this confusing? I can understand the MC nursing a grudge, but the instant these women start getting fleshed into characters they would be polar opposites, in maturity if nothing else.

As Amadeus says in his comments (OP), the idea is not to "pick which is better" but to milk the situation for story potential. With that in mind, I suggest keeping both, making them short term rivals, and then frenemies, and finally friends – just before both women's family dramas collide with the main storyline.


Well, neither's attractive, and based on those traits alone, I'd advise the MC 'date anyone but these women'. Of course, there's more to both of these characters than just these traits (or I should hope so; it's the writer's duty to write their characters, not Writing.SE's).

It's this 'more to' which shall provide which one of them (or neither of them) is a worthwhile romantic lead for the MC and which is the designated 'false lead'. What are they like as people? Have you fleshed them out as people? If you have, then the answer should be obvious; you, the writer should know them inside and out and therefore know which one is the better relationship candidate beyond, you know, a single bloody metric.

Edit: After the edits to the answer, I've come to the conclusion that you're asking what to write. This is a major decision in the story arc, presumably, and for you to leave that to committee instead of being, you know, a writer, is not what Writing.SE is for. I've voted to close the question.

  • Well, but my question is, of these two options, which would you pick? – Kale Slade Nov 6 '18 at 17:25
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    @KaleSlade Why does that matter? You're not attempting to write by committee or, you know, ask what to write (if so, that's against Writing.SE's rules), are you? I already said my answer to that question anyway. Neither. Being single is better than being with a duplicitous, unreliable person. – Matthew Dave Nov 6 '18 at 17:30

From the character’s point of view, a clean break might have caused less pain or the pain been of shorter duration. The ‘went to the corner store for x and never returned’ could have been more painful.

He would not really be able to trust either, unless the second one had been kidnapped or such. It might be more realistic, working from what you have said, for him to choose neither.

The deliberate dumping with no explanation shows little regard for his feelings, so is a red flag. The don’t even bother to say goodbye shows even less.

Your MC would stand a better chance with the cute cashier at his local grocery store than with either of these two.


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