You have sympathy for him only because you have not read the book and Omar Sharif is appallingly handsome. One forgives him many things.
It doesn't matter how beautiful Lara is, it's still cheating. It doesn't matter how deaf you are to bourgeois sensibilities, it's still cheating. It doesn't matter how many bands of Red partisans capture you, it's still cheating.
The third woman is neither here nor there, I suppose, which is why she never makes it into the films. She is merely a disappointment, not a source of burning indignation. Yuri can't even decline without sucking more people into his vortex to admire his tortured genius, however faded.
His self-satisfaction is just so, so galling. Of course Lara matters so desperately. Of course Tonya is being unreasonable. Of course Vassya is not good enough. Of course Yuri has the right to tell off Komarovsky, as if he himself were some sort of plaster saint.
Piss off, Zhivago.
(Yes, Lara is just as culpable, and Pasha is considerably more destroyed than Tonya is, but the book's not called Nurse Guishar Antipova, so I stuck with Yuri.)