- Start with at least 3 ideal relationships;
- Each relationship is stymied because the people involved are:
- The Villain (or sometimes the Hero) is the source of the biggest road block, so
- Make him repent (dramatically), and then
- Everyone can cheerfully enter into the relationship they were meant to be in all along.
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- The Scott Pilgrim graphic novels are known for this. The inside back cover of the third book consists of an absurdly complicated diagram detailing the relationships of all of the characters thus far (including such descriptors as "in a band with", "still likes" and "dating(?)") that is rendered obsolete before the end of the first chapter of the next book.
- Archie Comics has the famous Betty/Archie/Veronica triangle. However, Veronica also regularly dates Reggie, who keeps trying to date Midge, much to her boyfriend Moose's wrath. Other than Betty, Jughead mostly runs from girls, especially his constant admirer Ethel, who occasionally has to settle for Dilton. Then Cheryl Blossom came along. They've all had countless one-time love interests. Chuck and Nancy have enough sense to keep out of this mess.
- After they turned it into a soap opera, the Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog series twisted Sonic's love life into a Gordian Knot: Originally hooked up with Sally Acorn, she got stuck ruling the country and shoved the relationship to the side to focus on her new duties, prompting Sonic to fall in with Mina Mongoose, starting a rivalry between the two women for Sonic's affection. He then started seeing Fiona Fox on the side, which not only pissed off Mina and Sally, but Tails, as well, who had a crush on her due to falling in love with a robotic duplicate created by Robotnik several years earlier (don't ask). Eventually, Mina got her own boyfriend, Sally got Sonic once again, and Tails got tossed into a brick wall by Fiona, who gave them all the finger to have a relationship with Sonic's evil clone from another universe. Sally later started dating Monkey Khan but broke it off due to her history with Sonic. And that's not even counting the mini-tangle between Antoine, Sally, Bunnie Rabbot, and Antoine's evil clone from the same universe Fiona's new beau comes from.
- Almost every member of the X-Men has been in love with another member at some point. One of the more famous dodecahedrons: Wolverine loved Jean Grey, who loved Cyclops, who loved her back but married her clone Madelyne Pryor, who had an affair with Cyclops' brother Havok, who almost married Polaris but left her at the altar for Nurse Annie, who kissed Iceman, who was unaware that Northstar was secretly in love with him... For those less familiar with the complicated relationships under Xavier's roof, Uncannyxmen.net made a flowchart.
- In the early days when Jean was the only female on the team, all of the men were in love with her (yes, including Xavier, but nowadays it never gets mentioned). Warren and Scott were the only serious contenders for her affection. Scott is also well known for attracting telepaths, having serious relationships with Jean, Madelyne Pryor, and Emma Frost most recently. He was also mutually attracted to Psylocke, but nothing serious ever developed.
- Speaking of Jean Grey, her past counterpart in All-New X-Men has some complicated examples. None of them even worked out, somehow:
- She and Teen Scott were in love until they got to the future. Now she's not so sure she wants him anymore given what she knows about who/what he grows up to be, while he's still smitten, thinking that their eventual wedding is "proof" they're supposed to be together.
- She and Teen Hank kiss. She instigated it on top of that. The events of Battle of the Atom cause a little fallout, and they're still not sure what's going on between them.
- She and Teen Angel have a moment when he catches her when she's falling.
- She also seems to be attracted to Modern Scott, but he quickly says it can't ever happen. Ever.
- Also, Daredevil, Hawkeye, and Iron Man keep dating the same women. Daredevil dated Black Widow, who also dated Hawkeye and Iron Man, and Hawkeye slept with Echo who is another of Daredevil's ex-girlfriends, as was Heather Glenn who was involved with Iron Man for awhile, etc. Yet another DD ex, Typhoid Mary, once tricked Deadpool into sleeping with her. Iron Man, for his part, has had a plethora of ladyfriends including Emma Frost (Cyclops' current flame), She-Hulk, and the Wasp. Remember kids, when you kiss Tony Stark, you taste Galactus.
- Strangers in Paradise begins with a Love Triangle and then... hooboy. Katchoo loves best friend Francine unrequitedly, then takes up with David because he has been in love with her for years. Then Francine, who had a crush on David, starts to sort-of reciprocate Katchoo's feelings. Casey, unhappily married to Francine's ex-boyfriend Freddie (who still loves Francine), falls in love with David at first sight. With their marriage on the rocks, Freddie pursues Francine while Casey pursues David and also Katchoo. Katchoo, unable to deal with the issues of her past and family, finally drives David away. Francine becomes engaged to Brad and then breaks off her engagement to be with Katchoo, but still cannot consummate the relationship, so a frustrated Katchoo sleeps with Casey on the side. When Francine discovers this she goes back to Brad. When confronted at gunpoint by Katchoo's sister Tambi (who insists that their two families produce an heir via David and Katchoo), David offers to produce a child with her in exchange for his life and Katchoo's release from the obligation, and after they attempt this Tambi secretly falls for David. David returns to marry Katchoo, but the two part amicably once she learns about Tambi and realizes she prefers women. Casey finally gets to shack up with David… then Katchoo joins them so they can all be happy together. Eventually, Francine leaves Brad for cheating on her; David dies, leaving Casey to take up with Tambi, and Francine and Katchoo end up together for good. Freddie ends up alone..
- Jaimie and Gilbert Hernandez's Love and Rockets features several of these, particularly Gilbert's Palomar stories which are influenced by Hispanic telenovelas.
- Due to their decades of continuity, many Marvel Comics series have dodecahedrons so complex you need a 3D model to keep track. For example, Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four romanced Crystal, but she married Quicksilver instead and they had a child. But Crystal also began an ill-fated romance with Dane Whitman, who was not only involved with Sersi but also hopelessly pining after Wasp. Wasp was the ex-wife of Hank Pym, had an ill-fated one-night-stand with Magneto (Quicksilver's father!) and briefly dated Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (see above). To top it off, Crystal is currently betrothed to Ronan the Accuser, ruler of the Kree, who was formerly romantically involved with Una-Rogg, who tried to seduce Genis-Vell, who... you get the idea. Due to various destructions, memory wipes and rebuilds, Marvel's Vision is a one-character love dodecahedron.
- There's some sort of bizare love-lust-hate-obsession dodecahedron going on between Daredevil, Elektra, Punisher, and Bullseye. Bullseye is obsessed with Daredevil (in the AU Daredevil Noir Daredevil actually falls in love with Bullseye's genderswapped counterpart) and Punisher. Punisher and Daredevil have some angry manpain UST going on. Elektra and Daredevil were in love, and she and Punisher are attracted to one another (in yet another AU, the 2099 verse, they had a daughter, Cassandra). Elektra and Bullseye's relationship can best be summed up by his quote to her: "I love to see you bleed."
- In the Teen Titans comics,
Speedy ArsenalRed Arrow is into Wondergirl DarkstarDonna Troy, who got married to Terry Long. Meanwhile, Starfire was once involved with, and still has feelings for, Robin Nightwingthe new Batman, who's engaged to Barbara Gordon. Red Arrow also had a crush on Raven, who had a crush on Kid Flashthe Flash (who is now married to Linda, but had a relationship with three other women first), then one on Dick Grayson, and now one on Beast Boy (which she might be over now). Beast Boy had a crush on Terra, then on Starfire, and is now in love with Raven. Still not sure where AqualadTempest stands in all this. Cyborg is the only one that was smart enough to stay out of this crap, or he would have, if not for his ambiguous feelings for Sara Simms. Red Arrow has a daughter, whose mother is a psychopathic supervillain.
- For a comic which is only a decade old, the Ultimate Spider-Man (now Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man) continuity has a pretty impressive one for Peter. Depending on how you count things, Peter's current love interests include Gwen, Mary Jane, Kitty, and Johnny Storm. That's not mentioning the fact that Peter currently lives with Kitty's ex-boyfriend Bobby as well as Johnny, who made out with his Opposite-Sex Clone. Added into this is Felicia Hardy, who was rather blunt in her attempts to woo Peter until she realized he was fifteen years old.
- In Quantum and Woody, one develops between Quantum, Woody, Amy Fishbein, Tempest Sheridan, and Holly Williams. Just don't ask how the goat fits in...
- The basic premise of the DC Comics title Young Heroes In Love.
- Peanuts: Marcie loves either Charlie Brown or Peppermint Patty, who loves Charlie Brown, who loves the Little Red-Haired Girl. Woodstock loves (or at least is jealous of) Snoopy who loves Marcie. Then you have Lucy who loves Schroeder who loves his piano. Sally loves Linus, who loves Ms. Othmar and/or his blanket.
- In the the earlier days, Frieda loved Schroeder, and Eudora loved Linus. Linus did eventually get over Miss Othmar and did have crushes on girls his own age (but not Sally). And in the '90s, Charlie Brown had a girlfriend/crush named Peggy Jean... this is so confusing... and nobody is over the age of 10.
- In Flash Gordon, Flash loves Dale, Dale loves Flash, Ming loves Dale, Aura loves Flash, Barin loves Aura, Ming hates Flash, and everyone hates Ming. Eventually this straightens out when Aura shifts her affections to Barin, and Ming comes to hate Dale almost as much as he hates Flash. Other women such as Freya and Undina also find Flash attractive, which always makes their boyfriends mad at him.
- Evangelion 303: Let's begin: Asuka loves Shinji. Shinji and Jessika love Asuka. Mandy loves Jessika and Jessika loves her, too. Hikari and Toji love each other. Rei and Saburo love Kaworu. Kaworu may have feelings for rei and he no longer loves Saburo. Misato is dating Shinji's ex-wingmate, and her ex-boyfriend Kaji is about to show up in the doujin. Gendo and Ritsuko are lovers and it is unknown like Gendo's marriage to his deceased wife Yui disrupts their relationship...
- Kyon: Big Damn Hero: As of Chapter 31, Kyon is confirmed to have 7 girls with romantic feelings towards him. And yes, Haruhi is among them, and she's planning on a Marry Them All resolution. Bet you didn't see that one coming, did you?
- Seduction: Marjani, who is an arranged engagement with Kurumi, is in love with Sarakshi. Who Tora also has a thing for. While Sarakshi doesn't seem to have romantic feelings for either, Linda seems to harbour some for Marjani (As of Chapter 18, his engagement with Kurumi has been dissolved and they are... in a bit of a relationship) and Yuki seems to harbour some for Tora.
- TDWT Reducks Redux seems to be developing a massive one: Ezekiel likes Bridgette, who's dating Geoff yet has Ship Tease with Harold, who also has Ship Tease with Lindsay even though he really likes Leshawna, who broke up with him because she likes Alejandro. Lindsay was dating Tyler, who looks like he'll eventually hook up with Gwen, who likes Duncan (who's dating Courtney) even though Cody still sort of likes her, and Sierra likes him...
- In Ragnarok despite being a Celibate Hero Light has practically everyone chasing after him. Mello and Matt are in a relationship but Mello still engages in some uncomfortable flirting with Light and Mello and Matt make it clear they're open to a three-way. Light dated Takada in college, had a brief but happy affair with Stephen Loud a.k.a. Gevanni of the FBI, and he went on a single date with Mikami before realizing how crazy he was and has been trying to avoid him ever since. Misa loves Light but they agree that they're Better as Friends. Also L has been stalking Light for the past year and Light has been stalking L. Also Near gets all flustered around Gevanni and Sayu.
- The titular boys of The Ballad Of Stoot And Argyle, Terrance Stoot and Phillip Argyle, are unknowingly enmeshed in one of these. Karen McCormick likes Terrance, who's in a trial relationship with and might be falling for Eric Cartman. Meanwhile, Phillip is in love with both Terrance and Bebe Stevens, and unknowingly has half the female student body fangirling over him. Add in the boys who might like those girls, and you've got a tangled web.
- The Ponies Of Olympus series has Spike ending up in the middle of one in Atlas Strongest Tournament—he still has feelings for Rarity, but is also attracted to Ran Biao, who is using him to hurt Rarity, who she has twisted feelings for, feelings Rarity is reluctantly starting to return, even while realizing she's in love with Spike, and on top of that, Scootaloo likes Spike too, and it's hinted he might feel the same way. And then Scales and Wavedancer get involved...
- Moon Daughter has Nico, Alabaster, and Hades all hitting on Flavia; meanwhile, Flavia starts out claiming she was in love with Luke and won't date ever again, but then crushes on Chiron, flirts with Nico, moves on to Alabaster, dumps him, then goes back to Nico, claiming he's her one true love. And then she moves on to Percy...
- In Of White Trees And Blue Roses, between Ashara Dayne, Barristan Selmy, Brandon and Eddard Stark. Like in canon, Barristan had his crush on Ashara. Ashara had a crush on Brandon, and Eddard had a crush on her. Ashara rejected Eddard's feelings for her, while Brandon dropped Ashara faster than a hot potato after a one-night stand. However, he fathered a bastard.
- In The Other One, Eridan ponders the canon entanglements between himself, Feferi, Sollux, and Aradia, respectively. (Terezi/Karkat are the Beta Couple.)
It took every ounce of self control not to roll his head across the keyboard and let that serve as his response, a mess of mashed buttons and still-unresolved flushed feelings. Aradia was Sollux’s other one, he knew that. Or maybe a better way to put it was that she might be Sollux’s one, which made Fef the other one, which made him hate that guy even more.
- Subverted in Flash Fog: Deuteragonist Pencil Pusher has a big crush on Fluttershy, who is implied to at least like him back. This excites Rarity and Rainbow Dash to the point that they start meddling to try and get the two together—Rarity more than Rainbow Dash. Unfortunately, this backfires, resulting in Fluttershy and Twilight Sparkle thinking that it's Rarity & Rainbow Dash who have crushes on Pencil Pusher, which leads to Spike fearing Pencil Pusher could be a rival for Rarity. The subversion comes because, after a couple of chapters of setup, Spike openly talks to Pencil Pusher about Rarity and is corrected, whilst Applejack, upon hearing about the situation from Rarity and Rainbow Dash, drags all four of the mares into a private room and tells Fluttershy about Pencil Pusher's crush and Rarity & Rainbow Jack's efforts to get Fluttershy to notice him.
- The Demesne Of The Reluctant Twilight Sparkle slowly forms one around Twilight. The first chapter implies she has a crush on Big Mac (though that has not been mentioned since) and that Celestia in turn is attracted to Twilight. Then Twilight develops a crush on her assistant Golden Retriever and has to deal with Rainbow Dash who is then implied to genuinely have a crush on Twilight herself. And then Golden expresses interest in Dash....
- A Very Potter Musical:
- Pansy → Malfoy → Hermione ↔ Ron
- Ginny ↔ Harry → Cho → Cedric
- Umbrige → Dumbledore → Snape → Lily → James
- Bellatrix → Voldemort → Quirrel
- In Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv) Ryuk is screwing Light, Light is in love with L, Misa stalks Light, Rem loves Misa and so did Gelus. Then during Light's Memory Gambit he went back into the closet and only worried about being a good boyfriend to Misa (who he is dating for other reasons that he can no longer remember) Misa then goes on to cheat on him with with Higuchi and Rem. Namikawa flirts with Light. L makes a passing mention of Beyond Birthday, Light suspected incorrectly that L was screwing Matsuda, and meanwhile L shows no interest in anyone except for maybe his snacks. Also, everyone but Light wants Misa (including Ryuk) and when Mello kidnaps Sayu, Mr. Yagami tries to get Mello to take Light as well. Ryuk was doing... something with an apple and Mr. Yagami flirts with Ryuk. Also Demegawa declares his love for Kira, Ryuk takes to calling Matsuda "daddy", Aizawa and Mogi go off to to "violate Misa" and Matsda and Ide wish they could join in, and Aizawa may or may not have gotten someone who may or may not be his daughter pregnant. Osoreda molested Near. There's also Gevanni (or rather Raye Penber)/Death Note.
- My Little Pony Nakama Is Magic: Spike has a crush on Rarity. Rarity and Applejack both have a crush on Sanji, who has a crush on everyone including Nami, who has her eyes set on Luffy.
Films — Animation
- Strange Magic: Sunny likes Dawn who likes a string of different boys but is eventually accidentally love potioned to like The Bog King. Roland cheated on Marianne with an unnamed girl but tries getting her back. The Bog King and Marianne fall in love, meshing the two love triangles into a proper Love Dodecahedron.
- In Golden Films' take on The Little Mermaid, Stefan falls in love with the mermaid-turned-human Lena, but his father has arranged for him to marry Anna, the girl who found him on the shore and brought him to medical care, except she is in love with a guy named Maxwell, which results in Anna marrying him and Lena marrying Stefan, saving her from the fate of her literary counterpart.
Films — Live-Action
- There's Something About Mary features a Type 3 Triang Relation extended into a Love Dodecahedron with Mary at the center. Everybody is in love with/stalks Mary, including the main character and football star Brett Favre. Naturally, Mary chooses the main character over Brett. (She's a Niners fan.)
- Tootsie has a great example of this:note
Michael: You should have seen the look on her face when she thought I was a lesbian.
George: "Lesbian"? You just said gay.
Michael: No, no, no—Sandy thinks I'm gay, Julie thinks I'm a lesbian.
George: I thought Dorothy was supposed to be straight?
Michael: Dorothy is straight. Tonight Les, the sweetest, nicest man in the world asked me to marry him.
George: A guy named Les wants you to marry him?
Michael: No, no, no — he wants to marry Dorothy.
George: Does he know she's a lesbian?
Michael: Dorothy's not a lesbian.
George: I know that, does he know that?
Michael: Know what?
George: That, er, I... I don't know.
- The 1982 avant-garde movie Querelle has a complicated and bizarre love-lust-hate dodecahedron. The main character, Querelle, is attracted to the madame Lysiane, who is the mistress of his brother Robert. But Querelle first purposefully loses a bet to Lysiane's husband, Nono, and has sex with him as payment before becoming Lysiane's lover. Querelle also sleeps with Nono's friend, the corrupt police captain Mario. Meanwhile, a construction worker named Gil (confusingly played by the same actor who plays Querelle's brother Robert) murders his co-worker Theo, who has been sexually assaulting him. Roger, who is in love with Gil, introduces him to Querelle hoping that Querelle can help Gil escape. Instead, Querelle begins an affair with Gil but betrays him to the police. In the end, Querelle sails off into the sunse with his superior officer, Lt. Seblon, who has been obsessed with him the entire movie. So the Dodecahedron looks something like: Robert loves Lysiane who is married to Nono but who has an affair with Querelle, who also has sex with Nono, Mario, and Gil. Roger is in love with Gil, but loses him to Querelle. Seblon is attracted to Querelle and gets him in the end.
- Spoofed towards the end of Woody Allen's Love and Death:
Natasha: It's a very complicated situation, Cousin Sonja. I'm in love with Alexei. He loves Alicia. Alicia is having an affair with Lev. Lev loves Tatiana. Tatiana loves Simkin. Simkin loves me. I love Simkin, but in a different way than Alexei. Alexei loves Tatiana like a sister. Tatiana’s sister loves Trigorin like a brother. Trigorin’s brother is having an affair with my sister, whom he likes physically but not spiritually.
Sonja: Natasha... It's getting a little late.
Natasha: The firm of Mishkin and Mishkin is sleeping with the firm of Taskov and Taskov!
- Crazy Stupid Love: Robbie has a thing for his babysitter Jessica who has a crush on Robbie's father Cal who is going through a really rocky relationship with Emily, who had a one-night stand with David but is also the mother of Hannah, who's the girlfriend of Jacob, who teaches Cal how to "regain his manlihood," which allows him to pick up multiple women, including Robbie's teacher...
- The Love Of Siam: Ying is in love with Mew, but Mew is in love with Tong. Tong is in love with Mew, but he's also in a relationship with Donut. Donut is in love with Tong, but Tong does not love her.
- Unconscious: Salvador loves Alma and is married to Olivia, who eventually runs off to Paris with Frances. Alma finds both León and Salvador attractive. León has affairs with several of his patients, but claims that Salvador is the love of his life.
- Oscar (the original French movie): Colette Barnier is courted by Baron Honoré de la Boutiniere, whom she rejects, and the Baron eventually marries her maid Bernadette. Meanwhile, Colette is ready to marry just anyone who's handsome enough. She takes her chauffeur Oscar as her lover, but when he's sacked by her father, she's almost as willing to marry her father's employee Christian Martin or the masseur Phillippe Dubois. While Phillippe does fancy her, Christian is in love with Jacqueline Noiret, a typist. On top of it all, Jacqueline turns out to be the illegitimate daughter of Monsieur Barnier from his affair with his former servant Charlotte.
- The main character in R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet slowly discovers that he has stumbled into one of these. Flowchart can be found here.
- Here Comes My Baby by Cat Stevens. Especially apparent in when covered by Sons of Admirals in a music video.
- The song "Alter Mann" (old man) by the German fun-whatever band Knorkator features one of these in the first verse.
Daniela likes Jonas, but he has a thing for Vanessa
Vanessa would rather be with Lars, but he likes Melanie better
She on the other hand loves Tim, Tim is on love with Jennifer
Jennifer on the other hand likes Kevin, but Kevin is... gay
Tobies has the hots for Annika, and she actually likes him too,
but the thing is that her best friend also has a crush on him.
- Moosebutter's song "Doug", which used to be the page quote. To explain how it works, I love you, but you love Doug. I don't really like Doug. Doug loves Martha, but Martha don't really like Doug. Martha loves Brad, but Brad don't really like Doug. Brad loves Sue, but Sue loves truth. Truth don't really like Doug.
- Tom Lehrer: "I Got It from Agnes". Tom, Agnes, Jim, Louise, Harry, and Marie appear in the first verse alone.
Myths & Religion
- Despite being one of the more famous ancient cases of an Omega Cast, the Garden of Eden turns into this once you look at all the extracanonical folklore. Adam had, by some accounts, as many as three wives, of which the only named two—Lilith and Eve—are both said by some stories to have been seduced by the Devil—and/or by each other in at least one account. Add in that the Devil has occasionally been portrayed as the ex-lover of God, and in other versions has a whole harem of succubi consorts, one of whom—Namaah—may have seduced or raped Adam and subsequently given birth to Asmodeus, the Demon of Lust, who—among many other consorts and would-be consorts because, again, Demon of Lust—is sometimes said to have taken Lilith as his mate and fathered a brood of demonic spawn by her. Lilith herself, meanwhile, Really Gets Around by almost all accounts, being simultaneously a consort of a whole slew of high-ranking demons depending on who you ask and also a succubus-like entity in her own right seducing or raping mortal men throughout the centuries—with her first mortal victim being recorded in some stories as Cain, Adam and Eve's son, who also had an incestuous Sibling Love Triangle story told about him where his sister—named Awan or Aclima depending on version - was betrothed to his brother Abel but then stolen by Cain as part of their infamous rivalry, while Cain's original betrothed—his other sister Jumella—ended up marrying Seth, Adam and Eve's third son. In all honesty, the tangled romances of Eden are such a mess that it's surprising we didn't end up with an Adam and Steve at some point.
- Having one of these is the surest path to survival in Bliss Stage.
- Forsooth!: Comedy games tend to include this. Tragedy games are more likely to have a scheming dodecahedron.
- A Little Night Music has a series of interlocking Love Triangles that take in most of the cast.
- Older Than Steam: William Shakespeare loved Love Dodecahedrons; one found its way into most of his comedies, including Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- This also extends to all of the plays, books, and movies based off of said Shakespeare works. One such example is All Shook Up: Chad loves Sandra who hates him and loves Ed who doesn't exist because he's actually Natalie because she wants to be with Chad who's first sidekick is Dennis who loves Natalie whose dad is Jim who loves Sandra and later loves Sylvia who is so jaded that she doesn't love anyone at first but later falls for Jim who gives Dennis advice on how to approach Natalie, who is friends with Lorraine who is in love with Dean who is Matilda's son who hates interracial marriage despite giving birth to a mixed child but later marries her sidekick Earl who is supposed to arrest Chad who later loves Ed/Natalie until he finds out that Ed is actually a woman and runs away. By the end of the musical, Jim is married to Sylvia, Matilda is married to Earl, Dean and Lorraine are dating, Sandra and Dennis (inexplicably) get married despite the age difference, and Chad gets over Natalie being a girl and they marry by compromising "maybe once in a while you can put on that hat and the beard... we'll work something out".
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street:
- Sweeney loves Lucy. So does the Judge. Mrs. Lovett loves Sweeney, who is indifferent to her. The Judge loves Johanna. Anthony loves Johanna, who loves him back. After that, things get a little confusing.
- There's also one of the "Parlor Songs":
Sweet Polly Pluncket saw her life pass
Flew down the city road crying:
"I am a lass who, alas, loves a lad who, alas, has a lass loves another lad, who once I had in Canterbury.
- "Love" is a rather strange word to use about Judge/Lucy and Judge/Johanna. "Lust" is more like it. It depends on the production, but at least in the movie adaptation she doesn't appear very loving.
- In Wicked, (at least the musical adaptation) Nessa loves Boq, Boq loves Glinda, Glinda loves Fiyero who becomes her boyfriend, and Elphaba and Glinda are best friends, but Elphaba starts to develop feelings for Fiyero. Then Fiyero starts reciprocating those feelings and ultimately breaks things of with Glinda to be with Elphaba. And to make things more complicated, being together doesn't diminish that Elphaba and Fiyero still do care about Glinda. And that's not even getting into any subtext issues. Yikes.
- The whole point of Aspects of Love. Alex loves Rose who loves his uncle George who loves her back because she looks like his dead wife despite having a mistress, Giulietta. Giulietta and Rose have major Les Yay while Rose and George get married and have a daughter, Jenny. Rose takes on a lover named Hugo while Jenny falls in love with Alex. Alex loves her back but is disgusted since they're cousins. Alex and Giulietta fall for each other while both Rose and Jenny beg Alex not to leave them...and now I've gone crossed eyed.
Jeannie: This is the way it is. Sheila's hung up on Berger. I'm hung up on Claude. Claude is hung up on a cross between Sheila and Berger. And Berger's hung up everywhere. As a prospective mother I must say something very weird is going on here. And to make it worse, Woof's hung up on Berger.
Woof: No I'm not. I'm hung up on Mick Jagger.
- Thoroughly Modern Millie. Millie decides she'll marry her boss...once she gets one. She finally decides on Trevor Graydon. Meanwhile she had Slap-Slap-Kiss with Jimmy and upon realizing her feelings she catches him hanging around her friend Miss Dorothy. Millie tries to go back to Trevor but he has Love at First Sight with Miss Dorothy. Jimmy tries to win Millie back while one of Those Two Guys hanging about falls for Miss Dorothy as well.
- In The Merchant of Venice, Bassanio has something going on with Antonio, marries Portia, who is loved by the Prince of Morocco and others. Then there's Jessica and Lorenzo and Nerissa and Gratiano.
- Many of Gioacchino Rossini's operas, especially Il viaggio a Reims (as it has basically no other thing for a plot). Melibea flirts with Don Alvaro though she loves Count Libenskof who gets jealous, Countess de Folleville loves the cavalier Belfiore who flirts with every girl in the neighborhood but mostly Corinna who rejects him because she loves Lord Sidney (who thinks his love is hopeless), and Corinna is also Just Friends with Don Profondo and platonically adored by all other men—got it all? Good.
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro has… (deep breath) okay, here we go: Figaro and Susanna are happy together and about to be married. The Count and the Countess are already married, but aren't happy. The Countess still loves the Count, but he'd rather be off reinstating the Droit du Seigneur with Susanna (and it's implied he's taken full advantage of this same right in the past with other women). Marcellina has a weird crush on Figaro up until she learns he's her son, and she used to have a thing going on with Bartolo, which is then reignited when they find out they still have a child. Cherubino is a heterosexual male in the middle of puberty and so by definition wants to sleep with every female he sees, but especially Susanna, Barbarina and the Countess. Barbarina reciprocates, and the Countess reciprocates in the sequel. Bartolo still doesn't seem to have quite got over his crush on the Countess from the first play. Oh, and Barbarina also seems to have once had a thing going on with the Count, but now she only loves him "like a kitten", as opposed to her more erotic love for Cherubino. And... the Count seems to have rediscovered his feelings for his wife by the end. Got all that?
- Rimsky-Korsakov's opera The Tsar's Bride. Gryaznoy is in love with Marfa who is promised to Victorious Childhood Friend Lykov, while Gryaznoy has Clingy Jealous Girl Lyubasha as a mistress already, and the court physician Bomelius is extremely attracted to Lyubasha who concedes to his advances in exchange for him preparing a poison for Marfa, and Tsar Ivan the Terrible, looking for a new wife, chooses Marfa as his bride.
- In Breath of Fire IV, Ryu is in love with Nina, who is in love with Clay, who is in love with Elena, who is trapped in a marriage with the evil prince. It was a love daisy chain, only made more disturbing by having Nina and Elena as siblings, and everyone else being different species. Significantly simpler in the orignal, as the Nina's love for Clay was added in the translation. Made all the more complicated in the official manga adaptation, Utsurowazarumono, where Scias' reason for doing a Heel–Face Turn and returning to the party is explained by him developing a big crush on Nina. (In the video game, it's just simply assumed that, due to spending so much time fighting in the party, he developed a bond with everyone.)
- In The Sims, it's far too easy to set one of these up. It can even happen by accident. There's a pre-made one in Pleasantview in The Sims 2. Darren is love with Cassandra, who is engaged to Don, who is in love with Nina and has a crush on Nina's sister, Dina. Dina is dating Cassandra's father, Mortimer, who is married to the missing Bella, and who also has a default want to flirt with Nina. Dina was also married to Cassandra's uncle, Michael, before he died. Don also has memories of putting the moves on Cassandra's mother, Bella, just before her alien abduction. Don is also currently having an affair with Kaylynn, the maid. Kaylynn is in turn having an affair with Daniel, who is unhappily married to Mary Sue. Here's a picture for those who couldn't follow that.◊
- Fire Emblem 10 has a relationship Dodecahedron in game, updated as the player progresses. A full version can be found here◊ (Major spoilers). Letting the player decide how to resolve the love dodecahedron has been a major gameplay/story element since, oh, sometime before they started releasing the games outside of Japan.
- Luminous Arc 2 have one mostly revolves around Roland. He can end up with either Althea or Fatima, while gaining affections, via Intermissions, from Dia (who also have a few Ship Tease with his brother, Rasche), Sadie and Karen, who's oblivious to Ace's interest in her, as well as getting distracted by some of the girls in their Hot Spring Intemissions (Dia, Luna, Ayano, I'm looking at you). Rina, despite being Roland's childhood friend, just Fangirl over Richter.
- Lampshaded in the Nancy Drew game Stay Tuned for Danger, where a tabloid newspaper headline refers to Light Of Our Love character Rory's "Love Octagon".
- One village in Dragon Quest VII features one of these: To pay off her family's debt to the richest family in town, Linda is engaged to their son Iwan. However, Linda really loves Pepe, one of their gardeners. Meanwhile, Maid Kaya loves Iwan, but Iwan is too busy lusting after Linda and fuming with jealousy over her obvious love for Pepe. Notably, things don't work out in the long run.
- Legend of Mana: Matilda loves Irwin (who sort of loves her back, but since he's a demon he expresses it weirdly), but is also more or less married to her job; Escad loves Matilda; Daena is torn between Matilda and Escad. It ends with everybody except one person dead, Matilda as the Seventh Wisdom, and Irwin wanting to reincarnate himself without any memories of the woman he loves because it was so messy.
- In Baten Kaitos Origins: "Quadrangle"
- Thanks to the massive shippers and Memetic Mutation Touhou Fanon often displays all of the characters stuck in this situation. And there's a lot of characters. Here's a fanmade chart to help out. Warning: Ads are NSFW.
- Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies has the Storyteller Boy crushing on the Barkeep's Daughter, who crushes on Yellow 13, who very much obvlivious to his wingwoman Yellow 4's feelings for him, because he is busy generating Foe Yay towards Mobius 1.
- In Blaze Union, Siskier has rather obvious feelings for her childhood friend Garlot, who is completely oblivious—partially because he's aware that their other childhood friend Jenon, despite his incurable tendency to flirt with anything that has breasts, has had a crush on Siskier for a long time. Siskier has no idea that Jenon likes her. Garlot himself develops a crush on Nessiah when the latter joins the party, and while Nessiah flirts with him quite a bit, it's ambiguous as to whether or not he's serious about it. So: Nessiah/Garlot/Siskier/Jenon, with crushes going from right to left; also factor in that most of the party is implied at some time or other to have a thing for Garlot and that this flies miles over Garlot's head. The resolution to this situation (when there is one) varies by Road Cone.
- Smaller version in The King of Fighters. Kyo Kusanagi and Yuki are in a relationship already, which goes by Belligerent Sexual Tension in some versions. However, Athena Asamiya is all but stated to be or have been in Unrequited Love with Kyo in the Spin-Off manga and games The King of Fighters KYO (and maybe in the Alternate Universe manga KOF G), whereas Athena's partner Sie Kensou is her VERY clingy Dogged Nice Guy despite how Athena herself sees their bond as Just Friends and either ignores or rejects his love declarations. And in the KOF:KYO manga we also have Takaya Maeta who has a massive crush on Yuki and wins a date with her, as well as Yuki's friend Sanae who encourages Maeta's crush while saying she finds Kyo hot but never directly hitting on him.
Additionally, fanon adds other vortexes to this "dodecahedron": Kyo and Iori have LOADS of Foe Yay, Shingo can easily be seen as having a huge boy-crush on Kyo based on his massive fanboy-ing of the man, Chizuru is said to have "envisioned" Kyo as an "eternal schoolboy" and used that to create Kusanagi when Brainwashed and Crazy so take that as you will and in return Kyo is very protective of her, and the KOF:KYO manga has Athena sort-of empathizing and worrying for Iori's almost non-existant mental health which she still does in KOF XIII...
- Super Mario Bros.: Mario and Luigi are both attracted to Princesses Peach and Daisy, and the feelings are mutual. Mario also at one point had a girlfriend named Pauline. Bowser is in love with Peach even though she rarely ever returns his feelings except for some Ship Tease in Super Paper Mario. There also are also at least a few other minor character who have been shown to be attracted to the Brothers or Princesses.
- Final Fantasy VII is well known for its Love Triangle, but things are a little more complicated than that. Tifa likes Cloud, who had a crush on her as a child. Cloud is oblivious to her feelings, and also to those of Aerith, who is attracted to him. Aerith still mourns the loss of her First Love Zack, whilst being unaware of the crush Tseng has on her. Meanwhile Rude laments the fact that Elena likes Tseng, whilst also admitting that he fancies Tifa. Yuffie has an unrequieted crush on Cloud, whilst Vincent broods over his lost love, Lucrecia, who didn't reciprocate his feelings, despite sharing them, and instead ran off to marry Mad Scientist Hojo. There's also Unlucky Childhood Friend Johnny, who's liked Tifa for a long time, but Cannot Spit It Out.
- The first three games in the Pretentious Game series are all about this trope. The blue square loves the bright pink square, but she loves the gray square, who is married to the light pink square. Then the gray and light pink squares get divorced, the bright pink and gray squares end up married with two kids, and the blue and light pink squares get into a relationship. Then the gray square drunkenly kills the blue square in a car accident, which results in the blue square's relationship with the light pink square abruptly ending, the gray square going to jail, and the bright pink square presumably divorcing the gray square. Yeah, it's one of those stories.
- From Corpse Party: Satoshi loves Naomi, who loves him back, but neither of them can spit it out. Seiko also loves Naomi, but can't confess because they're both girls. Yuka also loves Satoshi, but can't confess because they're siblings. Yoshiki likes Ayumi, who is oblivious because she likes Satoshi, who is also oblivious. Mayu loves Morishige, who sees Mayu as a little sister, and Ms. Yui has Ship Tease with Satoshi but ultimately he just reminds her of her childhood boyfriend who she hasn't seen in years. This is just the core cast, as there are a dozen other characters who make up their own dodecahedrons or add on to the main one.
- Most of the routes in Brass Restoration focus on Ryo and his love interest, but Yoshine's route has a Love Dodecahedron as part of the plot.
- Nasuverse: Just look at this chart◊. At least eight people in love with Shiki plus Arihiko on the side crushing on Ciel and Akiha and possibly the maids. Even the girls at school seem to be somewhat attracted despite not being insane like his other love interests. Shirou is only the center of four-six girls' affections (Mitsuzuri being subtext and Ilya being up to your interpretation, but probably only familial), but there's other entanglements besides his making it even more complicated when you figure in Gilgamesh → Saber and Bazett → Lancer and Avenger. Curse you Nasuverse!
- Volume 2 of RWBY establishes one, although it's only a subplot at best. Pyrrha likes Jaune, who likes Weiss, who likes Neptune, who likes pretty much any girl who will give him the time of day (and a few who don't).
- These aren't as uncommon as one might think. This sort of thing can happen in any social circle or group of friends.◊ Especially with teenagers.
- In Carrie Fisher's memoir, Wishful Drinking, she has a chart indicating all of her parents' marriages, and her siblings, step-siblings, etc.
- The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was eaten up with this trope. Dante Gabriel Rossetti married his model Elizabeth Siddal, but also had an affair with another model, Jane Burden, who married another artist, William Morris. Rossetti also had an affair with Annie Miller, a barmaid and the fiancee of artist William Holman Hunt. Hunt took her back, but finally broke off the engagement when Annie became involved with the 7th Viscount Ranelagh. Annie Miller ended up married to Ranlagh's cousin while Hunt married Fanny Waugh, and after her death, remarried to Fanny's sister Edith. His colleague, the sculptor and poet Thomas Woolner, had also been in love with Fanny Waugh; he married Alice Waugh, the third sister of Fanny and Edith. Meanwhile, John Everett Millais fell in love with Effie Gray, who was still a virgin despite being married to critic John Ruskin. They wed after she left Ruskin.
- Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre, who had been in a lifelong relationship, are known to have been involved in one as de Beauvoir made it the basis for her novel She came to stay. It involved one of de Beauvoir's teenage students in whom Sartre had been interested, but being ignored he turned to her sister, who eventually ended up marrying one of de Beauvoir's former lovers. It's unknown what part he played in it, but the whole thing was the reason that ended Sartre's friendship with Albert Camus.
- Two days after Barack Obama was reelected, CIA Director and Four-Star Badass David Petraeus became the focus of a still-expanding Love Dodecahedron. It cost him his job, may put his biographer in jail (for removing classified materials), could sink or derail a number of military careers, deal a blow to American intelligence efforts and effectiveness around the world at a crucial time, and provided plenty of fodder for late-night comedians who thought that they had lost a mother lode at Mitt Romney's election loss.
So if the love is altruistic, does that make it a Platonic Solid?