"May's in love with Kay's husband, Love Triangles
He's in love with Sue!
Sue's in love with May's husband,
What are they to do?
Tom's in love with Tim's wife,
She's in love with Sam!
Sam's in love with Tom's wife,
So, they're in a jam!"
are stressful and often heartbreaking. Add five or ten more people to the mix, and instead they become comedy
: Characters A, B, C, and D all love character E, who might love any of them, but can't commit for reasons of honor or basic wishywashiness. There's also character F, who might
love E, and whom he might love back, but they get on each other's nerves so it's hard to tell. Meanwhile, G is sweet on C while H and I both love A. Except on alternate Tuesdays, when H's third cousin from Osaka
expresses her intent to marry Character F's dog, who has an odd thing for D...
You get the idea.
Many series have official diagrams
so the fans can keep track of the Loads and Loads of Characters
The Seven Basic Plots
Christopher Booker uses this concept as his definition of the Comedy
genre, only the point is that the Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends
isn't a shoehorn but the soul of the plot:
- 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.
The Villain (or Hero) acts as a Fisher King
, casting a darkness and confusion across all the relationships until his Heel-Face Turn
, which frees up the main couple to get together and that, in turn, frees up everyone else.
The Love Dodecahedronnote
is a superset of the following tropes:
Also, see Gambit Pileup
, which is similar to this trope, but with gambits. Though Love Dodecahedra can be the cause of such pileups. The opposite of this is No Loves Intersect
. There are three kinds of stable Love Dodecahedra: 1) everyone staying friends
, 2) everyone marrying the hero
, or 3) the hero abandoning his harem
. Can also sometimes be resolved by Squaring the Love Triangle
. Compare Dating Do-Si-Do
, which is similar with the lots-of-tangled-up-relationships part but the relationships do not necessarily have to be in competition with each other. Tangled Family Tree
can be considered a sister trope, and a Love Dodecahedron can turn into one of those if given enough time.
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Anime & Manga
- 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 Arsenal Red Arrow is into Wondergirl Darkstar Donna Troy, who got married to Terry Long. Meanwhile, Starfire was once involved with, and still has feelings for, Robin Nightwing the new Batman, who's engaged to Barbara Gordon. Red Arrow also had a crush on Raven, who had a crush on Kid Flash the 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 Aqualad Tempest 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.
- 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.
- 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 Mc Cormick 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....
- 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: Its 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...
- 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.
- Shaping up to be one between Piper, Jason, Reyna, Percy, and Annabeth from The Heroes of Olympus, in that order.
- Edward Cullen from Twilight loves Bella. Bella loves Edward and Jacob, but she loves Edward more. Jacob loved Bella but then falls for her unborn daughter. Mike, Eric, and Tyler all have deep crushes on Bella, but she ignored them. Mike dates Jessica but breaks up with her. Tyler dates Lauren. Rosalie was supposed to be Edward's mate, but she ended with Emmet. Alice is with Jasper, but she kind of gives off lesbian vibes for Bella. In the end, everyone of note loves Bella in some way.
- The Host also fits this trope. Melanie loves Jared so much that the alien parasite controlling her body also falls in love with him. However, it's implied the love is mostly physical. Ian has a crush on Wanderer, and Wanderer finds herself falling in love with him for his personality. Even when Wanderer is given a seperate body from Melanie's at the end, Melanie has a slight crush on Ian but loves Jared and Wanderer still has a slight crush on Jared but loves Ian. And this isn't even including the romances between the side characters.
- At the heart of Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov is an intricate Love Dodecahedron which isn't really fleshed out until the later chapters. It starts with Fyodor Karamazov and his son Dmitri (the eldest brother) who are both smitten with Grushenka, the local Hello, Nurse!. But in love with Dmitri is Katerina, an aristocrat who is smitten with him for some services he did for her in the past. In love with Katerina is Ivan, the middle Karamazov brother, but he maintains that he doesn't really love her. Grushenka herself plays with Fyodor's and Dmitri's affections, but really she's been pining after Mussyalovich, a Polish gentleman who spurned her five years ago. Grushenka also shows some attraction for Alyosha, the youngest Karamazov brother, but his attentions are turned towards Liza, a young girl crippled by a fever at the outset of the novel. But towards the end Liza shows more attraction to Ivan than anyone else.
- Also by Dostoevsky, The Idiot. Myshkin loves Aglaya, and is briefly in love with Nastasya but mainly just pities her (which nevertheless makes Aglaya see her as a romantic rival). Gavrila loves Aglaya, but for various reasons won't commit himself to her; he doesn't love Nastasya at all, but he's seeking her hand anyway because of her impressive dowry. Rogozhin only has eyes for Nastasya. Nastasya used to be Tostky's mistress but now she hates the man; she seems to despise Gavrila; she's in a full-on Masochism Tango with Rogozhin, so it's unclear whether she loves or hates him; and she seems to be afraid of Myshkin—his love threatens her self-image as a bad person, and in her more selfless moments she fears that she'll hurt him.
- Every Blandings Castle novel, and, in fact, most of the works of P. G. Wodehouse. He was a master at these, and could successfully create and solve one of these plots in a single book. If one were to create a chart detailing the relationships of all the characters who appear in his connected universe, one would probably go insane just from reading it.
- The Seven Realms Series has a lot of this, with Han Alistar and Princess Raisa at the center. Raisa and Amon are very much in love with each other, but their love is forbidden. At the same time, Raisa enjoys flirting with Micah Bayar for fun, but their love is also forbidden and it turned out Micah was using magic to get Raisa to like him more, but Micah doesn't seem to care. Han is a supreme Chick Magnet that gets quite a few suitors for himself including Micah's sister, Fiona. Han is a commoner that's managed to piss off the Bayar family by keeping an incredibly powerful MacGuffin out of their hands. ('Cause, y'know, they're evil and would kill Han even if he gave it back.) When Raisa and Han travel to Oden's Ford, Han gets a few suitors from the female student body (much to Fiona's chagrin.) Amon also finds a girl who is, by political standards, a much better match for him. Raisa is not pleased and is only convinced that they won't be together by the magic spell keeping them apart knocking Amon out after they kiss. Then Raisa and Han finally start spending large amounts of time together in tutoring sessions and they quickly start to feel attracted to one another. Then, when Princess Raisa openly admits that as the heir to the throne, she is looking for a Royal Consort, gifts from suitors come in by the boatload. By book three, Raisa and Han, the couple that fans had been shipping for ages finally admitted that they want to be together. Blue Blood politics won't make that so easy, though...
- In Maria McCann's As Meat Loves Salt, Jacob loves and marries Caro, but rapes and abandons her over jealousy of her friendship with his brother, Isaiah. Then he meets and falls in love with Ferris, only for Caro to reappear and start an affair with Ferris. Then its revealed that Jacob may have had a sexual relationship with Isaiah in the past.
- In Chekhov's The Seagull Medviedenko loves Masha, who loves Treplyov, who loves Nina, who loves Trigorin, who is loved by Irina. Everybody's unhappy.
- A poem by Brazilian author Carlos Drummond de Andrade: "João loved Teresa who loved Raimundo who loved Maria who loved Joaquim who loved Lili who loved no one".
- The main characters of John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos consist of three boys and two girls. Some interesting permutations work out.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: Ned Stark married Catelyn Tully to cement the Stark/Tully alliance against the Targaryens, but he also apparently had a thing for Ashara Dayne (who may or may not be his babymama, and who was also lusted after by Ser Baristan Selmy, and some theorize by Ned's brother, Brandon). Ned also had a healthy amount of Ho Yay with his best friend, Robert Baratheon, who was in love with Ned's sister, Lyanna, but ended up marrying Cersei Lannister. Both Lyanna and Cersei had the hots for Rhaegar Targaryen, though Cersei is also getting it on with her twin brother Jaime, her cousin Lancel, Lady Taena Merryweather and two of the three Kettleback brothers. Catelyn's sister Lysa is married to Ned and Robert's adoptive father, Jon Arryn, but is also engaged in a clandestine affair with Littlefinger, whom she eventually marries after her husband's death. Littlefinger, however, was madly in love with Catelyn, who loves him like a brother, but no more. Now, though, he's found a suitable replacement in Catelyn's teenage daughter, Sansa. Robert's brother, Renly, is married to Margaery Tyrell, but is
implied stated (by Word of God) to be sleeping with her brother Loras. Additionally, Renly's bodyguard, Brianne has a major crush on him, but latter develops a rather tender relationship with none other than Jaime Lannister, Cersei's brother. Yeah, love in Westeros is complicated, and this doesn't even get into Jon and Dany's generation.
- The point of Pride and Prejudice is resolving one of these. (beware spoilers)◊
- In Anthony Trollope's Ayala's Angel, the title character is beloved by Tom Tringle, Johnathan Stubbs, and Captain Batsby, but Batsby also takes a fancy to Tom's sister Gertrude, who wants to marry Frank Houston, who is in love with his cousin Imogen Docimer. Meanwhile Lady Albury has an interesting relationship with Stubbs, but is determined not to cheat on her husband Sir Harry. Also Tom's other sister Augusta accuses Ayala of trying to steal her fiancee, the honourable Septimus Traffik.
- The Secret History revolves around six college students, five men and one woman, who are all too smart for their own good. A Love Dodecahedron and many Tragic Dreams ensue.
- Ah, Warrior Cats.
- Let's start with the main character, shall we? Cinderpelt (who seems to have some chemistry with Littlecloud) was in love with Firestar, who never knew. Firestar and Spottedleaf liked each other for the brief period of time that she was alive, and they continue to meet in dreams even after her death, much to the chagrin of Sandstorm, his mate, who previously was friends with Dustpelt, who thought it was something more. Dustpelt eventually became the mate of Ferncloud. Now skip ahead about six books, and you'll find that Cinderpelt has been reincarnated as Cinderheart after her death. Cinderheart falls in love with Lionblaze, Firestar's grandson. Lionblaze used to be 'friends' with Heathertail, who hates him because he broke up with her, and she may or may not be Just Friends with Breezepelt.
- Tigerstar. First off, Word of God confirmed in an author chat that Leopardstar loved Tigerstar, though he probably didn't feel the same way. He's had children with both Sasha (his true love, according to Erin Hunter) and Goldenflower, and it's questionable if Goldenflower loved him or not.
- The New Prophecy is great with this. Stormfur, Ashfur, and Brambleclaw all liked Squirrelflight. Stormfur knew that he didn't have a future with her, and eventually ended up with a Tribe cat named Brook. For a while it seemed as if Brambleclaw and Squirrelflight would become an Official Couple, but fell out because of Brambleclaw wanting to be friends with his half-brother (it makes a bit more sense in context), whom some fans say he had Ho Yay with, and Squirrelflight went to Ashfur. However, she never truly loved him, and later left him for Brambleclaw once more. This drove Ashfur insane, to the point of betraying his Clan, abetting in almost murdering Firestar, and trying to kill Squirrelflight along with her 'kits'. This forced her to admit that they weren't hers, and were in fact the children of Leafpool and Crowfeather. Crowfeather had previously been in love with Feathertail (who died), had a brief affair with Leafpool (which produced Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Hollyleaf), and then took Nightcloud as a mate in WindClan solely to prove his loyalty and have a kit with her.
- Spiderleg became Daisy's mate, but they broke up after having two kits. Prior to this, Daisy had an unrequited crush on Cloudtail, who was already with Brightheart. Daisy's previous mate was Smoky (who also had kits with Daisy's sister, Floss, who he liked better, according to Daisy) and he fathered Mousewhisker, Hazeltail, and Berrynose. Berrynose hooked up with Honeyfern, but she died. He later mated with Poppyfrost.
- Graystripe was Silverstream's mate, and later had kits with Millie. Graystripe's mother, Willowpelt, went through quite a few mates: Tawnyspots, Whitestorm, and Patchpelt (who is her own brother, though that was an accident with the author forgetting they were siblings since, though they have the same parents, they were born in different litters).
- Bluestar had a brief relationship with Oakheart and had his kits. Thrushpelt had a crush on her, though she didn't return his feelings, and he pretended to be the father of her kits in order to help her out (since they were the result of a forbidden inter-Clan relationship).
- In OOTS, Dovewing fell in love with Tigerheart, but broke up with him when he used her to get herbs and she realized he was training in the Dark Forest. She later became closer to Bumblestripe, and according to Word of God chose him in the end (they just didn't show it in the book because it didn't fit in with the emotional final scenes).
- A slight invocation of this trope appears in The Three Worlds Cycle, specifically in the second quartet to make up the cycle. Nish loves Tiaan, who doesn't love him back. Then Nish has a short affair with Irisis, who hates Tiaan, simply to get back at her for rejecting him. Then Irisis has a brief affair with Xervish Flydd, who seems to have possibly had a thing with scrutator Halie. Meanwhile, Tiaan falls in love with Minis, who loves her back but betrays her and spends three books beating himself up over it. Tiaan then meets Gilhaelith who seems to lust after her. Back to Nish and Irisis, they end up in a will they/won't they situation right up until the end of the fourth book, where Tiaan swears off men for life, Flydd has been castrated anyway, and Irisis and Nish finally get it on. Well, almost manage to...
- In Gone by Michael Grant, there is a huge one. Sam and Astrid like each other, but Taylor likes Sam, who makes out with her when drunk. Diana jokes about wanting Sam, but she really wants Caine (or does she?), and he wants her, but so does Computer Jack, who likes Brianna, who likes him back, but Dekka also loves her. Meanwhile, Drake is obsessed with Diana and possibly Astrid in a way that may or may not be sexual, and it seemed for a second there that Sanjit wanted Diana, but turns out it's really Lana that he's into, who's also liked by Edilio and Quinn. And then Penny's obsessed with Caine, only maybe not so much after he dropped her off a cliff. And it goes on . . .
- In The Mortal Instruments, Clary falls for Jace. Long time best friend Simon has always loved Clary, but Clary doesn't find out until later. Alec has a crush on Jace, who doesn't find out at all. Simon has a crush on Isabelle, Alec's sister. She loathes him when they first meet but he grows on her. By the end of City of Bones, Jace has fallen for Clary as well. Later, Maia is introduced. She likes Simon, and he likes her back. But we can't let anything in this story be simple. Sorry Simon.. By now, Magnus Bane has been introduced. Guess who ends up with him? In City of Glass, yet another player is introduced, Sebastian. Clary has a short fling with him. Only it turns out that Jace and Clary aren't actually related. But in Sebastian aka Jonathan's case, it's for real. And he knew it. Then there's Jocelyn's love history, which is simpler (Lucian / Valentine), or other side love interests like Isabelle's fling with Meliorn or Maia's ex Jordan. As of City of Lost Souls, Clary/Jace is on with difficulties, Alec/Magnus is off, Jocelyn/Lucian is on, and Maia/Jordan is on.
- In Ranger's Apprentice Halt spends time with Alyss and thinks If I were twenty years younger... He ends up marrying Lady Pauline. Alyss kisses Will. Will spends time with Evanlyn but can't handle that she's really Princess Cassandra and falls for Alyss instead. He and Evanlyn still have feelings for each other and this causes tension between Alyss and Evalyn and between Will and Horace. Horace and Evanlyn end up falling in love and become engaged, as do Will and Alyss.
- Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake is an infamous example of a Love Dodecahedron, it'd be easier to name a character not in love with or part of Anita's Reverse Harem.
- Laurell K. Hamilton's Merry Gentry series features Merry in the middle of a Love Dodecahedron with a Reverse Harem.
- Mansfield Park. Mr. Rushworth is in love with Maria, and Mr. Yates is in love with Julia, but both Bertram sisters are in love with Henry Crawford, who claims to be in love with Fanny, who is in love with Edmund, who is in love with Mary Crawford, who is in love with money.
- In Prized by Caragh O'Brien, Leon loves Gaia, who is also loved by Chardo Will and Chardo Peter, who once dated Adele, who is now married to someone else.
- The Count of Monte Cristo is full of this. To start off, Edmond Dantes is in love with Mercedes who however marries Fernand, who betrayed Edmond and had him thrown into the Chateau d'If. Their son is supposed to marry Eugenie, daughter of Danglars, who was one of the people Fernand put together to betray him. That's not possible, because Edmond's slave Haydée tells him about how Fernand betrayed her father. So, Danglars' wife, who had a scandalous relationship with Villefort, another of Edmond's betrayers, had a son, Benedetto, with him who is also supposed to marry Eugenie, but she leaves in a supposedly lesbian relationship. Villefort's daugther Valentine loves Maximilien Morrel but she is forced to marry Count d'Epinay, which is finally not possible because Valentine's grandfather killed d'Epinays grandfather. Oh, and Edmond suggests that Morrel marry Haydée, but in the end marries her himself. See spoilers  for the full details.
- In the Star Trek Novel Verse, Captain Klag reads a novel involving Damiani (a three-gendered species) and Andorians (four genders) in a dangerous romantic septangle.
- In The Wheel of Time, there's 1000+ characters. With such a large cast, you could probably draw an appropriately epic-sized chart detailing the relationships.
- Legacy of the Dragokin: A weird example in that it's not the focus of the plot and yet it is at the same time. What is definite is that it is NOT played for comedy.
- Daniar and Kalak are married but having problems so they both go to comfort from other people (Jago and Zarracka respectively) while Mordak has a Lady and Knight thing with Zarracka and a yandere thing for Kalak while both of them can't stand it/him and yet are dependent on Mordak, who, by the way, is weakened by love. Then add in the fact that Kalak is jealous of the attention his wife gives their son who is head-over-heels for his mother's protegee who is Married to the Job and it gets more complicated.
- In Sherwood Smith's Inda series, the people involved keep shifting as they get killed or find true love, but at around the midpoint of the story: Hadand is in love with Evred, who is in love with Inda. Hadand is betrothed to Evred in a political Arranged Marriage (which he inherited from his brother who Hadand was originally betrothed to). Inda is still in love with his original arranged bride, Tdor, but with the death of his older brother he will inherit his brother's betrothed, Joret, who is in love with Cama, who loves her back but is betrothed to somebody else entirely. Tdor still loves Inda, but is now betrothed to Whipstick Noth, who doesn't have any kind of strong romantic feelings for anybody but likes Tdor well enough.
- In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby has his heart set on Daisy who is married to Tom, who has an open affair with Myrtle, who herself is married to George.
- In Beautiful Darkness. Ethan is in love with Lena, who he believes left him for John Breed, and is begining to be attracted to Olivia. Link is also attracted to Olivia, but at the same time he's still pining for Ridley. Ridley and John are often seen together, so subtext could lead to interpretation of them as a couple. Lila Jane Evers' first love was Macon Ravenwood, but he had to leave her because he was afraid of hurting her, so she met Ethan's father. She's still enough in love with Macon to save him from dying. He never stopped loving her.
- In New Arcana, Roland likes Kiri but hooks up with Miranda, who has a crush on Luke, who has a crush on Corryn, who used to be involved with Kurt but also seems occasionally to hook up with Elmin, who hooks up with anyone, including Kiri and Miranda, who ends up in a relationship with Wynne, who is an “old friend” of Elmin’s.
- When A Man's A Man, by Harold Wright: note Phil loves Kitty, who loves Patches (who is temporarily engaged to her) and briefly deludes herself into loving Professor Parkhill (who proposes to her, but is rejected). Patches himself loves Helen, who is Happily Married to Stanford. At the last minute, Kitty conveniently realizes that she really loves Phil, and the two get together. The Professor leaves the ranch, and Patches goes on a journey with Yavapai Joe, who he has homoerotic subtext with.
Live Action TV
- 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.
- "I Got It From Agnes". Tom, Agnes, Jim, Louise, Harry, and Marie appear in the first verse alone.
- 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.
- 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".
- In 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.
- 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.
- Actually, 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).
- Actually 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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 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 Theking 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.
- 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.
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl's central story is about a love dodecahedron. Mike, a dogged good guy, and Lucy, a tsundre, seem to be destined for each other at the start of the comic, but over time the pair drift apart as Mike finally acknowledges that he is in a Long Distance Relationship with his love from third grade. Mike is a handsome cat, and Daisy, his best female friend other than Lucy, pursues HIM doggedly, while she herself is being pursued by the aloof Augustus and the dogged stalker/white knight Abbey, with Paulo, her best male friend, possibly being interested in her as well, though this is less than clear and if it is so, she is quite oblivious to it. Meanwhile Lucy for her part shares a crush with Paulo, a confident jerk with a heart of gold, but he feels that he would just mess her up further. Several other friends fancy Lucy, including David, a dog who she is completely uninterested in, and Jessica, who is bisexual. Paulo himself is at the center of several female's attention, including his almost girlfriend Tess, an older girl who does not want to commit to a relationship with him despite the two being in love with each other, Rachel, who, being a dog, cannot stay with him if she wants kids, and Jasmine, a younger girl who looks up to him. Further complicating matters, Paulo slept with both Jessica and Rachel, who are Tess's archenemies, and little did he realize at the time, but the pair did it to get back at Tess for wronging them two years ago. The comic creator, Taeshi, actually sells a relationship chart poster in her store.
- As an Animesque production, MegaTokyo also features its own Love Dodecahedron: Piro is in love with Kimiko; Kimiko is Erika's best friend; Erika is in love with Largo (Piro's roommate); Largo was nearly seduced by Miho, whom he hates and thinks is an undead wench; Miho has a rather ambivalent relationship with Piro, whom she claims is her former lover; Miho is also best friends with Ping, who is Piro's robotic girlfriend.
- In El Goonish Shive, a rather surreal love dodecahedron is played for both laughs and drama, but has been resolved so that four of the six involved are now in relationships: Elliot with Sarah, and Nanase with Ellen, though whether or not one of those characters (Ellen) qualifies as being in the Dodecahedron is complicated, due to Cloning Blues being involved. Clever way to have Nanase's Loving a Shadow with Elliot end in her finding someone perfect for her, though. The last one, gay Justin, has given up on straight Elliot, and wound up stuck in I Want My Beloved to Be Happy land. Melissa, attached to the Dodecahedron via Justin, doesn't get that he's gay, while Susan, whose Kindred Spirit relationship with Justin is revealed essentially the moment they meet, apparently has some feelings for him but knows she can't pursue them. For a brief period after her splitting off from Elliot, Ellen displayed feelings towards Sarah, though it's implied that she's over it.
- When you throw magical transformations into the mix it gets even more complex. Elliot's got a spell that can turn him into a superhero and one of three girls (for secret identities), and the shy one has a crush on Justin. Dan, you are cruel.
- It can get more complicated. While Nanase and Ellen are dating, Ellen shows at least some attraction to Tedd (going as far as admitting that he is sexy and confusing), both Catalina and Matt Cohen asked Susan out on a date, Catalina is currently dating Rhoda, and Melissa has a friends-with-benefits situation with Noah. If you include subtext, Rhoda shows signs of interest in Diane, the prevailing opinion is that Justin's coworker George has a crush on him, Noah gushes over both Grace and Elliot (though there are non-romantic reasons for this), and Susan seems to be attracted to Elliot, of all people. Not exactly something out of place in a high school.
- Experimental Comic Kotone was designed to incorporate every anime trope in the book — and as such, the unnamed main character is caught in the center of a severe Love Dodecahedron, which is constantly in danger of growing even bigger due to him suffering from the rare Love Sim Syndrome...
- Avalon: Ceilidh and Joe are the Official Couple, but Joe is primarily interested in Helène, the girlfriend of Alan (who would much rather be with Ceilidh), and secondarily interested in Phoebe, who, if she likes anyone, likes Ceilidh; Ryan and Iain are also interested in Phoebe. Ceilidh herself isn't sure whether she likes Joe, Iain, or Phoebe... but definitely not Alan.
- Implied in this xkcd comic (though strictly speaking it could just be a cycle or even a collection of disconnected relationships).
- Perhaps this is a better example?
- Arthur, King of Time and Space, or at least the Space Arc where everyone is crammed into the same spaceship, is heading in that direction, mostly using canonical relationships. Arthur loves Guinevere but has a child with Morgan. Guinevere loves Arthur and Lancelot. Lancelot loves Guinevere but has a child with Elaine of Carbonek. Galehaut loves Lancelot. It's still relatively easy to follow, but the comic is meant to last twenty-five years...
- Questionable Content: Marten lives with Faye and is in love with Dora, who's Faye's boss. Faye has a "antagonists-with-benefits" relationship with Sven, who's Dora's brother. And that's just scratching the surface...
Hang on, hang on. I'm gonna get some thumbtacks and colored strings so we can diagram this.
- The apparently complicated lesbian dodecahedron at the university.
- Gunnerkrigg Court has slowly revealed that the prior generation is a surprising tangle of former couples and unrequited love. By contrast, all the pairings among Annie's generation are pretty straightforward (even if the exact nature of their relationship isn't).
- Star Guys has a wonderful one: Jupiter likes Venus, who likes Jupiter back (but neither know), Centauri also likes Venus and wants her back, but Venus is oblivious to him. Meanwhile, Saturn likes Mercury, who likes Neptune, while Earth and Orceus like Ana, who's asexual, and hates Earth. Finally, Pluto likes Mars (who may or may not like him back), whilst Jeeves likes Pluto, despite him stating that he's gay.
- The Love Scorecard explains things in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!.
- Homestuck: On Alternia, trolls are biologically hardwired to form love dodecahedrons (they pool genetic material and another species incubates it). As Karkat puts it, "FOUR IS PRETTY MUCH THE MINIMUM VALUE FOR LOVE-HATE N-DRANGLES." They have four types of romance, divided into quadrants depending on whether they are red (compassionate) or black (hateful), and concupiscent or conciliatory (pseudo-platonic). Matespritship ( ♥) is the closest to the human concept of romantic love; kismesissitude (♠) is passionate, carnal hatred; moirallegiance ( ♦) is close-knit friendship functioning as someone's better half; and auspisticism (♣) is a three-way relationship in which a mediator prevents two trolls from escalating into kismeses. Trolls are urged to secure mates in every quadrant, which means things can quickly get chaotic and confusing for everyone involved. A volatile love dodecahedron is illustrated in the story itself.==>
- Oh, but there's more. ==>
- And again... ==>
- This gets even more confusing now, and when you put into account the Earth Kids, as detailed in this image◊.
- Karkat had a hatecrush on John, and pre-Cascade pesterlogs indicate that he might have been developing flushed feelings for Jade. Meanwhile, Karkat also believes that Vriska is crushing on John, though John is unsure about this when Karkat tells him, and Terezi has been acting rather flirtatiously towards Dave, though when questioned on the subject by Rose, Dave responded that his and Terezi's relationship was nothing more than an "interspecies partnership in incredibly shitty cartooning."
- And then there's more: ==>
- But Wait, There's More! ==>
- And that's not all! ==>
- It keeps happening! ==>
- I warned you about Love Dodecahedrons bro! ==>
- Just to complicate things even further, not only does Homestuck accommodate multiple kinds of romance, but also multiple versions of the same person in different timelines, universes, or alternate realities. So while Mom and Dad were in a relationship in the pre-scratch human universe, in the post-scratch universe Mom's alternate self, Roxy, is the same age as Dad's daughter, Jane, and only thinks of him as kinda hot. This leads to a situation in which the whole John/Vriska thing was apparently resolved when Vriska dies and John claims he was never into her, only for it later to turn out that dead!Vriska briefly dated the dead John from the doomed alternate timeline before breaking up with him and dating dead!Tavros instead.
- John is Genre Savvy enough to have sworn off romance, at least for the duration of the game. This doesn't stop him from getting a ton of Ship Tease, as seen above. In Act 6, he gets even more ship teasing with Roxy.
- All of the major characters in Out There, with the notable exception of John, have at one time or another been infatuated with at least one of the other major characters. Miriam, as the main character, has dated, had flings with, or been otherwise at least temporarily fascinated with no less than 8 major characters: John (unrequited love/lust), Wally (fling, as part of the back story), Chuck ("officially" dated), Clayton (aborted fling), Sherry (unconfirmed, but strongly implied, past fling and/or relationship), Rod (fling), Steven ("officially" dated), and Araceli (infatuation); this doesn't even cover the list of characters (most of them minor or non-recurring characters) who have been at least temporarily captivated by her. While Miriam holds the record in all love/lust categories, Sherry's list is almost as impressive (embarrassing?): Steven (dated, as part of the back story), John (brief, and relatively mild, infatuation during a short period of essentially platonic dating), Chuck (big-time crush, finally culminating in an "official" relationship that is ongoing), Rod (brief interest until he "blew it"), Clayton (one-sided—he wants her, she's repulsed), Araceli (one-sided—Sherry is clueless about Ari's infatuation), and Miriam (unconfirmed). Out There is unabashedly a soap opera.
- Shortpacked!. Lampshaded, with reference to an earlier invoking and an actual relationship diagram here.
- Ménage à 3: You'll need a flowchart. See the notes on the comic's own page, which can at least try to keep up with the madhouse; there's little point in duplicating them here. Let's just say that the joke in a guest strip about everyone in Montreal having sex with everyone else looks less excessive by the month.
- 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.
- This Bri TA Nick sketch.
- 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).
- Code Lyoko. Let's see now... Ulrich loves Yumi, Yumi loves Ulrich, and despite their best efforts, they Cannot Spit It Out. In the meanwhile, Sissi loves Ulrich, and William loves Yumi. Ulrich flat-out hates Sissi, while Yumi is friends with William, but not quite that friendly. Johnny loves Yumi, but he's barely a threat. Hervé loves Sissi, but he's ugly. Théo loves Sissi, but he's a one-episode character. It's mentioned several times that "guys flip over" Sissi (though we never actually see many doing so) and it's implied that Ulrich is popular with the ladies in general. Meanwhile, Odd's dated nearly every girl in the school (and several outside, such as Sam and Brynja), and has a few ship-fueling UST moments with Sissi. Jérémie and Aelita emerge surprisingly unscathed, unless you count Odd's platonic flirtation with the latter.
- The teachers! Jim liked Yolande after her XANA-created clone kissed him, but it turns out she's engaged. Then Jim and Ms. Hertz have some tense moments, but Hertz is dating some guy named Pedro. And I don't even want to know where Jean-Pierre factors in. In the DS video game, it had been stated at one point that Jim was in love with Nicole Weber, Jean-Pierre's secretary.
- Milly, who has a big crush on Ulrich in Season 1, and gains herself a suitor in Season 4 with Hiroki, Yumi's younger brother.
- Also, Aelita is posing as Odd's cousin, or that one time they pulled a Fake-Out Make-Out.
- Danny Phantom himself has been in a love rectangle, or even pentagon, if you consider secret identity separation. Sam and Valerie both love Danny, who has his eye on Paulina for the first couple seasons, who in turn idolizes the ghost boy, who is actually Danny. (Valerie, for added confusion, hates the ghost boy.) And that's not taking into account Kitty's jealousy ploy with him.
- Danny himself at one point even uses the phrase "love rectangle."
- Archer is in a love triangle with Lana and Cyril, as he and Lana have feelings for each other. He's also crushing on his ex-fiance, who may like him back despite dating Barry. Adding to that, Archer and Pam are Friends with Benefits, and Pam had a crush on Lana that culminated with them sleeping together. This is after Cyril had a long-standing affair with Cheryl, who slept with Archer several times, and briefly dated Krieger.
- Timmy is also in one of these. He is love with Cindy Vortex and Trixie Tang. Also Tootie, Veronica Star and Vicky (when he wished that he was older) are/were in love with him. There are also hints of him having a relationship with Molly. On one of the days of FLARG he started up a relationship with a girl named Carly that resulted in tattoos (which his was a washable one.) Carly was an older woman
- On The Spectacular Spider-Man, the dynamics of the Midtown High group are enormously complicated, but succinctly: Gwen Stacy and Liz Allan both like Peter Parker, Peter likes Gwen and Liz and also Mary Jane Watson, Mary Jane flirts with Flash Thompson but comes to really like Mark Allen (Liz's brother), Liz has lingering feelings for ex-boyfriend Flash, who finds MJ attractive but then focusses on Sha Shan, Gwen dates Harry Osborn, who previously dated Glory Grant, who left him (somewhat inexplicably) for Kenny Kong, and I'm sure there are others in there.
- Spiderman The Animated Series also had one — For a while, Mary-Jane and Felicia were both chasing Peter, Felicia doing so despite the fact that she was dating Flash at the time and also dated Jason Macandale (AKA Hobgoblin) for a while. Also, Harry had an unrequited crush on MJ, which later drove him to become the Green Goblin. Eventually, however, it worked itself out — Felicia ended up with Morbius, Flash somehow ended up with Debra, and Peter got MJ.
- Gargoyles example: Goliath and Elisa are the main couple. However, Goliath had a previous relationship with Demona, a coupling which produced a daughter, Angela. Demona later tricked Macbeth into marrying her while she was really in a relationship with Thailog, Goliath's clone, but Thailog left her for Delilah, a "clone" he made using genetic material from both Elisa and Demona. Delilah later was pursued by both Goliath (as a rebound deal) and Brooklyn, but has apparently chosen Brooklyn's clone Malibu. Brooklyn, on the other hand, has also unsuccessfully pursued Maggie the Cat, who is in a relationship with fellow mutate Talon (Elisa's brother); and Angela, who was also pursued by Lexington and Broadway before beginning a relationship with the latter. Elisa has also showed interest in Jason Canmore and (as a rebound deal) Morgan Morgan.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has this in spades. Where to start...
- Aang. He's both The Hero, and alphabetically the first character. Aang early on develops affections for one of the other core three characters, Katara. Katara later develops feelings for Aang as well and eventually chooses him. Aang is also the target of a strong crush by Meng, the assistant to the fortune teller Aunt Wu. Also, nearly all of the young girls on Kyoshi island are Aang fangirls, attempting to win his affections.
- Katara has strong feelings for Aang, but it takes her time to sort out exactly how she feels about him. She also develops an off again on again, sometimes hostile feelings with the freedom fighter Jet. She also, at one point, opens up her heart to angsty Zuko, and considers using the Plot Coupon magic water on him. Some interpretations of the show also hold that her feelings towards Haru the earthbender are romantic.
- Sokka first becomes romantically attached to Suki, one of the warriors of Kyoshi island, who opens his eyes to the fact that a person can be both a girl, and a warrior. Later on, after they have separated for a time, Sokka develops a strong attachment to Princess Yue, the princess of the Northern Water Tribe. They go on several dates before, as Sokka puts it "My first girlfriend turned into the moon."note After leaving the north pole, they pick up the fourth member of their four kid band, the earth bending master Toph Bei Fong. She eventually develops a one-sided affection for Sokka. Acrobatics and pressure points master Ty Lee definitely thinks that Sokka is cute, and is quite flirtatious with him, even in the middle of combat. At several points in the series Sokka returns at least some measure of the flirting. Suki later joins the group on a more permanent basis, and the two get together. Then there's the way he treats his boomerang...
- Prince Zuko is in love with with Mai, the daughter of a bureaucratic noble family, and member of Azula's three girl band. In one episode Zuko also becomes involved with Jin, a girl from the earth kingdom city of Ba Sing Se.
- In the simplest terms possible - the Avatar fandom has paired everyone with everyone else at some point or another. So, naturally, all the above mentioned dodecahedrons and then some tend to show up.
- Sequel Series The Legend of Korra has one between Big Fun Bolin who likes The Hero Korra at first sight, Korra, who likes Bolin's Tall, Dark and Snarky older brother Mako, and Mako, who fell hard for and is dating, Uptown Girl Asami but also discovers he himself has some feelings for Korra. The first three comprise a pro-bending team, which Asami, as a pro-bending Fangirl and Mako's girlfriend, has talked her wealthy father into sponsoring in the local Tournament. Not surprisingly, the quadrangle causes both personal and professional trouble when one party decides to make a move on another, and is witnessed by a third, who is devastated.
- And now Meelo has entered the picture with a crush on Asami as well.
- Appears to have been resolved by the end of Book One, with Mako and Korra falling in love, Bolin getting over his crush, and Mako and Asami breaking up. Bolin and Asami voice actors PJ Byrne and Seychelle Gabriel even jokingly complained to creators Mike and Bryan about being cut out of the dodecahedron in a Comic Con interview.
- As of Season 3 neither Korra nor Asami are with Mako. Both girls are now better friends who bond over their shared crush and Mako's awkwardness around them both until episode 3 or 4 of the new season when they confront him and he admits he's trying to figure out how to act around them in a Just Friends way. Bolin has a new girlfriend named Opal, who is one of the new Air Benders who has left to study under Tenzin. Whose eldest daughter Jinora has her own new love interest, Kai. Tenzin is none to happy about this by the way ...
- Season 4 fully resolves the entire situation. With Asami and Korra as the endgame Official Couple.
- Jimmy from The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron has his original love interest, Betty Quinlin, who seemed to have a "aw he's cute, but it'll never happen" attitude towards him. There's Cindy. He falls for a pretty girl at the rodeo (along with Sheen and Carl, who battle with him for her affections). In "Win Lose Kaboom", he gets in a brief relationship with a Green-Skinned Space Babe named April, much to his main love interest's dismay.
- Hey Arnold!. Let's see, Brainy likes Helga, who likes Arnold, who likes Ruth. Later, Arnold likes Lila, who doesn't like like him back but does like like his cousin Arnie, who has a girlfriend Lulu who likes Arnold who likes Hilda who likes Arnie and... ugh! Lulu and Hilda were All Just a Dream. Which makes this both more and less confusing.
- Iron Man: Armored Adventures is a complicated case of this. Pepper has a crush on Gene and Tony with hints that she may feel something for Rhodey. Whitney has feelings for both Tony and Rhodey. Tony has an almost romantic life long friendship with Rhodey, clearly cares about both Whitney and Pepper very much, fanboys Gene Khan almost constantly until the end of season one, and yet Tony will also flirt with anything that moves. Gene is obsessed with Tony and may or may not have feelings for Pepper. Rhodey is Tony's most trusted and reliable friend (who he lives with) and has a crush on Whitney, though his feelings towards Pepper are mostly platonic. Mostly.
- Total Drama World Tour develops a lot of this by the end. Originally, Gwen was with Trent. Trent's friend Cody also liked her, but decided to help them hook up instead. Eventually Gwen and Trent broke up, though, partially because Trent thought that Gwen had an attraction to Duncan, who was dating Courtney. Then in season three Cody wants another shot with Gwen, but instead she does hook up with Duncan, leaving a heartbroken Courtney to begin crushing on Alejandro, who has a Slap-Slap-Kiss / Will They or Won't They? romance with Heather even as he manipulates Bridgette (who's with Geoff), Leshawna (who's off-and-on with Harold) and to a smaller extent Lindsay (who's off-and-on with Tyler). Cody also picks up a Stalker with a Crush in Sierra, and for added fun we get some random Ship Tease of Noah/Bridgette and an Operation Jealousy where Courtney pretends to be crushing on Tyler.
- Shockingly, this makes Izzy / Owen the most stable couple on the show. (Incidentally, they broke up that season with significantly less drama, due to one of Izzy's Split Personalities. They might be back together.)
- Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers with its many one-shot characters: Both Chip and Dale have the hots for Gadget who in turn seems to be interested in Sparky ("Does Pavlov Ring a Bell?"). Then there is Foxglove ("Good Times, Bat Times") who is in love with Dale, Tammy ("Adventures in Squirrelsitting") who has a mad teenage crush on Chip, and Rat Capone ("The S.S. Drainpipe") who wanted Gadget to be his moll. Not that Monty and Zipper don't have their own respective Love Triangles.
- On Young Justice, Wally likes M'gann who likes Superboy. Artemis also likes Superboy. However, it soon becomes clear that both Wally and Artemis actually like each other, but won't admit it. Meanwhile Wally also flirts with any other woman he meets, Artemis has a bit of Ship Tease with her old friend Icicle Jr., and fans interpret both of them as having sexual tension with Robin, who likes Zatanna. Zatanna likes him back, but so does Barbara Gordon, who appears to be jealous when she sees him with Artemis. Then Icicle Jr. starts flirting with M'gann while she's disguised as Shimmer.
- The "Mayhem of the Music Meister!" episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold features one of these. Green Arrow and The Music Meister both have their eyes on Black Canary. Black Canary is all about Batman. Batman loves fighting crime. (Well, and Catwoman, but she wasn't in that episode.) Thankfully, Green Arrow and Black Canary, the most sane of these people, get together in the end.
- In Superjail!, the Warden has an unrequited crush on Alice, who is an Abhorrent Admirer to an inmate she likes to call "Sweetcheeks". Meanwhile, Warden shares Belligerent Sexual Tension with the Mistress, who dated Lord Stingray for a while before breaking up with him and then slept with Alice at the end of the season 3 premiere. And don't even get us started on how Warden gravitates toward the Hunter. Lord Stingray himself is the target of Warden's obsession and had a wife Mistress Kilda who had a boyfriend Columbo. (Eventually, Alice killed off Mistress Kilda during the three-way battle against Lord Stingray's and General Stars 'n Stripes's troops.)
- Surprisingly, . Stan likes Wendy, who likes him (At first) but also seems interested in Gregory and (for one episode) Cartman, who says he has a crush on a girl named Patty Nelson. Wendy goes on to date Token, who later dates Nichole, who likes Kyle, who earlier on had liked a girl named Rebecca and was the object of a crush from Bebe, who left him for Clyde, who later dates Lisa, who liked Butters, who had earlier dated a girl named Lexus. Not to mention all the Ho Yay between Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Butters.
- Detentionaire has a few tangled webs of relationships, which is pretty typical for a High School Dramedy. The introduction of a Mind-Control Conspiracy in Season 2 Brainwashing several students into asking out unusual date choices only served to make the whole mess even more confusing.
- 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?