"What a surpriseBob has had a crush on Alice for a long time, but she either ignores him, coldly turns him down, or considers the two of them Just Friends. At some point, Bob gets the message and moves on with his love life, and starts seeing Carol. Suddenly, the relationship is reversed, with Alice pining after Bob, leaving him forced to choose. This kind of Love Triangle may involve a Green-Eyed Epiphany if Alice didn't know her own feelings. If Bob is deliberately trying to invoke this feeling in Alice, it's a case of Operation Jealousy. See also All Love Is Unrequited, Will They or Won't They?, Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace (for the former crush who waits until the last minute), Love Revelation Epiphany (for realizing their feelings because of the confession) and Romantic False Lead. This is not to be confused with You Are Too Late.
Who could foresee?
I've come to feel about you how you felt about me..."
Who could foresee?
I've come to feel about you how you felt about me..."
— "Send In The Clowns," A Little Night Music
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Anime & Manga
- In Ah! My Goddess, Keiichi gets turned down by Sayoko, the most popular girl at the college they attend. Once Belldandy shows up in his life, Sayoko starts to get jealous of him and tries to break them up in various ways, with no such luck. In Season 2 she starts to realize her own feelings for him.
- Kimi no Iru Machi: Haruto has been infatuated with Nanami all through middle school, and continues despite misconceptions that he's dating Yuzuki, a family friend who moved into his family's home to go to the same high school. He confesses, and Nanami rejects him, because she sees that he's become hung up on Yuzuki. He eventually moves on to Yuzuki, and Nanami soon starts acting rather jealous...
- And then Yuzuki moves away, breaks up with him because she can't handle a long-distance relationship, and gets a new boyfriend. Haruto follows her and spends a good while trying to rekindle their relationship, until Yuzuki's new boyfriend dies of complications from a degenerative illness... At which point Yuzuki, who turns out to have still carried a torch for Haruto after all, finds out that Haruto has started to develop feelings for Akira instead.
- In Magician's Academy, happens to George and Metallis. George at first is turned off by Metallis' attempts at confessing his love, then the latter falls in love with a girl, Suzuka, and begins aggressively pursuing her. George immediately starts to get jealous and tries to win Metallis' affections, or at least his attention, but ultimately fails at the end.
- Naruto Chapter 469 has Naruto's long-time crush Sakura tell him that she's no longer interested in Sasuke and wants to be with him instead. After she spends the entire second half of the chapter trying to convince Naruto that she really means it, he rejects her because he thinks that she still loves Sasuke (which she does). It also shows Naruto's Character Development in that he's not nearly as starved for attention as he once was, and has moved past the Green-Eyed Monster state he was in back when the Love Triangle first developed and he felt inferior to Sasuke and is now a recognized hero on his own.
- A funny one happens in The Last between Naruto and Hinata, especially after Hinata rejects him, Naruto doesn't take it well. Luckily, this time it's Sakura who shakes Naruto to realize his feelings aren't one sided. .
- In Ranma ½, the one time Ranma is interested in Shampoo is during the "Reversal Jewel" Arc, when Shampoo showed disgust at the mere sight of him. It's a deconstruction though, because Ranma doesn't actually want Shampoo, his ego just won't let him accept the rejection.
- Toradora! has a weird one: Ryuuji and Taiga have unrequited crushes on Minori and Yuusaku, respectively, and team up to help each other. Yuusaku actually started the previous year by confessing to Taiga, but she rejected him without a second glance - now he seems Oblivious to Love. Minori seems the same way (or to simply be The Ditz), but occasionally shows flashes of being anything but. Yuusaku actually moved on to develop his own unrequited crush on his senpai in Student Council, and is too kind to hurt Taiga with an overt rejection. Minori actually shares Ryuuji's crush (sort of) but wants her best friend to be happy. By the end, it turns out that it was really Ryuuji and Taiga who were Oblivious to Love all along.
- In My Little Monster, Haru confesses his love to Shizuku but is rejected. Shizuku later begins to regret this and confesses her love to Haru however this time Haru rejects Shizuku.
- This happens in Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi. In high school, Ritsu was chasing his Sempai, Saga Masamune. After reuniting a decade later, it's his Sempai turned boss, now named Takano Masamune, that is determined to win him back.
- The title character of Hell Teacher Nube first falls in love with Hot Teacher Ritsuko, who despises him for being a ghost-obsessed idiot. When she finally starts to return his feelings, he had already moved on to Yukime.
- In Pokémon, a Mawile falls in love with Brock's Lombre, who repeatedly spurns her advances. When Lombre evolves into a Ludicolo, he's ready to reciprocate Mawile's feelings, but Mawile has now fallen in love with a passing Psyduck.
- Early on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander had a crush on Buffy. In the comic book continuation of the series, however, she realizes she may have fallen for him, only to find out he's now dating her sister Dawn (who, ironically, had a Precocious Crush on him as a teenager). In this case, though, years passed between the end of Xander's crush and the beginning of Buffy's, during which time they both dated (and in Xander's case, almost married) other people.
- In the first issue of Archie Comics, "Pep Comics 28". Archie had just moved into the neighborhood; albeit a couple years younger than he was in later issues and with the nickname "Chic" and tries in his first issue to impress his neighbor Betty Cooper to try to get her to date him through dangerous stunts which she believes make him look arrogant. After Veronica moves in during "Archie Comics 1", the whole dynamic was changed to a Betty and Veronica format where Betty has a really big and sometimes obsessive crush on Archie.
- X-23 had a crush on Hellion, who believed she was a mindless, apathetic robot and was not shy about saying so. This was the source of much painful confusion for X-23, and after getting some Character Development, she left the school so she could sort out her trauma. Later on, Hellion (who was just beginning his own Journey Of Self Discovery) went through a Trauma Conga Line in which everything he had once believed about the world was turned upside down, and went off to find her. The comic makes it rather clear that he isn't interested in her out of genuine love, but rather a desperate need to no longer be alone- and once Hellion shows up, a far more confident X-23 rejects him. This probably counts as a Deconstruction.
- Played with in recent issues of Spider-Man. After OMD, Peter and MJ were on the outs. She moved on and developed a relationship with others while Peter wasn't ready to move on. Peter eventually decided to start a relationship with Carlie Cooper, while MJ started to reevaluate her feelings for Peter and eventually came to the realization that she still loved him during Spider-Island. The pair slowly tried getting back together, only for the events of Superior Spider-Man to drive them apart again. After Peter got his body back, MJ had already moved on and started a relationship with another man. Time will tell how the situation will resolve itself, but if they don't get back together, the fans may riot.
- Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon are often linked this way, with Dick (as Robin) first developing a crush on the slightly older Batgirl as teenagers. By the time Barbara became interested in a relationship, Dick had grown up, became Nightwing, and was dating an alien princess.
- In the Homestuck fanfiction Herding Cats, Karkat wrongly thinks this is what has happened between him and Nepeta.
- Tavros, who by this point has become incredibly Wrong Genre Savvy, informs Aradia that this is what has happened between them (he used to be flushed for her, she used to be pale for him). Aradia informs him that actually, she was never in love with him, and what's actually happened is that he's now a complete dick.
- In Welcome to Silent Hill, Sherlock had accepted that Watson would never love him back. Guess what happens in the epilogue?
- Kyon: Big Damn Hero has this in a kind of strange way between Kyon and Sasaki; Kyon had a fairly obvious crush on Sasaki during middle school, but once they go to high school they drift apart and Kyon starts getting involved in, well, stuff. And then she starts being significant to the plot again (and having her own crush on Kyon) once he's gotten himself over his crush he didn't realize he had and was set up in an Arranged Marriage with Tsuruya. He's also involved in his really strange harem-situation with his fiancee.
- This trope is quite popular in the Kyou Kara Maoh! fandom, with Yuuri realizing that he's in love with Wolfram after Wolfram has already moved on.
- A Growing Affection does this to Sakura; Naruto announces in the first chapter that he is no longer in love with her. By the end of the first book, she is in love with Naruto, but he and Hinata have started dating.
- This Roy/Ed fanfic deals mostly with Ed being in love with Roy while Roy only wants him for sex. By the end, Roy begins to realize he's in love with Ed after all, but at this point Ed has had enough.
- This trope is gaining in popularity for Enjolras×Grantaire fics in the Les Misérables fandom, where it goes under the label "Piningjolras". Levels of IC-ness and quality, as always vary
- Harry Potter - The popular Marauders era fanfic The Life And Times has two examples:
- James and Lily. For the longest time, James has been hopelessly in love with Lily, and has pursued her relentlessly throughout their first five years at Hogwarts. While Lily, on the other hand, despised James for his immaturity, bullying tendencies (particularly toward Severus Snape, who is also in love with Lily), and arrogance, and bluntly rejected him every time he asked her to go out with him. Throughout sixth year, James begins to go through a decent amount of Character Development as he drops his bullying ways and gradually becomes more heroic (though he tries desperately to hide this under a Jerkass Façade). This makes Lily start to see James in a new light and she begins an on and off friendship with him that slowly develops into Belligerent Sexual Tension (despite her being in a relationship with Luke Harper at the time, who she is not in love with). At the beginning of their seventh and final year, Lily realizes she has feelings for James, but by then he has finally given up and moved on to Carlotta, who seems perfect for him on paper. Lily lampshades it herself when she wonders if all her rejections of James hurt him as much as watching him and Carlotta together hurt her, this makes her start to regret how coldly she used to treat him. This is an interesting example in that we already know they end up together, we just don't know how they get there.
- Adam and Marlene. Adam has been in love with his best friend Marlene for several years, who has been in a turbulent long-term relationship with Miles, and is unaware of his feelings. When he finally gets up the nerve to tell her toward the end of sixth year, she is so overwhelmed by his confesion (and by the fact that she ended her relationship with Miles only a few months previously) that she harshly rejects him, which she immediately regrets. Even though they eventually resume their friendship, Adam is hurt enough by the rejection that he decides to move forward with his love life and starts dating an Indian girl named Prudence Daly over the summer, making Marlene realize she really is in love with him after all.
Films — Animated
Films — Live Action
- In Of Dice and Men, this happens to John Francis and Tara repeatedly. They are both interested in each other, but every few months, just as one of them is getting up the courage to make a Love Confession, the other will announce excitedly that he/she has just met someone great...
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1: By the time Katniss Everdeen realizes she's in love with Peeta he's been brainwashed. So he tries to strangle her. Ouch. This leaves her... rather bitter, to say the least.
- The title character in the Harry Potter books has a crush on Cho but is fully aware that Ginny has a crush on him. After things don't work out with Cho, and Ginny has already moved on, Harry develops a crush on Ginny after dealing with a bout of jealousy — a Green-Eyed Epiphany — over Ginny's new love interest. And to add to that it's implied that Cho has newfound feelings for Harry, but it's pretty much too late by that point.
- Onegin/Tatiana in the Russian novel/opera/film Eugene Onegin. Though Tatiana still loves him, but she's married to someone else now, and he treats her better than Onegin ever did or will.
- Central to the plot of Wendelin Van Draanen's novel Flipped, which starts with with a young girl's crush on a new neighbor boy her age (who finds her to be a really annoying know-it-all), shows her feelings changing from said crush to disillusionment as they grow up, and ends with the boy's own growing feelings for said girl going as far as said boy ruining his own social rep among his peers to show how much said feelings have grown.
- In Gone with the Wind Rhett doesn't fall for someone else, but he loses interest in Scarlett over a period of some years, as her indifference, mistreatment, and obsessive pursuit of Wilkes wore away at his feelings for her. By the time their daughter Bonnie died, it was mostly over before Scarlett even fully grasped that it had started.
- The 39 Clues: Ian didn't seem to care much about Amy as he was faking feelings for her so he could run off with her clue, but as soon as she started getting over him- or, as soon as she had convinced herself that she had- he seemed to realize his genuine feelings for her. Too bad about life getting in the way....
- In the Anne of Green Gables series, Anne's childhood friend Gilbert Blythe has a crush on her for about two and a half books. When he finally proposes to her, she rejects him because she isn't in love with him. Near the end of that book, Anne realizes she actually is in love with Gilbert, but she is convinced he is engaged to another woman. Luckily, the engagement turns out to be just a false rumor.
- Bridge to Terabithia has this, in a sense. Leslie loves Jess, but he has a crush on Ms. Edmunds (his teacher), and only realises his feelings for Leslie (and her feelings for him), after she dies.
- The Russian adaptation of The Shadow by E. Schwartz features this. First, the writer and the princess fall in love, but then the shallow princess abandons him for his shadow. In this variant, the writer survives and defeats his shadow, the princess is once again in love with him, but now he is only interested in Annuncuiata, another girl.
- Another Russian Book called Militia Sergeant features this in a classic variant. Nikolaj Zacharow, a young militia officer, and Natasha, a daughter of a factory director, meet, but Natasha wants him to make a career, and not be stuck in militia, so she abandons him. Years later they meet, he is already a captain, her love for him comes back, only for him to reveal that he is already happily married and only agreed to meet her to say goodbye.
- While not played entirely straight this trope appears in The Hunger Games. By the time Katniss realizes she's in love with Peeta he has been captured by the Capitol. They manage to save him and she expects a very happy reunion. Instead he tries to strangle her because he's been brainwashed into thinking she's a mutation who wants him dead. Ouch.
- Suggested in Dinoverse. Bertram pined after Candayce even when they both were in dinosaur bodies. When after a separation she kissed him - or tried, they both had beaks - he happily said he was cured and stopped mooning over her. From Candayce's reaction this wasn't what she wanted to hear. When they were both human again she tried again, and this time had the desired result.
- In Gesta Danorum, Ladgerda is initially uninterested in Ragnar Lothbrog and sets a bear and a dog on him when he comes to ask her in marriage. Ragnar kills the animals and gets his will. Years later, when Ladgerda has already borne him three children, it occurs to Ragnar he cannot trust her because she sicced the beasts on him, so he divorces her and marries Thora instead. But Ladgerda still loves him and when Ragnar is hard-pressed by the usurper Harald, she comes to his aid with a fleet and once more saves him from defeat.
Live Action TV
- The main theme of Season 6 of Bones. Booth tells Bones he loves and wants a relationship with her in the 100th episode, Bones turns him down, they part for seven months, Bones realizes her feelings for him, Booth has a new beautiful Blonde girlfriend, Hannah. Lampshaded in The Doctor In The Photo where Bones tells Booth her feelings for him and he informs her that he has moved on with Hannah now. Then Bones prompts Booth to propose to Hannah, but Hannah is not ready to settle down. Booth ends up breaking up with her on the spot and then tells Bones that he doesn't want to be in another relationship anytime soon.
- Emma is in love with Will Schuster. Later, Will finds out that he loves her too. But Emma's already dating this dentist who drives a sweet ride. Then Will tries to woo her by being cool like the dentist.
- Also works with the whole Finn/Rachel/Jesse situation; Rachel pines over Finn for half of season one. Finn seems to return her feelings, but is dating Quinn. Then when he finds out Quinn cheated on him with Puck, he breaks up with her, and Rachel assumes that she can automatically jump into the place of his girlfriend. He rejects her so he can go out with Brittany and Santana. Rachel quickly moves onto Jesse, just in time for Finn to decide that he has feelings for Rachel. Rachel then rejects him, and he spends the rest of the season trying to get back together with her. They get together in season two, but he breaks up with Rachel when he finds out that she kissed Puck out of spite. She spends most of the rest of season two trying to get back together with Finn, but he's moved onto Quinn, who is dating Sam. Sam breaks up with Quinn when he finds out Quinn kissed Finn. Quinn and Finn start going back out, but Quinn can tell that Finn still has leftover feelings for Rachel. Finn breaks up with Quinn when he realizes that he's really in love with Rachel, who in the mean time has had an episode-long crush on Blaine, who also has an episode-long interest in her (Kurt, of course, has a crush on Blaine), and expressed an interest in Sam. She winds up sort of getting back together with Jesse, only for Finn to kiss her in the season finale, leaving Jesse in the lurch. Taking the meaning of the word Switcheroo to a whole new level.
- Lady Mary and Matthew in Downton Abbey; at first they have Belligerent Sexual Tension, which evolves into Matthew's unrequited love for Mary. Mary begins to reciprocate these feelings, but changes her mind when it becomes possible that Matthew may be usurped as heir. Matthew stops liking Mary because of this, only for Mary to change her mind and fall back in love with him. She spends the whole of Season two pining after Matthew, who is engaged to a hypotenuse.
- Dwayne/Whitley/Kinu on A Different World, in that Dwayne pursues Whitley for an entire season, while she is at times uninterested, and at other times in a relationship with Julian. Between seasons, they spend the summer apart, wherein Dwayne writes Whitley passionate letters and Whitley's feelings for Dwayne change, but she doesn't answer any of his letters in order to keep the passion flowing. When they arrive back at Hillman for the beginning of the school year, Whitley is ready to confess her feelings. Dwayne shows up with new girlfriend Kinu, who he met over the summer, instead.
- Ross and Rachel do this so many times it's unbelievable. S1: Ross —> Rachel. S2: Rachel —> Ross. S3: Ross —> Rachel then Rachel —> Ross. S4/5: Rachel —> Ross. S6: Ross —> Rachel. S8/9: They swap per episode. S10: Ross —> Rachel. Phew.
- Later in the series it happens with Joey/Rachel of all pairings; Joey falls for Rachel, falls out of it, and guess what: she proceeds to fall in love with him. Phoebe even lampshades Rachel's tendency to do this.
- Flashbacks in a Thanksgiving episode even show this happened with Monica and Chandler at one point, though in this case it's more of an unrequited infatuation switcheroo. When Monica and Chandler first meet one Thanksgiving, she immediately has a crush on him, but he doesn't like her because she's fat, she accidently overhears him saying this to Ross, leading to the end of her crush. Then the next Thanksgiving, Chandler becomes attracted to Monica when he sees that she has lost the weight and is now thin, but she is still mad about him calling her fat and wants revenge. Her attempt at this results in her accidently cutting off Chandler's toe, leading to the end of his crush. Years later, Monica and Chandler eventually fall in love and end up Happily Married, though even before then there are a few subtle hints (particularly in the episodes "The One At The Beach"/"The One With The Jellyfish") that Chandler has redeveloped a crush on her.
- Niles and Daphne go through a version of this in the first seven seasons of Frasier. Niles is instantly attracted to Daphne, and falls deeper in love with her over the years, but Daphne is completely unaware of his affections. Eventually, she is the only one who has no idea Niles is in love with her. By the time she finds out how Niles feels and finds out that she feels the same way toward him, Niles has moved on with Mel, who seems like a perfect match for him, leaving Daphne as the one with unresolved feelings.
- Jake/Dylan/Penny on Good Morning, Miami.
- Ephram and Amy on Everwood count as he's with Madison when Amy finally decides to be with him.
- Hannah Montana : Miley's at first annoyed by Jake's attempts to woo her, but then she falls for him and he's already moved on.
- Done interestingly on Dollhouse - Paul Ballard is in love with Echo while Melly is in love with him. Then Echo falls in love with Paul, though they don't consummate the relationship. Then Alpha kills Paul's mind and it's re-made without his love for Echo, though she still loves him anyway. Then in the next ten years they spend together he falls for her yet again and they're implied to have a relationship, but she won't say she loves him. Then he dies. Joss Whedon, you make puppies cry.
- Britta rejects Jeff in Community from the very first episode. But when she develops feelings for him (at last), he's with Michelle. Troy also starts to like Annie when she's finally into someone else (Vaughn in this case). The season finale brings a surprise (or not so much) resolution to both cases by finding a common link.
- Gilmore Girls has a variant on this: Rory dumps Dean for Jess; Dean longs for her for a while, until he moves on, which visibly upsets Rory. When R&J's relationship is going through a hard time because Jess treats her like dirt, she finds out Dean's engaged. As with many Unrequited Love Switcheroos, they eventually get together ... but not for long.
- Scrubs can also be mentioned, in the first season that is: at first JD likes Elliot but it's not reciprocated; after they sleep together, she still likes him but he's moved on; on the third season it's done again: first he likes her again but she's with another guy, then she dumps such guy but JD's not interested any longer. Then, on fourth, she's with his brother and that annoys him and so on...
- The Big Bang Theory:
- Leonard was arguably never really into Leslie or Dr. Stephanie as much as he was with them just for the rebound, but when Penny breaks up with Leonard and he gets together with Priya, she re-develops feelings for him note . In season 5, after Leonard breaks up with Priya, he and Penny get back together. But by the beginning of season 6, Penny is already questioning the future of their relationship.
- There's also the on-and-off romance with Bernadette and Howard, which shouldn't being going anywhere considering that they're now married.
- ER: John's got a major crush on Abby, but she's with Luka; when they break up, she makes it understood that she wants to be with John, but he's already with Susan. There's also a bit of that with Ray and Neela later on.
- Steve and Laura on Family Matters.
- Jim/Pam/Karen in The Office (US).
- Andy/Erin as of the end of season 7.
- Several times with Dwight and Angela in later seasons. S4/5: Dwight —> Angela. S6/7: Angela —> Dwight. S9: Dwight —> Angela then Angela —> Dwight.
- Randy and Catalina on My Name Is Earl. Originally, Randy was in love with Catalina who constantly turned him down, and when Catalina needed a Citizenship Marriage, Randy eagerly volunteered. She felt somewhat obligated to sleep with him as thanks, but to make sure he'd never want to do it again, she tried to be as unappealing as possible by rubbing dead fish over her body beforehand and invoking Parental Sexuality Squick in her dirty talk. It worked like a charm, and Randy no longer wants anything to do with Catalina romantically. However, Randy turned out to be the most sensitive lover that Catalina ever had, so now she's the one pining after him.
- Many times with Ed/Carol on Ed. "Carols" go from Nick Stanton to Bonnie Hane to Dennis Martino to Frankie Hector.
- Bright/Hannah/Topher and Ephram/Amy/Madison on Everwood.
- Subverted on Chef! when Savannah made up an imaginary boyfriend in the hopes of making this happen. Unfortunately for her, it didn't work, partially because her imaginary romance was too Sickeningly Sweet.
- A Christmas Wonderful Life episode where Carly wishes her brother was normal. As part of the changes caused by her wish, Freddie, who has at the very least a strong crush on Carly in the series, has given up on Carly romantically, dating a whiny brat. He also gives her an extreme cold shoulder which indicates their friendship is now non-existent. Carly finds out she is now dating Nevel. Carly pretty much breaks down at the idea that Freddie doesn't love her and that he isn't her friend.
- This also briefly happens in Season 4, when Freddie begins dating Sam, Carly seems to have feelings for Freddie. After the Seddie breakup though, it seems to switch back again. (Or at least, Freddie thinks so.)
- Becca and Tucker in Flash Forward (1996). They'd each had crushes on each other throughout their childhood, but never at the same time...until the final episode of the series.
- Toyed with in the Torchwood episode "Adam", in which Toshiko stops hopelessly pining after Owen and gets a boyfriend, while Owen suddenly starts pining after her. But in reality, their personalities were changed by an alien who gave them Fake Memories and made himself Tosh's boyfriend. Interestingly, despite having their memories wiped, their relationship did seem to change after this episode, with Tosh going so far as to ask for a date and Owen accepting it. Then events intervened.
- How I Met Your Mother:
- Ted and Robin do this a few times throughout the series. S1: Ted —> Robin then Robin —> Ted then Ted —> Robin. S4: Robin —> Ted. S5 and S7/8/9: Ted —> Robin.
- Barney and Robin have been doing this many times. S4: Barney —> Robin then in the season finale they swap per scene. Late S5 and parts of S6: Barney —> Robin. S7: They swap per episode. S8: Barney —> Robin then Robin —> Barney, it turns out to all be part of Barney's final play ''The Robin''.
- In the finale Barney and Robin divorce after three years. Robin confesses to Lily that she should have married Ted instead; unfortunately, the latter is happily married to Tracy. In 2030, the mother died six years ago which allows Ted to go back to Robin.
- Shawn/Belle/Mimi in Days of Our Lives.
- Dallas: Bobby and Pam a few times during their divorce period. S6: Bobby —> Pam. S7: They swap per episode. S8: Pam —> Bobby.
- Also Cliff and Afton, sort off.
- This is done a few times with Gary and Valene in Knots Landing during the 8 seasons they were seperated.
- Dylan and Brenda in Beverly Hills 90210. S2: Dylan —> Brenda then Brenda —> Dylan. S3: Brenda —> Dylan. S4: They swap per episode.
- For the first two seasons, Andrea has an enourmous crush on Brandon, who (for the most part) only sees her as a good friend. In season 3, Brandon begins to develop feelings for Andrea, but by then she has given up on him and began dating someone else.
- David and Donna in later seasons. S5: David —> Donna. S6/7: They swap per episode. S8 and S9: David —> Donna. S10: Donna —> David.
- Brandon and Kelly also occasionally switch who is pining after who, specifically during their break-up periods. S1 and S4: Kelly —> Brandon. S5: Brandon —> Kelly. S6: They swap per episode. S7: Kelly —> Brandon. S8: Brandon —> Kelly.
- Kelly pined over Dylan a bit in the early seasons, after their on-again off-again relationship throughout seasons 3 and 4, it was usually the other way around.
- Early on in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cordelia has a crush on Angel, who is in love with Buffy. In season 3 of the Spin-Off series Angel, Angel develops a crush on Cordelia, but by then she seems to have moved on from him and has fallen for the Groosalugg. Like Xander and Buffy, several years passed between the end of Cordelia's crush and the beginning of Angel's.
- Also, Wesley seems to finally get over his feelings for Fred just in time for her to realize her feelings for him.
- Hyde and Jackie do this a few times in That '70s Show. S3: Jackie —> Hyde then Hyde —> Jackie. S5: Hyde —> Jackie. S6: Jackie —> Hyde.
- Theresa/Ethan/Jared in Passions.
- And Kay/Miguel/Fox.
- On The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Hillary begins to get jealous when her Abhorrent Admirer, Jazz, is about to marry somebody else. Leads to a hilarious Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace moment:
Hillary: I'm in love with him!(Everyone gasps)Hillary: ...Oh, my gosh, what am I saying? I'm gonna go lie down.
- The main character in Psych, Shawn Spencer, spends most of the early seasons trying to go out with Detective Juliet O'Hara, who keeps rejecting him. She finally comes around and admits she like him too, when he's on a date with his high school sweetheart. Then he breaks up with said girl, but Juliet has moved on to a rich guy they met on a case.
- Josh and Donna from The West Wing were constantly on this trope. Josh gets jealous of Donna's random dates in season 2. Then Josh moves on enough to get a crush on Joey Lucas, and Donna gets jealous. Then Donna moves on enough to get involved with Cliff Caley, and Josh gets jealous. Then Josh starts dating Amy Gardner, and Donna gets jealous. Then Donna starts dating Jack Reese, and Josh gets jealous. Then Josh starts dating Amy Gardner again, and Donna gets jealous. And this is all before either of them ever said anything to make their romantic tension anything other than an ambiguous Ship Tease.
- ITV's Primeval, in classic scifi fashion, turns this trope on its head with the relationship between Nick Cutter and Claudia/Jenny. Nick and Claudia fall in love by the end of season one. Then Nick goes back in time and accidentally changes time so that Claudia is erased from history. She is replaced by Jenny who looks just like her but has a different background and personality Nick and Jenny start to show feeling for each other, but Nick dies right before Jenny finds a picture of Claudia that convinces her that Nick was telling the truth.
- Conner and Abbey's story also has a more traditional switcheroo. Abby rejects all of Conners awkward advances. But when Conner starts going out with Caroline she tries to sabotage their relationship.
- Then Conner figures out that Caroline was working for Leek and wasn't really interested in him. He realizes she played him for a fool and turns to leave... Of course, Caroline is suddenly interested in him for real.
- This nearly happened in Pushing Daisies. When Olive Snook finally gets over Ned and moves on he begins to doubt that his feeling for her were truly those you would feel for "just a friend".
- The title character in Castle has feelings for Beckett, but she has on-and-off romances with other characters. He attempts to get together with her at the end of season one, only for her current boyfriend to walk up behind them, and for Castle to chicken out.
- Season two finale: Beckett attempts to ask Castle out, only for his ex-wife to show up. The two then head for the islands.
- Season three ends with them relatively evening the score, as Castle calls Beckett out on not talking about their Fake-Out Make-Out and telling her that he loves her as she blacks out after being shot.
- At the start of season four, she tells Castle she doesn't remember anything about the events of the Season 3 finale. She's lying.
- At the end of season four, they start a relationship.
- Lizzie McGuire: Throughout the series, Gordo has a crush on Lizzie and she has no idea. One episode reveals that back in the fourth grade, she had a crush on him.
- Sam/Andi/Cady in Reaper. While dating Cady, Sam beings to suspect that she is The Devil's daughter (e.g. flowers and animals die in her presence). He doesn't know he's The Devil's son yet, though, which could indicate that all those things happen because of him.
- Mal and Inara from Firefly have an extremely complicated version of this trope. It starts with Mal, and then Inara starts to reciprocate somewhat, culminating in her giving him a kiss out of relief when she had been afraid he died, but of course, Mal was unconscious at the time and didn't figure out it happened. Just when it seems like the two might address the rapidly growing Unresolved Sexual Tension between them, Mal sleeps with Nandi, which causes Inara to completely breakdown and realize she's in love with him but can't do anything about it since she's a Companion, and further motivates her to leave Serenity. In the Big Damn Movie, she returns and it's implied that she might stick around to be with Mal.
- Amber and Alfie from House of Anubis. Alfie was well known for following Amber around like a lost puppy for all of season one and part of season two. They did date, but Alfie was still pulling most of the weight and they eventually broke up. Then, as Alfie fell for another girl...Amber grew feelings for him and was now the one chasing after Alfie.
- A Girl of the Week tried to pull this one on both Charlie and Alan in Two and a Half Men. Back in high school they had both snubbed her: Charlie because she wasn't pretty enough and Alan because he was just clueless. She went through extensive cosmetic surgery and attempted to seduce them both just so she could then reject them and rub their noses in it. Of course, after seeing how crazy she had become, they didn't count it as much of a loss.
- This was the premise of the final season of The Parkers. Nikki spent the whole series chasing Professor Oglevee, who saw her as an Abhorrent Admirer. In the last season, however, she met someone new and became engaged. That was when the Professor realized he loved her after all. After some wedding-day hijinks, the series ended with Nikki and Oglevee finally getting married.
- Cheers: Sam and Diane have done this plenty of times throughout the first five seasons. S1: Sam —> Diane. S3: They swap per episode. S4: Sam —> Diane then Diane —> Sam. S5: Diane —> Sam.
- Degrassi: Joey and Caitlin flip who is pining after who in all three shows of the franchise they appear in. Degrassi Junior High: Caitlin —> Joey. Degrassi High: Joey —> Caitlin. Degrassi the Next Generation: Caitlin —> Joey.
- Wings: Joe and Helen have done this a few times before they got together for good. Pre-series (off-screen): Helen —> Joe. S1/2: Joe —> Helen. S3: Helen —> Joe. S5/6: Joe —> Helen.
- Parks and Recreation: In Season 2, April develops a crush on Andy, who at the time is trying to win back his ex-girlfriend Ann and is unaware of April's feelings throughout most of the season. However, he eventually catches on and begins to reciprocate her affection despite having been previously weirded out by their age difference. In the season finale, Andy asks April out, but she turns him down because she believes he still has feelings for Ann. Ann, meanwhile, is going through a romantic mess of her own and kisses Andy while drunk. Andy breaks his arm, causing April to realize that life is short and to agree to go out with Andy. Andy ruins his chances when he decides to tell her about his kiss with Ann. In the third season premiere, April returns from vacation with a new boyfriend, and Andy spends the next few episodes trying to win her back. He eventually succeeds, and despite a few more minor bumps in the road, they are married within 3 episodes of coming together.
- This happens between Chris and Ann a few times. When first appearing toward the end of season 2, Chris quickly falls for Ann, who has just broken up with Mark (and has lingering feelings toward her other ex-boyfriend Andy) and is not interested. After pursuing her for some time, she eventually reciprocates and they date for a while in season 3. When they break up, Ann spends the next several episodes trying to get over Chris while he has already moved on. Later on around the middle of season 4, Chris begins to have feelings for Ann again and spends the rest of the season depressed over her on and off relationship with Tom. Then in season 5, Chris starts dating news reporter Shana Malwae-Tweep and Ann (who has broken up with Tom for good by that point) becomes jealous.
- Todd/Jenny/Nikki in Todd and the Book of Pure Evil.
- It was practically a Running Gag between Big Pete and Ellen in The Adventures of Pete & Pete. In the initial shorts, Ellen would occasionally introduce herself as Pete's girlfriend, causing him to promptly correct her saying "You're a girl, you're a friend, but you're not a girlfriend." In the series, very frequently, when one would be interested in the other, the other would be trying to pursue, or be pursued by someone else, causing the initial party to get jealous. Their relationship never went past a kiss in the episode "Day of the Dot".
- In the first season of True Blood, Sookie was involved in a love triangle between vampire Bill and shapeshifter Sam. She chose Bill and Sam moved on. Come Season 6, Sookie was in a rough spot and made a pass at Sam, only for him to reject her due to his relationship with his pregnant girlfriend.
Sam: Goddammit Sookie! You know how I always felt about you!
- There have been two so far in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., both unusual variations on the trope:
- For most of Season 1, Skye has a rather obvious crush on Ward, her aloof and enigmatic supervising officer who's quite the Tsundere towards her, and even ignores her advances to begin a casual relationship with May due to her being less emotionally complicated. Though he does eventually admit his feelings for Skye and the two briefly get together, the very same episode reveals that he's been Evil All Along. Once Skye learns this she is, naturally, no longer keen on continuing their relationship, but Ward insists that his feelings for her were genuine, and continues to pursue her throughout Season 2, despite Skye now claiming that he makes her physically sick and making no secret of her wish to see him die, even going so far as to (non-fatally) shoot him herself in the mid-season finale.
- A weirder example occurs with Fitz-Simmons: for the first few episodes of Season 1, it seems as though Simmons has an unrequited crush on her long-time best friend, while Fitz is too preoccupied with his crush on their new teammate Skye to pay her much attention. But a few episodes in Fitz begins to experience a Love Epiphany towards Simmons, who herself suddenly becomes Oblivious to Love at around the same time, and seems about to begin a relationship with someone else. When Fitz eventually admits his feelings towards Simmons at the end of the first season, she rejects him utterly, claiming that she never thought of him that way; which leaves the question of whether Simmons's apparent attraction to Fitz was the result of Early Installment Weirdness/Relationship Writing Fumble, or whether she's deliberately denying her feelings for him - even at the cost of their previously extremely close relationship - for other reasons yet to be explained.
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a fairly classic example: in Season 1 Jake has a thing for Amy, which he mainly expresses through the adult equivalent of pigtail pulling, so by the time he gets around to admitting his feelings properly, Amy has begun a relationship with her old friend Teddy that seems to be getting pretty serious, and she kindly but decisively turns him down. Jake then spends the first few episodes of Season 2 completely hung up on Amy, but then dates Sophia - who, despite being a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Amy, actually gets him to the point of being able to declare himself over his old crush. This happy state lasts for all of about two episodes - then Jake's plans for a surprise Double Date go horrendously awry, with Amy revealing that she'd been trying to find a way to break up with Teddy, and Teddy countering her sudden outburst at dinner by claiming that her feelings for Jake are the reason their relationship failed. Ultimately, Jake and Sophia stay together despite this revelation, while Amy and Teddy break up, leaving Amy in more or less the same position as Jake was in the previous season (though handling it far more maturely, naturally).
- Conway Twitty's "Don't Cry Joni" fits this trope very well.
- Anberlin's song "A Day Late" is a song where the singer is giving a Just Friends speech after a Love Confession that came after he had moved on to somebody else.
- The Miyuki Nakajima song "Milk 32." "Milk," a guy who works at the bar of the same name that, well, serves milk, is in love with the narrator; however, the narrator only goes to see him when she's just been dumped. One day after being dumped, she comes to visit "Milk," who avoids talking to her and gives her glass after glass of milk to distract her, until finally he leaves. The singer is then left calling for Milk and for her receipt, when she realizes that she actually kind of liked him.
- "Sunday Morning" by No Doubt is all about a Bob gloating over how an Alice gets a taste of their own medicine.
You're trying my shoes on for a change.They look so good but fit so strange.
- The Backstreet Boys song "Bye Bye Love" is arguably this trope.
- German pop group Die Prinzen's song "Gabi und Klaus" is all about this. Gabi loves Klaus but he doesn't want her anymore. Klaus realizes he makes a mistake, Gabi tells him to get lost.
- "Perfect Timing" by Pretty Balanced
She can ignore you as much as she likes, she doesn't like you anymore.She's fucking gorgeous you can't help but blush. Why didn't you notice her before?
- The Doc Walker song "She Hasn't Always Been This Way," couples this trope with She Is All Grown Up, with the guy in the song realising that his friend's little sister—who had crushed on him when she was much younger—is now very attractive and, in the words of the song, "outta my life, outta my reach..."
- The point of Stevie Wonder's song "Don't wonder why".
- "I Want You Back" by the Jackson Five
When I had you to myself/I didn't want you around/Those pretty faces always made you/Stand out in a crowd/But someone picked you from the bunch/One glance was all it took/Now it's much too late for me/To take second look
- "Taken" by One Direction
I slept on your doorstep/Begging for one chance/Now that I've finally moved on/You say that you've missed me all along
- Avril Lavigne's "Sk8ter Boy" is about how a skate boarder was in love with a girl he was friends with. However, the girl thought she was too good for him and turned him down. The skate boarder later became a rock star, and now the girl realized what a mistake she made. But it's too late, as the skater boarder is now with Lavigne.
- A tragic example in the Oak Ridge Boys classic, "I'll Be True To You." She has loved and waited for him for years, while he has played around and ignored her. By the time he realizes she truly is the love of his life, it's too late. In her loneliness, she drank herself to death. Now she can't love him back.
- Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. The young Tatyana writes a love letter to Eugene, who does not return her affections. It is only after she marries Prince Gremin that he realizes his true feelings for her. She admits that she still loves him, but decides to stay with her husband because he treats her better than Onegin ever would.
- Dave/Margaret/Blue from College Roomies from Hell!!!. For the first few years of the comic's run, Dave pines intensely for Margaret, who is almost completely uninterested in reciprocating, while he sees Blue as an Abhorrent Admirer when she falls in lust at first sight with him. Eventually his attitude toward Blue shifts, and they become a couple... just as Margaret begins acknowledging to herself that she is pushing Dave away primarily as a defence mechanism, and that she does feel something for him.
- Briefly in The Order of the Stick: after Roy's spent time as a woman, he apologizes to Miko for having treated her as a sex object; she expresses interest in him now that he's learned his lesson, but he shuts her down, having realized that she's an arrogant, destructive fanatic and he was only interested in her because he was thinking with the Trouser Titan.
- In Homestuck, Kanaya has a crush on Vriska, who's in love with Tavros. Long after Kanaya "Discard[s] The Preposterous Infatuation" Vriska is punched across the room by Kanaya and promptly swoons over her. However, the kind of crush Kanaya has on Vriska is different from the kind Vriska ends up having on Kanaya, so this isn't a pure example. Troll romance sure is weird!
- At first, Annie seemed indifferent to Jack's attempt to flirt with her in chapter 31 of Gunnerkrigg Court. Then, by the end of chapter 34, this happens.
- In El Goonish Shive, this is briefly shown as one of the effects of a "swish" of a magic wand. No one in universe is aware of any of the effects of the wand because that is how it works. While that example is not canon, there is one canon example. Justin is in love with Elliot, who is straight. However, when Elliot develops magical powers that mostly revolve around him turning into a girl, one of his female alter egos is clearly attracted to Justin, making this a case of Incompatible Orientation twice between the same two people.
- Lucy of Bittersweet Candy Bowl is the queen of this; not only does Mike pursue her for years only for her to keep pushing him away until she accidentally helps get him back with his other love interest Sandy, she also manages to convince him that she doesn't actually like him.
- Eerie Cuties: Initially, Layla had no interest in Dio, whom her parents had arranged for her to marry, and chose to remain with her boyfriend, Kade. But seeing Dio get beat up, by Ash, made her realize she had feelings for him after all. Except Dio had been zapped by Mel's wand, causing him and Ash to fall in love with each other! Which has left her in the humiliating position of having to compete with another guy for Dio's affections.
- Leslie and Robin of Shortpacked! keep switching who wants to have a relationship between them. At first Robin only has her around in a onvoluted plot to get her Straight Gay friend and Leslie actually liked her. Eventually Robin reciprocated her feelings but Robin cheats on her when on a massive sugar high. Robin wants to get back together but Leslie doesn't want to despite still having feelings for her. Then Robin mellows into someone Leslie could have a relationship with, only to get together with her old friend Joe just before Leslie could broach the subject. Leslie ends up visiting a parallel universe to rescue Joe's old flame, pretty much resolving the issue.
- Happens in The Guild after Codex breaks off her "fake relationship with a fictional version of Fawkes," who normally only does one-night stands. However, to the latter's surprise, Codex proves "interesting," so he makes an attempt to pursue her further, only to be told off. Although nothing's certain until Season 5, this also seems to happen with Codex and Zaboo, after Zaboo finally (mostly) gets over Codex at about the same time she concludes (privately) that he passes her "litmus test."
- Danny Phantom started off with Sam giving off most of the romantic vibe towards Danny who remained clueless for the most part. When Sam started dating someone else, Danny starts to realize by end that he likes her. They eventually get a Relationship Upgrade.
- Hey Arnold!:
- Largely the plot of the "Arnold Loves Lila" episode. When Lila believes Arnold has a crush on her (thanks to Helga's hastily re-written "Arnold loves Lila" graffiti), she starts to like him too, but he "likes her, but doesn't LIKE-like her". Once she gets the message, he really does start to "LIKE-like her," but too late; now she'd rather be friends.
- There's also the "Arnold Visits Arnie" episode where Arnold meets bizarro equivalents to characters in his own neighborhood, including "Hilda," a seemingly well-adjusted Helga he is immediately attracted to... who has a thing for Arnie. Meanwhile Arnie's girlfriend "Lulu" seems more interested in Arnold than her real boyfriend...
- Family Guy: 8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter: Meg becomes interested in Neil (who had been obsessed with Meg) only after she realizes he has a girlfriend.
- Undergrads, Nitz develops feelings for Jessie after seeing her naked... for exactly one episode. Prior to this episode and in every episode following, she loves him but he has no interest in her. Which makes her blowup at Nitz in the finale about not noticing her feelings rather silly since he openly said he had feelings for her... The one episode where he showed interest in her she rejected him because his approach to her was completely wrong, mostly by just acting like they're already a couple.
- Played for Laughs on Pepper Ann: Milo and Gwen Mezzrow do this a lot. One episode had a Running Gag where every time a day passed, it switched which one was the Abhorrent Admirer and which was the prey.
- Played for Laughs in the Fanboy and Chum Chum episode "Fanboyfriend". Lupe, a Huge Schoolgirl falls for Fanboy after he... er... saves her from a spider. For most of the episode, Fanboy tries to make Lupe understand that he is not interested - but at the end of the episode, after Lupe gets radioactive superpowers, the feelings are flipped.
- Kaeloo and Mr. Cat have this happen rather frequently. Who's crushing on whom depends on the episode.
- On Adventure Time Finn and Jake both think this is going on when Finn's old crush, Princess Bubblegum, objects to him being involved with Flame Princess. It's actually something else entirely. Although the ending makes it ambiguous as to whether PB gets a Green-Eyed Epiphany as a result or not.
- Mako and Korra in The Legend of Korra. Korra starts crushing on Mako, but he rejects her when she asks him out since he's dating Asami. Then, he gets jealous when he sees her with his brother Bolin and the two let the issue drop until later on in the season when Asami finds out Korra had a crush on Mako and then she starts seeing that there are still sparks between the two. By the season finale, Mako breaks up with Asami and confesses that he's in love with Korra, who reciprocates it.
- Teebo and Latara in Ewoks. Throughout the first season, Latara seems to be talking only about Teebo when alone with Kneesaa (who teases her for it), calling him "honeydrop" and claiming that she "does not have it that bad". In the second season, when their characters are exaggerated; Teebo is doing everything for Latara's attention, while she's playing hard to get. Finally, she kisses him in The Tragic Flute and while the series ends with no further romantic interaction implied, they're indeed together in the Shadows of Endor comic. link
- On Gravity Falls, twelve-year-old Dipper has a Precocious Crush on teenage Wendy. When he goes back in time ten years, she has a Precocious Crush on him, which he comments is "super weird" because of the age difference. Which makes this...an Inversion by way of time travel or something?
- Phineas and Ferb: "Act Your Age" reveals that by the time high school rolled around, Isabella had been crushing on Phineas for eleven years, and by that point everyone had figured it out. When high school hit, she finally gave up, figuring that he would never return her feelings — around the same time he started developing feelings for her. Phineas never told her his feelings because he figured that he was stuck in the friend-zone — only for his friends to bluntly tell him the summer after high school that she's had eyes for him for years.
- Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race has Devin and Carrie, a.k.a the Best Friends. Carrie has been crushing on Devin since they were young kids but he has stayed oblivious to her feelings. Eventually Carrie decides to try and give up on him and focus on the race...just in time for him to realise he's actually in love with her. So most of the series involves Carrie trying to confess her feelings to Devin with the last third reversing this and having him trying to confess to her. In the end he does and They Do.
- A very frustrating case from Miraculous Ladybug- the titular heroine is in love with her crime-fighting partner, Chat Noir, and they're the same way in civilian mode- only they have no idea that they're each others' crushes, and consequently Cannot Spit It Out. Even more aggravating, it's a case of Paper-Thin Disguise via a Domino Mask (one for each of them) - literally, take off the masks (and in Chat Noir's case, a pair of fake cat ears), and their identities are exposed.
- Truth in Television, anyone can relate to this trope at some point or other. The French even have an expression for this common situation: "Je t'aime, moi non plus" (literally : "I love you, neither do I").
- Actually, the French saying relating to this is more "Suis-moi je te fuis, fuis-moi je te suis" (literally : "Follow me and I'll flee, flee me and I'll follow"). "Je t'aime, moi non plus" describes more a Love Hate Relationship.