I didn't want you around
Those pretty faces always made you
Stand out in the crowd
But someone picked you from the bunch
One glance was all it took
Now it's much too late for me
To take a second look
Before the crisis, the character is perfectly fine being Just Friends or totally platonic bickering partners with another. But then, that other character gets romantically involved with an interloper, causing their not-at-all love interest to suddenly feel the sting of their absence. Once they finally admit to themselves their feelings, the Romantic False Lead's got hell to pay.
In some works, this is the cue for a Relationship Upgrade. In other works where Status Quo Is God, the envious one will stubbornly refuse to come clean and revert back to her "friend" self once the romantic complication is out of the picture. It's a Aw Look She Really Does Love Him moment — but a hidden one. This arc is especially common when the jealous one is a Tsundere.
Sometimes this trope comes into play after a couple has broken up, with one side having convinced herself that she's over him, until seeing her ex with a vixen causes her to gnash her teeth.
If one partner isn't in denial and deliberately stages such an incident to make the other jealous and admit her feelings, he's pulling an Operation: Jealousy. Sometimes overlaps with Unrequited Love Switcheroo — a flip between which lover's love is unrequited. The writer might need to Derail the Love Interest if the new love is working out too well for the plot to continue.
- Rumiko Takahashi is the Queen of this trope.
- Ranma ½: Multiple times, both ways, between Ranma and Akane, Ranma and Ukyo, and Ranma and Shampoo. Seen mainly in the Ranma-Akane interaction, since they only show how much they care for each other when one of them is endangered, and they always have an excuse to cover up their very apparent jealousy.
- InuYasha: Happens in both directions between Inu-Yasha and Kagome, with Koga as Kagome's Romantic False Lead and Kikyo as Inuyasha's Psycho Ex-Girlfriend back from the dead, and includes the added mind-screw element that Kagome and Kikyo are technically the same person.
- In Accel World, Kuroyukihime meets Haruyuki's Childhood Friend Chiyuri on bad terms, and at the time, Kuroyukihime claims that it's because she thinks Chiyuri is Cyan Pile, a Burst Linker who's trying to eliminate her for a point bounty. Kuroyukihime later admits that she's jealous of Chiyuri, and that because she was jealous, she realized her feelings for Haruyuki.
- In A Cruel God Reigns, Jeremy begins to realize he loves Ian just as Nadia is fiercely trying to get Ian back.
- FAKE: While JJ's affection for Dee does stir pangs of jealousy for Ryo, it's not until Diana kisses Dee that this jealousy reaches its peak, causing Ryo to realize that despite his denial over his attraction to Dee, he can't stand the thought of anyone else kissing him. This conversation with Dee almost reaches a Relationship Upgrade until they're interrupted. Again.
- Implied in Fairy Tail. During the Grand Magic Games arc, Lyon, Gray's rival and fellow disciple of Ur, makes advances on Juvia, who's madly in love with Gray, even if he doesn't notice. Around this time, Gray gradually starts to notice Juvia's feelings for him.
- I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying has a variation in the backstory. When Hajime and Kaoru had been working at the same company for a while, Hajime asked out a co-worker and got turned down, and he took it pretty hard. Seeing him that upset made Kaoru upset, and she realized she was jealous of Hajime's strong feelings toward the co-worker even though they didn't get together. This forced Kaoru to admit her feelings for him, leading to the unlikely relationship that forms the basis of the series.
- In Itazura Na Kiss Naoki Irie finally comes to terms with his true feelings for Kotoko Aihara after he hears that her longtime friend Kinnosuke proposed to her. He confronts her and tells her that he doesn't want her loving anyone else. The pair share their first honest kiss and get their Relationship Upgrade. It only gets better from there.
- Fujiwara invokes this on Kashiwagi in chapter 16 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. She asks for Kashiwagi to image her boyfriend with another girl and if she feels bad or annoyed then that means she loves him. The hilarious part is that Kaguya also imagined Shirogane with Fujiwara and was furious. She didn't take implication that it meant she cared for Shirogane well.
- Tomoe from Kamisama Kiss is a regular ass to the heroine Nanami 95% of the time but should another man so much as even talk to her watch out.
- Tomari in Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl admits her feelings for Hazumu only after she catches her kissing another girl, Yasuna.
- Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Miu constantly denies that she has any interest until Kensei Ma's daughter Renka shows interest. However, this doesn't trigger an epiphany. She's actually confused why it makes her so upset.
- In the anime version of Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer, Tamayo treats Kotaro only as a close friend until he develops obvious feelings for protagonist Misaki.
- In the canon movie The Last: Naruto the Movie, Naruto realizes he's in love with Hinata because he noticed that Toneri took an obsessive interest in her. Screenwriter Maruo Kyozuka confirmed this in the movie's program guide, where he stated that, with Kishimoto's direct and complete editorial supervision, he deliberately wrote Toneri to be so smug and good-looking that Naruto's romantic feelings "flare up" whenever Toneri tries to take Hinata away from him.
- In the Lovely Complex manga and anime, Otani has never been able to see Risa as anything other than a friend...until she's suddenly swooning over Maity-sensei.
Otani: You're always saying "Maity this, Maity that"!! That's why I'm so annoyed!!
Riza: ...Why should you be annoyed?
Otani: How should I know? Annoying things will, of course, annoy me!! Don't ever mention his name again!!
- In Nana, Shoji was this; even though he was cheating on her with his co-worker and classmate Sachiko and broke up with Hachi to be with her,he gets jealous when he hears that Hachi has found a new boyfriend who was pleasing her in ways that he didn't, because he didn't think thim important. Although he denied his feelings to friends again when he heard that Hachi was engaged, he finally admits to Sachiko that he regrets hurting her and that he became "far-sighted" when he finally got Hachi as his girlfriend.
- In The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, Sorata seems to have a very subtle one in episode 3 after seeing Jin and Mashiro together at the mall.
- In Tokyo Ghoul Re, Tooru Mutsuki seeing Sasaki with Touka together in the café made Mutsuki realize that he loves Sasaki, like a woman loves a man.
- In Your Lie in April, Tsubaki doesn't seem to realize she likes Kousei until she starts to become jealous of Kousei hanging out with Kaori. She thinks of him as her younger brother up until then.
- Elizabeth of For Better or for Worse had this problem: one plot arc involved her breaking up by proxy with Anthony before the school dance, only to get insanely jealous when her friend felt sorry for him and opted to take him instead. Infamously, this plotline was later echoed and writ large when Anthony got married and Liz lamented that she should have been the one he chose instead. Interestingly, Anthony's wife is openly distrustful toward Liz, which adds more strain to the marriage, which ultimately falls apart, and Liz and Anthony get together in the end.
- Played straight in Runaways, where Nico realizes that she does feel something for Karolina after the latter ends up in a relationship with Xavin. Inverted in a later arc, when Nico realizes that she doesn't really love her then-boyfriend Victor after finding that Lillie's attempts to flirt with Victor just annoy her rather than really angering her.
- A lot of Touhou doujinshi featuring her has this happening to Parsee, the resident (literal) Green-Eyed Monster.
- A Crown of Stars: During a conversation Asuka tells Shinji she got hurt when she caught Rei and him talking because she realized how strong her feelings towards him were and at the same time she thought she had already lost.
- Doing It Right This Time: Subverted. When Asuka begins to suspect that Rei's feelings towards Shinji are not sisterly at all she gets jealous... and then stops herself, remembering that was when everything started to go wrong in the original timeline (she loving Shinji but being unable to spit it out and being jealous of Rei because she thought that Shinji liked her was a major factor in her break-down).
- Once More with Feeling: Shinji's memories he got during Instrumentality show Asuka was jealous after seeing him talking to Rei because she thought she had lost something she had just realized she wanted.
- The One I Love Is:
- During a synch test, Rei saw Shinji's memories and realized he was drawn to Asuka... and that realization made her angry and anxious. Then she realized she loved him.
- The inmediate consequence of the abovementioned epiphany was Rei starting flirting with Shinji, which in turn made Asuka very jealous and forced her to admit she also loved Shinji.
- The Ponies Of Olympus series has this eventually happen to Rarity in regards to her feelings for Spike. Her obvious anger at Ran Biao for seducing him, plus her previous jealousy of his friendship with Wavedancer, are both used as evidence by Sweetie Belle to get her to admit to herself that she likes him back.
- Sakura in A Growing Affection after Naruto starts dating Hinata.
- Bellatrix in Those Gilded Chains We Wear reveals her feelings to Hermione while furious that she kissed Ron (on the cheek) after reestablishing her friendship with him.
- Inverted in Advice and Trust. Rei finds out why Ritsuko hates her when she realizes the scientist loves Gendo and is jealous of her.
- In Thousand Shinji, Rei realized she'd fallen for Shinji and was insanely jealous of Asuka when Shinji and Asuka started dating.
- In Neon Metathesis Evangelion, Rei is "worried" when she sees "personal bonding" between Asuka and Shinji. She logically deduces that what she is feeling is jealousy, and that hence the "warmth" she has been feeling around Shinji must be love. Of course, as she later also begins to develop feelings for Asuka, that jealousy becomes a non-issue on her end.
- In The Life And Times, Marlene Price realises she is in love with Adam McKinnon because she is jealous of his new girlfriend Prudence.
- In The Memory Band, Varric admits to his wife that he had one of these when they were celebrating her college graduation and he watched her interacting with their friend Sebastian.
- This trope is essentially the plot of My Best Friend's Wedding. When Julia Roberts's Just Friends buddy of a decade announces he's tying the knot, she secretly tries to break up said wedding so that the groom will marry her instead.
- In Clueless, Cher realizes how much she loves Josh when she finds herself getting angry with Tai after the latter won't stop talking about how she's meant to be with him.
- Harry Potter
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Ron and Hermione have a textbook case of Slap-Slap-Kiss going on, but Ron is in complete denial about it until Hermione goes to the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum. He's still in denial after that, too.
- It happens to Hermione, as well, when Ron begins "dating"note Lavender in the sixth book.
- Later in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry realizes he has feelings for Ginny when he sees her kissing Dean.
- Emma: The titular heroine's best friend Harriet confesses she is in love with Mr. Knightley. It instantly comes over Emma like a thunderclap that she is in love with Mr. Knightley!
- The Princess Bride: The attraction that sparks the jealousy is one-sided, but Buttercup first realizes that she's in love with Westley when the Countess Rugen starts ogling him.
- J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series uses this trope in Lover Awakened. Zsadist is forced to realize he's bonded with Bella when his brother-in-arms Vishous provokes him. Basically, Vishous acts like he's going to go after her, at which point Z tackles him in a jealous rage, and Vishous explains to Z that he's invoking this trope while being strangled.
- At the start of the Dragonlance Chronicles, Tanis Half-Elven dumps his childhood sweetheart, the elven princess Laurana and tells her he is in love with another woman, Kitiara. It is only after Elistan starts sniffing around Laurana that Tanis realizes he does still have feelings for the elf maid.
- In the third book in the The Hunger Games series, Mockingjay, Gale reveals that he didn't realize he loved Katniss until another guy flirted with her.
- She may not have ultimately been in love with him, but Katniss experienced a version of this in Catching Fire when she imagined Gale being the one volunteering for the Games and beginning a televised relationship with his fellow tribute.
- In The Dresden Files, Harry first realizes and admits his feelings for Murphy after she went on a romantic trip with Kincaid and Harry felt like he wanted to kill him.
- In episode 5 of Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note, after Kuroki told Aya Wakatake has been on bed for two days because he was dumped...
Aya: *He had a girlfriend?! I feel bad for him that he got dumped, but it sounds like he's enjoying middle school life. I'm a little relievednote . But... Why is it that I'm a bit annoyed?*
- Jasmine in Deltora Quest is lured into a trap by the Shadow Lord, where he baits her into coming into his lair (and thus prompting Leif to follow and rescue her) with a fake long lost sister. Part of the reason she is vulnerable to the ruse is that Leif had been hanging around a Toran lady who she suspected was his betrothed, and this bothered her for some reason. Her fears were unfounded as the Toran lady was actually Leif's temporary heir; a distantly related cousin whose identity he had to keep secret in case she was targeted. Perhaps a little communication might have helped, but then again if the misunderstanding hadn't revealed the green-eyed monster, they might have never gotten around to spitting it out.
- In The Goblin Emperor the first time Csethiro Ceredin approaches Maia of her own accord is after seeing him flirt with Min Vechin. Allegedly she does this only to warn him that the other woman is using him, but it is clear she is disappointed he doesn't talk to her.
- In the Chronicles of Prydain, Taran's feelings for Eilonwy build slowly over the first couple books. It's not until the third installment, The Castle of Llyr, that he really figures out what's going on - after he's been told that the monarchs of Mona hope to betroth her to their son. When he finally puts it into words near the end of the last book, she basically tells him that it's about time.
- In General Hospital, for geeky Spinelli and fashionista Maxie, it took the arrival of similarly geeky Winifred for Maxie to realize her feelings for Spinelli. And then she slept with Johnny. Hey, it's a Soap Opera.
- Subverted in Better Off Ted. Linda tried to induce this by introducing Ted to her ex-boyfriend... but he and Ted hit it off and become friends. Then Ted pretends to hate him when he realizes Linda was only trying to make him jealous.
- Castle: This trope is the bread and butter of the show.
- In Fawlty Towers, Basil and Sybil appear to have nothing but contempt for each other; however, Sybil gets very upset, when she thinks that Basil is pursuing a guest in "The Psychiatrist", and Basil frantically tries to prove that he isn't.
- Community: Although Brita constantly insists she has no feelings for Jeff, she ends coming to terms with her feelings when Slater attempts to renew her relationship with him.
- This is also subverted when Annie attempts to get Rich to join their study group. Jeff is seemingly jealous because of his feelings for Annie, but it's later revealed that he was being apprehensive simply because he hates how perfect Rich is, and wants to learn how to manipulate others with similar perfection.
- iCarly: Sam, if her actions at the end of "iSpeed Date" were meant to indicate her feelings for Freddie. Carly might end up doing the same in a future episode.
- Teased a few times with Josh and Donna on The West Wing, but hammered home on Donna's part when Josh starts dating Amy Gardner.
- In the series Eva & Adam, about middle-schoolers in love in Stockholm, Eva only realises she likes the new boy Adam when her best friend seems to say she may be interested in Adam.
- Friends: In an unique example Chandler and Monica are already sleeping together but Chandler is crushed when he hears that Rachel set her up on a date with a male nurse, and he realizes they're about more than sex. Played With in that he clearly felt more from the beginning but it took jealousy to vocalize it. (And Monica never wanted to go out with anyone else.)
- Lucifer almost has one before he decides his situation with Chloe and Dan is nothing like the episode's murderer's situation with the victim and the victim's wife.
- NCIS: In the oft teased Tony and Ziva relationship, the two will usually deny any romantic feelings for each other but will frequently show jealousy when the other person is in a relationship, i.e. when Ziva was with Michael, Ray etc. or when Tony became involved with E.J. and Jeanne.
- In Suits, Rachel kisses Mike after finding out he has started a relationship with Jenny.
- In Raising the Bar, Bobbi gets jealous when Jerry is attracted to a professor he has brought in as an expert witness. He calls her out, and she finally wises up and acts on her feelings for him after pushing him away a few times.
- In Leverage, Parker is hinted to be interested in Hardison, but nothing serious had happened between the two of them beyond casual Ship Tease. That changes when Hardison is shown getting flirty with one of the clients, and Parker reacts negatively to say the least. She breaks a bottle with her bare hands.
- Played straight and then averted in That '70s Show. Hyde realizes he has feelings for Jackie, who has been pursuing him and trying to make him jealous. They then go on a date and realize there's not actually any chemistry between them. (...Then later they hook up out of boredom and become a couple for a time, until Hyde runs off to Vegas and drunkenly marries a stripper.)
- Jackie also has such a moment with Kelso, when she sees him with his new girlfriend and yells at her to "Get off my boyfriend!" She and Hyde have an argument about this later, in which she explains she probably does have some feelings left for him, as he was her first boyfriend, but she loves Hyde. They stay together.
- Caroline has one in the 3rd season premiere of The Vampire Diaries after seeing Tyler with a date during Elena's birthday party. Being what she is, she mind controls the girl to go away and makes her feelings for Tyler pretty clear. Cue Relationship Upgrade.
- Subverted on the 2 Broke Girls second-season episode "And the Pearl Necklace." At the end Sophie, who had early rejected Oleg's gift of a toothbrush for him, and denied to Caroline that she was "exclusive" with Oleg, suddenly excludes his date for the evening from going back to the kitchen to see him. When Caroline confronts her about it, she still denies she's "exclusive" with Oleg.
Where I come from, you never throw anything away.
- In a Season One episode of How I Met Your Mother, Robin witnesses Ted having a romantic moment with Victoria. The jealousy Robin feels forces her to admit to herself that she has feelings for Ted. Robin actually had a lot of these. Seeing Ted with Victoria made her realize her feeling for him. Seeing Nora with Barney made her realize her feeling for him. Barney actively exploited this in his last play "the Robin" by pretending to be in a relationship with her Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Patrice. And then in the Grand Finale, she openly admits to being jealous of the Mother and regrets not settling down with Ted despite having many chances to do so.
- Also happens in a Season Five episode when Barney and Robin seem to have a no-strings-attached Friends with Benefits relationship. But when Barney witnesses another man ask Robin out on a date, he becomes visibly distressed and later attempts to fight the man who asked Robin out.
- Star Trek: Enterprise. T'Pol denies her attraction to Trip Tucker until she notices that MACO Corporal Amanda Cole has an interest in him. She sleeps with Trip, then quickly backs off from the relationship (it helps that Cole never appears in any future episode) saying it was just her experimenting. Likewise, Trip only realises he is in love with T'Pol (as opposed to merely attracted) when she enters an Arranged Marriage.
- Paramore's "Misery Business" is an extended musical Take That! to the former girlfriend in this situation, including calling her a whore. Given that, according to Hayley Williams, it's based on events from her own life, it's a possible twofer...
- Avril Lavigne's "Sk8er Boi" is a song about a girl who is in denial about her love for a boy she knows until he's already been claimed by another (and become a superstar musician with his girlfriend while she's become a lonely single mother). Unusually for arcs invoking the trope, she doesn't get him in the end. Here the rival is the song's point-of-view character, possibly the artist herself — more normally we follow the fate of the girl having the epiphany.
- Toby Keith's "How Do You Like Me Now?" is about a guitarist/songwriter gloating through the radio at the girl who rejected him in high school and went on to marry some rich guy who never has time for his family.
- The video, on the other hand, makes it clear that his ex-crush still isn't very impressed with him.
- "Judy's Turn to Cry" by Lesley Gore (the sequel to "It's My Party (And I'll Cry if I Want To)") has the singer get Johnny back this way. She starts dancing with another guy and it makes Johnny realize that he still wants to be with her.
- "Taken" by One Direction:
You only want me when I'm taken
- In The Muppet Show, Kermit was usually very disinterested in any of Miss Piggy's advances towards him; but whenever she became infatuated with a male celebrity guest, such as Christopher Reeve or Peter Ustinov, he would become jealous. She tried to invoke this trope when Avery Schreiber was the guest, but it didn't work (Scooter warned Kermit of her scheme ahead of time).
- Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin has a tragic example: Eugene hadn't returned Tatyana's affections until after she married Prince Gremin, after which he realized that he had loved her all along. They meet, and it becomes clear that she still loves him as well, but she decides to remain faithful to her husband.
- In Twelfth Night, when Orsino learns that the object of his affections, Olivia, has married his servant Cesario, Orsino loses it — and realizes that he's fallen in love with Cesario.
- In The Merry Widow, Danilo refuses to address the question of whether he still loves his recently-widowed Old Flame Hanna, because he doesn't want it to seem that he's only interested in the money her late husband left her, but his reaction when he hears that she's engaged to marry someone else makes his real feelings clear.
- In Dog In A Manger by Lope de Vega,the secretary Theodoro has a love affair with one of Countess Diana's (his employer) maids.She discovers this, which forces her to reflect on her own feelings for him and kicks off the entire plot. Lampshaded when Diana makes him read and review a love letter she wrote "for a friend who asked for my help", where she outright states that she "loves because she is jealous" (in that precise order). Theodoro then writes an answer to that letter in which he hints that he loves her too ,and which pushes her to (sort of) confess her love, thus further encouraging him .
- Super Robot Wars games plays with this trope and Kouji Kabuto. Kouji in Mazinger Z has Love Interest in the form of Sayaka. Kouji also appears in UFO Robo Grendizer, where he has another Love Interest, Maria Grace. Both of them are Tsunderes. It's a Running Gag that whenever they meet in Super Robot Wars game, they both gets hit by a Green-Eyed Epiphany and starts fighting over him. The best part? Kouji has no idea what's going on.
- Valkyria Chronicles plays with this trope when dealing with Welkin and Alicia. Welkin's mannerisms and (for the lack of a better word) obsession with nature put Alicia off in the early going, but as the game progresses, she begins to appreciate how Welkin's knowledge gets them out of rough situations. The anime, however, jacks it up to eleven.
- El Goonish Shive: Elliot and Sarah are childhood friends. Sarah isn't in denial about her feelings, but Elliot pretends he doesn't notice, and he's dating Nanase. When Sarah finds this out, she runs off crying. Who steps up to the plate and fixes things? Nanase, of course, by dumping Elliot so she can move on and he can be with Sarah. It helps that Nanase later realizes she's a lesbian and this is why she never felt sexually attracted to Elliot.
- Margaret from College Roomies from Hell!!! only starts to return Dave's affections when he finally starts to return Blue's.
- Skin Horse: Marcie has started 'dating' Chick Magnet/Wholesome Crossdresser Tip. Slightly less effeminate Chris (who is begrudgingly forced to admit that he understands why Marcie is attracted to Tip a little too well) won in the end when his jealousy forced him to make a move for Marcie... which may have been Tip's intention all along. For the record, Tip's reaction to being dumped was essentially "K. Can we still have sex?"
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl: LUCY. Oh dear god, Lucy. After nearly a decade of Belligerent Sexual Tension with Nice Guy Mike, she finally realizes she's in love with him - almost a year after he gets back together with Sandy! To add insult to injury Lucy's constant teasing has pushed Mike to the point where he wants nothing to do with her. Can you say "heartbreak?"
- In Shadow of the Templar, Sandra's jealousy of Mike's relationship with Diana is one of the major things that lead to them becoming a couple at the end of the third book.
- Code Lyoko: Tired of this trope rearing its ugly head over and over again between her and Ulrich, Yumi finally decides to put a stop to it by once and for all being Just Friends. The plan has failed as marvelously as you would expect.
- Kim Possible:
- Ron's jealousy towards Kim's relationship with Eric is what ultimately made him realize that he has feelings for Kim.
- The convenient Mankey/Monkey concerns Ron had about Kim's earlier boyfriend, Josh... although Ron helped her somewhat with that romantic pursuit despite his misgivings.
- The same happened to Kim herself, when she jelled against Ron and Yori. And Ron's growing friendship with Felix as well, which was especially amusing since Kim apparently has a "Ron Night" each week, of which both she and her parents are aware, and yet she didn't consider that maybe they had a little more going on than simple friendship.
- Subverted in the "Burning Low" episode of Adventure Time when it is made to appear that Princess Bubblegum is jealous of Finn dating the Flame Princess, even including an overwrought "I thought I was ready for this!" after she found out. In the end, she's actually conflicted because she knows that extreme romantic feelings would stoke Flame Princess's flames to the point of destroying the planet, and she's aware that she'd consequently have to hurt Finn by forcing him to stop dating Flame Princess.
- In the Family Guy episode "Stuck Together, Torn Apart," Peter and Lois are advised by a marriage counselor to go on a trial separation and date other people after Lois becomes frustrated with Peter's jealousy over her having coffee with an old boyfriend. At first Lois is supportive of the idea of a trial separation, but when she witnesses Peter on a date with Jennifer Love Hewitt it provokes her into a jealous rage. Because of that, Lois can finally understand how Peter can get so jealous, and the couple resolves to live with their mutual jealous natures.
- In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Star Butterfly constantly encouraged her friend Marco Diaz to ask out his crush, Jackie-Lynn Thomas. In "Bon Bon The Birthday Clown", when Marco and Jackie finally go out, Star becomes insanely jealous.
- This is directly mirrored in "Lava Lake Beach" with Marco's jealousy of seeing Star kiss Tom.