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Incompatible Orientation

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"'Cause Carol's a lesbian… and I'm not one. And apparently it's not a mix-and-match situation."
Ross, Friends, "The One with the Flashback"

A character has an Incompatible Orientation when they are coveted by someone who can never have them, because they just don't swing that way. They can be any character who has an incompatible sexual orientation to their admirer—a straight person with a same-gender admirer, a gay person with an opposite gender admirer, or an aromantic/asexual person with an admirer of any gender.

To meet the requirements of this trope the relationship must be stated as hopeless or impossible in-universe (by a character or through Word of God) at some point in time. This means that Incompatible Orientation doesn't have to be a permanent state of being, and attempts may be made within the plot to "fix" it somehow.

In a lot of works, especially manga and anime, this is often done mostly for amusement purposes, by turning the person in love into a Hopeless Suitor or even a Butt-Monkey. Lesbians are particularly prone to receive this treatment, although others are not exempt from it.


Can be the result of Even the Guys Want Him or Even the Girls Want Her. The admirer may or may not be a Fag Hag or Hopeless Suitor. May overlap with All Love Is Unrequited and Gayngst. The reason why Sorry, I'm Gay is supposed to work. Of course, some characters can simply resort to Jumping the Gender Barrier or perhaps, if they're desperate enough, resort to Genderbending.

Compare to Settled for Gay, where they may have incompatible orientations, but they decided they probably wouldn't find a suitable suitor anyways. Compare also Last Het Romance, where the incompatibility causes a character to discover they're gay and break off the relationship. See also All the Good Men Are Gay. If a character informs someone about an Incompatible Orientation, it's either Sorry, I'm Gay or Dude, She's a Lesbian.



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    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Villain Two-Face has spent the better part of a decade being obsessed with Renee Montoya despite her lesbianism. In fact, it was one of his attempts to woo her that ended up outing her in the first place.
    • Renee Montoya, by that time the new Question, was involved in another example, this time on the other side. Both in Birds of Prey and in the Question back-up feature in Detective Comics, Question teamed up repeatedly with Huntress, and it became quite clear that she was interested in Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) romantically. The storyline never had time to develop very far before DC's "New 52" reboot, but Huntress had always been portrayed as straight, and was not even aware that Question was gay, at one point asking if she and the previous Question, Vic Sage, had been lovers.
    • In Batman Incorporated, the Hood tries to hit on Batwoman while they're Working the Same Case, unaware that she's a lesbian.
  • Runaways:
  • Northstar once had a crush on Iceman. It didn't take him long to realize it would never happen, since in his own words "He's straight. End of story." (It was only introduced to squash fan speculation that Iceman might be gay.) Ironically, that fan speculation turned out to be dead on, since Iceman was outed as gay a few years later.
  • Subverted in Exiles: Morph had a crush on teammate Sunfire without realizing she was a lesbian. When she made The Reveal, he accepted it wholeheartedly and continued to act as a brother figure to her, even supporting her relationship with Spider-Woman. (Well, accepted it wholeheartedly after giving the "Hey, I'm a shapeshifter, I can do lesbian" line a shot...)
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comics female Slayer Satsu falls in love with Buffy and they have sex at least twice. But Kennedy, another lesbian Slayer, dissuades Satsu from pursuing a relationship with her. Why? Because she claims that ultimately, Buffy is straight.
  • Molly von Richtofen from The Punisher dashes Detective Soaps hopes when she reveals she's a lesbian. It also turns out that the whole reason she's such a pariah at the NYPD is because she turned down the commissioner's advances while unaware that she was within range of a microphone.
  • Blackhawk: When Lady Blackhawk joined the Birds of Prey, she began nursing a crush on Creote, the muscular, deadly, Russian ex-special forces soldier who is the partner of Savant, the not-quite-irredeemable villain that Oracle is trying to rehabilitate into a good guy. Everybody knows that Creote is in love with Savant, except for Savant himself, but nobody quite gets around to letting Zinda in on this. When she finds out she is somewhat surprised.
  • Tom Pearce never stood a chance with the object of his crush in Camelot 3000. Of course, it was further complicated by the Gender Bender nature of reincarnation.
  • In Supergirl story arc Crucible, Maxima (lesbian) has a crush on Supergirl (straight). She goes as far as to confess her feelings because she needs to get it off her chest, but she's quite aware her love is and will always be unrequited.
  • At one point in Superman comics, Dan Turpin of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit had a crush on his boss, Maggie Sawyer, even going as far as to propose to her. She explained the situation to him (off-panel).
  • Avengers Arena has Cullen Bloodstone in love with his straight best friend Aiden/Anachronism, but Aiden was too pre-occupied with vampy Atlantean Nara.
  • Archie Comics:
    • When Kevin was introduced into Archie Comics Veronica fell for him. Kevin is gay and has a boyfriend.
    • And then in the 2015 reboot comics, we have Sabrina falling for Jughead and even getting a date with him (despite his reluctance). It fails miserably, however, as he is asexual and aromantic.
    • There's also January Jones in an earlier comic, a future descendant of Archie come back in time in an imagine spot—she tries to kiss Jughead in thanks, but he pushes her off, though here he merely says that he's 'not into kissing girl Archies' which may have just been easier than trying to explain everything.
  • Played with in Fearless Defenders. Annabelle Riggs kisses Valkyrie, but Valkyrie doesn't seem to reciprocate. It initially seems like Valkyrie is giving Annabelle the cold shoulder because she's a lesbian, but it turns out that it's mostly because after thousands of years of being kissed, she simply doesn't view it as a significant or meaningful gesture. She even clarifies that she's been kissed by plenty of men and women throughout her lifetime.
  • Discussed in Circles. Paulie loves Mrs. Nussbaum as a dear friend and he comments, "Why, if I were straight..."
  • In Robyn Hood, Marian initially has a crush on the solidly heterosexual Robyn.
  • Lady Death: Wargoth has nurtured romantic feelings for his longtime companion Satasha, despite him being aware of her orientation.
  • Red Ears: The punchline to a comic where two men and a woman are sitting in a train cabin and the woman starts to agressively hit on one of the guys, who flatly ignores her advances. After she angrily storms off, the other guy asks him how he could possibly resist and notes that the woman turned him on so much that he's ready to jump a fly. The first guy starts mimicking buzzing.
  • In The Darkness, Jackie Estacato's brief sidekick Wenders is attracted to him and even offers his body so Jackie can get around his Can't Have Sex, Ever problem (Jackie will die if he gets someone pregnant and they give birth, but Wenders is a man). Jackie is absolutely disgusted and says it's never going to happen.
  • Implied in Hillbilly, where Rondel has to accept that his love for his childhood friend Esther is one she cannot return, because of her "inclination". It's left ambiguous what her inclination is, but it doesn't involve Rondel as anything more than a friend.

    Comic Strips 
  • Joanie Caucus from Doonesbury had a crush on Andy Lippincott, who turned out to be gay. She was with him when he died of AIDS. Earlier in their relationship she thinks he's married, but he reveals that's not the problem.
    Andy: Joanie, I'm gay.
    Joanie: There's nothing wrong with that. I'm pretty cheerful myself most of the time.
    Andy: No, I mean...
    Joanie: Oh my God.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Batman: Bad Blood, Dick Grayson mentions that he used to have a crush on Kate Kane when they were kids, until he found out she was a lesbian.
  • At the end of ParaNorman Courtney decides to stop flirting with Mitch and invites him to a movie. Mitch happily (and completely unaware that she had been flirting with him all the time) mentions that his boyfriend is a Chick Flick nut.
  • In Superman: Red Son, Superman gets turned down when he tries to kiss Wonder Woman. As she says, she comes from an island of all-women.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 88 Minutes: Gramm says he and Shelly would be perfect together, but she points out she's gay. He knows, but Gramm clearly likes the idea despite this.
  • Prudence in Across the Universe falls for both the cheerleader chick and Sadie during the course of the film. Both are straight, and seeing someone else. The unrequited nature of her love for Sadie causes her to suffer a Heroic BSoD until her friends sing to her about how beautiful she is and help (literally) coax her out of the closet.
  • In Blackbird, Randy is in love with a boy who is straight and has a girlfriend.
  • Bridget Jones in the film version of the sequel feared her boyfriend Mark was cheating on her with his assistant Rebecca Gillies until it turned out that Rebecca was sharing her colleague's affections for Bridget.
  • In But I'm a Cheerleader, the plot not only starts with this trope but revolves around it. Starting off, Megan is a gay (known to everyone but her) cheerleader who's currently dating a member of the football team. After her friends and family confront her about the "problem" with her sexuality, she's sent to a camp to fix her. Both gay males and females (and one straight person) are forced to be straight and even partnered up in groups of 2 to be a final step towards their straight-ness.
  • California Suite: A particularly unfortunate example in that Diana is realizing her husband Sidney is gay. Over a very contentious night at the Beverly Hills Hotel Diana makes several pointed remarks before confronting Sidney directly.
  • Carrie (2013): The best friend/lackey of the Alpha Bitch, Tina, is shown, while lying drunken together in bed, briefly trying to kiss her friend, before Chris stops her and goes back to making out with her boyfriend.
  • The Kevin Smith film Chasing Amy is primarily about a straight man trying to win the affections of a lesbian woman he fell in love with. And for the record, her name isn't Amy. The title regards a story within the story. The woman in question is technically bisexual but identifies as being a lesbian, and this confuses everybody.
  • At the end of The Children's Hour it's revealed that Martha has been in love with Karen, her (most likely) straight best friend who was going to get married until her fiancé left her due to thinking she was cheating on him with Martha, the entire time they've known each other.
  • Cloud Atlas: In the film, Frobisher nurtures an affection for Ayrs that is cruelly dashed against the rocks when he tries to make an advance.
  • Cher falls in love with Christian in Clueless right off the bat. But it ends up okay - he becomes her favorite shopping buddy.
  • In Detention, Riley has a crush on Hot Teacher Mr. Kendall. Too bad for her, he is gay and his partner arrives to collect him just as she is attempting to put the moves on him.
  • In Election, this is why Lisa stops being friends with Tammy. She was straight (and only "experimenting"), while Tammy was a lesbian who thought that the two of them were in love.
  • Sort of the premise of a few necrophilia-themed films, like Kissed and Nekromantik 2. The former even ends with the man who is in love with the main character killing himself so he can truly be with her.
  • Kissing Jessica Stein played around with this trope - while technically subverting it, as the straight eponymous heroine falls for another woman - the bisexual Helen, they don't make it in the long run, due to lack of sexual chemistry. By the end of the movie, Jessica and Helen are just friends, and it's implied that Jessica gets back together with her ex Josh.
  • Knights of Badassdom: When the succubus tries to seduce him, the guy playing an elf says she's "marching down the wrong battlefield". Naturally it doesn't stop her from killing him.
  • Gus Van Sant's 1991 film My Own Private Idaho provides a great example of this trope. Mike Waters (played by River Phoenix) is in love with his straight best friend, Scott Favor (played by Keanu Reeves). It doesn't end well.
  • The Object of My Affection is all about this trope; a woman falls for the gay man who becomes her roommate after her husband leaves her.
  • Power Rangers (2017): Subtle example. Zack spends the first half of the movie trying to flirt with Trini. Then at the campfire scene where the group talk over their issues, he asks her if she has "boyfriend problems" only to change it to a musingly "Girlfriend problems?" when she answers with a sarcastic "yeah — boyfriend problems.". After that he stops flirting with her and the two become friends.
  • Calla and Rachel find this out in Rachel, Rachel when, after an emotional moment at a religious revival meeting, Calla kisses Rachel square on the mouth. Rachel is weirded out by this and keeps her distance from Calla for a while, but they reconcile by the end.
  • In Radio Days, Bea is desperate to get married and goes on a string of dates looking for love. When she tells her date Fred that she has a crush on him, he comes out to her. Being the 1940s, it takes Bea a few minutes to fully understand what he means.
  • During a vulnerable moment in Rocketman (2019), Elton John leans in to kiss his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, who gently lets him down.
    "I love you, Elton. Just not like that."
  • In Rock N Rolla, One Two discovers that his close friend Handsome Bob is gay, and secretly has feelings for him. Hilarity Ensues.
  • A Special Day: Antoinetta the neglected housewife has sex with her neighbor, Gabriele, a gay man. Afterwards she is swept away, chattering about how great it was and how she can't wait to see him again. A weary Gabriele says that while he might be able to make love to a woman, it doesn't change anything.
  • In Threesome: Alex is in love with Eddy, but he's gay and in love with Stuart — who is straight and in love with Alex.
  • Occurs in the film The Upside of Anger, when the youngest daughter Lavender tries to seduce a classmate and he rebuffs her by declaring he's gay.
    Lavender: Have you ever had gay sex? What about sex with a woman? Just have sex with me and if you don't like it, then you can be gay.
    Gorden: That's really nice of you. (leaves the room)
  • First Girl I Loved: Cliff is attracted to Anne, and it appears he had been for some time. Anne, meanwhile, not only never thought of him that way but in fact is coming to realize that she's a lesbian.
  • Margarita: Carlos, a Brazilian handyman, makes no secret that he's attracted to Margarita and he flirts often with her, although she's a lesbian. While she flirts back in a friendly way, when he proposes marriage to her and says her sexual orientation could change, Margarita says no, that's not possible-he's just her friend.
  • In Victim, Laura Farr can't stop loving her husband, despite her gradual realisation that he can never return her feelings.

  • Not as romantic, but in Ben Elton's Dead Famous, the somewhat perverted Sgt Hooper asks Lipstick Lesbian policewoman Trish out after she's spent a while naked and wearing a variety of wigs to trick the murderer. Her response? "Sorry, sarge. I'm gay."
  • In Doctrine of Labyrinths, especially at the beginning of the second book, Felix (gay man) is attracted to Mildmay (straight man). Incompatible Orientation isn't even the biggest problem here; the biggest problem is that they're brothers. Less squickily, a girl they meet on a journey develops a crush on Felix and decides it's true love; he has to explain to her that no, he's not interested.
  • In the Erebus Sequence, Dino attracts a degree of female interest, but realises that he's gay. However, prejudice means that he's unwilling to simply say so, which means everyone ends up unhappy with their love life.
  • In Gone, Dekka has a crush on Brianna, who is straight.
  • Heralds of Valdemar:
    • Melenna feels this way about Vanyel in the Last Herald-Mage trilogy.
    • In order to keep Lavan sane and his Firestarting talent under control, Kalira needed to lifebond to Lavan as well as the normal Companion-Herald bond. When Elenor developed a crush on Lavan, this trope ensued.
  • The Heroes of Olympus: In The House of Hades, it's revealed that Nico di Angelo has/had a crush on Percy Jackson.
  • The Inda series by Sherwood Smith combines this with All Love Is Unrequited. Hadand (straight woman) is in love with Evred (gay man), who's in love with Inda (straight man). To make things more complicated, Evred and Hadand are in a highly political Arranged Marriage (they're king and queen; he's an Unexpected Successor and she was betrothed to the previous heir), Inda and Hadand are siblings, and Inda is Evred's military second-in-command.
  • In the Jacob's Ladder Trilogy Rien (explicitly likes girls) falls in love with Perceval. The latter comes to reciprocate on an emotional level, but makes the boundaries clear, which saddens Rien as she really, really, really loves Perceval.
  • In Kiss by Jacqueline Wilson, shy Sylvie believes she is in love with her best friend Carl, and is convinced they will one day get married. However, Carl discovers he's actually gay, and Sylvie not only has to deal with the aftermath (including his being bullied and attempting suicide) but also come to accept that he can never love her as more than a friend.
    • In The Girls Series, Ellie has a very strong crush on an older guy she meets in town, and pretends to her friends that he is her boyfriend Dan (causing her embarrassment when they meet the real Dan, who is awkward and nerdy.) It turns out that the older guy is gay, but he and Ellie become good friends later on.
  • Kydd: At the end Quarterdeck after Prince Edward's banquet, Renzi reveals to Kydd that he fell in love with a woman "of the Sapphic persuasion" offscreen. As expected, this "romance" didn't last very long.
  • Luna by Julie Anne Peters includes a subplot about a straight girl being love with another straight girl ... because the girl she likes was born with a male body and hasn't told her friend she's transgender yet. The friend with a crush thinks "he" is gay - "But gay people get married, right? They have kids. He could change." There is some tension after The Reveal, but they stay friends.
  • In Master and Commander, Mr. Marshall, a known "paederast", is hopelessly attracted to Captain Aubrey.
  • In Of Love and Shadows, Mario becomes infatuated with Francisco Leal, who is straight. When the latter conveys his disinterest, it doesn't prevent the two from forming a close friendship.
  • In One Of Us Is Lying, Keely, Cooper's girlfriend, is the most beautiful girl in school, and a genuinely sweet person to boot. Cooper's been telling her he's "old-fashioned" and waiting for marriage to cover for the fact that he's gay.
  • Lord John's hopelessly unrequited love for Jamie in the Outlander series.
  • In The Princess Series near the end of the first book Snow White is placed back in her magic coma and can only be awaken by a True Love's Kiss. Talia (Sleeping Beauty) kisses and awakes her openly showing her love for Snow White for the first time. Snow is a major flirt who is blind to Talia's true feelings. Talia seems to realize it wouldn't work out so tells Snow that she just used a spell to wake Snow.
  • Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings: Comes into play in the Farseer and particularly Tawny Man trilogies between hero Fitz, who is quite straight, and his best friend the Fool, who is quite in love with Fitz. The Fool is quite open about his feelings, though he denies that there's anything sexual implicit in love; the situation serves, however, as a major source of discomfort for Fitz once rumors start flying about their relationship. Possible subversion in that the Fool might be a Wholesome Crossdresser, but probably not.
  • In The Red Vixen Adventures this is Ali's whole problem while working for the Red Vixen and later Salli. Fortunately the latter decides If It's You, It's Okay.
  • The Rules of Attraction features a bisexual college student in love with another guy, but this guy's straight and in love with the former's (female) best friend.
  • In the Alex Delaware novel Self Defense, one of Alex's patients, Lucy, tells him that she's falling for Alex's Friend on the Force Milo. This puts Alex in a very awkward position, since he can't violate Milo's privacy by telling Lucy that Milo is gay, and can't violate Lucy's by telling Milo about the crush.
  • Discussed in Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. While Simon never comes across this directly (he states he has a policy for not falling for straight guys), he and Blue bond over the fact that being closeted in a school where there are no other openly gay guys means hell for any attempt at dating.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The gallant Pretty Boy knight Ser Loras throws lots of flowers to girls at tournaments, and markets himself as a sort of boyband-style Chick Magnet. But he's actually strictly gay, and the lover of Renly. Sansa has a crush on him, as do many other girls of her demographic.
    • Renly himself is a bit like Loras in that regard, although much toned down. Brienne is in love with him.
    • Arianne Martell also attempted to seduce Renly when the Baratheons visited Sunspear. Renly seemed mostly confused by her attempts.
    • Jon Connington was in love with Rhaegar Targaryen, who was straight.
  • In Sputnik Sweetheart, K (the narrator, straight man) is in love with Sumire his best friend. She in turn meets and falls in love with Miu, another woman.
  • Star Shards Chronicles: In Thief of Souls, Drew (who is gay) has a crush on Michael (who is straight).
  • In Sword Sisters, the Legend of the Red Reaper prequel novel, Amelia is unaware her boyfriend is gay and this causes her to become a candidate for a Virgin Sacrifice.
  • In the Warrior Cats novel Tallstar's Revenge, Reena seems to like Talltail/star and is obviously flirting with him. The only problem is, Talltail is gay, so her advances don't even show up on his radar. Reena later complains to Shrewclaw about it.
  • In the Zeroes series, Scam spends six months pining after Mob and trying to work up the courage to confess his feelings to her, unaware that she's a lesbian. He's very upset when he finds out that all of his friends (including Mob herself) were aware of his crush and that it was hopeless, and yet none of them bothered to actually inform him of the fact.
  • Twig
    • There is a deadly serious and heartbreaking example between Sylvester and his best friend the first Jamie. The latter lets the former find out about his feelings shortly after encouraging a girl who also has a (reciprocated, though neither of them fully recognise it yet) crush on him to be more open in pursuing him. The combination of shock and resentment that the friendship that was his absolute rock in a truly hideous Crapsack World has been destabilised causes him to react very insensitively. After a night of soul-searching, Sy decides to greet Jamie with a sincere smile because their friendship is more important to him than anything else, only to discover that Jamie's inevitable Loss of Identity was accelerated by his pain the night before, and his friend's mind has been replaced with a blank slate.
    • The same problem rears its head between Sy and the second Jamie, but this one is handled by this Jamie pointing out that, as a hermaphroditic experiment, Jamie was only ever a boy because the doctors decided the gender, and Jamie feels little enough attachment to being male that it would be very easy to be female. Jamie becomes Jessie (with Sy's extremely malleable brain letting him switch his own perceptions of his friend with little effort) and a relationship becomes possible, as well as allowing Sy to stop seeing the ghost of the first Jamie in the second one.
  • In the Wild Cards series, Human Alien Doctor Tachyon and his cousin/rival Zabb have major Foe Yay, culminating in them actually becoming lovers when Tachyon was trapped in a female body. They are both exclusively heterosexual though, and while Takisian culture would not prohibit them from remaining lovers once Tachyon got his male body back, they both acknowledge that the relationship would not work. Tachyon is still deeply hurt by Zabb's death.
  • In Card Force Infection, Naota, who is genderfluid, assumes that their crush on Fletcher is doomed to go nowhere, since Fletcher's Facebook profile lists him as straight, and Naota is a boy half the time. Fletcher, for his part, isn't sure whether that follows.

  • The t.A.T.u. song Malchik Gay (or Mal'chik Gey, "Gay Boy" in Russian) is about a girl in love with a gay boy who spurns her.
  • Amore Si by Tanita Tikaram is a heartfelt evocation of unrequited homosexual attraction where the singer's acceptance of the impossibility of a relationship collides with blind love. Going with a friends-only relationship is tearing the protagonist apart.
  • Rihanna's "Te Amo" is about a woman who gets confessed to by another in Spanish. She's not fluent in Spanish but knows what "te amo" means. Nor, of course, is she into girls herself.
    Rihanna: I feel the love but I don't feel that way.
  • In Ally Hill's Song "In Love with a Straight Girl", Ally advises other lesbians to "let the straight girls be" because if they aren't queer they won't reciprocate.
  • White Town's "Your Woman" (later covered by Tyler James), about a straight guy in love with a gay woman, which makes the line "I could never be your woman" kinda obvious. It could also be about a gay man who's in love with a straight man, but either way, it uses this trope.
  • "She'll Never Be Your Man" by Chris Cornell. All you can really say about this one is that it's about the bitterness and resentment of being dumped for someone else, but the details are up in the air. Is it about a straight man lamenting that his girlfriend left him for a lesbian? Or is it about a gay man lamenting that his boyfriend left him for a straight woman?
  • "Ziggy", from the famous (in France) musical Starmania (known as Tycoon outside of France), a song later covered by Céline Dion, is about a barmaid (who somehow serves as narrator of the musical) who is in love with a very gay fan of David Bowie.
  • Also in French, the song "Si j'étais un homme" ("If I Were a Man") by Diane Tell can potentially be read as about a lesbian in love with a straight woman. Some lines, translated:
    I would take you on a journey
    To see the most beautiful countries in the world
    We would make love on the beach
    While savoring every second
    My body swells with flames
    Until I fall asleep in your arms
    But I'm a woman, and when you're a woman
    You don't say those kinds of things...
  • Weezer's "Pink Triangle". Inspired by something that actually happened to Rivers Cuomo, but ironically it turned out to be a case of Mistaken for Gay: He wrote the song after harboring a crush on a girl, then noticing a pink triangle patch on her backpack one day (not "on her sleeve" as the lyrics state). It was only long after he'd already written the song and fallen out of contact with her that he learned that she was straight, and was wearing the symbol to show her support of gay rights.
    I'm dumb, she's a lesbian,
    I thought I had found the one.
  • Reel Big Fish's "She Has a Girlfriend Now" is about a guy despairing that his ex now only dates women. He offers to get a sex change to appease her, causing the girl to croon, "Oh, that's so sweet!"
  • Of Montreal's song "Tim, I Wish You Were Born a Girl".
  • At the end of the music video to "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen, it turns out that the dude she's been obsessing over is gay. This is followed by Carly giving an expression of pure, undiluted "WTF". The guy is interested in the guitarist in Carly's band... who also has a case of Incompatible Orientation.
  • This is one interpretation of R.E.M.'s song "Losing My Religion": that it's about the (male) singer's gay crush on a straight man.
  • The Pet Shop Boys' cover of Oh Romeo's "Try It (I'm in Love with A Married Man)" changes the perspective from that of a woman in an adulterous relationship to a gay man in love with a married straight man. The video for "Domino Dancing" also appears to depict this trope.
  • "Beautifully" by Jay Brannan is about a girl very much in love with a boy who can't return her feelings. Three guesses as to what's holding him back, and the first two don't count.
  • An interpretation of Fall Out Boy's "Sugar We're Goin Down" suggests this: the lyrics in the liner notes say "wishing to be the friction in his jeans" instead of the recorded version's "in your jeans". The song also includes references to "watching [a couple making love] from the closet" and "sleeping for the wrong team."
  • This happens tragically in the Twist Ending to the music video for K.will's song "Please Don't...". Seo In Guk's character is in love with his best friend, not his best friend's girl.
  • Rapper Cakes Da Killa turns this Up to Eleven with his song, "Fuck Ya Boifriend", where he proudly tells a random girl that he wants to fuck her boyfriend. Everything's obviously gonna go well for Cakes at the end.
  • "I Found A Girl" by The Vamps:
    I found a girl who's in love with a girl
    She said that she tried, but she's not into guys
    Oh why, tell me why, did I fall for those eyes?
    She said I was nice, but she's not into guys.
  • In "I Like a Boy in Uniform" by The Pippettes, the protagonist likes a boy but it turns out he's gay. She mopes around for a while but then begins noticing that she likes girls who wear school uniforms too.
  • In "She Likes Girls" by Metro Station the singer is trying to date a woman but she's more interested in someone else. Instead of being sad, he tries to hook her up with her crush:
    I like you girl, but you don't seem excited
    Since she walked in where has your mind been?
    You're talking to me, but thinking about her
    Your secret is safe, I won't say a word
    We should slow it down, I was moving too quick
    You don't say you love me, 'just bite your lip
    I can read the signals from a mile away...
    I know she's on your mind and that's okay
  • SLEEPOVER by Hayley Kiyoko is about a girl who has a crush on her best friend. It's implied that the friend is straight, though it's never confirmed.
  • "I Wish You Liked Girls" by Abbey Glover is about a girl with unrequited feelings for a straight friend who keeps playing with her feelings.
  • Implied in "Explosion" by Zolita. It's about a woman who is in love with her female best friend, who is in love (and possibly dating) a guy.
  • Possibly the case in "Jesse" by Ivri Lider, which is about a man who's fallen in love with the titular Jesse, who insists he's straight and in love with a woman named Chelsea. That said, it's not clear if Jesse is actually straight or just in the closet, and the POV character thinks it's the latter.
    "But everytime he smiles at me I know we are the same
    And that he'd change his world for me if he just knew my name..."
  • Played for Laughs in "He Likes Boys" by the late Simone Battle. The POV character falls in love with a man...but is so oblivious to his sexual orientation that she apparently has to be told by her friends that he's gay. And apparently, this has happened to her before.
  • The punchline of Victoria Wood's "Things Would Never Have Worked". After three verses of why she's not attracted to this guy anyway ("I like big muscles, you were thin and lanky"), we get:
    We're not compatible, but don't feel blue, dear,
    At least we see each other's point of view, dear,
    I like big, hunky men ... and so do you, dear,
    Things would never have worked.
  • Referenced in "Lyrics Lie" by Dance Gavin Dance:
    Remember when you tried to kiss her,
    but she was gay and liked your sister?

  • Harmony from Sequinox tries to flirt with Vivaldi, but he's clearly uncomfortable with it because his civilian identity Caiden is gay.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Hyeon used to date Nadine, and still harbors some intense feelings for her, but after they split up Nadine realised that she was a lesbian.
    • Played for Laughs when Hyeon tries to play wingman and set up Ciro with Abby, unaware that Abby is on the ace spectrum and uninterested in a romance.
    • Jessica has a crush on both Hyeon and Benedict, unaware that the latter is gay.
    • Sebastian used to like Jae, a lesbian, though his feelings for her faded over time in a way that was unrelated to her sexuality. Jae, in turn, has a crush on Ivy, who for the moment seems to be straight.
    • Kev used to have a big crush on his friend Marko, which has simmered down now that he's accepted that Marko is very straight. He's since developed another crush on Ivan, who is also not interested in men.
  • In Glowfic, The Kanim template tends to end up pining for Bells, whose orientation is not compatible with their gender, for example the original Kanim with Glass, who is lesbian. Also happened briefly between Shell Bell and Pearl, but Shell Bell managed to make an exception.

  • Avenue Q: Rod and Nicky. Rod is gay and has a crush on Nicky. Nicky isn't and doesn't. Ricky, on the other hand...
  • It's revealed near the end of The Children's Hour, after much foreshadowing, that Martha is in love with her best friend Karen. Karen was engaged to a man most of the play but he broke it off due to fears she was cheating with Martha.
  • The Mrs. Hawking play series: A big part of why the Hawking marriage is such a disaster is because Reginald is an alloromantic heterosexual, while Victoria is an aromantic asexual.
  • Westeros: An American Musical: This comes up when Renly marries his male lover's sister, and the sister in question gets a little impatient about the marriage getting consummated.

    Video Games 
  • Advanced V.G.: Yuuki is a lesbian, who entered the VG Tournamentnote  as an excuse to see as many naked women's bodies as possible, and ends up falling for Satomi, who's an athletic 17 year old tomboy. Problem for Yuuki is, Satomi's not only straight, she isn't interested in any sort of romance, period. At least, not yet.
  • Borderlands 2:
    • Invoked in the "Wedding Day Massacre", where Gaige the Mechromancer admits to having a crush on Sir Hammerlock, but no chance of getting him, since he's only interested in men. She does assert she'd be all over him if ever he became straight.
    • Both halves of Krieg are in love with Maya, who is asexual and thus not interested. Patricia Tannis is also implied to be attracted to her, as the anonymous letter sent to Maya in the "Son of Crawmerax" DLC bears her distinct brand of craziness.
  • In BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, Tyalie is in love with Catie, whose in-game sexuality is never touched upon; but the real-life actress Catie is based on happens to be straight, so Tyalie’s chances don’t seem that good.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition
    • Cassandra and Cullen can be flirted with by a female and male Inquisitor respectively, but both will eventually turn them down politely. Cassandra also turns down Sera's interest.
    • Dorian can only be romanced by male Inquisitors. He will playfully flirt back with a female Inquisitor, but makes it clear that it can never be serious. (Plus, he's more likely to support a female Inquisitor's interest on Cullen anyway.)
    • Sera will bluntly turn down a male Inquisitor and then change the subject. If she is flirted with again after she and the Inquisitor become friends, she more tactfully says that the two of them are too much alike because they both like girls.
  • Fallout: New Vegas:
    • Implied between Craig Boone and Manny Vargas. When Boone's wife went missing, Manny could barely hide his joy, leading to Boone ending their friendship. Conversation with Manny (particularly if the player has the Confirmed Bachelor perk) shows that Manny was always jealous of Carla (and her generally unpleasant demeanor didn't win her any favors), though Boone is apparently unaware of his true feelings.
    • Corporal Betsy is a Butch Lesbian who shoots down a Courier who tries to hit on her with the Lady Killer perk.
    • Cass also gets a bit of this. If the male Courier has the Confirmed Bachelor perk, he can make it rather clear to Cass that he is not interested in being more than platonic companions. This text option comes after a potentially flirtatious remark from Cass' end.
    • Jimmy, a homosexual prostitute in Westside will only provide his services to a male Courier. if a female Courier asks for his services, he quickly turns her down.
    Jimmy: Sorry, ma'am, but ain't enough caps in all of New Vegas to make me do that. Nuh-uh.
  • In Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Leon is a Camp Gay archer with a huge crush on his best friend, the local Boisterous Bruiser Valbar. Though Valbar cares a lot for Leon and even calls him handsome, he's straight and his wife and child, PLUS his parents and siblings, were murdered by pirates very recently. Naturally, Leon is not going to let his own feelings be known after such a harsh deal; he does imply to Valbar that he has feelings for someone, but doesn't tell him who.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses plays this mildly for laughs. Dorothea is looking forward to living her life with a loved one and is unsurprisingly able to settle down with nearly every one of her supports, men and women alike. One ofnote  the only exceptions is with Ingrid, who she is still enamored with but firmly shuts down any flirting.
  • The Last of Us: Both Sam and the Ephebophile David have crushes on Ellie, who is revealed to be a lesbian in the Left Behind DLC.
  • In the Mass Effect series:
    • It's possible to have Kaidan or Liara run into it with Shepard in Mass Effect. Kaidan finds out if Liara is chosen in the confrontation while Liara may be told one-on-one that Shepard is only interested in men. Interestingly, dummied out data indicates Kaiden was at one point a Love Interest for Male Shepard too. If the dummied out dialogue is restored via hacking, Male Shepard can turn down Liara this way too, complete with voice acting.
    • Mass Effect 2:
      • Mordin (from an Asexual species) and Shepard. If Shepard keeps going back and talking to Mordin often enough and is not otherwise in a relationship, Mordin will assume that Shepard is expressing "interest" in him, and lets them down gently. Shepard then has the option of saying that their stopping by for conversation so frequently is Not What It Looks Like. Or you can run with it and sarcastically thank Mordin for letting you down easy. Mordin's response to that gives a little Too Much Information.
        "If wanted to try humans, would try you."
      • If female Shepard returns to speak to Jack frequently enough, Jack will inform her that she "doesn't swing that way".
    • Mass Effect 3:
      • Male Shepard can run into this if he tries to hit on Samantha Traynor. Female Shepard can use this to reject Traynor when she tries to seduce her.
      • This is implied to be the case if Male Shepard turns down all of the women pursuing him in the first two games and romances Kaidan or Steve in the third.
      • Subverted with Kaidan. In the first game, he can only be romanced by a female Shepard. But in the third one, though you can still romance him as female Shepard, you can also choose to upgrade your bromance with him to a full blown romance if you are playing a male Shepard (being in fact the only male bisexual option in the series). Curiously, his female counterpart from the first game, Ashley, was not given the same treatment. He explicitly says that he wants to be with Shepard (and this also works for a female Shepard who hasn't romanced him before) because he already cares for them.
    • In Mass Effect: Andromeda, if a male Ryder attempts to flirt with Liam, he is flattered, but firmly states that he is into ladies only.
  • Mortal Kombat X: Kung Jin implies that one of the reasons he didn't feel like he'd measure up to the Shaolin's standards is because he's gay. This pre-fight dialogue makes it a bit more clear:
    Kung Jin: You face a Shaolin.
    Tanya: Quite a handsome Shaolin.
    Kung Jin: Barking up the wrong tree, sister.
  • In the female protagonist's route in Persona 3 Portable, the later ranks of Aigis's Social Link have her lamenting that she's not male and, between that and being a robot, is thus not an ideal love interest for the heroine. Exactly how incompatible she is with the heroine's orientation is to some degree open-ended, but there are no opportunities for the heroine to actively reciprocate her feelings, making it fall more or less into this trope.
  • The Senran Kagura series has Imu, who has a massive gay crush on her team leader Miyabi. We know the attention isn't reciprocated, but the reason is a bit foggier; Miyabi may be genuinely oblivious (many Shinobi are Married to the Job from their training days and never think of romance to begin with) or choosing to block it out either due to her orientation, or her existing issues with her lacking femininity making her not want to look like the Butch Lesbian in that partnership.
  • Discussed in Stardew Valley if a male farmer gives a bouquet to Elliot. He'll admit to him that he had feelings for the farmer already, but was afraid to confess to him in case he "wouldn't feel that way about another man."
  • Appears in The Starship Damrey with Large (gay) and Nick (straight). The main problem is that the emotionless computer discovered this and started casually spreading word of it amongst the crew, horribly embarrassing poor Large, although Nick, for the most part seems to have been sympathetic about it.
  • Star Wars Legends: Knights of the Old Republic:
    • Implied to be the reason Juhani and Dak Vessar had a falling out. They were both Jedi Padawans, but started to have their doubts about the Order. Dak made up his mind to run away, and tried to take Juhani with him, pleading he loved her. Unfortunately, Dak… wasn't Juhani's type.
    • The male player character can try to flirt with Juhani. It doesn't work very well; she's openly disgusted in fact.
  • In Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Eder cannot be romanced by either gender, but if a male character demonstrates a romantic interest in him then he specifically states that he's not attracted to men among the other reasons why he's not looking for a relationship. He does however note that if he's ever curious then you'll be the first to know.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the Hidden Block route of Asagao Academy Normal Boots Club the main character asks out Ian aka "Brutalmoose" who, very confused, asks "You know I'm Gay, right?". They do end up going to the festival as friends though.
  • Katawa Shoujo:
    • In the past there was a failed confession between Misha and Shizune, with the latter being straight or at very least just... well, not into Misha. They do stay as close friends, but as said below, Misha still can't fully let go of her feelings.
    • In Emi's route, Hisao thinks the track team captain will be a rival for his affections for Emi, but it turns out that she once confessed to him, only to find out that he's gay. Emi thinks it's hilarious when she finds out and then explains what's going on.
    • Hisao can have a sex scene with Misha, it is framed as a terrible idea in the narrative and visual senses, both due to her being gay(although the choice takes place before Misha tells Hisao about her feeligns for Shizune) and because Hisao was dating Shizune at the time, with her desiring "comfort" from him because she can't have Shizune's love while he can. The scene directly leads to Shizune's Bad End.
  • Steins;Gate has Luka Urushibara, in love (most likely) with the protagonist Rintaro Okabe, who is alas straight. Knowing that Okabe can never answer his feelings, he sends an email 17 years in the past to make himself be born as a girl. Somehow. One of the endings has them become a couple this way and even having a child.
  • Kuon, from XBlaze, is straight note  and has no attraction to girls. Elise, from the same game, is a lesbian who is in love with her. Mei even calls Elise an “unfortunate soul” because she is doomed to fail.
  • In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, Tenko has a pretty obvious crush on Himiko that leads her to follow Himiko around, invade her personal space and become very jealous when Himiko starts hanging out with Angie. Himiko is annoyed by Tenko's advances and never expresses any romantic interest in girls, becoming swayed over to Atua's side when Angie tells her he's a young, handsome god, becomes flustered when Kokichi implies he's teasing her because he likes her and blushes when she asks Shuichi to pat her on the head.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "brianrietta", Strong Bad gets an email talking about how hot he is and how the sender would like to go out with him... that turns out to be from a guy named Brian. Strong Bad bluntly replies "Look, man, unless Brian is short for... Brianrietta or Brian-Sue or something like that, it's just not gonna work out between you and me, okay?"
  • RWBY: Played for Laughs when Casanova Wannabe Neptune tries to chat up Ilia, a lesbian.
    Blake: [half-reaching to stop him] Wrong tree...
    Sun: He'll figure it out.

    Web Comics 
  • A bizarre inversion in 1/0: So there's never been a fourth wall, and there's very little in the setting except a featureless plain and a bunch of tiny things who chat. Terra would very much like to fall in love with Zadok, but Terra's a lesbian earthworm and Zadok's a male grass golem. She briefly gets a personal fourth wall in order to lose the concept of lesbianism (solely an out-of-universe thing, since none of the characters are human and Terra is the only character with a metabolism), but self-deception is a turn-off for him. The philosopher of the group solves things by successfully arguing that applying the constraints of human biology to people without it is absurd. Love is therefore a function of personalities, and therefore limiting it is a violation of free will and their purpose as characters. Around 1/0, we call this a Tuesday.
  • In the (very NSFW!) webcomic Alfie, Alfie's mother Vera is trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage with her husband Derik due to this. She's straight, he's gay. They conceived Alfie before Derik realized he was gay, but they were pressured into marrying even afterwards due to Halvin society's particular views on sexuality and marriage. There's still some genuine, if platonic, affection between the two, but it's quite the complicated situation. Later on, when Vera reveals she's cheating on Derik with the elf Ailduin, Derik is actually thrilled, because Vera found someone that can give her what Derik can't provide, and isn't resentful at all. Her processing this is one of many kickstarts to Vera's Character Development.
  • Arthur, King of Time and Space
    • Averted. Although either Tristram or Isolde may be gender flipped depending on the arc, their sexualities will always change to match. Also avoided; in at least one arc, Nimue is a guy, but how this affects her/his relationship with Merlin is never addressed.
    • In every arc, though, Galehaute's feelings for Lancelot are unrequited, and indeed unspoken. Although not as unspoken as Arthur's, which were only revealed to the readers in the comic's finale (although the clues were there).
  • Ava's Demon:
    • Ava has crush on her former friend Maggie. Not only is Maggie straight, she also hates Ava's guts.
    • Maggie has a crush on Gil and forms a contract with Tuls (the latest out of several) to gain his attraction. Unfortunately, Gil's gay.
  • In Check, Please!: Eric "Bitty" Bittle knows that Jack has dated women and assumes him to be straight, which makes his Love Epiphany for him quite painful. Subverted when Jack initiates their Relationship Upgrade later that year.
    Bitty: ...It is something I should've learned a long time ago. [begins to cry] Never fall for a straight boy.
  • One of the omakes to Cross Heart has a boy confessing to Haru. Not only is she gay but she is taken.
    Boy: I like you! Please go out with me!
    Haru: Huh? B-but you... you're a boy.
    Boy: Yeah, I am.
  • In The Dragon Doctors, the existence of "orientation adapters" allows people to defy the trope in-universe when appropriate (e.g. following an involuntary Gender Bender inflicted upon one's spouse).
  • In Dubious Company, Marty has a tremendous crush on Elly. Both are straight males. Marty has yet to understand the "male" part, despite being repeatedly told by everyone that Elly is a man.
  • Dumbing of Age:
    • Ethan felt like being gay had taken over his life, so he began dating Joyce as The Beard. Oddly, when Joyce discovered the truth, they continued dating — largely because she has issues with sex (especially lately) and saw him as "safe," though she came slowly to realize that this wouldn't work long-term.
    • Before Joyce, Ethan had been dating his childhood best friend, Amber; they went to prom together and were going to have Their First Time after, but naturally that ended with Ethan finally admitting the truth. Amber tried to be supportive and helped him come out to his family, but her broken heart has made their friendship rocky since then.
    • Joyce got this again with Becky, her best friend from back home, who tried to convince herself that Joyce's boy-crazy personality was all an act. She was wrong.
  • Girls with Slingshots:
    • The comic approaches this situation a few times.
      Angel: I'm a lesbian. Our first base is, "she's not straight".
      Jim: Oh, that's my "foul ball". I hit a lot of those.
    • Heterosexual Jamie and asexual Erin are in love and have a non-sexual romance. Relationship stress ensues when Jamie suffers from sexual frustration, and neither of them wants to have sex with the other.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • The sketchbook for 2010-11-30: with Elliot (straight) ← Justin (gay) ← Susan (asexual) ← and Catalina (lesbian), all side-by-side on a couch.
    • It also has this times five, because Gayngst is one of the things Shive writes well:
      • Justin Tolkiberry (a gay male) has Melissa, a straight girl (and his former best friend) who was in love with him and refused to accept that he's not interested. (This changed during the "New and Old Flames" storyline, much to Shive's surprise.)
      • Melissa thought that she could "cure" Justin. Currently, she's in a relationship with Noah. He claims that their relationship is a mutually beneficial one "for close comfort and pleasure". It hasn't been stated outright, but the vibes are that Noah is himself gay, or at least bi, and that Melissa saw her relationship with him as some sort of "proof" that Justin can be "cured". Later events reveal that Noah is likely part-Uryuom, whose attitudes can range from aromantic asexuals to romantic pansexuals, so it's tough to tell.
      • Susan had a crush on Justin before she learned he was gay. Notably, they're still very close, relate to each other very well, and during the Gender Bender party (which turned Susan into a bisexual man and Justin into a straight woman) they had a heartfelt moment which almost escalated into something they would have regretted.
      • Justin himself is in love with his male friend Elliot Dunkel, who's straight.note 
      • Worse still, when Elliot is in his "mild-mannered girl" form he finds himself attracted to Justin. Making this an Incompatible Orientation situation twice over.
      • Nanase's relationship with Eliot turned out to be a case of this. Nanase liked him but wasn't really physically attracted to him. When she learned of Sarah's crush on Elliot, she ended the Love Triangle in short order by breaking up with Elliot and admitting she had just been going through the motions. Nanase didn't really consider the ramifications of this, until Elliot accidentally created an Opposite-Sex Clone that Nanase found disturbingly attractive.
      • Catalina later falls in love with Susan; the latter still wishes to be friends however. Susan even had an Imagine Spot about a date with Catalina, but she's well aware she's straight.note 
        Susan: Could've been nice...
      • Susan herself expresses 'strangst' (straight angst) in an early appearance, wishing she were a lesbian because of her and her mother's issues with men. (Susan's mother is saddened that her daughter isn't attracted to women. This is mostly due to a traumatic event in Susan's childhood when she discovered her father was having an affair.)
    • In "The Legend of Diane" it turns out that the reason Lucy was part of Diane's Girl Posse wasn't to date boys, it was because it was the only way she could feel like she was dating Diane. Subverted in that as soon as Diane learns this, she decides she feels the same way, realizing that their friendship was pretty much already her ideal relationship (she desires romance above all, which immature teenage boys are not particularly good at, but Lucy has been providing all along) and deciding not to let the fact that they're both girls get in the way of that. In The Rant, Dan essentially says that if you find this a bit convenient and want to see the trope played straight, please see all the above examples.
  • Homestuck has a complex series of intra- and inter-species romantic incompatibilities.
    • A traditional human version of the trope occurs in Universe B-2: Roxy has a crush on Dirk, who is gay. She knows, or at least suspects, that they're fated to have kids together. Too bad about the "ectobiological cloning" thing... Dirk in turn has a crush on Jake, who is still figuring out whether he's straight or bisexual. Later, Dirk tells Jane with uncharacteristic sincerity that he truly wishes he could reciprocate Roxy's feelings because it would make things much easier for everyone involved, but his love for her is completely platonic.
    • Alternian society is binormative so gender is rarely a dealbreaker for trolls, but other types of incompatibility are still possible. Karkat develops a doomed same-sex hatecrush on John. To heterosexual John, the fact that they're both guys is the biggest issue with this. To Karkat, whose native language doesn't even have a word for "orientation", what's much more problematic is that as a human John lacks any concept of romantic hate. The interspecies romance between Dave and Terezi falls apart not because of the troll partner's bisexuality but because of their polyamory. The monogamous human partner was not prepared for the troll norm of polyfidelity, though the fact that the troll partner was trying to keep the polyamory a secret didn't help.
    • The Squared Sprites. Jasprosesprite was extremely interested in Nepetasprite until she merged with Davesprite. After the merger, the new Davepetasprite is actually more receptive to those advances but the Rose half of Jasprose finds that, even mind-melded with Nepeta, Dave triggers her incest taboo.
  • In Khaos Komix, Charlie developed a crush on her friend Tom and tried kissing him. Being gay, he turned her down. Charlie was initially so upset that she decided to try dressing up as a boy again (she's a transgender girl who first met Tom when they both still thought she was a boy) to see if she could win over Tom that way, but Tom helped her realize that trying to be someone she wasn't just for a crush wasn't worth it and she eventually got over her crush on him.
  • Word of God is that in KillingStalkingSangwoo is heterosexual and for him, Bum (Who's bisexual), is only a replacement of his mom. Sangwoo has otherwise shown a dislike for gay people, even going so far to seduce a homosexual dude from a bar just to brutally murder him in his basement.
  • Magick Chicks: Subverted in Faith and Tiffany's case. It initially seemed as if Faith didn't have a shot with her, since Tiffany is straight. Plus, she regards Faith as her enemy. Despite this, she agreed to go on a spa date with her, which ended in a kiss between them. Still, she remained adamant about not being attracted to other girls, which she isn't. But she eventually reached the point where she could no longer deny being attracted to Faith. Confirmed by the comic's editor:
    T Campbell: "For instance, there was some debate about Tiff's sexuality, and for awhile the committee resolved that she was straight and knew it without doubt, putting Faith in the unusual-for-her position of courting someone who would never, could never, return her affections. We changed our tune on this somewhat, though I think the evidence that Tiff is attracted to guys is fairly conclusive."
  • The straight pop star Stasia in Marry Me is adored by her lesbian fangirl Parker, who doesn't stand a chance. At an inopportune moment during a concert, Parker hands off her 'marry me' sign to Guy, her male, heterosexual best friend. Stasia is still emotionally unstable from her last breakup, and ends up accepting Guy's "proposal".
  • Discussed at length in Meaty Yogurt with a subplot about a man who cannot get over his feelings for a lesbian waitress. At one point he speculates that finding every woman he likes is a lesbian makes him sorta a lesbian in a man's body. The object of his affections assures him that being a lesbian never coincides with finding every woman you like is a lesbian. Ever. In the history of the universe.
  • Ménage à 3:
    • Gary is smitten with Yuki on their first meeting. Zii informs him (correctly, as it proves) that Yuki is not actually gay, she just only sleeps with women. Later, in fact, Yuki finds herself returning Gary's feelings, and makes efforts to get over her ... complicated personal issues.
    • For a more straightforward case — Dillon, Gary's former roommate, has a hopeless gay crush on straight Gary.
    • Dillon's infatuation with Gary remains somewhat active after he gets his own comic, Sticky Dilly Buns. Likewise, his roommate Amber continues to display a fondness for him that would pretty clearly turn physical given half a chance — especially as she knows that Dillon is a master of a special oral sex technique.
  • Chad Dracul in Muertitos is lusted after by pretty near every girl in his school, but is himself asexual.
  • In Narbonic, Artie realises he's gay when he's attracted to ANTONIO SMITH FORENSIC LINGUIST!, who is "married to grammar. And actually married."
  • Oglaf, being a (very NSFW) sex comedy comic, has this in spades. Recurring offenders are Ambassador Sandoval's desire for strictly straight Ivan the Apprentice, and the various men (and odd shapeshifter) trying their luck and getting shot down by snarky lesbian mercenary Greir.
  • The Order of the Stick; Elan tried to break out of prison once by using an illusion of a woman to seduce the guards. This failed due to one guard being married and the other being gay.
  • Out There
    • Rod and Araceli. She's gay, he's a rake. They have a history. Ari is in favor of letting history remain history; Rod wants history to repeat itself.
    • Araceli and Sherry. Araceli has a secret crush on Sherry, who is straight (at least as far as Ari can tell).
  • In Pixie Trix Comix, incompatibility seems to be an issue more than once, though it may collapse rapidly in a world where (almost) Everyone Is Bi. Okay, Zadie and Sharon are both attracted to Julian who, unbeknownst to them, is definitely gay. But when Roxie is attracted to Zadie, who is by all appearances straight, Zadie soon starts to find that she may be flexible. Likewise, Julian is attracted to Aaron, who has sometimes seemed downright homophobic, but who actually reciprocates the feeling, although he's massively in denial.
  • In Queen of Wands, bisexual Angela has a thing for her straight best friend Kestrel. It becomes a major point near the end of the comic, nearly ending their friendship.
  • Questionable Content:
    • Tai often complains that of all the attractive lady friends Marten has, he's dating the only one who is into girls. After Marten and Dora break up, Tai and Dora get together, once Dora is ready to date again and Tai checks that Marten is okay with it.
    • Marten's parents still care deeply for each other but just couldn't bear to remain married after Marten's dad came out of the closet. Although the divorce was quite painful for everyone involved, by the time of the comic they're Amicable Exes and Marten's mother gives the speech at his father's second wedding.
  • In The Rock Cocks, Elizabeth Santos has a crush on her oblivious boss, Seth Sterling but he's gay.
  • Alpha Bitch Zoey Irwin from Sandra and Woo is revealed to be infatuated with her friend Michelle who, in turn, is crushing on Cloud Williams. Michelle is furthermore not a part of the gay-acceptant faction of humanity, much to Zoey's dismay and despair.
  • In Scandinavia and the World, Sister Finland has a thing for Sweden, who is in a committed relationship with his boyfriend Åland. It doesn't go quite like you'd expect, though, since she's either unaware of his true orientation or doesn't really care, and he knows her to be a stoic psycho who probably wouldn't take no for an answer (at least not without killing him in the process), so he reluctantly accepts it to the point that he has a kid with her to hide his homosexuality (since he also has, or at least had, issues with accepting his preference and having people know about it). Åland, meanwhile, seems mostly unaware of it, only appearing to know anything about it at the christening of the child (and being as shocked as you might expect). Since the relationships between characters are loosely based on how the nations they represent interact with each other in real life, though, it's fair to expect that this Love Triangle has some plot holes for the sake of comedy (though it's also possible that Åland knows how Sister Finland is and understands Sweden's difficult position).
  • Shortpacked!:
    • Leslie Bean has a habit of developing crushes on girls who don't swing that way, although once she managed to be an exception.
    • Robin had a crush on Ethan back before she (or he) realized he was gay.
    • Malaya and Ultra-Car developed a close relationship, but the former is a Robo Sexual while the latter is asexual and finds sex (or really, any human biology) gross. They eventually find a way around it. (Basically, it turns out the sex Malaya wants is less "involved" than Ultra-Car expected.)
  • In Something*Positive, PeeJee nursed a crush on Jhim (gay) for years.
    • PeeJee is established as having this as a near-superpower, up to and including precognition. At one point, one of her ex-boyfriends, a lying scumbag who cheated on her with different women, later comes out as gay after they break up.
    • A short, three-strip story has Jhim ask out a somewhat mannish woman who looked like an attractive male from behind. He tells PeeJee that they got along really well; if only she were a man! (PeeJee, naturally, is annoyed.)
    • What Could Have Been: Apparently, this lesbian was originally supposed to be a recurring character whom Davan would have feelings for. Word of God said that he made up the PeeJee/Jhim thing when he decided against it.
  • Vampire Cheerleaders: Even though Zoe vehemently denied it for most of the series, vol.4 confirmed she did have the hots for Suki. But the feeling wasn't mutual. Suki was put-off by Zoe kissing her and even more so when Zoe humped her leg in front of everyone at the amusement park.

    Web Original 
  • More than one guy has made passes at Phase in the Whateley Universe. His entire team (and his girlfriend) know that he is really a heterosexual, heteromantic guy trapped in a mainly-female body.
  • For the Web Serial Twig, see the Literature section above.
  • Solar Wind: Zeb ends up getting his heart broken when he finds out his long-time crush, Declan, is straight.
  • Culbert Cuthbert and Kathryn Kline (Katy or Kate for short), a OC couple created by the Deviantart artist Ming-GID. Culbert is a gay man but he is in love with his girlfriend Kate, participating in bondage with her as the dominatrix while he being the submissive. She doesn’t mind that he’s gay, as Kate enjoys seeing her boyfriend kissing boys.

    Western Animation 
  • 6teen:
    • One episode has Caitlin confess to being a co-worker's secret admirer, only to find out Kevin "plays for the other team".
    • Another has Jonesy start an auction where the highest bidder goes out on a date with him. All's well until the bid gets so high that the only two still bidding are the girl from Wonder Taco and a Gay Cowboy. Naturally Jonesy is not even remotely happy about this:
  • Futurama: A Muscle Beach Bum comes over to bully Fry and steal his "girlfriend" Leela, only to be surprised when he is met with little resistance. He explains that he's a professional beach bully who is paid to throw fights against scrawny guys to make them look good in front of their girlfriends. Fry explains that Leela isn't his girlfriend so the bully can have her, and Leela quite enthusiastically agrees. He declines, as he's actually gay.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts has Kipo misread her friend Benson's playful treatment of her when they go out on her 13th birthday, believing the entire thing to be a romantic date. While on a Ferris wheel ride, Kipo bashfully admits that she's starting to develop a crush on him, causing Benson to awkwardly stumble through a "like you as a friend" talk before plainly stating that he's actually gay and this was just a friendly outing so she'd have at least one happy, non-life threatening experience on the surface world.
  • The Simpsons:
  • The early South Park episode "Tom's Rhinoplasty" had every boy in class develop a crush on their substitute teacher; Chef, likewise, managed to strong-arm her into a date, but the next day told the kids that she was a lesbian. The boys don't know what that means, so Chef simply explains that lesbians will only date other lesbians. Naturally, the boys thus decide to try and become lesbians.
    • In the episode parodying Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, Mr. Garrison gets frustrated because all the straight men in town have embraced the metrosexual craze and are now dressing and acting Camp Gay, and now he and Mr. Slave can't tell who to hit on anymore.
      Randy: Well, we don't pound butt, Mr. Garrison. We're straight.
      Jimbo: Hey, now that's not true! My shoes don't say I pound butt.
    • Played With: When Garrison decided to get a sex-change operation, it ended his relationship with Mr. Slave, who is, you know, not into women.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Mayor Dewey has expressed some attraction to Pearl, who was deeply in love with Rose Quartz and later showed interest in "Mystery Girl". She doesn't seem to notice his crush on her.
    • There's also Jamie's attraction to Garnet. Since Garnet is already the fusion of romantic couple Ruby and Sapphire, she herself doesn't feel attraction (she is literally made of love), making her asexual/aromantic.
  • Done as something of a Genius Bonus in Robot Chicken when a group of friends in a haunted house are attacked by a Rape Ghost who manages to get his hands on two of the guys. Meanwhile, one of the girls, who is somewhat obese, is blatantly asking for it and gets refused. Passive viewers will assume it's because of her weight, but sharp-eyed viewers will notice the ghost is that of Liberace and that he never goes after the other, more attractive, girl either...
  • In The Hollow, Mira kisses Adam in Season 1, to which Adam reveals that he's not into her. The next season then reveals to Mira and Kai that he's gay.
  • DuckTales (2017): The season 3 episode "They Put a Moonlander on the Earth!" has Launchpad go on a date with Lt. Penumbra, but at the end she politely tells him that "I just do not wish to date an Earth... male.", which he accepts. A day after the episode aired, its main writer Sam King confirmed Penumbra was gay.
  • Bojack Horseman: Todd and Emily, childhood sweethearts reunited in adulthood, have a very happy relationship together, and Emily later even says that Todd was the best boyfriend she ever has. However, Todd's frequent awkward refusals to have sex strains their relationship, to the point that Emily sleeps with BoJack. It isn't until after they break up that Todd realizes he could never satisfy Emily's sexual needs because he's asexual. Though they stay friends after, Emily still holds a torch for him—she reminds him that some asexual people still have sex with their partners, but Todd just isn't interested in sex at all. Thankfully, after his struggling relationships, Todd finds a healthy one with a fellow asexual woman in the final season.

    Real Life 
  • Actress Lea Michelle joked about the fact that her father once told her that of all the men in her life, the only one that was worthy of her was her best friend and (Spring Awakening and Glee) co-star Jonathan Groff. It is easy to see his point.
  • Herman Melville's attraction to Nathaniel Hawthorne.
  • Robert Lowell's love for his close friend, Elizabeth Bishop.
  • Mixed-Orientation Marriages of the type where a person who is in the closet about their exclusively homosexual nature is married to someone who's heterosexual. Now also called "brokeback marriages" after more recent famous fictional examples.
  • A depressing fact of life for many LGBTQ+ teenagers. Since only a small portion of the population is gay or bisexual, there's a strong chance that their crush will have an incompatible orientation, and asking about compatibility may be out of the question if they live in one of the many areas that are hostile to homosexuality. On top of that there's the universal problem of mutual attraction. Adulthood usually offers more options for meeting people of compatible orientation but doesn't change the basic fact of LGBTQ+ sexualities being a minority.
  • It's also a cliché that straight girls involved in theatre or music in high school will inevitably crush on at least one closeted gay guy.
  • The dating website OkCupid installed a feature where gay and bi users can keep their profiles from showing up for straight people; one of the reasons was that a lot of straight users were attempting to date attractive gay members of the opposite sex on the site.
  • Can happen between members of the Furry Fandom: one, a "light" fur who enjoys the fandom for fun but doesn't have a attraction to the animals and prefers their romantic partners to be of their own species, develops a crush on a fellow fur who's only interested in anthropomorphic animals and thinks Humans Are Ugly. note 
  • Relationships between transgender people and their partners can end when they come out of the closet, and their partners' orientation doesn't match with their gender and/or new looks. A highly-publicized example of this was Elliot Page (a transgender man) and his ex-wife Emma Portner (a lesbian); they amicably divorced shortly after Page came out as trans, causing many to believe it was due to this trope.
  • Hand-raised birds often imprint on humans. When they get older, hormones drive them to take a mate, but as they believe themselves to be humans, their desired mate is usually their caretaker (who is usually not interested in birds that way). This can prove problematic if the bird in question is intended to be used for breeding, as they show no interest in mates they could produce offspring with - even if their intended mate puts on a dramatic courtship display. Other problems can arise, too, as the bird becomes increasingly frustrated that their attempts at pairing with a human aren't working; they may become aggressive to their caretaker ("How dare you spurn me!") or to others the bird perceives as competition.


Video Example(s):


Kipo Confession

During their trip to ratland, a certain "friend" reveal something

How well does it match the trope?

5 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / IncompatibleOrientation

Media sources:

Main / IncompatibleOrientation