Two characters have had some sort of Ship Tease, but there's no sign of it progressing to a Relationship Upgrade. Likely, one character will have feelings for the other, but are resigned to All Love Is Unrequited — until the other character somehow hears (from another person directly or indirectly or from a Love Confession) they have feelings for them.
They're shocked. All of a sudden, they begin to look at the other character differently, resulting in them beginning to have feelings, too!
This trope comes in two flavors:
- Alice already had feelings for Bob, but it took hearing Bob's feelings for her to realize them.
- Alice begins to develop feelings after she hears that Bob likes her.
This often is a cue for a long-overdue Relationship Upgrade in a She Is Not My Girlfriend or Unresolved Sexual Tension situation. A common variation is to have one fall for the other after hearing that they have feelings for them despite there not actually being feelings involved; often this set-up is Played for Laughs.
A subtrope of Love Epiphany. If Alice realizes her feelings for Bob after he confesses to Cheryl instead, that's Green-Eyed Epiphany. The inverse of this is Entitled to Have You, in which Bob loves Alice and expects Alice to love him back. If the timing isn't right and Alice realizes her feelings after Bob has moved on, it's Unrequited Love Switcheroo.
- This is what happens in Air Gear between Ikki and Ringo. The two had known each other since they were children, and though they cared about each other, Ikki only really thought of Ringo as a really good friend while she was so blatantly in love with him it was almost painful. It didn't help that Ikki was Oblivious to Love and had two other Love Interests that were more attractive than Ringo was. However, when she finally managed to confess to him, he was completely shocked, and after thinking about it for a while, he realizes that he feels the same way, and a Relationship Upgrade happens soon afterwards.
- The anime finale of Cardcaptor Sakura revolves around Syaoran finally confessing his love for Sakura, who ultimately requites the feeling and spends most of the closing movie trying to do the same. While established as being Oblivious to Love, Sakura's closeness towards Syaoran had been developed throughout the series, and punctuated by being rejected by her own unrecognized crush, Yukito.
- Makoto and Chiaki from The Girl Who Leapt Through Time are of the Unresolved Sexual Tension variety. Makoto's denial over the fact that Chiaki asked her out sets off the rest of the story as well as culminates in her ultimately accepting her feelings for him.
- A variation happens to Alibaba in Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, where Olba tells him that Morgiana is in love with him. This leads Alibaba to go through all the normal steps and eventually confess his own love to her...until he finds out it was a misunderstanding, as romantic love is still a foreign concept to her due to spending almost her entire life as a slave. This does, however, lead Morgiana to go through her own Love Epiphany, and they eventually get engaged.
- At the end of the first season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, when the UN Forces attack Celestial Being, Lichty uses his body to shield Christina from a blast fired at the Ptolemy by a GN-X. Due to the injuries he sustained, Lichty's cybernetic body is badly damaged and torn apart, with the boy on the verge of death. It is through this action that Christina (who previously maintained a professional relationship with Lichty despite knowing of his interest in her) realizes how great a guy Lichty really is and returns his feelings of love. Sadly, both die soon afterward.
- In the canon movie The Last: Naruto the Movie, Naruto realizes the true nature of Hinata's feelings for him, and his own for her, after witnessing her feelings for him firsthand when they were trapped in a genjutsu that makes them relive their memories. Considering Kakashi once stated that Naruto is a kinesthetic learner (someone who learns with his body or by doing, just like his father Minato), this actually makes sense—Naruto needed to physically walk through his and Hinata's merged memories to finally understand both her feelings and his own. Thus, when the only girl who ever loved him unconditionally "rejects" him (in order to save her younger sister Hanabi), right after he confessed his love to her, Naruto does not take it well, but after Sakura tells him that Hinata has only ever loved him, Naruto recovers and is dead-set in saving Hinata from Toneri and properly returning her love for him.
- In Shikamaru Hiden: A Cloud Drifting in Silent Darkness, Shikamaru realizes that he loves and wants to protect Temari, which helps him resist Gengo's charm and find the strength to fight against him.
- This happens to Uta when Kakeru confesses to her in Episode 41 of Onegai My Melody ~Kuru Kuru Shuffle!~.
- Aki from Silver Spoon is convinced that Hachiken's just a "friend" and never realizes why she freezes solid at the thought some other girl's confessing to him. Then after he asks to go some place with her and her friends forcefully spell it all out to her that he's in love with her, she is shocked. As she sleeps and wonders whether she'd been suppressing herself due to personal issues (she's a farmer's daughter and has a lot of "baggage"), she suddenly freaks out at the realization.
- This is a key part of the movie sequel to Tamako Market, Tamako Love Story. Heroine Tamako and her Childhood Friend Mochizou are your typical pair of Oblivious to Love meets Cannot Spit It Out. And since he's always been there, she never really noticed what he really means. When Mochizou finally works up the courage to tell her, she loses it for a while and takes a long time to reevaluate their relationship, culminating in a last-minute decision at the climax when he's about to leave.
- A major plot point that Taiga was confessed to by Kitamura and only started to develop feelings for him after that.
- Likewise, Ryuuji only begins to realize his feelings for Taiga after she accidentally confesses her own feelings for him.
- Fumiya from Wandering Son had always shown attraction to Saori but it wasn't until after he begged her to go on a date with him that she agreed to dating him. Saori isn't the best of girlfriends but there isn't much to say that she doesn't love him back.
- In the Mental Time Travel arc of The World God Only Knows, it was revealed that Tenri fell in love with Keima because another girl lied to her about Keima having feelings for her. Played With in that despite Tenri later finding out that was a lie, she remains in love with Keima for the following ten years, even though she knows he doesn't feel the same way and he made it clear to her that they wouldn't end up together, because...
- Keima himself, in a somewhat important shift from his 2-D centric ideology, ends up having one as early as FLAG 189, where he ends up shedding a Single Tear for breaking Chihiro's heart. Though such fact is still up to debate as his final words from that FLAG has been subject to various interpretations.
- Advice and Trust: Subverted. Misato thinks that Shinji and Asuka are oblivious to each other's feelings and in the Prologue she tries to make Shinji realizing Asuka loves him. Ironically they had gotten together several weeks ago and had kept their relationship a secret.
- The Child of Love:
- In Chapter 2 Hikari tells Shinji Asuka really likes him, but Shinji does not dare to believe her.
- In Chapter 5 Misato yells Asuka Shinji loves her until she gets the message through her head.
- A Crown of Stars:
- Intending to help them to fix their relationship, Daniel talked Asuka about how much she meant to Shinji and how much he had done for her, and he revealed Shinji that Asuka constantly dropped hints that she liked him, but he missed them all.
- In Chapter 27 Asuka asks Hikari if she has already confessed Touji...in front of Touji. Both passed out.
- Doing It Right This Time: Comically and ironically, it is Asuka who reveals Kaji that Misato carries a torch for him still:
Asuka: You think this is some harebrained roleplay thing? Fucks sake, Kaji, I walked into your cabin on the boat carrying Unit-02 to Japan wearing nothing but a smile and you still turned me down. You're not over Misato yet, I get it. She's not over you yet either if that makes you feel better.
- Entropy and its sequel Chaoskampf has Sonic do this twice for two different reasons. One is by Milo Prower (Tails older brother) who gets Sonic to admit his love for Amy several times through repetition to get Sonic to get himself to get the idea he's in love with her. But the topic is not entirely revisited until Chaoskampf where Amy is purifying him of his corruption that he'd been trying to ignore and suppress his feelings but then at that moment, he discovers he can't deny it anymore, not to mention the only good times he's really had by this point (as the fics go into detail about how much crap he's gone through) are with her.
- Evangelion 303: In Chapter 5 Jessika often teases Asuka about her liking Shinji. At the beginning Asuka denies it vehemently and refuses to admit it to herself, but due to her friend's prolonged teasing she starts to second-guess herself and realizes she really likes Shinji.
- In Ghosts of Evangelion, Asuka finally figured out what Shinji liked her when Touji and Hikari explained it to her (slowly and in detail).
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide, when her female classmates start teasing her about Shinji, Asuka can't delude herself for longer, and she realizes at last she likes him.
- The One I Love Is: In Chapter 1 Rei gave Shinji chocolates. In reaction Asuka got beyond mad, yelled him and slapped him. Then she cried and ran out of the class. And Shinji had absolutely no idea of why. Later Hikari yelled him he was a blind, thick-headed idiot and told him that Asuka loved him. Shinji was shocked because he liked Asuka but he could not believe she was interested in him.
- Shatterheart: While R!Syaoran and Kurogane have a close relationship, Kurogane remained indecisive on what his feelings for him were. It isn't until Syaoran confesses his love, thinking they were going to die that Kurogane realizes he loves Syaoran.
- Thousand Shinji: Shinji realized Touji and Hikari had a crush on each other but were completely oblivious to each other's feelings. He took great pains to make amazingly dense Touji noticing Hikari's feelings.
- In The Vow, Lianne comes to regard Shen as a very good friend, but she realizes that she loves him when he finally confesses his feelings for her after her mother's death.
- In AAML: Diamond and Pearl Version, Ash has this regarding his feelings for Misty early on in the story (Although Brock has to spell it out for him).
- In Lost In Camelot, this occurs for Bo, Merlin and Morgana at various points in the story, although for Bo and Morgana in particular; Bo had a brief crush on Morgana after arriving in Camelot, but only realises that she still has deeper feelings for Morgana despite beginning a relationship with Merlin when Kenzi confronts her about her physically affectionate relationship with the other woman, and Morgana then has a similar epiphany after Bo kisses her while proposing that she and Morgana deal with their mutual feelings for Merlin by sharing him.
- In Chapter 36 of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Ash has a chat with Pikachu, who proceeds to reveal that his female companions have been attracted to him for quite a while.
- This happens in Frozen, when Olaf reunites with Anna after she realizes her love for Hans wasn't true love. When she says she doesn't know what love is, Olaf says Kristoff loves her, which makes Anna realize her feelings for him.
Olaf: Oh wait, he's coming back. I guess he didn't love you enough to leave you forever after all.
- Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa: When Gloria discovers the true depths of Melman's feelings for her (as he tells her current suitor Moto about how lucky he is to have her, complete with Loving Details), she soon realizes she feels the same way.
- Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie: After Helga gives Arnold a second Love Confession (her first attempt in the previous film failed), Arnold has a private talk with her about her flaws and noble qualities, as well as, how the latter led to him finding his parents. All culminating in their first romantic, mutual kiss. If we can pinpoint it to a precise moment, it's when they're hanging from the cliff and they look over at each other◊ - and it's obvious Arnold is finally really looking at her for the first time (They exchange the exact same gaze - and we know Helga loves Arnold.)
- In Carefree (1938), Amanda is engaged to Stephen but falls for her psychiatrist, Tony. When she tells Tony about her feelings, he is convinced that she's confusing respect with love, and he offers to hypnotize her into getting over him. During the hypnosis scene, he plants the following suggestions in her mind: 1) she loves Stephen. 2) Tony is a horrible monster. 3) Tony does not love her. Her reaction to the last statement is so strong that Tony has to leave the room to think things over. After a short conversation with himself, he realizes that not only does she really love him, but he loves her too.
- Subverted in Anne of Green Gables, Gilbert Blythe confesses his love to Anne Shirley in the book Anne of the Island, hoping she will return his love when he finally speaks to her about it. Anne's still Oblivious to Love (in this case, her own love for Gil) and so she refuses his declaration of love/marriage proposal. They end up together anyway.
- Mentioned in High Fidelity, when Rob thinks about how he tends to look at someone differently after finding out they're interested in him.
- In The History of Middle-earth, this is how Tolkien describes Finwe falling in love with Indis, who has loved him for a long time, after the death of his first wife Miriel.
...and when Indis saw Finwe climbing the paths of the mountain (and the light of Laurelin was behind him as a glory) without forethought she sang suddenly in a great joy... And when Finwe heard that song falling from above he looked up and saw Indis in the golden light, and he knew in that moment that she loved him and had long done so. Then his heart turned at last to her, and he believed that this chance, as it seemed, had been granted for the comfort of them both. 'Behold!' he said. 'There is indeed healing of grief in Aman!'
- In The Sleeping Beauty, Godmother Lily doesn't realize she's developed feelings for Jimson until Jimson accidentally calls her "my love".
- In Warrior Cats, Fireheart starts falling for Sandstorm after Cinderpaw tells him everybody can see that Sandstorm is very much into him.
- Doctor Who has had a few of these moments:
- Due to The "I Love You" Stigma being in place (the Doctor never actually says it to anyone), the Doctor tends to use euphemisms instead such as "I had a duty of care" in "Hell Bent", which has been interpreted as being this moment for Clara Oswald, although there are plenty of signs in preceding episodes that she shared the Doctor's feelings.
- According to actress Jenna Coleman, for example, speaking at fan conventions, Clara realized she was in love with the Doctor at the end of "The Time of the Doctor."
- The Doctor has this when listening to River Song talking about how much she loves him in "The Husbands of River Song" (the twist being that, thanks to regeneration, she doesn't realize she's saying these things in front of the Doctor.) Zigzagged a bit due to the fact the Doctor was actually married to her at the time, but wasn't aware of the full depth of her feelings.
- In Frasier, Daphne starts to develop feelings for Niles once she finds out that he has feelings for her.
- Done secondhand in Friends. Rachel develops feelings for Ross after Chandler accidentally spills the beans about Ross's love of Rachel while Ross is in China. She decides she loves him too and goes to meet him at the airport when he comes back, only to discover he's got a new girlfriend.
- Mad Men does this, with Peggy realizing she's in love with Stan after he confesses his love to her.
- An episode of The Mindy Project featured Danny "accepting" his feelings for Mindy after inferring (incorrectly) that she was romantically interested in him.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Odo was friend-zoned by Kira until in "Children of Time", when a parallel version of Odo tells her he loves her. From that point on, Kira begins to develop feelings for him over several more episodes.
- On Gilmore Girls, Lane doesn't realize she has feelings for Zach until one of his groupies apologizes to her. Zach, in turn, needs some time to process his own feelings for her after she comes clean.
- In Much Ado About Nothing, Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into falling in love because each believes that the other is in love with them.
- In Gunnerkrigg Court, Kat has been questioning her sexuality for some time. However, she doesn't have feelings for her classmate Paz specifically until Paz sends her a Love Letter, then confesses in person and suggests they go on a date sometime.
- In Homestuck, Jake was initially shocked when he realized that his friend Dirk had feelings for him, but the more he thought about it the more he realized that the idea of them dating wasn't nearly so ridiculous as it had seemed at first, and he eventually asked him out. It's Subverted, though. While Jake does seem to be bi, it soon became very obvious that he never had any true feelings for Dirk, and only forced himself to try it out because he was sure Dirk would push for them to date either way.
- In Penny and Aggie, Aggie becomes attracted to Penny when Penny reveals her own interest in her during a parlor game. As becomes clear from subsequent, similar moments early in their relationship, the reason Aggie only now has romantic feelings for her is that Penny, in confessing her interest, is also showing Aggie her vulnerable side for the first time.
- Happens in Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama. When Kim starts despairing as Drakken gets close to his goal of world conquest, Ron confesses (in his own roundabout way) that he has feelings for her, and Kim realizes that she feels the same way about him:
Kim: You really think there's a guy out there for me?
Ron: Out there...in here...
Kim: (realization kicks in) O-Oh...really?