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Loves My Alter Ego

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The man of Lois Lane's dreams is closer than she thinks.

"I am tired of being my own rival!"
Christian, Cyrano de Bergerac, Act IV

Often, Clark Kenting leads to a Two-Person Love Triangle.

The main love interest of the Part-Time Hero. The problem: she won't give him a second glance because she's in love with someone else. The complication: that someone else just happens to be the hero's Secret Identity. He wouldn't dare tell her and burden her with all the risks that come with being a Secret-Keeper, which, quite frankly, is moot since she automatically seems to be a magnet for Monster of the Week attacks anyway when she isn't running towards them.

This trope may overlap with Secret Identity Identity: the love interest reacts differently to the "super" and "normal" personas of the hero. Eventually, she may even begin showing affection to the persona that she'd been uninterested in originally (wonderful wish-fulfillment fantasy fodder, this).


In the best-case scenario, she'll discover the truth by pure accident, which somehow makes it more okay than if the hero had told her (or not, expect fireworks at being Locked Out of the Loop). In the worst-case scenario, after the masquerade-maintaining It's Not You, It's Me, she'll eventually hook up with some other civilian besides the hero, who just wants his beloved to be happy. Is it any wonder The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life?

How come love can't always be as simple as Dating Catwoman?

Compare Hates My Secret Identity, for non-romantic cases of people reacting differently to the two identities. See also Likes Clark Kent, Hates Superman, which is when a character has positive feelings to a person but negative ones to their alter ego / secret identity.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Lu of Ayakashi Triangle knows of Matsuri as her girl friend and Shirogane as a stray cat that hangs around school. In both a straight example and an inversion, she ends up falling in love with "Shiromatsu", who's actually Shirogane shapeshifted into Matsuri original, male form.
  • In Battle Spirits Shonen Toppa Bashin, both Striker and Bashin love My Sunshine but have no interest in her alter ego, Suiren. Despite indication that Suiren is interested in both of them.
  • The manga / anime Cat's Eye: The main characters are barmaids and part-time Spy Catsuit thieves. One of them has a boyfriend, who happens to be a police officer, and who cannot make up his mind if he likes his girlfriend or her Secret Identity more. (This, obviously, is the cause of much frustration on the main character's part.)
  • In Code Geass almost all of Lelouch's love interests have this.
    • Action Girl Kallen has a Bodyguard Crush on Lelouch's masked identity, Zero, but has a very low opinion of Lelouch, mostly because he cultivates a reputation for being an apathetic jerk. When Kallen dramatically learns Zero's true identity, she gets a Heroic BSoD because she wonders if the whole Black Knight rebellion was a big farce. In season 2, after still going through a "you're Lelouch when I hate you and Zero when I love you" kind of relationship for some time, she comes to love both of them.
    • Shirley loves Lelouch Lamperouge but hates Zero for killing her father.
    • C.C. loves Lelouch vi Britannia but frequently mocks Zero for being a fraud. The difference is that C.C knows they're the same person from the very start.
  • Crossplay Love: Otaku x Punk takes this Up to Eleven with both main characters being Crossdressers who are attracted to each other's fem alter egos, without knowing they're not actually a girl. In their normal lives, they don't like each other's male identities at all.
  • D.N.Angel has a love triangle revolving around this trope. Daisuke has a crush on Risa, but she rejects him because she wants to date someone "cool". Enter Dark—who is actually Daisuke's alter-ego. Just to make things more complicated, Dark actually has a separate personality and is a big flirt to boot, so Daisuke and Dark sometimes end up in a fight over Risa. Later on in the manga, the situation reverses as Daisuke realizes that the one he really loves is actually Risa's twin sister, Riku. Riku cares for him in return, but in a twist, she hates Dark and thinks he's a pervert. This causes all sorts of complications, since Daisuke's family curse won't leave him until he's completely loved for who he is—which includes the part of him that's like Dark. It's still complicated because Dark is in love with Riku, who's in love with Daisuke. Eventually—in the manga—he begins to reciprocate Risa's feelings, although knowing that they could never be together because he'll disappear once Riku accepts that Dark is a part of Daisuke.
  • In Deadman Wonderland, Ganta was unaware that his beloved Shiro was the true identity of his arch-nemesis, The Red Man. When he finds out, it's not pretty.
  • Kouta quotes this to Lucy about her and Identity Amnesia personality, Nyu, in the end of Elfen Lied.
  • A strange case in Hayate the Combat Butler, Luca appears to have started to fall for Hayate's alterego, but shows no signs of being a lesbian. She'll probably be relieved to find out that Hayate is actually a guy, though probably unhappy about having to deal with his Unwanted Harem.
  • Umaru has this issue with her friends in Himouto! Umaru-chan. Umaru presents a persona of The Ace at school, but at home she is a Lazy Bum Otaku. Her best friend Ebina is friends with "Outside-Umaru", but has never seen "Inside-Umaru." Kirie has befriended both, wrongly believing that "Inside-Umaru" is actually Umaru's little sister Komaru. The straightest example is Sylphin, who met Umaru while the latter was in her "masked gamer" identity of U.M.R.; they become so close that Slyphin recruits her to help her in her Friendly Rivalry against Umaru.
  • Jewelpet:
    • Jewelpet Happiness: Mouri has a crush on a punk girl who once entered the Rock Cafe. That girl was actually Proper Lady Nene, who took on that disguise to analyse what made the Cafe so successful. Mouri eventually starts crushing on her too, but doesn't learn the truth until much later in the series.
    • Jewelpet Kira Deco!: Io has a crush on his teacher Coarumi, who is actually Coal in disguise and drag. Io hates Coal for taking up Opal's time.
    • Jewelpet: Magical Change: A boy named Souya falls in love with Larimar in her human form. When Larimar turns back into a Jewelpet after having to use magic to save him, he thinks she has gone away and leaves in disappointment. He learns the truth in a later episode and is fine with it.
  • Kaitou Saint Tail offers us a rather complicated example: Asuka Jr. is obsessed with Saint Tail, who has a thing for him both as Saint Tail and her Secret Identity Meimi... Except that: Meimi has a sharp personality change as Saint Tail, and Cannot Spit It Out in her civilian persona while Saint Tail couldn't be more obvious; Asuka Jr. is somehow unable to figure out his own romantic feelings, let alone those of Meimi-as-Meimi, Meimi-as-Saint Tail, the ones of an underclassgirl and those of the local Clingy Jealous Girl; near the end of the series Asuka Jr. admits was obsessed with Saint Tail because she looked like the girl she liked, said girl being Meimi... And had not realized his feelings until after he thought for days about what he had blurted out.
  • In Kämpfer, Natsuru loves Kaede and Kaede loves Natsuru. The catch? Kaede loves THE FEMALE NATSURU! To make things even more ridiculous, Kaede is under the impression that the male Natsuru is her love rival. It turns out she knew it all along because she's the Big Bad. And she really wants only the female Natsuru.
  • Magical Project S: In one episode, Konoha uses Sasami's baton. She puts Hiroto under a love spell, but he only falls for her transformed self, Funky Connie.
  • Kaito in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch is confused between Lucia and the pink mermaid.
  • Noel in Mint na Bokura pretends to be a girl to attend the same boarding school as his sister. When he runs into his crush on a day he's not wearing a dress and wig, he tells her that he is "Noel's cousin Tohru". "Tohru" begins dating her. She dumps him when the truth comes out.
  • In the initial anime PV for Miraculous Ladybug, we've got it twice over. Genki Girl Marinette is in love with the brooding intellectual Felix, but he can't stand her. However, when he transforms into Black Cat, he's swooning over Ladybug, who snubs him. Ladybug, of course, is Marinette. (Compare in Western Animation below.)
  • In Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, many guys can't stand Seo, but are in love with 'Lorelei' from the music club... who is Seo, or at least her singing voice; the chief victim of this is Nozaki's junior Wakamatsu. In an inversion, Seo doesn't particularly seem to care either way, and if anything enjoys destroying people's fantasies by revealing who she is.
  • Yuuki in Mugen Densetsu Takamagahara: Dream Saga is actually the main character, and all over both Takaomi and "that other guy named Takaomi with the same mark on his head but a totally different personality".
  • Natsumi from Nicoichi initially fell for the female persona of the protagonist Makoto, not knowing his true identity, which greatly confused her. To complicate matters, Natsumi actually disliked Makoto in his normal self, which created lots of problems for Makoto when he was trying to reciprocate the love.
  • Ako Izumi from Negima! Magister Negi Magi falls in love with Negi's aged up alter ego "Nagi".
  • In Onidere, the female protagonist uses an alter ego called Angie to get close to her boyfriend without ruining her reputation as the school's top delinquent and is afraid of losing him to her alter ego, unaware that he figured it out the moment he met her alternate persona. And then another boy named Souta develops a crush on Angie.
  • In Phantom Thief Pokémon 7, Nazuna is in love with Pokemon 7. She's not quite so fond of Hiori.
  • In each of Studio Pierrot's Magical Girl series (Magical Angel Creamy Mami, Magical Star Magical Emi, Persia, the Magic Fairy), the heroine is in love with an older boy, who prefers her metamorphosed alter ego, leading the poor magical girls to be jealous of themselves.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • In one episode of Futari wa Pretty Cure, a boy asked Nagisa out, only to eventually dump her because he'd decided he preferred Cure Black. An unusual case in that Nagisa never actually liked him back, but the same idea.
    • Daisuke from Fresh Pretty Cure! plays with this. He admires Cure Peach and thinks that Love should strive to be more like her, not knowing that they're one and the same. However, his admiration for Cure Peach is just that - admiration - and he instead has feelings for Love, whom he's a Tsundere for.
    • In HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, Tsubomi falls head over heels for a mysterious handsome young man who, later on, resembles her late grandfather when he was younger. Sadly, she's crushed when she comes to find out that he's her grandmother's fairy partner, Coupe.
  • In Princess Tutu, Mytho is enamored with the eponymous Magical Girl, but only considers Ahiru a good friend. (One that he can "tell everything to", but a friend nonetheless.)
  • Rosario + Vampire is something of a subversion of this trope. Tsukune falls in Love at First Sight with Outer Moka, but he's at least quite fond of Inner Moka, and has recently said that "he'd like the two of them to become one". Take that as you will.
  • Sailor Moon. In the first anime, Usagi/Sailor Moon loves Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask, while he has a mysterious need to protect Moon. Usagi can't stand Mamoru, who also seems to dislike "Odango Atama". At the same time, he's in love with the mysterious princess of his dreams who is actually Usagi's past self. In the second season, there's also the Tsukikage no Knight, whom Usagi loves while she also loves Mamoru/Mask, though he turns out to be the astral-projected manifestation of Mamoru's love for Usagi when his memories are sealed. The manga is even worse, because Usagi and Mamoru actually like each other there before learning each other's identities.
    • And Usagi/Serena's little brother Shingo/Sammy idolizes Sailor Moon but can't stand his sister.
  • Tadase in Shugo Chara! likes Amulet Heart, Amu's heroic form. His feelings toward the normal Amu are "just friends". This one is especially weird because he knows from the start that the two are the same person and even tells Amu herself about his confused feelings. Later he confesses that he actually loves Amu for who she is, not her alter ego.
  • The Story Between a Dumb Prefect and a High School Girl with an Inappropriate Skirt Length: Kogori sees Student Council President Yamato as a childhood friend, but he's head over heels for her "gal version" which he doesn't recognize as the same person. It's only an alter ego to him, though, as everyone else knows it's still her.
  • A rather peculiar take on this appears in Super Pig. The main character Karin has a crush on her Junior High School soccer captain Kouichi Mizuno. He is in love with her secret identity Buurin. But she is a pig in that form! Add in the issue of Karin being stuck as Buurin if anyone finds out about her secret identity, then you have yourself a very peculiar conundrum. When Kouichi, along with Karin's classmates, finds out that Karin is Buurin, he is upset by this revelation. After fighting his own Demonic Possession, he comes to love her again.
  • Suguha in Sword Art Online begins to fall in love with her brother Kazuto (who is actually her cousin) whom she knows is in love with another girl. In order to forget about those feelings for him, she tries to fall in love with an online person she met called Kirito. Kirito is Kazuto's online persona. When she figures this out, it breaks her heart since she's fallen in love with the same person twice (which to be quite frank is rather shocking considering the fact that Kirito's avatar shares his face with only minor differences).
  • Played for laughs in To Love Ru, when Saruyama falls in love with "Riko" (Rito's genderbent persona).
  • Tokyo Mew Mew complicates things. Ichigo loves Masaya, who loves Ichigo but also Mew Ichigo, and then in comes Ao no Kishi, and he loves Mew Ichigo, and she's stuck between not only this guy but also her Unwanted Harem. Then comes the traditional trial of every Magical Girl's Mysterious Protector, and we know that can't be good.
  • A couple cases of this in Tomica Hyper Rescue Drive Head Kidou Kyuukyuu Keisatsu:
    • Gou is in love with his classmate, School Idol Kasumi. She finds him to just be childish and annoying (at least at first), and instead loves the driver of Sonic/Cyclone Interceptor. Who is Gou, of course.
    • Sala is in love with the driver of White Crystal Hope. White Crystal Hope is driven by the twins Jin and Mikoto, both of whom are implied to have crushes on her.
  • For a few episodes of Wedding Peach, Yuri/Angel Lily is confused about her feelings for both Yanagiba and Limone. Guess what the next reveal is.
  • Subverted in Wild Rock. Yuuen thinks he's doing a much better job at being a woman than he actually is and assumes Emba's in love with that side of him. He's not.
  • Anzu/Téa in the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga and anime is frequently confused about whether she's in love with Yugi or "the other (Yami) Yugi."
    • Zig-zagged - the fact that Yami is Yugi's alter-ego isn't a secret for that long, so she knows that they're the same person. However, initially both Anzu and the gang thought that the Other Yugi was just a split personality brought out by the Puzzle, and Anzu in particular thought that the 'true Yugi' was a mixture of both. After learning the Other Yugi is actually another person, she focuses her attentions on the Pharaoh until the end of the manga. The anime adds more Ship Tease between Anzu and Yugi as well, but the situation is resolved ambiguously in both versions.
  • Yubisaki Milk Tea first play it straight when Wataru fall in love with Yuki, the alter ego of his best friend Yoshinori, the main protagonist. Later an odd example comes to when Yoshinori realise that he is in love with his OWN alter ego. Both causes a few issues.
  • Played with in the anime adaptation of Zorro: Lolita loves Zorro and barely tolerates the cowardly Diego, but it's implied she actually loves Diego and is infatuated with Zorro because he's like Diego was before his voyage to Spain.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog, Amy was the girlfriend of Nikki, but not of his superhero alter ego, Sonic the Hedgehog. Amy would eventually become part of the main franchise, along with another friend called Charmy.
  • In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, Professor Burnet is certainly in love with Professor Kukui, but also has a serious celebrity crush on the Masked wrestler/trainer Royal Mask. She doesn't find out the truth until after they got married, but suddenly discovering she's married her crush completely blows her mind.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: Due to a series of misunderstandings, Nino falls in Love at First Sight with Fuutarou's "cousin" Kintarou (who was actually Fuutarou himself wearing a blonde wig). Given the fact that she took to hate Fuutarou from the beginning, she struggles to accept her feelings once she learns the truth.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • Superman:
    • Lois Lane in her earliest incarnations — although she and Clark Kent became Happily Married in the mid-1990s and he revealed the truth to her once he was sure she loved Clark instead of Superman.
    • Post-Crisis Lois was initially very skeptical of the Man Of Steel and far more interested in Clark since he was the only person able to routinely scoop her.
    • Pre-Crisis Lana Lang was usually smitten with Superboy, but only thought of Clark as a friend. This stretched into their adulthoods, though she eventually (during the Bronze Age) lost interest in Superman, and even started dating Clark by the late Bronze Age.
    • Before Clark and Lois got married, there was also the character of Cat Grant, who was in love with Clark Kent and had no particularly personal feelings for Superman (whom she liked and admired in the way most Metropolitans like and admire him).
    • In All-Star Superman, Lois never moved past this. To the point where she didn't even believe him when he changed into Superman right in front of her and repeatedly insisted that Clark and Superman were one and the same.
    • The Clark-Lois-Superman love triangle was later brought back to continuity in Superman: Secret Origin.
    • The New 52 reboot gave Lois a new boyfriend for a while, until she (and the rest of the world) finds out Superman's secret in Superman: Truth. Shortly afterwards, the situation reverted to Clark and Lois married in DC Rebirth.
    • Sometimes Lex Luthor does the inverse, respecting Clark Kent a fair bit more than Superman. In some stories they were even friends as kids.
    • In All-Star Superman, Clark Kent was interviewing Lex Luthor in death row, and Luthor surprisingly took the time from badmouthing Superman to praise Clark, complimenting him on alot of his qualities and how Lois would choose him if it not were Superman. Heck, he even finds his clumsy awkwardness somewhat endearing, namely because it makes Clark so human compared to the alien Superman.
    • During the Silver Age, a trio of Jimmy Olsen stories (all written by Jerry Siegel) was published depicting Jimmy assuming the identity of "Magi the Magician" and courting a woman named "Sandra Rogers", who was actually his girlfriend Lucy Lane in disguise. While this trope is played straight with Sandra/Lucy, Magi/Jimmy (who was far more invested in his relationship with Lucy than Lucy herself) constantly felt guilt for romancing who he thinks is another woman. A more in-depth look at this can be found here.
    • In Action Comics #361, a boy wanted to date Linda Danvers/Kara Zor-El because he suspected that she was Supergirl. When Linda/Kara managed to make him believe she was a normal, powerless girl, he stopped being interested.
    • During her time working as a photographer in San Francisco, Linda Danvers had a crush on her boss Geoffrey "Geoff" Anderson. Geoff was not interested in Linda but he liked Supergirl. He even kissed her at the end of Demon Spawn. However, Linda quit her job and moved away shortly after, and they never saw each other again.
    • In imaginary story Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #57 Linda and Jimmy marry. However Linda was exposed to Red Kryptonite shortly before the whirlwind romance. She is depowered when the wedding happens, and doesn't remember anything about her secret. When Linda regains her memories and her powers she decides she needs to tell Jimmy she is Supergirl but in a tactful way. Her "great" plan was revealing Supergirl's existence to him. Then, as Supergirl, she will make him fall in love with her. Then when he is in love with both Linda and Supergirl, she'll reveal she is one and the same. Surprisingly, her nutty idea worked.
  • Spider-Man inverts this dynamic owing to the fact that unlike Superman and Batman, both of whom are more charismatic figures than their civilian alter-egos (in the classical era certainly), Spider-Man is a Hero with Bad Publicity and weirdo, who is distrusted by the press. For most of Peter's run, a major hurdle for his girlfriends wasn't them liking Peter but if they were able to look past the general sentiment and public opinion against his alter ego and see him for the hero he was.
    • Both Betty Brant and Gwen Stacy liked Peter but hated and distrusted Spider-Man, with the latter blaming him for the death of her father. Mary Jane Watson, Peter's long-term love interest was the first one to admit outright that Spider-Man was cool, and she would flirt with both Peter and Spider-Man during their early interactions. In addition, a later Revision has it that she always knew, but didn't say anything. In the original context, the fact that MJ liked Spider-Man at his most distrusted and went against public opinion and general sentiment to express that view, meant that she actually did like the real Peter Parker, contrary to the general trope. In a more traditional version, such as the Alternate Continuity title Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane explores this from Mary Jane's perspective, albeit with the classical idea that Spider-Man is more charismatic and Peter isn't before she settles for "Plain 'ol Peter".
    • Black Cat Felicia Hardy prefers Spider-Man over his bland alter-ego, knowing Peter's double life and still liking Spider-Man over "plain ol' Peter". Black Cat proves compatible as Spider-Man's sidekick and partner but not in his civilian life, which needless to say confuses Peter to no end.
    • In Ultimate Spider-Man which redraws and realigns the characters, Felicia Hardy's attraction for Spider-Man over Peter makes a little more sense since Felicia is an adult woman here while Peter is a teenager; she vomited when she learned the truth. The more traditional Black Cat dynamic is given to Ultimate Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat, who is also a superhero with powers who crushes on Spider-Man but doesn't fit well into his civilian identity. Mary Jane Watson is friends with Peter since childhood and crushed on Peter before and after he got bitten by a spider, and Peter reveals his identity to her early, making her his confidant and soulmate.
    • In just about every continuity, Jerk Jock Eugene "Flash" Thompson is a huge fan of Spider-Man and thinks he's the coolest guy on the planet, albeit as Peter notes, not usually for the right reasons. However, he thinks that Peter Parker is a loser, and tends to mercilessly bully him. Generally, he grows out of it and he ends up friends with Peter in his older years (though whether he finds out Peter is Spider-Man tends to depend on the writer). In some continuities, Aunt May loves her nephew Peter dearly, but can't stand Spider-Man (reasons vary from her thinking he's a dangerous vigilante to her having arachnophobia).
    • After the Cosmic Retcon of One More Day attempts were made to claim that Mary Jane Watson, of all people, only ever loved Peter because she knew he was Spider-Man all along. To say that this would be contradictory to her previous characterisation or ignorant of the original context, would be an understatement. When Nick Spencer took over the franchise from Dan Slott, one of the first things he did was affirm that MJ always loved Peter Parker for who he is, recognizing that Peter and Spider-Man weren't separate individuals but essentially the same person, and that while his double life had driven her away in the past, the fact that Peter was at heart a hero is one of the things that kept her coming back to him.
  • In The Sentry, Robert Reynolds' wife Lindy Lee (yes to what you're thinking) loves him as the Sentry but not as the mentally-ill milquetoast he is normally. She compares how she feels about Reynolds and the Sentry to how Bob feels about her normally and her in lingerie at one point. What a loving, supportive wife.
  • In the Silver Age Green Lantern, one of the obstacles to Hal Jordan's relationship to Carol Ferris was that she couldn't decide whether she was interested in him or in his alter ego. Eventually she found out that they were the same person, and they moved on to problems like her alter ego. One of the biggest obstacles was HER role as his boss in civilian life and her need to separate business from personal.
  • Wonder Woman's Steve Trevor is a classic example; for decades he ignored bespectacled coworker Diana Prince in favor of her Amazonian alter ego. He learned her identity on both Earth-Two and Earth-One before marrying her, and in the original Golden Age comics it's hinted he's playing dumb since he does things frequently that help her keep her Diana Prince ID secret. After the book's Crisis reboot, this dynamic was disposed of; Diana no longer had a secret identity and her relationship with Steve was non-romantic.
    • In Volume 1 Helen Alexandros fell in love with Dr. Psycho's projection Captain Wonder, and Psycho fell in love with Helen's Silver Swan form. After her powers were removed, Helen searched for Captain Wonder but found Dr. Psycho instead who repulsed her, continuing her search despite the fact Captain Wonder did not exist. Psycho was likewise repulsed by Helen, and continued looking for Silver Swan, the one woman he did not despise due to her Charm Person powers.
    • In Volume 3, Wondy has her Diana Prince identity again, and Tom Tressler (the Badass Normal formerly known as Nemesis) is in love with someone's alter ego.
    • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Steve loves Diana, and doesn't really think too much on Wonder Woman beyond being thankful for her aid and awed by her abilities. Learning the two are the same in the end only increases his awe of Diana.
  • This is repeatedly inverted with the comic book character Daredevil. Almost all of his female love interests have been looking to date Matt Murdock, not his alter ego. This applies even when the interested party is also a superhero.
    • Matt Murdock dated Mary Walker. The trouble was that while Mary is an innocent woman, she has two evil personalities, Typhoid Mary and Bloody Mary, who clashed with Daredevil frequently. Since Daredevil is blind and the three personalities have different speech patterns and biometrics, it took a while for him to figure out they were the same person.
  • Parodied in Marvel's comedic superhero team GLA, with the infamously short-lived Grasshopper, a superhero who wore a grasshopper-themed power armor, and was a member for about 6 seconds before he was accidentally killed by the assassin Zaran. Squirrel Girl presented his backstory in a prequel, showing that he was Roxxon security officer Doug Taggert who mooned after researcher Cindy Shelton, who only had eyes for Grasshopper.
  • Batman:
    • Vicki Vale was Bruce's Lois Lane (in fact she was a pretty blatant ripoff, being a nosy reporter with an alliterative name and all) throughout the '40s and '50s, but eventually the writers got tired of her and she quietly slipped away into comic-book limbo. She still turns up in The DCU from time to time as a TV reporter, but after the Tim Burton film, she didn't properly turn up again until The Batman vs. Dracula (See Rule of Cool). She's now back at the Gotham Gazette and knows Batman's secret. This results in Bruce recruiting her as an ally.
    • Much like Flash Thompson and Spider-Man, Detective Crispus Allen is a platonic version of this, loathing Bruce Wayne and liking working with Batman.
  • Italian Disney Ducks Comic Universe stories involving the classic version of Paperinik (Donald's superhero identity) love to play with this:
    • The standard formula is of Daisy Duck holding her boyfriend Donald somewhat in contempt while admiring Paperinik, with one story going so far to have her temporarily dump Donald for Paperinik.
    • In other stories, mainly the darker ones close to the first Paperinik stories, Daisy ends up as a collateral to Paperinik's revenges and is either scared or pissed at him and admires Donald for being the only one who can not only stand up to him but even put him in his place.
    • When the authors remember that Daisy has her own superhero alter ego Paperinika it's mutual and Inverted: Donald and Daisy love each other but can't stand each other's alter ego, and the alter egos despise each other.
      • In the miniseries Ultraheroes, which basically is about the founding of a Justice League Disney Comics, Paperinik and Paperinika actually starts to get along, and even falling for each other... Which causes them no small amount of angst, since they both already have a significant other - the other's secret identity. This also may pop up in 'normal' stories, as when they're forced to collaborate they find out they could actually get along very well, but between already having a significant other and past fights they end up back at square one.
  • In Flare backup series Sparkplug, this situation is inverted; the superheroine Sparkplug is adored by a local male reporter in both her superhero identity and her civilian identity... because he can tell that they're the same person; he sees Olga and Sparkplug practically every day, a wig isn't going to fool him.
  • Inverted in Alpha Flight; Aurora is dating teammate Sasquatch, but her alter ego, Jeanne Marie, is horrified by the relationship. (She's a split personality, obviously.)
  • Several variations of this occur with She-Hulk - originally in Savage She-Hulk, she was dating two guys... one as Jennifer Walters and one as She-Hulk, although that was mutual. Later the trope was inverted when she was married to John Jameson, who repeatedly expressed a dislike of Jennifer's powered She-Hulk form - much to her chagrin.
    • Which is a bit hypocritical of her, since she later stated that she didn't like him when his Man-Wolf alter ego.
  • Ironically averted in The Phantom, one of the first masked crimefighters in comics. It's complicated, but the Phantom doesnt strictly have a secret identity, not in the traditional sense. He's the latest in a line of crimefighters dating back centuries who have all used the Phantom identity. His birth name is Christopher Walker, which is also what he uses when travelling incognito but in his private life he's still the Phantom, he even wears his costume at home with his wife and kids. He never made his second identity a secret to his wife, and it was eventually Retconned that they had met as children.
  • Thundermind of The DCU's Great Ten has this in his secret identity (him being the only member of the team to really have one). In a shameless (and hilarious) riff on the Silver Age Superman, Thundermind is also the nebbish, bespectacled schoolteacher Zou Kang. His affections for attractive coworker Ms. Wu are ignored because she only has eyes for Thundermind.
  • Happens to the Hulk, believe it or not. Betty preferred Bruce Banner, Jarella preferred Hulk and Caiera loves both.
    • That Betty loved the integrated Hulk shows her consistency; she loved him for his mind rather than his body in all incarnations.
  • Hilariously inverted in Superlópez: Luisa Lanas (Lois Lane's Expy) loves Juan López but hates Superlópez with a passion.
  • Adrian Chase, the Vigilante's, relationship with Marcia King; she wanted him to renounce the identity of the Vigilante.
  • Shazam!:
  • In Big Bang Comics, Superman Captain Ersatz Ultiman is really Chris Kelly, but this isn't a secret to his co-workers, because he works for the government in his capacity as Ultiman. However, he keeps another identity on the side: that of his own twin brother, Carl Kelly. "Carl" is a shiftless womanizer, despised by the Ultiman-crazed Lori Lake.
  • Howard Chaykin's DC title Mighty Love takes it Up to Eleven: policewoman Delaney Pope and public defender Lincoln Reinhardt can't stand each other. However they both have costumed alter egos and Skylark and Iron Angel have a mutual attraction, even if they don't know who's behind the other's mask.
  • In Lewis Trondheim and Fabrice Parme's Venezia, the deuteragonists' civilian identities, an opera singer and a painter, can't stand each other; but their spy selves, the Black Scorpion and the Eagle, are quite friendly and exchange witty banter as they work for their respective countries against Venice.
  • Inverted in Jem and the Holograms (IDW). In sharp contrast to the cartoon, Rio loves Jerrica but thinks Jem is a bratty diva who shouldn't be in the band.
  • In the early Journey into Mystery period of Thor comics, when his similarities to Superman were most blatant, Dr. Donald Blake, Thor, and his nurse Jane Foster had this kind of relationship, with Don in love with Jane but believing that his disability would make it impossible for her to love him, and Jane in love with Don and wishing he would make a move while also lusting after Thor, and believing Don to be a coward because he kept running away from danger (to turn into Thor when nobody could see him).

    Comic Strips 
  • During the "Blue Dudes" story arc from Drabble, Norman tries to propose to the girl he's been dating, Norma. She rejects him as she's in love with someone else. He's so crushed that he eventually quits the Blue Dudes in the middle of the next game they attend. At that point, he not only finds out the "someone else" Norma was in love with was his Blue Dudes alter ego, but his previous love, Wendy, was as well.
  • Harvey Kurtzman's Superduperman!, his MAD parody, deconstructs the entire trope and its sexist foundation. Lois Pain rejects Clark Bent after he reveals that he and Superduperman are the same person. This was a spoof of the sexist assumptions that girls should be seduced by charismatic personas but ultimately settle for the dull "real guy" who they ignore, which Kurtzman saw as deceptive and disrespectful:
    Lois Pain: Once a creep, always a creep!

    Fairy Tales 
  • In some versions of "Beauty and the Beast", Beauty is haunted by dreams of a handsome prince who begs her to find him, and this is why she rejects the beast's advances. It isn't until she leaves the castle and stops having the dreams that she realizes that she loves the beast, who of course turns into the prince from her dreams when she agrees to marry him.
  • In "The Enchanted Snake," the king promises the heroine she can marry the prince if only she saves him. Recovered, the prince nevertheless refuses because he has promised himself elsewhere; the heroine, delighted, reveals that she is that woman.
  • In The Little Mermaid, the Prince says that he won't marry the Princess to whom he's betrothed, because he already had Love at First Sight with the woman who found him after he nearly drowned. Then he meets the Princess, and it turns out she is the woman who found him! It's a Perfectly Arranged Marriage...except that the protagonist of this story is the Little Mermaid. Who will suffer magical death if the Prince marries anybody but her, but is unable to tell him that. Kind of counts double, in that regard: he wants to marry "the girl who saved him," but since he was blacked out, he just assumes that he washed up on shore and was found by the Princess, not that the Little Mermaid kept him from drowning in the first place.

    Fan Works 
  • In a large number of Dragon Ball Z fics involving Gohan and Videl, Videl almost inevitably falls for Gohan's identity as either The Gold Fighter or as Saiyaman before finding out that they're actually Gohan.
  • Inverted in the Love Hina/Negima! Magister Negi Magi crossover "Four Seasons," with Keitaro asking the net idol Chiu for advice on dealing with his unrequited feelings for a girl...and when she "just out of curiosity" (since unbeknownst to him, they actually know each other) asks the girl's name, he reveals that it is Chisame, her true identity.
  • In The Hollow World, Death the Kid continually fights Dead Master, unaware that she is the Superpowered Evil Side of his crush, Yomi Takanashi.
  • Inverted in Fullmetal Alchemist Super Fic i'm giving you a nightcall, despite their terrible break-up Roy is still head over heels over Edward but he can’t stand the vigilante Fullmetal. He is actually rather ashamed of his attraction to Fullmetal, considering he's trying to get Edward back.
  • Played with in a number of Miraculous Ladybug fics:
    • Some start with the setup of the show (see under Western Animation below) but instead go in the direction of pairing up Marinette and Chat Noir for a slow-burn "friends to lovers" story, as each is the persona that the other likes, respects and cares about but doesn't (at least at first) romantically love to the point that they can only communicate through incoherent stammering or annoying flirting. Obsession is a prime example, in which Chat Noir develops a cat-like addiction to petting, and doesn't want to go to Ladybug for help, as he gets the sense that she'd do it out of duty without the affection he craves from her. As he puts it to Marinette, "My lady couldn't feed me macarons and chocolate milk. My lady wouldn't wait up in the rain to make sure I'm okay. My lady's smile doesn't light up her face when she sees me. Yours does. She can't give me what I need, Marinette. What I need, my Princess is you. And a princess is far brighter than a lady." He only finds out that they're the same girl later in the story, after she's found out his identity.
    • Other stories that deal with Ladybug and Adrien's mutual attraction (Ladrien), the discovery of which can be handled in a number of ways. If Marinette finds out about Adrien's crush on Ladybug, it can sometimes push her to approach him as Ladybug, often by visiting him in his bedroom, or else lead her to feel even less secure about measuring up to herself (see The Parts of You for an example). Alternately, if Adrien finds out about Ladybug's crush on him, he may view it as an opportunity, or, as in fresh eyes, come to believe that his Lady is a lot shallower than he believed, since "a boy she’s really only ever seen on billboards and screens has more effectively stolen her heart than her partner."
  • Second Chances: L fears Light Yagami, as his defeat at Light's hands broke him — he dearly wishes that Light will never enter the regular afterlife. At the same time, during the course of the fic he falls in love with his Shinigami, Rae. It's not until towards the end of the story that it is revealed that Rae is actually Light Yagami in hell, and even then L is still unaware to the truth.
  • Extremely Naughty: Marinette has a crush on an unsuspecting Adrien and ends up telling the flirtatious Chat Noir (completely unaware that he and Adrien are one in the same). She eventually ends up in a relationship with Chat Noir (even having sex a few times) before she puts two and two together and finds out his secret identity.
  • Frozen (2013) Modern AU fan fiction Struggling in Arendelle City has Elsa masquerading as a superhero and lived a double life as both a sister and a Snow Queen and Anna is shown to fall in love with the masked woman, completely unaware of her true identity. She does not take it well when she realizes that both Elsa and Snow Queen turned out to be the same person and the person she fell in love all the time turned out to be her sister.
  • There are at least two cases of this in Life Ore Death. First is that Lois Lane still doesn't know Superman's secret identity, and thinks of Clark as just a co-worker and friend. Second, Beautia Sivana has strong feelings for Captain Marvel, but just thinks Billy Batson is a cute and brave little kid.
  • In Danny Phantom fanfic Resurrected Memories: Paulina is head over heels for Danny and wants to date him but Danny refuses due to knowing that she is only interested in his ghost half and wants nothing to do with her now.
    • Inverted with Ember, she becomes heartbroken upon realizing that Danny (and by extension, their friends) only like Amberline Lain and still view Ember McLain as their enemy.
  • In Professor Arc, Jaune remarks that every girl interested in him actually wants the confident badass Professor Arc, not the awkward and untrained Jaune Arc.
  • Danny and Kara: Sam admires Supergirl as "a strong, female figure" in spite of "her brightly primary colors" but hates Kara.
  • Leafa's interest in Kirito starts in Episode 13 of Sword Art Online Abridged and all but dies a squicktastic, incest-fraught death by the end of Episode 14. Not because Leafa's player Suguha goes through with it, but she instantly recognizes her relative Kazuto by his in-game name and unleashes scream after profanity storm after bloodcurdling scream as a direct result of her own revulsion.
    Suguha: Son of a horse dick-fucking shit weasel-fucking bitch whore... ASS!! What is that FUCKING cock-sampler doing in MY game?! Oh Jesus fuck, I said my brother had a sweet patootie...! Aaaaaaaaaaah! [sobs into pillow] Noooooo!
  • Scarlet Lady: Adrien/Chat Noir has an unambiguous crush on Marinette, but initially treats Marigold with cold professionalism because he's had to deal with Scarlet Lady (and briefly, Volpina) and is unused to a crimefighting partner who actually cares about his well-being. Marinette, meanwhile, has a crush on Chat Noir, and views Adrien simply as a good friend.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Little Mermaid, Eric has vowed to marry the girl who rescued him but since the only thing he clearly remembers about her is her beautiful voice, he assumes that the mute girl he finds on the beach soon after can't possibly be her and is thus reluctant to kiss her even though he's clearly attracted to her from the start. He actually decides after Grimsby's advice that he prefers the flesh-and-blood girl to a "dream girl" who might not even exist, but then Ursula shows up in disguise pretending to be his actual dream girl...
  • Megamind has this with Roxanne falling for the eponymous character impersonating Bernard.
  • In Superman: Doomsday, Superman and Lois are actively dating and outright lovers, and he still hasn't revealed his secret identity to her. The normal trope is subverted in that she knows who he really is and makes it clear that she knows; she's just waiting for him to admit to it and stop the pointless denial "for her safety", seeing it as the last blockage of any real commitment between them. He finally does in the last scene.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Mask. Tina falls in love with the Mask (while Stanley's wearing it), but eventually realizes she loves Stanley for himself.
  • Roxanne, mirroring the Cyrano example below.
  • In Batman Forever, Dr. Chase Meridian first has an obsession with Batman, and then falls in love with Bruce Wayne. After Chase breaks up with Batman because she loves Bruce, Batman grins widely once he's out of her sight.
  • Inverted in, of all places, Death Wish II. Unusually for a plain clothes adventurer of 1970's and 1980's film, Paul Kersey did in fact maintain a dual identity/alter ego, since the general public did not know that Paul Kersey acted as the vigilante and Kersey continued his work as an architect while acting as a vigilante. In Death Wish 2, Paul Kersey gave an engagement ring to radio announcer Geri Nichols, and they had scheduled their marriage and honeymoon in Acapulco. Nichols did not initially know that Kersey acted as the vigilante, and she strongly opposed the death penalty and unlimited punishment of criminals. When she discovered that Kersey acted as the vigilante, she left the engagement ring behind for him, since his actions as the vigilante clashed with her code of ethics.
  • In The Legend of Zorro, Joaquin idolizes Zorro, but thinks his father is a loser.
  • Mary Jane loves Spider-Man, but eventually loves Peter Parker instead.
  • Addressed in Youth in Revolt, but subverted by the end.
    Nick: I can feel in my heart that Sheeni is in love with me, not with some fantasy lover in a French romantic novel but me, Nick Twisp. It's funny, after all that, Nick Twisp was enough.
  • A variation occurs in A Cinderella Story, where Austin falls for Sam whilst in her Cinderella disguise. When he finds out her true identity, he is less than enthusiastic about it. Ultimately averted, as he comes to genuinely love Sam for who she really is.
  • In Vertigo, Judy loves Scottie but he's too hung up on Madeleine — the dead woman she impersonated as part of Gavin's scheme — for her attempts to make him love her true self to work, and she ultimately agrees to be "Madeleine" for him. It doesn't work out well for anyone involved.
  • In Supergirl, Ethan falls in love with Linda Lee and is merely grateful and respectful to Supergirl after being rescued by her. He eventually learns they are one and the same.
  • Parodied in Spider-Plant Man. Jane-Mary is enamoured with Spider-Plant Man, but considers Peter Piper a total creep. Because she never changes her opinion, he decides to keep wearing the spandex even after they're married.
  • The Batman (2022):
    • Selina Kyle hasn't met Bruce Wayne, but she dismisses him as one of the "privileged white people" that let Gotham fall into ruin, and is clearly not very fond of him. However, she ends up falling in love with Batman as they work together.
    • Edward Nashton hates Bruce Wayne for growing up privileged while he was poor. However, he idolizes Batman and was inspired to take on his Ridder persona by him.

  • Even though she knows who he really is, Action Girl/Lancer Elli Quinn from Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga is deeply in love with her commander, Admiral Miles Naismith—but not so enamored of his real identity Lt. Miles Vorkosigan. ("I've heard you do his accent" is as close as she can come to acknowledging it.) Her refusal to come to terms with this exasperates Miles ("I don't do his accent; he does mine") and eventually scuttles the relationship.
  • Subverted in Death Sentence (the sequel to Death Wish), Paul Benjamin starts a relationship with a court employee named Irene Evans. Her comments about the vigilante (whom she does not know as just Benjamin's alter ego) do not seem to indicate she particularly supports the vigilante.
  • Averted in The Spider; Nita Van Sloan supported Richard Wentworth as himself and the Spider.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel: Marguerite Blakeney is estranged from her ditzy fop of a husband Sir Percy and in love with the brave, selfless, mysterious vigilante the Scarlet Pimpernel. Talk about some things never change...
  • This becomes a major problem for Gara Petothel in X-Wing: Wraith Squadron, who is an imperial secret agent who likes her covert identiy as an Alliance pilot so much, she would rather like to become the mask. Unfortunately the one pilot to show romantic interest her is the only survivor of an ambush she had set up months before. Not only did the death of all his friends traumatize him deeply, it's also his friendship to her that slowly helps him to recover. In the end, she is forced to kill off the Gara Petothel identity, but is able to start a new life under another persona, and hooks up with Myn under the name of Kirney Slane.
  • In the Bengali play Chitra by Rabindranath Tagore, Princess Chitra is a plain-faced Tomboy who prays to the gods that she be granted perfect beauty for one year, so as to seduce the warrior Arjuna. She gets her wish and romances him under a different name. As the year comes to an end, Arjuna hears of Princess Chitra's famous exploits and begins to fall in love with her. When he confesses this to Chitra, she reveals herself to him and they live Happily Ever After.
  • In Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith Meliara begins corresponding with an unknown figure who helps her navigate court politics. It turns out this man is Shevraeth, the future king, who she has had some Belligerent Sexual Tension with. She experiences some internal conflict when the mystery writer tells her Shevraeth plans on taking a queen in a desperate attempt to unite her feelings for the letter writer and for him.
  • Simon and Blue from Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda fall for each other online, but don't know each other in person, and Simon is stressed that Blue would no longer like him when he finds out who he really is.
  • In Anansi Boys Rosie is in love with Spider, who she thinks is her fiance Fat Charlie, but he's actually Charlie's alter ego...sort of.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Unlike all other adaptations, in Smallville, Lois might be a Hero-Worshipper of The Blur (not yet "Superman"), but she is with Clark all the time.
  • Hannah Montana has Oliver in love with Miley's alter ego, the rockstar Hannah Montana, but when he finds out the truth, he initially faints and subsequently gets over his crush as he genuinely doesn't see Miley that way. Later, Jake undergoes this, only this time, he didn't faint.
    Jake: "Jake Ryan doesn't faint, but Leslie, on the other hand, is a little woozy."/
    • For the most part, Miley can mostly avoid this issue as Hannah and Miley don't run in the same social circles, but at least once she dated a boy who explicitly didn't like Hannah Montana's music. However, she was able to use this to her advantage in "My Best Friend's Boyfriend" after she learns that Lilly's boyfriend Lucas is cheating on her; she and Oliver set up a scenario where Lucas will be out for dinner at the same restaurant as Hannah and Lola (Lilly in disguise), allowing Miley to flirt with Lucas as Hannah (since he obviously wouldn't do anything with Lilly's best friend) so that he will admit his cheating in front of 'Lola'.
  • In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Bulk and Skull have a deep respect and admiration for the Power Rangers, but have nothing but contempt for the Rangers' civilian identities. This gradually changed in later seasons.
  • Super Sentai / Power Rangers
    "I went behind my own back! I stole her right out from under my own nose!"
  • A running theme in Lois & Clark was Clark's frustration that Lois never noticed him but swooned over Superman. Much later (after Lois had known for a while and the two of them were married), there was an episode that played with this trope from a different angle: there's a scandal when a tabloid reporter catches Superman in bed with Clark Kent's wife.
    • In a twist, the show departs from the comics by having Lois deduce Clark's identity before he can propose to her, leaving that uncertainty about what Lois loved about Clark. She does not reveal that she knows until he proposes. This was somewhat settled when he became normal and she got his superpowers for a little while. In the comics, Lois finally fell for Clark then found out about the secret after they were engaged.
    • Furthermore throughout the first season and first half of the second (that is: before Lois and Clark start actually dating) Lois is depicted as being very attracted to Clark, but very deeply in denial.
    • Mayson Drake comes at the issue from the opposite angle. She definitely has the hots for Clark Kent, but views Superman as dangerously close to being a vigilante.
  • Kamen Rider Den-O has an odd variation that relates to Time Travel rather than secret identities. Airi Nogami was engaged to Yuuto Sakurai when he vanished, and interacts with a time-displaced teenage version of him without realizing who he is except she does know, the ignorance is just a front. Airi and the younger Yuuto are never really treated as a potential romance until the end of the series, where the elder Sakurai vanishes into the timestream. The first film of the Chou Den-O Trilogy addresses this further: Yuuto's Battle Butler Deneb ineptly tries to set them up together, before he (and Airi) realize that Yuuto and Sakurai are different people, but the roots of his kind-hearted future self are there and slowly developing, with the ending teasing at what might happen.
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel is prone to going through a Heel–Face Revolving Door between himself and his evil, soulless identity, Angelus. Interestingly, Drusilla—who's not exactly sane—seems to blame Angel for Angelus' evil actions toward her (torturing him as she recounts them in one episode) even though she loves Angelus. (And of course, this trope also applies to Buffy and Darla, but they don't seem to make the same odd disconnect between the two halves that Drusilla does. Though Dru's crazy, so do with that as you will.)
  • Community:
    • Annie gets smitten with Abed whenever he's pretending to be Don Draper / Batman / Han Solo / etc. For bonus points, Abed lampshades that these roles match Jeff's archetype, who is Annie's actual love interest. Annie has a very clear type.
    • In season 4, the Dean pretends to have switched bodies with Jeff (though Jeff refuses to acknowledge it) and does a spot-on impression of Jeff. Annie spends the entire episode getting hot and bothered around the Dean and having absolutely no idea why.
      Shirley: What is happening with you?
      Annie: I don't know.
  • In Taxi, Latka's girlfriend Simka returns to New York, but when he tries to declare his love for her, he suddenly turns into Vic Ferrari.
  • In Help! I'm A Teenage Outlaw. Swiftnick the teenage highwayman's confederates include a girl called Deedee, who he sees as just a friend, if not a total pain who keeps undermining his authority. Meanwhile, he has a hopeless infatuation for Rebellious Princess Lady Devereaux. He has never realised that Deedee is Lady Devereaux in a peasant smock.
  • As shown in Henry Danger. Piper adores Kid Danger and even thinks he's hot, which of course completely contrasts her usual behavior towards Henry. Charlotte immediately tells Piper that she really shouldn't be saying that.
  • Played with in Misfits, the gang is followed by a man in a mask (AKA Superhoodie) who turns out to be a future version of Simon. Future!Simon and Alisha hook up and he tells her that they are together in the future. In the present, they enter into a relationship and he can't help be a little jealous of himself.
  • The Mighty Carson Art Players lampshade the hell out of this in a Tonight Show skit that had Johnny as Clark Kent/Superman. Kent and Lois get married as, in their honeymoon suite, Lois wishes she had married Superman. Kent reveals he's Superman, much to Lois' joy. The lights go out when they're in bed, and their consummation lasts all but five seconds. The lights go on as they each light up a cigarette. Opines Lois: "They're right about you, Superman. You are faster than a speeding bullet!"
  • The Doctor Who episode "The Return of Doctor Mysterio". Grant is the mild-mannered nanny to Lucy, whom he's been pining over for 24 years. His alter-ego is a masked superhero called the Ghost. Naturally, when the Ghost saves her life, Lucy is interested in him, while largely ignoring Grant (who starts feeling jealous towards his other self). During her interview/date with the Ghost, the latter starts to make fun of her male nanny, causing Lucy to get defensive and have a Love Epiphany about Grant. Everything gets resolved by the end, when Grant is forced to reveal his powers to her, although she says she prefers his superhero costume... before putting the glasses he dropped back on him (i.e. his supernanny costume).
  • An interesting case exists in Mr. Robot: Elliot and his evil split personality Mr. Robot share a body but, due to their drastically different personalities and knowledge bases, can for all intents and purposes be considered two different people. Tyrell is in love with Mr. Robot, not Elliot, but doesn't realize that the two aren't one and the same until the beginning of season 3.
  • On Knight Squad, the Princess uses a magical ring to take on the persona of Ciara so she can train to become a knight. At first, only friend Arc knows the truth although teammate Prudence later finds out. In season 2, teammate Warwick surprises them by talking of how "the princess is so into me," having mistaken Ciara's words of encouragement as the Princess as professions of love. When he finds out they're the same person, Warwick is jarred as he feels nothing for Ciara yet still attracted to her when she turns into the Princess.
  • Daredevil (2015) does this with Matt and Karen, with Matt actually smirking when Karen vouches for the Devil of Hell's Kitchen in his presence:
    Karen Page: He didn't hurt Ben and he didn't hurt me. I'll take the Devil of Hell's Kitchen over Fisk any day. Plus, he kicks ass! [Matt smiles, Foggy scoffs] No, you should've seen the way that he was flipping around in the rain.
  • A Breather Episode of Ultraman 80 had Takeshi Yamato (Ultraman 80's human form) being convinced to go on a date by his students, only for the date to be interrupted by a kaiju attack. After Takeshi transforms into Ultraman 80 and defeats the kaiju (without anyone noticing, as usual), though? Takeshi's date is no longer interested in him, because she now had a crush on Ultraman 80!
  • In Help! I'm a Teenage Outlaw, Tom is in love with Lady Devereux, never realising that she is also the 'peasant' girl Deedee who is a member of his gang.
  • Moon Knight gives an unorthodox example with Layla and Marc Spector, as they're already married and she's well aware of his superhero identity. But after he leaves her to protect her (not that she needed it), he settles in London and takes the identity Steven Grant, which becomes a Split Personality for him. When Layla tracks down her estranged husband and meets Steven for the first time, she starts liking him for their shared interests, even as she comes to despise Marc for keeping secrets from her (such as having a mental illness).

  • In Rude Tales of Magic, Cordelia develops a crush on Blaine despite not having any interest in Ivan Gretsky. When the group is given the choice between sparing Ivan's life and receiving their payment, she even goes so far as to ask how often he's Blaine.

  • Older Than Television: in the play Cyrano de Bergerac, both Warrior Poet Cyrano and Book Dumb but so very handsome Christian are in love with Roxanne. Since Cyrano thinks he doesn't stand a chance with her anyway because of that big nose issue, he uses his gift for poetry to help Christian woo her so at least he can know they'll both be happy together, which backfires because it tears them both up for years to know Roxanne's really in love with Cyrano but thinks she's in love with Christian. There's also the fact that Christian is killed later and Cyrano still Cannot Spit It Out to not break Roxanne's heart... and keeps denying that the letters are his until his death.
  • Margot Bonvalet in the operetta The Desert Song.
  • Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest has its own version of this, with Jack's ward Cecily falling in love with his alter ego and "Bunbury", Ernest. Not having met him, though, she doesn't know the first thing about him, making it possible for Jack's friend Algernon to pose as Ernest to woo her. Of course, the traditional Loves My Alter Ego is not quite there, but that is somewhat thanks to Algernon who takes on the role of Ernest. Meanwhile, Jack's — who goes by the name Ernest in the city — Love Interest Gwendolyn is convinced that Jack is Ernest, eventually leading Cecily and Gwendolyn to briefly think they're in love with the same man, until it turns out that no one is Ernest.
  • Polly falls in love with Bobby's "alter ego" in the play Crazy For You.

    Video Games 
  • In Mega Man Star Force, Luna loves Geo's super hero form, Mega Man, but not Geo himself; after learning that they're the same person, she still claims she only likes Megaman and couldn't care less about Geo. However, she warms up to Geo over time. In the games, she's pretty clearly just messing with him, as she frequently calls Megaman, Geo and discusses his heroics while they're hanging out. In the anime though she seems almost delusional about pretending they're two different people even when he changes right in front of her.
  • Deadly Premonition has Emily falling for York which is Zach's Split Personality, rather than Zack, the real person, himself.
  • The Strangers mod for Freedom Force has one of these. Ordinary doctor Biff Bateman is completely oblivious to the fact that his assistant, Marla Manners, is madly in love with him and tries to talk him into a date/bed constantly. In an attempt to get his attention, Marla takes some of Bateman's shrinking technology along with a taser and a costume she made herself to become The Spider, the beautiful and mysterious crimefighter. Bateman, at about the same time, lets his fascination with other superheroes get the better of him and borrows some experimental military tech to make himself into The Fly, defender of justice. The Fly meets The Spider on the job, and it's love at first sight... for The Fly only, because of a bad first impression. So The Fly dreams about the Spider, who hates his guts, and Marla dreams of Bateman, who doesn't pay attention. Things don't get resolved until they finally learn each other's secret identities.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, Carth Onasi falls in love with the protagonist (if female) and hates Darth Revan. It is eventually revealed that they are the same person. An unusual example, in that the the protagonist doesn't know that she is Revan, owing to Amnesiac Dissonance.
  • Whenever Tart asks Hamil about his meeting with "her big sister" Tanit in Tears to Tiara 2, he voice his unending admiration. Leads to punches, blushes, and tears.
  • Galaxy Angel: Kahlua/Tequila's personal routes in the second trilogy games revolve around this. The one in the second game is also one of the routes where new male character Roselle plays a major role.


    Western Animation 
  • All Grown Up! has Chuckie creating a foreign alter ego named "Chongo" to impress a girl he likes. She's swept up by "Chongo", but is platonically nice to Chuckie when they finally talk to each other.
  • In the Animaniacs short "Moon Over Minerva", Minerva Mink spurns the affections of the nerdy and unsophisticated Wilford Wolf, but goes crazy when the full moon turns him into a muscular, smooth-talking hunk. After finding out the truth from Wilford, she decides to stay with him because "some things are worth waiting for."
  • Parodied in a special chibi style short of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Aang, Jet, Haru and Prince Zuko all battle it out for Katara's affection...only to find out she's already chosen the Blue Spirit, who's Zuko's alter-ego on the regular show but inexplicably a separate person here. Zuko faints, saying "I did not see that one coming."
  • On Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Jaime spends one episode smitten with Huntress. The same episode has him escorted around Gotham University by Professor Bertinelli, whom he doesn't recognize and doesn't seem particularly attracted to. (Though perhaps that's because her Huntress outfit diverts attention from the face...)
  • This has happened to Ben of Ben 10 on occasion. In the original series, he meets the tetramand female Tiny while as Fourarms, and she immediately starts hitting on him. Luckily, the Omnitrix times out, turning him back to human. "Saved by the beep!" Later in the episode, Tiny asks if he'll go back to Fourarms, to which he replies, "Never!" There's also Kai, who crushed on him when he unlocked Blitzwolfer but lost interest in him when he turned back to normal (despite this, the two ended up Strangled by the Red String in Omniverse).
    • In Ben 10: Omniverse, Ben turns into an Incursean to infiltrate their fleet, attracting the eye of Princess Attea. Due to the influence of Incursean DNA, Bullfrag (Ben's Incursean form) actually starts flirting with her! When all is said and done, Attea offers Ben the choice to join the Incurseans...provided he does so as Bullfrag.
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: Karmi is in love with Hiro's alter ego, who she calls Captain Cutie. Meanwhile, Richardson Mole inverts this with Go Go, who he tries to woo and refers to her as "dream girl". The one time he talks to her while she's in costume, it's clear he couldn't be less interested.
  • Cybersix: Subverted, Cybersix's civilian alter ego is her crossdressing as Lucas' best friend Adrian. Lucas is in love with Cybersix and vice versa... but then Lucas sees Cybersix go into Adrian's apartment and assumes they're lovers.
    • Don't forget Lori, a student at the high school who has a pretty open crush on "Adrian," but considers Cybersix to be a tramp (possibly not helped by the fact that she was the one who initially jumped to the "Cybersix/Adrian" conclusion because she tried to see Adrian in his own apartment). And then all is resolved in the final episode, when Cybersix hands Lori "Adrian's" glasses...
    • It's subtly hinted that Lucas might be bisexual and is also attracted to Adrian, regularly taking "him" out for dinner and at one point even invites him to go see a romantic movie. He even drops everything when Adrian got injured by the monster that turns invisible, sent to hunt down Cybersix, so he can take him to the hospital; and tells him sternly to stop making a fuss when he refused to go to the hospital.
  • Paulina on the comic book-esque Danny Phantom
    • An Alternate Character Interpretation goes that Sam is this as well, as an odd variant that also knows his secret identity.
    • Inverted with Valerie, who likes Danny Fenton but hates Danny Phantom.
    • And since he is an expy of Flash Thompson above, Dash Baxter worships Danny Phantom while tormenting Danny Fenton.
  • Dexter's Laboratory has a non-romantic example. Dexter experimented on a lab monkey, creatively named Monkey, in hopes of giving him superpowers only to get frustrated when all of it seemed to have no effect. In reality, the monkey gained a slew of superpowers and fights to protect the Earth as a superhero under the codename Monkey. Dexter remains oblivious to all this but frequently shows admiration for the superhero.
  • The Fairly Oddparents episode where Timmy is "the Masked Magician" may qualify for this—Trixie Tang, who (usually) detests him, finds his eponymous alter-ego to be "a cute superhero!"
  • In Freakazoid!, Dexter Douglas can't catch a break from the ladies, but they're all over Freakazoid. Freakazoid has a mind separate from Dexter, which occasionally caused him to actively mock Dexter for this. In the first episode, Dexter even turns into Freakazoid to make out with a girl who couldn't stand him—he even acknowledges how shallow it is, but he doesn't care. Freakazoid's girlfriend Steff won't even talk to Dex and when she found out the truth, she was at first incredulous, then thought it was funny more than anything else, and never brought it up thereafter.
  • In Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Phil is constantly trying to seduce Birdgirl—despite it being horribly obvious to everyone else that Birdgirl is Judy, his daughter.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): Teela has a crush on He-Man and dismisses Prince Adam as a lazy coward. Similarly, in She-Ra: Princess of Power, Bow likes She-Ra and ignores Princess Adora. (To be fair, both Adam and Adora deliberately show less heroism in civilian guise).
    • Inverted with Sea Hawk, who respects She-Ra but prefers Adora.
  • On Hey Arnold!, Arnold's attraction to Helga (disguised as Arnold's French pen pal Cecile) in the episode "Arnold's Valentine." Helga even soliloquizes about it:
    Helga: He likes me. He really likes me! Ohh! (beat) Wait a minute - he doesn't like me, he likes Cecile. Well, not Cecile-Cecile, me-Cecile—so he does like me!. Oh, criminy, I'm a basket case!
  • Similarly, Rosemary the police dispatcher is smitten with Hong Kong Phooey, but couldn't care less about Penrod Pooch.
  • Playfully inverted in an episode of House of Mouse: Clarabelle accepts a date from Goofy, but in his cluelessness, Goofy believes she turned him down. He later becomes Super Goof and does various heroic acts around the House of Mouse. After he saves Clarabelle from a meteor, he asks her out, but Clarabelle refuses — because she has a date with Goofy.
  • Rio from Jem is torn between Jerrica and her secret identity Jem—and he has a bad temper concerning those who deceive him. Inverted with Riot, who was introduced in the last season. He is head over heels for Jem but is vastly indifferent to Jerrica.
  • In an episode of Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Tigress falls in love with the Midnight Stranger who is actually Po in disguise. When Tigress finds out who he really is, she leaves to throw up.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • This works both ways with the two main heroes: in their civilian forms, Marinette has a huge crush on Adrien, but becomes a flustered wreck whenever she tries to talk to him, leaving Adrien Oblivious to Love, though still friendly with her. However, when they meet in their superhero personae of Ladybug and Chat Noir, Adrien is the one flirting while Marinette is indifferent and underestimating his interest in her.
    • Resident Alpha Bitch Chloe is a variant with both main characters: she's been Adrien's friend for longer than anyone as well as his Hopeless Suitor and is a serious Ladybug fan to the extent that she owns a replica costume of the superheroine and forces her Beta Bitch to cosplay as Chat Noir, yet she hates Marinette enough to bully her for years before the start of the show and is largely indifferent to Chat Noir, a handsome, athletic teen in a tight leather-esque costume.
    • A further variant comes in the person of Gabriel Agreste, Adrien's father. While he is an absolutely atrocious father, he does seem to genuinely love his son. He is also the villain Hawk Moth, and as such unknowingly attempts to kill, mind-control, or otherwise defeat his son on an almost daily basis.
  • In My Life as a Teenage Robot, Jenny falls for the Silver Shell, a robot suit piloted by Sheldon, who has a crush on her. He originally designed it so that he could act like a jerk and dissuade her from liking robot boys, but instead decided to take advantage of the changing situation.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: In "Otter Woman" Skipper falls for Arlene (Marlene in disguise due chlorine accident)
  • A Pepper Ann episode had Pepper Ann become the mascot of her school's field hockey team. While performing in her otter costume, she managed to win over upperclassman Craig Bean. Pepper Ann continued to meet Craig in guise of the otter, but eventually decided to reveal herself to him. Craig subsequently admitted that he knew all along that Pepper Ann was the otter, and also acknowledged how ridiculous it would feel if it turned out he did love Pepper Ann's mascot self more than her.
  • Inverted in Phantom 2040: police officer Sagan Cruz has UST with Kit Walker, but sees the Phantom as a glory-hogging jerk. Particularly when he used his "Good Mark" to deface a necklace Kit gave her. (It struck him as appropriate since it already symbolised their friendship, but it hadn't occurred to him that it looked like the actions of two separate people.)
  • Phineas and Ferb plays with this in one episode. Isabella gets annoyed that her usual crush, Phineas, keeps disappearing when she needs him. Meanwhile she swoons over the Beak, the new local superhero, whom she follows around Lois Lane-style. Of course, the Beak is actually Phineas (and his brother, Ferb) in a robotic suit. Genre Savvy Candace calls out Isabella for her Genre Blindness when she eventually learns the truth:
    Candace: Congratulations, you just earned your "Uh, Durr" Patch.
  • The Simpsons almost had a platonic example—apparently, in the early seasons, Krusty the Clown was going to secretly be Homer, with Bart disrespecting Homer but worshiping Krusty. This was deemed too complicated and eventually scrapped, with Krusty becoming his own character.
  • Platonic example on South Park—Shelly loves the singer Lorde, unaware that "she" is actually her own father.
  • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series Felicia was in love with Peter, but Black Cat was in love with Spidey. Eventually, Felicia decided not to pursue a relationship with Peter Parker so that her Black Cat persona would be free to be with Spider-Man. In the end, she left with a vampire, and S Pidey went with Mary Jane anyway, but it was all very dramatic at the time.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: A very brief example. Star is clearly smitten with Marco in disguise during their dance, only to snap out of it when he surprises her by revealing himself.
  • Daisy on Static Shock; Static lampshaded this once.
  • In Steven Universe Rose Quartz aka Pink Diamond got this on both ends. The Crystal Gems loved Rose while they hated and feared Pink Diamond. The Gems of her court loved Pink Diamond while they hated and feared Rose Quartz for (supposedly) shattering her.
    • Kevin insantly develops a crush when he first meets Steven and Connie's combined alter-ego Stevonnie, but immediately drops it upon finding out they're actually just the fused form of two children.
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • This version of Lois Lane gets a twofer in the original "World's Finest" crossover between Superman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series.
      Batman: It's ironic, you know. She likes Bruce Wayne, and she likes Superman; it's the other two guys she's not crazy about.
      Superman: It's a pity we can't mix and match.
    • Which is ridiculous because in Superman: The Animated Series Lois is attracted to Clark; she's just in denial.
    • Similarly, Catwoman loves Batman, but only considers Bruce a friend. He knows both her identities and, according to the "perfect world" illusion created by the Mad Hatter, would marry her, if Batman and Catwoman were out of the equation.
    • Batman Beyond:
      • As a non-romantic version, Terry McGinnis's younger brother Matt idolizes the new Batman as badass and the epitome of cool, but sees his own older brother as a boring workaholic who's never around.
      • Inverted with Terry's relationship with Melanie. Melanie loves Terry, but is lukewarm to antagonistic towards Batman.
  • On Total Drama Revenge of the Island, Mike's relationship with Zoey is continually impeded by his Split Personality, Vito, having make-out sessions with Anne Maria. Neither girl knows about Mike's condition at first and assumes that the personality they're into is the "true" one and the other is an act.
  • Dark Action Girl Paige from TRON: Uprising hates "The Renegade", despite certain flirtatious remarks she makes during their confrontations. Yet she ends up developing an attraction to his civilian persona, Beck, upon getting to know him better.
  • In The Looney Tunes Show, Speedy falls for Porky's dance partner (Bugs duisguised as a woman). Once he reveals who "she" really is, Speedy says that he was only being polite, since he considered her to be really ugly (Bugs does make a really ugly woman). Until it's revealed that he had a shrine, AND EVEN AN ENGAGEMENT RING.
  • Sweet Polly Purebred (practically a Lois Lane Expy anyway) from Underdog.
  • WordGirl:
    • TJ has a fanboyish obsession with Word Girl that seems to border on a Precocious Crush...but Word Girl is actually his (adopted) older sister Becky. In an episode where her family discovers her identity, he is mortified and throws away his WordGirl merchandise, unable to handle that his hero is also his painfully "ordinary" sibling. He even refuses to help her when the entire family is captured by Dr. Two-Brains. In the end, the family's memories of Becky as WordGirl are erased, returning things to the Status Quo.
    • Tobey has a Villainous Crush on Word Girl, but generally treats Becky either indifferently or as an annoying rival. Some episodes have him suspect that they are the same person, though by the end of them, events conspire to once again dissuade him of that theory.

    Real Life 
  • In a non-fantasy vein, this is certainly true of "ordinary" people who idolize celebrities. The "real person" more often than not is nowhere near as glamorous once you get to meet them. See Loving a Shadow for more details.
    • In particular, Marilyn Monroe was able to go out in public and not be harassed due to some Clark Kenting, much to the shock of a reporter doing an interview with her. She demonstrated the difference by turning on her charm and fluffing her hair out a bit, causing everyone else to recognize her instantly.
  • Miley Cyrus once stated in an interview that, while she and her little sister Noah didn't get along, Noah was a big fan of Miley's TV alter-ego Hannah Montana.
  • This can happen with online dating, especially on web platforms that allow you to go by a pseudonym and not reveal personal information. There are many cases where the internet allows people to either only show the best parts of themselves or create a different personality entirely.

Alternative Title(s): The Lois Lane