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Operation: Jealousy

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An Only Sane Man demonstrates the correct counter-move.

Hermione: I've just escaped — I mean, I've just left Cormac under the mistletoe.
Harry: Serves you right for coming with him!
Hermione: I thought he'd annoy Ron most.

A specific type of Zany Scheme: Two characters, Alice and Bob, are an Official Couple... or they would be, if Bob wasn't so mired in the river of denial that he insists that the water flowing all around him is solid ground. Alice, who is not in denial and very aware of Bob's feelings, gets fed up with his refusal to spit them out and takes matters into her own hands. Confronting him directly with the evidence might cause him to run for the hills, so Alice decides to invoke Green-Eyed Epiphany: She gets into a faked or temporary relationship with Convenient Charlie, to make Bob insanely jealous enough to come clean first.

Hopefully, the operation succeeds. Hopefully, Charlie isn't too insufferable or bland and doesn't drive Alice insane first. Hopefully, he won't be heartbroken and furious when he finds out Alice was just using him. Hopefully, Bob doesn't take this as a sign that he doesn't have a chance with Alice. Hopefully, Bob doesn't just want his beloved to be happy. Hopefully, Bob doesn't fail to notice because he has the awareness of a brick. Hopefully, Bob and Charlie don't turn out to get along really well — and possibly even better with each other than with Alice herself. Hopefully, Bob doesn't fall for it so thoroughly that he pulls a Counter Zany that Alice thoroughly falls for! And hopefully, Alice doesn't actually fall for Charlie...

Yeah, right...

Subtrope to Fake Relationship. Compare with The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction, Intentional Heartbreaker, Be a Whore to Get Your Man, and Revenge Romance.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Aishiteruze Baby: This is the plot of a oneshot side story. Kokoro's friend Aki has lived next to classmate Shin for her whole life and doesn't even see him as a man, and thus continues to trust him after a flasher convinces her men are all perverts. Then a new girl joins the class and Shin deliberately gets close to her because he's tired of Aki not realizing just how much she cares about him (and because he finds the face she makes when jealous to be adorable).
  • Case Closed: In one case, the culprit turned out to be a woman trying to murder her friend for getting engaged to her previous boyfriend but saying she really never loved him in the first place. After the murder attempted turned out to fail and Conan prevents the attacker from killing herself, it turns out the engagement was just one huge example for the boyfriend Gone Horribly Right. The friend, however, forgave her and gave deliberately wrong eye witness report so her friend wouldn't be arrested.
  • Inverted in FAKE, where Diana and Berkeley tag team to separate Dee and Ryo this way instead of bringing them together. This backfires, however, as it only serves to strengthen their bond as Ryo realizes that he really doesn't like Dee smooching on anyone else but him.
  • Itazura Na Kiss:
    • In the manga, Mrs. Irie pushes Kotoko to date Nice Guy Taketo to make Naoki jealous. Naoki, being Naoki, doesn't look bothered at all.
      • Though one could wonder why Naoki shows up with Matsumoto in the very same place where Kotoko is, perfectly knowing that she would be there. And then shows up again to stop a Cock Fight between Taketo and Kinnosuke claiming that since they all know Kotoko loves him there's no sense in their fighting.
    • Another very subtle manga example is from Naoki. When there's the (very unfounded) rumour that Kotoko is dating Sudou, he suspiciously goes on date with Matsumoto and then dumps her to go for a walk with Kotoko, sarcastically saying that for a while he believed she and Sudou were going out together, but that's impossible since she they were actually respectively following him and Matsumoto.
  • Love Hina: During the beach vacation arc, Keitaro and Naru attempt this on each other using Shinobu and Seta respectively. Both eventually regret what they're doing, and end up making up in the end.
  • Marmalade Boy: Ginta and Arimi attempted to pull this on Yuu and Miki. Considering the series that they're in, the results were inevitable.
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun: In order to get Kashima to understand the role of a prince suffering from unrequited love, Nozaki invokes this in chapter 60 by asking her to imagine that he and Hori (her beloved senpai) are dating. It works on Sakura, much to her crush Nozaki's confusion. This is repeated in a similar fashion later on when Nozaki says he and Hori are going to eat lunch together — and again Sakura is affected instead of Kashima.
  • Otaku no Musume-san: It is revealed later that Nozomi Yukimura only hung around Kouta Morisaki in an attempt to get her long time crush and childhood friend Chihiro Nitta jealous, even going as far as to have sex with Kouta as Chihiro watched. This only ended in failure as Chihiro was a hardcore paedophile and couldn't find her attractive. She later reveals, a bit quite coldly, to Kouta that she never loved him.
  • Ranma ½: During her more manipulative moments in the manga, Akane has used Ryoga in order to make her fiancée jealous. Be it accepting a date or clinging to Ryoga's side, if it will ignite a fire in Ranma's eyes, she's probably done it. Ironic, since a lot of people consider Akane to be the more Tsundere of the two when it comes to accepting their feelings for each other.
    • Sometimes, Ranma realizes what she's trying to do, but refuses to take the bait out of stubbornness.
      Ranma: Akane, you idiot. You're doing this just to torture me, aren't you?
    • When Shampoo starts acting like she despises him, an upset Ranma acts cozy with Akane to make Shampoo jealous.
  • Special A: Akira tries this with Kei, and it backfires in the worst way. Not only can Tadashi see all the little clues (like Kei doing all he can to avoid physical contact with Akira) that show that the two are barely tolerating the other, he and Hikari end up ignoring their feeble attempts and just have a good time, making Akira and Kei the ones growing jealous.
  • Tokyo Revengers: Attempted by Emma. Takemichi's past self attempts to sleep with her (despite having a girlfriend), only for present-day Takemichi to panic and run off after mentally time-traveling back to that moment. When they meet up again later, she laughs it off and admits that she didn't actually like him and just wanted to grow up faster and make her crush Draken jealous. He then quietly admits that he "doesn't understand girls at all".
  • Tomo-chan Is a Girl!: Carol's response to learning that Misaki admires Tomo was to force Jun to spend the day with her (up to forcing herself into his bedroom), and telling Misaki all about it the following day.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: A complicated non-romantic version in "Asterix and the Roman Agent". After the titular Roman agent is dealt with (who has an inherent ability to make people turn on each other, leading to almost every male Gaul declaring himself the real chief of the village), Asterix decides to make sure the others have learned their lesson and starts going around being carried on a shield by Asterix. When Vitalstatistix venomously asks what he thinks he's doing, Asterix cheerfully replies he's testing out the shield he intends to give Vitalstatistix for his birthday.
  • The Flash: In order get his nephew from the future, Bart Allen AKA Impulse, to take his legacy as the Flash seriously, Wally West gave the Flash legacy to Jesse Chambers, the semi-related speedster known as Jesse Quick. Unlike the example with Batman and Robin detailed below, it worked and Impulse did take things more seriously, though when he and Jesse found out why Wally did this, they were pissed. This was somewhat justified as unlike Batman, Wally was desperate; he believed he was dying but had seen the future and saw that shortly after his 'death', Linda Park, his girlfriend, was killed by Kobra, and he wanted to make sure his successor was ready to take over and save her. And also unlike Batman, Wally realised what a dick move this was and apologised for it after, and made peace with them both.
  • Non-romantic example, but quite infamously done in Robin: after Tim Drake resigns from the role, Batman gives the mantle to Stephanie Brown, Tim's girlfriend who was also the vigilante known as Spoiler. Part of the reason why Steph took the mantle was because she thought Tim was cheating on her and wanted to make him jealous... but Batman was explicitly and only taking her on to annoy Tim. Batman's treatment of Stephanie was bad, rife with emotional abuse; he held her to a far higher standard than any of his previous Robins while refusing to trust her with even a fraction of what he had the others. Steph became so desperate to earn his approval that she instigated one of his back-up plans, one that (thanks to him withholding information from her that even his enemies knew) triggered a gang war that ultimately led to her apparent death.
  • In the Sabrina the Teenage Witch story "Double Dummy", Sabrina's boyfriend Harvey refuses to pay to see a movie with her, so Sabrina goes out with Reggie Mantle instead. Harvey gets upset, saying, "I'll bet she wouldn't act that way if I told her I was going with another girl to a drive-in!" This inspires him to buy an inflatable doll and dress it up in his mother's clothes and wig. At the drive-in, Sabrina sees Harvey with the doll and gets upset. She slings her purse at him, but hits the doll instead, causing its head to explode. As Harvey's punishment for deceiving her, Sabrina brings the doll to life and makes it chase after him.
    Reggie: Tell me I'm not seeing what I think I see!
    Sabrina: I don't know what you're talking about!
  • Spider-Man:
  • Superman:
    • Numerous people, ranging from Jimmy's fan club to Supergirl herself, pulled this trick on Lucy Lane in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen. Lucy, being a dog-in-the-manger, would fall for it... and then go directly back to resenting Jimmy's attentions as soon as the story was over.
    • In Superman's Return to Krypton, Martha Hudson was being wooed by a banker, but the only reason that she even talked to him was she hoped Jonathan Kent got jealous and proposed. Which he did.
  • In one DiDi Glitz comic, a lesbian is doing this with the main character, successfully.
    Butch Lesbian to DiDi: Hey, blondie — take your paws off my girl or I'll kick your ass!
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Firra suggests that Renno pay more attention to her than Wonder Girl at a dance to make Wonder Girl jealous, but the mermaid had rather underestimated how much her friend had already annoyed Wonder Girl.

    Comic Strips 
  • In one Jucika strip ("Jucika Reconciles"), Jucika comes upon an arguing couple and starts flirting with the guy. Though it earns her an off-screen beating from the girl, it has the intended effect of getting the two to make amends and walk off together.
  • Employed by Johnson in PreTeena when he gets tired of Jeri Keene brushing him off. He holds out his platonic friend Candy as Schmuck Bait to get Jeri interested in fighting a rival for him. It works.

    Fan Works 
  • Another Way: Claire can tell that two of her friends like each other but Cannot Spit It Out. So she grabs the boy by the lapels and kisses him on the lips, successfully turning his crush pink and kick-starting their relationship.
    Roger: You kissed me!
    Claire: And see what Lindsey thought about that.
  • In Chapter 1 of Back For Good, Professor Professor plans on needing a fake date for Professor Bichitaru's funeral in order to make Doctor Doctor envious. Chapter 2 reveals Doctor Doctor had the same idea.
  • Bridge to Terabithia 2: The Last Time: Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke are now dating each other, but Jess suddenly develops feelings for Amelia Edmunds, niece of his old music teacher and former crush Julia Edmunds who happens to be in the same class with him. When Jess ends up kissing Amelia after a bet gone wrong, a rather jealous Leslie convinces Amelia (whom she is also friends with, but is oblivious that Jess and Leslie are romantically involved) to go on a date with Jess. It ends up with Amelia pressuring Jess to have sex with her, causing him to suffer a mental breakdown and decide to go back to Leslie.
  • Brilliance Tarnished: After L decisively rejects his Stalker with a Crush, Light turns around and starts hitting on Matsuda, attempting to make L jealous.
  • Captive (AbyssCronica): At one point, Eustass Kid pretends that he plans to use their upcoming shore leave to visit some hookers. Birdie becomes so jealous that she initiates and leads a sexual encounter between them for the first time.
  • Change of Plans begins with an Alternate Universe take on "The Ex-Files" where Courtney tries this trope with Cody instead of Tyler. Ultimately this results in Cody and Courtney actually getting together.
  • In The Legend of Korra fanfic Chaos Theories, Ghazan and P'li try to do this to make Zaheer jealous. It works, eventually, but Zaheer is convinced that Ghazan is doing it to make Ming-Hua jealous.
  • Children of an Elder God: In chapter 4 Asuka sees her crush Kaji flirting with Misato and clung to Shinji to make Kaji jealous. Kaji did not even notice her antics, goading her to try harder. Her ploy failed and anyway she eventually fell for Shinji.
  • The Dad Villain AU features a heavily Downplayed variant. While Nathalie's crush on Emelie has faded after realizing she was Loving a Shadow, she flirts with Tom in front of the Agrestes in order to gauge their reactions. Viceroy confirms for her afterwards that the Agrestes took it poorly.
  • Danny Phantom: Stranded: In Swapped, Kitty plants a Forceful Kiss on Danny in hopes of making her ex-boyfriend Johnny jealous enough to take her back.
  • Dauntless (Allora Gale): Implied; after Lelouch consummates his marriage, C.C. makes clear advances on Carson, Abigail's brother. This doesn't work out the way she intended; while Lelouch notices what she's doing, he mistakes it as her looking for a new contractor instead.
  • In Fallout: Equestria, after having a fight with Calamity, Velvet Remedy flirted with Littlepip to get back at him. However, Littlepip was wise to her plan and put a stop to it.
  • Fates Collide: Achilles flirts with Blake in order to upset Atalanta. Later, he reveals to Ren and Robin Hood that he does this all the time, constantly flirting with other girls in hopes that it will either make Atalanta so jealous that she'll want him back, or that he'll actually "click" with one of the new girls and find a new relationship.
  • Yahiko in A Growing Affection tries to do this for Nagato and Konan. He fails because Nagato is willing to step out of the way for Yahiko, and Konan is too afraid of breaking up the group to reject Yahiko.
  • Guys Being Dudes: Arlo initially plans this in his relationship with Spark, under the principle that Candela seeing him with someone else will drive her to win him back, combined with him dating her coworker making it impossible to avoid and Spark being a man leading Candela to fear that she was his Last Het Romance and try even harder to win him back upon fear that she "turned him gay". None of this goes as planned.
  • Ignited Spark: In an effort to force Itsuka to admit her feelings for Izuku, Setsuna and Yui discuss with her various ways that they could claim him as their boyfriend. Itsuka insists that she's intent on helping him hook up with Ochako; however, she privately finds herself struggling to stop thinking about him.
  • Juleka vs. the Forces of the Universe: After Luka asks Marinette out, Alya refuses to accept that Marinette might actually be happy with him, complaining about how Adrien now thinks that Marinette has a date to the upcoming dance. She then reminds the rest of the Girl Posse of a previously discarded Zany Scheme that revolved around making Adrien jealous by having Marinette pretend to be dating somebody else. Juleka is sickened to realize that Alya is such a Control Freak that she is willing to sabotage her "bestie" just so she can keep trying to hook her up with Adrien.
  • In Kissing Starfire, Starfire and Beast Boy attempt one involving Robin walking on them kissing for allegedly language assimilation purposes. The attempt fails, after which Raven decides to help Star instead, and also make Beast Boy jealous as well. The result is the boys seeing "a sight that left two with nosebleeds on the floor, and one stuck in a software freeze".
  • In Letters From Tomorrow, Juliet mentions the same "cunning plan" she had in the game: Flirt with Logan to make her boyfriend Zach jealous after he sexted someone else. Unlike the game, she tells this plan to Chloe, who expresses doubt that it will work. Juliet just says "I know my man." After Chloe convinces Juliet that Logan is too much a sleaze for this operation and just helps her herself, Juliet is proven right; she's back together with Zach less than ten minutes later.
  • In Love is a Battlefield Snape and Sirius have a pretend relationship to make Harry jealous. Harry, deciding that he isn't going to stand in the way of their apparent happiness, leaves Hogwarts when his teaching contract is up for renewal.
  • Lucky Charm: After Sasuke and Sakura have a messy breakup, Sakura ends up dating Naruto. Sasuke then accuses her of trying to make him jealous, but he's dead wrong; Sakura does have ulterior motives, but she's fake-dating Naruto in an effort to help him hide his impressive powers as a living Good Luck Charm.
  • In Mai's Ramblings, Mai posits that Aang and On Ji could potentially get together by starting out in this fashion, trying to make others jealous of their relationship before developing sincere feelings for each other.
  • Played With in the Firefly/Doctor Who crossover The Man with No Name. Kaylee pretends to like the Doctor in order to make Simon jealous, but it's only to screw with his head. Well, that and she's quite happy to stare at his butt on general principles.
  • Maybe the Last Archie Story: Double Subversion. Jason Blossom tries to persuade Betty Cooper to date with him, arguing that maybe Archie will get jealous and dump Veronica for Betty if he sees them together. Betty replies she does not do that kind of schemes anymore... but she is free tonight, so he can take her out for dinner.
  • Nice Guy Adrien: Adrien attempts this in Bewitched, briefly dating Lila in an attempt to get Marinette's attention. It doesn't work, and the relationship swiftly falls apart.
  • A Night to Remember has Starfire attempting to make Robin jealous by dating someone she met during a social event. The problem is, the other guy is Richard Grayson.
  • The One to Make It Stay:
    • Alya accuses Marinette of attempting this, claiming that she only started dating Luka in order to make Adrien jealous. She's completely wrong; she just wants to believe otherwise because she's been pushing really hard to hook Marinette up with Adrien, and refuses to accept that her "bestie" has moved on. The accusation upsets Marinette enough that she decides they need to take a break from being friends for a while.
    • Later, Alya attempts to invoke this herself. Convinced that Marinette only dislikes Lila because she's secretly envious, Alya tries to arrange for Adrien and Lila to go out, believing this will make Marinette dump Luka and start chasing after Adrien again. Notably, she doesn't clear this idea with Lila first, assuming that such a Nice Girl will be more than happy to help, and only has second thoughts when she misreads Adrien's hesitance and reluctance as a sign that he's got a crush on Lila. Lila later learns of the plot and takes it as evidence that Alya is just as selfish and self-serving as her.
  • Ponies of Olympus: In Atlas Strongest Tournament, Ran Biao seduces Spike just to hurt Rarity, whom she used to, and still-sorta-does, have feelings for.
  • Professor Arc II: Headmaster Arc: Part of Jaune's plan for dealing with Adam involves pretending to be in a relationship with Blake, to the point of having Blake act as though she's carrying his child, all for the sake of enraging Adam so much that he's blinded by it.
  • We get a double dose in Pyrrha(c) Victory in the aptly titled chapters "Jealousy I and II". At this point in the story, Pyrrha knows that Jaune likes her, but Jaune won't do anything because he believes that she can do better than him, so she decides to ask Sun, who is in on the plan, to the Beacon Dance to make Jaune jealous. Blake, angry that the guy she was going to ask is being used like this, decides to ask Jaune to the dance to both make Sun jealous and give Pyrrha A Taste Of Her Own Medicine.
  • Romance and the Fate of Equestria: Spike and Scootaloo fake a relationship in hopes that this will cause Sweetie Belle to have a Green-Eyed Epiphany about the dragon.
  • In A Scheming Severus, Snape gets Harry to admit his feelings by having Draco pretend-flirt with Snape.
  • Seigikan: Despite wanting to hook up with L, Light continues freely dating various girls in an effort to nettle him.
  • Seen in Skyhold Academy Yearbook, when original characters Jim and Rory write fanfic about their teachers and submit it for a grade. Nothing of the sort ever actually happens in the series proper; but in their Story Within a Story, Dorian persuades his friend Evvy to go on a date with another man in an effort to make Cullen jealous. The teachers read it out loud in the staff lounge and are basically in hysterics the entire time.
  • The Smeet Series: Played for Laughs in Vindictive, when Zim and Masouri execute a very poorly conceived one of these on Echo to try and invoke a Green-Eyed Epiphany in her, with Zim dressing up as a girl and badly flirting with Masouri. Needless to say, it doesn't work.
  • Sora and the Princess of Power: After seeing how much fun Bow and Perfuma are having together while at the Princess Prom, Glimmer forcibly takes Sora as her date and tries to make the both of them the Life of the Party to make Bow jealous.
  • White Sheep: Salem really wants Cinder to marry her son Jaune; at Watts' suggestion, she sends Cinder pictures of Jaune on a date with Yang in an effort to get her jealous and inflame her competitive spirit (note that Salem would prefer Jaune marry both of them; she really wants grandkids). Watts, of course, doesn't particularly care if this plan works, he just thinks it's fun to needle Cinder.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Beach Party: Dolores won't put out, so Frankie gets revenge by dating Ava. Dolores gets revenge on him by dating Sutwell. They both spend most of the movie trying to make each other jealous.
  • The main characters of Drive Me Crazy form a fake relationship to make the people who dumped them jealous. Predictably, by the end of the film they can both have their respective love interest, but they no longer want them and have fallen for each other.
    "So who are we making jealous this time?"
  • In The Empire Strikes Back, Leia kisses Luke on the mouth to invoke jealousy on Han's part. Squick ensues with The Reveal in Return of the Jedi.
  • In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett marries a random man to make Ashley jealous, but it doesn't work—primarily because Ashley was never into Scarlett in the first place and was actually already in love with someone else.
  • Grease:
    • Sandy begins seeing Tom to provoke Danny, and dumps him as soon as Danny asks her to the big dance.
    • Kenickie brings Cha-Cha to the dance after a fight with Rizzo, while Rizzo brings the leader of the rival street gang in a counter-effort to provoke Kenickie.
    • Cha-Cha, for her part, cuts into Danny and Sandy's dance, which causes Sandy to storm out—after Rizzo has already done so due to seeing Kenickie with Cha-Cha.
  • The protagonists of Love And Sex (played by Jon Favreau and Famke Janssen) do this at one point. They even have a weird competition while kissing their new partner, watching each other at the same time and each trying to be the 'wildest' couple.
  • Love Before Breakfast 's two main characters, Kay and Scott, both do this to each other.
  • In Our Miss Brooks, the cinematic finale to the series of the same name, one of these finally prompts Phillip Boynton to propose to Connie Brooks.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, after Scott dumps Knives for Ramona, Knives puts blue highlights into her hair, starts dressing more like Ramona, and begins to date Young Neil, all to be close to Scott and make him jealous. It doesn't work, although Scott does freak out when Todd punches Knives so hard her highlights fall off. In the end, though, she pulls an I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy, so that Scott can be with Ramona (in an alternate scene, he stays with Knives).
  • In Sgt Bilko, After Bilko ditches his fiancee at the altar for the second time, she gives him one chance to marry her within a month, after which she's done with him. Deciding to mess with Bilko in every way, Major Thorne starts hitting on her and takes her out a few times. Discovering this, Bilko has one of his soldiers dress as a woman and go to the same restaurant where Thorne and his fiancee are at. Naturally, she isn't stupid and recognizes it for what it is (not to mention only a blind man would think that the soldier was really a woman) and reveals that she was doing the exact same thing to Thorne.
  • In Sky High (2005), Layla starts a fake relationship with Jerk with a Heart of Gold Warren Peace in order to annoy Will. Warren, who thinks Will is a prick, is happy to oblige, but ends up getting sick of Layla clinging to him and talking Will into asking her out.
    Warren: Dude, you are so stupid. She's totally into you.
    Will: Not after tonight. I wouldn't be surprised if Layla or any of the other guys never talked to me again.
    Warren: You must've been a real jerk, because no matter what I do, I can't get them to stop talking to me.
  • In Submarine, Oliver and Jordana's relationship starts with her kissing him and distributing photos of the act to the whole school in order to make her ex-boyfriend jealous. It doesn't really work, and Jordana ends up sticking with Oliver instead.
  • In The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), Thomas the Gentleman Thief likes Catherine the Hot Detective, but he doesn't know if he can trust her. So, he lets photos leak of him dating a supermodel to see if he gets a rise out of Catherine. It does. They hook up.
  • In To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Peter proposes fake dating Lara Jean because he wants to make Genevieve, who has just broken up with him, jealous.
  • The female protagonist of Two Can Play That Game institutes her "Ten Day Plan" involving this trope to bring her man "back in line". Meanwhile, her man's best friend urges him to do the same. Naturally, both plans backfire, and they have to have an honest conversation in order to get back together.
  • In Wayne's World, Wayne's ex-girlfriend Stacy at first doesn't seem to understand that they have broken up, and once she does, she drags a random guy up to the roof of a club to make out where Wayne can see them. Wayne, however, is up there with his new love interest Cassandra, and honestly couldn't care less. He and Cassandra discuss the situation (in Chinese).


By Author:

  • L. M. Montgomery loved to use this trope.
    • Anne of Green Gables has the idea of hurrying along a couple by having the woman pretend to be dating somebody else. This forces the guy to propose. This is made all the better by the fact that the patsy brought in to pretend to court the woman hints that he fell in love with her, too.
    • She then attempts this strategy with another couple. It backfires because she didn't know that the guy was trapped by a promise not to marry anybody.
    • She even used it herself. She has rejected Gilbert, who is now seeing Christine Stuart. She's not really in the mood to go to a party, and acts rather distant on the walk there, but the very minute she enters the room she starts pretending to be the most fascinating and wonderful girl present, drawing all attention (including Gilbert's) to herself.
  • Jane Eyre:
    • Mr. Rochester pretends to be in love with Rich Bitch Miss Ingram because he knows that Jane is emotionless and placid on the outside but fiery on the inside, and that jealousy will be the best way to bring her feelings for him to the surface.
    • Jane later snaps Rochester out of his melancholy self-pity by arousing his jealousy of St John Rivers. It enables him to finally spit out that he still loves her and wants to marry her.

By Title:

  • Tom and Becky try to overdo each other in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. They got engaged, but Becky breaks it over when Tom blabbled about having been engaged before. When he returns from the island as the hero, Becky refuses to reconcile. Tom flirts with Amy and Becky suffers, but strikes back and flirts with Tom's mortal enemy Alfred Temple.
    Tom fled home at noon. His conscience could not endure any more of Amy's grateful happiness, and his jealousy could bear no more of the other distress. Becky resumed her picture inspections with Alfred, but as the minutes dragged along and no Tom came to suffer, her triumph began to cloud and she lost interest; gravity and absentmindedness followed, and then melancholy; two or three times she pricked up her ear at a footstep, but it was a false hope; no Tom came.
  • In The Berenstain Bears Gotta Dance!, Bonnie Brown spreads a rumor that she invited Too-Tall Grizzly to the upcoming school dance in the hopes that this would make Brother Bear jealous enough that he would learn how to dance so she could invite him instead.
  • Thoroughly deconstructed in Chronicles of the Kencyrath. Timmon likes Jame, and Jame kind of likes Timmon too. But she likes someone else more, and Timmon can be a dick sometimes, so she's not really interested in getting together with him. So Timmon launches Operation Jealousy and gets with Narsa. It actually does work—Jame, much to her annoyance, is a little jealous. But she's not jealous enough to actually do anything about it, and she's annoyed at Timmon for pulling this. Meanwhile, it turns out Narsa is a Clingy Jealous Girl, and furious and heartbroken over her role in all of this. She tries to kill Jame, and later, after Timmon gets her pregnant, kills herself.
  • In Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, Dave serves as Georgia's "red-herring" in an effort to make Robbie jealous in the book "It's OK, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers".
  • Kitty tries this on Jack in Georgette Heyer's Cotillion. A subversion, in fact, since it works, to a point, but by that point Kitty's in love with Freddy.
  • Daisy Miller: An Alternate Character Interpretation that Daisy was using Giovanelli all along to make Winterbourne jealous after she felt he let her down in Vevey, or that she decided to mess with Winterbourne's head when she saw how much her flirting with Giovanelli annoyed him, started such a heated FanWar that Henry James had to write his friend and assure her that Daisy was never planning anything of the sort; she was too clueless in the politics of romance to plan such a thing. Not that it matters, anyway.
  • In Diary of a Wimpy Kid, it's implied that Abigail Brown only got together with Rowley to make her ex jealous. It works.
  • In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett attempts to use other men's interest in her (Charles's, specifically) to get Ashley to break off his engagement to Melanie and propose to her instead. It doesn't work.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Hermione dates Cormac McLaggen in Half-Blood Prince solely to make Ron jealous, and immediately regrets it — Cormac spends their entire time talking about himself. She later tells Harry that she purposely chose the person who would annoy Ron the most (it certainly worked) and even considered a Slytherin.
    • Also in Half-Blood Prince, Ron dates Lavender Brown for the same reason as Hermione, towards Hermione. He doesn't actually like Lavender much, but she drives Hermione up the wall, which he greatly appreciates after finding out that Hermione snogged Krum during their brief relationship. He also grows to regret this.
    • In Pottermore, Tonks made some casual remarks to Lupin about Sirius — who is her cousin — being not-so-bad-looking. Lupin got annoyed that she seemingly fancied Sirius, and she replied that he knew perfectly well that it wasn't Sirius whom she actually fancied.
  • In P. G. Wodehouse' Jeeves and Wooster books, Bertie Wooster would often use this technique to speed up marriages, although they were never meant to be his own. He himself would play the fake boyfriend, usually without asking anyone's permission first.
  • In Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, Beau gets tired of Taylor hitting on him, to the moment where she told everyone they're going to prom together despite him never saying yes. He solves this by accusing Taylor of flirting with him to try to get the attention of another boy, Logan.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, Simon hangs around Isabelle to make Clary jealous when it seems like she's not interested in him. However, he eventually accepts that a relationship between him and Clary will never work and he starts to develop genuine feelings for Isabelle.
  • In volume 7 of Oreimo (or episode 6 of the anime adaptation's second season), Kirino does this to her brother Kyousuke by bringing home a boy she claims to be dating. It turns out that he's not actually dating her, and was just going along with her plan. She wanted to make her brother experience what she feels whenever he's hanging out with his female friends, such as Manami, and later Kuroneko.
  • The Agatha Christie character Mr. Parker Pyne, of Parker Pyne Investigates, who runs a business which advertises with the simple question "Are you happy?" and aims to solve any problem this might bring to him, has a male and female employee on staff who are experts at this. However, the trope never gets played quite straight in the published stories; the closest is "The Case of the Discontented Husband", where it goes horribly wrong (the husband falls for the "girlfriend" for real, she wants nothing to do with him).
  • In the YA Thriller People Like Us by Dana Mele, the main character Kay has a crush on her roommate, Brie, and tries to pull this by flirting with a boy at a party. Brie doesn't seem to notice at all, and she ends up dating the boy for real. Except, she later finds out, Brie was interested, and definitely noticed, but seeing Kay flirting with a boy combined with an off-the-cuff homophobic insult Kay flung to fit in convinced Brie she had no chance and should look elsewhere.
  • In The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, while Sorata and Mashiro aren't really lovers, it's heavy implied that this was why Jin and Mashiro had a pretend date. Mashiro claimed it was research for her manga, but it's very likely that it was to promote jealousy in Sorata in order to show him why he should stay at Sakura Hall.
  • Secret Santa (2007): A proxy version occurs in Be Mine, when Dexter's sisters see how he and Eden are struggling to accept their feelings for each other and make Eden think that Dexter is sending gifts to another girl for St. Valentine's Day to make her realize how much she doesn't want to lose him.
  • In The Squires Tale, Gawain tries to invoke this in a roundabout way. Since Ettarde's main problem with Pelleas is that he's "weak," he lets Pelleas catch the two of them kissing, hoping that it was piss him off so much that he'll act more assertive. It works...except that now he's decided that she's a shameless hussy unworthy of his devotion, creating an Unrequited Love Switcheroo. Eventually, with Nimue's help, they get the two restore their happily(?) dysfunctional relationship.
  • In Sword of Truth, Richard's former girlfriend didn't like their relationship developing too slowly. So, she let him catch her screwing his brother and invited him to join. Got a blank stare, and that was it.
  • In The Three Musketeers, Porthos pretends to know a rich noblewoman (Milady de Winter) in a church where his lover, Madame Coquenard, attends mass. This is just because Madame Coquenard has been distant with him recently and because he wants to make her jealous to extort money from her. It works.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Acapulco: Maximo runs into his crush Julia while acting as The Beard for his sister's girlfriend Roberta. Memo (who doesn't know that Roberta is gay) advises Maximo to lean into it and let Julia see what she's missing by not dating him.
  • One episode of The Andy Griffith Show has Barney accidentally getting himself and Andy stuck with two 'fun girls' from out of town just before a big dance. Thelma Lou and Helen get jealous and decide to go to the dance with Gomer and Goober instead. By the end of the night, the couples are back together and Gomer and Goober are dancing with the fun girls.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon tries to ask Penny out in an attempt to make Amy jealous. Penny sees right through it and convinces him to just go tell Amy how he feels.
  • Blackish: In one episode, Zoe advises Junior on how to get with a popular girl using a bluetooth headset. When Junior starts to fumble, she suggests he glance at another girl who's passing by. This causes the popular girl to get jealous and ask Junior on a date. It's later subverted when it's revealed the popular girl was only dated Junior so he would edit a video for her.
  • The Buccaneers (2023): James wants to marry Jinny, but wants to get some mind games out of it. So at Conchita's cottage party, he snubs her and dances with Jinny's fried Lizzy, which has the intended effect of making Lizzy obviously jealous. Little does Jinny know that James is an asshole who has secretly forced Lizzy to strip nude for him, but Lizzy's proud manner after James proposes the next morning makes Lizzy keep quiet about the real nature of the man her friend is going to marry.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
  • A platonic version happened in the Bunk'd episode "The S'more, The S'merrier". Destiny learned that Matteo invited Finn to Thanksgiving the previous year without telling her. To make them jealous, she found two boys that somewhat resembled Finn and Matteo to hang out with. The boys played this game as well and found a girl who looked like Destiny to hang out with. It worked on both sides leading them all to talk out their issues.
  • Cheers: Sam tries doing this with Rebecca and her sister Susan, having learned that Susan apparently seduces any man Rebecca looks at, in order to annoy Rebecca into going out with him. Things go a little wrong for Sam when Susan shows up early, and Rebecca walks in, before drawing a gun on her sister. Turns out they saw through Sam's attempt, and with the help of the rest of the bar set him up to be humiliated.
  • On Chef! (1993), Savannah makes up an imaginary boyfriend to try to get Gareth's attention, but he quickly realizes that the bills for all the bouquets she's receiving are made out to her.
  • The B-plot of the City Guys episode "Jamal Got His Gun" has a guy of the week hitting it off with Cassidy, only to reveal near the end that he intends to have Cassidy along with him to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. Cassidy, upon realizing his intention, responds by stomping on his foot before storming off. When Dawn asks him what he'd like, he asks Dawn to pretend to be Cassidy to enable him to carry out his plan. Dawn promptly follows Cassidy's lead.
  • Community: Jeff and Britta want to break up Annie and Vaughn because Annie is a vulnerable cutie and Vaughn is a lame douchebag (they think). They know that Annie has been in love with Troy, so they tell Vaughn that Annie is only dating him to make Troy jealous. He believes them but it's not actually true as Annie's interest in him is sincere.
  • Cracker. Fitz finally convinces DS Penhaligon to go out with him, only to take her to the same restaurant his estranged wife has taken her date in order to show her up. While the two are arguing, Penhaligon can be heard asking the waiter for a jug of water, which she calmly pours over Fitz's head before walking out.
    Fitz: (dripping wet) Anglo-Saxon foreplay.
  • Danger 5: After Ilsa finding out that her husband, Kruschev is longing after Holly, she pretends to date Jackson and takes some photos with him. She sends all the pictures to Kruschev, and later asks him if they made him jealous.
  • Drake & Josh:
    Drake: I hate your girlfriend, but her idea to make Tori jealous was really smart.
    Josh: Not that smart. They've done it on every sitcom since the 1950s.
  • A complicated version in Friends: Monica and Chandler have a Friends with Benefits relationship that's clearly bordering on more, but Monica gets asked out. She intended to get out of it but Chandler misunderstands and claims they were just "goofing around" to protect himself. This prompts a hurt Monica to say yes to the date and and flaunt the guy in front of him. Thankfully Chandler talks to her, explains his feeling, she calls the scheme off, and they ultimately enter a real relationship.
  • On an episode of Gilligan's Island, Mr. Howell and Lovey split up, and they both attempted this plan to make the other jealous; Mr. Howell with Ginger and Lovey with The Professor.
  • Been done a couple of times on Glee:
    • Rachel said the main reason she agreed to date Puck was in the hopes that it would make his best friend Finn jealous - it worked a bit, to go by Finn's facial expressions during Puck's song performance to her.
    • After being spurned by Santana, Brittany recruited Artie to be her new duet partner/boyfriend in the hopes of making Santana jealous - this also worked, though not quite in the way Brittany hoped.
    • Artie only got with Brittany originally to make Tina jealous after she left him for Mike.
  • On GLOW (2017), Rhonda's sex life with Bash has dried up, so she hires a gigolo to pose as a handyman that she can flirt with to make Bash jealous. Her plan takes an unexpected turn and they end up having a three-way.
  • On an episode of The Golden Girls, Blanche tries this to make her boyfriend Floyd (who just stood her up) jealous, the mark being Rose's foreign cousin Sven. At first, it seems like Sven is taking this wrong and falling for Blanche (being rather naïve) but as it turns out, he knew what she was up to - he himself wanted to scare his fiancé away. (It's an Arranged Marriage, and he's very nervous about it.)
  • On Gossip Girl Blair brings home a British lord from her vacation in Europe to make Chuck jealous. Later on Chuck and Vanessa team up to make Blair and Nate jealous.
  • In Hannah Montana, Miley attempts this on Jake to get him to break up with his girlfriend. It later turns out that the "girlfriend" was just Jake using an Operation Jealousy on Miley (and succeeding).
  • In the Here Come the Brides episode "Lovers and Wanderers", Big Swede has an argument with Miss Essie and then tries to win her back by flirting with some of the imported women. His plan backfires, and Miss Essie stops talking to him. Heartbroken, Big Swede leaves town, and Miss Essie starts flirting with Jason in the hopes of making Big Swede jealous when he returns. This backfires even worse - the other lumberjacks think Jason fired Big Swede to steal his woman, and they all protest by going on strike.
  • Herman's Head. Herman asks a girl to play along with this; she rightly describes the trope as "pathetic". It doesn't help that the ex-girlfriend Herman's after realises what he's doing and starts saying loudly to the man she's with things like, "Yes, I'm not wearing any underwear!" Eventually Herman and his ex start arguing directly and after a Slap-Slap-Kiss go off together, while the man and women they'd been using strike up their own conversation.
  • Happens three times on House of Anubis:
    • Mara and Jerome (Who of course, had an insane crush on Mara) started to fake date to make Mara's ex jealous. This ex happened to have moved to Australia and was wrongly quoted to have had a new girlfriend, and of course he did not and was actually talking about Mara. In the end Mara claimed she was just dating Jerome because people were teasing him for not having a girlfriend, leading to Jerome's confusion and annoyance.
    • The second time is when Eddie started to get really close to Mara to make Patricia, who was still his girlfriend, jealous until she explained why she had been mad at him that whole time. He later admitted he was glad when she got jealous because it proved she liked him back.
    • Patricia does it back when she wants to know if Eddie still likes her. To do this, she ends up asking out Jerome. Hilarity Ensues, as it turns out that everyone in the House, except for Eddie, understood her goals- even Jerome, to where he ended up messing with her on the date just to get a little fun of his own. It worked however, and Eddie got jealous and they soon got back together.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • After Marshall confesses that a coworker jumped him at work, Lily thinks he's just trying to invoke this trope and doesn't believe him. However, when the coworker drops by to apologize to Lily and confirms that it did happen, Lily beats the snot out of her in a jealous fury.
    • Barney takes this to rather spectacular levels in his proposal to Robin. He asks Patrice to pretend to be his girlfriend to make Robin realize how she feels, even spreading the rumor that he was going to propose to her.
  • Janda Kembang: Defied in episode 10. Malik considers pretending to be in relationship with Wulan to make Salmah jealous, but Wulan shoots the idea down since it's more likely that Salmah will go away instead.
  • Maddie on Jonathan Creek tried this to make Jonathan jealous; unfortunately, she was going on a blind date based on a photo which did not entirely match the goods, so to speak, and the guy ended up being several decades older than his photo and, personality-wise, "the bastard son of Forrest Gump." Needless to say, Jonathan not only clocked exactly what she was doing (and that it had gone badly wrong) but enjoyed himself enormously at her expense.
  • Miss Piggy tries this on the Avery Schreiber episode of The Muppet Show. It seems to work, except that Scooter spills the beans.
  • In Lucifer, Eve tries to make Lucifer jealous by making out with Maze. It doesn't work.
  • On My Name Is Earl, Joy goes on a date with a lonely and depressed man named Milo who had been on Earl's list. She did it because after a fight concerning Darnell's Porn Stash, Darnell claimed that he doesn't get jealous and that he takes it as a compliment when other men hit on Joy. However, Joy's gambit works, and she and Darnell make up.
    • In another episode there's an inversion of this trope. Earl is trying to make up for Faking the Dead to get out of a relationship with a clingy girlfriend. Her current boyfriend gets the idea to do the same thing from Earl, and Earl doesn't want to say anything because he's afraid that the idea that two different men have faked their deaths to break up with her would be too much for her. He tries to get her out of the house and doing fun things...which causes her to think they're getting back together. He tries the Please Dump Me Gambit, which culminates in pretending to have sex with Catalina. Natalie's response?
      Natalie: Well, just have fun, and call me when you're done!
    • Earl then calls her out for not getting jealous or upset when she really should have.
  • The Office (US): In the episode "Pool Party", Erin flirts with Dwight to try and make Andy jealous. Dwight doesn't reciprocate until Erin explains the scheme, at which point they both throw themselves into the roles of an over-the-top lovey-dovey couple.
  • In the Open All Hours episode "The Housekeeper Caper", Arkwright launches an ambitious plan to make Nurse Gladys jealous using an advert for a live-in housekeeper; banking on the thought of another woman under his roof making her want to rush him to the altar. Unfortunately, Nurse Gladys can not only read him like a book, but also quite likes watching his schemes fall apart.
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • April convinces Andy that if she puts several hickeys on his neck, it will make Ann jealous and want to get back together with him. Which totally has nothing to do with any feelings April has for him...
    • April tries to use Operation Jealousy AGAINST Andy too, by flirting with Jean-Ralphio, and later with her new boyfriend Eduardo. The first fails because Jean-Ralphio is a douche, the second initially works but ends up failing since Andy decides to bond with Eduardo instead because being jealous wouldn't help him.
  • Person of Interest. In "Bury the Lede", Reese goes on a date with a workaholic Intrepid Reporter as a means of secretly protecting her. Finch is Playing Cyrano back in Mission Control, so when Reese is stuffing up he goes to Plan B and has Zoe Morgan come up and flirt with him, in the belief that Reese appearing to be attractive to other women makes him more desirable. It seems to work (it doesn't hurt that Zoe is Famed In-Story) despite Zoe using the opportunity to pat Reese's behind. At the end of the episode though the reporter decides to break up with Reese, assuming from their UST that Reese is still pining over his "ex-girlfriend".
  • On Psych Lassiter finds himself the roped into this when his date Mindy uses him to try and make an old flame jealous at Shawn's high school reunion. The next step is for him to make out with her target's wife to break them up, something Lassy steadfastly refuses to do. Things turn around when she forgets her purse and he finds a stash of illegal prescription pills, which means he gets to make an arrest.
    Lassiter: I'm having fun. It's the best date I've been on in a long time.
  • In Seacht, after Eithne slept with Mã­cheãl, his girlfriend, Paddy, came to the show and shagged Pete, who was Eithne's boyfriend at the time. Drama ensued. Oh, and to make matters worse, Eithne and Paddy are sisters.
  • In Seinfeld, Elaine and her boyfriend David Puddy break up in the cab to the airport after a month in Europe and manage to commence this while they're on the plane ride home, with Elaine waking up her sleeping seatmate and getting cozy and Puddy immediately striking back:
    Elaine: What are you doing?
    Puddy: It's a long flight, Elaine, I had to get on with my life.
    Elaine: By making time with some floozy across the aisle?
    Puddy: Yeah, that's right. What's going on with you and uh...Vegetable Lasagna?
    Elaine: This guy? Oh, he's an idiot. He doesn't mean anything to me.
    "Vegetable Lasagna": I can hear you.
  • In Smallville, Chloe does this a few times to Clark with a few Temporary Love Interests. The straightest example is in Heat (an episode after they broke up) when she talked about this cute guy from Metropolis who she lost her virginity to but was disappointed, thanks to Clark's, to quote the trope description, "awareness of a brick". She is later involved again with Jimmy and ends up marrying him, but sometime in the middle she admitted to Jor-El that she still loves Clark. Despite that Clark's constant refrain of She Is Not My Girlfriend, he always had the knack of looking mightily jealous whether Chloe is involved with another guy. And a priceless expression whenever she actually kisses them (happened at least three times, with Justin, Ian and Jimmy; although for the last occasion it turned out to be Bizarro). Lana with Lex Luthor too.
  • During the Supergirl series, Cat Grant at one point gives this advice to Kara regarding her love interest James, describing it as the "Lighthouse" technique. Not specifically to induce jealousy with a given individual but to seem unattainable in order to garner his interest. Later, while unintentional, she notices it seems to be working when Barry Allen enters the picture and unintentionally does cause James to become jealous of the quick bond Kara and he strike up.
  • Played for Drama on Switched at Birth: Daphne flirts and makes plans with Travis, who she knows has a thing for her, but she only does it in order to attract her much older boss.
  • Victorious: While not a romantic date, Jade does use Cat in this was in the episode "Andre's Horrible Girl" when she hangs out with her. She pretends to want to spend time with her, but really just wants to make her ex Beck jealous. She even goes as far to text him to say she's having so much fun without him.
  • The White Lotus: Jack suggests that his companion Portia wants to make Albie envious and the two kiss. Albie is notably affected but Lucia tells him not to let Portia win and kisses him in turn. Portia is bothered enough by this to leave with Jack.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place:
    • After Riley breaks up with Alex for being a Clingy Jealous Girl, Alex brings a mannequin to life and pretends to date him to make Riley jealous. Sure enough, she wins him back.
    • During the Apartment 13B saga, Alex herself is on the recieving end of this when her ex-boyfriend Mason takes Alex and Harper's new ghost roommate out on a date. She's so jealous she even tries to find Lucy's long-lost love to break them up.
  • In an early episode of The Wonder Years, Kevin briefly dates a girl named Becky Slater in an attempt to make Winnie jealous. This blows up in his face spectacularly when she finds out the truth. She ends up punching him (several times), and later tells everyone what he said about them behind their backs, leaving everyone, particularly Winnie and Paul angry with him for several episodes.

  • In Goddess Creation System, seeing that Mingyi isn't as simply as his brother Mingluan, Xiaxi instead takes the opposite approach and raves about how wonderful Mingluan is. Since Mingluan himself is clearly in love with her, it succeeds in wounding Mingyi's ego that this servant girl could completely overlook him for his seemingly inferior brother.

  • "Judy's Turn to Cry", the Sequel Song to "It's My Party", by Lesley Gore. The motivation to get Johnny back from Judy is as follows:
    Oh, one night I saw them kissing at a party
    So I kissed some other guy
    Johnny jumped up and he hit him
    'Cause he still loves me, that's why
  • "Hot Dog, That Made Him Mad" by Wanda Jackson:
    I've got a guy, I like him fine
    But he takes me granted all of the time
    To teach him a lesson and make him mad
    I went out on a date with the best friend he had
    That made him mad, boy
    Hot dog, that made him mad
    And he hugged me and he kissed me
    And he asked me not to do it again
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's "My Baby's in Love With Eddie Vedder":
    Well, I don't wear Doc Martens and I don't wear flannel
    And I don't boycott the music video channel
    And I just can't compete with all that money and fame
    But I know two can play at this kinda game
    So let's just see how jealous she'll get
    When I start stalking Alanis Morissette!

  • In A Little Night Music, Charlotte decides to throw herself at Fredrik at Mme. Armfeldt's dinner, with the intention of making her own husband Carl-Magnus jealous enough to give up Desirée as his mistress. She lets Fredrik's young wife, Anne, in on the plan since Fredrik is also pursuing Desirée. The plan seems to fail at first, as Carl-Magnus can see that Desirée remains the actual object of Fredrik's desires. However, Carl-Magnus's jealousy is abruptly aroused when he later spies Fredrik and Charlotte sitting on a garden bench together. A round of Russian Roulette ensues.
  • In Me and My Dick, popular girl Vanessa decides to sleep with the dorky Joey, who's long harbored a crush on her, in order to make her ex-boyfriend Rick jealous.
  • In the song "Don't Lose Ur Head" in Six: The Musical, Anne Boleyn claims that her alleged infidelities were a ploy to make Henry VIII jealous that Went Horribly Right.

    Video Games 
  • In Planescape: Torment, you can meet an attractive young woman who's upset with the lack of drama in her relationship with her boyfriend, so she wants the Nameless One to pretend to be a jealous suitor and challenge her boyfriend to a fight. Said boyfriend takes one look at the Nameless One (who's six feet tall and so heavily scarred that his normal skin tone is impossible to see) and says he is not willing to fight him. The Nameless One can then reveal that he was only hired to try and stir up drama and suggest that the boyfriend try turning the tables on his fiance and give her a taste of her own medicine, thus providing the girl with the drama she thought she wanted.
  • Part of BioWare's trimming of Amy's flanderized desire for Sonic involves this. In Sonic Chronicles, Dexter is an imaginary boyfriend she invented to inspire jealousy in Sonic, but deep down she still cares about the Blue Blur - if Sonic is nice to her throughout the game, she tells all before the Nocturne invasion. If you're paying a fair amount of attention (and selecting the right conversation options), you can see this coming from fairly early on.
  • In Star Fox Command, this is the main reason why Krystal joined with Star Wolf and began a relationship with Panther, after Fox kicked her off Star Fox (out of concern for her safety). Judging from his reactions to her in the story... it worked.
  • In Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na, this is what the Natsuki Bonus Scenario "Mary's Love" turned out to be about: Tatsuya and Natsuki are now in a love relationship, but haven't told it to their classmates yet, due to Natsuki being locked into Cannot Spit It Out mode. So Tatsuya and Midori played along to trigger Natsuki's jealousy to the point she would inadvertently blurt out her feelings in front of the whole class. It works.

    Visual Novels 
  • Amnesia: Memories: In Diamond World, the heroine wanted to get noticed romantically by her childhood friend Toma because she's been crushing on him for years. She talks with Ikki about how to achieve this, and he suggests that she not contact Toma for a few months, with the intent that not seeing her for a while will result in him seeing her in a completely different light when they meet up again. Unfortunately, Toma misunderstood the entire thing and thought she had started dating Ikki, she was getting harassed by his fangirls, and his own feelings that he thought would never be requited led to his yandere side being triggered.
  • Canvas 2 has a downplayed version: rather than dating Yanagi, Kiri simply praises and compliments him in front of Hiroki in an effort to make him jealous. Later on, however, she plays this straight by agreeing to marry Yanagi'' if Hiroki doesn't come in first at the Concours.
  • Coμ - Black Dragon in a Gentle Kingdom: After realizing that their "super otaku plan" to win Akihito over lacks this element, Ayaya decides to fake it by recruiting her uncle. This actually works out.
  • In Double Homework, when Tamara catches the protagonist and Johanna fooling around, she dates Dennis to make the protagonist jealous. It works.
  • Heileen 3: New Horizons:
    • Jonathan tries to make Juliet jealous by recruiting Heileen as a model, only for it to backfire when he's sincerely struck by Heileen's beauty.
    • John also employs this. In fact, during his ending, he confesses to her that he flirts with other girls specifically to make her jealous. And it works, though she refuses to admit it.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: Shion openly and shamelessly flirts with Keiichi in front of Mion, to try and goad the latter into admitting her feelings for Keiichi (to the boy himself). In some arcs, however, it's implied she uses this tactic to hurt Mion's feelings, rather than help her along with admitting them.

    Web Comics 
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court Chapter 86, Jerrick ( actually Loup) announces to Antimony that Lana is his girlfriend, then straight-out says "I hope you're not too jealous". Annie rather bemusedly, and completely honestly, says she isn't at all jealous and is very happy for them. Jerrick does not take this well, and takes it out on Lana. (Ironically, Lana had been jealous of the time he was spending with Annie, which is what gave him the idea.)
  • In Insecticomics, Thrust tries to talk Dreadmoon into dating someone else to make Starscream jealous. When Thrust suggests he be the Convenient Clancey, it becomes rather obvious that the Zany Scheme is at least half a plot to hook up with Dreadmoon himself.
  • In this strip from Loserz, Carla thinks this is what's going on.
  • In Ménage à 3, Peggy executes one of these schemes on behalf of Sonya, with a degree of skill and judgement that's unusual for both the trope and this comic, under the name Operation "Hey, Jealous Zii." Unfortunately, she's running on flawed prior intelligence, but her plan works incredibly well even so, especially from her point of view. Funnily enough, she mostly just wants to improve Sonya's love life enough that Sonya stops having loud soap-operatic dreams, because they're currently platonically sharing a bed, and Sonya is keeping Peggy awake. Switching Sonya's bass guitar for a snow shovel, pulling off a Naked Apron show, and baking high-quality cupcakes, are all far less zany elements of the scheme than they sound. The story starts here; note that some of the strips are somewhat NSFW. Phase 1 culminates here.
  • Misfile:
    • James and Cassiel use this tactic to try and break up their exes, Ash and Rumisel and reclaim them. Thanks to the main plot of the comic (Ash is a boy who was Gender Bender'd by cosmic screw-up and Rumisel's just pretending to date "her" to keep other guys away), it was never likely to succeed.
    • For extra fun, Ash did want to break the pair up, but only because Cassiel is quite literally a devilnote  and Ash is concerned about James' well-being. But then Eponine, a mutual friend, convinced Ash to let it be because it seemed to be making Cassiel happy. Of course, she's not happy about Ash's indifference:
  • In Sandra on the Rocks, Sandra tries to use Aaina as her fake lesbian lover as a way to regain Cammi’s interest after Cammi has taken up with Ingrid. This is rather petty of her, as she can only act on her lesbian attraction to Cammi when she's drunk, and she has a boyfriend to whom she's supposedly faithful, while Aaina has a genuine crush on Sandra and is likely to end up hurt by this.
  • Deeply subverted in Shortpacked! by Ken's attempt to get Malaya jealous at him by asking out the drop-dead gorgeous Conquest. Not only does Malaya have no positive feelings for her Dogged Nice Guy, but Conquest accepts and intends to take the date all the way. In the end, Ken starts looking at other girls, and while she doesn't develop feelings for him, Malaya does get a little bummed at the lack of ego-reinforcing attention.
  • Sluggy Freelance: In "The Isle of Dr. Steve — A Spooky Kind of Love", Gwynn contemplates dating Torg to get Riff interested in her again. She talks about it out loud, and Zoë sardonically points out "the jealousy ploy is just plain evil," and Gwynn isn't too keen on having to go out on a date with Torg either, until he drives into the yard with a Corvette (which she stole to escape after the Mad Scientist who owned it blew up). Torg agrees to go out with Gwynn because he doesn't think it's a date at first, and the date kind of establishes the Belligerent Sexual Tension between Torg and Gwynn. Riff does become jealous... but it fizzles out because when he goes to confront Torg, it turns out Torg just bought a Dreamcast. After playing video games frantically, Torg and Riff both agree they don't want to date Gwynn.
  • In Sticky Dilly Buns, Angel attempts to provoke Jerzy to jealousy here. Jerzy demonstrates how an Only Sane Man counters the move. Incidentally, this takes place during a crossover with Ménage à 3, during which the Operation Jealousy plotline from that comic (see above) is also still running; so the trope is active twice, simultaneously, in the same club.
  • In Treading Ground, Wrong Genre Savvy Rose attempts this sort of thing before her friend can explain why it was a mistake. It sinks her wrecked relationship even deeper.

    Web Original 
  • Resident Evil Abridged: Chris shifts between pretending not to notice Wesker's obvious man-crush on him, or simply ignoring it altogether. So, as a last resort, Wesker tries to make Chris jealous by revealing the Tyrant to be his girlfriend. Chris finds it funny, but still doesn't care.
  • It was done in Sailor Moon Abridged:
    Serena: Hey, Melvin. If I go on a date with you, Darian will get jealous... well, maybe not "jealous...

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of Adventure Time had Jake attempting this when Finn and Lady Rainicorn started hanging out. He invited a boy named Tiffany to play viola with him, so that way both Lady and Finn get jealous (Lady getting jealous of the fact that Jake is playing viola with someone else, Finn getting jealous of Jake because they're bros). It works on Finn, who beats up Tiffany.
  • In American Dad! episode "The Magnificent Steven", Roger enlists Hayley to pretend to be his girlfriend in order to make the girl at the liquor store, who he has a crush on, jealous. It horribly backfires when he falls in love with Hayley instead. In the end, it all turns out to be an elaborate plot to win a T-shirt.
  • In Angry Beavers, Treeflower starts dating Truckee, and Norbert attempts to win her back by making her jealous with another girlfriend, using a puppet Daggett makes for him out of a bunch of junk.
  • Big City Greens: In "Park Pandemonium", Tilly gets another old lady to be her grandmother to make Gramma jealous.
  • In Danny Phantom, Kitty possesses Paulina and dates the main hero who has a crush on her, all in order to make her on/off boyfriend Johnny 13 jealous.
  • In the Daria episode "Daria Dance Party," Kevin and Brittany have a temporary break-up and each want to date another cheerleader/football player to make the other jealous. The Bro Code (and its female counterpart) prevents this, until Brittany asks out Robert, a football player who was out of town and doesn't know what's going on.
  • DC Super Hero Girls 2019: Hal Jordan's Abhorrent Admirer Carol Ferris gets a perfect new boyfriend, causing a role reversal where Hal is desperate to get her back. After enough hijinks have happened, Carol reveals that she was using this trope to win Hal back and smugly dumps her new boyfriend... who reveals he was doing the exact same thing. He's Sinestro in disguise and was trying to get Hal back as his best friend.
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy, Marie attempts this with Eddy after seeing Double D dancing with Nazz. Of course, she has to get his attention first, so she slams Eddy into Nazz like a mace.
    Marie: Quick, he's looking! Make like an octopus and suck face!
  • An episode of El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera has Puma Loco pull one on his grandson Manny by taking a rookie villain called the Cactus Kid as his apprentice and spending more time with him instead of Manny.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • A variation: Timmy pulls a "Freaky Friday" Flip with Vicky's dog Doidle, and Doidle refuses to allow the wish to be unwished since he likes being human. Wanda poofs into a poodle and flirts with Timmy until Doidle gets jealous enough to unwish the wish.
    • In another episode, when Timmy wishes away his emotions, Trixie Tang becomes irate when Timmy is no longer attracted to her, so she takes Chester (Unwilling on his part) as her boyfriend just to get his attention.
  • Parodied on Family Guy:
    • Stewie fell in love with a girl at day care and then held hands with another girl when he thought she was seeing someone else.
      Stewie: Was it one? No, two. Yes. She's two weeks younger than you!
    • Brian wanted Jillian to notice him and Lauren Conrad suggests that he remind his ex how much she misses him. Stewie says the best way is by going on a date with a beautiful woman.
      Brian: What is this gonna do?
      Stewie: It's gonna make her jealous. You, out on the town with a hot date.
      Brian: How are you a hot date?
      Stewie: Whoa! You're angry at her, not me. No wonder you're alone.
  • In Futurama when Fry became obsessed with cloning his dead dog, his jealous best friend Bender tried to pull this with a Robot Dog.
  • Done twice in Hey Arnold!. One of these instances is when Helga attempts to rouse Arnold's jealousy by dating Stinky (she gets this idea by viewing an in-universe film that uses this very trope). The other instance is when Helga convinces Arnold to 'date' her in order to capture Lila's attention (who is dating Arnold's cousin, Arnie, at the time).
  • The reason Pepper is dating Happy in Iron Man: Armored Adventures to get Tony's attention. For once it actually seems to work, as Tony seems to not like them together despite seeing it as an Operation Jealousy tactic, but never seems to act on it.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes:
    • The episode "Pet Rocky" has Beezy using Butt-Monkey Samy as a pet in order to get his real pet Rocky away from Jimmy.
    • The episode "Heloise's Secret Admirer" has Heloise date local pickpocket and dumpster diver Peep to make Jimmy jealous.
  • Johnny Bravo was the victim of this twice in the first season. Once by an antelope.
  • King of the Hill:
    • In "Love Hurts And So Does Art", Connie does this to Bobby when she tells him that since Bobby doesn't want to go to the school dance, she's going with someone else. In the end, when Bobby makes it to the dance, Connie admits that she went alone and was hoping to make him jealous.
    • In "Naked Ambition", Connie catches Bobby and Joseph seemingly spying on her while she was changing her clothes, when in reality, Joseph was trying to spy on Luanne while she was showering and Bobby was trying to stop him. So, she decides to go on a date with Chane Wassanasong out of spite towards Bobby. Afterwards, she admits to her parents that she doesn't actually like Chane, and when Bobby comes over and explains what actually happened, she forgives him.
  • Legend of the Three Caballeros Daisy does this to Donald with Dapper Duck, who as his name implies, is a handsome and charming doppleganger of Donald's. Donald at the time has more pressing matters at hand, so he brushes it off. Jose and Panchito are quick to point out that he doesn't like him though.
  • The Loud House:
    • In "A Fair to Remember", Lincoln and Bobby become friends and make her feel left out. So Lori invites Clyde to hang out in order to make Bobby jealous.
    • In "Vantastic Voyage", Rita attempts to convince Lynn Sr. to get Vanzilla back by accepting a ride from her coworker Brandon, the Mr. Hunky Royal Woods winner. Unfortunately, Lynn Sr. doesn't notice.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • Cat Noir has been very vocal about his crush on Ladybug, who always rejects his advances. At one point, he announces he has a girlfriend, but when Ladybug expresses her happiness for him, he immediately admits he was attempting to invoke this.
    • Averted again when both Adrien/Cat Noir and Marinette/Ladybug begin dating Kagami and Luka respectively. Rather than attempting to garner their actual crushes' interest, they're genuinely attempting to get over their feelings by exploring a new relationship.
  • In My Life as a Teenage Robot, Sheldon Lee pays Pteresa to date him in a ploy to make Jenny jealous. And it actually works, as Jenny starts to miss his company and even considers a Relationship Upgrade. Unfortunately, her hearing is busted throughout the episode, and at the end she misinterprets an Anguished Declaration of Love from Sheldon as him saying he's too good for her, and she flies off in a huff.
  • In one My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode, Discord tries to invoke this when Fluttershy invites her new friend to a fancy party instead of him. Of course, Fluttershy being Fluttershy, it doesn't work, which only annoys him further.
  • Done in The Proud Family with Dijonay dating Duke to make Sticky feel jealous after he refused to kiss her on "Hip Hop Helicopter." It was all Penny's idea so she'd stop chasing Sticky and not embarrass herself.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Alone Again, Natura-Diddly", Ned Flanders goes on a date with Edna Krabappel, but realizes that he's being exploited to make Edna's on-again/off-again love interest, Principal Skinner, jealous. Hilariously, Edna and Ned would actually become a couple several seasons later.
      Ned: Mmm, dinner was delicious, Edna. But I can't shake the feeling that you're just using me to make Principal Skinner jealous.
      Edna: Oh, please, I don't care what Mr. "Engaged-to-be-Engaged" thinks. (turns to phone, which is off hook) Hear that, Seymour?
      Skinner: (on phone) Edna, this is childish.
      Edna: Fine, then hang up.
      Skinner: I will hang up when he leaves.
      Ned: (sighs)
    • In "The Bart Wants What It Wants", Rainier Wolfcastle's daughter Greta develops a crush on Bart, but he's Oblivious to Love, so she tries to date Milhouse to make him jealous.
  • In one episode of Stōked, Lo bribes Reef into entering a fake relationship with her in order to make an old ex-boyfriend (who is currently dating Fin) jealous and want her back. It turns out about as well as you’d expect. However, true to trope, Lo and Reef start dating a few episodes later.
    • As a twist at the end of said episode, it turns out that Lo's ex was just dating Fin to make Lo jealous all along and get revenge on her for dumping him.
  • In Total Drama World Tour, Courtney attempts to make her former love interest Duncan jealous by flirting with Tyler, then Alejandro. It doesn't work.

    Real Life 
  • Mate-choice copying is the principle that females of certain species, including humans, are more inclined to find a potential mate desirable if they see that others do. There are multitudes of anecdotes about men who typically struggle to receive female attention finding plenty after having already obtained a partner, and as a result of this, some men will deliberately attempt to invoke this by wearing fake wedding rings to bars or other social settings.
  • A pair of Golden Lion tamarins (a very endangered species of primate from South America) at a zoo had ceased mating. The Zookeepers felt it was because the male of the pair had ceased making mating calls to the female. The zookeepers rigged a stereo near their enclosure to play pre-recorded mating calls of other male tamarins. The male of the pair, upon hearing other males, started making mating calls himself to warn them off and the two tamarins started mating again.
  • This twitter thread (saved here) explains how a fictional character helped start a romance and then showed up at the couple's wedding.
  • 17th-century French courtesan and author Ninon de l'Enclos allegedly masterminded an instance of this trope with the Marquis de Sévigné. After admonishing him for being a Dogged Nice Guy towards a countess he was interested in, she instructed him to create distance and act nonchalant with her before showing up to gatherings with a beautiful young woman in his arms. It worked brilliantly until the marquis went right back to his old ways, shattering the illusion.


Video Example(s):


Big Greg's Love of Fish

While catching animals to obtain their DNA to enhance athletes' performance, Big Greg ends up falling in love with a big fish named Tanya. It turns out Tanya only dated Big Greg to make Huge Greg jealous. Huge Greg and Tanya would later have hybrid children.

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / InterspeciesRomance

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