Follow TV Tropes


Two-Person Love Triangle

Go To

"Only a guy with my nutty luck could end up being his own competition!"

Some people get into a Love Triangle with themselves. Sometimes this gets resolved, if it's a case of Mistaken Identity; sometimes it really doesn't, if they have to maintain a Secret Identity. A very common, very old form is two kids, each chafing against their separate Arranged Marriages, meet and fall in love before they realize their betrothal is to each other, clearing up any and all moral ambiguity or conflict of duties that had driven the story up till that point. Another common version is what we might call the 'superhero' version — the superhero's Mild Mannered Alter-Ego is head-over-heels for a person who won't give them the time of day... because they're head-over-heels for the superhero.

Taken even further, this can happen with Split Personalities, in which one character is involved with multiple different personalities of the same person. Whether or not all parties are aware of this fact is often what will determine whether this is Played for Laughs or Played for Drama, with more tragic portrayals being the ones in which everyone is well aware and suffering because of it. If Split-Personality Makeover is acknowledged in-universe, then this could justify the situation.

A Sub-Trope of Living a Double Life.

See Loves My Alter Ego and Acquainted in Real Life. This setup can result in Mutual Pining in many cases. Compare Imaginary Love Triangle, which involves three people but is likewise built on false assumptions. May involve Likes Clark Kent, Hates Superman.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Aizawa-san Multiplies has Aizawas Literal Split Personalities, who all share the same memories and thus are all in love with the same person. Of course, Souta can't really bring himself to see them as merely aspects of the same individual.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Over half a year after Matsuri was turned into a girl, by which point Suzu is unreservedly attracted to his female form, his male and female forms become separate people. Only one is technically human, but it's impossible to tell which, and they have all his previous memories and personality regardless. Both want Suzu for themselves and are willing to fight each other for her. Suzu, meanwhile, loves the idea of both Matsuris fighting over her so much she can barely stop swooning long enough to break them apart.
  • Cat's Eye:
  • In Code Geass, Kallen admires and has fallen for masked freedom fighter Zero, but does not know that he is Lelouch, who she feels contempt toward due to his Brilliant, but Lazy Idle Rich persona. This is further complicated by the fact that Kallen is half-Japanese and Japan has been conquered and subsequently oppressed by the Britannian Empire, while Lelouch is actually a Britannian prince with his own reasons for wanting to rebel against the empire. After Kallen discovers his true identity, she has trouble working out her feelings toward him and ends up as even more of a Tsundere. Ultimately, they remain separate from each other. The anime continuity ends up a dead end, and the movie continuity has Lelouch and C.C. pair up in Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection.
  • Crimson Spell has the supernatural variant between Havi, a wizard tasked with breaking a curse that induces a Superpowered Evil Side, the prince who hired him, and the Superpowered Evil Side in question. It's particularly pronounced once the Big Bad accidentally makes Prince Vald into a case of Literal Split Personality. Havi attempts to resolve it with a threesome, but quickly realizes that he can't always be having sex with them. And if they aren't actively having sex, the two Valds are either sniping at each other or glaring at Havi and demanding he choose between them.
  • In Dengeki Daisy, Teru has strong feelings for Daisy, her faceless protector she only has contact through email, and falls in love with Kurosaki, who she secretly wishes were Daisy. Luckily, he is.
  • While the alternate identities aren't exactly secret, there is a little quadrilateral friction in Dragon Ball Super's Goku Black arc when Trunks and Mai both get Precocious Crushes on each other's Future Timeline counterparts. Then they have the gall to get jealous over it. Yes, both of them.
  • In Kämpfer Natsuru loves Sakura who loves Natsuru's female persona, then the school council president spreads a rumour that Natsuru and his female half are in fact already dating each other. Hilarity Ensues. However, it turns out that Sakura not only knew both his forms were the same person all along but was actually the one who provided him with the ability to transform in the first place, partly because she's a hardcore lesbian.
  • Kaitou Saint Tail has a double-sided Poor Communication Kills-induced example in that Meimi is convinced Asuka Jr. is only interested in her alter ego as Saint Tail, resulting in her channeling her flirting with him into her Saint Tail persona while internally moping about the idea he'll never care about her as Meimi. In actuality, Meimi is the one he's falling in love with, and he's already suspecting that Saint Tail might actually be her, but because he's also caught onto the concept of Saint Tail being someone's idealized persona, he lets Saint Tail's flirting bounce off him while believing Meimi dislikes him more than she actually does. The problem is so bad that even when they actually start dating, Meimi's too full of guilt about deceiving him to express her feelings properly while Asuka Jr. can't tell what she actually thinks about him, and it takes some intervention from an Arc Villain for them to learn that their feelings were in fact mutual (and even then, Meimi is still convinced he must have preferred her as Saint Tail for a while until he manages to prove otherwise).
  • MÄR has an odd example of this. Ginta is clearly in love with his childhood friend, Koyuki. He even protects her when he gets a chance to go to his dream world. He's not entirely clueless about her liking him as well. While in MAR Heaven, he meets Snow, who looks exactly like Koyuki and has much the same personality. There is much UST between them as the story progresses. The twist comes during the occasional times we see what's going on in the real world, and find that Koyuki is seeing the 'show' through Snow's eyes. Eventually we find that Snow is also able to learn about Ginta's world through Koyuki's eyes. In the end of the anime, Snow and Koyuki merge, thus saving Ginta from having to choose between them. It's implied that both girls are in fact the same person, just alternate world versions. And none of the characters are aware of this.
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun has Wakamatsu who loves the choral club singer Lorelei but has mixed feelings towards his Innocently Insensitive senpai Seo... who is Lorelei. This is because he only knows "Lorelei"'s voice and is yet to see her sing in person because he's too scared to meet her — and Seo's beautiful singing differs so drastically from her usual rough manner of speech that it's hard to tell it's her. She's aware he likes Lorelei but she finds fun in leaving him in the dark. This is the basis of several jokes revolving around this Ship Tease'd pair throughout the series.
  • My Best Friend (Who I Love) Fell Completely in Love with My VTuber Self: The protagonist is in love with her best friend, who has a crush on the latter's online VTuber persona — not realizing that they're the same person.
  • My Younger Senpai stars Nanasawa, a 25-year-old woman who's long had an unrequited crush on her high school senpai Seto, and recently learned that Seto had divorced her husband. After accidentally traveling back in time, she hopes to win Seto over, but then realizes that her younger self is also in the past, and Seto might be interested in her. The older Nanasawa ultimately reveals her identity and confesses her love, and Seto decides that since both Nanasawas love her and are also the same person, it's fine to get together with both versions of her. Eventually, history is altered so that when Nanasawa returns to the present, the past was altered so that she and Seto have been together since high school.
    "If Senpai is interested in the me from the past, then... I'm my own love rival...?!"
  • In Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, the titular character is in such a situation. His night side is a lot more popular than his day side due to its Pretty Boy looks, and his Muggle friends don't know it is the same person.
  • Onidere:
    • A variation: Saya dresses up as a new student in order to attend class. She still can't resist flirting with Tadashi though. Tadashi immediately sees through her disguise, but Saya doesn't know that...
    • And then Saki does much the same thing, and a new student falls for Saya's disguised alter ego, making it a Four Person Love Hexagon. It is exactly as confusing as it sounds.
  • In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, Professor Burnet is in love with Royal Mask and is a huge fangirl of him. Royal Mask happens to be her husband, Professor Kukui. She doesn't realize this until he gets unmasked in the aftermath of a huge Ultra Beast battle with Ash.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion creates a sort of two-person quadrangle. Homura loves Madoka. Demon Homura really loves Madoka. Ultimate Madoka probably likes Homura but definitely wouldn't like her new demon form, except Demon Homura turned her back into regular Madoka, who barely even knows Homura. Both Homuras prefer the un-transcended Madoka, so there's no easy resolution.
  • Ranma ½:
    • One very complicated example of this trope intersecting with Imaginary Love Triangle when it comes to Ranma and both Kunō siblings. Ranma is cursed to change into a girl with cold water and back into a guy when splashed with hot water. Neither Tatewaki nor Kodachi know this (despite repeated demonstrations in Tatewaki's case at least) and think that Ranma's two forms are separate individuals. Tatewaki thinks that "The Pigtailed Girl" a.k.a. Ranma's female form, loves him but is being kept away from him by the attention of Ranma. Kodachi thinks that Ranma likes her and is being kept away by the attention of the Pigtailed Girl (in addition to Ranma's other would-be suitors). The reality is, Ranma can't stand either of them.
    • Another more minor (but even weirder) example, involves Tsubasa Kurenai, the crossdressing Stalker with a Crush. Tsubasa is a boy who dresses as a girl, who had a history of pursuing Ukyō (a girl who dresses as a boy). However since Ukyō believed Tsubasa to think she was a guy, she said she was with the female Ranma. But then it's revealed Tsubasa knew Ukyō was a girl all along. After a lot of rejection, Tsubasa finally loses interest in Ukyō and instead falls for Ranma's girl form. The Two-Person Love Triangle comes in when Ranma wishes to both get away from Tsubasa in his girl form, while helping Tsubasa to find love with the "right" gender in male form. Female Ranma calls Tsubasa out on a date, but male Ranma is the one who shows up. Eventually Tsubasa finds out the two Ranmas are the same, while Ranma discovers that he was hitting on a crossdressing guy.
  • Rent-A-Girlfriend has a very interesting variation where the normal person in the relationship is aware of both personalities being the same person. Protagonist Kazuya Kinoshita downright idolizes and loves the gorgeous and mature rental girlfriend Chizuru Mizuhara, but soon he learns that the more iron walled but vulnerable Chizuru Ichinose is in close proximity to him and has her own insecurities and dreams. Chizuru is convinced that Kazuya only loves the "Mizuhara" persona, especially since this is the one who he presents as his fake girlfriend; while on Kazuya's part he has to slowly acknowledge the Ichinose side of her and stop seeing her as a Peerless Love Interest.
  • In Rosario + Vampire, we have the odd case of Moka and Tsukune. Moka has two personalities, Inner Moka and Outer Moka and Tsukune is aware of this. While Outer Moka has outright stated that she loves him, the biggest roadblock is Inner Moka pretty much shooting him down whenever she gets the chance. Thus Tsukune has to win over Inner Moka before any kind of romantic relationship can happen. Ultimately, Outer Moka seemingly dies, but it turns out that she actually merged with Inner Moka and nobody, not even Inner Moka herself, realized it because it overlapped so much with her own defrosting.
  • In Sailor Moon, Usagi is love with Tuxedo Kamen and, depending on the version, Chiba Mamoru. Mamoru, on the other hand, is in love with Princess Serenity, Sailor Moon, and (once again depending on the version) Usagi.
  • In one of the stories in Senno Knife's Sepia, there are also four roles and two people. He's a young man; she's a prostitute who is nearly out of debt. As it happens, she's been writing him anonymous love letters, and he's been seeing her while wearing a mask to be with her. So, to recap, young man, prostitute, letter writer, man in mask. At the end of the story, he says next time he'll go without the mask.
  • Happens in Yu-Gi-Oh!. Yugi likes Anzu, who, in turn, has fallen for the ancient pharaoh who shares his body.
  • Yui Kamio Lets Loose: Kiito falls in love with both Yuis, the White one for being a sweetheart and the Black one for bringing excitement to his life.

    Comic Books 
  • The Argentine comic Cybersix has an interesting variant where Cybersix deliberately engineers one — wherein her secret identity, the male Adrian Seidelman, is, briefly, a rival for her own affections, in order to prompt her love interest, Lucas Amato, to actually make a move (after establishing he doesn't already have a girlfriend).
  • In early Daredevil comics, Matt covered up his secret identity with his partner Foggy and their secretary Karen by pretending that Daredevil was his twin brother Mike. For a while there was a love triangle where Karen couldn't decide if she loved Matt or Mike.
  • The Disney Ducks Comic Universe superhero stories have a lot of fun with Paperinik and Paperinika, alias Donald and Daisy, as Donald and Daisy both hate each other's alter ego... But, much to their mutual horror, are also attracted to them, leading to them fearing to cheat on their significant other with someone who is effectively their significant other.
  • Silver Age Green Lantern Hal Jordan set himself up for this. Carol Ferris was already rejecting his romantic advances, so he decided to actively romance her as Green Lantern. By the time he realizes that this was a bad idea, it's too late and he and Carol are stuck in the triangle. Unlike the Lois & Clark situation, Carol's rejection wasn't that she didn't want to be with Hal Jordan. It was because she was his employer and it would have been a conflict of interest. Hal could have simply found another job (he eventually went through a ton of them).
  • The landmark MAD satire Superduperman by Harvey Kurtzman ruthlessly parodied this concept. In that story, Clark Bent, lowly nebbish assistant copy boy in a newspaper pines for Lois Pain but has an alter-ego Superduperman who is a big, tough, bully, and at the end of the story on revealing his identity, Lois dumps him because, "Once a creep, always a creep", mocking the idea that any one part of the double identity is "more" real than the other, and that a girl should have to settle for less once the secret is revealed.
  • PS238 has a Puppy Love variant with Julie (a.k.a. 84), who seems to have a crush both on mysterious kid superhero Moon Shadow and on Tyler Marlocke, a boy with no superpowers whatsoever. Somehow, neither she (nor most people) notice that they're the same person.
  • An odd variant appears in Jeff Smith's Shazam! and the Monster Society of Evil, which ultimately did not go anywhere due to the characters' ages. Preteen Billy Batson has a Precocious Crush on adult reporter Helen Fidelity (who isn't interested for obvious reasons), and Helen has an EXTREME attraction to Billy's magic-induced grown up alter ego, Captain Marvel.
  • Spider-Man :
    • In the comics, Black Cat barely tolerated Peter Parker's presence, but was hot to trot for Spider-Man any time. The catch is that Black Cat knows that they are one and the same person. Played with in the 1990s animated series, in which there are romances between Peter Parker and Felicia Hardy, as well as between Spider-Man and Black Cat. Neither of them ever finds out or even suspects the other's real/secret identity.
    • Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane has the more traditional version, where Mary Jane has decided to somehow ask Spider-Man to take her to a school dance only to find herself falling for Peter Parker at the same time.
    • This goes back a long way with him; at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man (Lee & Ditko) #6, Peter Parker calls Liz Allen on the phone to ask for a date only to have her tell him she's already told off his rival Flash Thompson and wants him off the line as well, since she's anticipating a call from Spider-Man. As she slams down the receiver, he laments that "Only a guy with my nutty luck could end up being his own competition!"
    • Also, in her early mainstream appearances, Mary Jane flirted both with Peter Parker and with Spider-Man (when he rescued her) and often expressed admiration or attraction to Spider-Man. Years later it was revealed that MJ knew that the two are one and the same all along... Making things interesting, MJ actually didn't want a serious relationship with Peter because she knew he was Spider-Man, and she was Genre Savvy enough to know the issues with dating a superhero.
  • Supergirl:
    • Back when she worked as a photographer in San Francisco, Linda Danvers/Kara Zor-El (the titular heroine) liked her boss Geoff Anderson. Geoff is attracted to Supergirl — and he even kissed her in Demon Spawn — but he is not interested in Linda.
    • In imaginary story Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #57 Jimmy falls for (and marries) Linda Danvers while she has amnesia for her Supergirl identity. Upon remembering, she decides to begin flirting with him as Supergirl to make sure he's in love with both of her identities before revealing her secret. Jimmy is attracted to Supergirl, but resists and ultimately tells her he doesn't love her to prevent being unfaithful to his wife. When he confesses to Linda, she reveals her secret, and the comic ends with the relieved Jimmy happily accepting that his wife is a superhuman.
  • Superman:
    • The classic version of this. While it's varied over the years, the traditional triangle is Clark loves Lois Lane, while Lois loves Superman and won't see Clark as anything more than a friendly rival at the Daily Planet. This ended a few years after the Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot, with Lois learning the truth while engaged to Clark, and they eventually had a kid. Lois & Clark similarly has the two start a relationship and get married as well, the DC Extended Universe had Lois discover all of Clark's identities within its cornerstone film Man of Steel, and most other adaptations (such as the DC Animated Universe) meanwhile play the trope straight throughout their runs. Long after the marriage was established (and undone, and re-established) in the comics, it was played from the outside, with a nasty rumour that Lois was cheating on Clark with Superman being a factor in his giving up his secret identity in Superman (Brian Michael Bendis).
    • A set of 1960s Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen stories features a two-person love quadrangle. Briefly, Jimmy and his girlfriend Lucy Lane cheat on each other with each other in disguise. A longer summary can be found here.
  • A variant in Tim Drake: Robin: the Kents may have to deal with rumours that Lois is having an affair with Superman, but Tim has to deal with people thinking he's the one cheating on Bernard with the Teen Wonder.
  • In Rivers of London: Water Weed, the reveal (at least to the audience) that the Hoodette is actually Rauel's girlfriend Kitty comes after the Hoodette's attack on Rauel ended with them having sex. During the reveal, she says he's cheating on her, and she knows this because he's cheating with her.
  • In the Wonder Woman Vol 1 comics, her love interest Steve Trevor is in love with Wonder Woman, but much to her dismay, doesn't feel anything remotely romantic for her civilian identity Diana Prince. Averted completely in post-Crisis on Infinite Earths and later incarnations of Wonder Woman, where Diana doesn't have a secret identity.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • Apex Predator (MHA): Hawks has a crush on both Dabi and Touya, not knowing that "Touya" is actually Dabi using a Glamour to disguise his scars so he can go around as a civilian. Dabi has too much fun with the whole situation and flirts relentlessly with Hawks whether it's as Dabi or Touya.
  • The How to Train Your Dragon fic Becoming Lífþrasir puts Hiccup and Astrid in this position; after spending four years away from Berk in the belief that Stoick was ashamed of him, Hiccup returns to save his tribe under the alias Cattongue, with Astrid (who has taken on a role as Stoick's new heir through being engaged to Hiccup in absentia) finding herself attracted to Cattongue, although she tries to deny it before she realises that Cattongue is Hiccup.
  • In The Cutting Edge, as part of Oliver's attempt to prove himself to Laurel, he ends up trying to resist his initial attraction to Black Canary.
  • Jerrica being jealous of her alter ego Jem is a major reason behind why she reveals the truth to Rio in Deception Unveiled.
  • One Sailor Moon Fan Fic, Destiny's Child, had two people occupying four roles. Made more complex by the fact that one of them had two more identities, one of whom was believed to be the destined true love of identity #2, and one of whom was believed to be a sibling of identity #1. In total, therefore, there were six identities: Ranma Tendo, Saturn Knight, Hotaru Tomoe, Sailor Saturn, Rei Hino, and Sailor Mars.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic The Games We Play, Rainbow Dash considers this as a possibility when trying to figure out Mare Do Well's identity, but rejects it on the grounds that Pinkie Pie wouldn't try to hit on her as two separate identities. She was wrong. Pinkie Pie grows increasingly jealous and resentful of her superheroine alter ego when Rainbow Dash takes a liking to her even as Dash keeps on rejecting Pinkie's advances as herself.
  • In the Danny Phantom fanfic Gender Confusion: The Saga of Sam, Sam feels conflicted because she gone on a couple dates with both Danny Fenton and Danny Phantom and things might be getting serious. As a bonus, Danny is unaware that the nice girl he's been running into is also his male roommate (though there's no romance involved with that persona).
  • Deconstructed in Glitter Reunion. In 1990, Jerrica told Rio the truth about her being Jem. They ended up breaking up because Rio felt like he had been toyed with.
  • The Young Justice fic Hero has the traditional Superman/Lois Lane triangle, but also a platonic version with Superman and Superboy. Superboy, after being ignored by Superman for a very long time decides he no longer wants the man's friendship or approval. He then ends up protecting and eventually befriending Clark Kent, without knowing what Clark does when he's not reporting.
  • I am [REDACTED]: Ochako was attracted to the titular Redacted long before she met him or his civilian identity, Izuku. The crush remains even as she and Izuku grow closer over the course of the story, due to her and Redacted working together frequently.
  • I See What You Do Behind Closed Doors Miraculous Ladybug has this work against Adrien. After noticing that Marinette looks an awful lot like Ladybug, he starts dating her just so he can pretend he's actually with Ladybug... unaware that they're the same person. And that Marinette is fully aware that he's continuing to flirt with and pursue her heroic alter ego while still going out with her.
  • The Legend of Miraculous is a Fusion Fic between The Legend of Zelda and Miraculous Ladybug replicating the TV series' Love Square between Link, Zelda and their superhero personae Sheikan Wolf and Athena. Unlike Miraculous however, when Link confesses his feelings to Zelda, she realizes that she loves him back. It remains to be seen whether her feelings for Sheikan Wolf will get in the way going forward.
  • A variation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe fic A Little Red and Blue where Sharon Carter ends up getting transported to the year 1944 after an encounter with Wanda Maximoff. She later meets the past Steve Rogers and finds out that during this time, he was attempting to hide the fact that he is Captain America from the general public and claiming that he's just a soldier assisting the Captain. Steve becomes attracted to Sharon (who introduces herself to him as "Kate" and hides the fact that she's from the future) and has some difficulty hiding it when speaking to her in his Captain America guise, even kissing her at one point, all the while being unaware that "Kate" knows that he and Captain America are the same person.
  • In the Hetalia: Axis Powers fic New Horizons, due to time travel shenanigans, a past and present version of England end up competing over America's affection with both thinking he's romantically involved with an unknown party. America himself, of course, is completely oblivious to all of this.
  • 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.
  • Pokémon Master: Ash/Misty/Valdera Love Triangle turned out to be this. Late in the history it was revealed that Misty and Valdera were originally a person was Split at Birth. During the climax they merge and become one again.
  • In the Beauty and the Beast fic A Prince in Disguise, Gaston succeeds in killing the Beast in front of Belle but the Enchantress revives him later on in his human form to give him a second chance at breaking the curse. The now-human Beast rescues Belle from Gaston and resolves to help her and Maurice travel to safety without telling them who he really is because he believes that he doesn't deserve to keep Belle to himself. Meanwhile, Belle is grieving over her beloved Beast's death and yet can't help but be drawn to the mysterious cloaked stranger helping her who reminds her oddly of the Beast...
  • Spider-Who?- set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but featuring more "traditional" Spider-Man characters- sees Mary Jane develop feelings for Spider-Man after she helps him escape a bombing and Peter Parker after their aunts are revealed to be neighbours, but she is unaware that they are the same man and Peter's self-confidence issues lead to him to think that she's interested in Harry Osborn rather than Peter Parker when she tells Spider-Man she has feelings for him and "someone else".
  • To Hell and Back (Arrowverse) offers an interesting variation with Oliver and Laurel. Laurel has had feelings for Oliver stemming from prior his disappearance, and the more time they spend with each other, the more Oliver starts feeling the same way. At the same time, Green Arrow finds himself constantly drawn to Black Canary, the Glades' newest vigilante, while Black Canary professes to deeply admire Green Arrow and cites him as her main inspiration.
  • In the Star Trek (2009) fanfic The World Well Lost, Kirk and Spock first meet as teenagers on Tarsus IV and fall deeply in love, but Spock's memory ends up damaged such that he remembers only that there was a boy and they had been in love, but not the boy's name or any details about him. When they meet again at Starfleet Academy years later, Spock is unable to recognize Kirk, and Kirk (believing, erroneously, that Spock has completely forgotten him, rather than just forgetting his identity) doesn't tell Spock because he was previously told that if he did, it would put Spock's life in danger. As a result, when Spock later starts to develop feelings for his Captain, he feels torn between this "new" love for Kirk and his preexisting relationship with this boy from his past, never realizing they're one and the same, and ends up experiencing a significant amount of distress at the impossible choice he's seemingly faced with. At the climax of the story, Kirk is finally forced to tell Spock the truth.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Sleeping Beauty: Prince Phillip isn't looking forward to his arranged marriage with Princess Aurora, whom he last saw as a baby, when suddenly he meets a beautiful "peasant girl". Simultaneously, she falls madly in love with the mystery man as soon as she meets him and is devastated to learn that she can never see him again because of her arranged engagement to Prince Phillip. She has no idea that the two are one and the same. Which, technically, makes this a Two-Person Love Square.
    • Aladdin takes on the rich persona of Prince Ali to woo Princess Jasmine, who was already interested in his genuine persona.
    • In The Little Mermaid, Eric is convinced that the mysterious singing woman that saved him (whom he is enamored by) is different from the mute woman he takes in (who is very interested in him). After a bit of conflict, he actually does choose the voiceless woman, but doesn't have the chance to act upon it until he finds out that the two are actually the same person.
  • Subverted in The Incredibles, when Mr. Incredible flirts with Elastigirl when briefly distracted by some unfortunate events on the way to his wedding. The subversion being that when he gets to the wedding, he turns out to be marrying her "mild-mannered alter ego", and the two of them already clearly know the other's superhero identity. Apparently they just flirt like they don't know each other's secret identity in costume because they like it.
  • Happens in Megamind: Roxanne hates Megamind, the alien villain who conquered her city, but starts falling for "Bernard," the guy she's drafted into helping her overthrow him. Guess what he's keeping from her.
  • In Rankin Bass' Jack Frost, a woman named Elisa says that Jack Frost is the only one she loves, right when he happens to be floating by to hear her. He becomes a human, "Jack Snip," hoping to woo her, and the two become close friends. Technically becomes a Love Dodecahedron when the local villain and a knight fall for her too. She marries the latter. "Jack Snip" expresses dismay to her father, who sadly tells him that Elisa never loved anyone but the knight—well, him and Jack Frost...

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman Forever: Chase falls in love with both Bruce Wayne and Batman, and doesn't realize they're both the same guy until she's kidnapped. The triangle is resolved partway through the movie when Chase dumps Batman for Bruce Wayne. Batman, stoically, says that he understands, and manages to turn around and walk away before he breaks into a grin.
  • Brand Upon the Brain! has two of these—Guy is primarily in love with Wendy, but also has feelings for Wendy's male alter ego Chase, and at the same time Wendy is in love with Sis, who's in love with Chase. Wendy reveals her identity to Sis, who doesn't care. Guy walks in on them having sex, and he faints from shock. Even decades later he hasn't gotten over it.
  • 1966 Japanese film The Face of Another. A scientist's face is disfigured by liquid nitrogen, and his relationship with his wife becomes strained. In secret he creates an artifical face, assumes the identity of a stranger — and seduces his wife.
  • In Irma la Douce Jack Lemmon's character, in order to keep Shirley MacLaine's character, a prostitute, from sleeping with other men, invented a "Lord X" to act as her patron. When he started feeling as if she cared more for the role he was playing than for himself, he threw the costume into the Seine and was arrested for murder.
  • In Abbott and Costello's version of ''Jack and the Beanstalk', this was part of the basis for the romantic subplot. Princess Eloise is supposed to marry Prince Arthur, but they've never met. They both get kidnapped by the giant, call themselves Darlene and Arthur, and fall in love.
  • A double set in short comedy film Mighty Like a Moose. Mr. and Mrs. Moose each have plastic surgery—him for a horrible overbite, her for a huge beak of a nose—without telling each other. On the same day. With the same doctor. They meet each other after the surgery, and each fails to recognize the other. So they make a date.
  • In Movie Crazy, Harold meets Mary the actress when she is heavily made up as a Spanish character for a film. He then meets her again after filming is done and she's out of makeup, and he doesn't realize that the Spanish actress and the pretty blonde are the same person. She's rather irritated when Harold seems to like the Spanish version of Mary better than the real one.
  • In Night Song, Cathy Mallory loves Dan who still has feelings for Mary Willey (who’s really just Cathy when she pretended to be someone else to Dan).
  • Once Upon a Time (2017): Bai Qian thinks Ye Hua doesn't love her because he's still in love with Su Su, his dead wife. It takes her a long time to remember she is Su Su and she lost her memories after jumping off the Execution Platform.
  • Overnight Sensation: George and Evie are a middle-aged couple in a Dead Sparks marriage. Evie writes a novel that turns into a bestseller. George is crazed with jealousy when he discovers the book is about a middle-aged couple very much like the two of them—only the wife in the novel had an affair with a dashing younger lover. Enraged, he confronts Evie and accuses her of infidelity, only to learn the truth: the dashing young lover Evie wrote about is George from 25 years ago, back when he cared about her, and she was imagining falling in love with that version of George again.
  • Any of the many movies based on The Parfumerie (see the theater section below). These include:
    • You've Got Mail, where Meg Ryan first falls for Tom Hanks's AOL alter-ego and (after some disastrous initial meetings) also develops a close relationship with his offline identity.
    • The Shop Around the Corner.
    • The Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedy Pillow Talk. The two share a two-party telephone line. This one adds the complication that the she despises him in person, and he deliberately creates the second persona in order to win her over after recognizing her voice in a nightclub.
  • In the 1956 French film Plucking the Daisy Agnes Dumont (Brigitte Bardot) needs to come up with money in a hurry and decides to enter a striptease contest, with a mask on her face and using the pseudonym Sophia. This leads to complications when her boyfriend becomes interested in the mysterious Sophia.
  • Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi has a variation on the Arranged Marriage theme: Taani falls in love with Raj, who is actually her husband Surinder with a lot more hair gel and a little less moustache. Surinder is hiding his identity to get to know Taani better; when he realises that Taani could cheat on him with Raj, he becomes jealous of himself.
  • The Carnatic Sandalwood film Ganeshana Madhuve (Ganesh’s Wedding) extends this into a two person love quadrangle. A landlord has arranged the marriage of his daughter Adilaxmi with Ganesh, one of his tenants, who is a quarrelsome fellow but is financially successful. Adilaxmi is a fan of a poet named “Y G Rao” whom she’s never met. She occasionally pops into the local radio station, where under the moniker Shruthi (meaning “tune”) she turns Y G Rao’s poems into song. And when Y G Rao himself starts sending her letters appreciating her singing, she starts to fall for him. Unbeknownst to her, “Y G Rao” is none other than her fiancé Ganesh. Both of them spend the entire film, trying to weasel out of their wedding until they finally meet in person - and reveal their poet and singer identities to each other.

  • In John C. Wright's Count To A Trillion, Menelaus realizes the princess is interested in his own personality.
  • Cyber Joly Drim: Jola loves Carramba, the online persona of her husband.
  • In the short story The Dandelion Girl by Robert F. Young, the middle-aged and married protagonist falls in love with a girl half his age who claims to be a time-traveler from the future. As it turns out, after their encounter the girl travels further back in time, and had become his wife all along.
  • In Danganronpa Zero, Ryōko Otonashi becomes extremely upset when Yasuke Matsuda reveals that he...loves?...Junko Enoshima because she doesn't know that Junko is her original personality/alter ego. Unfortunately, "Ryōko" doesn't live long enough to enjoy the knowledge that she's so important to him.
  • Ella Enchanted, when Ella attends the ball in disguise. This is lampshaded when Ella uses her magic book to read one of the prince's diary entries. He writes about how he enjoyed dancing with the mysterious girl at the ball, and accidentally writes the girl's name as "Ella", having no idea why he did so.
  • In the book Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, the main character Lucy is infatuated with 'Shadow', an extremely talented graffiti artist whom she's never met, but feels she understands though his art. Shadow graffitis the town they live in, while his accomplice Poet does the writing, because Shadow has incredibly illegible handwriting. One night Lucy and her two friends hook up with three guys, two of whom are Poet and Shadow, but Lucy and her friends don't know it. Lucy gets stuck with Ed, whose nose she once broke when he touched her arse unexpectedly on a date, and Shadow. Lucy doesn't know it's Shadow, so she spends the whole night running around town 'looking for Shadow' while blabbering about herself and her appreciation of the art, even mentioning at one point that she would have sex with Shadow to Ed. She finds out in the end who Shadow is only after deciding she was in love with Ed too.
  • The Host (2008) by Stephenie Meyer was quite literally marketed as "A love triangle with two bodies." It involves Wanderer, a body-controlling alien, who is implanted into human Melanie. Melanie's consciousness doesn't fade away as it "should", though, and Wanderer gets occasional flashes of memories from Melanie's significant other, becoming infatuated with him herself as well. This becomes even more confusing when Wanderer winds up falling in love with another guy by herself, which Melanie isn't too happy about, this being her body. Eventually, Wanderer is safely extracted from Melanie's body and gains a body of her own after the humans have made sure that it's "unoccupied" by a human consciousness, leaving all of them free to pursue the relationships they please.
  • The Impossible Us: An Alternate Universe variation, as Bee tries romancing Nicolas while still carrying on with Nick.
  • The Kane Chronicles has a complicated example. Walt and Anubis are clearly distinct people, and they both fall in love with Sadie Kane. But Anubis is a god, meaning he can't be with Sadie because gods aren't allowed to consort with mortals. Instead, he makes an agreement with Walt, who is dying without a divine intervention, to share a body, so Walt can be saved and Anubis can continue spending time with Sadie. Win-win.
  • In Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid", the prince, suffering an Arranged Marriage, insists he only ever wishes to marry the temple-pledged girl who found him washed up on the beach. Turns out his fiancee is her. Of course, the eponymous Unlucky Childhood Friend makes this a Three Person Love Quadrangle.
    • When Disneyagain — used this basic element in their version in a much less tragic way, Ariel can't get Eric to believe she's the girl he's looking for, as the only attribute he knows is her voice, which she'd just given up in her Deal with the Devil. This turns into a regular Love Triangle when villain Ursula takes on the third role using Ariel's voice and some really superfluous old-fashioned Mind Control.
  • Oathbringer has an unusual variant on this: Shallan Davar is in love with (and engaged to) Adolin Kholin, but her "Veil" alternate personality thinks Adolin is bland and has a crush on Kaladin.
  • L. M. Montgomery did this in The Pot and the Kettle. Subverted in that the man knew the whole time that the woman was his fiancee, and set up an elaborate charade to make it seem as if they had fallen in love without realizing each other's identities.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel: Sir Percy jokes to the Prince of Wales that his marriage is on the rocks because his wife is obsessed by the Pimpernel — who, unbeknown to the Prince, is Sir Percy himself.
  • "Superman's Diary", a short story by B. Brandon Barker(published in the Eighth Annual Year's Best Fantasy and Horror anthology in 1995), took an unusual spin on the Superman/Lois/Clark triangle. At the start of the story, Lois and Superman are lovers, and Lois tells Superman that she will be leaving Metropolis for a while to cover a breaking story overseas. The next day, Lois enters Clark's office and invites him to join her in the Bahamas for a vacation. While initially shocked to learn that Lois lied to him (as Superman) and wanted to have an affair with Clark, he ends up joining her in the Bahamas, and by the end of the story he decides that he is happier with Lois when he's Clark than when he's Superman. He notes at one point that when Lois has sex with Superman she tends to be greedy and competitive, while when she makes love to Clark she's more giving and affectionate.
  • In Polish ballad Świtezianka by Adam Mickiewicz, the titular Świtezianka (water nymph from lake Świteź) finds a young man unfaithful because he swore his love to her while disguised as a human girl and then was attracted by her nymph form hidden in the fog on the lake.
  • In Tarzan of the Apes, Tarzan taught himself how to read and write, but having been raised by apes, he has no idea how to vocalize language. As a result, when Tarzan leaves notes for Jane after becoming attracted to her following his various rescues of her and her team, she isn't able to believe the eloquent note writer and the hunky jungle man are the same person and becomes attracted to both.
  • In John Green and David Levithan's Will Grayson, Will Grayson, gay Will Grayson has an internet romance with a boy named Isaac. Isaac is actually his friend Maura (who has a crush on him) trying to get him to prove that he's gay.
  • X-Wing Series: An odd example from Wraith Squadron occurs between Kell Tainer, Tyria Sarkin, and Kell's fantasy version of Tyria.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Daredevil: Matt Murdock and Karen Page have a case of this. Throughout season 1, Karen likes and supports the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, even defending him when Wilson Fisk tries to paint him as a terrorist, unaware that it's Matt. Then in season 2, while still having a liking for Daredevil, Karen begins to get attracted to Matt, even dating him briefly before the strain of his unreliability during Frank Castle's trial and her finding Elektra in his bed drive them apart. Despite this, she still has feelings for Matt, as she admits during a conversation with Frank Castle. In the season 2 finale, Matt discloses his secret identity to her, and the last shot of season 2 is of Karen sporting a stunned look as she realizes that the hero she admires is the same person as the man she had fallen in love with.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Played out in an unusual way at the start of Series 8. Clara Oswald had been attracted to the young-looking Eleventh Doctor. After his regeneration into the colder and older-looking Twelfth Doctor, Clara found it very difficult to adjust, and at one point even considering leaving him. It ultimately takes a phone call from the previous Doctor (remember, he is a time traveller) to convince Clara to stay.
    • Played straight in the 2016 Christmas special, "The Return of Doctor Mysterio", a very blatant homage to Silver Age Superman. Grant, the secret identity of the superhero The Ghost, is in love with Lucy (for whom he serves as nanny to her infant daughter). Lucy only has eyes for The Ghost. At one point, when the Ghost sets an interview/date with Lucy, Grant actually starts feeling jealous of his alter-ego. Strangely, when he blurts out to her (as Grant) that he also has a date, Lucy is the one who starts feeling jealous of the other woman... who is herself.
  • Estoy Vivo is a Spanish series in which Cowboy Cop Andrés Vargas dies and is brought back to life in the body of the recently deceased Manuel Márquez. His main goal is to have his family back, and although he loves his wife dearly, she is still in mourning for him.
  • In the fourth season of Eureka, Henry accidentally hops timelines, discovers that in the alternate timeline he's married to a woman he barely knows, and falls in love with "his" wife. At first she naturally resents him for displacing her real husband, but she ends up falling in love with him as well.
  • Done physically in Farscape when John gets split into two identical copies. It's done in a way that explicitly gives both of them equal claim to being the "real" John, much like in the Star Trek example. One goes on a ship with Aeryn, and one without. The John on Moya loves Aeryn who loves the John on Talyn, who also loves Aeryn. Guess which one dies.
  • In the first few episodes of Hannah Montana, Miley is good friends with Oliver who has a massive crush on Hannah. At first, Miley tries to brush him off, then decides to act like "a nightmare date" to drive Oliver off. When that doesn't work, Hannah just comes out and reveals herself as Miley. Oliver instantly realizes that it was Hannah he was crushing on and only sees Miley as a friend to end the triangle.
  • In Healer, Ji Hoo Genre Blindly sets himself up for this, between his identities as the ultra-cool Healer, and puppyish, brotherly reporter Bong Soo.
  • In the Henry Danger episode "Elevator Kiss", Henry saved Bianca from a malfunctioning elevator. While hanging from his safety line in the shaft, Bianca kisses him, which leads Henry to become jealous that she kissed Kid Danger, not knowing it was him. Ultimately subverted when Kid Danger sets up another chance to save her but she rejects him explaining she has a boyfriend and the kiss was a mistake.
  • Platonic version in Knight Squad in the episode "Little Knight Lies". After Prudence befriends the princess, Ciara starts to get jealous at that friendship, especially as Prudence lies to Ciara about how much she hangs out with the princess.
    • A straightforward version comes later as the group are jarred to hear Warwick claiming the Princess "is so into me," having mistaken Ciara's encouraging words in her other guise as professions of love. When he discovers Ciara is the Princess, Warwick is jarred as he doesn't think of Ciara that way at all. Even afterward, when Ciara turns into the Princess, Warwick will hit on her and then go "sorry, old habit."
  • Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman involves this. Eventually Lois falls in love with Clark, learns that Superman is him, and they even get married. This allows for the creation of accusations of adultery and a love triangle, when in fact the man Lois is claimed to have been cheating with is actually her husband.
  • In S3 E2 of Misfits, Curtis is testing out his new power which is he can change his sex at will he ends up sleeping with the same girl as both Curtis and ''Melanie", his female alter ego without her knowing it. With Curtis, it doesn't go well. But the girl hits it off with Melanie, and they start dating. Things get messy when she finds the dress she lent "Melanie" at his house causing her to think that "Melanie" is cheating on her with Curtis. It only gets more complicated from there.
  • Padre Coraje: bandit Coraje, masquerading as the town's new priest, falls is in love with Clara. Clara believes Coraje killed her father, and hates him for it, but is falling in love with Father John (aka the priest Coraje is impersonating). Coraje is not a happy camper. Lampshaded by his fellow bandit:
    Santo: You gotta be kiddin' me, you are jealous of yourself?
  • In Power Rangers Samurai, Spike first develops a crush on the Pink Samurai Ranger, and later develops one on Mia, making him a little conflicted on which to pursue. That said, not only is Spike something of a Hopeless Suitor, Mia herself has no clue Spike lusts after either of her identities.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation has a downplayed but physical example when it reveals that Riker was duplicated in a transporter accident, both copies having equal claim to being Riker if not for the fact that one of them was stranded on a planet alone for 8 years. The stranded Riker was still in love with Troi; while the main series' copy of Riker wasn't seeing Troi anymore, he has an intense history (and future) with her, as well as instinctive friction with his other-self, creating some serious romantic tension between the two-ish parties.
  • Supergirl (2015): Variant. While by the time of the show, Lois is well aware that Clark Kent is Superman, their old friend Cat Grant is more than a little confused since she's seen Lois flirting with both of them. Clark says they "have an arrangement," and Cat thinks he's talking about Polyamory.
    Cat: How... modern!

  • Kate Bush: "Babooshka" revolves around a woman who creates a pseudonym to communicate with her husband incognito to test his faithfulness; he ends up falling in love with the alter-ego.
  • Rupert Holmes' song "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" is about a man "tired of [his] lady" who arranges to meet a woman he finds in the personal columns — only to find that the advert was placed by his lover. Fortunately, they both take it in stride and treat it as learning new things about each other and bringing new life to their relationship.
  • Zalo Reyes' song "Ramito de violetas" (Violet bouquet) is about a housewife tired of her insensitive husband who only keeps herself happy by the anonymous poetry letters and flowers she gets from time to time. She never realized her secret admirer was actually her own husband.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Jim Henson's Hey Cinderella!: Cinderella meets Prince Charming while he's gardening, and they fall for each other immediately. He promptly tells her that he's the castle gardener, just because he's afraid that Cinderella will turn into a snob if she knows who he really is ("nothing makes a girl a snob more than saying she personally knows a prince"). They plan to meet at the masked ball, wearing geraniums to recognize each other. This plan fails and the result is that they meet at the ball and dance, but Cinderella doesn't realize that Arthur the gardener and Prince Charming are the same, and he doesn't realize that Cinderella is the mysterious "princess" he met. In a bit of a subversion, while the two hit it off very well at the ball, both are quite determined to hold out for the "original" identities.

  • In one of his monologues on My Word!, Denis Norden mentions a man he knew who met his wife though computer dating. "The reason he was going on about it with such fervour was that it happened the previous day, and they'd been married for eight years."

  • The Musical Camelot: Arthur and Guenevere are betrothed, and she's not happy about it because she has never met him and wanted to be married, or at least fought over, for love. She meets him while he is trying to hide from his people; she doesn't recognize him because she's never met him, he gives her a childhood nickname, and they fall in love in a Slap-Slap-Kiss manner. Only after they're in love does Guenevere learn who "Wart" is.
  • In The Drowsy Chaperone, Janet is nervous about her impending wedding to Robert, so she decides to test his love for her. Conveniently enough, he's wearing a blindfold because seeing the bride before the wedding is bad luck, so she's able to pretend to be a random French woman named Mimi and ask about how they first met. Both of them get caught up in reliving the moment, and they kiss, leading Janet to call off the wedding. It's about as ridiculous as it sounds.
  • Played with in Jasper in Deadland. Gretchen clearly starts falling in love with Jasper while helping him to find his lost friend Agnes. As both of them are suffering from Ghost Amnesia, neither of them realize that Gretchen is Agnes.
  • The obscure Hungarian play The Parfumerie is about a pen-pal relationship where this occurs. As a result, its many far less obscure adaptations are also examples, including the musical She Loves Me as well as several movies (see the "Film" section above).
  • The play The Rivals, first performed in 1775. Lydia likes the idea of being in love with a man her guardian disapproves of, so Captain Absolute courts her under the name "Ensign Beverly" and pretends to be a poor sailor. Later on, his father arranges for him to marry Lydia, who refuses because she's in love with "Beverly". To make things even more complicated, at one point Captain Absolute actually impersonates himself.
  • A. A. Milne's play The Ugly Duckling. The plain-looking prince and princess both send more attractive servants to impersonate them at the betrothal. (To keep the other from realizing the deception until they were married, the prince planned to wear full armor at the ceremony, and the princess a long, face-concealing veil.) Meanwhile the real prince and princess meet and hit it off, but keep up the deception as a joke on their families.
  • Colonel Fairfax (disguised as Leonard Meryll) and Elsie Maynard in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Yeomen of the Guard. They were married while Elsie was blindfolded and Fairfax was on death row, but Fairfax escaped. Once he discovers Elsie's identity, he sets about wooing her so that she falls in love with "Leonard". Once his name is cleared he reveals that they're already married.

    Video Games 
  • A variant happens in the Galaxy Angel II trilogy if Kazuya chooses Kahlua/Tequila's route. At first Kazuya only targets Kahlua for romance as she is the "main" personality, and while Tequila clearly loves him as well, she was at first willing to stay out of it for Kahlua's sake. Things get more complicated when the two are temporarily separated, and Kahlua becomes a bit possessive of him, secretly wishing to stay as Kazuya's sole focus of affection, and part of the route's development involves Kazuya learning that he can love both of them equally.
  • In Mega Man Star Force, Luna has a huge crush on Mega Man, her Mysterious Protector. She sometimes asks for Geo's help in her efforts to win Mega Man's affection, unaware that Geo is Mega Man. She keeps maintaining that her crush is only for Mega Man even after she finds out his identity, though it becomes pretty obvious after the reveal that Luna likes Geo and is just avoiding that fact by saying she only likes Megaman.
  • My Cafe: In the 35th chapter, the Player Character and Lucas travel to an Alternate Universe, where the latter falls in love with Alternate!Emily—who is a scientist—but they cannot be together because the paradox it causes would destroy the world. In the next chapter, Lucas is hired to work together on a project with Emily, who falls in love with him. Lucas, however, doesn't feel the same way because this Emily—who works in an advertising agency—is different from the other Emily he actually likes. Thankfully the drama gets resolved after, despite the odds, Lucas finally reciprocates the real Emily's feelings as well.

    Web Animation 
  • In Monster High, Frankie has a crush on both Jackson Jekyll and Holt Hyde.

  • Boy Meets Boy, as exemplified by this comic. "I'm jealous of myself. Leave me alone."
  • Dumbing of Age:
    • Amber is in love with Danny — unfortunately Danny is in love with Amazi-Girl. Who is Amber in disguise. Seriously.
    • Things get interesting when Danny finds out that Amber is Amazi-Girl. Since he had previously told people that he was dating Amazi-Girl, he can't publicly date Amber. The problem is that Amazi-Girl is actually an alternate personality of Amber's that she created semi-intentionally. So when Danny kisses Amber, she interprets this as cheating on Amazi-Girl and freaks out. Amazi-Girl has to take control before she gets violent, and breaks up with Danny to keep him safe from Amber.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • To a degree: Justin is gay and is in love with Elliot, who is straight. Elliot gains a magically-induced female alter ego that somewhat alters his/her personality... and said alter ego finds Justin rather attractive. Ironically later, after Justin gets over his crush on Elliot it turns out that Elliot actually might be bi and may have experienced attraction to Justin at some point.
    • Another "sort of" situation arises with Nanase/Elliot/Ellen. Elliot and Nanase were dating when the series started. She liked pretty much everything about him, but wasn't physically attracted to him. After a series of incidents with a piece of alien technology and a magic artifact, Elliot accidentally created an opposite gender clone/sister/daughter with all of his memories, Ellen. Meeting Ellen forced Nanase to realize that she was actually a lesbian, and they end up together once Nanase came to terms with her orientation.
  • In Girl Genius, Larana Chroma is hopelessly in love with fellow University of Paris student Jiminez Hoffman, but as princess of the Silverlands — one of Paris's many well-known secret underground kingdoms — she has been promised to a prince of the Moligarchy to maintain peace between them. Since the Moligarchs aren't monsters (except in the sense that they are, in fact, monsters) the prince she's expected to marry is a human adopted son: one Jiminez Hoffman. When Hoffman works this out, he promises her that she won't have to go through with it.
  • Doubled in Kevin & Kell, twice: first with the eponymous married couple falling in love with each other again in a chatroom without knowing, and later with Fiona helping her mom hook up with Ralph, who is also getting help from his nephew and Fiona's boyfriend.
  • My Best Friend (Who I Love) Fell Completely in Love with My VTuber Self...pretty much describes the situation Teruko finds herself with her best friend Sukoya, as Teruko is secretly both in love with Sukoya and is the Virtual Youtuber Doujima Taiga whom Sukoya is a major fan of. Teruko is too afraid to spill either secret.
  • Happens in this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip, when a man and a woman realize they've been cheating on each other with each other.
  • Also happens in Scarlet Lady, which replicates Miraculous Ladybug's Two-Person Love Square — but in the opposite direction: Adrien likes Marinette, who considers him a good friend (along with a minor crush on him) and likes Chat Noir (Adrien's superhero alter-ego), who grows to consider Marigold (Marinette's superhero alter-ego) a great partner and friend (and potential crush target). In "The Mime", having begun to suspect each other's Secret Identity, they start to flirt as Adrian and Marigold.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of American Dad! had Francine annoyed by how undependable Stan could be, specifically that he planned to be turned into a cyborg by the CIA after death rather than be buried with her. Then cyborg!Stan comes back from the future, miserable after spending a thousand years without her and far more attentive to her than his present self. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Played for laughs in an animated, non-canon short for Avatar: The Last Airbender, "School Time Shipping", in which Chibi Zuko (and several other suitors) lose Katara to Chibi Blue Spirit. In the actual show, the Blue Spirit is Zuko's masked alter-ego.
    Chibi Zuko: I did not see that one coming.
  • In one episode of Casper, a ghost teacher The Ghostly Trio loves finds them unfaithful because they flirted with her not knowing it was her.
  • Centaurworld features an unusual case of a two person relationship becoming a love triangle. The Elktaur fell in love with a human Princess, who was genuinely interested in him, but he was convinced that she would never love a centaur. In self-loathing, he used the power of the Portal Key to split himself into a human half and an elk half, both of them copies of the same mind. The human, who became the General, married the Princess, while the Elk continued to long for her.
  • Cybersix contains an interesting example: the eponymous heroine has a male civilian identity as an literature professor, with her work colleague Lucas having feelings for her female identity but being best friends with her male one. This gets more complicated and ridiculously cyclical when one of their female students with a crush on her "male" teacher is thrown into the mix. She happens to spot the female persona at "his" residence after tracking down the address, and comes to the wrong conclusion that the male and female identities are seeing each other (they aren't, of course). When Lucas hears this he is not happy with his pal "Adrian". Made further more amusing by the fact that Lucas at times seems to be just as into Adrian as he is with Cyber 6. Case in point: He one time asks Adrian to go see a romance movie with him.
  • Danny Phantom did the good ol' fashioned Loves My Alter Ego, but in two different ways. The first is a pretty straightforward example: Danny likes Paulina, but she likes his superhero form, Danny Phantom. The second is a Dating Catwoman-style inversion: Danny and Valerie like each other, but Valerie despises Phantom and wants nothing more than to destroy him in numerous painful ways. She nips their romance in the bud, ironically to protect Danny from his own alter ego.
  • Final Space's love triangle between Quinn, Gary and "Nightfall," an older version of Quinn from a prior timeline, the timeline of the show being the latest of Nightfall's many attempts to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Since Nightfall has lost "her" Gary, she's drawn to the Gary from the current timeline, whose life she contrived to save at the expense of "his" Quinn. Ultimately Gary remains loyal to "his" Quinn, and he and Nightfall conclude that even a Close-Enough Timeline isn't close enough for them to build a life together.
  • Futurama:
    • In "Bender's Big Score," Leela falls for Lars, to the ever-snubbed Fry's frustration. It turns out that "Lars" is an older version of Fry after some complicated time-traveling.
    • In a somewhat more straightforward example, Bender in "Bendless Love" seduces his own girlfriend while pretending to be her ex-husband Flexo to test her faithfulness.
      Bender: That's right, baby, I ain't your lover boy Flexo, the guy you love so much, you even love anybody pretending to be him!
      Angelyne: Well, maybe I love you so much I love you no matter who you're pretending to be!
      Bender: Oh, how I wish I could believe or understand that!
    • And Leela and Fry are back at it in "Rebirth", which sees Fry building a robot version of Leela with all of Leela's memories to console him after Leela ends up in an irreversible coma. Only it's not so irreversible, the robot loves Fry because of her memories, and Fry, after being rejected by two jealous Leelas and finally forgiven by the original Leela, discovers he's a robot, having been created by Leela after the real Fry got blown to smithereens in a spaceship crash before both of them lost their short-term memories. Before they can sort this out, the Fry we know and love emerges alive from Farnsworth's "birthing machine," and the robots pair off and run away together.
      Fry: Uh, this is a bit awkward. Or is it?
      Leela: I'm not sure. I lost track around the second robot.
  • Jerrica and Rio in Jem are an established couple well before Jerrica takes on the identity of Jem, and it's mostly her inability to separate her feelings for Rio from her "Jem" role that leads to Rio falling for Jem and effectively two-timing her with herself. Music video numbers about the guilt and stress that keeping up the lie causes her, or about her jealousy of her own alter-ego, are practically a Once an Episode occurrence.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Taking it a step further, we have a Two-Person Love Square. The main character, Marinette, is in love with her classmate, the handsome Adrien Agreste, who considers her an acquaintance (fans call this pairing "Adrienette"). When she transforms into the superheroine Ladybug, she rejects the romantic advances of Cat Noir, her superhero teammate ("Ladynoir"). Of course, behind Cat Noir's mask hides none other than Adrien himself, who has no idea that his beloved Ladybug is actually Marinette in disguise! Meanwhile, Ladybug interacting with Adrien ("Ladrien") shows both of them flustered and blushing, and Marinette interacting with Cat Noir ("Marichat") shows both of them snarky and oblivious.
    • The dynamics of the Love Square change in season 5. Because she feels that her crush on Adrien and her past relationship with Luka led to clouding her judgment as a superhero, Marinette renounces all romantic interests until Monarch is defeated. At the same time, Adrien starts exploring his own interests instead of those imposed on him by his father. This leads to Adrien developing a crush on Marinette, effectively reversing the civillian side of the Love Square. Because of Adrien's new feelings for Marinette, he stops flirting with Ladybug as Cat Noir, focusing primarily on their professional relationship. However, his reassurance that he would always be there to help Ladybug comes at a time when Ladybug is very unsure of herself and her capability as a superhero. Despite her insistence that she was done with romance, this eventually leads to Marinette developing a crush on Cat Noir, reversing the superhero side of the Love Square as well.
  • On one episode of Phineas and Ferb Isabella gets annoyed that her usual crush, Phineas, keeps disappearing whenever she needs him, though she seems quite enamored with the town's new triangle-headed superhero who keeps showing up right after Phineas leaves. (Yeah, we don't get how she missed it either, she's usually smarter than that.) Fits this trope even better because it's arguably the first episode where Phineas is shown returning Isabella's affections, as he clearly is more distressed about lying to her than he is to his family.
  • Winx Club did this between Aisha and Nabu. The two were betrothed in an Arranged Marriage, even though neither of them knew the other. Nabu ran away from home and introduced himself as Ophir to Aisha. He quickly fell in love her, and she began take a liking to him. Aisha was also vehemently opposed to being in an Arranged Marriage, so when Ophir revealed himself as Nabu, she was briefly angry, but she forgave him quickly.

    Real Life 
  • An episode of Mr. T's World's Craziest Fools mentioned a couple who had a very twisted version of this. Basically, both were disillusioned with their marriage, and decided to try and start affairs using a dating website. Both found people they liked, and they bonded over Internet chat, and then decided to meet. And then they discovered that they had been cheating on each other with each other.