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Look, what happened between us was important to me, and I thought it meant something to you too. But clearly Elsa means more to you than I do.—Alejandra, La Verdad Oculta
Alice and Bob (though gender reversals are common here) have decided that they want to pretend to be a couple to make their exes jealous, or pretend they're Happily Married to make sure Bob isn't deported, or decide that sex doesn't need to have an emotional attachment and become Friends with Benefits.
It all goes along swimmingly, until Bob starts feeling something for Alice. It can start by finding out she and he are very compatible, or as a jealous Green-Eyed Epiphany when she goes off with a boyfriend or has sex with someone else. Eventually, their perfect arrangement starts to fall apart as the ground rules are broken, leading to a confrontation.
Alice may or may not have feelings for Bob, but even if she does she'll defiantly say that their time together "meant nothing to me", to which Bob will plead his love with "It meant something to me, dammit!" This might be substituted with "I felt something!" and "I felt nothing!" Of course, Bob will storm off heartbroken that the woman he loves has just shot him down like a World War One observation balloon.
If Alice really doesn't have feelings for Bob, then it's heartbreak time (happily, Bob will likely come to realize he's been thoroughly neglecting Claire and hook up with her). If she does, she's likely been denying her feelings, something another character will have to spell out to her very plainly before she realizes she loves Bob, and goes after him seeking forgiveness.
Anime and Manga
- Pretty much a given in Shoujo romantic drama animes. Especially if there's a Love Triangle or something to that effect.
- Occurs often in the manga/anime Peach Girl.
- Flay and Kira in Gundam Seed. Kira did like her, but when their relationship started she was definitely in Yandere mode, so she failed to realize that she did love him until it was too late. By the time she gets her emotional issues sorted out in that department, Kira isn't around and she gets taken prisoner and it just goes downhill from there for her.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! has one of these, in an indirect and implicit way in episode 90, when Mai asks Jonouchi/Joey whether she was in the dream he had of all his friends after he's knocked out by a bolt of lightning caused by Odion pretending to be Marik, summoning Ra by using a counterfeit card in episode 89, at which point Joey gets shy/flustered and lies to her. This could arguably be said to have killed the chance of them developing a real relationship during the series, as it causes her to decide that she doesn't need friendship/bonds to win - which, after being defeated by Marik, even after regaining her memories, leaves her with nothing to keep her from descending into depression and going off on her own, eventually joining Doma.
- Note that in the manga, Jounouchi wasn't lying at all, nor did Mai spiral into depression and despair afterwords.
- In Devilman, Ryo gets his memories back, remembering he is Satan betrays Akira and leaves him with an impression that their friendship was just a lie. not only it isn't true, Ryo is in love with Akira.
- Possibly the most triumphant example being Vanilla Sky, with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz's characters finally hashing it out in a moving car. Cameron Diaz is driving. She's very despondent. It doesn't end well.
- Tearfully "I swallowed your cum. That means something!"
- Can't Buy Me Love, and its remake, Love Don't Cost a Thing.
- Chasing Amy has Holden tell Alyssa that she meant something to him.
- Groove has this line:
Ernie: Happens to me at least once every party. Some guy comes up to me and says "Thank you for making this happen... I needed this. This really meant something to me." And they nod... and I nod back.
- As does Tangled:
Alan: [Crying] I loved you! Tell me I meant something to you!
- After having sex, the titular characters of Zack and Miri Make a Porno feel something for each other. Zack is the first to admit it, with Miri denying she felt anything because she thought Zack had sex with another actress and didn't reciprocate her feelings... and then Zack leaving, because he thought Miri had had sex with one of the porno's actors. This may be a theme in Kevin Smith's films.
- ...Isn't the entire point of a porno for the actors to screw each other?
- The walk outs were over assumed after porno "just for fun" sex. So they probably viewed it as "He/She doesn't care about me at all since he/she is screwing with the other actors off the job!" If memory serves, neither had sex with the other porn actors off camera.
- In Life as We Know It, Holly and Messer are forced to live together like husband and wife and raise their goddaughter after her parents die. Of course, they hate each other, but grow to like each other. After it gets too serious, Messer leaves for a job in Phoenix. He comes back for Thanksgiving, after which Holly gets with Sam. Messer admits that he actually loved Holly.
- In Some Kind of Wonderful, Watts tries to coach best friend Keith on his date with Amanda Jones with a Practice Kiss - followed by Keith ribbing her because she was blushing.
- In Stone Of Tears, after one of Richard's teachers (the one closest to him) is revealed as a villain (after trying to drain his gift and life out of him), Richard said that he thought she cared about him... and she answered that maybe she did, and that's why she tried to drain his gift instead of bleeding it out of him - which is normally accomplished by Flaying Alive the person in question.
Live Action TV
- Cordelia in Angel has this reaction to her co-worker and potential love interest Doyles parting kiss.
Cordelia: Doyle! I thought our kiss meant something. And instead, he-he used that moment to pass [prophetic visions] on to me. Why couldn't it have been mono or herpes?
- Cordelia (or maybe not) was later on the other side of this equation with Connor.
- This is various played straight, averted, and subverted in layers on Chuck between the title character and his CIA handler Sarah, who pretends to be Chuck's girlfriend as a cover for most of the first two seasons. This trope contributes a central part of the drama of the show.
- Chase says this to Cameron in House and she immediately breaks up their "friends with benefits" relationship, claiming that she warned him not to fall in love with her. She did explicitly warn him and she does end up marrying him, at least for at time before she couldn't forgive him for killing a patient on purpose, even if the patient was a terrible dictator. Or rather, she could not come to terms with his having accepted what he did (ie, would NOT undo it given the chance).
- Played beautifully straight in a later episode, leading up to them possibly getting back together. But then not (at least they got closure).
- Subtle version in Firefly: Mal and Inara dress up and pretend to be a couple to go stake out the villain of the week together at a theater. No big deal is made of this. Mal agrees to help a friend of Inara fight against the villain, one thing leads to another, Inara finds out.
- Mal gets some of this in the next episode, as he's trying to convince himself their relationship doesn't mean anything.
- Denise proposed a FWB arrangement with Brad on Boston Legal, which ended when Brad realized he wasn't comfortable with it. When she found out she was pregnant with Brad's baby, she agreed to marry him.
- Happens in Ned And Stacy during the series finale on the former's part.
- On Will and Grace, it is revealed that an old girlfriend of Leo's, Diane, is the only woman Will ever had sex with. He attempts to comfort a jealous Grace by telling her it meant absolutely nothing and he only did it to verify his gayness, whereupon Diane bursts out that it meant a lot to her and was in fact the only time she'd ever had an orgasm.
- On Friends, Rachel's old college roommate denies Rachel's claims that they once drunkenly made out, until Rachel finally kisses her again in frustration, saying "maybe you'll remember this," and the girl reveals that she does remember their first make-out and has been obsessing over it ever since, but hastily denies picturing Rachel's face while having sex with her boyfriend. Whoops.
- On Mad Men Don Draper had sex with Allison, his secretary, during one of his drunken binges and tries to pretend that it never happened. The woman seems to go along with it for a while and then snaps, throws stuff at him and quits.
Allison: this actually happened
- Avril Lavigne's 'Losing Grip'. It...sounds less clunky in context.
Are you aware of what you make me feel, baby?
- Given an interesting twist in Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations. Obviously Phoenix meant nothing to Dahlia... but all the emotion moments Phoenix had with Dahlia were really with her substituted twin sister Iris. And to Iris, Phoenix did mean something.
- Played with in Questionable Content. Sven and Faye are halfway into Slap Slap Kiss territory when they start up a friends with benefits setup. Sven screws it up by sleeping with another girl (nobody said they were monogamous, Faye had just said it would be over if he did anyone else). They both soon realize that it meant something to the both of them. Faye does forgive Sven, but they don't continue their relationship
- Strong Bad of Homestar Runner does this when he accidentally deletes an email of two lovely ladies.