Didn't Know They Were Dating

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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)Didn't Know They Were Married, Didn't Know They Were in a Relationship
Related tropes/genresOffice Betting Pool
See alsoFriends to Lovers, Get Together, Broccoli Test
Related articles on Fanlore.

Didn't know they were dating is a trope that shows up in ship-focused fanfiction.

Often both parties are oblivious to the fact that everyone around them thinks they've been dating for some time. In other fics it may be that just one party is oblivious and the other party thinks they have been dating (just not putting out yet).

In angstier versions of the trope, one party may be pining for the other, especially if they're having what one party (or both) thinks or pretends is casual, emotionally detached sex while the other party (or both) is secretly in love. When the person who is unaware that they were dating finds out, the have to reevaluate their feelings, and usually decide that they do have romantic feelings and want to date officially.

Example Fanworks

Criminal Minds

  • Evidently Unaware by travelinthedark, “So,” Reid says, eyeing Hotch warily, “I’m going to leave you here to freak out as you slowly realize that we’ve been dating for a while and you just didn’t know it.” Featuring oblivious!Hotch and aggressive!Reid. (2022)

Stargate Atlantis

  • Oblivious by astolat. (McShep) Rodney thinks they're dating, John insists they're not. For a while. (2005)
  • If I Knew You Were Coming by Kass. (McShep) "Excuse me? I think I would know if we were dating." McKay sounded huffy. "I've been given to understand there are perks involved." (2007)
  • Marginally Obtuse by pocky-slash. (McShep) "John discovers that it's possible to be a bad boyfriend even when you don't know it." (2007)
  • Go Out Swinging by giddygeek. (McShep) In which Rodney is oblivious about his feelings for John while they're having regular sex (and he's still trying to date Jennifer). (2008)

Supernatural RPF


  • Continental Drift by rangerdanger. Summary: "Mike and Harvey are in a relationship. They just don't know it yet." (2011)
  • Imprimatur by Closer. "Mike was raised to believe Imprint was a life-changing event for those few lucky enough to experience it. Harvey was raised to believe it was a form of mental illness. When it actually happened, neither of them noticed." (2011)

Teen Wolf

  • Addicted to Loving You by teaboytoaliens. All-Human AU in which Stiles and Scott open a coffee shop and find out they're in love. (2012)
  • You Had Me at Canapes by LadyArinn. "Stiles doesn't mean to sneak into the Hale wedding, and he certainly doesn't mean to have cliche coat-room sex with the bride's uncle, but what had happened, happened, and it wasn't like he could just leave. At least, not until he got to have some of that cake." (2017)
  • Convenient by exclamation. "Stiles knows what he is to Derek: convenient. He knows that Derek isn't looking for a relationship, just someone to have casual sex with. Which is why Stiles is so surprised to find Derek setting up a romantic dinner for Valentine's Day." (2015)

Voltron: Legendary Defender


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