Enemies to Lovers

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: Enemies to Friends to Lovers
Related: Rivals to Lovers
See Also: Enemyslash, Hatesex, Friends to Lovers
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Enemies to Lovers is a common trope in erotic and romantic literature which regularly appears in fan fiction.

The two characters often have a long history of conflict with each other. They may be on opposite sides of a struggle, or may have just met under unfortunate circumstances and their personalities clashed. There is often a lot of bickering and UST.

Works using this trope differ from Enemyslash and Hatesex fics, in that these characters don't actively hate each other or want to harm one another. These relationships are rarely violent or non-con.


Enemies may be forced to work together to achieve a common goal and come to respect one another, building slowly to a sexual relationship. Their relationship may change as a result of circumstances and fic authors have used Forced Marriage, Sex Pollen, Amnesia or Soulmates AU to get their pairing together.

Enemies to Friends to Lovers

Although Enemies to Friends to Lovers and Enemies to Lovers can be thought as one and the same, that is not always the case. Sometimes two characters who are enemies, and have UST, pivot quickly into having a sexual (or romantic) relationship, skipping the step of developing a friendship first, for some fans this is satisfactory because they wish to see the pairing together, but for many the friendship component is crucial for them to accept and enjoy the pairing.

I mean I SAY I love the ‘Enemies to Lovers’ trope but what I really MEAN is that I love the

‘Enemies to Resentful Allies In A Time Of Crisis to Grudging Mutual Respect to Growing Fondness Concealed By Snark to Hurtful Betrayal to Slow Reconciliation With A Greater Understanding Of Each Other to Strange But Solid Friendship to Unexpected Feelings In A Time Of Crisis to Denying Their Feelings While Growing Closer As Friends to Epiphanies Of Love In The Worst Possible Circumstances to Mutual Pining to Unbearable Sexual Tension to Lovers’


Rivals to Lovers

Rivals (to Friends) to Lovers differs from Enemies to Lovers in the severity of the antagonism between the two characters. They will usually dislike each other for less serious reasons, and may feel competitive rather than wishing true harm on the other. Rivals to Lovers works typically involve more fluff as two people learn to get along but do not have to overcome and significant moral disagreements.

having a rival just means youre gay i know we cover this every time but 'rival' is code for fated lover and everyone knows it. i know it. you know it. the people writing it know it.[2]

The "Rivals to Lovers" tag on AO3 is synned with "Enemies to Lovers" tag.

Fan Comments

Do you know why I love the “enemies to friends to lovers” trope so much? Because a relationship like that involves RESPECT. They start off hating each other and then they have to work togerher until they realize they have something in common, so they develop a respect that slowly turns into love. Those are the most solid ships y’all.[3]

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.


Example Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

  • The Songbird and the Sea - an extremely popular BTS fanfiction that, as of Feburary 2019, is the most popular work in the Enemies to Lovers tag on AO3.[4]
  • Rivals series - an extremely popular Yuri!!! on Ice fanfiction that, as of Feburary 2019, is the second most popular work in the Enemies to Lovers tag.

Further Reading

Archives & Fannish Links


  1. [https://enigmaticagentalice.tumblr.com/post/174318442250/i-mean-i-say-i-love-the-enemies-to-lovers-trope 27th May 2018] by enigmaticagentalice
  2. 4:55 PM - 2 Apr 2019 @blingeed
  3. Apr 22nd, 2019 by dustineverypage
  4. Found via the tag search and sorting February 2019.