|Trope · Genre|
|Synonyms:||Pretending to be Married, Pretending to be Engaged, Fake Boyfriends/Girlfriends, Fake Dating|
|Related:||Undercover in a Gay Bar|
|See Also:||Didn't Know They Were Dating, AMTDI|
|Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Fake/Pretend Relationship is a trope found in all genres of fanworks. This trope includes all sorts of pretenses; marriages of convenience, undercover identities, investigations, financial schemes, immigration schemes, high school reunion dates, wedding dates, making someone jealous, and many others.
The main purpose of the trope is to throw the characters together in extended proximity and then explore the hidden, or not so hidden, feelings that develop. It has a long, long history in original media, in everything from films, romance novels and sitcoms. Undercover in a Gay Bar is a slash-specific version of this trope that puts the characters in a gay-friendly environment.
The trope is sometimes used as a jumping off point for an AMTDI story, where the "aliens" call the bluff of the pretense.
A famous real-life example is described by musician Patti Smith in her book Just Kids. Trying to get away from a man she feared would proposition her (or worse), she ran up to a casual acquaintance and asked him to pretend to be her boyfriend. The friend was artist Robert Mapplethorpe, and it was the beginning of their decades-long creative romance/friendship.
- Our Hearts (Have Minds Of Their Own) by EffortlesslyOpulent (2016). Clarke is NOT going back to another family reunion without a fake girlfriend to shut everyone up. Lexa, her neighbor and best friend, needs powerful clients like the Griffins for her up and coming business. How inconvenient that they accidentally fall head-over-heels for each other in the process. It's a fake dating Rom-Com.
- Having it All by hermioneclone (2015). Triad Verse AU. Peggy Carter is perfectly happy with her job at the SSR and her life with Angie Martinelli, thank you very much. But someone wants to stop her rise in the agency and concocts the perfect plan to get Peggy out: find her a third partner so she can settle down in a Triad and start a family like a proper woman. But Daniel Sousa isn’t about to be used to get to his friend and is willing to protect her no matter the personal cost. As they fight against the powers that be, Peggy, Angie and Sousa just might find that is really is possible to have it all.
- Close to Home by iesika. Kon investigates a series of attacks in Smallville, and Tim goes undercover as his boyfriend. Also contains a little identity porn.
- tell all the truth (but tell it slant) by susiecarter. (DCEU) Pretending to date each other in order to explain why Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent are in the same place so often? Doesn't help as much as you might think.
- dirtynumbangelboy by magpie_fngrl (2017) Drarry After Harry’s unfortunate encounter with his ex, Draco Malfoy makes him a proposition. Draco wants his parents to stop matchmaking him and Harry wants to make his ex jealous. All they need to do is simply pretend they’re in love. Problem is… Draco already is.
- Sometimes a Lie is the Best Thing by pterawaters (2015). Triad Verse AU. Danny tells his family he's dating Steve and Catherine, which is fine until the Williams family decides Hawaii would be the best place for a family reunion, and they’re expecting to meet the people Danny insists he’s been dating.
- each to each by Jenwryn. Lewis & Hathaway go undercover as a married couple seeking a surrogate mother as part of a case
- Green Card by Wendy Richards. Lois Lane and Superman embark on a marriage of convenience when Superman is threatened with arrest as an illegal alien.
- this city bleeds its aching heart by Renne. Steve and Bucky pose as a happily married couple while on a mission for SHIELD, to catch an international arms dealer hiding in a suburban neighbourhood.
- Lord Drake's Bequest by pennyplainknits. Arthur needs to marry to take control of Tintagel Distribution. Fortunately he knows the right man for the job.
- Truth Is A Whisper by seperis. Words can also be mightier than the sword. Merlin/Arthur
- Some Things Take Root by navigator & quitter. Louis' ex doesn't get jealous of anyone besides Harry. Harry helps Louis use that to his advantage.
- April Fool's by mistresscurvy. Liam and Louis pretend to be married to shock the band, and no one is surprised.
- Boys on Film by tilda. Harry and Nick pretend to date for a publicity stunt.
- A Mistaken Invitation by corrielle -- Guy and Marian have to pretend their interrupted marriage went ahead at an acquaintance's wedding.
- The Troubles of Marriage Counseling by jennistar. Sherlock and John must go undercover at a couples' retreat.
- the Intellectual Intercourse series by waketosleep. asexual!Sherlock decides he and John should get married so he can get into John's hospital room easier and John will replace Mycroft as his next of kin.
- Judith Brownlee, "From Whatever Distant Hill" (Eridani Triad 2, June 1971). On a critical mission to a world with a matriarchal society, Captain T'Pelle of the Saratoga and her first officer N'wambe must pretend they are mates to conform to local custom, to the point that they have to appear to be having sex while being observed from another room.
- The Place Between by Psicygni. Spock and Uhura pretend to be in a relationship in order to obtain dilithium crystals from an alien ambassador.
- Marriage of Convenience by Cindy Olsen. While on a mission together, Han and Leia must pretend to be a married couple.
- A Pretense of Romance by Maureen Thayer. Daniel volunteers to pretend to be Sam's boyfriend in an attempt to make Jack jealous, but the plan backfires in the most unexpected of ways.
- A Convenient Husband, by Brighid. Earth-based-no-Stargate AU in which John gets old friend Rodney to marry him so he can fulfill the terms of a will. Harlequin AU and an early example of the trope in SGA fandom.
- Wherein could this flea guilty be by Mahoni. To save SGA-1 from corporal punishment off-world, Sam claims to be married to Sheppard, Rodney and Ronon. But then she has to prove it. Combination with AMTDI.
- Three Times They Pretended They Were Married and One Time They Didn't by Mirabile Dictu. Rodney and Teyla pretend to be married for trading purposes until they don't pretend anymore.
- Weddings, Plural, and a Yak by speranza. John and Rodney pretend to be or get married on various planets, until they don't anymore.
- However Improbable by Zoe Rayne. To get John the alien medical treatment he desperately needs, Rodney pretends to be married to him.
- Outcome, by Lamardeuse. While it also employs the trope, Undercover in a Gay Bar, Starsky and Hutch pretend to be gay to keep an eye on Hutch's Little Brother, Kiko and support the young man's coming out.
- Something Borrowed, Something Blue, by belyste. J2, Jared hires Jensen to be his date for a wedding. This story manages to combine Pretend Couple with a Based on a Movie fusion and hookerfic.
- Electricity In the Contact by ladyblahblah. Derek brings Stiles with him to a supernatural alpha convention as his pretend mate to avoid arranged marriage.
- Gravity's Got Nothing on You by zosofi. Derek bribes Stiles to pretend to be hi boyfriend in front of his family.
- "Mixed Emotions" by DC Black, a gen story in the zine Cascade Effect. In it, Jim and Blair go undercover as a couple.
- A Wicked Game by Tierfal. RoyEd, modern au. Roy has lucked into the all-expenses-paid vacation of his dreams – all he has to do is convince a bunch of happy couples that he's head-over-heels in love with Ed Elric. What could possibly go wrong?
- Fake/Pretend Relationship tag on AO3
- Recs tagged Pretend Couple at Fancake
- Recs tagged Fake Marriage at Fancake
- Recs tagged Undercover as a Couple at Fancake