metaphasia: ([wowp] they see only each other)
I'm talking about one of my favorites relationship tropes today: the secret relationship. I know a lot of people are fans of the "they are obviously in love to everybody but themselves" type tropes, but I actually really love the opposite, where the couple keeps their relationship secret from everyone. I find those stories a lot more interesting for two reasons.

First, the plot of a "only they don't realize they're dating" story is the beginning of a love story and getting the two characters together. Whereas a typical plot for a secret relationship already has the two characters together, and is about how other people find out about their relationship and how they deal with it. I think established relationships are more interesting because I think a lot of the drama from establishing a relationship goes away since the question of "will they or won't they" is predetermined, since they absolutely will get together.

Also, I think that a secret relationship is more interesting because so established relationships are much less commonly found, and because an established relationship is about making a relationship work, and keeping it strong throughout any problems that are thrown against you and has both much more storytelling potential and also emotional potential. Most love stories end when the characters finally get together, but I think the most interesting part of a love story doesn't happen until afterwards.

On top of that, I really like the sort of intimacy that comes from sharing a secret and hiding a relationship from people. It lends an us against the world sort of mentality that I also really like. I'm a sucker for trust and respect between people, and having to keep a secret from people really brings out those sorts of qualities.

Secret relationships also work well for a lot of different genres. They work well with forbidden love like Romeo and Juliet where the two characters are from different factions, where one (or both) character is a spy and has to keep their relationship secret from their work, military AUs where relationships are forbidden because of the chain of command, superhero stories where they keep the relationship secret to protect each other from nemeses or because of their secret identities, are just some of the possible ways it can manifest. It's such a versatile trope!