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WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
A pair of star cross'd lovers take their life,
Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife

Two lovers — often teenagers — destined to be kept apart no matter how hard they struggle to be together. It may be Fate, or fatally-Feuding Families, or it may be something as mundane as a few hundred miles' separation, but something will always be in their way. Often, the two can only be Together in Death. William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is the most famous example (and the Trope Namer), but the archetype dates at least as far back as Mesopotamian Mythology and Egyptian Mythology, making it Older Than Dirt.

In modern times, often the term "star-crossed" is unknowingly misused to mean lovers who are meant to be together. It means just the opposite — the stars (i.e., destiny, or the heavens) have ruled against them, or crossed their plan — get it? Compare the word "disaster", which has the etymology "away; without" ('dis') + "star; planet" ('aster'). (Then again, if the stars rule that much, they probably did decree the love as well as the impossibility.)

One common version of this trope, Love Above One's Station (i.e., being in love with someone from a different social class), is at least discredited if not actually dead and buried in contemporary settings, but was very much true in the past, and it can still work when applied to historical settings. While it's difficult even today to have a relationship with someone from a very different background, in the old days, it was all but impossible: if you were from the lower class and courted your "better," you'd be treated with the vilest contempt and risk arrest and/or violence (possibly even death); meanwhile, a "better" who reciprocated would be disowned and possibly shut off in a nunnery, a monastery — or even an "asylum," an ironic name for a place which until a century or two ago was usually even worse than prison. (Then, see Suddenly-Suitable Suitor.)

Hence all those tragic "servant/slave/peasant loves the lord/lady/king/queen" stories.

Compare Dating Catwoman, where the relationship is forbidden but doesn't usually end tragically. Notice the overlaps with Interspecies Romance and Maligned Mixed Marriage. See also Bury Your Gays. Often the case for a Vampire-Werewolf Love Triangle. May be used as a Pretext for War.

Contrast Love Transcends Spacetime. Compare Nobody Thinks It Will Work and Uptown Girl. The friend versions are either Tragic Bromance or Forbidden Friendship.

Examples of Star-Crossed Lovers include:


Anime and Manga

  • Marie Antoinette and Count Fersen from Rose of Versailles. Oscar/Andre are another pair from the series ( they do manage to get together, but die immediately afterwards), and Oscar/Fersen is another possibility.
  • Mazinger Z: Shiro Kabuto and Lorelei. He was the little brother of Kouji Kabuto, The Hero and pilot and from Mazinger-Z. She was the daughter of a foreign Mad Scientist, or better said — a Robot Girl built by that Mad Scientist, who wanted to prove he was better than Dr. Kabuto, builder of Mazinger-Z and Shiro's late grandfather. What happened? He built an Humongous Mecha -Rhine X1-, and a Robot Girl -Lorelei- was meant to fuse with it to make it work. When the scientist got a fatal wound, he confessed the truth to her and pleaded her to defeat Mazinger; determined to fullfil her father's last will, Lorelei merged with Rhine and challenged Mazinger to a death match, so a very unhappy Kouji was forced to fight and kill her. Poor Shiro was devastated after that.
    • Minerva-X and Mazinger-Z itself also are an example. Minerva-X was a FemBot designed by Dr. Kabuto especifically to be Mazinger-Z's Battle Couple. Unlike Mazinger, though, she was a robot capable to think and feel emotions like an human being, and she was in love with Mazinger-Z. However, Dr. Kabuto never got around to build it. Unfortunately, Dr. Hell got his hands on the plans and built her to destroy Mazinger-Z. However, Minerva-X got rid from his control and refused fighting Mazinger-Z, so he decided to destroy her. Their condition not only comes from this but also it comes from Mazinger-Z IS a machine and it simply can not reciprocate her feelings.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer: Duke Fleed and Hikaru Makiba. Hikaru's father refused accepting their relationship, since Danbei was an Overprotective Dad was perfectly willing to killing any male came near from his daughter), but that was not the real obstacle (or an obstacle for that matter). The real obstacle was that Duke wanted to return his Doomed Hometown of a planet to rebuild it if he managed surviving the war, whereas Hikaru did not want to leave Earth. Not matter what their feelings are, a separation is inevitable.
    • Also, Duke and his fiancèe Rubina. Duke is Crown Prince of planet Fleed, a world was invaded and scorched by the troops of King Vega, and he now is fighting the Vegans to prevent them from conquering Earth. Rubina is King Vega's daughter, and the closest to a loved one that Vega had. They got engaged before the Fleed's invasion, but King Vega -who never agreed the engagement in first place-, refuses seeing his daughter getting married with Duke. Of course, it ended up in tears.
    • Shin Mazinger Zero has another couple counting as this... Kouji and Sayaka. Minerva-X, here a fully-sentient and human-sized Robot Girl, has witnessed thousands of realities destroyed, and in the newest one Sayaka dies and Kouji becomes a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds as a consequence, which ultimately leads to Mazinger becoming an Eldritch Abomination and destroying Earth. Then she lands in the one where the story itself takes place, and she becomes determined to make sure that Sayaka and Kouji will both survive and defy their cruel fate, saving the realities in the process.
  • Sakura and Syaoran in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. At first, even though they are physically together, Sakura is never allowed to remember she is in love with him (that is, from the looks of it, until all her feathers are found). Then it gets much, much more complicated, with all the complications putting more distance between them, metaphorically. That clones of both are involved is only the the beginning.
    • Yuuko and Clow may count too
  • In the Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch manga, Rina and Hanon both fall in love with humans, knowing full well that they will eventually have to leave them to rule over their kingdoms. (Hamasaki actually has a mermaid ancestor, but this seems inconsequential.) They tell Lucia this too, but her guy turns out to be the prince of an ancient powerful race that can breathe underwater, so she's safe.
    • Hippo and Yuri. Just... Hippo and Yuri. He's an hippocampus that turns into a penguin that turns into a human, and she's a tropical fish that also turns into a human. Plus he's an ally of the protagonists, while she's an antagonist.
  • Arguably averted in Blue Submarine No. 6. Hayate and Muteo part ways at the end because she has to look after a emotionally-devastated Verg and he has to help in the rebuilding effort of what remains of humanity. However, it's implied by the final episode ending credits, that they will eventually get back together again once things finally settle down.
  • Mari and Hagino from Blue Drop are divided by the fact that one is a high school student and the other the commander of an alien battleship, whose people plan to invade earth.
  • Wolf's Rain has not one but four sets of lovers, all of whom could be considered "star-crossed" in various ways.
    • Much of Lord Darcia's motivation for becoming the series' villain involves his lover Hamona falling into a coma and subsequently dying, which he blames on the wolves.
    • Hubb Leboski spends most of the series trying to get back together with his ex-wife Cher Degré, which indirectly leads to his getting involved with the wolves.
    • Kiba's main love interest is Cheza, the girl made of Lunar Flowers. Unfortunately, her status as a MacGuffin Girl keeps her trapped by many Nobles, forcing Kiba to fight his way back to her.
    • The wolf Hige, who's always dreamed of finding a hot babe, eventually gets together with the wolf-dog Blue.
      • Of course, with everything else that's going on nobody gets much time for romance, and they all die in the OVA episodes. At the very end Hige is apparently reincarnated as a human, along with the other wolves, but we don't see Blue.
  • Kazuya and Erika in Daimos. Kazuya is the pilot of Daimos, defender of Earth from the Balm invaders. While Erika is the little sister of Richter, Prince of Balm and leader of the invasion. They get their happy ending, but not before much heartbreak.
  • The Chinese daughter of a crime lord, Li-En, and her Mamodo partner, Wonrei, from Gash Bell. No matter what the outcome of the battle between the Mamodo is, Wonrei will have to eventually return to the Mamodo world.
  • Chrono of Chrono Crusade has the worst luck when it comes to relationships. First, he meets Mary Magdalene, who informs him after he's known her for months that she has had prophetic dreams since she was a child that he would be the one to take her life. He does, although not in the way either one expects. He's so guilt-ridden over her death that he sleeps for 50 years in her tomb, waiting for his energy to deplete to join her in death. But Rosette Christopher comes and wakes him up from his years of slumber, and things start to be going good for him...until her brother Joshua is kidnapped by Aion and he's forced to make a contract with her, slowly draining away at her life. In the anime they die together, Rosette as a result of the contract and Chrono from his wounds in the final battle, but in the manga they spend six years apart, and Chrono arrives back to her side just in time for her to die in his arms. It's implied that he lives on for decades afterwards.
  • Subverted in Princess Tutu. Ahiru is forced to give up the pendant she uses to transform into a girl to save Mytho, but Fakir still promises to stay by her side, even though she's now just a duck. Played straight with Tutu and the Prince in the fairytale, since the former is cursed to turn into a speck of light and vanish when she confesses her love. And almost played straight with Rue and Mytho, due to her being Princess Kraehe and him being cursed into a Raven... but Rue's Heroic Sacrifice turns out to be a Game Breaker, and they get their happy ending.
  • The Berserk universe has made it its personal mission to ensure that Guts and Casca never find happiness. That moment of love the two of them shared near the waterfall in the Golden Age arc was the closest they came to it before the Eclipse went down and everything went completely to hell.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth has. Esmeraude and Zagato. The tale's quite tragic and long... They are in love, but since Esmeraude is the local Barrier Maiden and she's required to dedicate herself only to Zephiro, as soon as her thoughts turn to him, Zephiro begins to crumble. Esmeraude intends to summon the Magic Knights to kill her so a new Pillar can be chosen, but the desperate Zagato kidnaps her in an attempt to save her. Their situation is so bad, it's said that they can only be Together in Death... And that's what happens: as the Magic Knights kill Zagato believing him to be the Big Bad, Esmeraude cracks and her Super-Powered Evil Side awakens, fighting the girls in anger and desperation for killing her love. What's left of her conscience projects her image to the Knights and explains everything, begging them to kill her. As the girls tearfully slay Esmeraude, they see her and Zagato's souls together, and hear Esmeraude first thanking them for releasing her, then telling Zagato that she's finally all his'.
  • Subverted in the Vampire Princess Miyu OAVs. Kei Yuzuki is a very handsome human who is horribly bored with his life but does his best to hide it, so at first he only wants eternal youth and beauty and consults the Uncanny Valley Girl from his school, Ranka. Turns out she's a Shinma and she promises to give him what he wants yet planning to make him her prey... but later, the guy ends up falling in love with her despite knowing who she is, and much to her own shock Ranka finds herself returning these feelings. They reach an agreement and Ranka transforms Kei into a Shinma, so Miyu (who had her eyes set on him too, thus she was horribly humiliated when she found out) had to send them both to the Dark. The last time we see them, they happily and peacefully walk together towards the Darkness.
  • Takaki and Akari in 5 Centimeters Per Second are an interesting example in that they have marginally more of a chance at a happy ending than most examples, but it doesn't stop their movie from being a huge Tear Jerker.
  • Newtype romances, in any Gundam series that includes Newtypes, generally do not end well. This goes double if Yoshiyuki Tomino, Mister Kill'Em All himself, is actively involved in the series. Note that newtype analogs, like the Coordinators from SEED, don't really count (they tend to survive, and have stable relationships).
    • Unless you see Stellar and Shinn's bond as romantic. Then, they get the raw-est part of the deal. Not helped by how Stellar's Famous Last Words are "Shinn... I love you". If they don't count, is there a sort-of trope that is an equal of "Star Crossed Lovers", but with friends and family?
    • Also, while Kira and Lacus do get their happy ending, Kira and his first girlfriend Fllay count as this. She started out as a Yandere who pretended to love him to get revenge since he didn't save her father from a really messy death, then truly fell for him when he showed her genuine kindness... but she could only sort-of tell him her true feelings after she was murdered by the Big Bad.
    • Saji Crossroad and Louise Halevy fit this trope after the Wham! Episode of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, where she became a Sole Survivor and lost her hand as well. The second season has them fighting on opposite sides, as he's forced to join Celestial Being as their Tagalong Kid to save his life and she's become a Dark Action Girl for the A-Laws. It takes them LOTS of effort to get back together.
      • Lyle Dylandy and Anew Returner. It doesn't end well for them, since she turns out to be an Innovator Manchurian Agent and betrays Celestial Being when her "trigger" (her Innovator twin Revive Revival) appears and "resets" her. When Lyle offers her a Last Second Chance she almost takes it, only to be mind controlled by Ribbons Almark into fighting him anyway and she eventually has to be killed by Setsuna to keep her from killing Lyle.
    • The Gundam Wing novel Frozen Teardrop has Treize's parents, Ein Yuy and Angelina Khushrenada. They tried to run away to escape the Parental Marriage Veto coming from her family, but her Smug Snake father Cinquante kidnapped Angelina back into the clan and got Ein killed. She was so broken that she went insane with grief. Also, Relena and Heero were set up to become this... but barely dodged the trope and manages to get together.
    • Then there's Flit Asuno and Yurin L'Ciel from Gundam AGE. Yurin dies in the Wham! Episode, and while Flit marries his childhood friend Emily and they're still together after the Time Skip, Yurin's death was also his Start of Darkness and Emily simply can't fill the void she left.
      • Kio Asuno from the last part of the series is one half of a Puppy Love version of this, since his First Love Lu Anon is not only a Vagan but is also an Ill Girl, and she dies.
    • One can see Mikazuki, Atra and Kudelia from Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans as the extremely rare three-way version. The Love Triangle between the three runs for quite a while in the series, but due to Atra loving Mikazuki while also crushing a bit on Kudelia, there was a bit of a chance for them to go beyond Threesome Subtext. But Mikazuki died in the Grand Finale... though not before he and Atra had Their First Time, and as a result, she later gave birth to their child Akatsuki, whom she and Kudelia raise together.. Those who don't see it that way can settle instead on considering Atra and Mikazuki as a straight-up example.
  • In Arashi no Yoru ni: Averted. Mei and Gabu seem doomed to part ways because their Interspecies Romance is frowned upon by both their kin, but they find one another again in the end.
  • Basilisk, which is essentially a Japanese Tokugawa-era send up of "Romeo and Juliet", has its star crossed lovers: Gennosuke from the Kouga and Oboro from the Iga. They even make reference to the old belief that star-crossed lovers will be reborn as twin siblings.
    • Also, the beginning of the show shows another pair of star crossed lovers: Koga Danjou and Iga Ogen, Gennosuke's grandpa and Oboro's grandma respectively.
    • Probably, also Kagero and Gennosuke. She would've been an excellent prospect for him except for her being Blessed with Suck and him truly liking his arranged fiancee Oboro, thus she's stuck as the Unlucky Childhood Friend and that takes a HUGE toll on her emotional well-being.
  • Ai and Yota from Video Girl Ai, since he's a human and she's a Robot Girl who shouldn't have human feelings. They do manage to override this
  • Two of Adachi Mitsuru's manga series feature romances forbidden by feuding parents. In Rough, the parents run rival confectionery businesses. In Katsu!, the fathers are former boxing rivals. In both cases, the girl's father is more rabid than the boy's father.
  • In the village of Hinamizawa, there were Satoshi Houjou and Shion Sonozaki... But they manage to subvert it. While Satoshi's disappearance causes Shion to snap and go insane, eventually resulting in her own death, the whole 'go insane' part only happens in 2 chapters, and not in the actual ending. Additionally, it's revealed that Satoshi is actually alive(though comatose) in the finale, and Shion will wait every day for him to recover. Also, the grudge against the Houjou family is dismissed, and upon his return, it's not unlikely that the Sonozakis would support a relationship between the two.
  • Code Geass has two couples like this: Ougi and Viletta, then Lelouch and Shirley (at least in Shirley's mind). The first ones subvert the trope and get their happy ending... the second couple plays it depressingly straight.
    • Euphemia and Suzaku are another pair. Although they were on the same sides, Suzaku was still considered inferior. And she still died.
  • Very twisted Boys Love example: Riki and Iason Mink from Ai no Kusabi.
  • Simon and Nia from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann in a truly epic Tear Jerker ending, where they both defeat the Big Bad... but since her life's linked to said Big Bad, she dies few later as a consequence, and right after her and Simon's wedding. Simon spends the rest of his life Walking the Earth.. Lampshaded in-series by the Big Bad.
  • Seishirou and Subaru from both Tokyo Babylon and X 1999. They're bound to be mortal enemies, what with Seishirou being the infamous Serial Killer known as the Sakurazukamori and Subaru as his most prized "prey" of sorts. And yet Subaru is desperately in love with Seishirou, even after finding out who he truly is AND him killing his twin sister Hokuto, and Seishirou's own interactions with his mother Setsuka (whom he killed to inherit the Sakurazukamori post) all but state that the closest to love that someone like him could ever feel is for Subaru. And when Seishirou actually dies, is through a cruel yet brilliant Thanatos Gambit that leads him to die in the arms of Subaru, the one who killed him, via giving him what is all but stated to be a Dying Declaration of Love.
  • Romeo X Juliet, obviously, given the source material.
  • Lucy and Kouta in Elfen Lied. Not only both of them have massive issues (Kouta is an amnesiac, Lucy is a Diclonius and has been rejected by almost everyone in her life until he and Yuka took her in), but there's how Lucy killed Kouta's dad and sister in the middle of a killing spree coming from her cracking under the pressure].
  • One of the most popular Fanon interpretations for Gin Ichimaru and Rangiku Matsumoto in Bleach. Considering Gin's reasons to betray Aizen and his subsequent death as Rangiku cries for him, it wasn't that far off in the end. . .
    • Also a popular romantic fanon for Momo Hinamori and Toshiro Hitsugaya. In canon, however, they both recover from their ordeals and get some more Ship Tease..
    • Byakuya and Hisana play with the trope. She was a commoner and he was a nobleman, and thus their mutual love was totally forbidden; Byakuya, however, pressed on and for the first time in his life, broke the rules of his family openly to marry Hisana. And then, she died of illness, thus playing this straighter.
    • Uryuu Ishida's parents are eventually revealed to have been the biggest example of this. Ryuuken was a pureblood Quincy and Princely Young Man while Kanae was a half-blood one and worked as both his fighting partner and a maid in the family mansion. Plus, he was in an Arranged Marriage to another Quincy girl — Ichigo's mother, Masaki. After Masaki and Isshin fell in love and got to stay together, Ryuuken and Kanae were able to marry and they had Uryuu... only for both Kanae and Masaki to be murdered in The Purge by Yhwach. While Isshin managed to stay strong for the sake of Ichigo and his sisters, Ryuuken is implied to have definitely left the Quincy due to Kanae's death, and still be completely in love with her.
  • Sankt Kaiser Olivie Segbrecht and Hegemon Klaus Ingvalt from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid. Long before they were crowned rulers of their respective countries, the two had grown up together to become very close. Alas, the Ancient Belka War happened, and they found themselves leading opposing sides, and in the end, Hegemon Ingvalt failed to stop Sankt Kaiser Olivie from performing the Heroic Sacrifice that she would eventually be famed for. He would carry this regret all the way to his grave and beyond, with Heidi Ingvalt, his descendant and sort-of Reincarnation, still carrying the sadness of his failure as she meets the clone of Olivie, the "titular" Magical Girl Vivio Takamachi...
  • In Uzumaki, a girl from Kirie's class is in love with a neighbor boy, while their families absolutely hate each other. The two sneak out together a few times (and of course, get caught and separated again), until they see two snakes making love. This inspires them to...well, this being Uzumaki, the two lovers spiral their bodies tightly around each other to form a human rope, telling their families that they will now be together forever, before throwing themselves into the sea to drown. It's the only heart-warming scene in a series of Nightmare Fuel.
  • In volume one of Bizenghast, two spirits needing to be released are those of a young pair of lovers. They had wanted to marry, but the man's mother refused to let him marry a girl of slightly-lower status. So one night, during a ball, the man stabbed his lover in the back as they danced before killing himself. As Dina frees their souls, the young woman's ghost whispers to her lover "I forgive you..."
  • Haikara San ga Tooru has three of these:
    • First is the main characters, Nice Guy Shinobu and The Ladette Benio, after Shinobu goes MIA and later has Trauma-Induced Amnesia.. They get better.
    • And in the backstory, Shinobu's grandmother and Benio's grandfather, who were in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage but were torn apart by political/social standings (One family was pro-Shogunate, another supported the Meiji Restoration.) The reason why the leads were betrothed was a sort-of promise made to them: if their kids or grandkids have a chance to marry, they'd be engaged to do so as a sort-of solace.
    • And there's more! Shinobu's parents were an example, too. His father was a member of the noble Iijyuin clan, but his mother/Colonel Iijyuin's mistress was a German woman. They couldn't marry due to social standing and her heritage, so after Shinobu's birth she was forced to leave her child in the care of his paternal family and abandon Japan.
  • Krory, an Exorcist and Eliade, an Akuma in D.Gray-man. It was his nature to destroy Akuma and it was her nature to kill Exorcists. He ends up killing her before he joins the Black Order.
    • Also, any person who tried to make a deal with the Earl to bring back their loved one, which would only end badly for both parties.
    • Taken further with Kanda and Alma, who were lovers in a previous life, only to be brought back to life by the Black Order as part of the failed super Exorcist program. Then Alma was driven mad into a massive killing spree and Kanda was forced to kill him. Only for Alma to not be dead and fought Kanda to the death again when he was revived. But this time, thanks to Allen, Kanda is able to send Alma to the afterlife in more or less peace, and later come back.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, there's Tatara and Suzuno, the Byakko no Miko. They fell in love, and Suzuno summoned Byakko and asked him to keep her and Tatara together forever. Byakko said he couldn't do that, since the Miko cannot stay in the world of the book when her mission finishes, and sent her back to her own world in Tokyo. She eventually raised a family more or less happily, while he asked his Time Master fellow Seishi to stop time for him so he could guard the Shinzaho better — but they never forgot each other. In the anime, Suzuno died in her grandson Toki's home of old age, Tatara died in a battle in the book, and in the meantime Miaka's brother Keisuke read to the dying Suzuno about her lover's destiny. Their souls are reunited across space and time to spend the afterlife together.
    • Actually, all possible Seishi/Miko pairings are fated to have conflicts like this. This is why Tokaki and Subaru didn't support Tamahome and Miaka's love, since they knew it very well. Both of them were Suzuno's Byakko Seishi, and Subaru was the Time Master who stopped time for Tatara. In the end, however, Miaka and Tamahome ultimately earned their happy ending.
    • In the prequel Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden, Uruki and Takiko are more or less together, but according to the original Fushigi Yuugi story she was Mercy Killed by her father Einosuke (who then killed himself) after she returned alive to Earth, but fell gravely ill - and it turns out that the God Genbu was devouring her from the inside.. The prequel itself... also kills Takiko off, but in a different way: she managed to summon Genbu too, and he fulfilled her two of her wishes, but she was in horrible pain and dying of illness so Einosuke Mercy Killed her via fatally stabbing himself while holding the Universe in his hands. She died peacefully in Uruki's arms, and he became the wise Emperor of Hokkan but never married.
      • The same series plays it straight between Urumiya Hagas and Uruki's cousin Firuka. She helped this Ill Boy live a little longer and fell hard for him, but he died in a Self-Sacrifice Scheme to bestow the Urumiya powers to his twin brother Tegu. Firuka believed that she was solely Hagas' Unrequited Tragic Maiden and was devastated over that... but Tegu tells her that Hagas loved her with all of his heart, and his other life wish was for her to live on and be happy. It's also implied that Tegu became Firuka's Second Love with time, and that since Uruki/Emperor Rimudo had no direct descendants, their great-grandson succeeded him.
  • In The Secret Agreement, as if being gay lovers from very different class strata ca. 1920s-30s wasn't star-crossed enough, it turns out that if Yuuichi doesn't steal Iori's life energy he will die instead. There is really no way for them to win.
  • In Wild Rock, Yuni and Selim decide there's no way to overcome the fact that they're from Feuding Families and are both future chieftans, so they part and each have families of their own. It isn't until their sons fall in love and decide to unite the two tribes that they meet again, agreeing it was long overdue.
  • Pretty common among Yuri old school couples:
    • Maya Aoki and Reina Harukawa from Maya's Funeral Procession.
    • Resine de Poisson and Simone d'Arc from Shiroi Heya no Futari are also these.
    • In Oniisama e..., Mariko tells Tomoko and Nanako about the legend of two lovers who died in Seiran School. They were separated by their different social class and killed themselves to not be torn apart, under the biggest elm tree in the garden. It's the same tree that Rei waited for hours underneath, under Fukiko's orders, causing her to catch a huge fever.
    • Nanako and Rei might qualify as well. Especially in the anime where Rei dies in an accident right when she was going to meet up with Nanako, in what's all but stated to have been this close to become their first date.
  • Akiko Shouda and Takao "Taka" Itou from the old jousei manga Kasei Yakyoku. Sara Uchida's crush on Taka doesn't have much more hope, either. Ultimately, Taka and Sara play this very straight.
  • Kikuno and Shuichi Takatori from Weiss Kreuz. They were very in love, but she was forced to marry his evil older brother Reiji. Then It Got Worse... Especially for their off-marriage child, Mamoru Takatori... aka Omi Tsukiyono.
    • And later, Omi himself, when he falls for his cousin Ouka Sakaki... Reiji's illegitimate daughter and the only person he loves. And she's shot to death in his arms.
    • Also, Youji Kudou and Asuka Murase. So much that he ends up killing her when she's the amnesiac Dark Action Girl Neu.
  • Aslan and Paiva in Kaze to Ki no Uta in the Backstory of the manga. Their son Serge's relationship with Gilbert dosen't fare well either, but considering that it took place in 1880's Europe, it was bound to happen.
  • In Winter Cicada, Akizuki and Kusaka are lovers on opposite sides of the Boshin civil war. It ends pretty much how one would suspect.
  • In the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward Elric and Winry Rockbell somewhat fit into this category. They are hinted to either have mutual feelings, or one of them has Unrequited Love for the other. But whatever the case, Ed's fate and decisions have kept them apart time after time. And in the movie Conqueror of Shamballa, this trope especially fits-- Edward has to go back for the sake of his world's safety, leaving Winry solo. She even says with a melancholy gaze, "That's Ed. I know it. I guess this is goodbye for good..."
  • Kazuya and Victorique of Gosick lived under a prophecy stating that this would be the case for them, hearts entwined but separated by war. Ultimately, the trope was averted: the war ended and finally the two found each other again.
  • Erza and Jellal seem to be this in Fairy Tail. Both have confessed (or been interupted while confessing) to have loved one another, spend more time thinking about one another than any other potential couple in the series (except maybe the two background characters whose whole schtick is not being able to confess their love), have displayed a telepathic ability to tell when one is in trouble or rooting for them, and every time they're about to get a chance to be together something will happen to take Jellal away, like corruption, or death, or arrest, in that order. The finale states that they'll probably be together later
  • Windaria Roland and Veronica, the heirs of the countries at the brink of war. It looked to be subverted as the Queen of Lunaria hoped a marriage between them would neutralize the possiblity of war but they ended up fighting.
  • Jeudi's parents Friederich and Helene in Honoo no Alpen Rose. Especially because they did get married and had Alicia/Jeudi, but then they had to run away from Austria to Switzerland, Helene and Jeudi went missing, and It Got Worse.
    • As things get worse and worse, it seems the Universe itself is conspiring to give Lundi and Jeudi trouble. Especially when Lundi disappears when the train he and Jeudi have boarded to reach Austria is caught in a bomb attack, and Jeudi has to go to Austria alone.
  • Meiko and Namura from Marmalade Boy, due to the Hot for Teacher angle as well as the social class difference (Namura is middle-class, Meiko is The Ojou). Subverted later: they do get their happy ending.
  • Hikoboshi and Orihime, the two lovers in Japanese mythology who could only see each other once a year, are referenced when Ranma and Akane go to the Weaver festival in one chapter of the Ranma ½ manga. The star crossed lovers are mentioned again later on by a somewhat-delusional-from-being-fried-by-fireworks Ranma.

 Ranma: (to the Akane in his dream) I feel as if we are... we are like Hikoboshi and Orihime when they finally met each other.

The real Akane: Huh?

    • In the anime, two one-shot characters, Princess Ori and Kengyu, are a play on Hikoboshi and Orihime, as well.
  • In a one-shot from the Sailor Moon manga, there is a variant of the legend of the Weaver and the Cowherd, where the couple shirked their duties because of their love, and thus were barred from seeing one another. The Weaver was the villain of the story, because the Cowherd saw her without make-up on during one of the days, and feared that he no longer loved her now that he saw she was really very plain (and getting fat from overeating due to boredom). At the end of the story, he shows up and assures her he still loves her.
  • This crops up quite often in Tarot Cafe, seeing as most of Pamela's clients are involved in some sort of Interspecies Romance. How well they work out varies. Some end happily, like the man who pursues a lake spirit, even after he unknowingly hits her three times and thus banishes her from his home. Some end not-so-happily, like the Reincarnation Romance between a vampire and a human, in which the vampire killed the human in the past and then, to keep himself from killing her reincarnated self (who he still loved) committed suicide. Besides the clients, there's also Aaron and Nebiros (separated because of a moment of distrust between the two, though they eventually reconcile) and Pamela and Belus (unable to have a happy ending, because Belus is really the Devil, though they are implied to remain friends. The beginning of the series also has Pamela and Ashes.
  • Remy Shimada and Merril Benten Tamagawa from Cyber City Oedo 808, since he's a human while she's a sort-of vampire hybrid. At the very end Remy chooses to spend the rest of her life in a pod that Benten shoots into space, and they share a Last Kiss right before that.
  • Shinichi Kudo and Ran Mouri from Detective Conan. They began as having Belligerent Sexual Tension, and then Shinichi was attacked by the Black Organization and shrunk into the titular Conan, and only in counted occasions he's been able to retake his original identity. For worse, while he lives with Ran and her father Kogoro, he cannot tell them that he is Shinichi because he knows they will be targeted by the same dangerous criminals that almost killed him. As such, even after their feelings have become stronger and at times they've managed to tell that to each other (i.e, Shinichi gave her a Love Confession in London, and in Kyoto she kissed him), Ran waits for the chance to see Shinichi again and be able to stay with him, unaware that he's always by her side and that he cannot let her know...
  • It's not hard to see Ryou Shirogane and Princess Amue from GoLion as this, since they help one another escape from the Galra Empire, become fighting partners with some Belligerent Sexual Tension and get quite close close... but he dies in an Heroic Sacrifice to kill Sincline before they can properly voice any prospect feelings for one another (Though she does mourn him quite a bit when she witnesses his death). But their Voltron counterparts, Sven and Princess Romelle, actually manage to get and stay together.
    • Barely averted by Mirana and Liutenant Lorn in the Western second season of Voltron, who are both captured by the Drule Empire and used against Voltron but manage to live through.
  • The plot of the Lupin III the Secret of Twilight Gemini special is driven by the story of two SCL: Lupin's old boss Dalune, once a member of the French Foreign Legion, and the Belly Dancer Lorre, who worked at the Gelt royal palace. They met during a time when there was fierce battle between the Gelts and the Igo Tribe, and the day the Gelts were forced to flee their ancestral home, was the last time Dalune and Lorre ever saw each other... Years later Dalune learns that Lorre was pregnant at that time, and that in the present their grandchild still lives on, so he sends out Lupin into what the titular thief believes to be a mission to retrieve the missing half of the aforementioned Twilight Gemini diamond, but in reality is a plan to find said grandchild - a Plucky Girl named Lara.
  • In Black Lagoon, a fairly strong case can be made for the Yukio Washimine and the badass Yakuza Ginji Matsuzaki. On one hand Ginji's loyalties lie solely with Yukio and his reasons are all but stated to be romantic, whereas Rock speculates that Yukio's decision to take over the Washimine clan came from her desire to be with Ginji. On the other, they were subjected to an absolutely brutal breaking process that involved: an all-out war against Hotel Moscow, the bloody betrayal of a group of the Washimine yakuzas where Yukio was physically/sexually humiliated by the ringleader and Ginji took an horrible yet well-deserved revenge on him, Ginji's death in a duel with Revy and, right after the last one, Yukio commiting suicide rather than facing Balalaika in dishonor and being without Ginji from then on.
  • In One Piece, Gol D. Roger had a sweetheart, a Plucky Girl named Portgas D. Rouge. Since he was executed, they logically fit in here. She went the Death by Childbirth way later, after having willingly held back from giving birth to their son Ace to protect the boy from the World Government.
  • Sorcerer Stabber Orphen:
  • Saint Seiya:
    • In the Hades saga, the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is used here as well: Orpheus' expy Lyre Orphee is one of the Silver Saints and his girlfriend Eurydice is half-turned into stone in the middle of Hell, lamenting that Orphee is always sad and won't leave her side after death..
    • Saint Seiya Soul Of Gold has two pairs of doomed lovers: the reformed Cancer Deathmask and the Innocent Flower Girl Elena (she's murdered by his rival and, as an Ill Girl, was doomed already) and Leo Aiolia and Lyfia (they get lots of Ship Tease, but in the end he must die again alongside his fellow Golden Saints while she stays in Asgard to be Odin's new priestess / representative).
  • The Animated Adaptation of Kishin Douji Zenki has two cases like this:
  • Every version of Dororo has Hyakkimaru, the local Handicapped Badass plus the titular Dororo's Big Brother Mentor, and his murdered First Love Mio. Especially in the 2019 version: originally Mio was a Posthumous Character but here she's not, and one gets to see her and Hyakkimaru falling in love plus her befriending the titular Dororo... only for her to be mistaken as a Honey Trap by soldiers and killed, alongside the kids she took care of, for such a reason.
  • Aim for the Ace! has Hiromi and Jin. Not only he's almost ten years older than her and her coach, but when he met Hiromi he was Secretly Dying due to leukhemia. . . Jin dies when Hiromi and her team are in a torunament in the USA, the teammates don't tell her so she won't lose her matches, and when she returns victoriously and finds out that he's dead, she almost crosses the Despair Event Horizon...
  • In Kyojin no Hoshi, Hyuuma and Mina Hidaka can be seen as such. Out of the girls he's romantically close to, she's the one he seems to fall for the hardest — but she turns out to be Too Good for This Sinful Earth, and even in Shin he's all but still in love with her.
  • Obanai "Serpent Hashira" Iguro and Mitsuri "Love Hashira" Kanroji from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba can be seen as this rather easily. Obanai was very in love with Mitsuri but hated himself too much to be able to tell her, and Mitsuri liked him back but had been burned out due to failed marriage interviews. When they were both mortally injured in the last battle against Muzan, they mutually confessed as they died together, hoping they'll be able to love one another in their next lives. And they do.

Comic Books

  • Young Avengers: Cassie Lang (Stature) and Nate Richards (Iron Lad) seem destined to be star-crossed lovers, separated by centuries and because Nate's destined to grow up to be the evil supervillain Kang the Conqueror.
  • While it's unclear how strongly his feelings are returned, Charlie Brown's hopeless infatuation with the Little Red-Haired Girl is tragically doomed to remain star-crossed, as he lacks the nerve to speak to her.
  • Nikolai Dante: the title character and Jena Makarov end up in this situation because Nikolai is an illegitimate scion of the Romanov family, who eventually go to war with the Makarovs.
  • Hawkman and Hawkgirl. If they acknowledge their love for each other they will be killed by their reincarnating archenemy. Because Destiny Says So.
    • In Blackest Night #1, finally Hawkgirl admits that she's fallen in love with Hawkman. Immediately, they are killed and turned into Black Lanterns. Toldja.
      • In Brightest Day instead, while Hawkman and Hawkgirl get briefly resurrected by the Life Entity and freed by their curse, the same Entity, responsible for empowering and protecting every life in the universe, turns Hawkgirl into the latest air elemental, barring her from living her last life with Hawkman. He's not that happy.
  • Again in Brightest Day, Deadman gets the same treatment: while he's resurrected too, and starts to appreciate his new stab at life by romancing the overtly cute and lovely superheroine Dove, he gets returned to his undead state, the Entity using his life force to resurrect and empower the new iteration of the Swamp Thing. All the while with Dove still able to hear his disembodied voice, but tearfully aware of their separation.
  • The ice goddess Kelda and the mortal fry-cook Bill in the Thor series.
  • Also Thor-connected: Asgardian wolf prince Hrimhari and Rahne Sinclaire of X Factor. The first time they got together, they had to part when the X-Men left Asgard. When Asgard reappeared on Earth, Hrimhari and Rahne were reunited, only for Hrimhari to give up his own life to save Rahne and their unborn children.
  • Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson were forced into this by One More Day. Stan Lee even lables them this in his afterword in the OMD Trade Paperback. Fortunatly, there still very much together in the MC2 and Newspaper Strip continunities, the latter of which continues to this day
  • In DC vs. Marvel, Robin and Jubilee had a brief romance during the crossover. Later they're separated and they weren't happy at that.
  • Ms. Tree found herself in that situation when her stepson fell for the daughter of the boss of the Meurita crime family which is subverted. Regardless of her opinion of this situation, she considers the matter purely the kids' affair and enjoys seeing the girl's mother attempt to keep them apart backfire into strengthening their relationship.
  • Thanks to Executive Meddling, this seems to be the case for Sonic the Hedgehog and Princess Sally Acorn - whenever these two get together, something bad happens to one of them - Sonic gets launched to the other side of the galaxy, Sally falls for Monkey Khan, then she later gets turned into a robot.



  • Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar from Brokeback Mountain due to society's homophobia. The film poster is in fact modelled after that of Titanic.
  • Rose and Jack from 1997's Titanic are probably the second most infamous use of this trope, after the trope namer.
  • Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala from Star Wars. Due to their respective roles as Jedi and senator requiring them to be on different planets, they were often literally star crossed. Even their romance theme was entitled: Across the Stars.
    • Jedi were not allowed to marry until the New Republic era. They were before the Ruusan Reformation (about 1,000 years before the movies), but it was still discouraged. Almost every pairing in Knights of the Old Republic, despite being set before the Ruusan Reformation, still probably qualifies due to the traditional taboos and other factors varying by character. The worst one is identical with all romances in Knights of the Old Republic: the player vanishes into the Unknown Regions, never to be seen again, leaving his/her loved one behind.
    • Happens again in the third trilogy and especially in Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, between Padme and Anakin's grandson Ben Solo/Kylo Ren and Rey.
  • Jamal and Latika in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. At least until the very end of the movie.
  • The eponymous tribesman Uncas and Alice, proper English girl, in Last of the Mohicans. Barely a word is spoken between them, but we know they are destined for this. Sure enough, Alice commits suicide after Uncas dies trying to save her.
  • Darkly subverted in Heathers. Everyone in town thinks the two dead high school football players killed themselves because they were gay lovers who believed that the community would never accept them. Everyone, that is, except for the two people who murdered them and forged the suicide note that lead the town to believe that two heterosexual football players were secretly gay lovers.
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Rebellious Princess Jen and Lovable Rogue Lo, Lady of War Shu Lien and Warrior Therapist Li Mubai. The first couple gets together in the end (for a very brief period of time.) The second ends as Her Heart Will Go On after Mubai dies in Shu Lien's arms.
  • The lovers in My Beautiful Laundrette are maximally star-crossed. One is from a tradition-minded Pakistani family, the other runs with National Front skinheads, and both are boys. Subverted in that there's no angst, there's minimal bitching about their star-crossed status, and at the end they end up together, realistically happy, without ever telling anyone about their relationship.
  • Ladyhawke - the title character Isabeau and her lover Captain Navarre travel together but only ever set eyes upon each other for the briefest moment because due to a curse, Isabeau turns into a hawk at dawn and Navarre turns into a wolf at sunset. So the core of the movie is them and Navarre's companion, Phillip, trying to Screw Destiny as much as they can. After many adventures, heartbreak and fights, it works.
  • In The Lion King 2: Kiara and Kovu. Which makes sense, given what it's based off of.
  • Max and Elise in Suicide Kings, kept apart by the fact that Max's stepfather slept with Elise's mother and her father found out.
  • In Memoirs of a Geisha, this is shown in the form of three women: Hatsumomo, Mameha and Sayuri. Hatsumomo was in love with a baker but was forbidden by Mother to see him again, because as a geisha, she mustn't give her body up to men who can't earn enough money. Mameha was hinted to have loved the Baron at one point but had long given up that emotion. And the last one is Sayuri who had loved the Chairman at first sight and from that moment on, did everything she could to meet him again. Like the others, she was doomed not to have a future with him. However, Sayuri earned her happy ending as the Chairman reciprocated her love and they remained together.
  • In Partition, 38-year-old Sikh ex-army officer Gayan Singh (Jimi Mistry) falls in love with 17-year-old Muslim girl Naseem Khan (Kristin Kreuk)... at the time of of the Partition of India.
  • The Bubble: The lovers, besides both being men, are an Israeli and a Palestinian; the Palestinian is from a conservative Muslim family and is being pressured into an arranged heterosexual marriage.
  • You Never Dreamed has Roma and Katya, whose families have bad blood between them and try to keep them apart.
  • The backstory of Underworld has Lycan slave Lucian and Sonja, the daughter of Vampire Elder Viktor, the latter of whom was executed after becoming pregnant with a hybrid. This sparks off the war between the Lycans and the Vampires that form the basis of the series.
  • Nate and Dana from Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam is this because they are from opposing musical camps led by two former bandmates turned rivals. Added points that Dana is the rival camp owner's daughter.
  • Tristan and Susanna in Legends of the Fall. The latter ends up being Spurned Into Suicide.
  • Gnomeo and Juliet, of course.
  • Upside Down (2012), in which a man falls in love with a woman from an inverted universe.


  • Pictured above: Chinese mythology speaks of the Weaver and the Cowherd, a legend of the stars Vega and Altair. Star-crossed lovers Zhi Nu and Niu Lang are separated forever across the Milky Way. They may only reunite once a year when magpies form a bridge between them. This is the basis of the Chinese cultural equivalent to Valentine's Day.
    • Tanabata no Matsuri is the Japanese version with Orihime and Hikoboshi as the star-crossed lovers.
    • And Chilseok as the Korean version with Jik-nyeo and Gyeonwu.
  • The Butterfly Lovers of Chinese folklore, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai. The girl, Yingtai, convinces her father to let her disguise herself as a young man in order to attend school. She meets and becomes roommates and best friends with Shanbo, a nerd who doesn't pick up that his roommate is actually a girl. Eventually he figures it out and they fall in love. Unfortunately, Yingtai is betrothed to someone else; Shanbo becomes heartbroken and eventually dies. On her wedding day to the Romantic False Lead, Yingtai visits Shanbo's grave. The ground swallows her up and both of their spirits become beautiful butterflies.
  • There's an...odd...Japanese belief that twins are star-crossed lovers reincarnated. Squick?
    • Odd, yes, but does make sense in a way, in that they're together, but can never be together due to taboos. Fate and the stars' revenge for not following their plans perhaps?
  • Guinevere and Lancelot from the Arthurian Legends. Your Mileage May Vary as to how much sympathy they should be awarded; some stories have Guinevere not only cheating on Arthur (and Lancelot with Elaine), but have her plotting Arthur's downfall with Mordred. Ouch.
    • Merlin and Nimueh may or may not count; it certainly does for him, since she winds up locking him in crystal in most incarnations of the legends.
  • Popocatepetl and Princess Iztaccihuatl , from Nahua mythology. He was the most badass warrior under the orders of her father, who wanted Popocapeletl to either prove his worth before allowing him to marry her or die trying it since he was too lowborn for her, so he sent the guy into a very dangerous campaign against their biggest enemies. Months later, the Nahua were told that Popocatepetl had fallen in battle and Iztaccihuatl fell victim to Death by Despair; however, as her funeral was in course, the living Popocatepetl appeared in front of everyone. Driven mad with grief and anger, he took his girlfriend's corpse in his arms and buried her himself, then fell dead by her grave. The Gods took pity on the lovers and first covered them in snow, then transformed them into volcanos - though Popocatepetl's spirit is said to still be so angry at his and Iztaccihuatl's raw deal, his volcano body is active over it.
  • The legend about the Llanquihue Lake in Southern Chile features the Huilliche princess Licarayén and her boyfriend, the hero Quiltrapi. The evil spirit Peripillán wanted Licarayén for himself and activated two local volcanos, Osorno and Calbuco, to threaten their surroundings and destroy them: the only solution was to invoke the help of other spirits, but offering the girl as a Virgin Sacrifice to them in exchange. The All-Loving Heroine Licarayén decided to go through it and save her people, only asking in exchange that her beloved Quiltrapi would sacrifice her on a bed of flowers; when all was said and done and Licarayén was dead, he killed himself to be with her. All of this moved the local spirits enough to have them send out copious quantities of snow to cover the volcanoes and defeat Peripillán, ultimately creating the Llanquihue Lake when said snow melted. They also buried the doomed lovers in a palace made of flowers and plants as thanks for Licarayén's love for her people.
  • There are some legends through former Spanish territories that refer to native Badass Princesses that fight the cruel Spanish settlers, fall in love with kind Spanish soldiers, and end up dying tragically with their beloveds as they're stuck between both sides. The most popular one is included among the many versions of the La Tirana myths (Chile), featuring the Qulla leader Nusta Huillac and her alleged lover, an either Portuguese or Spanish man named Vasco de Almeida. Other legends and myths include Guanina and Don Cristóbal de Sotomayor (Puerto Rico), and Juan de Salcedo and Candarapa (Philippines).
  • The Lovers of Teruel, Diego Marcilla and Isabel Segura. They were in a Childhood Friend Romance, but since Diego's clan had lost its wealth, he and Isabel's dad struck a deal: he'd have five years to gather enough money to marry Isabel, or she'd marry another man. The five years passed, Isabel and her dad, but Diego never returned... so Mr. Segura said "You Have Waited Long Enough!" and had Isabel marry a landowner named Pedro de Azgarra. Right in the day of the wedding, Diego returned with the riches that Mr. Segura had asked for, and much to his dismay he was too late to do anything about it; he snuck into Isabel's new household, had a talk with her behind her sleeping husband's back, and after she refused three times to give him a Last Kiss to not dishonor herself, he fell dead at her feet. The day after, Isabel showed up in her wedding attire to Diego's funeral, kissed the dead Diego's lips, and then she collapsed dead at his feet. They were buried together, and their (supposed) tombs include two statues that lay down next to one another, their hands outstretched but not quite touching one another.


  • Hilariously lampshaded and (eventually) averted in David Eddings' The Belgariad and The Malloreon: A knight and a lady are in love, but she is married to another man. Various other protagonists grumble about the fact all three characters are genre-aware of their plight, play up to it, and even actively avoid possible solutions because they love the melodrama so much. Eventually, after the husband dies, the main character gets sick of the ongoing Wangst and forces the couple to get married at the point of a seven-foot-long sword.
  • Parodied in the Discworld novel Mort with the characters of Mellius and Gretelina "whose pure, passionate and soul-searing affair would have scorched the pages of History if they had not, by some unexplained quirk of fate, been born two hundred years apart on different continents."
  • Two examples from The Dresden Files: Harry and Susan are the more obvious, but also Thomas and Justine. Thomas is an incubus, while Justine is a rather disturbed hottie. Initially their relationship is mutually beneficial, with Thomas feeding on Justine's Life Energy and stabilizing her mental state in the process. Consummating their romance, however, nearly kills Justine and, since Thomas is literally Allergic to Love, makes it so that they can't touch each other without seriously injuring him.
  • Though romance is not a major theme in the books, Eisenhorn and Bequin from the Warhammer 40000: Eisenhorn series. Eisenhorn is a Psyker and Bequin is a Blank (anti-psyker), thus meaning it was painful for Eisenhorn just to be near Bequin. The only time he is able to be close to her and open his heart is when Bequin is in a coma (thus canceling her 'Blankness'), after trying and failing to stop a possessed Imperial Titan. Unfortunately she doesn't wake up.
  • Lyra and Will from the His Dark Materials series, specifically the last book, The Amber Spyglass.
  • About half of all romantic relationships in A Song of Ice and Fire.
  • In the first book of The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta use this trope for all it's worth to gain sympathy. They almost become this for real, but ultimately live and get their happy ending.
  • Devdas: The book (and subsequent movie versions) is definitely of the second variation, having been written in 1917 when such rules still existed. The titular hero (son of a wealthy upper-class family) and Childhood Sweetheart Paro (daughter of a middle class trader family) fall in love upon adulthood, but because Devdas is too weak-willed to stand up to his father's disapproval of their getting married, the two of them spend the remainder of the book apart. He spends his days drinking and mourning her, while Paro is in an Arranged Marriage to an older aristocratic gentleman. Sensing that he's close to death because of his drinking and despair, Devdas crawls to Paro's house and dies in front of her gate, fulfilling a promise he made to her on the day of her wedding, and Paro can't even see his face because of the rules of Purdah.
  • Renata Remedios "Meme" Buendia del Carpio and Mauricio Babilonia play the role in One Hundred Years of Solitude.
  • Catherine and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights.
  • Maigrey and Sagan in Margaret Weis's Star of the Guardians. Complete with The Masochism Tango and Together in Death.
  • John Grady Cole and Alejandra from All The Pretty Horses. He's a poor American ranch hand, she's the daughter of the wealthy Mexican ranch owner that employs him.
  • Winston and Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  • Shades of Grey, Eddie and Jane. Jane, who is the epitome of Tsundere, would rather kill Eddie than marry him, and he's supposed to marry upwards anyway. And then when they do fall mutually in love, it turns out Jane is a Green and shouldn't even talk to eighty-six-percent-Red Eddie, much less marry him.
  • In Holes, we have the tragic case of Miss Katherine and Sam, though in love with each other, cannot be together because she's white and he's black. When the rest of the town found out that they had kissed (a huge crime back in their day), they burned down Miss Katherine's schoolhouse and killed Sam in front of her.
  • In The Iron Dragons Daughter, Jane and Tetigistus. When she and one of his incarnations (Rooster, Peter, Puck or Rocket) got together, it ended in tragedy. M;ore for him than for her.
  • M. Paul and Lucy in Villette.
  • Scrooge and Belle in A Christmas Carol, who were driven apart by Scrooge's greed and obsession with money.
  • Pip and Estella in the original ending of Great Expectations. Subverted in the Revised Ending.
  • Occurs in The Silmarillion between King Finwe and his first wife Miriel. She gains the distinction of being the only person to die in the Undying Lands, much to the puzzlement of the gods, who finally decide she's staying dead out of sheer stubbornness. Finwe re-marries, but his second wife outlives him. Once he dies, he asks the gods to be re-united with Miriel. They agree--and she promptly reincarnates, leaving him behind again.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, medicine cats cannot fall in love, and neither can cats from rival clans. This results in cases of missing parents and fake parents.
    • Evident with Bluestar, who ends up pregnant with her lover Oakheart's kits, but due to them being in different clans, see has to leave her kits with him and not acknowledge her relationship with him or her kits for the rest of her life, up until she reveals to her kits that she is their mother just before she dies.
    • Ditto in the case of Leafpool and Crowfeather, except that Leafpool is also a medicine cat. Leafpool has to give her kits to her sister to raise, and has to pretend to be just an aunt when she is actually their mother. Furthermore, when the truth comes out, one of her kits turns insane and nearly murders Leafpool. Because of that, she even gives up her place as medicine cat, but still cannot be reunited with Crowfeather, as he is stuck with a mate he does not love, as well as another son, who is also a Jerkass.
    • Crowfeather and Feathertail as well. Both of them are also from separate clans, but become close in their journey for a new home. When they finally confess their love for each other, Feathertail is killed shortly afterwards in a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Ryewhisker and Cloudberry in Code of the Clans. Just as Cloudberry is pregnant with Ryewhisker's kits, he is killed defending her from his own clanmates as she is from a rival clan. This causes an even bigger wedge to be driven between the two clans.
    • Let's just say that Warrior Cats is chock-full of such examples.
  • In CS Lewis's Till We Have Faces, Orual, queen of Glome, falls in love with Barida, her captain of the guard, who is already married. At the end, it's revealed that the stress her devotion caused him lead him to an early grave.
  • Walter Huff and Phyllis Nirdlinger in Double Indemnity. They murder Phyllis's husband and attempt to make it look like an accident to get double indemnity on his insurance policy, but it falls through, they get found out, and subsequently commit mutual suicide by jumping from the stern of a cruise ship.
  • Lenina and John in Brave New World; alternately, Lenina and Bernard. She likes him, he likes her, but everyone is cruel to Bernard due to his differences.
  • A couple of instances in the Deryni novels:
    • Duncan McLain and Maryse MacArdry. Expecting to be parted over a feud between their clans, they marry in secret and Maryse conceives a son, Dhugal. Duncan later learns Maryse died of a fever the following winter, but he doesn't know the rest of the story until much later.
    • Rothana Nur Hallaj and Kelson Haldane. After much thought, she decides to put aside her temporary novice's vows and marry him, then he disappears down a waterfall and is thought to be dead. She is persauded to marry someone else traitorous Conall Haldane, and feels she cannot marry Kelson once they are both free to do so. She even arranges for him to marry someone else!
  • Vlad Tepes and Elizabeth Bathory in Count and Countess. Or so they insist.
  • The original fate of Gwidion and Emily in Symphony of Ages. While soul mates, they were born millenia and continents apart. By the time the two met in the original timeline, Emily was ancient and giving birth to their son, who could Set Right What Once Went Wrong, killed her. The changes to history averted this trope, eventually.
  • In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet series, Captain Bradomant and Colonel Rogero, on opposite sides of the war. Both intensely honorable and adament against doing anything against their own sides.
  • Enchantress From the Stars has Elana, a girl from The Federation, an extremely advanced society, fall in love with Georyn, a young man from a planet stuck in Middle Ages. Neither of them could be happy in another world, so they part once the Federation's expedition departs.
  • The books by Strugatsky Brothers feature several: Kammerer \ Rada Gaal from Prisoners Of Power (again, each partner stays in his / her homeworld) , Rumata / Kira from Hard To Be A God ( Kill the Cutie), and Tojvo Glumov / Asya from The Time Wanderers (Tojvo leaves Earth (and Asya) behind). We also have Wanderhoose / Postysheva from Far Rainbow (who only get together as they are about to be annihilated and Robert Tanya (same story, same fate).
  • Francois Rene de Chateaubriand's Atala has its protagonist, the Natchez young man Chactas, and his half-white/half-Seminole girlfriend Atala. Having been capured by the Seminoles as he returned home after living with a Spaniard, Chactas was sentenced to be executed; by that time he had already caught the eye of The Chief's Daughter Atala and they ran away together into the wilderness, then befriended an old man named Pére Aubry and his dog. Atala, however, is very conflicted since years ago she had made a chastity vow to her Missing Mom, and ends up committing suicide with poison since she cannot choose between boyfriend and promise. Aubry and Chactas bury her together, and he ends up leaving and settling down elsewhere; the Downer Ending-like epilogue says that Aubry was later killed by Cherokees, and that ultimately both Chactas and his adoptive son René (the one Chactas himself told the story to) fell in another uprising.

Live Action TV

  • A Bit of Fry and Laurie — Hugh Laurie sings a song to his love, about how strange his devotion is given that they've never met and she has in fact been dead for almost 16 years.
  • Angel — Angel/Cordelia and Fred/Wesley.
  • Babylon 5 — Two examples: Susan Ivanova and Marcus Cole and Susan Ivanova and Talia Winters.
  • Battlestar Galactica — Played with. Helo and Athena are in love. The problem? He's one of the few surviving humans left and she's an agent of the Cylon race that just nuked his species to near extinction. The result is that she spends the majority of the second season locked up in a holding cell and the two of them have to deal with people who want to abort their unborn child Hera and rape her for information. Ultimately, this trope is subverted as Athena has won acceptance, been freed from prison and married to the man she loves after the timeskip in between seasons.
    • Played straight with Starbuck and Apollo. It's love at first sight for them.....only she happens to be dating, and eventually gets engaged to, his younger brother - who dies partly as a result of a mistake she makes. They become best friends, teammates and quasi-family to each other, but the guilt keeps them apart for years afterwards, to the point where they find it easier to hook up with - and eventually marry - other people, than face their feelings for each other. They rekindle their romance, but being married makes it impossible.And then she dies, comes back for just long enough to lead the Fleet to Earth, and just when there seem to be no more obstacles left to them being together, she tells him she isn't coming back and vanishes into thin air.
      • Any Cylon/Human couple, where the Cylon actually develops genuine feeling for the human could be considered this as the humans don't react well when they inevetbly find out their lovers aren't human.
  • Beauty and The Beast — The underlying premise of the TV series; she can't live in his world without giving up her job and her life, and he can't live in hers at all.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer — Buffy and Angel.
    • Everyone falls into this eventually. Jenny and Giles in season 2. Willow and Oz in season 4. Willow and Tara in season 6. Xander and Anya, Buffy and Spike in season 7. Joss Whedon is mean.
  • Castle and Beckett.
  • Cold Case has many cases that feature couples where one of the partners has been killed, and the surviving one either is a suspect or a witness. i.e., in the episode "Best Friends" the corpse of a missing girl named Billie is found in a truck in the Delaware River 70 years after she disappeared... and it turns out she died when she and her girlfriend Rosie tried to run away, after Rosie's brother threatened them. And then it's shown that Rosie is still alive and still mourns for Billie...
    • There's also the baseball player Danny and the law student Henry from "A Time to Hate": they were gay lovers in The Sixties, Henry was worried because their relationship could ruin his promising career, Danny accused him of being a coward... and then Danny was beaten to death behind an ally housing a gay bar. 30 years later, Henry is still alive and is still traumatized over Danny's death.
  • Chinese Paladin 3: The mortal Chanqing and demigoddess Zixuan have two separate Reincarnation Romances which end tragically. By the third time around, Zixuan and Chanqing have both learned from their mistakes and are willing to do anything to make it work. And then they still can't be together.
  • Degrassi Junior High — Played for laughs. Snake and Melanie are hopelessly crushing on each other, but every attempt they make to date ends in a comic disaster. In one episode, they plan to meet at a Wild Teen Party. Snake and his friends are put in charge of bringing the beer, but get arrested by the cops on the way — so Melanie doesn't get to see him, and the Wild Teen Party doesn't get to be wild.
    • Played much straighter with Joey and Caitlin.
    • Also, in Degrassi: The Next Generation, this happens with just about every couple. Special mention to JT and Liberty though; JT was stabbed and killed before he could tell Liberty that he still loved her.
  • Doctor Who — The Doctor and Rose. At least that's how we're intended to perceive their literally here-and-gone-again relationship over seasons 1-4 of the new series.
  • Downton Abbey: Lady Sybil and Branson. She is an Earl's daughter and he is the family chauffeur. Mrs Hughes warns him that he stands to lose his job and gain a broken heart when she finds them holding hands.. As of the end of series 2, they are married with a baby on the way, although Lord Gratham isn't pleased. And then she falls victim to Death by Childbirth...
    • Mary and Matthew, up to a point. They seem to have their acts together by the end of series 2. And then, he dies...
  • Farscape — Aeryn and John screw up enough to count as this. He lampshades this when he says that destiny is keeping its promise to always draw them together "but screwing us over in the fine print". Seriously - first there were her emotional issues, then he just wanted to go home, then she died, then she came back to life and realised a relationship would complicate things too much, then he split into two, then one of them died, then she had more emotional issues and ran away, then she nearly died again, then she was pregnant and didn't know who the father was, and now my hand is about to drop off.
  • Hikari Sentai Maskman — Takeru and Mio/Iyal. Unfortunately, They never got together in the end and had to break up due to Iyal's duties to Tube.
  • Sayid and Nadia, Lost: he searches for her for eight years, finds her, and marries her. She's killed only months later.
  • Kamen Rider Fourze — While it took place during one of The Movies, Kamen/Gentarou Kisaragi ends up falling in love with an alien life form...before a rogue member of Kamen Rider Double's Foundation X captures her, effectively kills her and turns her into an Astro Switch.
  • Lost Girl — Bo and Lauren are considored this; the main reason for this is Bo is a Fae and Lauren a human. One of the number one rules of being Fae is not to fall in love with humans. And even if they get past this and all other personal problems Bo is going to outlive Lauren hundreds of years.
  • Merlin — Lancelot and Guinevere. It's Love At First Sight for Lancelot, and Gwen seems to reciprocate, only for Lancelot to be exiled from Camelot. They meet again during a Rescue Romance, but when Arthur turns up, Lancelot realizes that he's in love with Guinevere and decides not to interfere. Lancelot returns for the third time at the end of the third season and is reinstated as a Knight of Camelot, but by this point, Guinevere has fallen in love with Arthur and in a committed relationship with him... Only for him to return once more after dying in series 4, and shaking things up again, although this is all Morgana's fault.
  • The Office — Michael Scott and Holly Flax. The dorkiest, most adorable pair of soulmates you ever did see, cruelly separated by Dunder-Mifflin corporate for business reasons (he's the Scranton office manager, she's in HR.) Michael fully intends on waiting for her as long as it takes. Awwwww.
  • Pushing Daisies: Chuck and Ned - this is essentially the whole point of the show. Kind of, anyway. They're together, but they can never be together.
  • Ultraman — Oddly enough the series has this with Ultraman Ace's hosts Seiji and Yuuko (yes two people become him at least at first). At first it seems like a standard blooming romance between hero and heroine but then a Wham! Episode hits. Yuuko is a kind of energy being from the moon, and having accomplished her task on Earth must leave. Seiji is heart broken but swears to keep her in his heart as he becomes the sole host of Ace. However in the Grand Finale Seiji must merge with Ace permanently and he too has to leave Earth, as Ace has duties on the Ultraman homeworld. Decades later (both in series and in real life) Seiji and Yuuko would finally meet again during the Anniversary series Ultraman Mebius, and sort of confess their feelings to each other. Since both are energy beings now its implied that they could potentially get together.
  • The X-Files — John Fitzgerald Byers and Susanne Modeski.
    • Mulder and Scully as well.


  • The Decemberists' song "We Both Go Down Together" is about a common girl and a young man of rich means whose parents don't approve of his love to said common girl. They solve their problem in the classical manner, if you get my drift.
    • There's also an alternate lyrical interpretation that takes the unlucky rich kid's somewhat patronising tone and extrapolates that rather than preparing to die with her, he's leading her on so he can murder her, possibly for being pregnant with his child.
      • There's also also the interpretation that the rich male is actually a deluded rapist who believes that they are in love. The rape angle seems to make sense, but the leaving her for being pregnant fits in well with the theory that "We Both Go Down Together" and "Lesley Anne Levine" are interlinked. Possibly it's a bit of both.
    • "O Valencia", on the other hand, is spot-on for this trope; in fact, the first bit almost seems lifted from Romeo and Juliet: A young mobster (probably son of the Don/Boss/whathaveyou) falls in love with Valencia, the daughter of a rival Don; her sister rats on them; her brother confronts them; Valencia runs to her lover's side just as her brother is shooting, and gets hit instead; she dies in her lover's arms; the lover decides to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Referenced in the Blue Oyster Cult song "Don't Fear The Reaper" as well.
  • The song "Barricade" by Stars is occasionally, and erroneously, taken to be about a pair of revolutionary lovers who are torn away from each other by The Man. It's actually about a pair of violent football hooligans who are only being kept apart by the fact that one of them grows up and gets a job while the other stays a shiftless thug. Members of the band are somewhat... annoyed by the first interpretation...
    • On the other hand it's implied fairly strongly that the narrator has feelings for the other football thug, and that both of them grew up eventually, but in different directions.
  • The song "Jueves" by the Spanish group La Oreja de Van Gogh, is about a man and a woman who confess their love for each other in a train... just seconds before dying in the terrorist attacks of March 11th.
  • "Futari wa" ("The Two of Us") by Miyuki Nakajima. The song tells a modern variation on Love Above One's Station: the love between a prostitute and a client who cannot have an actual relationship with her without being rejected by his friends.
  • "Running Bear", famously sung by Johnny Preston, is essentially a Romeo and Juliet story between two Indians from warring tribes.
  • Exaggerated in Tom Waits' song "Fish and Bird". Doesn't stop it from being a tear-jerker.
  • Parodied (but nevertheless sad) in "Misalliance" by Flanders and Swann.
  • Nightwish's song "Astral Romance" is all about this. Arguably also several other of their songs.
  • The song "Starcrossed" by Ash.
  • "For Love" by Blood Angel and Kate Warwick (Gothic-/Symphonic- Metal, also released as a single)
  • David Bowie's song "Heroes" is about two lovers who are separated by the Berlin Wall.
  • Secret Lovers by Atlantic Starr is about a pair of these--they aren't allowed to be together because they're both engaged/married to someone else.
  • "The Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las, im which the guy dies in a motorcycle accident immediately after their breakup.
  • The animated character and his real-world girlfriend in the video for A-ha's "Take on Me". The story is concluded at the beginning of the "The Sun Always Shines on TV" video, with him (who had become human to be with her after being killed in the story world) turning back into a drawing and having to run away.
    • Also the narrator and his ex-girlfriend in Manhattan Skyline. They refuse to get in a Long-Distance Relationship, the girl leaves on a boat, the guy angsts about how he won't be able to fall in love again... and then decides to leave to New York.


  • Tristan and Iseult (also known as Isolde).
  • Lancelot and Guinevere, which is also a form of Bodyguard Crush.
  • Pelleas and Melisande
  • Classical Mythology has several: Hero and Leander, Troilus and Cressida, and Aphrodite and Adonis.
    • Adonis is based directly on Innana/Ishtar and Dumuzi, the Older Than Dirt Mesopotamian story of the vegetation god whose annual death and resurrection cause the seasons because of the misery of his bereaved love.
    • Aeneas and Dido, Orpheus and Eurydice, and Pyramus and Thisbe show up in Ancient Roman writings.
  • Geb and Nut, Egyptian god of the earth and goddess of the sky, respectively, are forever kept separated by their father Shu, god of air and light. As in, he physically holds them apart so they can't touch more than their toes and fingertips. One version has him trying to prevent the birth of the god Set.


  • Subverted in the musical The Fantasticks: two neighboring fathers maintain the appearance of a virulent feud and forbid their children (a son and a daughter) to even look at each other as part of a scheme to get them to fall in love and marry.
  • Shakespeare did this a lot, either because he liked it or his audiences did.
    • Romeo and Juliet, the Trope Namer, from the opening narration. Some would argue it's a deconstruction, since there could have been a prospect solution if not for them acting impulsively and naively.
    • Antony and Cleopatra
    • Pyramus and Thisbe, a Show Within a Show in A Midsummer Night's Dream, which has its own forbidden lovers in Hermia and Lysander, but since this is a comedy, they end up together.
    • Depending on how you look at it, Hamlet & Ophelia and Othello & Desdemona could count.
  • Again, Tristan and Isolde, but now in the opera by Richard Wagner.
  • Haemon and Antigone in Antigone by Sophocles.
  • In the musical adaptation of The Secret Garden, it is revealed at one point that Lilias Craven's family, especially her sister, were dead set against her marrying Archibald because he was a hunchback. Her sister threatened to disown her, but she married him anyway because she loved him so much. Then she died. Archibald is still in a mess over her death when Mary arrives ten years later.
  • In Les Misérables, Eponine and Marius (or at least Eponine thinks they could be). Eponine sings about this in "On My Own", and unfortunately she is the hypotenuse in a love triangle involving herself, Marius and Cossette. She becomes a victim of Death of the Hypotenuse and lies dying in Marius' arms. In some stagings, they Almost Kiss, but she dies before they do. Bummer.
  • Elphaba and Glinda from Wicked. It's far more blatant in the musical then in the books, and fits this trope far more than said source. That greatly depends on the staging. It's more like a star-crossed friendship. In the book, Elphie and Fiyero are the star-crossed lovers.
  • Tuptim and Lun Tha in The King and I.
  • In the original Vanities play, the three childhood friends are driven apart by their differences in the third scene, although The Musical fixes that. Played straight with Joanne and Ted, who are divorced by the musical's finale.

Video Games

  • Mellthas and Sira in Albion. Not only Interspecies Romance, but Mellthas can't even talk! (one female gamer called it "The Little Mermaid in reverse!")
  • Fei and Elly in Xenogears, multiple times. They are trapped in an endless cycle of reincarnation, and every single time it ends quite badly for both of them. Until they break the cycle, of course. At least one of their doomed romances has shades of Love Above One's Station.
    • Arc and Elle of Terranigma find themselves in an almost identical situation, as they reincarnate endlessly to save the world... and be killed off just as their love blooms and the world is safe, each time.
  • Aerith Gainsborough and Zack Fair. After Zack goes on the infamous Nibelheim mission and disappears for years, then dies just outside Midgar before he can reunite with Aerith. She believes that he simply disappeared and dumped her, then befriends Zack's best friend Cloud and joins his and AVALANCHE's cause... and dies at the end of Sephiroth's blade. However, after the events of FFVII, Aerith and Zack end up Together in Death, as shown in Advent Children. The Remake, however, can potentially change things. . .
  • Tequila and Billie, the daughter of Big Bad Mr. Wong in John Woo Presents Stranglehold.
  • Timpani and Blumiere of Super Paper Mario. Or, as you know them for most of the game, Tippi and Count Bleck.
  • The Didact and Librarian from Halo, quite literally. The last time the Didact sees his wife pre-reincarnation is over a thousands years before she perishes. First because he's sealed in a chamber in hibernation for a thousand years, then, after she puts her plan in action to reunite them, he dies. Luckily, he is reincarnated in Bornstellar, only to be separated again while he directs the fight against the Flood at the Ark and she saves thousands of alien species behind enemy lines. The last time they speak to one another, the Didact is pleading with her to return to him, and she urges him to fire the titular Halos, which he does, winning the war but killing her. Truly a Tear Jerker, as he was willing to undergo shame, torture, and imprisonment if it would allow him to see her again.
  • Fire Emblem is chock full of this:
    • The backstory of the Fire Emblem Akaneia games has it, to begin with: Anri the Hero and Princess Artemis of Archanea could not marry since he was a commoner and she was, well, a Princess. Artemis married the nobleborn Number Two to Anri, Duke Cartas, and fell victim to Death by Childbirth, cursing the Fire Emblem itself as she perished; the heartbroken Anri never married, and his Heroic Lineage was continued by his brother Marcelus instead.
      • Nyna, a descendant of Artemis and Cartas and also a Princess of Archanea, had this with the local Black Knight and Anti-Villain, Camus. His realm wiped away her clan (though he had no part on in) and he spared her, keeping her alive as a captive and then helping her to escape. He doesn't follow her, however, and is apparently killed afterwards. Then Nyna enters an Arranged Marriage to Marth's friend Prince Hardin, who also has feelings for her, despite being unable to love him back, which leads him to depression and to being Brainwashed and Crazy by Gharnef. Some time later Camus reappears under a fake identity and helps Marth and his crew, and even breaks Nyna away from a Brainwashed and Crazy stint... but not only he believes that he's destroyed Nyna's life, but in the meantime (as shown in Fire Emblem Gaiden), he's found love again with a White Mage named Tatiana, so he cannot stay with her any longer and leaves again. Nyna is so sick of all the fighting (plus Hardin died after being de-brainwashed and defeated) that she gives Archanea to Marth and Caeda and disappears...
    • From Genealogy of the Holy War, we have Sigurd and Deirdre. They did marry and have a child, but then Deirdre was kidnapped and brainwashed into marrying her half-brother Alvis, and said half-brother killed Sigurd. Yikes.
      • And then there's almost any couple coming from the first part. Ethlyn and Cuan perish in the desert via Dragon Rider ambush, all the males over 15 years old except for Fin (and Lewyn, but he's actually Back From the Dead via Forseti and it's implied that he *isn't* exactly back anyway) die in the Battle of Belhalla alongside Sigurd, and the girls either are missing (Ayra, Briggid, Lachesis, Silvia), retired (Edain), or dead (Tailto, Erinys) as well.
      • The second part has Trabant's adopted daughter Altenna ( or better said, his spoil of war after he kills her parents and takes her hostage) and his full-blooded son Areone. In a subversion, they can have a happy ending - but it heavily depends on the strategies.
      • Thracia 776 has Dean and Lady Linoan. Dean is Areone's Number Two and is tasked with protecting areone's fiancé Linoan, but they fall for one another... and yet both are totally dedicated to their respective lands. Dean leaves to Thracia at the end and Linoan works hard for her beloved Tahra, but never marries.
        • Fin and Lachesis could optionally be this in Holy War, and are more or less confirmed as such in Thracia.
    • Fire Emblem Blazing Blade has this happen to Priscilla, if she is paired with either the myrmidon Guy or the Dragon Rider Heath. Basically, she's a noble girl. But Guy is a tribesman from Sacae, and Heath is a deserter from Bern. So in the end, they back down. This is especially true on the Heath-Priscilla pairing, their A Support Conversation is almost on Tear Jerker level. (It should be mentioned that she and Guy do manage to dodge this trope in the orginal JPN, but play it straight in the West apparently due to a mistranslation)
    • Don't forget Legault/Isadora ( they find each other as enemies in the battlefield, years after the game events), Renault/Isadora ( he disappears, she leaves the military and becomes a cleric to find him but we never find out if she does or not) and Harken/Vaida ( reach and understanding, long for each other... then they never meet again).
    • The Blazing Blade prequel game, Binding Blade had Melady and Galle, which reaches near-epic levels of Love Hurts, especially when Melady talks to Gale before he's killed.
    • There's a rather pleasing subversion in Fire Emblem the Sacred Stones, with Dragon Rider Cormag and Princess Tana of Frelia. While he does leave after his land of Grado is reconstructed and she does spend years searching for him, they ultimately find each other and she knights him in what's implied to be her personal service.
    • The Fire Emblem Tellius games have Ena and her fiancé, Prince Rajaion of Goldoa. At some point he went to look for his missing sister Almedha and her son, and then his evil brother-in-law King Ashnard captured him, got him infused with a Psycho Serum that locked him in his dragon mode and made him go insane, and transformed him in his mount - in fact, he fights the heroes in Path of Radiance's last battle riding him. Ena joins Ike's group in an attempt to reach for Rajaion, and after Ashnard is defeated she manages to do so... but Rajaion is so weakened and wounded that, despite recovering his human form and a bit of his sanity and memories thanks to the Heron's songs, he dies soon afterwards next to the saddened Ena. The only more or less bright spot is that some time later Ena gives birth to her and Rajaion's child, the first full-blooded dragon born in centuries.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening has this trope... and then sets on defying it. Chrom's murder at the hand of an Avatar possessed by Grima condemned the Avatar, Chrom, Chrom's spouse (potentially including a Female Avatar), the Avatar's potential spouse and their kids to the Bad Future. Which is what Lucina and her companions come fight against via Time Travel.
    • Fire Emblem Fates is EVEN MORE chock full of this:
      • Backstory: the Avatar's mother, Mikoto, and both her First Love / the Avatar's father aka Anankos' Soul (she saved his life, they hooked up and had the Avatar, he started succumbing to Anankos' madness and sent her and their kid away for protection) and her Second Love/the Hoshidan siblings' father and the Avatar's Parental Substitute King Sumeragi (he was murdered trying to protect the little Avatar, then years later was forcibly revived in a Brainwashed and Crazy state by the fully maddened Anankos and killed Mikoto when she caught him attempting to murder the Avatar.
      • Birthright and Conquest paths: Azura Disappears Into Light at the end of each route, due to overusing her powers (onscreen in Birthright, offscreen in Conquest), so if she gets married (including a Male Avatar) she and her hubby end up as this. She averts it in Revelations, however, since she lives to the end.
      • Birthright path only: if the Avatar does not have an A support with the ninja Kaze by the time Chapter 15 hits, he will save the Avatar from certain death at the cost of his own life, so like in Azura's case he and his wife will become this. Heck, for extra meanness, one can marry him to Azura and therefore kill both of them off in said playthrough. Logically, this will be averted if the above condition is met, and double if the lady that Kaze marries is the Female Avatar.
      • Revelations path only: a Male Avatar and Scarlet (who are NOT this if they marry in Birthright), since she dies in an Heroic Sacrifice after the plot moves towards the cast's fights in the Kingdom of Valla. She's around just for a couple of chapters but, if the player wants to, they can use challenge maps to rise her and the Male Avatar's Support levels enough for marriage and their daughter Kana's birth - right before she's killed, revived as a borderline Zombie and killed again.
    • Jeralt and Sitri Eisner, the parents of the player character Byleth in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Jeralt was the mosr badass knight in service to Lady Rhea and the Church of Seiros, and Sitri was one of the nuns at the church. They fell in love, married, and had Byleth, but the Ill Girl Sitri succumbed to Death By Childbirth. Because she was actually an Artificial Human who been created as a vessel for Rhea's mother the Goddess/Sothis and was of frail health as a result, and pregnancy and childbirth proved too much for her. When Byleth was stillborn she asked Rhea to transplant Sothis's crest stone from her heart into the baby's. Jeralt lived on for two decades without Sitri, remaining in love with her and raising Byleth very well until he was murdered by Kronya during the events of the game and joined Sitri in the afterlife.
      • Lysithea von Ordelia can become this with some of her potential romantic partners (Felix, Ignatz and Cyril), since she's also an Ill Girl with a shortened lifespan from having two Crests forcibly implanted in her. In others, like her ending with Male Byleth, she can be healed via having the Crests removed and live a long and happy life with her spouse; though in her ending with Lorenz she lives but is bedridden, and if she marries Balthus there is zero mention of her illness after their marriage.
  • Laguna and Julia in Final Fantasy VIII. His son Squall and her daughter Rinoa have rather more success.
  • EVERY single pair of lovers in Odin Sphere:
    • Badass Princess Gwendolyn was promised to King Onyx; her husband the Black Knight Oswald had his soul pledged to Queen Odette. (Plus they cared for one another and he never used a spell to make her love him, like she believed.) Both Onyx and Odette try to collect multiple times throughout the game and Gwendolyn and/or Oswald must fight to remain together.
    • Mercedes and Ingway, since he has to leave as soon as the spell that changed him into a frog is broken. In the true ending, Ingway is dead for their next meeting. And even worse: if the player chooses the bad ending by fighting the first Darkova with Mercedes, they end up essentially killing one another.
    • Oswald's cousin Cornelius has no luck either. His father Edmund actively tries to discourage his relationship with Velvet in favor of a political marriage between Cornelius and one of Odin's legitimate daughters (either Gwendolyn or Griselda). Velvet's own brother, the aforementioned Ingway, significantly disapproves of their relationship, as well, although he warms up to Cornelius much later in the game.
    • The backstory has the aforementioned King Odin and Princess Ariel of Valentine, who gave birth to Odin's other children - Velvet and Ingway. He had to leave before they were born and she ultimately dies at the hands of her own father for having birthed his children. Odin has been heartbroken ever since.
  • This could apply to Tidus and Yuna with Tidus being actually a dream of the Fayth. But at the good ending of Final Fantasy X 2, they are happily reunited.
  • In Persona 3 Portable, it's possible for this to occur between the female protagonist and Ryoji Mochizuki. He's an amnesiac Anthropomorphic Personification of Death itself. She's doomed to sacrifice herself to seal a Cosmic Horror, like the male protagonist before her. Yeah, it's not gonna end prettily for either party.
  • Male Revan and Bastila, Female Revan and Carth, Female Exile and Atton, Male Exile and Handmaiden, heck, pretty much every pairing in Knights of the Old Republic one and two.
    • There is also a side quest in the first game that features and example from two feuding families.
  • This can happen all over the place in Dragon Age, unavoidably if a male PC romances Morrigan, and possible if any PC takes the Heroic Sacrifice at the end after pursuing any romance - or if Alistair takes it after being romanced. There are also the origins - the City Elf will have to leave their Arranged Marriage candidate (and regardless of what they may have thought of them, said potential spouse seems to have a definite attraction to them), this comes into obvious play on at least one end (the other, of course, depending on whatever the player thinks their Warden feels) for the female Dalish Elf, and mage-hating Cullen has a crush on the female mage that, needless to say, doesn't go too well for him. Not to mention Jowan and Lily, also appearing in the Mage origin. To prove how prevalent this is, the dwarf noble origin can have it too, with a female PC and her second, Gorim. This is portrayed as an established but probably ultimately doomed relationship, due to the nature of the dwarven caste system.
    • Yeah, all of the Origin Story "romances" are doomed to fail. Let's see...
      • In the Human Noble origin, you can choose to have a sexual encounter with one of two certain characters. Regardless of which one of them you choose, they will be brutally slaughtered when the castle is ambushed that same night.
      • In the Dwarf Noble origin, there appears to be something intimate going on between the female player and Gorim, seeing as the player has several suggestive dialogue options with him. But it is made fairly clear that they cannot marry because he is of a lesser caste. Later in the game the player can find him in Denerim, only to discover that he has already married another woman and is expecting a child with her, and he breaks off the relationship for good. A male player, on the hand, has the option of having a sexual encounter with two "noble hunting" women during the origin story; but it's quite clear that these ladies only want to sleep with him because of his status, for their own personal gain, because they want to have his child so that they can live in the palace. Gets even more star-crossed by the fact that if the player does choose to sleep with them, one of them does end up having his baby, but because he got himself exiled the day after he slept with her, and because a child inherits their status from their same-sex parent, the child is casteless and when the player encounters her again later in the game, she bitches at him and blames him for her misery and accuses him of ruining her life and all that. Go figure.
      • In the City Elf origin, you're being forced to get married, but then a drunken human noble lord comes and ruins your wedding and kidnaps the women. If your character is female, then your fiance ends up being murdered by the lord's men. If your character is male, your fiancee ends up rejecting you after you rescue her from being raped and likely killed, claiming that "Grey Wardens can't have wives or families."
      • In the Mage origin, it is quite obvious that the templar Cullen is infatuated with the female player, although if the player tries to proposition him for sex he'll get incredibly nervous and run away. Later in the game, when the templars are overthrown and the tower is taken over by rebellious blood mages, the player will find that Cullen is the only templar on the upper floors who has not been slaughtered - when the female mage player finds him again, he will outright reveal his infatuation for her, but because of the psychological torture he has endured, he has developed a burning, immense hatred for all mages and pretty much rejects the player because he doesn't care for her anymore.
  • Max Payne and Mona Sax.
  • Leon and Ada in the Resident Evil series.
  • Adol and Lilia in the Ys series, as well as pretty much every other girl he meets. This is the only girl he gets close to getting serious with.
  • Rufus and Alicia from Valkyrie Profile: Silmera.
  • Kei Odagiri and Ukyou Tachibana from Samurai Shodown straddle the line between Courtly Love and this. They're quite in love but Ukyou has to keep his distance because she's a high-ranked noblewoman while he's a swordsman, and not to mention he's an Ill Boy who will die sooner or later. She gets married to someone else, but they still hold feelings for each other in their hearts, and when Kei needs Ukyou's help he will immediately go to her aid.
  • In the Mass Effect series, this is the current fate of the possible romance between Shepard and Ashley/Kaidan. In the second game, Shepard is in an uneasy alliance with Cerberus while Ashley/Kaidan remain loyal to The Alliance.
    • It can also happen in Mass Effect 2 if your love interest dies during the suicide mission.
      • Or if you're romancing Thane as female Shepard, thanks to his illness.
    • Pretty much happens to all love interests who were part of your crew in the 3rd game, what with them being stranded on Gilligan's Planet, the relay system in ruins and Shepard being dead in the Sol system in most cases. One of the many reasons the ending is hated by the fans.
  • Xianghua's parents, Chai Xiangfei and Kong Xiuqiang in the Soul Series. Later, Xianghua herself and her lover Kilik.
  • Cole and Elsa in LA Noire.
  • Liu Kang and Princess Kitana of the Mortal Kombat universe, which is bound and determined in both the original series and the reboot to ensure they never find happiness.
    • First series: They slowly become close through MKII and MKIII, with her even thanking him personally for helping free Earth and Edenia in the latter. In Mortal Kombat 4, however, she tells him that she wants him to be her Hot Consort in Edenia... but as the Champion of Earth, he cannot take her offer, even when they love one another. And then Lui Kang is targeted and killed by Quan Chi and Shang Tsung in Deadly Alliance, with Kitana mourning him quite a bit through her own harsh ordeals. Though their mutual affection keeps Liu Kang's spirit grounded enough while his revived body breaks havoc (it's a LONG story), he doesn't exactly come back to life later. And then, Armaggedon aka The end of the world happens, and everyone dies.
    • Reboot: Kitana and Liu Kang actually meet during the first tournament, with Kitana trying to kill Liu Kang and him not only fighting her off, but being kind to her and implied to have fallen in Love at First Sight with her and her fighting skills. This, united with her discovery of her origins AND her Evil Twin Mileena's recent awakening, leads her to decide to leave Shao Kahn earlier than in the original... But then things go from bad to worse, and Kitana AND near all of Liu Kang's allies (save for Raiden, Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage) are murdered by the newly revived and Brainwashed and Crazy Queen Sindel (Kitana's own mother), with poor Kitana dying in Liu Kang's arms. Liu Kang crosses the Despair Event Horizon and has a huge fight with his leader Raiden due to this and Shao Kahn's invasion... which concludes with Liu Kang snapping on Raiden, and then to Raiden accidentally killing him.. Rather ironically... Mortal Kombat X actually has them finally more or less together - but first as Revenants under the thumb of Quan Chi, and later as the Emperor and Empress from the Netherrealm, alias the MK's version of Hell. And in Mortal Kombat 11... if the player, well, plays his/her cards right, the Story Mode's Good Ending will actually defy the trope via giving Liu and Kitana the chance to finally be together, as Kitana will be able to join the newly deified Liu Kang's quest to forge better timelines. Their Tower Endings play this straighter, however, especially Liu Kang's since he, Kung Lao, Kitana, Bo'Rai'Cho and Raiden become Elder Gods, but at the price of him and Kitana being separated again by their duty to the universe, in a last scene that heavily resembles the original legend of Zhi Nu and Niu Lang.
    • Another couple zigzags the trope, especially in 11: Jade and Ko'atan aka Kotal Kahn. She was The Lost Lenore to him in the new continuity, after she died and was made into a Revenant in 9 and he was unable to save her for very complicated reasons. . . And in 11's Story Mode a younger, still-Edenian Jade is brought back by Kronika, and it turns out that Jade loves Kotal as well, so from then on she stays with him and they get to defy the trope. . .
  • The prince and princess in the original Prince of Persia games. The second one has him trying to defy the trope by fighting against Jaffar and his people, plus seeking for his own origins.

 Narrator: And so the young lovers were wed and lived happily... well, for eleven days.

  • In Shira Oka Second Chances, one of the routes results in the inevitable death of its focus character, Yui
  • Chaos and Varuna, the god of darkness and a goddess of light, will never be together in the Agarest Senki series. Heck, half of the reason why the war of the gods started was because Chaos never got Varuna.
  • The Joy/The Boss and The Sorrow of Metal Gear Solid 3. They were together for a while, and they even had a child ( Revolver Ocelot), but in the end, their devotion to their countries (the United States and the USSR, respectively) put them on opposite sides of the Cold War, and the Joy ended up being forced to kill the Sorrow. They're Together in Death by the end of Metal Gear Solid 3.
  • Chibi-Usa and Anshar from Sailor Moon Another Story, if the player has his older sister and local Big Bad Sin defeated by Chibimoon's team.
  • Serah and Snow in Final Fantasy XIII-2. The first game's ending was pretty good for them, then the sequel kicked in and Snow went on a quest to find Lightning. It all goes downhill from there. Except in one of the Paradox Endings, i.e. an alternate, non official ending, where they go on adventures together.
  • Tekken: Lars Alexandersson and Alisa Bosconovitch. For starters, he's a very badass human man while she's a Robot Girl, albeit one capable of human feelings - as long as the orders from a certain person don't override her personality.. Then, he rebels against the Mishima Zaibatsu that he used to work for (even when he's the bastard son of one of its leaders)... and they're the ones that actually built and control her, since she was constructed not just as a robot version of Dr. Bosconovitch's late daughter, but as a bodyguard for the young leader of the Zaibatsu, the (apparently) Face Heel Turn-ed Jin Kazama.. So no matter what, Lars and Alisa are fucked. Until 7, when she's rebuilt and freed from her programming right before being reunited with Lars so now there's a chance for them to be together. Time will tell if it sticks. . .
    • The aforementioned Jin Kazama is all but said to be a Celibate Hero due to his Devil Gene, so even when Ling Xiaoyu is one of his Morality Pets (the others being his mother Jun and his rival Hwoarang) and she's openly in love with him, anything romantic between the two is doomed.

Visual Novels

  • Arcueid/Shiki from Shingetsutan Tsukihime.
  • Might as well throw Saber/Shiro from Fate/stay night in there. They're even worse since at least Arcueid/Shiki had a "Good Ending" and maybe a sequel to the "True Ending?" (Well, there is a Good ending with Saber... Only it's Rin's...)
  • Hisao Nakai and Lilly Satou in Katawa Shoujo, if you get their Bad Ending and Lilly goes back to Scotland with her family, never to return. The Good Ending is all about Hisao deciding to Screw Destiny and taking a Race For Your Love to stop this at the last moment.
    • Also Hisao and Rin Tezuka, especially in the Neutral Ending where she leaves Yamaku to go to Tokyo, fully knowing that she'll become a great artist but at the cost of destroying herself mentally. Her last scene has her begging Hisao to forget about her, and they share a last hug under the rain before she abandons him and her former life forever.
  • Shall We Date Ninja Shadow dabbles into it in some paths, especially if this involves Dating Catwoman:
    • The Player Character Saori enters can enter a relationship with Toru Nakagawa. She's a member of a VigilanteMan group devoted to protect the city of Nagasaki, whereas he's an Anti-Villain determined to violently overthrow the corrupt and oldfashioned Tokugawa Shogunate and is the rebellious brother of Saori's boss, Makoto. As such she priorizes her loyalties to the group and to Nagasaki over their love, no matter how much it hurts the two of them, and Toru is well-aware of her determination - if not even a little proud, since it tells him how strong Saori is... It's ultimately subverted: while Toru is captured, judged and exiled, both of his endings have him and Saori ultimately reunited in one way or another.
    • Another prospect SCL deal will take place in the path of Toru's best friend and companion, Tsubaki Kusunoki. Tsubaki is a Badass Bookworm who grew deeply bitter due to being half-Japanese/half-Dutch and the son of a High Class Call Girl, and as such he also views the Shogunate as ineffectual and corrupt, to the point he plans to personally assassinate the Tokugawa Shogun and launch Japan in a new era from then onwards. Saori, logically, loves him deeply but disagrees with that, since she wants the Shogunate to change but not through violence and magnicide; they discuss their positions several times, but in the end they can't reach an agreement. Subverted, too: Saori and the Vigilantes manage to barely stop Tsubaki from killing the Shogun, said Shogun turns out to be a Reasonable Authority Figure that pardons Tsubaki in exchange of having him work with the Vigilantes, and Tsubaki gains his faith on people back AND stays with Saori.


  • BLU Sniper and RED Spy in Cuanta Vida. Though it didn't last long...
  • Kat and Alistair from Gunnerkrigg Court. It was a Foregone Conclusion that Ali would leave at the end of the week, but it's made worse when the details of his departure (and the word of the Narrator) ensure that Kat will never see him again.
    • Jeanne, one of the Founders of the Court, and an unnamed male elf from Gillite Wood.
  • Aaron and Lily from Demonology 101. It did not end well for them.
  • It's unclear just how much attraction there may be between Bob and Voluptua in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob. Unfortunately, Voluptua is a disguised giant bug, so nothing can come of it. Bob is going steady with Jean anyway, but the hint of a Love Triangle involving Voluptua still pops up now and again.
  • Lance and Silvia from Shape Quest (Silvia is a princess!)
  • Mom and Dad in Homestuck are brutally murdered shortly after hooking up after years.
  • In Question Duck, he and the mermaid had to part.
  • Dud to Haley’s mistake of not taking action to reunite with the rest of the Order of the Stick (she was busy with the resistance), both Elan and herself end up in this trope. It takes a long time, but the two are eventually reunited. It’s depressing to think about though. Though on the lighter side of things, while Elan had to spend time away from Haley, he also got to spend time away from Belkar.

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