FallbackMarriagePact Fallback Marriage Pact YKTTW Discussion

Fallback Marriage Pact
If we're both single when we're forty, let's marry each other.
(permanent link) added: 2012-09-27 04:41:13 sponsor: johnnye (last reply: 2012-10-01 09:08:47)

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Robin: Let's make a pact. If we both turn 40 and we're both single...
Ted: Robin Scherbatsky - will you be my backup wife?
Robin: A girl always dreams of hearing those words. Yes, yes, a million times, yes!

Two unlucky-in-love Platonic Life Partners or Friends with Benefits, not wanting to grow old alone, agree to marry each other if they're still single after a certain age. Can be played either sincerely or for laughs, but either way it's likely to be a Friendship Moment.

If the pair have been going through a Will They or Won't They? plot, it's a handy way to bring it to an amicable close without irreversibly deciding that They Don't.

Sometimes this trope is seen from the other side; an Old Flame shows up to remind a character that they once made such a pact together, and they're here to collect on the deal. Hilarity Ensues, especially if they've aged into an Abhorrent Admirer.

A Defied Trope of Christmas Cake / Old Maid. See also Honorable Marriage Proposal.

Closely related to Childhood Marriage Promise, which is a similar agreement made by kids too young to really understand what marriage is.


  • Ted and Robin make one in How I Met Your Mother, which pretty much (but not entirely) marks the end of their Will They or Won't They? arc. Apparently the term "Ted & Robin pact" has entered the vernacular.
  • My Best Friend's Wedding where this trope, and the main character's attempt to wreck her best friend's relationship so that she doesn't end up being the Unlucky Childhood Friend form the central plot. She fails, nearly wrecking her friendship with the guy in the process.
  • Something of a parody in Drawn Together: Captain Hero and Unusually Flexible Girl were friends in college and promised that if they were still single at 30, they'd get married.
  • Discussed on Friends; Rachel suggests making one with Ross, who claims he already has one with Phoebe... who is the one who suggested it to Rachel in the first place, claiming she has one with Joey. By the end of the episode, they settled on Ross being Rachel's backup, and Joey being Phoebe's.
    • A variant in another episode; Chandler suggests to Monica that if neither of them are married by the time they're forty, they could have a child together. (This was before they were dating). It doesn't go like he expected.
    Monica: Why won't I be married by the time I'm forty?
    Chandler: No, no. I just meant hypothetically.
    Monica: Okay. Hypothetically, why won't I be married by the time I'm forty?
  • Carla Noll in Reunion is Aaron's best friend and hidden secret admirer for years. She's happy to hear him say that if they're still single in a few years that they'll marry each other.
  • In one episode of Frasier, it sounds like Roz is about to suggest one of these, and Frasier agrees to marrying her if they are both indeed single at the time. Turns out Roz was going to suggest they kill each other instead.
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