Created By: Lionheart0 on March 26, 2012 Last Edited By: Lionheart0 on September 14, 2014

Consolation Love Interest

I\'ll settle for you since the girl I really like is unavailable.

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Trope
Peter Griffin: I had such a crush on her. Until I met you Lois. You're my silver medal.

In most stories, when a character doesn't end up with their First Love, the story will go out of it's way to explain why this is ok. Maybe the two characters were Better as Friends, or they just weren't right for each other. In most cases, the character moving on to a new relationship is treated as a positive character growth. Not here.

When a character hooks up with unlucky soul it becomes apparent that they did so out of convenience. This is the Romantic Runner-Up who gets the guy or girl because they were settled for. If the character were to learn that they were really the second choice all along, expect them to develop into being an Insecure Love Interest.

Compare to Operation: Jealousy, Romantic False Lead, and Romantic Runner-Up.

Contrast with Last Girl Wins, Second Love

Examples:

Anime

Comic Books

Film
  • In Shaun of the Dead Dianne reveals that she knows full well she's this to David, who's jerkass behaviour towards Shaun is at least partly because he's jealous of his relationship with Liz.

Literature

Live-Action Television

Music
  • REM's "The One I Love" is often thought to be a love song, but the lyrics "another prop to occupy my time," make it clear that the subject of the song is this.

Professional Wrestling

Video Games

Web Original

Western Animation
  • Peter from Family Guy once calls Lois his Silver Medal when thinking about the girl from high school he never had the courage to ask out.

Community Feedback Replies: 45
  • March 26, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Blue ribbons are usually for first place. Second place is red. (Third is yellow.)

    Unless you're from Canada, in which case red is first and blue is second. I call Needs A Better Name.

    XKCD. "I love you most out of all the girls in the world...who love me back."
  • March 26, 2012
    robybang
    What about Runner Up Girlfriend? I don't know if this is a related trope or the trope itself, but Last Minute Hookup.

    Music
    • REM's "The One I Love" is often thought to be a love song, but the lyrics "another prop to occupy my time," make it clear that the subject of the song is this.

  • March 26, 2012
    Bisected8
    • In Shaun Of The Dead Dianne reveals that she knows full well she's this to David, who's jerkass behaviour towards Shaun is at least partly because he's jealous of his relationship with Liz.
  • March 26, 2012
    MorganWick
    Seconding Runner Up Girlfriend. Don't think Last Minute Hookup is this trope, but can't shake the feeling we already have this (but that may just be the feeling of How Did We Miss This One).
  • March 26, 2012
    JonnyB
    Stephen Stills' song "Love The One You're With" might qualify.
  • March 27, 2012
    Frank75
    Yes, the current name isn't really clear. If you want to use a sports metaphor, why not the more familiar gold/silver medals?
  • March 27, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Zig Zagged(?) in books 2-8 of the Gor series. Cabot is obsessed with finding his One True Love, Talena, whom he lost (geographically) at the end of book 1. In each book there's a girl who falls in love with him but knows he's looking for Talena. The girls in books 2-3 let him go; the girl in book 4 sticks around for 5 and the girl in book 6 becomes his official Companion, but he still wants to find Talena. Once he locates her 6 runs off.
  • March 27, 2012
    Dawnwing
  • March 27, 2012
    TompaDompa
    I think Runner Up Girlfriend is a good title. It explains exactly what it means, unlike Settle For Second and Red/Blue Ribbon Girlfriend. However, it might be a good idea to either make Runner Up Boyfriend an alternate title, or call it something gender-neutral in the first place, for instance Runner Up Partner.
  • March 27, 2012
    TBeholder
    Fallback Girlfriend?
  • March 28, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    In Sense And Sensibility Marianne marries Colonel Brandon but only after Willoughby reveals his real horribleness.

    Fallback Girlfriend is good, or like someone else said, Silver Medal Girlfriend. It's not only girlfriend, but I think people can ascertain from the word "girlfriend" that it applies to boys too. Could be something like Fallback Love Interest but that's a bit of a mouthful.
  • March 28, 2012
    TrustBen
    I like Silver Medal Girlfriend. It's catchy, and thanks to the Olympics it's a more universal reference than red ribbons.
  • March 28, 2012
    Thanatologist
  • March 28, 2012
    Antigone3
  • March 28, 2012
    SKJAM
  • March 28, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Would Ann Veal from Arrested Development qualify as this? It seems unlikely that George Michael would go out with her at all if he could be with Maebe. But he can't, because Incest Is Relative.
  • March 28, 2012
    lebrel
  • March 29, 2012
    Lionheart0
    I like the idea of Silver Medal Girlfriend. It gets the point across and is what I was originally going for as well.
  • March 29, 2012
    azul120
    • Peter from Family Guy once calls Lois his Silver Medal when thinking about the girl from high school he never had the courage to ask out.
  • March 31, 2012
    aurora369
    Does this trope include events when the first girlfriend is not available because of some other reason than relationship (died, emigrated, a nun etc)?
  • March 31, 2012
    TBeholder
    "Silver Medal" would be appropriate if our Romeo would be "rewarded" for effort, as opposed to switching toward a new goal. :]
  • March 31, 2012
    captainsandwich
    Is there a silver medal boyfriend counter part?
  • March 31, 2012
    nman
    ^Is there even a reason to make this a gender-specific trope?
  • March 31, 2012
    billybobfred
  • March 31, 2012
    MorganWick
  • April 7, 2012
    Lionheart0
    Consolation Love Interest sounds good, i'll change it to that.
  • April 7, 2012
    benjamminsam
    Legitimate question because I'm not up on the series canon beyond the original game:

    Does Cloud hook up with Tifa after the events of Final Fantasy VII? If so: that, since he was obviously in love with Aeris.
  • April 26, 2012
    Mewt
    Real Life
    • You most likely did this. Unless you're dating your very first crush.
  • September 8, 2014
    Lionheart0
    Updated this to drop the Bob and Mary description.
  • September 8, 2014
    MiinU
    Web Animation
  • September 8, 2014
    Aquila89
    In The Stand, Larry only starts a relationship with Lucy after Nadine rebuffs his advances. Lucy is fully aware of this. Later, when Nadine makes a desperate attempt to seduce Larry, Lucy fully expects to be dumped, but Larry stays with her.
  • September 8, 2014
    HeroGal2347
    Supertrope to Settle For Sibling.
  • September 8, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^^ "will" implies it hasn't happened yet. So no, we can't add it.

    So "consolation" here implies that Bob likes Mary less than he likes Alice, but since he can't have Alice for some reason he just chooses the second option?
  • September 8, 2014
    eowynjedi
    The comment was from 2012, but let's just not include Final Fantasy VII on this trope since we don't need to spread around the Love Triangle Debate.
  • September 8, 2014
    StarSword
    Compare Settled For Gay.
  • September 8, 2014
    MiinU
    ^^@eowynjedi - The Final Fantasy VII example is factually incorrect anyway.

    The Lifestream Event, "The Night Beneath the Highwind", and "The Compilation" as a whole, debunks the notion of Cloud ever being in love with Aerith. From the beginning, it was always Tifa.
  • September 8, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • Gender-flipped in Josie And The Pussycats, where Alexandra Cabot has the hots for Alan Mayberry. Alan, however, is only interested in Josie, and they get kissing-close during the band's opening number. A sullen Alexandra then finds that boy band vocalist Les from Du Jour is very interested in her; she's cool with that.
  • September 9, 2014
    randomsurfer
    [removed - oops, I already gave that one waaay up there!]
  • September 9, 2014
    DAN004
    Please answer my question.
  • September 10, 2014
    hbi2k
    I think the FFVII example can still be valid, it just needs to be broadened beyond the Aeris / Tifa Love Triangle. I would render it:

    Video Games
    • Depending on the player's choices regarding the Romance Sidequest, the relationship between Cloud and Tifa in Final Fantasy VII can come across this way. Partway through the game, Cloud goes on a date with a party member: Tifa and Aeris are the easiest to get, but it's also possible to date Yuffie or Barret. If Cloud dates Aeris (who becomes unavailable for further romance not long after due to a sudden case of death) or Barret (who seems very uncomfortable with the whole thing and not remotely interested in pursuing it further), Tifa can look like a Consolation Love Interest when she and Cloud share a Pre Climax Climax toward the end of the game.
  • September 10, 2014
    Larkmarn
    Wouldn't Pair The Spares be a subtrope?

    Description needs work... it spends too long talking about what this trope isn't.
  • September 10, 2014
    aradia22
    Question: How long does this have to last to be this trope? That is, a lot of TV shows, especially those with "with they, won't they" relationships or unrequited crushes that are OTP's will have this at some point but if someone goes out with a Consolation Love Interest for an episode or even a handful of episodes, does that count?
  • September 10, 2014
    aradia22
    I don't think aurora's question was answered but if we're counting those examples you could include Cho Chang agreeing to date Harry after Cedric's death.

    Not sure if this would count as an aversion or just fit on another page but in Jane Eyre, Jane and St. John might be examples of this for each other. Jane is in love with Rochester and St. John is in love with Rosalind Oliver but for various reasons neither can be with the person they want to be with. St. John eventually proposes to Jane and she is almost influenced to accept in a very odd scene.
  • September 11, 2014
    AmbarSonofDeshar
    • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: Flit only ends up with Emily after Yurin dies and makes it very clear that he considers Yurin to have been his one true love. Decades later he's still pining after her, to the point of attempting genocide against the people who killed her, while ignoring the family he has with Emily.
  • September 14, 2014
    eroock
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=oyt8sqfpj4ljep2payvtknqk