Created By: ChaoticDreams on March 12, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on July 18, 2016

Delusional Relationship

A character believes they are in a romantic relationship with another character when they are not.

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Trope
A character may be just a little out of touch with reality, a Yandere stalker, an arrogant Casanova or just confused. One way to help show that is to have them believe they are in a romantic relationship with another character when they actually are not. Or they believe that another character loves them when the other character actually does not. Sometimes, when the character tries to tell the deluded character directly that they are not in a relationship and that they do not love them they may not believe them or not take it well. See also Abhorrent Admirer. Contrast Girlfriend in Canada, where the character lies about being in a relationship with an unseen person.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion Ritsuko deludes herself that Gendo genuinely loves her instead of just having her as a mistress. When she is proven wrong, she incinerates the Rei clones and in End of Evangelion, she hacks the MAGI to remotely self-destruct it as a final up yours... only to have the woman personality of Naoko in Casper-3 veto the order. Gendo instantly pulls a gun and kills her.
  • In School Days one hint that Kotonoha is not entirely sane comes when she keeps telling other people that she is the girlfriend of Makoto even though he broke up with her. Sekai acts much the same way about Makoto as well.
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena Saionji feels that he and Anthy love each other and are destined for one another. However, Anthy doesn't feel the same.
  • Nozomu from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei seems to accidentally attract every girl in his class, with the students thinking he's in love with her. For example, Matoi (Stalker with a Crush) falls in love with him and stalks him, even though it's a completely one-sided relationship. Trust me, there are more.

Comic Books
  • In Peanuts Linus is NOT Sally's "Sweet Baboo".

Film

Literature
  • In Caught in the Act by Peter Moore, Lydia believes herself to be in a relationship with Ethan. However, Ethan tells her they are not dating. Lydia does not take it well.

Live-Action TV
  • In True Blood even after Bill tells Lorena multiple times that he hates her guts and can not stand the sight of her, she still has the nerve to ask him when will they see each other again.
  • In Oz Claire believes that Tim has feelings for her after they go out at her insistence and have sex. Tim tells her he does not and Claire does not take it well.
  • Eye of the Stalker is a TV movie starring Jere Burns as a delusional legal assistant who believes that the daughter (Brooke Langton) of a judge (Joanna Cassidy) is a perfect match and that he is destined to marry her, based on a true story.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Spike has this for the title character when they weren't together anyway.
    • Harmony with Spike. She continues to call him things like her "Little Lamb" and her "Boo Boo" and insist that they have a mutual relationship despite the fact that Spike told her that "I love syphilis more than you," once staked her when she wouldn't stop talking, and let her know that he is pretty much in it for the sex (which he still has to work himself up for most of the time). Yet she still calls him her boyfriend and keeps living with him in his crypt.
  • In Psych, the serial killer "Mr. Yang", who's actually a woman, believes herself to be in a romantic relationship with Sean. In Seasons 4 and 5 when they're dealing with her counterpart, "Mr. Yin", Sean and Gus often have to visit her in jail to get information about Yin. Each time, Yang treats Sean as if he's her significant other/boyfriend, treating their exchanges as coy flirtations or relationship fights.
  • An episode of Law & Order deals with a woman with erotomania (the medical term for this delusion) who kills the wife of the man she's obsessed with. That she's otherwise incredibly intelligent, cogent, and calm leads the police to believe she's actually having an affair with the man and that they conspired to kill his wife.
  • C.C. Babcock on The Nanny is convinced that she and Maxwell Sheffield are in love, even though Maxwell repeatedly states that they are business partners, and nothing more.

Web Original

Western Animation

Real Life
  • The official psychological term for this brand of delusion is erotomania, though it has also been called de Clerambault syndrome.

Community Feedback Replies: 40
  • March 12, 2012
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Western Animation:
  • March 12, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    The official psychological term for this brand of delusion is erotomania, though it's also been called "de Clerambault's syndrome."
  • March 13, 2012
    emeriin
    In her review of the girl-group TLC, The Nostalgia Chick apologizes to her "love" Todd In The Shadows after displaying some Perverse Sexual Lust for another male singer. The rest of the time she keeps on being his Stalker With A Crush.
  • March 13, 2012
    Synchronicity
  • March 13, 2012
    Shnakepup
    • In Psych, the serial killer "Mr. Yang", who's actually a woman, believes herself to be in a romantic relationship with Sean. In Seasons 4 and 5 when they're dealing with her counterpart, "Mr. Yin", Sean and Gus often have to visit her in jail to get information about Yin. Each time, Yang treats Sean as if he's her significant other/boyfriend, treating their exchanges as coy flirtations or relationship fights.
  • March 13, 2012
    surgoshan
    • An episode of Law And Order deals with a woman with erotomania (the medical term for this delusion) who kills the wife of the man she's obsessed with. That she's otherwise incredibly intelligent, cogent, and calm leads the police to believe she's actually having an affair with the man and that they conspired to kill his wife.
  • March 13, 2012
    Duncan
    In Peanuts Linus is NOT Sally's "Sweet Baboo".
  • March 13, 2012
    TBeholder
    IMO, merge this variant into Love Makes You Crazy as an internal subtrope, and if there's enough, call to split.
  • March 13, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    May also dovetail with Slap Slap Kiss.

    The Parkers had Nikki Parker, who was insanely in love with Prof. Stanley Oglevee. He turned her down on numerous occasions, but as time wore on he gradually warmed up to her. They eventually got married.

    It was much the same with Laura Winslow and Steve Urkel. If the series had continued another season we would have seen them tie the knot.
  • March 13, 2012
    SKJAM
    Contrast Girlfriend In Canada, where the character lies about being in a relationship with an unseen person.
  • March 14, 2012
    Premonition45
    C.C. Babcock on The Nanny is convinced that she and Maxwell Sheffield are in love, even though Maxwell repeatedly states that they are business partners, and nothing more.
  • March 15, 2012
    Premonition45
    Lloyd from Dumb And Dumber is convinced that Mary Swanson, a woman he only drove to the airport, is in love with him.
  • March 15, 2012
    Lore
    Having someone "on the Hook" or dangling from somebody else's "hook" is a plot point in one episode of How I Met Your Mother
  • March 15, 2012
    kirikomorisan
    Nozomu from Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei seems to accidentally attract every girl in his class, with the students thinking he's in love with her. For example, Matoi (Stalker With A Crush) falls in love with him and stalks him, even though it's a completely one-sided relationship. Trust me, there are more.
  • March 15, 2012
    azul120
    • Chowder to Panini: "I'MNOTYOURBOYFRIEND!!!"
  • March 15, 2012
    Folamh3
  • March 15, 2012
    Earnest
    What sthe relationship with Mad Love?
  • March 15, 2012
    NightNymph
    • Harmony with Spike on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. She continues to call him things like her "Little Lamb" and her "Boo Boo" and insist that they have a mutual relaltionship despite the fact that Spike told her that "I love syphilis more than you," once staked her when she wouldn't stop talking, and let her know that he is pretty much in it for the sex (which he still has to work himself up for most of the time). Yet she still calls him her boyfriend and keeps living with him in his crypt.
  • March 16, 2012
    StevenT
    In Waynes World, Wayne's Psycho Ex Girlfriend acknowledges that he broke up with her, but thinks that's no reason they can't still be together.
  • March 17, 2012
    MrInitialMan
    I agree--this sounds a bit like Mad Love--if not a Sister Trope. Please state the distinctions.
  • March 18, 2012
    mdulwich
    The Guild: Zaboo turns up at Codex's door, believing that they are in a relationship after a conversation over the internet.
  • March 18, 2012
    billybobfred
    • Mad Love: Someone goes crazy when love is not reciprocated. (Lifted straight from the Laconic.)
    • Delusional Relationship: Someone doesn't realize that love is not reciprocated.

    ... That said, Mad Love is currently written to look a hell of a lot like this. Is the description wrong, or is the Laconic?
  • March 20, 2012
    pawsplay
    I think there's a little Square Peg Round Trope going on with Mad Love right now. I think this trope is a helpful Sister Trope.
  • September 18, 2013
    cookingwriter12
    I think a great example is in Film/Obsessed. Lisa, the central antagonist, makes up her own story about having an affair with Derek. She does everything to make this seem true: she keeps a "diary" on their "encounters", she tries convincing everyone (Derek, Sharon, and even the detective in charge of her case) that she has a relationship with Derek, sneaks into Derek's apartment and house to see him, and even sends herself flowers with the claim that Derek sent them. Basically, this woman is probably the most delusional stalker ever thought up.
  • September 18, 2013
    CrypticMirror
    In the 5th season of Doc Martin Mrs Tishell had a medication induced psychotic break which made her believe she was in love with Dr Ellingham and interpreted every single interaction she and the Doc had as proof of their love.
  • September 18, 2013
    captainpat
    I would highly recommend making a trs or trope talking Mad Love before launching this page.
  • November 23, 2013
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    Here's an expansion for the Elmyra/Monty example from Tiny Toon Adventures:
  • November 23, 2013
    MaxWest
    Another Peanuts example is found in Bon Voyage Charlie Brown. Peppermint Patty is convinced that Pierre (the student whose farm she and Marcie are staying on) is in love with her, even though it's obvious he's interested in Marcie.
  • November 23, 2013
    Synchronicity
    • Mawaru Penguindrum: Ringo seems to have convinced herself that she and Tabuki are destined to be in love. Her diary only seems to push her belief, as it's full of little details that seem to come true. Most importantly, it describes a budding romance. Part of her Character Development is growing out of this.
    • Dangan Ronpa has Syo, who seems entirely convinced that Togami is her Bastard Boyfriend (he doesn't seem too interested). People seem to freak out more on the count that she's an insane serial killer more than this, though.
  • November 23, 2013
    somerandomdude
    Title is fine, but One Sided Relationship would be a useful redirect.
  • November 23, 2013
    Sackett
    Some of these examples seem not to fit.

    Ritsuko from Neon Genesis Evangelion believes that Gendo has romantic feelings for her because she was his mistress. (That usually implies affection). Also, it is strongly suggested that Gendo intentionally led her to believe that he loved her. (In fact he may actually have had some affection for her, just not enough to prevent him from sacrificing her to protect Rei).

    Whatever the case, Ritsuko is not delusional to think she had a relationship with Gendo. She can not be this trope. Woman Scorned fits her better, not Delusional Relationship.

    Looking at the examples I see several cases of this. I think that this trope should not include people who are deceived into thinking they are someone's girlfriend/boyfriend. I'm not even sure it should include people who thought a one night stand meant something more. That's It Meant Something To Me.

    Rather I think this trope should be about people who believe there is a relationship despite either:

    A: No reasonable evidence to support this. Their evidence cannot be reasonably be interpreted to mean what they think it means:

    - "He looked deep into my eyes across the room and from that moment we both knew we were destined for each other."

    B: In spite of clear evidence that they have been rejected. Such as being told that a one night stand didn't mean anything:

    - "He only denies he's my boyfriend because he's too shy to admit his feelings."

  • November 23, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    The New Fifty Two version of Mister Freeze got his backstory as The Woobie (wife in cryo-stasis because of an incurable condition) Retconned into this-Nora "Fries" was already frozen when he met her, and in his craziness he imagined that she was his wife.
  • November 24, 2013
    Arivne
    Namespaced and italicized work titles and corrected two incorrect Example Indentations.
  • July 16, 2016
    katrinahood
    What index will be best for this trope to be listed in?
  • July 16, 2016
    Pichu-kun
    Isn't part of the Evangelion example a spoiler?
  • July 16, 2016
    IniuriaTalis
    • Orange Is The New Black: Morello tells all of the other inmates that she has a fiance, Christopher. In reality, they only went on one date and she's in prison for obsessively stalking him and trying to kill his actual girlfriend.
  • July 16, 2016
    DAN004
  • July 16, 2016
    Chabal2
    One Not Always Right story had a drunken customer start screeching at the narrator for trying to hit on her boyfriend, when no such thing was happening, and when she was taken away, it turns out the "boyfriend" didn't even know who she was in the first place.
  • July 17, 2016
    StarSword
    TV:
    • Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Gul Dukat practically stalks main cast member Major Kira Nerys through much of the series (and they're briefly shipped by his illegitimate half-Bajoran daughter Tora Ziyal). Kira regards him as an Abhorrent Admirer. This was initially meant as Foe Romance Subtext until Kira's actor Nana Visitor pointed out to the writers that the whole idea was sort of like Adolf Hitler hitting on a Holocaust survivor, and it was accordingly written as much creepier after that.
  • July 19, 2016
    Arivne
    The Description should mention that a Stalker With A Crush will often believe this.
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