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->''"The only thing worse than smug married couple? ''Lots'' of smug married couples."''
-->-- '''Literature/BridgetJones'''

There's nothing quite like the presence of many happy couples to rub their single status in for the lovelorn, whatever their reason for being single.

This can be a scene with an improbable number of couples in, say, a park, or the character particularly noticing couples wherever he goes. This tends to be either a crowd of couples the same age as the character, or a vast range, from young lovers wooing, to HappilyMarried couples with perhaps a baby, to still affectionate elderly couples.

The couples may be {{Bit Character}}s, but often they are people from the lonely person's social circle. Contrast BetaCouple, where one happy couple is further developed and provides the contrast to the character.

Supertrope of TheWorldMocksYourLoss. Compare AloneInACrowd and ThirdWheel. Contrast LonelyTogether.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In an episode 114 of ''Manga/{{Gintama}}'', Gintoki, Kagura and Shinpachi are annoyed by the number of happy couples crowding the park. Which is why they are more than happy to help Hijikata get rid of a girl madly in love with him.
* ''Manga/MidoriDays'':
** In the first episode, Seiji [[PlayedForLaughs vents his frustration]] on a theater full of couples, after striking out with a local girl, and seeing that he was the only one there without a date.
** The manga version of the same scene, takes place outdoors while Seiji's on his way to school. When he sees he's surrounded by happy couples everywhere, he vents his frustration on [[http://manga.animea.net/midori-no-hibi-chapter-1-page-6.html them AND the scenery!]]
* One recurring bit in ''Shonen Ashibe'' has a character with no luck in love. He decides to go on a singles cruise to Hawaii... and he gets to the dock after everyone else has already paired up. Later, he's on the beach in Hawaii, watching the happy couples alone, when the cute tour guide comes up, notices he's all alone... and introduces him to a stray dog she found.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* For a significant portion of ''[[ComicBook/RobinSeries Robin]]'' Tim's social group at school consists of himself and his girlfriend Ariana, Ives and Callie who are dating, and Hudson who isn't dating anyone.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/ACrownOfStars'': Kensuke feels alone during his unit's deployment because his best friends - Shinji and Touji - have hooked up with their {{Love Interest}}s - Asuka and Hikari respectively - and even the commanders that hang around with them are in a relationship... and he remains single. Often he complains and whines he needs to get himself a girlfriend [[spoiler:and when finally several girls interested in him come along, he does not know how to handle the situation.]]
-->Kensuke looked between them with a confused look before he worked it out. His mouth dropped open when he did, and he shot a look at Shinji like he was about to say something. Shinji just gave him a ‘don’t ask’ look and shook his head. He closed his mouth with a snap, and looked back and forth between Shinji, Touji, and Sergeant Bir. “Man, I have got to find me a girlfriend,” he eventually muttered.
* In the ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' fanfic ''Fanfic/OlivineRomance'', protagonist Jasmine is made to feel this way amongst her friends. Notably she's single by choice, but that doesn't stop her from feeling left out.
* In ''Fanfic/HotspringSouls'', Solaire is the only one in the gang who is single and without a love interest, but is perfectly fine with it since he's more interested in hooking up The Chosen Undead and Rhea of Thorolund, anyway. This does change in the sequel, though, where Solaire ends up with [[spoiler: Lady Maria.]]
* In ''Fanfic/SaySomething'', Tea reunites with her friends ahead of Yugi's wedding and finds they have all paired up. The story frequently highlights her feeling lonely or awkward when they start acting particularly couple-y, and this plays a big factor into her rushing into a relationship with Mokuba.
* A sidestory of ''Fanfic/PokemonResetBloodlines'' has Yancy, while waiting for a meeting to get her Xtransceiver back, to feel self-conscious about her single status, due to seeing so many happy couples in the Nimbasa amusement park during Valentine's Day.

* ''Film/SuperheroMovie'' has a scene where the hero has just broken up with his girlfriend, and while walking down the street is pained to see exclusively couples. It gets progressively sillier.
* Occurs in ''WesternAnimation/JetsonsTheMovie'' after Judy loses her rockstar boyfriend. In this scene, pop singer Tiffany ([[StuntCasting who provided Judy's voice for the movie]]) performs a song titled "I Always Thought I'd See You Again", which she later released as a single. You can see the scene [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtKLu5DIH1A here]].
* Played with in ''Film/OnceBitten'' when the main character's love interest refuses to have sex with him, he notices all of the many, many other couples having sex and sexual imagery.
* ''Film/TheBreakfastClub'' - Brian is the only one who is not romantically paired with anyone by the end of the film.
* ''Literature/BridgetJones's Diary'': Bridget who has just broken up with Daniel has dinner with Magda and Jeremy. They don't belong among her closest friends, and the only thing worse than a smug married couple is ''lots of'' smug married couples: Hugo and Jane, Cosmo and pregnant Woney, Alistair and Henrietta, Julia and Michael, Joanne and Paul, and Natasha Glenville dating Mark Darcy. They ask her uncomfortable questions about love life and why there are so many single women. Luckily, Bridget's able to strike back as she hints that one in three marriages ends in a divorce these days. See the clip aptly called [[http://www.anyclip.com/movies/bridget-joness-diary/smug-married-couples/ Smug Married Couples]].
* In ''Film/TheCabinInTheWoods'', Curt and Jules are trying to set up Dana and Holden. This leaves Marty, the stoner fifth wheel, by himself. In fact, there is one point where Marty lies in bed reading a children's book while the other respective couples are getting it on. He doesn't seem to mind too much, though.
* Happens to Mary and Jim, the two lonely New Yorkers who are the protagonists of ''Film/{{Lonesome}}''. Both of them have a circle of friends who are all in relationships; both of them decline an invitation to go out from a couple for fear of being a third wheel.

* In Creator/GeneStrattonPorter's ''Literature/TheSongOfTheCardinal'', the cardinal defends his nesting place and is surrounded by mating birds when he does not have a mate.
* Firesong complains about this at one point in the ''[[Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar Mage Storms]]'' trilogy. Specifically, he's got this idea that being [[MindlinkMates lifebonded]] is the best of all possible relationships, he doesn't have a lifemate, but to him Herald's Collegium is packed with lifebonded pairs. (He can only name a handful, though -- this is one of the signs that Firesong's mind is slipping.)
* ''Literature/{{Elantris}}'': Following a tragic series of romantic problems, Sarene is actually queasy at the sight of gooey romantic bliss. Her kindly escort has to guide her away from any couples at the party he's taking her to, though he logically points out that she's going to need to get over this eventually.
* Leo from ''Literature/TheHeroesOfOlympus'' is called "the seventh wheel" in-universe, as he is the only one among the Seven not paired off. [[spoiler:In the fourth book, he's fallen in love with Calypso, so this may not last.]]
* Anne Elliot in ''Literature/{{Persuasion}}'' is the only one without a sweetheart during a walk from Winthrop. Her former fiancé Captain Wentworth is with Luisa, Charles Hayter gets back together with Henrietta, and Charles Musgrove is with his wife Mary.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'', Ted is alone in season eight when Marshall and Lily are with baby Marvin and Robin and Barney are [[spoiler: getting ready for their wedding]] while Ted sits alone in the bar.
* In one episode of ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'', Raj suggests that they go to a Disco Night at a roller rink, and Howard & Leonard decide it'd be a great place to have a double date with their respective girlfriends. (This ends up being Raj's state for a long while once Amy and Bernadette join the cast. Has been used in a few episodes, such as insisting a guys' only sleepover/game night and ends explaining this when the girlfriends enter the picture.)
-->'''Raj:''' Great. It's not like I brought it up because I wanted to go.\\
'''Howard:''' You can come with us.\\
'''Raj:''' No, it's okay. I don't have to go. I'm happy just to guide you and your ladies to suitable entertainment choices. I'm a walking brown Yelp.com.
* ''Series/StargateAtlantis'': By the end of the series, John Sheppard is alone while Mckay/Keller, Ronon/Amelia and Teyla/Kanaan have all paired up. Extra sad as Elizabeth Weir, his classic WillTheyOrWontThey ShipTease had been [[spoiler: kidnapped]] two seasons before.
* In the beginning of season 3 of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', this trope is [[DiscussedTrope discussed]]: Willow and Oz and Xander and Cordelia deliberately "uncouple" when they're around Buffy, in order not to emphasize her single status.
* The premise of the short-lived sitcom ''Series/TheSingleGuy'', which rode on the coattails of ''Series/{{Friends}}'' and ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}''.
* This is the entire setup of the 2006 Barry Watson vehicle ''What About Brian?''
* In ''Series/MadAboutYou'', one episode has someone die. In an elevator after the funeral, three couples pair while the widow stands alone.
* ''Series/{{Friends}}'': Joey by the final episode. Monica and Chandler are happily married and going strong, Phoebe is married to Mike, and Ross and Rachel decide to be together. As TheCasanova of the gang, Joey doesn't mind much. He gets a LoveInterest in his SpinOff series.
* In the ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' episode "My T.C.W.", it is {{played for drama}}. After JD is [[WhatTheHellHero criticized]] for agreeing to a date with a woman whose husband is in a coma, he gives his friends a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech. He calls them out for complaining all the time about how crappy their relationships are and tells them they are lucky because he himself feels very alone because he is the only single one in his group.
* At the end of ''Series/HouseOfAnubis'' season 3, KT is the only person not paired off with anyone. She doesn't mind, though.
* ''Series/SexAndTheCity'' featured this theme in several episodes. When the four of them were one of the only single women at a wedding, Carrie said they looked as if they were witches.
* In season 5 finale of ''Series/MurdochMysteries'', Detective Murdoch and his sidekick Constable Crabtree appear to be the only ones without a partner for a New Year's Eve policemen's ball. Constable Higgins gets a date and Inspector Brackenreid spends the evening with his wife. William Murdoch is alone as his star-crossed lover is married, and George Crabtree asked Doctor Grace out, but she had other plans. They consider not going at all, but they decide to mark a new century with a celebration. Subverted as both beautiful doctors Emily Grace and Julia Ogden make an appearance.
* ''Series/GilmoreGirls'':
** Rory doesn't have a boyfriend during her freshman year at Yale. When she's saying goodbye to her roommates, her single status is rubbed in her face. Tana is young and clueless with poor social skills who talks about how she and Paris are the only ones without a boyfriend on her photo collage. Paris, however, is secretly dating a professor and when they are alone, she tries to set Rory up with said professor's son. Rory gets increasingly uncomfortable. Later even her grandma comments on it and arranges a dinner date for her. The date is not actually a date and it ends disastrously, and Rory calls her married ex-boyfriend for help.
--->'''Tana:''' So I made a collage of photos of people in the building, and I'm having everyone sign. Will you two do me the honour? (...) Isn't it a great keepsake? There's Janet with her boyfriend and Lana with hers. That's Mark and Stacy -- they're inseparable. And, oh, there's one of you, Rory.
--->'''Rory:''' That's me.
--->'''Tana''' And, um, Janet and her boyfriend again, and me with Chester. (...) And, uh, there you are again, Rory, with...oh, that's a lamppost. Oh, here's a bunch of couples from Valentine's Day. You're not in that one. And here you are with all the cafeteria ladies. I can make you a copy of that if you'd like.
--->'''Rory:''' That's okay.
--->'''Paris:''' Rory, you've had quite the dry spell this year.
--->'''Rory:''' I have not had a dry spell.
--->'''Paris:''' There's not one picture of you with a guy.
--->'''Tana:''' Oh, no. No. There's one. See? That's Rory with the statue of Eli Yale.
** In "Afterboom", Lane gets super lonely after a gig of her band Hep Alien, and she's alone among happy couples, happy friends and happy families. After they finish, Lane is excited and wants to celebrate, but Gil makes out with his wife, Zach is surrounded by hot female fans and goes to a bar with two girls, and Brian is with his family who came to see them play. Lane invited her best friend Rory, but she couldn't come. To make it sourer, Lane can't even talk to her family because she moved out of her home against her mother's wishes and without her approval.
* Episode "Copper Bullet" of ''Series/TheMentalist'' ends with the team enjoying themselves at a concert of some band, DancePartyEnding style. Everybody's dancing — Patrick Jane with Teresa Lisbon, Abbot with his wife Lena, Wylie with his crush Vega — except for Cho who decides to get one more taco, though he doesn't seem to mind that he's not with anyone. He's excited because he has just found out he's going to be promoted to a unit leader at FBI
* ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'': At the end of the series, Jennifer Barkley is by far one of the few characters who isn't married and has no children. Subverted as she makes it '''very''' clear she prefers it that way when visiting Ben and Leslie and their triplets at their home.

* "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVdnvQsKyUs Everybody's got somebody but me]]". Title says it all, really. Surprisingly cheerful melody, though.
* "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RntN9EfGUvI Happy Loving Couples]]" by Music/JoeJackson.
-->Happy loving couples make it look so easy\\
Happy loving couples always talk so fine\\
Till the time that I can do my dancing with a partner\\
Those happy couples ain't no friends of mine.
* "The Whole World's In Love When You're Lonely" by B. J. Thomas
* "Some Guys Have All The Luck" by Music/RodStewart

* In ''Podcast/TheThrillingAdventureHour'', this is the perpetual fate of Frank and Sadie Doyle's friend Carter Caldwell, the "[[ConfirmedBachelor confirmed bachelor]]" (definitely of the gay variety). He's presented with several opportunities to pair off with other "bachelors" he encounters, but ultimately seems [[InformedLoner devoted to his lonesome existence]].

[[folder:Stand-Up Comedy]]
* Creator/DaneCook has a routine on the subject, comparing it to walking through the rain past a house party that you weren't invited to.

* The entire point of Music/StephenSondheim's ''Theatre/{{Company}}''. Bobby is always the third wheel to all his married friends, who try to get him to settle down, while unintentionally exemplifying the good and bad points of marriage. There is a telling moment in "Side By Side By Side," a number supposedly celebrating Bobby's single status. After the LastChorusSlowDown, couples take turns on the tap breaks, one spouse directly following the other, and Bobby's tap break leads to a sudden bar of silence because he has no partner.
* In ''Theatre/{{Rent}}'', Mark is the only character who doesn't get paired off at all. But he knows how to pass the time alone.
-->''"Mucho masturbation!"''
* In Creator/GilbertAndSullivan's ''Theatre/{{Patience}}'' after the title character decides in favor of Archibald Grosvenor all of the aesthetic young women who were sighing after Reginald Bunthorne decide to hook up with the dragoons, leaving Bunthorne to "have to be contented with a tulip or lily."
* Shakespeare's comedies frequently have characters who end up this way when the characters pair off at the end, sometimes because they're failed suitors to one of the paired-off characters, and other times it's hard to escape the conclusion that they're in love with a character of their own gender. Examples include Antonio in ''Theatre/TheMerchantOfVenice''; Sir Andrew, another Antonio, and Malvolio in ''Theatre/TwelfthNight''; Jaques in ''Theatre/AsYouLikeIt''; and Don Pedro in ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing''. Both Beatrice and Benedick in the same play sarcastically lampshade this trope repeatedly, but this is a fine example of DramaticIrony: they're both vocally opposed to marriage but end up falling in love by the end of the play.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Tia in ''VideoGame/LufiaCurseOfTheSinistrals'' bemoans this after the wedding of Prince Leon and Princess Thea, when [=Maxim/Selan=] and [=Guy/Jessy=] go off (nevermind that [[spoiler:Tia's boyfriend recently made a HeroicSacrifice to save her]]). Iris cheers her up by asking if she would like to share a meal with her, not that there wasn't enough LesYay between them . . .
* Even if you pair up all the females in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', you will always have a few single males left over.

* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2006-07-21 Monique is walking along happily when she sees a park full of couples.]]
* The motion comic ''[[http://www.electricsheepcomix.com/delta/firstword/ The First Word]]'' has a caveman alone among the pre-human couples. Worse, one of them is his ex-girlfriend, and she's having sex right in front of him.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Invoked in [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdKYwI4C4t4 this]] ''Funny Or Die'' parody of ''Series/TheBachelor'', which logically and hilariously explains why a [[CastFullOfGay gay season]] of the show might not work so well. Since all of the contestants are potentially attracted to each other, poor Bryden (Creator/JesseTylerFerguson) is the odd man out because he doesn't live with them in the RealityTVShowMansion, so they spend most of their time hooking up with ''each other'' rather than pursuing him.
-->'''Bryden''': *''being ignored at a pool party''* You guys are supposed to be competing over me! ''I'm'' The Bachelor!\\
'''Contestant''': We're ''all'' bachelors, dude.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' / ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'':
** In the original series, [[LittleMissBadass Toph]] was the only of the main characters not paired off; also [[GenkiGirl Ty Lee]], among the major recurring [[HeelFaceTurn good]] guys. Neither seems to mind.
** While he doesn't express any dissatisfaction, it's rather noticeable that [[PlayingWithFire Mako]] is the only member of the core group to be single at the end of the {{Grand Finale}}, especially since it ends with a wedding of two side characters [[spoiler:and his two ex-girlfriends getting together.]]
* This is the focus for much of ''WesternAnimation/TheCritic'' through its first season for protagonist Jay Sherman. Several episodes deal with his loneliness and one in particular focuses entirely upon this trope.
* ''Disney/TheLionKingIISimbasPride'': As Kiara searches unsuccessfully for Kovu, she notices some animal couples spending time together, namely two birds, gazelles, butterflies and two monkeys, shortly before the song "Love will Find a Way".
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', Fry and Leela lament being Alone Among the Couples when on a cruise, but are at least able to take solace that they're LonelyTogether.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' special "[[Recap/PhineasAndFerbSummerBelongsToYou Summer Belongs to You]]," Isabella is walking around Paris with Phineas, who proves to be ''amazingly'' ObliviousToLove. Naturally, her [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ajhIK-RL_U sad montage song]] has them pass by every happy couple in France.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarVsTheForcesOfEvil'':
** In "Just Friends", during Love Sentence's concert Star suddenly ends up in this situation, when numerous couples in the audience start kissing, including Marco and Jackie. [[MatchMakerCrush She's uncomfortable and has to leave.]]
** Marco has a moment like this near the end of "Lava Lake Beach", after Kelly's ex-boyfriend Tad points out he has a crush on Star (who [[UnrequitedLoveSwitcheroo is now going out with Tom]]).

[[folder:Real Life]]
* After the US team won the 2016 Ryder Cup, [[https://www.instagram.com/p/BLFOh_gho-G/?taken-by=rickiefowler&hl=en a photo was taken of all the players kissing their wives/fiancees/girlfriends.]] [[MyFriendsAndZoidberg Except for Rickie Fowler]].