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->''"Falling in love with love is falling for make-believe."''
-->-- '''Lorenz Hart''', "The Boys from Syracuse"

A StockPhrase used to describe someone who pines for/stays with someone they don't love [[LoveMartyr (or who treats them poorly)]], because they don't want to be alone. The implication is that the character cares more about being in a romantic relationship with someone than the person they're having the relationship with. Since this attitude is exactly as unhealthy as it sounds, such a character invariably ends up LookingForLoveInAllTheWrongPlaces. They may be AllergicToRoutine and have a hard time sticking around because they believe TrueLoveIsBoring.

This can result in LovingAShadow or be used as a {{Retcon}} when a hyped relationship becomes an AbortedArc. See also SerialRomeo, where a character seeks out several relationships in quick succession but genuinely loves each person they pursue.

Not to be confused with falling in love with an AnthropomorphicPersonification of Love, or ShipperOnDeck who is in love with a couple's love for each other, or LoveFreak who is literally in love with the concept of love.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'':
** Brock is this type; he falls for just about every female he meets. Except, for no reason other than she's one of the bad guys, Jessie from Team Rocket.
*** In "The Heartbreak of Brock," he meets a girl who's like this, and it completely throws him off his game. By the time he recovers, she's moved on to someone else.
** Ash's Oshawott is much the same, falling for every female Pokemon he comes across.
** Bonnie from the [=XY=] saga is an odd example, being in love with the idea of a woman being in love with her brother, Clemont. He is ''not'' amused.
* WordOfGod in regard to Akane's [[SchoolgirlLesbians crush on Madoka]] in ''Manga/KimagureOrangeRoad'': She is in love with the ''idea'' of being love with Madoka.
* Sanji of ''Manga/OnePiece'' as part of his ChivalrousPervert personality. Nami and Robin get it the most, but only because of proximity, but that also means they put up with it because they all know each other so well (and Nami in particular isn't above using it to her benefit.)
* In the North American dub, Arielle of ''Anime/ElHazardTheMagnificentWorld'' actually (unknowingly) quotes Stephen Stills' "Love The One You're With", although in her case it's arguably as much a case of gleeful acceptance of her lustful urges as it is an emotional condition.
* The motivation of the main character in ''Anime/MillenniumActress'', who believes it's better than actually being in love.
* Explicitly the point behind Chihiro's arc in ''Manga/TheWorldGodOnlyKnows''. Chihiro picks out boys to confess to because it's exciting to be in a love drama. Then she starts to have a real love drama, and it scares her into running away.
* Martina of ''[[LightNovel/{{Slayers}} Slayers Next]]'' falls in LoveAtFirstSight with virtually every named male character she meets over the course of the series. The fixation on Zangulus lasts long enough for her to get married off and removed from the cast.
* Tsugumi Halberd of ''Manga/SoulEaterNot'' introduces herself with "Hello, I'm 14 years old, in love with love, Tsugumi Halberd."
* Yuno's obsession with Yukiteru in ''Manga/FutureDiary'' is an extremely warped version of this. She had just [[spoiler:[[SelfMadeOrphan murdered]] her AbusiveParents]] and saw no hope for her future, until a day when she and Yuki were the only ones who couldn't finish their 'write your dreams for the future' exercise. She decided then that her dream would be to marry Yukiteru, since it gave her some hope for the future. She eventually admits that ''anyone'' would have done just as well for her as long as she could depend on them.
* In ''Manga/Brave10'', the author notes in one of her {{doujinshi}} that Isanami, being a naive 16 year old, is squarely in this stage, which is why she fixates on Saizo even though he's not interested.
* {{Deconstructed|Trope}} with [[BigBad Toneri Otsutsuki]] of ''Anime/TheLastNarutoTheMovie''. As the last member of his clan, and having lived for years all alone in the moon, he wants to marry [[RavenHairIvorySkin Hinata Hyuga]] to repopulate Earth once he has killed everyone else, ''especially'' her LoveInterest [[TheHero Naruto]]. It's patently clear that his isolation has given him a serious case of LackOfEmpathy, as made evident by his actions throughout the movie, including [[spoiler: kidnapping her sister Hanabi, [[EyeScream removing Hanabi's eyes]], and [[HypnotizeThePrincess brainwashing Hinata to become his puppet]] when he discovers that her accepting his marriage proposal was actually a ruse]]. He doesn't care at all for Hinata's feelings and treats her more like a personal trophy than a person.

* In "You And I Will Fall In Love", an ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'' fanfic, this is the only reason that Russia wants to fall in love with America [[spoiler: at first.]]
* This is actually the cause of much tension between Lyra and Bonbon in the Blog/ReadingRainbowverse. Specifically, Lyra feels that Bonbon wants their relationship to be a certain way, to the point where she is willing to drug herself with love poison... ironically indicating she might care about Bonbon more then Bonbon cares about her.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Princess Anna in ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'', to the point where she accepts a marriage proposal from Prince Hans within hours of meeting him. [[spoiler: This nearly spells disaster for her when Hans' true motives in courting her emerge; he only wants her to gain access to the throne of Arendelle]].
* Dawn from ''WesternAnimation/StrangeMagic'' is constantly trying to find a boyfriend. So naturally, she's hit by a love potion as part of the plot.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/SleeplessInSeattle'' when comparing the idea of love in the real world to love as it's portrayed in Hollywood, Rosie O'Donnell says to Meg Ryan, "Your problem is that you don't want to be in love, you want to be in love in a movie."
* In ''Film/VelvetGoldmine'', the Music/DavidBowie {{Expy}} Brian Slade in love not with Curt Wilde, but the "idea of Curt Wilde."
* The title character in ''Film/DonJuanDemarco'' exemplifies this troupe as he calls himself 'the world's greatest lover'. The movie's tagline follows with 'the friends who try to cure him of it'. (This is the same case for his [[Literature/DonJuan literary role model]].)
* Bruce Wayne/Batman has a very unhealthy case of this towards Rachel Dawes in Christopher Nolan's ''Film/TheDarkKnightSaga''. While he does value her as a person, he also sees her as his one chance for a normal life should Batman no longer be needed. She outright tells him not to pin all his hopes on her, and ultimately chooses Harvey Dent over him. [[spoiler: After Rachel and Harvey both die, Bruce spends years as a social recluse, only stepping back into the world when he meets Selina Kyle.]]
* ''Film/MoulinRouge'' focuses on Christian, who comes to Paris to explore the idea of love. So naturally, he plans to fall in love with the hottest looking prostitute in town. Therefore, he totally breaks down once his idealistic view is shattered.

* ''Literature/XWingSeries'': Tyria said this to Kell, also telling him that he was LovingAShadow.
* In the Literature/NeroWolfe novel ''A Family Affair'', a slightly hysterical female client tells Archie, "I want your arms around me!" Archie rebuffs her with, "You want arms around you. Not necessarily mine."
* The evil Walking [[strike:Man]] ''Dude'' from ''Literature/TheStand'' never even pretends to love his mate, merely reciting how he "loves to love Nadine". Subverted in that he's more interested in siring a child upon her than having a relationship.
* Lord Byron's ''Literature/DonJuan'' is a standard setter for Loving To Fall In Love. (The heartless-bastard lecher from Mozart's opera, not so much.)
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', being a {{Deconstruction}} of many of the tropes of medieval fantasy literature, including chivalrous courtly love, has a few characters who fit this trope.
** Robert Baratheon has turned [[PosthumousCharacter Lyanna Stark]] into his version of TheLostLenore, mourning her for years, unfavourably comparing his living wife to her, and speaking as if she would have been the woman of his dreams if she had lived. However, it is implied (especially by Ned Stark,) that Robert didn't actually know her that well; in contrast to the angelic paragon of feminine virtue Robert seems to imagine, other people describe her as more of a hot-tempered, tomboyish {{Tsundere}}. In [[Series/GameOfThrones The TV adaptation]] a scene is added where Robert admits that as much as he puts Lyanna on a pedestal, [[TearJerker he can't even remember what she looked like.]]
** Sansa Stark is another example of this, though she at least has the excuse of being very young. She constantly thinks of her betrothed Joffrey in terms of songs and stories, and in the first book she repeatedly and passionately declares that she loves him, despite only having a few (not particularly intimate) interactions with him. [[spoiler: She gets a rather rude awakening from this mindset when Joffrey chops her father's head off after promising to be merciful.]]
* In the ''Literature/ProtectorOfTheSmall'' quartet, Neal gets crushes on women (that are usually already taken) and goes about sighing and writing bad poetry about unrequited love and the like. When he falls in a love and gets engaged to Yuki, he behaves completely differently. The main character (and his best friend) Keladry notes that he doesn't go about sighing and lamenting not being with her when they are separated, and is instead morose and quiet, which is proof to her that he genuinely loves Yuki.
* Eustacia in ''Literature/ReturnOfTheNative'':
-->''To be loved to madness--such was her great desire. Love was to her the one cordial which could drive away the eating loneliness of her days. And she seemed to long for the abstraction called passionate love more than for any particular lover.''
%% * Jessamine Lovelace from ''Literature/TheInfernalDevices'', wants someone to take her away from the Institute.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/CrazyExGirlfriend'': Rebecca is an overtly romantic woman who genuinely believes that she will become happy and all her problems will be solved once her crush on an ex boyfriend Josh is reciprocated, becoming partly delusional of her life in a crazy search for receiving his love. This is completely deconstructed as the entire show dedicates itself to showcase how damaging this is for her already quite frail mental state, and actively uses the excuse of being in search of love as an out to actually treat her genuine mental diseases including depression. An episode in late season one even expands on the fact that this chase has made her blind for other kinds of love that aren't romantic, including the fact that she is dearly loved by the friends she made in the town.
* In the third season of ''Series/DowntonAbbey,'' Mrs. Pattmore's [[GirlOfTheWeek boyfriend]] subverts this. He claims, "Anytime, anyplace, I love to be in love!" but he's really a misogynistic hound who hits on every woman he sees.
* The ''Series/{{Frasier}}'' two-parter, "Don Juan in Hell," examines this trope as part of Frasier's self-analysis. [[ItMakesSenseInContext The Diane in his head]] even quotes the song that provides the page quote.
* ''Series/FullHouse'' used that exact phrase. Jesse and Joey were fighting over a girl who showed interest in both of them. Danny stepped in and started asking them basic questions like: what is her last name, what is her eye color and what are her hobbies? Both of them were treating her like she was "the one" when in reality both just liked the idea of being in love.
* ''Series/{{Charmed}}''
** Piper says "I love love".
** Phoebe [[spoiler: marries a Cupid, basically a physical embodiment of love.]]
* ''Series/GossipGirl''
** Nate Archibald has fallen head over heels for every single girl in the show, only to completely forget her two weeks later, not to mention all the {{Satellite Love Interest}}s the boy's had. At one point, Gossip Girl herself labels him the Class Whore.
** From season two and onward Serena fits this trope too. Especially in season three, where she has three "great loves" in the first twelve episodes.
* Ted from ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' has his love for love is his entire reason for living. His quest for the eponymous mother was the original driving force behind the show, though at this point nobody cares. In any case, he is rarely happy when out of a relationship and constantly complains/hopes to find "The One".
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': Cupids "love love".
* In ''Series/{{Being Human|UK}}'', after Mitchell realizes that [[spoiler:Herrick is still alive]], he has a breakdown and starts berating Annie (who he'd recently began dating). When she asks him if he loves her, he tells her "I was in love with the idea of being in love!" The way he acts after (holding her and crying) shows that he didn't believe that, though.
* Ross from ''Series/{{Friends}}'' has shades of this. He married the woman he lost his virginity to, and they stayed married for over a decade until she came out as a lesbian and left him. Since then he's basically been trying to recapture the happiness he felt while he was married, mostly by persuing his high school crush well into his thirties and rushing into two further marriages, one of them while drunk. When he tried to annul the third (a month after his wife thought he already had), his divorce lawyer recommended therapy, which Ross says he will consider.

* The Richard Rodgers song "Falling In Love With Love."
* In The Format song "Inches And Falling":
--> ''I love love\\
I love being in love\\
I don't care what it does to me\\
If fingertips are relationships\\
Then I could barely carry your weight\\
If fingers are mistakes\\
Don't use this one to point the blame''
* The Music/RebaMcEntire song "The Fear of Being Alone."
-->''So don't say that word\\
Not the one we both heard too much\\
You may think you do but you don't\\
It's just the fear of being alone''
* Music/PinkFloyd, "One Slip", from ''Music/AMomentaryLapseOfReason''.
-->''Was it love, or was it the idea of being in love\\
Or was it the hand of fate that seemed to fit just like a glove?\\
The moments slipped by and soon the seeds were sown\\
The year grew late, and neither one wanted to remain alone''
* [[Music/{{Blondie}} Deborah Harry]] actually has a song called "In Love with Love".
* Mentioned in Music/DavidBowie's "Soul Love" from ''Music/TheRiseAndFallOfZiggyStardustAndTheSpidersFromMars'':
-->''Inspirations have I none''\\
''Just to touch the flaming dove,''\\
''All I have is my love of love''\\
''And love is not loving.''
* The Mowgli's song "San Francisco":
-->''I've been in love with love and the idea of something binding us together. \\
You know that love is strong enough.''
* "Face to Face" by Music/DeadSara:
-->"It's nice to know you love me, I'm in love with someone else,\\
That's who I am, in love with love..."
* {{Music/Nightwish}} muses on this trope in "Slow, Love, Slow"
-->"I wonder do I love you? [[LovingAShadow Or the thought of you]]?"

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* A complicated example from the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' supplement ''Races of the Dragon'' is the spellscales, a race of dragon-descended humanoids named for the fine, iridescent scales on their flesh. A vivacious people, spellscales throw themselves wholeheartedly into romantic relationships of any kind - falling helplessly in love with a total stranger, enjoying an illicit tryst, pining for someone unattainable, or suffering through a MayflyDecemberRomance or an unfaithful spouse - before growing bored and finding love again. Other races describe spellscales as eternal adolescents, but it should be noted that they ''do'' care for their partners and their relationships, though melodramatic and often short-lived, are genuine.

* ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'': Romeo is often described this way (before he meets Juliet he's infatuated with another woman entirely). Sometimes Juliet is, too. The Austrian version of ''Theatre/RomeoEtJulietteDeLaHaineALamour'' has Benvolio even say "He is in love with the idea of being in love" about Romeo.
%%* Orsino from ''Theatre/TwelfthNight''.
* ''Theatre/FiniansRainbow'' has the song "When I'm Not Near The Girl I Love (I Love The Girl I'm Near)."
* Stephen Stills' "Love the One You're With", although it could be more favourably interpreted as advice to find happiness with the relationship you've got instead of pining for someone unattainable.
* The lovers in the CommediaDellArte genre are often like this. As {{Stock Character}}s this is usually their defining characteristic besides being the AlphaCouple.
* Cherubino from ''Theatre/TheMarriageOfFigaro'' describes himself as one of these.
* In Creator/RodgersAndHammerstein's ''Film/{{Cinderella}}'', the mother appears to be warning her daughters about how bad this can be ("falling in love with love/is falling for make-believe"). However, watching it closely, it looks more like the mother was in fact ''[[SubvertedTrope very deeply]]'' in love with her late husband, and dislikes the eponymous Cinderella because she reminds her of him. The cynicism is clear a little later in the song: "learning to trust is just for children in school..." Note, this song was not written by Rodgers and Hammerstein but Rodgers and Hart, and was originally written for their 1938 musical ''The Boys From Syracuse''.
* Linda accuses Robbie of this in the Broadway production of ''Theatre/TheWeddingSinger'' in the song "A Note From Linda".
* Marian in ''Theatre/TheMusicMan'' has overtones of this, as shown by "Being in Love."
-->Being in love used to be my fav'rite dream.\\
Oh, yes.\\
I've been in love more than anybody else has.\\
I guess.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* According to the Rumor Guy, Princess Zelda from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds'' seems to have this. According to his story, she would wake up every night to stare longingly at a portrait of a princess and hero (presumably those of [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast a previous incarnation]]) cuddling up, indicating she wants to find love in her own life.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'', you can talk to a {{Tsundere}}plane during the PlayableEpilogue of the GoldenEnding who claims that she wasn't in love with ''you'', but with the concept of love. At least, [[UnreliableExpositor that's what she tells you]].
* In ''VideoGame/YandereSimulator'', [[VillainProtagonist Yandere-chan]] says that she's addicted to the way Senpai makes her feel. She never says that she actually loves his personality or truly cares about him.
* ''VideoGame/Persona4'' has Ai Ebihara. A big point in her Social Link as it is revealed that she just wanted to be in a relationship. In fact, if you accept her when she first asks, the Link will just be a meaningless love relationship that will break up at Rank 9. However, keep yourself a friend and if you gain the right flags, she will fall in genuine love with you and can be a Love Interest. Trips up many a Casanova Wannabe player.

* ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' has dealt with this a few times. [[http://xkcd.com/464/ This strip]] has the girl leaving the boy after accusing him of this.
* In ''Webcomic/OneOverZero'', Ghanny claims to be in love with Terra, but Petitus tells him that he's only projecting his vision of the ideal woman on her: "You latched onto the first female you saw, and applied all your ideas about love to her. She wasn't the one, though."

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* [[{{Deconstruction}} Deconstructed]] with Vlad Plasmius, the BigBad of ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom''. He is more obsessed with having Maddie as a wife than Maddie herself, to the point that he doesn't care that she loves her husband or that killing him would make her despise him more.
* ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes:'' Pepe Le Pew falls instantly in true love with anything he ''thinks'' is a female skunk.
* ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'': Pepe's female student, Fifi Le Fume. Two of her ideal boyfriends are boys that accidentally looked like skunks at the time.
* On ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'', [[GenkiGirl Mabel]] decides to have an "epic summer romance" in the pilot and spends some time flirting with every unrelated male of approximately compatible age she can find. She also fancies herself a matchmaker. However, she has a pretty childish view of how love works, and often tries to force it when it's not there.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}'' episode "One J at a Time," [[TheSnarkKnight Daria]] starts a relationship with [[TallDarkAndSnarky Tom]]. Her sister [[LovableLibby Quinn]], who has dated half the boys in school just for the popularity and gifts they can give her, becomes convinced that she needs a real boyfriend too, and becomes distressed when her attempts all fail (in part because Daria purposefully gave her unrealistic expectations of how it would work). Their mom eventually convinces Quinn that she doesn't need a serious relationship if she's not really ready for one.