[[quoteright:350:[[Franchise/{{Superman}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/superdickerygocart.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[-Because of Superman's enemies, Lois Lane must live in the [[Website/{{Superdickery}} Popemobile go-kart]]. AndThatsTerrible.-] ]]

->''"No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try... the ones I love will always be the ones who pay."''
-->-- '''Peter Parker''', ''Film/SpiderMan1''

Heroes have a dangerous job. They can accept that--[[SamaritanSyndrome for themselves]]. But [[BeingGoodSucks not for their loved ones]].

LoveHurts. Add the SortingAlgorithmOfMortality, and it's just plain unbearable. TheHero has a ready and willing {{Love Interest|s}} who makes him happy, who would be good for him, who [[OneTruePairing even the fans want to see him with]]. No LoveTriangle, no MayflyDecemberRomance, no VirginPower, no TwiceShy--things could be perfect. It's plain as day that he cares more about her than anything else...plain to everyone, including the BigBad. TheHero knows that his enemies will never let him have a love life in peace; they'll [[AndYourLittleDogToo strike down the people dearest to him]] first chance they get. The only way to protect his beloved from becoming BigBad cannon fodder is by letting her go. Despite what a noble, selfless move it is, the spurned Love Interest's reaction will usually be, "Screw the danger! I don't care!", to show [[SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan they love]] TheHero just as much.

This adds ItsPersonal flavoring to a StoryArc, as a safe(r) relationship is the reward to look forward to once you've defeated the threat and made the world a safer place.

It never seems to occur to anyone that telling the BigBad you've broken up is '''not''' generally going to get you released from his dungeon with an apology and a consolatory cappuccino. [[MartyrWithoutACause The argument also gets rather silly]] when the hero spends every waking moment in his civvies in or around said quasi-love interest's company; thus any villain looking at the situation would need PsychicPowers to realize they're [[SheIsNotMyGirlfriend not a couple]]. Of course, anyone with that level of understanding realizes that they are emotionally attached no matter what they say. Justified or not, this fear is why TheMasqueradeWillKillYourDatingLife.

Though in all fairness, in a practical sense, this should actually ensure that the hero's loved one should be granted PlotArmor from this method. But the sad fact of the matter is that all too often it doesn't. In fact, the only way that a character would be safe is if they are considered [[DemotedToExtra too minor for writers to care about]]. (And, even then, [[StuffedIntoTheFridge these characters are not always safe, either]].) However, there are also other certain flaws to consider, as villains are normally not known for being discriminate about their potential victims. So sadly, heroes, even if you do convince your enemies that your loved ones are random strangers you never heard of, chances are they will most likely go after your loved ones anyways. (Not to mention that normally heroes save anyone whom their enemies attack, regardless of whether if the Hero personally knows them or not, because it's the right thing to do.)

Usually unnecessary if the {{Love Interest|s}} is [[ActionGirl a badass]] [[BattleCouple too]]. Compare IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy and HeroHarassesHelpers. A sub-trope of ItsNotYouItsMe and CelibateHero. May overlap with LovedINotHonorMore. May lead to GoodIsNotNice. Often the rationale behind passing the LeaveYourQuestTest. When the love interest is the one who breaks things off for this reason, that's LoveCannotOvercome. See also SuperheroesStaySingle. If it's between parent and child, see DaddyHadAGoodReasonForAbandoningYou.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* This is [[UnresolvedSexualTension the true problem]] in [[HitmanWithAHeart Ryo]] [[LovableSexManiac Saeba]] and [[{{Bifauxnen}} Kaori]] [[{{Tsundere}} Makimura]]'s relationship in ''Manga/CityHunter'', as he's perfectly aware of the numerous enemies he has as a sweeper, and said enemies had already targeted Kaori during the course of the series since they usually can't beat him one on one.
* ''Manga/FruitsBasket'': Rin Souma breaks up with the only person who ever actually loved her so that he won't get in trouble with Akito (who has already told Rin he [[SadisticChoice knows about the relationship]] and [[DestinationDefenestration pushed her out a window]]).The only problem? Rin '''doesn't tell Haru why she's doing this'''. The reason she gives is not "Akito knows and we'll get in trouble". It's "I'm tired of you". This leads to a really bad case of [[LockedOutOfTheLoop Poor Communication Destroys the School]] involving [[SuperPoweredEvilSide Black Haru]] and a bucket of water.
* At one point during the second season of ''Anime/CodeGeass'', some of Lelouch's flunkies (rightfully) think he is doing this with Shirley. When a body double mix up at his school leads to problems maintaining his cover, one points out that it could all be solved simply by getting Shirley involved. Lelouch is reluctant, however, as being near him is a surefire way to get killed [[spoiler:like his half-sister Euphemia]] and [[spoiler:he had already mucked up her life horribly, both [[LaserGuidedAmnesia by tampering extensively with her memories]] and accidentally killing her father]]. Unfortunately, [[spoiler:she dies anyway soon afterward]].
** Done again with Kallen later on, twice. [[spoiler:When the Black Knights lure Lelouch into an execution, he lies to Kallen in order to be spared his execution. Episodes later, he {{shoo|TheDog}}s her away one last time before kicking off his plan for world peace that would make him the most hated person on earth and [[ThanatosGambit end in his death]]]] to make sure [[IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy she gets a happy ending]].
*** Surprisingly, [[spoiler:''this one works''! And, thanks to Kallen working out the details of Zero Requiem, she didn't even end up hating him for it]], although her [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDXON8jAfcI image song]] and character poem imply that she harbours regret for not figuring out what [[BreakHisHeartToSaveHim he was trying to do]] sooner, and only realising it when [[spoiler:he dies]].
** This is also the main reason he makes up the masked persona of Zero to lead the rebellion: he doesn't want Nunnally to be in any danger, and she ''would'' be if word got out that Lelouch was the leader of the rebellion.
* The ''Manga/{{Gokusen}}'' anime tries a slightly less orthodox method in this. [[BadassTeacher Kumiko/Yankumi]] tries to live a double life as a teacher and as an heiress to a Yakuza clan. She tries VERY hard to not get her lives to overlap one another, but no matter how hard she tries, if she has to fight any bad gangsters/thugs chances are at least ONE of her students will be involved whether they like it or not. But to be fair this was also to protect her teaching job; while it has been endangered, she never actually lost her job in the anime.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' uses this one when Negi tries to convince his TrueCompanions that it would be a bad idea for them to follow him into the Magic World. Cue them all saying that they wouldn't care less and say that they're going with him anyway, for his own safety. This backfires ''entirely'' as everyone takes it as evidence that they ''need'' to go with him.
** This is actually portrayed as a character flaw of Negi's: he constantly wants to keep his friends out of harm's way and do everything dangerous himself, ignoring the fact that he probably would be dead by now if his friends weren't around to help him.
* In ''Anime/MaiHime'', Mai tries to push Yuuichi away because the defeat of a [=HiME=] leads to the death of her most important person [[spoiler:and she had just watched her brother Takumi die after the defeat of his roommate and girlfriend Akira]]. She fails [[spoiler:and Yuuichi dies after his [[ChildhoodFriendRomance Unlucky Childhood Friend]] Shiho is defeated]].
* ''Anime/MelodyOfOblivion'' has a Melos warrior using this excuse on a woman even after he has already kissed her 73 times.
* In ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'', Kenshin leaves to Tokyo to face Shishio on his own and not put the lives of his girlfriend Kaoru and the rest of his TrueCompanions at risk. [[spoiler:It doesn't work, they join him anyway]].
* Yuriko, Sakura, and Aya-chan in ''Anime/WeissKreuz'' get this treatment, via the main characters simply disappearing and never seeing them again--for good reason, since the ones who ''don't'' get the ItsNotYouItsMyEnemies treatment (such as Ouka and, in ''Anime/WeissKreuz [[OddlyNamedSequel2ElectricBoogaloo Gluhen]]'', Asami) always end up dead.
* ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' played this trope straight as the reason why [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Yusuke Urameshi]] keeps [[{{Tsundere}} Keiko]] in the dark about his life as a spirit detective is out of fear that if she knows it then it will only be a matter of time until she is in danger. [[spoiler:Naturally, later on in the 2nd arc, it fails miserably and she [[WhatTheHellHero calls him out on this]] but, to be fair, at least she wasn't [[StuffedIntoTheFridge killed off]] at the end of that arc]].
* In ''Manga/PokemonSpecial'', X is unwilling to add another Pokémon to his team in fear that Team Flare will hurt them trying to get to him. This despite the fact that Chespin obviously likes him.
* ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'': Guts is one of the branded, someone who bears the mark of sacrifice, and so ghosts, zombies, and the legions of hell are [[DoomMagnet drawn to him]], which means ANYONE near him is a target (as shown by a priest and his daughter who get murdered just for being near him). This is exacerbated by the fact that Guts is a JerkAss who doesn't care how many people are killed in the crossfire as long as he gets his revenge.
* The [[SecondActBreakup Second-Season Breakup]] in ''Manga/SailorMoon'''s first anime revolved around this. Similarly to ''Manga/FruitsBasket'', Mamoru doesn't give a clear reason at all for why he's dumping Usagi and it takes about 15 episodes until they actually talk about the prophetic dream that caused the whole situation. The kicker -- said dream was sent by ''Mamoru's future self'' to "ensure their love was strong enough" to take on the Black Moon Clan.
* In ''Anime/SandsOfDestruction'', Morte pulls a non-romantic version on Kyrie and Taupy, attempting to convince them to leave because the World Salvation Committee is hunting her and she understands if they'd rather not get involved. They decide to stay, of course.
* Sia from ''Manhwa/MetalHeart'' tried this to get away from Minwoo to protect him but he convinced her stay.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Franchise/{{Superman}}:
** For decades, this was used as one of the reasons that Superman couldn't marry ComicBook/LoisLane. Of course, she was publicly known as "Superman's Girlfriend", she had an [[TooDumbToLive almost suicidal capacity for putting herself in danger]], and he probably spent as much time at the Daily Planet as Superman as he did as Clark.
** In ''Comicbook/KryptonNoMore'', Clark has lunch with Lois, and he thinks as he eats [[https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-JNO4lvo4jOg/TWz_UFdH-LI/AAAAAAAALSA/ors2V4NkFSc/s1600/sm+308-04.jpg that he always resisted a romance due to the danger it might cause Lois]].
** Non-romantic variant: When Superman first met Comicbook/{{Supergirl}} in ''Comicbook/TheSupergirlFromKrypton'' -back in the Silver Age-, she wanted to live with him, but he sent her to an orphanage because he was afraid that his enemies would target her if they found out about his cousin (he was proved right in the Post-Crisis version of that story: as soon as Kara arrived on Earth, super-villains began attacking her and Comicbook/{{Darkseid}} kidnapped her).
** In ''ComicBook/SupergirlCosmicAdventuresInThe8thGrade'', Superman tells his cousin that she has to keep her powers secret and learn to control them before becoming Supergirl because his enemies would attack her.
** The storyline ''Superman: Ending Battle'' featured Manchester Black learning Clark's secret. To get his revenge on Superman, he uses his mental powers to command ''every villain in the whole world'' to kill anyone who has ''ever'' shown Clark Kent one iota of kindness. The hit-list includes ComicBook/LexLuthor, the Daily Planet staff, his parents, his ''first grade teacher'', his old football coach... Comicbook/LexLuthor is informed of who Superman is as well; he finds the whole thing hilarious and plans to sit back and relax while Superman spends the rest of the day fighting and panicking. Come nightfall, Lex sits down to his computer deciding its time to destroy the Man of Steel utterly...just in time, of course, for Manchester Black to have a change of heart and [[StatusQuoIsGod wipe the knowledge clean again]].
* ''ComicBook/{{X 23}}'' provides a non-romantic version with her parting from her Aunt Debbie and cousin Megan. Unlike most, she gives them this speech, along with directions to a money stash and instructions on how best to go underground...''after'' their house was blown up and they were nearly tortured to death to punish her.
-->"How... how will you find us?
-->"I said, how will you find us?"
-->"Goodbye, Megan."
* This is the reason Franchise/{{Batman}} tries to avoid getting serious with anyone, why he has so few friends, and why he's a {{Jerkass}} to a majority of his sidekick squad. It's not that he wants to be, he just wants to protect them, because the things ''his'' RoguesGallery does are better not seen by anyone, really. Plus, he doesn't want anyone else growing up like him, bitter and angry at the world, and he's trying to avoid causing anyone pain from when he inevitably falls in combat or finally snaps. [[CrapsackWorld Batman's world is not happy.]]
** And he's not wrong: considering the whole thing about Jason Todd (just for starters; if you want more, try ''Comicbook/TheKillingJoke'' or ''Comicbook/DeathOfTheFamily''), you can see that even ''in'' costume, it's hard to hang around Batman.
** Although speaking of Joker, he's actually something of a subversion. While he won't think twice about attacking a Robin or a Batgirl, it's been noted numerous times that Joker's had the ability to discover who Batman really is, and could potentially attack those close to him in their civilian lives, but never has because he simply doesn't ''care'' who Batman is behind the mask. Barbara being paralyzed in ''The Killing Joke'' was actually totally unrelated to her life as Batgirl.
* In a way, ANY given costumed super hero with a secret identity can be quite susceptible to this. (Even characters who don't have a secret identity are not immune from this as well.)
** An example for the above statement would be Benjamin Grimm, AKA [[ComicBook/FantasticFour The Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing]], who left his fiancee at the altar because of this--he saw Spidey, Daredevil, Banner and Namor sitting together talking at the wedding, and realized that ''all four'' of them had lost the women they loved.
* In the ''ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan'' comic book, Peter breaks up with MJ to "keep her safe". It doesn't work, and MJ is still thrown into dangerous situations, so they get back together. Yup, we thought it was stupid, too.
** She split up with him, first, for being Spider-Man and therefore incredibly heartbreaking and high-maintenance.
** In this case, the problem is that Peter Parker and Mary-Jane go to the same school and, in this verse, many of Spidey's enemies know full-well that he is really Peter Parker, so the school and everyone he knows are under constant threat anyway. Probably didn't much help that both [[ComicBook/XMen Kitty Pryde]] ''and'' [[ComicBook/FantasticFour Johnny Storm]] start going to his school as well. If Peter ''really'' wanted to protect his loved ones, he should probably have had himself and everyone he knows put into protective custody and his school probably should have been shut down, while Peter continued his education in a secure [[=SHIELD=]] facility.
* [[ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}} John Constantine]] really ''ought'' to do this. But often doesn't.
** The only person to survive prolonged exposure to him is his mate Chas. Which makes the fate of Chas' young sidekick namesake in TheMovie particularly unfortunate...
** John's young wife Epiphany not only survived prolonged exposure to him, but also [[spoiler:outlived him]]. At least until the Vertigo Universe was affected by a paradox caused by the Flash, and integrated to the New 52...
* Defied in ''ComicBook/NewAvengers''. Both Comicbook/DoctorStrange and Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} attempt to refuse an offer of membership because they have enemies, people are out to get them, etc. Luke Cage has to remind them that they're all heroes and they ''all'' have enemies.
** Strange, at least, has a point though--''his'' enemies are on a [[EldritchAbomination completely]] [[GodOfEvil different]] [[DemonLordsAndArchdevils scale]] from the kind of villains the other Avengers usually fight, especially a street level character like Cage. On the other hand, they are also so powerful and evil that they generally threaten the planet/universe and often other heroes anyway, so Strange joining or not doesn't make them any more or less of a target.
* Used in a ''very'' interesting way. Up until the "Darkest Hours" storyline in ''ComicBook/SuperiorSpiderMan'', Spidey had no idea that the person wearing the ComicBook/{{Venom}} symbiote was Flash Thompson, one of Peter's dearest friends, but ComicBook/TheAvengers did. ComicBook/CaptainAmerica uses this knowledge to confirm that [[spoiler:Peter Parker is back in the saddle and that Doc Ock was no longer influencing him, knowing the whole "secret identity" bit]]. Of course, Spidey didn't have to ''like'' it.
** Peter also does this to explain to Anna Maria [[spoiler:the whole deal with him and Doc Ock]]. She actually takes it quite well.
* In ''ComicBook/AstroCity'', this is the reason Silver Agent gave to his first girlfriend. It was a lie; actually, he was sterile, but knew if he told her that, she would try to stifle her dreams for him.
* In the season 8 ''ComicBook/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' comics, Buffy is woken with a TrueLovesKiss, which we initially think was from Xander. It turns out it was from Satsu, a Slayer who is [[HoYay in love with Buffy]]. Buffy tries to dump her due to how much danger she would be in by being her love interest. [[MasterOfTheMixedMessage Then Buffy sleeps with Satsu. She again invokes this trope, then sleeps with her again]].
* Subverted in ''Comicbook/{{Generations|MarvelComics}}'' #3: After rescuing Amiko from Comicbook/Sabretooth, [[Comicbook/{{Wolverine}} Logan]] tells Laura this is why he can't be in her life when she chides him for not spending a night with his daughter. Laura immediately points out that not being in Amiko's life made no difference, and Creed targeted her ''anyway''.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/ACrownOfStars'': [[http://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/posts/2353727/ In chapter 13]] Asuka argues she could not have anyone close to her because [[BigBad Winthrop]] would have used them against her.
-->''“If Id had anyone close to me, Winthrop would just have used them as more leverage against me.''
* Played straight and downplayed in ''FanFic/BackToTheFuturePrequel'': Doc breaks off his friendship with Marty in order to protect him from a vengeful former schoolmate and from being contaminated by Doc's reputation. [[ForegoneConclusion Of course,]] [[SubvertedTrope they get back together.]]
* Played with in Roleplay/DCNation with the {{Original Character}}s. Green Shield only kept her heroing life a secret until she could figure out how to come out to her folks...only for her kid sister to run off with one of the team's enemies. Travis Gray, and the Zukov siblings never bothered - the siblings only care for each other for the most part, and Travis was living on the streets. Fauna keeps hers because the [[CapeBusters activist movements]] she works with and her [[ActualPacifist strictly-pacifist Commune]] would certainly condemn her choice, and she doesn't want them "paying for" her private decision.
* In ''Fanfic/KyonBigDamnHero'', [[OCStandIn Michikyuu Kanae]] gave a speech about how she's just bringing trouble on the SOS Brigade [[spoiler:before attempting to slide to another world... at which point Nagato [[DefiedTrope engages the Dimensional Anchor, trapping her]]]].
* In ''FanFic/InFlight'', [[VisualNovel/FateStayNight Shirou]] leaves [[{{Tsundere}} Rin]] and Saber behind in England when he runs away before the Mage's Organization does something horrible to him due to this trope, especially as they rely on and belong to said organization.
* This trope and ConflictingLoyalty are responsible for the issues getting between [[Manga/LuckyStar Kagami]] and [[Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica Homura]] in ''FanFic/StarsAbove''.
* In ''Fanfic/FallenKing'', this is Joey's reason for splitting off from Tristan and Tea. Someone will always be after the Puzzle, and by staying apart there's a chance someone else can help before the world ends.
* In ''FanFic/FistOfTheMoon'' this is the reason Ranma is reluctant to stay at Rei's shrine--the chaos that follows him will likely wreck the place. S/He ends up rooming with Makoto, because it's easier to fix an apartment or move to a new one.
* Barely averted in the ''Manga/YuGiOh'' story ''Fanfic/AGameOfMasques'' - both Yugi and Yami make angsty plans to leave each other behind to protect them from their respective enemies, but just as they start to put them in motion realize they're both doing the same thing and laugh it off.
* This is given as the reason why Cullen puts up with the harassment from admirers at the Winter Palace ball in ''[[Fanfic/TwiceUponAnAge All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird]]''. He ''could'' chase them off by informing them that he's in a relationship with the Lady Inquisitor, but she's afraid someone would hurt him to get to her - and the way some of the ball guests are acting, he's legitimately concerned that one of them [[MurderTheHypotenuse might hurt]] ''her'' to get to ''him.''

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The first ''Film/SpiderMan1'' film: Peter gives Mary-Jane the JustFriends excuse when she finally tells him she loves him, after nearly losing her to a SadisticChoice. (And let's not forget he ''did'' lose a love interest in an almost identical scenario in the comic books.) All three movies nonetheless climax with villains luring Spider-Man by [[DamselInDistress holding Mary-Jane hostage]], whether they're together or not.
* In ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan'', Peter [[spoiler:tries to end his relationship with Gwen this way, but ultimately changes his mind]].
* The ending of most ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' romantic subplots. In the original Tim Burton films, though, he took a [[RealityIsUnrealistic painfully realistic]] look on this trope, though technically only one relationship ended this way (unmarked spoilers, for Batman fans might typically view this all as ItWasHisSled):
** In Film/{{Batman}}, Bruce had originally viewed this as his issue with Vicki, until [[TheReveal he told her]]. This was broken up by The Joker coming in. Vicki ended up dumping ''him'' because she couldn't handle it. This ends up haunting him for the rest of the Burton-Shumacher quadrilogy.
** In ''Film/BatmanReturns'', his issue had been the way he ended with Vicki, leading him to try to get over it with [[DatingCatwoman Selina Kyle]]. Once again, he is the one dumped, as Selina is AxCrazy by the end of the movie and attempts murder-suicide with her ex-boss, which also caused a TearJerker.
--> '''Catwoman:''' Bruce... I would love to live with you in your castle... forever just like in a fairy tale... (scratches Batman's face) I just couldn't live with myself, so don't pretend this is a happy ending!
** This trope only presumably worked with Chase Meridan. After the whole Riddler thing, it seems that she and Batman are going to still be together, but for some reason, the next movie had Batman dating someone else. We can assume that she either got bored with him (and given the character, this is more likely), or Bruce pulled this card.
* Joshua in ''Film/AnimalKingdom'' is compelled to dump his girlfriend after his criminal family inform him she knows too much about their dealings. [[spoiler: Even this doesn't stop Joshua's paranoid Uncle Pope drugging and strangling her.]]
* In the ''Film/IronMan'' movies, Tony Stark subverts this and in doing so shows why it's not necessarily a bad thing. He reveals his identity as Iron Man to the world, and makes no particular secret of his love for Pepper Potts either (though it's not clear if he himself 100% realizes how deep it is)... and what ensues in [[Film/IronMan2 the subsequent]] [[Film/IronMan3 movies]] shows that secret identities are not necessarily bad ideas.
* In ''Film/TheCobbler'', Max's father explains that he left his family and went undercover because he feared for their lives and this was the only way he could protect them.

* ''Literature/HarryPotter'': Harry gives Ginny this speech in ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince The Half-Blood Prince]]'', right after they get together. Ginny doesn't buy it for a second. Rather than react with surprise or tears, she says she understands what he's doing and patiently lets him get on with it. Her later actions in ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows Deathly Hallows]]'' indicate that, as far as she's concerned, they're still a couple. Harry, amusingly, has absolutely no way of dealing with this and gives in, causing Ron to give Harry the IfYouEverDoAnythingToHurtHer speech when he has trouble letting go. Of course, it's not as though Ginny isn't fighting Voldemort almost as hard as Harry himself.
* In Stephen Marley's ''Literature/ChiaBlackDragon'' series, Chia (an immortal lesbian BlackMagicianGirl) knows that her nemesis, [[TheChessmaster Nyak]], will kill any woman she loves, which discourages her from pursuing relationships. Sometimes she does anyway, and the other girl is invariably killed by Nyak. Chia doesn't just have one past girlfriend StuffedIntoTheFridge, she has ''dozens''.
* A ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' book by Creator/MichaelStackpole ("Wolf and Raven") includes this.
* Luke Skywalker from ''Franchise/StarWars'' goes through a rare variation of this. In the ExpandedUniverse his various love interests have [[DisposableLoveInterest bad things happening to them]]. He eventually concluded that the time he dabbled in TheDarkSide caused this and he had to protect [[OfficialCouple Mara Jade]] from it (it was about as necessary as you'd think). Only [[AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther proving his love for her]] by doing that.
* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'':
** By the fourth book Rand has three love interests. He is the ChosenOne in a CrapsackWorld. He does not handle being the chosen one well in general, and what would happen to his love interests if his enemies find out about them is one of his many worries. The three of them handle it with varying levels of grace, but they're considering the possibility of polygamy. It helps that one of them is from a culture where that is acceptable.
** The inspiration for his behavior was Lan's treatment of Nynaeve.
** Rand also takes a similar approach towards his father, Tam al'Thor, and his hometown, the Two Rivers. He figures that the less his enemies know about his attachment to them, especially [[HappilyAdopted his adoptive father]], the safer they will be from the possibility of attack.
* In the ''Literature/NightHuntress'' books, this is why [[spoiler:Cat leaves Bones]] when the government {{vampire hunter}}s are closing in, reasoning that they will be safe without the extra attention.
* At the end of ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles: Literature/{{Changes}}'' Harry sends [[spoiler:his daughter to be placed in a foster home without him knowing where]] so that his enemies can't find her. In ''Literature/GhostStory'', we find out the person he entrusts this to does one better and [[spoiler:puts her in a house guarded by angels. Specifically, Michael's house]].
* A version of this is done in ''New Moon'' (the second book of Stephenie Meyer's ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' saga), when Edward leaves Bella, telling her she'll never see him again, in order to keep her safe. Not played exactly straight because he's not protecting her from his enemies so much as [[FriendlyNeighborhoodVampires from]] his own "insatiable" [[HorrorHunger thirst for her blood]]. In actuality, he left her unprotected from his enemies.
* In ''Literature/GriffinsDaughter'', Ashinji won't cop to his feelings for half-elf Jelena, partly because of their vastly different social standings (he's elf nobility, she's basically a second class-citizen), but mostly because he fears his sadistic brother, Sadaiyo, will hurt her just to spite him. [[spoiler:He's right]].

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', Buffy tries this with Riley... ''after'' finding out that he fought demons as well.
-->'''Buffy:''' You don't know what my life is like.\\
'''Riley:''' But I'm dying to find out.\\
'''Buffy:''' Dying being the operative word here.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'':
** Mulder tries to use this reasoning on Scully. Needless to say, it backfires.
** This is given as the reason why Mulder is not with Scully and William in season 9. This one is actually a subversion, since Mulder didn't want to leave, despite the danger; Scully convinced him to leave because she feared for both his and William's life if they remained together.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' used this trope in "Provenance". Sam tells Sarah they can't be together, which is wise since [[CartwrightCurse everyone he sleeps with dies]]. Later [[spoiler:he sleeps with Madison in "Heart". She almost immediately keels over]].
** In season 8 he simply disappears from Amelia's life - twice! - with no explanation or any hint of what he does with the rest of his time.
** Dean pulls this on Lisa when Sam shows back up in the sixth season premiere: he evacuates her and Ben to Bobby's for a few days and then has them move to Michigan to try to keep them safe. [[spoiler:It doesn't work.]]
* Crichton uses this in ''Series/{{Farscape}}'', without actually telling Aeryn that's why he's virtually ignoring her. She gets angsty, he starts doing the local equivalent of sniffing pixie dust, and the bad guy ''knows anyway'' because it's frelling obvious, especially considering [[spoiler:she's pregnant]] at the time. Eventually he lets her in on his fears and they quietly make out after [[BluffTheEavesdropper loudly saying]] "So it's over, then."
* This is the entire romantic plot [[strike:tumor]] line of approximately the first 7 seasons of ''Series/{{Smallville}}''
** Inverted in season nine, where Lois gives this speech to Clark, about why it was logical that [[Franchise/{{Superman}} The Blur]] didn't tell her his identity, based entirely on this trope. Amusing because Clark was just about to tell her he was the Blur.
* The first episode of ''Series/{{Highlander}}: The Series'' played this absolutely dead straight between Duncan and Tessa.
* ''Series/KnightRider'' (2008) This is the (frankly, lame) excuse Michael Knight gives for the fact that the first time he meets his son is at the funeral for young Mike's mom.
** Granted, the CartwrightCurse has bitten Michael before; he was widowed ''at the altar'' in "The Scent of Roses".
* ''Series/Daredevil2015'':
** Wilson Fisk is a rare case of this happening to a ''villain''. After Vanessa is poisoned, he tries to send her to another country.
** Matt tries to isolate his Daredevil activities from Foggy and Karen, which doesn't help when Karen is kidnapped by the Hand.
* {{Wangst}}-y hitman Jason Morgan of ''Series/GeneralHospital'' invokes this trope any time a woman tries to get close to him.
** Most notably, his ex-fiancée Sam [=McCall=], whose getting shot prompted Jason to leave her for her own protection. Many Jason/Sam shippers still aren't happy.
* Kreegan, the protagonist of ''Touching Evil'' takes this to the extreme towards the end of the series. After the criminals he is investigating attack his family, he arranges for them to be put into WitnessProtection to keep them safe- and makes sure he doesn't know where they've been sent. One of the few examples where the couple never see each other again.
* In ''Series/{{Being Human|UK}}'', neurotic werewolf George falls in love with his coworker Nina, but struggles with how much to tell her about his condition, and when. He tries to dump her several times, with nebulous claims of "darkness" and "a bad side of me", but she sticks with him.
* In ''Series/{{Bones}}'' Booth breaks up with Camille after the latter was poisoned by a serial killer they were on the trail of, believing their line of work to be too high-risk to be caring for one another at that level.
* Played with in ''Series/{{Misfits}}''. At Nathan's urging, Curtis says this to Sam. They do break up--but only because Sam recognized the line from Spider-Man and got angry.
* Kyle does this to Amanda in the third season of ''Series/KyleXY''.
* Inverted in ''Series/{{Psych}}''. After being kidnapped by Yin, Abigail breaks up with Shawn for good because she has dreams of her own she can't achieve if she's dead.
* Jack Bauer's reason for not telling anyone other than a select few people that he was alive following the events of the fourth season of ''Series/TwentyFour''. Most importantly, Audrey Raines.
* Stefan from ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'' distances himself from Elena in order to protect her and her friends and family.
* ''Series/{{Grimm}}'': Nick's aunt Marie tells Nick that he should break up with [[MeaningfulName Juliet]] because of this trope, and he considers it but doesn't do it. When his best friend (who is part of TheMasquerade but should be his enemy) gets beaten up for being his friend, Nick tells him he won't ask him for help anymore, but Monroe tells him he can ask for as much help as he wants. [[spoiler: His mother]] later tells him that he shouldn't live like she did, being afraid of getting to close to people in fear of them getting hurt.
* Jim Kyle of Wilfred Greatorex's "1990" eventually officially divorces his wife so that the evil government at least can't inflict ''legal'' punishments on his wife and children for his part in LaResistance.
* Subverted in ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' when Oliver tries to distance himself from [[spoiler: Sara]] because [[spoiler: Slade]] intends to destroy everything he cares about. She points out that this is stupid. Their enemy knows he cares about her, has a grudge against her too, and isn't going to leave her alone just because they broke up.
** Oliver pulls this again in the first episode of season three, this time on Felicity, after the restaurant where they are having their first date is blown up. It feels more than a little contrived, since she works with him both in his vigilante career and in his Oliver Queen identity, and spends most of her time with him regardless. She cannot be in all that much less danger just because they are not romantically involved.
* In ''Series/{{Graceland}}'', Jakes broke up with Cassandra in the backstory so that his job as an undercover agent wouldn't endanger her and their child. In the second season, Jakes tries to give up the job in order to be a father to his son only to find that it's too late and there's no place for him in their lives.
* In ''Series/{{The 100}}'' Lexa had a girlfriend named Costia who was kidnapped, tortured, and killed by the Ice Nation because they believed she knew Lexa's secrets. This was what led to Lexa deciding that love both [[LoveHurts hurts]] and [[LoveIsAWeakness is a weakness]].
-->'''Clarke:''' So you just stopped caring? About everyone? ''(Lexa nods)'' I could never do that.\\
'''Lexa:''' Then you put the people you care about in danger, and the pain will never go away.
* ''Series/PennyDreadful'': Vanessa essentially uses this excuse to break off an impending CoitusEnsues moment with Ethan. In this case, the enemy is as much [[spoiler: Satan]] as [[{{EnemyWithin}} herself]], as sex is one way of triggering her ApocalypseMaiden status.

* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8fFx8c3TJI How I Became The Bomb's ''Secret Identity'']]:
-->''Girl, I know that what you need from me is looooove\\
But I'm afraid that it's the one thing\\
I can't, give uuuuup\\
Cuz my enemies will find you, and kill you\\
To get to meeeee''

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The main plot of ''VideoGame/StarFoxCommand'' revolved around the fact that Fox kicked his girlfriend Krystal out of the team because life as a Star Fox member is so dangerous. [[WhatTheHellHero Pretty much everyone calls Fox out on this for being a phenomenally dumb move]], and Krystal ends up putting herself in harms way with Star Wolf. [[spoiler: Most of the multiple endings wrap this up in some way, sometimes happily, sometimes not.]]
** It also repeats minorly with Amanda (Slippy's Girlfriend) and Lucy, Peppy's daughter.
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'': Colette leaves behind TheHero, Lloyd, when she begins her journey of World Regeneration, after lying to him about letting him go with her, [[spoiler: [[IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy the real reason being that]] [[HeroicSacrifice she dies at the end of her journey]], [[IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy and she didn't want him around for that]]]]. In the end, [[DoomedHometown Iselia]] is partially destroyed, and Lloyd goes chasing after her.
* Between ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'' and ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'', [[spoiler:Rose fakes a miscarriage and a marriage to Roy Campbell to protect herself and her son from the Patriots, who would use them against Raiden.]] Of course, their relationship was already falling apart before any of this happened, but they worked it out in the end.
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance'': Raiden himself does this to his wife and son because his latest enemies ''rip the brains out of children and force-feed them violent training simulations''. THIS IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION.
* ''[[VideoGame/SoulSeries Soul Calibur]]'': Kilik knows that his longtime traveling companion Xianghua has romantic feelings for him, but his quest to destroy Soul Edge prevents him from wanting to get too close to her (Kilik's first love [[spoiler: and Xianghua's long-lost older sister]] Xianglian was killed by him while he was under possession of the Evil Seed). In Xianghua's ''SCIV'' ending, [[spoiler:he explicitly tells this to her as he grabs hold of the cursed sword. [[TakingYouWithMe She's not listening,]] [[TogetherInDeath no matter what.]] The official Soul Calibur V artbook revealed that they had an illegitimate child, Xiba, together.]]
* In ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'' the player has the option to do this to Heather the pet ghoul, after it becomes obvious she's being watched by enemies who have reason to be watching you. [[spoiler:If you send her away, she lives. If you don't, she makes you some armor... and is promptly murdered.]]
* In ''VideoGame/BaldursGate 2'', trying to romance drow priestess Viconia will end with this, as she's targeted by Lolth's Handmaidens and doesn't want to drag the protagonist into her mess. However in the expansion she will be amenable to starting over - she realizes that between having your soul ripped out and reclaimed, going to hell, climbing the path to godhood and having to put down your god-blooded half-siblings along the way, the Handmaidens are a minor trifle. Besides, marrying a god...

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* A platonic version occurs at the end of ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' season three. [[spoiler:In the penultimate episode, Blake has a violent encounter with Adam, who is enraged that she's left the [[WesternTerrorists White Fang]] and gotten out from under his thumb. He not only stabs her, but promises to [[IfICantHaveYou "destroy everything you love,"]] and gets started by [[AnArmAndALeg lopping off Yang's arm]] when she tries to rescue Blake. In the season's denouement, we learn that Blake has run off on Yang and the rest of Team RWBY, presumably due to this trope. [[TearJerker Not that Yang knows this, leaving her feeling terribly betrayed after losing so much while trying to save her friend.]]]] This is [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructed]] in Volume 4 when Blake panics over Sun getting badly injured, Sun calls her out over doing this:
-->'''Sun:''' You think you're being selfless, but you're not. Yeah, that chameleon friend of yours got me pretty good, [[ThePowerOfFriendship but I'd do it all again if it meant protecting you]]. And I could promise Yang would say the same. You get to make your own choices, sure. But you don't get to make ours. When your friends fight for you, [[TrueCompanions it's because we want to]]. So STOP pushing us out! [[YouAreNotAlone It hurts more than anything the bad guys could ever do to us]].
** This is further explored in Volume 5 when Ruby mentions Blake's name, sending Yang into a furor before she sobs to Weiss about her, implying that [[spoiler:whatever damage Adam did to Yang, it was a ''lot'' worse with Blake's disappearance.]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/RipAndTeri'', after catching one of his old enemies attempting to seduce Teri, the woman he loves, in an effort to get to him, secret agent Rip Dustin mentally prepares himself to tell her that he hates her in order to drive her away and ensure her safety from his many enemies - but he's unable to bring himself do so, and can only tell her that "I'll always love you." before leaving her. Needless to say, this doesn't have the driving-away effect he was hoping for. When the two are reunited a few strips later, Rip attempts to justify his actions with this trope, only for Teri to point out that it wasn't exactly working; she was in just as much danger as if they'd been together because their enemies ''still'' tried to use her to get to him - and in fact, ''because'' he wasn't around to protect her, she was out of her depth and therefore in an even ''more'' dangerous position.
* In ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' Torg has put any potential romance with Zoe on hold for years (even calling her a "boring, dumpy chick" once) all in order to keep her safe from his [[{{Yandere}} psychotic stalker]] Oasis. This was further encouraged when [[spoiler:Torg's ArchEnemy (one of them, anyway) Lord Horribus killed an AlternateUniverse version of Zoe that Torg had been dating]].
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' Agatha hasn't chosen between Gil and Tarvek, but she is quite certain she wants both of them safely ''out'' of castle. [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20090209 She doesn't want another --]] ''[[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20090209 anyone]]'' [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20090209 dying on her behalf.]]
* Lampshaded and subverted in ''Webcomic/{{Sorcery 101}}''.
-->'''Mel''': You know how in almost every superhero movie, the hero breaks up with his girlfriend to protect her? And then she tells him, he's worth the risk? Well... you're not.
* Vaarsuvius in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' #679. [[spoiler:V's mate Inkyrius has just filed for a divorce, and V chooses not to contest it despite wanting to. And V has a point; though Inkyrius has good reasons, Vaarsuvius knows that as the quest to save the world continues, V's bound to make more enemies. Enemies that might try and attack Inkyrius and their adopted children, as the Black Dragon did.]]
* [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] in the [[FourthWallMailSlot Q&A]]'s of ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'': [[HotScientist Amanda]] asks [[BadassTeacher Raven]] [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2011-07-29 on a date]], Raven replies with this. Amanda's response:
-->'''Amanda:''' Yeah, but [[LooseCanon this is all outside of continuity]].
* The title character of ''WebComic/TheLegendOfLucy'' hid her career as a bounty hunter from her friend Glenda because of this and thought she would want to break off their friendship after being kidnapped and attacked, but Glenda was all too happy to have the excitement in her life.
* In ''Webcomic/LeftoverSoup'', Jamie attempts this on Ellen , but she'll have none of it.
-->'''Ellen:''' Oh my God, you're Spider-manning me, aren't you?

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Himei tries to do this with Seiki in ''Literature/SailorNothing''. Tries, and fails.
* Lampshaded, of course, in ''Theatre/AVeryPotterMusical'', when Harry and Ginny use the various ''[[Film/SpiderManTrilogy Spider-Man]]'' movies as evidence for their respective sides of the argument.
* Website/{{Cracked}}'s ''WebVideo/AfterHours'' program discussed the FridgeLogic inherent with the "Keep them in the dark" aspect of this trope. By not informing his loved ones, Peter Parker not only doesn't prevent them from becoming targets of villains seeking to hurt his SecretIdentity, but ''also'' prevents them from preparing for such a threat to occur.
* In ''Literature/{{Twig}}'', Lillian and Sylvester agree to break up not only because their romantic relationship makes them immediately vulnerable to the predations of the [[TheCaligula Baron Richmond]], who [[EvilIsPetty delights in causing them even minor misfortune]], but because more broadly it threatens Lillian's ambitions of [[AcademyOfEvil academic advancement]] and makes it easy for people to attack her indirectly.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'': Diana is flirting with Batman during a stakeout, and he gives a few reasons why they shouldn't. The third reason is the standard superhero wave-off of his enemies being a threat to anyone he's in a relationship with... which Diana answers by casually crushing the head of a stone gargoyle in her hand and asking "next?" It might make more sense to argue that ''he'' should worry about ''her'' enemies (though maybe not, given [[BadassNormal his impressive track record at taking on and beating superpowered foes]]).
* {{Inverted|Trope}} on ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'': [[WrongGenreSavvy Valerie]], the [[DatingCatwoman "villainous" love interest]], decides not to pursue her relationship with Danny so she can hunt his SecretIdentity: "There's something important I have to do right now, and I don't want you to get hurt because of it." Hey, you can't please everyone. The irony here is that ''he's'' the enemy and already knew her secret identity, making the whole thing rather sad.
* Terry [=McGinnis=] of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' gives his longtime girlfriend Dana Tan this speech in the FullyAbsorbedFinale episode "Epilogue" of ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited''. However, the scene appears to be a hypothetical one imagined by Terry rather than actually happening; at the end of the episode [[spoiler:he calls Dana to confirm a date they've scheduled, and is clearly planning to propose]].
** Ironically it seems his choice is made when someone who knows him and the original Batman tells him not to distance himself from people who love him - so as to have a better life than the old man (Bruce Wayne).
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': After [[spoiler:his HeelFaceTurn in the third season, Zuko leaves behind his girlfriend Mai. As he explains to Sokka in "The Boiling Rock", "Everyone thinks I'm a traitor. I couldn't drag her into it." She is not happy about this and proves how wrongly he underestimated her [[TwangHello in spectacular style]]]]. [[spoiler:Of course, Mai ends up getting thrown in prison -- as does Ty Lee --, so maybe he had a point.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'': Along with many other SuperheroTropes rolled into the episode called "The Beak". Phineas and Isabella [[ShipTease naturally]].
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'': After the events of the first SeasonFinale ([[spoiler:a spaceship crashes into the town, and Lapis Lazuli performs a HeroicSacrifice to prevent Steven and the Gems from being harmed]]), Steven contemplates doing this with his friend Connie in "Full Disclosure", but ultimately cannot bring himself to do so and tells her the truth. He tried to end their friendship with a ''text message'' but when Connie demanded that he say it to her face, he ultimately couldn't.