Last time we saw Alice and Bob, they were dating. Things seemed to be going fine, and they're happily in love. Now we see Bob flirting with Carol. Someone brings up the fact that he was dating Alice, and Bob will respond with "We broke up", or "Things didn't work out".

This is more than a little jarring because it is just freeing up Bob to be in a new relationship (or to be single), without actually showing how the last one ended. Often done to prevent ShippingBedDeath, or because [[TrueLoveIsBoring the writers simply don't want to deal with writing out the mundaneness of an actual relationship]].

Compare to DowntimeDowngrade. Subtrope of StatusQuoIsGod.

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!!Examples

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[[folder: Anime ]]

* BlueSeed: Koume Sawaguchi and Yoshiki Yaegashi break up between the end of the series and the 2 year [[OriginalVideoAnimation OAV]] TimeSkip. When prompted by Momiji as to why, Koume explains that she panicked when she and Yaegashi began talking about getting [[BabiesEverAfter married and having kids]] and broke things off. [[spoiler: Momiji tells Koume that she shouldn't worry if they love each other and at the end of the second episode of the OAV [[RelationshipUpgrade Koume agrees to marry Yaegashi.]]]]
* In ''[[GundamSEED Mobile Suit Gundam SEED]]'', Dearka Elsman and Miriallia Haww seem to be headed vaguely in the direction of becoming a couple, and apparently do so following the end of the series - only to have broken up before the beginning of sequel series ''Gundam SEED Destiny''.
** Ditto for Amuro and Sayla in the end of [[MobileSuitGundam the original series]] and the beginning of ''[[ZetaGundam Zeta]]''. And then again for Amuro and Beltorchika in between ''Zeta'' and ''Anime/CharsCounterattack''.
* The ''[[DevilMayCryTheAnimatedSeries Devil May Cry]]'' anime shows that Dante and Trish have parted ways sometime after the end of the first game.
* Bulma and Yamcha broke up between the Freeza and Cell Sagas in ''DragonBall'', clearing the road for Bulma's relationship with Vegeta.

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[[folder: Fanworks ]]

* Often done in {{Fanfiction}} with the OfficialCouple when the fanwriter wants to write about the FanPreferredCouple without the pesky task of actually having to write the breakup. Considering [[MurderTheHypotenuse the]] [[DieForOurShip alternatives]], [[TropesAreNotBad this method really isn't all that bad]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* This exact same thing happens with the direct to video ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail'' movies. Tony Toponi had his LoveAtFirstSight moment with Bridget in the first movie and they seemed like soul mates. Come the third movie, not only is the second movie now AllJustADream but Bridget is gone for some reason and Tony is flirting with someone else.
* In the ''Film/DieHard'' series, John [=McClane=] makes up with ex-wife Holly in the first two films, but he's single again at the start of the third.
* ''StreetsOfFire'': Tom Cody and Ellen Aim do this when Tom leaves town for some sort of war for 2 years.
* ''Franchise/IndianaJones'': Indy and Marion between ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'' and ''Film/TheLastCrusade''.
* ''TheLibrarian'': Flynn breaks with Nicole at some point after the first movie, before the second one...
* ''Film/MenInBlack''. Linda Fiorentino is (kinda) WillSmith's love interest; come the next movie, she's outta there! (Because she apparently ''wanted'' to go back to normal life...)
** It's also implied that WillSmith has been doing it to all of his partners since Kay left in order to prevent them dedicating their lives to the job.
* Ben and Abigail between the two ''NationalTreasure'' movies.
* Pocahontas and John Smith between the two Disney ''{{Pocahontas}}'' movies, which does not truly apply due to CanonDiscontinuity.
* Professor Klump does get the girl in Eddie Murphy's version of ''TheNuttyProfessor''. He's lost her again by the beginning of its sequel. We can guess why it happened this time, but the implied reason itself is a ShockingSwerve.
* ''Film/JamesBond''. All part of the formula.
** Subverted in the Austin Powers series, where Austin and love interest Vanessa get married in the first movie. At the beginning of the second movie, Vanessa is revealed to be [[spoiler:a kamikaze exploding fembot sent by Dr. Evil]], thus making room for Felicity Shagwell.
* ''TheKarateKid Part II'' used this to explain the disappearance of the first film's love interest character. It was even in a needlessly cruel way; not only did she unceremoniously dump him, but she wrecked his car. One really has to wonder if the actress pissed some people off.
* In ''Film/TransformersDarkOfTheMoon'', Sam's previous girlfriend from the first two films, Mikaela Banes is given a simple mention early on, that she broke up with Sam at some point between the second and third film.
* At the end of the live action ''Film/InspectorGadget'' movie, Gadget has hooked up with HotScientist Brenda. When the second movie rolls around, not only is the Inspector single again, but a new scientist called Baxter takes Brenda's techie role, and a new LoveInterest in the form of G2 appears.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* In ''[[{{Literature/Dinotopia}} Dinotopia: The World Beneath]]'' Arthur had a friend in his traveling companion Orianna. While it's never outright stated if they hooked up, it was strongly implied by certain scenes. At the very least, they became extremely close. Come ''Dinotopia: Journey to Chandra'', Arthur decides to go traveling some more and [[DemotedToExtra Orianna has the briefest of cameos]], basically telling him to have fun. She's not mentioned for the rest of the book.
* Ron and Lavender from ''Literature/HarryPotter'', in the [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince sixth book]]. It's not seen, but he mentions it to Harry when he notices Lavender's bitterness on a particular day.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Happens three times in ''Series/{{Sherlock}}''. John ends season one still attached to his girlfriend Sarah, but the first episode of the second season furnishes him with new girlfriend and makes it clear that he’s had several since Sarah, so they obviously broke up, and Sarah is never seen again. Likewise, Molly stated that she dumped Jim offscreen after only a few dates, [[spoiler: which was fortunate, given that he turned out to be Moriarty]], and [[spoiler: has now apparently split up with her ''fiancé'' between episodes.]]
* From TheBigBangTheory: Leonard and Pryia and Leonard and Dr. Stephanie.
** Also, Bernadette and Howard.
*** Although it's worth noting TheBusCameBack and as of the season five finale [[spoiler:they're married]].
* The second season of ''DaCapo'' subverts this: The protagonist of the first season is constantly minded by his haremettes and there are hints that his first season love interest either broke up with him or died... [[spoiler: Only it turns out she just moved away for a bit and comes back at around the halfway point of the series]].
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'': We get hints that Abby and [=McGee's=] relationship is in trouble during early seasons, but we never get to see them actually break up.
* Fourth season of ''Series/{{Dexter}}'': [[spoiler: First time we see Angel he's romancing Laguerta. When asked about the girlfriend he had last season, he mentions that it didn't work out.]]
** And again in the sixth season when [[spoiler: he and Laguerta had a divorce between seasons]].
* Andy and Erin in TheOffice.
* ''Series/PowerRangers'': the [[DearJohnLetter break-up by letter]] for Tommy/Kimberly. Shippers for that fandom still have trouble accepting that one.
* Omar and Dante from ''TheWire'' end season three still together, but with a noticable strain on their relationship, and at the beginning of season four, Omar is already living with someone else (Renaldo). Fans typically assume this is because Dante gave up Omar's location under torture, unlike his previous boyfriend Brandon who refused to talk even on pain of death.
* Smash and Waverly, and Lyla and the Christian guy she was dating, on FridayNightLights. Actually, a lot of the relationships on this show, because they don't show too many episodes that take place when football season isn't going on.
* Puck and Quinn in ''{{Glee}}''.
** And Santana and Sam sometime after [[spoiler: she realizes she is a lesbian]].
** Between the fourth season and the third season finale, Tina and Mike. She mentions on an interview with Jacob Ben Israel that a long distance relationship didn't work out for them.
* In ''Series/{{Community}}'' episode [[Recap/CommunityS1E18BasicGenealogy Basic Genealogy]] Jeff and Prof. Slater. When we last saw them together, their relationship was doing okay, but they break up before the opening credits. WordOfGod, this development occurred to have Jeff get together with the Guest Star of the week.
* ''AshesToAshes'': Chris and Shaz between seasons two and three.
* Zoey and Charlie in ''TheWestWing'', some time before she starts dating [[FrenchJerk Jean-Paul]].
** Also happened with Leo and Jordan. Arguably with Josh and Amy as well (the first time they break up).
* Happens in ''Series/HouseOfAnubis'' to Patricia and Eddie. As such a beloved couple, the fans were outraged and confused when they broke up over the summer with no given explanation. It's speculated that Patricia broke up with him because the relationship was moving too fast, but it was still jarring to the fans.
** There are also some breakups that might not have even happened at all. The characters just moved on to other people without actually splitting.
* Josh Safran, ''GossipGirl'' showrunner for the second half of season four and for season five, wanted to do this with Chuck and Blair in the season three premiere in order to make his own favorite ship Dan/Blair happen. Given that the entirety of season two was devoted to a WillTheyWontThey between Chuck and Blair, the two of them not getting together until the last scene of season two and them being [[FanPreferredCouple by far the most popular ship of the show]] such a development would have been strange to say the least.
* [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/Eureka Eureka]] Jack is dating Callie and the relationship is progressing nicely by the end of Season 2. Season 3 starts and Callie is never seen or mentioned again, and Jack is single.


[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Game ]]

* Guybrush and Elaine during the TimeSkip between ''VideoGame/TheSecretOfMonkeyIsland'' and ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland2LeChucksRevenge''.
** And then they mysteriously are back to being in love at ''VideoGame/TheCurseOfMonkeyIsland''...
* Snake and Meryl between ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' and ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2''.

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[[folder: Web Comic ]]

* DominicDeegan: Hansi.
* In ''SomethingPositive,'' Davan and that girl who liked to strangle him, though in that case it was explicitly a non-romantic relationship just for sex.
* ''{{Homestuck}}'' gives us two odd examples, in the form of Davesprite and Jade, and Vriska and a doomed timeline John. What makes them unusual is that due to the TimeSkip, the same conversations that establishes they broke up also reveals ''they were in relationships to begin with'', simultaneously inverting and playing this trope straight at once.
** ''Everyone'' in Homestuck ends up doing this. Besides the aforementioned, there is also, at various points of the three-year timeskip, Karkat and Terezi, Dave and Terezi, [[FoeYay Gamzee and Terezi]], [[MoralityPet Karkat and Gamzee]], and Jake and Dirk. Just about the only couple that is still together is Rose and Kanaya.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* In ''SurvivalOfTheFittest'', [[LonersAreFreaks Jonathan Jarocki]] and [[PerkyGoth Anna Chase]] broke up before they got on the bus, as revealed in Anna's opening post, mainly due to the fact that [[StrangledByTheRedString the pairing was almost unanimously hated among the writers]]. In universe, it's implied that ''[[YourCheatingHeart something]]'' went on between Chase and Dawne Jiang [[KissingUnderTheInfluence during a drunken evening]], leading to the former breaking up with him out of guilt. [[spoiler:This leads to major SurvivorGuilt from her when ''both'' Dawne's and Jon's deaths are announced, on the same day no less.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Jay being single in the Webisodes following ''WesternAnimation/TheCritic'' Season 2 was explained with one of the first lines:
-->"What happened to your self-respect?"
-->"I lost it in the ''second'' divorce settlement."
* ''KingOfTheHill'' had a season finale where Khan's mother moved in with him and began dating Bill. At the start of the next season she was gone and Bill had gone back to his losery loneliness.
* In the second season premiere of ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'', [[spoiler:Superboy and Miss Martian]] broke up during the five year TimeSkip.
** In "Depths", we find out why. Though she's with somebody else now, it's clear that the two still have feelings for each other.
* Some time after the first ''WesternAnimation/PrepAndLanding'' special, Magee and Tiny broke up.