Romantic love that arises between two elderly or senior characters. If mortality or mental illness is a theme, this is a sure recipe for tear jerkers aplenty. However, it can also be used optimistically, as proof that love and dating have no age limits—in that case, it frequently turns into a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. Compare May–December Romance and Grow Old with Me. Often overlaps with New Old Flame, if the two characters were lovers earlier in life but got separated for some reason. The opposite of Puppy Love, in which two unusually young characters have a romance—although in the New Old Flame case, the same pair of characters may have been both. Definitely a case of Truth in Television, as many people do remarry or have long term relationships that begin very late in life.
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Anime & Manga
- In Full Moon o Sagashite, this becomes the case for Fuzuki and Seijurou. The two met in their teen years and loved each other, but because Fuzuki's best friend was also in love with Seijurou, mistakenly thought the two had betrayed her and said friend (Moe Rikyou, aka Meroko) committed suicide, Fuzuki was too heart-broken and guilt-ridden to pursue a relationship with Seijurou after all. It's not until decades later that Seijurou sees Fuzuki again and the two are seen holding hands in the final chapter.
- An episode of Sailor Moon Super S features a snippy but secretly kind old woman named Mayako, who strikes an Inter Generational Friendship with Chibi-Usa and Mamoru. It turns out that the reason why she's so bitter is that she lost her old boyfriend twenty years ago, which made her a borderline Broken Bird. Said boyfriend, a famous Supreme Chef Ichiro Ohno (whom Makoto is a huge fan of), returns into her life towards the end of the episode (after Mayako is saved from Hawk Eye by the Senshi) and apologies to her for the hurt he caused her, and they get together again and open a restaurant — like they had sworn to do many years ago.
- Discussed in Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai when the student council is playing a Game of Life/Sugoroku mashup and Kaguya (who's been projecting her fantasies and worries onto the game) lands on a marriage space near the end of the game. However, due to her having gotten a "Can't trust men" card back at the beginning, she doesn't end up with Shirogane. She ends up with Fujiwara.
Kaguya: Did it take him until old age to notice my charms...? But a quiet twilight of my life where I can finally find true love, I suppose that doesn't sound too bad.
- In Ooku, Tsunayoshi and Emonnosuke knew each other for years, and it's implied from the start that they were smitten with each other, but what with Emonnosuke being too old to be a concubine, and later Tsunayoshi's need to conceive a new heir after the death of her daughter, they were unable to confess their love to each other until their older years, certainly after Tsunayoshi hit menopause. The day after they have sex for the first time, Emonnosuke dies from an aneurysm.
- Chief and the title character's mother in Doug TenNapel's Earthboy Jacobus, which actually gets more focus than the title character's romance.
- Aunt May and J. Jonah Jameson Sr.
- Also, Aunt May and Edwin Jarvis. However, it didn't end well because it turns out that "Jarvis" is actually a Skrull impostor, and has been for a while. The real Jarvis has likely never met her.
- And well, let's not forget the fate of her first husband, Ben Parker. Just in case you thought the Parker romantic luck was restricted to Peter.
- Green Lantern Alan Scott and Molly Mayne, AKA Harlequin, one of his rogues from back in the day. They got back in touch and eventually married in Infinity, Inc.. There was some friction in the marriage, though, as the lantern kept Scott physically young while Mayne aged naturally. In despair, she made a Deal with the Devil in the crossover Underworld Unleashed, prompting a horrified Scott to enter Hell to rescue his wife's soul. Later, however, Scott was aged to his actual chronological age.
- Gran and Peter Kiesl in 9 Chickweed Lane — though this was a rekindling of a romance they had a half-century earlier.
- Happens to Grandpa Jim in For Better or for Worse.
- The titular character of Mary Worth is in one of these with another resident of her condo complex. It's not the only example of this trope in the strip: a recent storyline had an elderly neighbour who was facing moving into a retirement home fall in love and marry a man living at the home, as well.
- Jump Start: Maureen (Marcy's mother) gets married to Clayton (father of Marcy and Joe's next-door neighbor, Clarence).
Films — Animation
- In The Swan Princess there's Queen Uberta and Lord Rogers. There's also some hints at Queen Uberta/King William but King William goes and dies.
Films — Live-Action
- In The Princess Diaries 2 (the Disney film, not the books), Joe the the head of security falls in love with the dowager queen. Their dialogue suggests that they've had a sort of love affair for quite a while, but are only now admitting it... ...and they finally decide to get married in the end.
- Grumpier Old Men has Grandpa Gustafson having a romance (in his own way) with Mama Ragetti, the mother of Maria Ragetti. When God finally remembers him, Mama is among the mourners at the funeral, and tosses a flower into the grave with him.
- Something's Gotta Give has Jack Nicholson's character opposite Keanu Reeves's, competing for the affections of the beautiful older woman played by Diane Keaton. Even worse/better, she's the mother of his last girlfriend's.
- Ivan Simanov and Victoria in RED. They're well into their sixties and clearly enamoured of each other, which qualifies them. Played with because they were originally lovers as young adults before their jobs - and the fact that they were on opposite sides of the Cold War!!! - separated them. December/December rekindling, perhaps?
- Guillaume Blerot and the Widow Audel in Chocolat.
- Claire and Lorenzo in Letters to Juliet, who were separated when they were teenagers, married other people and after fifty years, were reunited and married.
- In Robot and Frank there is clearly a spark between retired jewel thief Frank and Jennifer the librarian, played by Frank Langella and Susan Sarandon. She is his ex-wife, but his memory loss is so bad that he no longer remembers her.
- The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is full of this, notably a rare gay inversion with Graham and his childhood sweetheart/servant.
- The Internship: Ben (whose wife recently passed away) hooks up with Fiona, a masseuse at the same the company he now works at who's almost his own senior age. They even go to a funeral of one of Ben's friends for a date.
- In Six Degrees of Celebration 2, two of the characters, now well into their sixties, haven't been in contact for forty years because the man's letter of reconciliation was never delivered. The letter is found during reparation work at the post office and the woman rushes off to meet her sweetheart, but by now he had given up hope and left on a long-distance flight. The film's main plotline centers around their relatives as well as chance acquaintances trying to bring the couple together at last.
- In Terry Pratchett's Going Postal, the delivery of a letter results in two childhood sweethearts, now elderly and widowed, getting married after all.
- Also seen with Mr. Weavall in A Hat Full of Sky.
- Paul and Elaine in The Green Mile.
- Eleni Cooper and Sir Myles in the Song of the Lioness quartet. Very sweetly portrayed.
- In Memory, Lady Alys Vorpatril (age 55) and Simon Illyan (age 60, perhaps older) get together after Illyan's medically forced retirement. At some point in the series, it's also mentioned that Miles' Betan grandmother (who is 90 if she's a day) is in a similar relationship with a gentleman in his 80s.
- In the Jeeves and Wooster story "Indian Summer of an Uncle", Bertie's Uncle George has an "indian summer" and goes after a girl much younger than himself. Then he meets the girl's aunt, who turns out to be the lost love of his younger days, and marries her instead.
- Schoolteacher Melissa Mailey and Dr. James Nichols. Both are in their late fifties at the time of the Ring of Fire, and they're both pleasantly surprised to find that they haven't... lost the capacity for enjoying each other. Which they do. On a regular basis. It's a mark of Melissa's Character Development that she throws propriety to the winds and starts openly living in sin with him.
- Mayor Henry Dreeson and Veronica Richter, grandmother of Gretchen and Hans.
- In Judy Blume's Fudge-a-Mania, Peter Hatcher's widowed grandmother gets married to the widower grandfather of Peter's Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Sheila Tubman.
- In The Stormlight Archive Dalinar Kholin and Navani Kholin. They are both in their fifties, he used to court her but she finally chose his brother Gavilar. The marriage resulted in two children but did not seem to be very happy. After her husband's death and Dalinar's near death, Navani finally decides to throw propriety to the winds and get together with the man she really loves. At first, he objects, because it's against the society's rules. He gets over it, though.
- Malę Rising has Usman Abacar (a West African soldier and politician) and Sarah Child (a British high-society woman) marrying once their respective spouses have died.
- Quite a common theme in Iris Murdoch's works (well, sometimes in October-October way)
- Happened on The Golden Girls when Sophia fell in love with a man she met on the boardwalk. Sadly, it was hinted at during the episode and revealed at the end that he had Alzheimer's, so they had to cut it short because he was going to be put in a home.
- In another episode she falls in love with her late best friend's husband. They get married but realize it won't work out between them so they decide to become seperated.
- Britcom As Time Goes By - young lovers, a soldier and a nurse, lose contact when he's shipped off to the Korean War. They're re-united in their golden years. Counts as both a case of this trope and Grow Old with Me.
- Another example from the same show is Lionel's father Rocky and his lover Madge, who get married in their eighties.
- Happened with a couple of guest characters (both widowed) on Good Times. It was mentioned that as a married couple they could get more from social security than if they were single.
- Happens to Karen McCluskey in the 6th season of Desperate Housewives.
- Admiral Adama and President Roslin in Battlestar Galactica, although they are rather middle-aged than eldelry. Also Fire-Forged Friends, since they did not get along well at first. Hell, he even deposed her once. (And re-posed[sic] her another time.)
- Tom and Diana in Waiting for God, who meet when they're committed to the same retirement home.
- Elka, a senior citizen, in Hot in Cleveland has multiple romantic interests of her same age just in the first season.
- Mr. Feeny and Dean Bolander in Boy Meets World (played, incidentally, by husband and wife William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett).
- Major Garreau and Sergeant Pepper in China Beach with a bit of an eventual tearjerker implied late in the last season when it's mentioned that Sarge has had/has cancer and may not be long for this world.
- Gaius and Alice on Merlin (even though they had met, nearly married, and broken up prior to the episode, it was still a late-in-life relationship).
- Silver Foxes Agent Gibbs and Dr. Ryan on NCIS.
- A weird example in the Doctor and the TARDIS on Doctor Who. The first time they met in human form, they were both several hundred years old. On the other hand, they had been "together" for several hundred years before that too, without the Doctor really grasping how explicit the relationship was. On the other hand, when they first met, they were both instantly smitten with each other and ran off together, the TARDIS was already very old (an antique in fact) at that point, and it's implied the Doctor's first incarnation may have been rather old at the time too (although he was young by Time Lord standards). On the other hand, she's a sentient starship/time machine and he has a case of The Nth Doctor going on, so when they first meet in human form, his body appears to be in its late twenties and hers appears to be thirtysomething, so it's debatable whether it qualifies for this trope. On the other other hand, it's debatable whether a couple this bizarre properly qualifies for any romance trope, so....
- Last Tango In Halifax is about a couple in their seventies who, due to miscommunication, never got together in their teens, meet again on Facebook and get engaged the day they reunite in person.
- In one episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, Debra's father is shown to have remarried and wants to bring his new wife to Thanksgiving. Debra is upset, although Ray points out that if her mom is happy, she should be happy. Everyone is expecting a May–December Romance, only for the woman to actually be older than him (the age is never stated, but Debra's father looked to be in his 60s and his new wife looked to be in her 80s).
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has Zek and Ishka, i.e. the romance between the leader of the entire Ferengi Alliance and Quark's mother. Quark didn't take it very well, not least because the Ferengi government had forced him into exile a while back and Zek didn't seem to think this was any sort of barrier to pursuing a relationship with his mother. It didn't seem to deter Ishka very much either, but then Quark always was The Unfavourite...
- Julian Fellowes is particulalry fond of this trope in Downton Abbey.
- The fifty-something Carson, the butler, and the fity-year-old Mrs Hughes, the housekeeper, were supposed to be Married to the Job, and Platonic Life Partners, but soon became a Fan-Preferred Couple. The Word of God was aware of it and although he used to say that they wouldn't get together, liked teasing the fans, by some Green-Eyed Monster from Carson's side and some Ship Tease from both sides. However, after 5 seasons, 12 years on screen, They Do at the end of 5th season. Unfortunately, after their wedding it almost receives the Shipping Bed Death trope by Carson's nasty behaviour towards his new wife and poor plotlines.
- Dr. Richard Clarkson and Mrs Isobel Crawley were a Fan-Preferred Couple after his almost-proposal. When Lord Merton, another Silver Fox, takes an interest in Mrs Crawley, it becomes a Love Triangle. It's hinted in 5th and 6th that there is Green-Eyed-Monster from Dr Clarkson's side. At the end, Mrs Crawley chooses Lord Merton.
- The Dowager Countess had an affair with the Russian Prince Kuragin, while they were both married. In the 5th season, he appears as the possibility of New Old Flame.
- Our Miss Brooks: In "Puppy Love, Mr. Barlow and Mrs. Davis", Mrs. Davis falls in love with the aged school custodian. It leads to Face Palm worthy descriptions of love in old age by callow teenagers Walter Denton and Harriet Conklin.
Walter: Oh, by the way, how's Mrs. Davis' romance with Mr. Barlow coming along?Miss Brooks: Oh, have you noticed that, too? I think it's the cutest thing in the world. Mrs. Davis actually has a bad case of puppy love.Walter: It is cute ... considering she's in her second puppyhood. No disrespect intended, you understand. After all, what can be more romantic than two lonely old people encountering the grand passion in the sear and yellow leaf of life.Miss Brooks: Why, that's absolutely poetic, Walter.Walter: The burning desires of youth long past, they look now for the subdued glow of companionship. The warm and simple pleasures that two elderly people in love can share together.
- Walter described the old folks' romance as follows:
Miss Brooks: Hello, Harriet. I've got to deliver a message to the custodian. Have you seen him?Harriet: Oh, yes. Mr. Barlow just went into his office. (dreamily) Isn't it wonderful, Miss Brooks?Miss Brooks: I don't know. I've never been in his office.Harriet: I mean about Mr. Barlow and Mrs. Davis. They're crazy about each other. Of course, it's a big secret.Harriet: Is there anything more romantic than the mellow romance of old age?Miss Brooks: Now please, Harriet.Harriet: To think of two people finding love at a time of life when others are preparing to pass on. Two people walking hand in hand in the twilight of life.
- Later, Harriet ups the ante:
- In Marshall Karp's Squabbles, Abe and Mildred fall into this trope by the end of the play.
- During the "The Book of Love" quest in Skyrim you play the role of matchmaker while observing different kinds of love. At one point, you are tasked with pairing up the fairly old court mage (who might be really old since he's a High Elf) and the Jarl's Housecarl, who looks like she's in her fifties. The priestess of Mara questgiver describes this as a "seasoned" love.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: While never shown onscreen, it is implied that such is the case between Kanna and Pakku, who do marry. They were in an Arranged Marriage when younger, but Kanna ran away from the Northern Water Tribe since she didn't want to be burdened by their traditions. Pakku was so hurt that he grew into an embittered Straw Misogynist, until he met Plucky Girl Katara — Kanna's granddaughter. So it's a mix of this and New Old Flame, strictly speaking.
- DuckTales (1987) features Scrooge McDuck and Glittering Goldie in a Slap-Slap-Kiss relationship, but it's notably sweeter and stabler than their comic counterparts.
- Wanda's dad and Cosmo's mother in The Fairly OddParents!, but it only happens in one episode.
- In Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Neighbor Pains": It turns out the crotchety Old Man Rivers, who seems resentful of Foster's Home, actually has feelings for Madame Foster. He takes Mac's advice and actually tries talking to her and the two seem to be hitting it off . . . until they resume fighting at the end of the episode.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has the elderly donkey pair of Cranky Doodle Donkey and Matilda. They initially met while young, but an unfortunate case of Poor Communication Kills kept them apart through many years until they reunited, rekindled their romance, and finally married.
- Rugrats has one with Grandpa Lou and his second wife, Lulu—they even got married.
- Grandpa has had these a couple of times on The Simpsons. In one case, Marge tried to hook him up with her widowed mother (then Mr Burns came along). In another, he dated a woman who lived in the same old folks home who died and left him a large sum of money. He's currently married to Rita La Fleur, who's roughly the same age as him.
- Tom Poston and Suzanne Pleshette tied the golden cord as seniors.
- Many residents of senior-care facilities meet new sweethearts at said facilities and even get married, having the wedding right in the facility. On a less romantic note, it appears that venereal diseases run rampant at such facilities, as the residents have relationships and flings and assorted other, erm, encounters, and (since the women are all well past childbearing age) often don't see the need for condoms.