->''"I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."''
-->-- '''Spike''', ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''

Normally, you'd expect a character known for being tough and cynical about people to also be wary of romantic love. They of all people know that LoveIsAWeakness. It's dangerous sentimentality that [[LoveMakesYouDumb clouds your judgement]] and makes you vulnerable to [[TheVamp being manipulated]] or [[LoveHurts having your heart broken]]. But for every ConfirmedBachelor or CelibateHero who scoffs at love, there's another otherwise hard-boiled character who can't help falling in love against their better judgement.

This type is vulnerable to TheDulcineaEffect and BecauseYouWereNiceToMe, dropping their responsibilities and self-interest so they can stick their neck out for some person they just fell in love with. In all other respects they're a [[ConsummateProfessional level-headed professional]], or a WildCard who doesn't trust anyone but themselves, which makes people who know them wonder why they only lose their head when there's romance involved. Maybe they're a ChivalrousPervert who can't say "no" to a pretty guy or lady who asks for help. Maybe on the inside, they [[IJustWantToBeLoved just want to be loved]], or they're a KnightInSourArmor who wants to find just one person in their rotten world who they can believe in. Maybe being a champion for someone is what gives their life a sense of meaning. Regardless of their reasons, if you ask them why they always fall for it even though they've been burned before, they'll straight up tell you, "I'm a sucker for romance," or, "I'm just a fool for love." In a way, they have the same attitude towards romance that the KnightInSourArmor has toward heroism.

It's more common to see the male version, because of the stereotype that MenAreTough, but a BrokenBird female can be a Fool for Love as well. If the Fool for Love is a guy, he'll often have a secret artsy or [[RealMenWearPink feminine]] side. He may seem like a gun (or sword or fist) slinging showboat, but when no one is looking he is [[WarriorPoet reading and writing poetry]]. Or painting landscapes. Or just looking forlornly at the horizon, but real artfully. Conversely, a female fool for love may act "unladylike" most of the time, but turn out to be a TomboyWithAGirlyStreak.

This has been a ''very'' common trope in popular music, and was particularly in vogue in TheFifties. The idea is that for better or for worse, you have to be a fool to fall in love, but songs can portray it either idealistically or cynically.

This trope overlaps with LoveMakesYouDumb, but it's fundamentally more of an idealism trope than an intelligence trope. The fool for love often knows from experience what they're getting into, and willfully ignores red flags instead of being too blinded by naivete or hubris to see them in the first place. In fact, the character's feelings don't even have to necessarily lead to real stupidity as long as they believe in their own head that their feelings are foolish. Compare LoveMartyr, which is a character who stays loyal to a romantic partner who mistreats them.

Careful not to confuse the trope with the 1985 film ''Fool for Love''.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Sanji from ''Manga/OnePiece'' is a self-confessed Slave to Love. Any moderately attractive woman can manipulate his chivalry, and any woman ''period'' is subject to his protection. [[HonorBeforeReason Even if they're enemies.]]
* Harima Kenji from ''Manga/SchoolRumble'' fits the badass-in-love description to a T in his feelings toward Tsukamoto Tenma.
* A ([[HoYay maybe]]) platonic version of this is Kamina from ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' initially appears to be a big, boastful, fearless meathead, but his bluster is both a cover for his inner doubts and a way to inspire courage in others, ''especially'' his {{Blood Brother|s}} Simon. He admits to Yoko in episode 8 that he'd have given into despair long ago if it were not for his absolute faith in Simon, and [[spoiler: shortly thereafter goes on his first mission where he and Simon fight separately...and only Simon comes back alive.]]
* The typically caustic Chazz/Jun from Anime/YuGiOhGX always goes crazy in the presence of Alexis/Asuka and always tries to impress her, [[HopelessSuitor but always fails]].
* A villainous, [[AlasPoorVillain yet quite tragic]], example in the Count from ''Manga/{{Berserk}}''. He was once a KnightTemplar who fought pagans, but he maintained a family life with his wife and daughter. He loved his wife dearly, but when he found out about [[SilkHidingSteel her unfaithfulness]], his world comes crashing down [[spoiler: and he ended up sacrificing her to the God Hand to become an emotionless demon [[DespairEventHorizon in his moment of despair.]]]]
** [[TheHero Guts himself]] also qualifies for this trope. He's the [[RatedMForManly most macho]], most badass character in the story, but ''damn'' if he doesn't [[LoveInterest love Casca]], traveling across treacherous terrain and battling unspeakable enemies [[FindTheCure all for her wellbeing]]. Even before things [[StarCrossedLovers took a turn for the worse in their relationship]], Casca was one of those few individuals whom Guts showed his [[RealMenHateAffection softer]], [[WarriorPoet emotional]], and even [[ManlyTears vulnerable]] side to. His situation is very much the dark and tragic example of this trope, because [[spoiler: [[TheOphelia Casca goes insane and amnesiac]] after [[GoMadFromTheRevelation her traumatic experience during the Eclipse]] [[AmnesiacLover and ceases to remember Guts]]]] [[HeartbrokenBadass Guts is not very happy]] [[RoaringRampageofRevenge for a long while.]]
* In ''Manga/FinderSeries'' Asami Ryuichi is usually a cautious and very intelligent man. But when his lover Akihito gets kidnapped by an old enemy he makes several highly questionable choices to get him back. From embarking in a rescue mission with two still unhealed gunshot wounds to cutting deals with other criminal organizations.
* Gets referenced in ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz]]'': when [[HitmanWithAHeart Heero]] immediately goes to rescue the kidnapped [[ActualPacifist Relena]], [[DeadpanSnarker Duo]] quietly remarks "Anything and everything for the one you love..." (in the English dub) or "Heh, somebody's got a crush" (in the original Japanese).

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* {{Wolverine}} sure seems like an uncaring loner until you look at the gaggle of one true loves he has loved and lost throughout the years.

* ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'' fanfic ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11886910/1/Gankona-Unnachgiebig-Unità Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità]]'': Germany and Japan, who were both hardened and distrusting, couldn't help but fall in love with [[{{Keet}} Italy]]. Not that they cared.

[[folder:Films, Animated]]
* In ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'', Megara ended up enslaved to Hades because she sacrificed herself for a boyfriend who didn't remain true to her. As a result she lost her faith in men, but when she finds herself falling in love with Hercules--[[InLoveWithTheMark whom she's supposed to be manipulating on orders from Hades]]--she sings a song called "Won't say I'm in love" in which her head is telling her to get a grip, but the [[GreekChorus Muses]] are telling her to listen to her heart.

[[folder:Films, Live Action]]
* In ''Film/{{Inception}}'', professional extractor Cobb keeps a projection of his deceased wife Mal locked up in a level of his subconscious because he was never able to let go of her, even though the last thing she did before she committed suicide was frame him for killing her. Indeed, the reason he can't move on is that he blames himself for [[spoiler:planting the idea in her head which made her convinced that the real world they had returned to was actually the dream (and vice-versa), and that the only way to return to reality was for them to kill themselves]]. When Cobb's projection of Mal gets out of control and starts trying to kill the members of the inception team during the operation on Fisher, his teammates reproach him for having hidden her existence from them when she posed such a danger to the mission, and for hesitating to ShootTheDog when all their lives are at stake.

* Riley Biers from ''[[Literature/{{Twilight}} Eclipse]]'', who did everything in the name of his lover, Victoria. [[spoiler: He was only a pawn to her.]]
* Jamie Lannister in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''. He may be the deadliest and most sarcastic knight in the Seven Kingdoms, but everything he's done he did for his [[{{Twincest}} special somone]].

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Spike, from ''Series/{{Buffy|the Vampire Slayer}}'' and later ''Series/{{Angel}}''. He may be the biggest {{Badass|Longcoat}} on the show ([[BadassDecay at least in the show's first few seasons]]) but he is always doing it for a very special lady, whether she be a [[TheOphelia psychotic vampire]], a [[TheHero troubled slayer]], [[NerdsAreSexy a cute physicist]] or an elder goddess. He snarks and acts all tough but at the end of the day, all he wants is to watch out for his one true love.
* Sawyer from ''Series/{{Lost}}'' definitely qualifies as one of these. He may be a rugged con man who insults anyone who will stand still long enough but his only two hobbies are reading and gazing forlornly at Kate.
** At least until Season 6, when he takes up listening to punk music and [[spoiler: mourning Juliet.]]
* Damon from ''Literature/VampireDiaries'' is definitely one of these, in the same vein [[Series/BuffytheVampireSlayer as another snarky vampire]]. He spends 146 years searching for Katherine and falls for her doppleganger, Elena to whom he is just as loyal to, if in his own crazy way.
* Sherlock Holmes in ''Series/{{Elementary}}'' is implied to be this. Joan deduces in the pilot that a big part of his motives from his DarkAndTroubledPast has to do with his own [[TheLostLenore lost lenore]].
** Revealed to be [[spoiler:true]] and then [[spoiler:''painfully'' subverted when it is revealed his [[TheLostLenore lenore]] was never really lost and was playing him the whole time.]]
* [[JerkassWoobie Thomas Barrow]] from ''Series/DowntonAbbey'' is an incorrigible bastard most of the time, but whenever he falls for someone he goes to great lengths in pursuit of a (same-sex) relationship - a practice which is likely to get him thrown in prison if exposed, considering the time period.
* Chandler from ''Series/{{Friends}}'' is typically a StepfordSnarker and committment phobic because of his difficult childhood. However in his few early relationships he's extremely devoted and romantic buying Janice a draw and spending days hunting down a childhood book for Kathy. When he gets together with Monica he comes up with romantic speeches that ''any'' guy would be proud of, let alone a cynic who claims all relationships are doomed. Ironically out of the three guys (both of which are viewed as better with women than him) he's the first to get married and actually make a relationship work.
* [[NiceGuy Simon]] from ''Series/TheInbetweeners'' will do anything for the girl he happens to be in love with at the time. Him being one of the [[ComedicSociopathy main characters]] and thus one of the [[TheChewToy universe's playthings]], [[YankTheDogsChain this usually ends badly for him.]]
* [[Series/{{White Collar}} Neal Caffrey]], so much so. This is the man that eluded the FBI for years. The only crime that they had enough evidence to convict him for was bond forgery when he also committed art theft, counterfeit, and assorted other crimes. This is also the man that only got caught because he prioritized finding Kate over logic, and the man that escaped from prison for her.
* The eponymous ''Series/{{Galavant}}'' tried to defy this trope, saying that he came from a long line of passionate people, including his parents (who loved each other - [[SlapSlapKiss sometimes violently]]) and wanted to avoid living the life that they did. However, he met [[RomanticFalseLead Madelena]], and fell hard for her.
-->'''Isabella:''' And Madelena?\\
'''Galavant:''' Well... [[BitchInSheepsClothing She fell softer.]]\\

* "Earth Angel" (1954) by The Penguins, a more sweet and romantic take on it:
--> Earth angel, earth angel\\
Will you be mine?\\
My darling dear\\
Love you all the time\\
I'm just a fool\\
A fool in love with you
* "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" (1956) by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, which says that even if it puts you in a world of hurt, it's as natural as the birds singing and nobody can help it:
-->Why do fools fall in love?\\
Why do birds sing so gay\\
And lovers await the break of the day\\
Why do they fall in love?\\
Why does the rain fall from up above?\\
Why do fools fall in love?\\
Why do they fall in love?\\
Love is a losing game\\
Love can be a shame\\
I know, I'm a fool you see\\
For that fool is me
* "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Music/ElvisPresley, a rather more optimistic version:
-->Wise men say only fools rush in\\
But I can't help falling in love with you\\
Shall I stay\\
Would it be a sin\\
If I can't help falling in love with you\\
Like a river flows surely to the sea\\
Darling so it goes\\
Some things are meant to be\\
Take my hand, take my whole life too\\
For I can't help falling in love with you
* "Fool for Love" performed by Sandy Rogers for the 1985 film ''Fool for Love'', is a rather wistful tune about a guy who was a fool for love since the day he was born. First he's with a girl when they're six and seven, and he goes through puppy love. As he grows up he stays foolishly optimistic, and the last time the narrator sees him alive he's trying to break up a wedding.
--> He grew up he didn't get much better\\
Tattooed underneath his sweater\\
L.O.V.E in blue\\
Seems he was never satisfied\\
Chasing girls like butterflies\\
Believin' every word they said was true\\
He's a fool for love\\
What he wouldn't do for love\\
He's a fool, a fool for love\\
Once a fool, you got to\\
Follow the rule, always a fool\\
A fool for love
* Music/FrankSinatra has two songs in this vein on ''Music/SongsForSwinginLovers'':
** "I've Got You Under My Skin"
--> ''I'd sacrifice anything come what might''
--> ''For the sake of havin' you near''
--> ''In spite of a warnin' voice that comes in the night''
--> ''And repeats, repeats in my ear:''
--> ''Don't you know, little fool, you never can win?''
--> ''Use your mentality, wake up to reality''
--> ''But each time that I do just the thought of you''
--> ''Makes me stop before I begin''
--> ''Cause I've got you under my skin''
** "You Make Me Feel So Young".
--> ''The moment that you speak''
--> ''I want to run and play hide-and-seek''
--> ''I want to go and bounce the moon''
--> ''Just like a big toy balloon''
--> ''You and I, we are just like a couple of tots''
--> ''Running along the meadow''
--> ''Snatching up all those forget to be nots''
* Music/LordHuron's song " Fool for Love" is about a man challenging a rival to the death for the hand of a girl he loves.
* Ike and Music/TinaTurner Revival's "A Fool in Love". A song about a woman questioning why she stays with a man who is rude and abusive to her. Becomes HarsherInHindsight for obvious reasons, and ironically became one of the couple's biggest ''hits'':
--> ''You're just a fool you know you're in love''
--> ''You've got to face it to let it explode''
--> ''You take the good along with the bad''
--> ''Sometimes you're happy and sometimes you're sad''
--> ''You know you love him you can't understand''
--> ''Why he treats you like he do when he's such a good man''