->''"If it takes forever, I will wait for you \\
For a thousand summers, I will wait for you \\
'Til you're back beside me, 'til I'm holding you \\
'Til I hear you sigh here in my arms."''
-->-- Music/AndyWilliams, "I Will Wait For You"

So someone's love has gone off on a long and dangerous journey: to sea, to war, [[ButNowIMustGo to find their meaning]], [[UnableToSupportAWife to make their fortune]], something along those lines. She promises to wait for him, right where she is, until he returns. How long could it be, right? Soon they'll be reunited and all will be well.

Only not so much. Years pass and he doesn't return. Most people would have given up by this point, assuming that something has happened to their loved one and he's never going to come back. But not this woman. She's going to wait right here for the rest of her life, if necessary, because she really believes he's coming back for her someday.

...Even though most of the time, he really is dead. This still will often not stop her. She said she'll wait forever for him, and she ''meant'' it. Hundreds of years later, a woman-shaped rock can be seen in that spot, waiting for her love to return to her. If she knows that he is dead, TheMourningAfter may ensue. Or even if she believes it -- sometimes other characters think that claiming it will shake her resolve.

When the hero is being faithful, the StandardHeroReward can lead to some very difficult to wiggle out of scenes -- ButThouMust!

If she is coerced into marrying, it's YouHaveWaitedLongEnough -- whereupon her true love will show up in time to [[SpeakNowOrForeverHoldYourPeace save her from the wedding]]. If this trope follows a breakup, you have LoveWillLeadYouBack. If he does return, and she realizes she no longer loved him, it turns to OldFlameFizzle.

The person waiting, incidentally, is almost AlwaysFemale... [[Literature/TheOdyssey or]] [[UsefulNotes/{{Hachiko}} a loyal]] [[WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}} dog]]. See also MyGirlIsNotASlut, TheSlowPath. When the waiting is forced (either by an individual or a social custom), it may overlap with PropertyOfLove. Compare IWillFindYou for when the speaker plans to take a more proactive stance. Contrast AbsenceMakesTheHeartGoYonder and TakingTheVeil, a common historical alternative.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Manga/XxxHolic'' when [[spoiler:Watanuki takes on ownership of the shop and vows to wait for Yuuko there until the day he sees her again. Nevermind the fact she's [[MindScrew dead right now]]. It's okay, after all, if "wishes can come true if someone wishes hard enough" she'll definitely come back, even though he'll probably never see her again [[{{Reincarnation}} as the person he knew her as]]. Watanuki won't be aging until she returns anyway, because he made a deal for prolonged life in return for being unable to leave the shop.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Bokurano}}'' Daiichi, who raises his siblings in their father's absence, does not move in with his uncle in part because he doesn't want to impose, and mainly because he believes his father will one day return. When his turn comes to battle, he, knowing that he will die soon, decides to have his siblings stay with his uncle. [[spoiler:His father returns some time after Daiichi's death]].
* In the first ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura'' movie, we have [[spoiler: Clow Reed's girlfriend and disciple, only referred to as Mahoudoushi aka "the Sorceress", and the BigBad of the film. They got into a huge fight when she started practising BlackMagic despite his warnings, so he sealed her away in a PocketDimension. Sorceress broke free many years later... when Clow was already dead; she then proceeeded to unleash her magic against Syaoran's family as well as against Sakura, and as she did so, a lot of her dialogue parts are summed up as her asking "Where. Is. Clow Reed?". When Sakura finally managed to tell her that he's dead, she suffered a VillainousBSOD, saying [[MadnessMantra "But... I... waited...!"]] all over.]]
* In the ending of the manga version of ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'', [[spoiler:Chrono]] promises [[spoiler:Rosette]] that he'll return to her because the place he belongs is "wherever she is" before [[spoiler:going off to fight Aion in their final battle.]] For a reason that is never explained, he disappears for ''years'', leaving her to wait for him even though [[spoiler:[[DealWithTheDevil their contract]] means that [[YourDaysAreNumbered she doesn't have very long to live]]]]. After eight years, he eventually ''does'' make it back to her [[spoiler:right in time for her to [[TearJerker die in his arms]]]]. It's left up to interpretation if the scene is really him returning to her or [[TogetherInDeath their spirits reuniting in the afterlife]].
* Invoked in one of the ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' OVA's. [[spoiler: If Conan doesn't return to his Shinichi identity, Ran will wait for him to return... ''even if more than ten years pass.'' (The OAV itself was AllJustADream, but it's not too farfetched to believe that it ''would'' be within Ran's character to do this.]]
-->[[spoiler: Older!Ran]]: "I've already waited ten years... so another ten will be just fine."
* Misato tries to invoke this trope in ''[[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion End of Evangelion]]'' when she sends Shinji off to fight the FinalBattle... only to collapse and die moments after his departure, having lied about the severity of her gunshot wound and [[CruelAndUnusualDeath her dying monologue quickly getting interrupted by]] [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill a demolition charge turning her into]] LudicrousGibs. And not only is it implied that she was only trying to get the boy motivation and didn't really mean what she said, her death was a SenselessSacrifice as well.
* In the manga ending of ''Anime/EurekaSeven'', Renton refuses to acknowledge that his lover Eureka is dead and will continue to wait upon the day she returns back. The final page indicates they might have finally reunited after 2 years.
** In the movie version ''Anime/EurekaSevenGoodNightSleepTightYoungLovers'', Eureka waited patiently and hoped for the moment she could be reunited with Renton, considering she thought of suicide throughout the 8 years of imprisonment.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', Not only does Trisha agree to wait for Hohenheim while she's still alive, [[spoiler:it's revealed in an omake at the end of the series that she is still waiting for him, despite being dead for 10 years. [[TogetherInDeath They're finally reunited]] when Hohenheim dies in the GrandFinale... in front of Trisha's grave, and as soon as this happens, their souls meet up and they have a bittersweet talk, before leaving together to the afterlife.]]
* This was [[spoiler:Chiaki and Makoto]]'s promise at the end of ''Anime/TheGirlWhoLeaptThroughTime''.
--> [[spoiler:Chiaki]]: I'll be waiting for you.\\
[[spoiler:Makoto]]: Okay. I won't be long. I'll come running.
* In ''Animation/GuardianFairyMichel'', Sir Brown waited so long for his beloved princess he turned into a tree.
* In the finale of ''Anime/GunXSword'', Wendy parts from the man she loves. [[spoiler: (It's unclear whether Van returns her romantic feelings).]] The series ends with a few minutes of DistantFinale in which Wendy reveals that she's learned to cook food he would like, so that she can give him a good meal when he shows up. Though she never explicitly promised to wait for him, it seems to be what she's doing, and she insists that she will see him again some day. [[spoiler:Cue Van walking in the door not five seconds later.]]
* Present in the manga version of ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'' of all the things: [[spoiler:Alucard disappears and Integra kills the Major, telling him he's a monster and Alucard will return. She then waits for him for ''thirty years'' (naturally she never married). In the DistantFinale, Romancia, Integra has begun to worry that he's never come back, and that she's getting old. He returns to her that night, after deliberately losing millions of his own lives to get back, and reassures her that her age is fine with him.]]
* In ''Manga/KannazukiNoMiko'', when Chikane is being, in essence, erased from existence she declares that she will reincarnate. At that point Himeko promises to wait for her.
* The final chapter of ''Manga/{{Kobato}}'' has [[spoiler: Suisho]] asking if [[spoiler: Ioryogi]] will wait for her. He promises that he will.
* The finale of ''Anime/LittleWitchAcademia'' has a platonic version. [[LesYay Maybe.]] [[spoiler: As Croix leaves to serve her time in magic prison, Ursula/Chariot calls out that she will wait for her return. She repeats it again quietly to herself again after Croix is gone.]]
* In ''Manga/MademoiselleButterfly'', [[spoiler: Butterfly sends Chinatsu off to war with the hope that he'll eventually return, taking care of their twins in the process. When she's told he's dead, Butterfly doesn't take another spouse, which makes the happy ending even better once Chinatsu comes back home.]]
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' has [[spoiler:Ayaka]] as a platonic version of this with her best friend [[spoiler:[[RipVanWinkle Asuna]]]], waiting and clinging to life until she was 115- the year when the person in question was scheduled to come back. [[spoiler: But she didn't, and by the time she finally got there thirty years after, it was too late. Naturally, once the poor girl ''did'' wake up and learn that Ayaka had waited ''that'' long for her, [[TearJerker she broke down in tears]].]][[spoiler: Fortunately, resident time traveler [[TheBusCameBack Chao]] was able to return her to the point she originally left.]]
* In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'', [[spoiler: Bright Noa]] tells the trope words ''almost letter by letter'' to [[spoiler: Mirai, his NumberTwo, as his LoveConfession to her before a crucial battle]]. [[spoiler: They later get married.]]
-->[[spoiler:Bright]]: "I know what you're thinking. And I... I will always be waiting."
* Role reversal in ''Anime/MoribitoGuardianOfTheSpirit''. Tanda has been waiting for years for Balsa to fulfill her vow to save the lives of eight people so they can settle down and get married. Then at the end she decides to return to her hometown for a while, and he ends up waiting again. Tanda is a very patient guy.
** He does express some frustration with Balsa's wandering ways, noting that she seems to thrive on life-or-death situations. When Balsa admits that this is true and jokingly asks him if he has a cure for it, he painedly replies that if he himself isn't enough of a cure, then there's no point in going on waiting. But he goes on waiting all the same.
* The Mizu Sahara manga ''Manga/MyGirl'' has the main character waiting for his girlfriend, who went abroad to study and seems to have decided not to return. She dies before he gets the chance to see her again.
* In ''Franchise/{{Naruto}}'', Sakura's relationship with Sasuke boils down to this. At first, he was a rogue ninja, but [[SingleTargetSexuality she still kept chasing after him]]. After [[spoiler:his HeelFaceTurn]], he leaves once again to [[spoiler:[[WalkingTheEarth wander the world]] and [[TheAtoner atone for his crimes]]]], promising that one day he'll come back to her. In ''[[LightNovel/NarutoHiden Sakura Hiden]]'', set two years after that, he still hasn't come back, making her wonder how much longer she can wait for him. In ''Manga/NarutoGaiden'', this extends even to [[spoiler:their marriage.]]
* ''Manga/OnePiece'':
** A non-dog animal variant of this is Laboon, who's been waiting over 50 years for the pirate crew he made friends with to get back from their trip around the world. And in keeping with the trope, it turns out all members of the crew are dead. Good news Brook's Devil Fruit powers aren't going to let that get in the way.
** A subversion occurs much earlier in the Buggy Arc. In the town Buggy's crew have occupied, there's a little dog called Chou-Chou, who's standing guard at a shop his master founded. Said master went to the hospital several weeks ago, and never came back, having died. Most of the townspeople think Chou-Chou's still waiting, but not the mayor, Boodle. Boodle thinks that Chou-Chou knows his master isn't coming back, but watches over the shop because it's all he has left of his master. [[spoiler: This makes it all the sadder when Mohji burns said shop down.]]
* A non-romantic version in ''Manga/PingPong''. The reason Smile (Tsukimoto) never seemed to find any fun in ping pong was because his friend Peco's (Hoshino) [[spoiler:game had gotten sloppy. Smile was always waiting for Peco, who taught Smile ping pong, to get back into the game and play seriously.]]
* ''Manga/PandoraHearts'' ends with [[spoiler: Gilbert declaring that he will wait 100 years for Oz and Alice to reincarnate back into the world, saying that [[DevotedToYou he's already waited 10 years for Oz, he can't see why 100 more would be a problem.]] ]]
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'':
** The "turned to stone" variant is featured as a local legend in "The Ghost of Maiden's Peak." The stone girl's spirit is also said to haunt the area.
** The trope is lampshaded and defied by Jessie in reference to said ghost.
---> Girls like her disgust me. Always waiting around for her man as if she were his faithful pet.
** Downplayed in another episode with a Ninetales (kitsune Pokemon who can reach 1000 years of age); as per the trope, she waited a long time for her master. But once 100 years passed without his return, she realized he'd died and attempted to leave the house where he'd lived, only to be unable to since her Pokeball was still in there.
** Another example happened in a Battle Frontier episode, where May meets an old woman at a run-down train station waiting for her husband to return. The woman's granddaughter reveals that her husband wanted to leave to become a Pokemon Doctor, but she didn't want to leave because she was pregnant. She wanted to tell him before he left, but was unable to catch up to him. Her husband died in an accident a year later, but she [[SelectiveObliviousness didn't believe it]] and continued to wait for him at the train station everyday for many years.
* ''Anime/RuneSoldierLouie'': At the end of the final episode, Louie and his companions immediately [[AndTheAdventureContinues set off on another journey]] [[spoiler: to flee King Rijarl's army for the destruction of his castle]]. As Ila sees them off, she secretly vows that she'll be waiting for Louie when he returns [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKpm5Wu-pZ4 (at 9:26-9:45).]]
* In ''Anime/SailorMoon'', after a lot of agonising on both parts, Reika goes to study in Africa and Motoki decides to wait for her. She eventually returns so that they can have their agonising ''all over again'', since she wants to go back to Africa, this time for ''ten years''. Motoki is ''still'' prepared to wait.
* A variant of this trope occurs in the Creator/{{CLAMP}} manga ''Shirahime Shyo''. A couple makes their goodbyes over a frozen lake as he is going to war, and she promises that when he comes back she will be waiting for him in the same spot. Guy returns many years later in the middle of winter thinking she probably didn't wait for him, until he looks down at the frozen river...and there she is, youthful and beautiful as ever, but dead and frozen in the lake. When she said she would wait in the same spot...[[ExactWords she meant it]].
* In an early episode of ''{{LightNovel/Slayers}} Revolution'', when Lina is almost arrested for "the crime of being Lina Inverse", Gourry tearfully promises to wait for her until she gets out of prison, no matter how many years it takes. Lina, of course, responds with violence.
* Non-romantic version in ''Manga/SoulEater'': [[spoiler:Crona makes this sort of vow to Maka when, right before they make their HeroicSacrifice and imprison themselves alongside [[BigBad Asura]], she tells them that she'll come back for them someday and tells them to wait for her. The series ended right after, but on the hopeful note that they may yet be reunited, someday.]]
* In ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'', most assume Kaneki is dead at the end of the first manga series, but Touka states that she has faith in him, and that he will return to Anteiku one day. This leads her to set up the coffee shop :Re with the intentions of it being a place Kaneki can come home to. It turns out that [[spoiler:she is right, and Kaneki ''does'' return to her, although it's as an entirely different person, with no memories of his life as Kaneki or of her. Seeing him seemingly living a happy life, she decides that it is best that he does not recall his troubled past, and makes no effort to try and restore his memories.]] Even so, she continues to wait for him, stating that [[spoiler:in the event that he remembers everything again, he will always be welcome at :Re]].
* An everyday sort of version occurs in ''Manga/TheWeathermanIsMyLover'' where Amasawa supports the reluctant Koganei in going overseas to work and convinces him that he'll be okay without him and wait for his return.
* ''Anime/{{Windaria}}'': Juilet to her lover and the promise has prevented her from 'achieving enlightenment' and passing on. [[spoiler: She passes after giving Alan some words of wisdom.]] Marie too.
* In ''Manga/WorldsEndHarem'' Erisa ignores resident protagonist Reitoís plea for her to find someone else, for he being cured of multiple sclerosis is only supported by the possibility of the super AIís of their time finding a cure during the period he is preserved in cryostasis, Erisa says she will wait for him and that a cure will be found for sure.
* Alpha in ''Manga/YokohamaKaidashiKikou'' is ''still'' waiting for her owner to return at the end of the series [[spoiler:when humanity goes extinct.]]
* The ''Manga/BirdyTheMighty'' OVA series sees Natsumi swear this to Tsutomu after watching him change back from Birdy and he tells her he can't talk about [[SharingABody the situation]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica, Stargirl basically promises this publically (to a reporter questioning her) about Atom Smasher when he goes to prison for war crimes. "I'll be there for him, no matter how long it takes".
* Invoked in ''[[Franchise/SpiderMan Amazing Spider-Man]]'' vol. 2 #45 during the separation of Peter and Mary Jane Parker. Peter goes to Hollywood to ask MJ to return to him, but she still finds it too hard dealing with sharing her life with Spider-Man:
--->'''Mary Jane:''' It was like ... like everything I did on my own was just a distraction from the important stuff, and I can't be a distraction, I can't be a diversion. I can't be second place, Peter. I just can't. You can understand that, can't you, Peter?
--->'''Peter:''' Yeah... I suppose I can. But I'm still in love with you, MJ. I always will be. So what do I do about that?
--->'''Mary Jane:''' (''small voice'') Wait for me? Let me figure out what I need to figure out? (''normal voice'') I know that's hard, because I can't make any promises, but--
--->'''Peter:''' I don't need any promises, MJ. I'll wait for you as long as you need. Or until the stars turn cold and fall from the sky. Whichever comes first.
* ComicBook/LoisLane in ''ComicBook/AllStarSuperman'', insisting Franchise/{{Superman}} will come back - he's just fixing the Sun.

[[folder:Fairy Tales]]
* In ''Literature/{{Bearskin}}'', the hero tells the youngest daughter that he will leave and return in three years to claim her hand in marriage (if he doesn't, he's dead and she's free), and when a strange, handsome man shows up, she ignores him until he proves he's the same as the hideous man she promised to marry.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''FanFic/SonOfTheDesert'' Trisha gives her blessing when Hohenheim decides to go on a journey [[spoiler: to revoke his immortality.]] Trisha promises to wait for him no matter what.
** [[spoiler: Despite reciprocating Roy's feelings, Edward refuses his marriage proposal until he restores Alphonse's body. Roy promises to wait for him until then.]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/MiraculousLadybug'' fic ''[[http://www.archiveofourown.org/works/8823994/ Bring Me Home]]'' is set after the defeat of Hawkmoth and his unmasking as Gabriel Agreste. A day after the fight, Ladybug waits at her usual meeting place for Chat Noir, hoping to finally unmask herself and confess her feelings. But he never shows up, because Adrien is too ashamed to admit that he lived under the same roof as their enemy and never realised it, and has taken his ring off for good. Five years later, Ladybug continues to wait on the roof every night, and Marinette's friends can't help but worry about how much she's withdrawn since high school. Marinette knows that Chat would be disappointed by what her grief has turned her into, but she can't bring herself to give up without knowing if he's even still alive. [[spoiler:When she does find out that Adrien was Chat and had always had the option to come back to her, she's heartbroken and furious, calling him out for selfishly choosing to let her sit hurting for him for five years.]]
* Downplayed in another ''Miraculous'' fic, ''Fanfic/SomethingInTheNight''. Adrien waited at the park for Ladybug for weeks after their scheduled meeting fell through (Marinette was stuck in traffic on the other side of Paris, and she had to catch a flight that afternoon), and he comes back a number of times over the next few years around the anniversary of Hawkmoth's defeat. Marinette herself hangs around the park a few times when she's back in Paris, but they never see each other. It's not until seven years later, two years after Adrien had stopped waiting, that they run into each other again.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''Anime/VoicesOfADistantStar'' has a rare [[GenderInvertedTrope gender inverted]] variation, as Noboru is stuck on Earth while his girlfriend Mikako goes in to space to be a mecha pilot. As Mikako travels farther into space and her messages to Noboru take longer and longer to arrive, he ''tries'' to resolve himself to move on, but can't ever manage it.
* Also see ''Anime/FiveCentimetersPerSecond''. Creator/MakotoShinkai likes this trope.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheBookOfLife'', Manolo and Joaquin wait ten years for Maria to return from Europe, shown through a montage set to, appropriately enough, a [[InTheStyleOf mariachi rendition]] of the song of the same name.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The protagonist of ''Film/AIArtificialIntelligence'' spends ''millennia'' at the bottom of the ocean waiting for the "blue fairy."
* The classic French musical ''Les Parapluies de Cherbourg'' (''Film/TheUmbrellasOfCherbourg'') centers around this when the man goes off to war for two years, and she promises to wait for him, even if it takes forever--until the woman (played by Catherine Deneuve) discovers that she's pregnant with his child and marries someone else in act III just four months later. Unlike in American films of this type, they never get back together, not even briefly. Though it's pretty heavily implied that that they still both carry the old flame. This film is sort of indirectly the TropeNamer -- the main musical theme was also adapted into an English song with this title.
* In ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanAtWorldsEnd'', [[spoiler:Elizabeth]] apparently decides to wait for [[spoiler:Will... and he ''does'' comes back. This is helped by the fact that he expressly told her when he would return, so all she had to do was stay loyal and show up at the appointed time.]]
* Subverted in ''Film/TheDarkKnightTrilogy''. Rachel Dawes not only breaks her promise to Bruce Wayne a few months after making it, but gets so deeply involved with another man that they become engaged [[spoiler: and would have married if she hadn't died]].
* ''Film/AVeryLongEngagement'' has the heroine convinced that her lover is alive despite everyone else insisting that his chances of surviving a bombing during the war are nil. In the end, [[spoiler:it turns out that he ''is'' alive, one of the rare instances of this trope where the woman's fidelity is fully rewarded. True, the man is said to suffer from memory loss of the war and his relationship with the heroine, but it's implied that they will be happy together once again.]]
* The main character in ''Film/HarrisonsFlowers'' decides to go after her husband in war-torn Yugoslavia after receiving news that he is probably dead.
* Subverted in ''Film/ThePerezFamily''. Carmela spends 20 years (and most of the movie) waiting for her husband, who was imprisoned by the Castro regime in Cuba. Then she just gives up, and hooks up with another man.
* Arwen does this for Aragorn in ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' once he goes off on the quest to destroy the One Ring, which eventually escalates into a war. Although this time they are only parted for half a year.
** It doesn't really come up in the movie, but the backstory given in the book it's revealed that by the time they finally get married, Arwen has been waiting for Aragorn for around 40 years. Of course, since she was over two and a half ''millennia'' old when they met, that's not actually that long.
* At the end of ''Film/TheMalteseFalcon'', Sam Spade promises to wait for the woman he's sending to prison to get out!
* Nora in ''Film/PetesDragon1977'' is waiting for her fiancé, believed to be lost at sea.
* In ''Chico & Rita'' the main feature is a flashback of Chico as an old man thinking on his relationship with Rita. They were separated when [[spoiler:he was deported to Cuba while Rita was waiting for him in a hotel room. When Chico restarts his music career and gets to go back to America, he manages to track her down. She was waiting in that hotel room for ''forty-eight'' years]].
* In ''Film/TheGreatGatsby'', Daisy is Gatsby's lover before he left to prove himself and the world as an accomplished man. He promised to come back and asked her to wait, but as the trope goes, this takes longer than expected. He comes back only to find Daisy married to another man, to both their despair.
* Not exactly played straight in ''Film/TheNotebook''. Noah remains smitten with Allie all through the war he was sent to, doesn't engage with anyone, and goes back to the United States still having her in mind, only to find her engaged to another man.

* OlderThanFeudalism: Both Odysseus's wife Penelope and his dog Argos do this in ''Literature/TheOdyssey'', although unusually for this trope, Odysseus actually does come back in the end. It's worth noting that they waited ''twenty years'', and Penelope was besieged by over ''[[UnwantedHarem a hundred]]'' suitors. Argos dies after Odysseus [[ShooTheDog refuses to approach him]], [[TearJerker because that would blow his disguise]]. Fortunately, Penelope lives.
** As it turns out, Odysseus arrives just in time. Before he left to go to the Trojan War, he told Penelope to wait until their son Telemachus came of age and into his inheritance as the new king of Ithaca and that she should then marry the best husband she could find. At the beginning of the Odyssey Telemachus declares that he is old enough to become head of the household and ruler of the kingdom in his mother's stead.
* In the Mexican short story ''La piedra y el rio'', a woman waits for her husband (who went off to try to start a life in America) in one place for so long that her body turns to stones and water.
* At the end of the Charlotte Bronte novel Villette, the protagonist Lucy Snowe is waiting for the man she loves to come back to her. He has set up a school for her and a place for her to live all so she can continue to wait for him to come back. The book abruptly ends as [[spoiler: the first person narration makes it fairly clear that his ship sank when he was on his way back]].
* In part of the backstory to ''Literature/TheFionavarTapestry'', a wood nymph marries a human mage. He then sets off across the sea to seek out a fable. She goes into a high tower on the shore to wait for him to return. And wait. And wait. And wait. Eventually she sees a ghost ship passing carrying his spirit, realizes he is dead, and throws herself off the tower to drown in despair.
* Creator/LMMontgomery really liked this one and featured it in several stories, usually with a man coming back to meet a woman he knew years ago and finding her still there. The story just about always had a happy ending. Most notable example: in one of the later ''Literature/AnneOfGreenGables'' books, Anne's oldest son, Jem, leaves to fight in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, and his dog waits at the train station and meets every train just in case Jem is on it. In the end, he does come back.
** In the same book, Rilla Blythe waits for her childhood sweetheart to come back. It's a striking example because of her young age: she was only about 14 when the war began; by the time the book ends, she's an adult.
* Parodied in Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/MovingPictures'', in a send-up of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greyfriars_Bobby Greyfriars Bobby]]: Gaspode the talking dog is named (so he says) after the famous Gaspode, who kept sitting at his owner's grave and howling until he died. As Gaspode said, any dog would do that if his tail was caught under the damn headstone.
** Also parodied in ''Reaper Man'', where Miss Flitworth tells [[TheGrimReaper Bill Door]] that after the death of her fiance, she'd thought to herself "What life expects me to do now is moon around the place in the wedding dress for years and go completely doolally", and [[ScrewDestiny just to spite]] [[TheoryOfNarrativeCausality narrative convention]], she instead buckled down and got on with her life. Intriguingly, [[spoiler:when she dies near the end, Death brings her to where her fiance died so they can move on together. Then, "getting on with her life" had not included "finding someone else."]]
*** Miss Flitworth's comment is a reference to Miss Haversham in Dickens' ''Literature/GreatExpectations''.
** The Discworld novel ''{{Discworld/Eric}}'' mocks the tale of Argos, saying what killed the dog was holding his master's slippers in his mouth for twenty years nonstop.
* ''Literature/HeartOfDarkness'': Kurtz's Intended. Presented as pathetic, because she has deluded herself about Kurtz to the point that she's barely functional as an independent person. Even after Kurtz is dead, she begs to know his last words, "to live by," implying that she intends to stay in mourning for the rest of her life.
* Herman Melville apparently once wrote a manuscript that told the story of a woman who waited years for the return of her sailor husband after he disappeared at sea. Meanwhile, he'd gone off and started another family elsewhere. The manuscript was never published and is now lost, but records of it exist in Melville's letters to Nathaniel Hawthorne.
* This is a major plot point in ''Literature/TheTimeTravelersWife''. Clare spends most of her childhood and teens waiting to her next meeting with Henry. Even [[spoiler:after Henry dies, Clare keeps waiting for nearly 50 years to meet him one last time]].
* In ''[[Creator/DouglasCoupland Girlfriend In A Coma]]'', Richard continues to visit Karen for ''seventeen years'' after she goes into a coma, never once even considering breaking off the relationship.
* In Joe Haldeman's ''Literature/TheForeverWar'', William and Marygay, who have stuck with each other through firefights, injuries, and the loss of everyone and everything they've ever known, are separated by being given different military assignments. The death toll in the war is horribly high, and TimeDilation caused by near-lightspeed travel means they can never expect to see each other again. William mourns for her as if she's dead, but doesn't take up with anyone else because in the future that he's been thrust into by the time dilation, everyone else is gay. Marygay, on the other hand, leaves a note for him to find if he survives, assuring him that she will wait forever, tells him where she's going, and [[spoiler: buys a ship which spends the next two hundred years going backwards and forwards at near-lightspeed, stopping every five years, during which time she has aged about a month... leaving her still in her late twenties when William, aged thirtysomething, catches up with her. Now that's an optimistic lady!]]
* In the ChivalricRomance ''Floris And Blanchefleur'', the lovers are forcibly separated to prevent a mesalliance. Neither of them are be shaken by that -- even when Floris believes that she is dead.
* In the {{Chivalric Romance}}s ''King Horn'', ''Beves of Hampton'', and ''Guy of Warwick'', the heroes all win the hand of a princess by their feats. Unfortunately, Horn is in exile from the court of his true love because of [[MaliciousSlander a false accusation]], and Beves and Guy are both seeking to win renown so that the princess he is in love with will find him worthy, despite his low birth. All of them wriggle out of the marriage and (in due time) win their first loves.
* ''Literature/{{Persuasion}}'' by Creator/JaneAusten. Mildly subverted in that Anne was persuaded to break up the engagement. Nevertheless she waits for him, and gives an impassioned speech pointing out that women will love longer than men when all hope is gone. The hero overhears and does come back.
* In Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs's ''[[Literature/JohnCarterOfMars The Master Mind of Mars]]'', Dar Tarus was assasinated in order to clear the way for the rival. (Fortunately for him, his body was sold to the MadScientist and he got better.) His love, Kara, fled as soon as her father was assassinated, and returned to be reunited with him.
* In Jan Guillou's ''Knight Templar'' series Cecilia patiently waits for Arn for more than twenty years while he's off making penance as a knight templar. Slightly subverted since she too has been sentenced to make penance and spends twenty years at a convent, but it kicks in for real once she's done her time and has to wait to see if he will ever return home.
* Worked out pretty easily and straightforwardly in ''Literature/TheDeathOfTheVazirMukhtar'' (also combined with JailBaitWait, at least presumably).
* In Creator/SidneySheldon's ''The Other Side of Midnight'', Larry Douglas promises to return to poor, sweet Noelle Page when he has to return to his pilot duties -- he leaves her an apartment and some money, encourages her to buy a wedding dress and even gives her a time and place for their reunion. When he doesn't show up, she continues to wait as weeks pass and she learns she's pregnant with his child. She finally tracks down his whereabouts...it turns out he's seeing other women now and never intended to return. She vows that she will exact horrible, horrible {{Revenge}} on him, starting with how she handles the matter of the pregnancy, and this drives the remainder of the novel.
* Played heartbreakingly straight in the ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' short story "Love and Ale" with the in-universe poem "The Song of Elen Waiting" in which the eponymous singer laments that her love went off to war, but she still waits for him as her friends grow up and fall in love and have children and grow old while she waits for her love until she dies old and alone.
* Deliberately induced in the Franchise/SherlockHolmes story ''A Case of Identity''. The client's stepfather courts the client under an assumed identity, then has that persona disappear on their wedding day. Because of this, the man knows his stepdaughter will wait for years for her beloved to return before she will consider accepting another suitor, during which time he can continue to supplement his income with his stepdaughter's trust fund dividends.
* One of Gustavo Adolfo Becquer's "Legends", "The Promise", has a both heartbreaking and creepy version of this. A count seduces a farm girl named Margarita right before going to war, hiding his social standing to her and giving her a ring as a proof of love and future marriage... [[spoiler: When he returns, he's confronted by a local singer who sings a song about a girl who was first seduced by a powerful man and then killed by her irate older brother, and whose ringed hand simply can't be buried under Earth since he promised to marry her before leaving. That woman is, of course, poor Margarita, who is still waiting for him ''even after dying''. The Count accepts to "marry" Margarita's hand to fulfill the promise, and once this is done her hand quietly slides under Earth so she can rest in peace.]]
* In ''Sarum'', Peter Shockley and his childhood sweetheart Alicia Le Portier have a teenage quarrel, which breaks them up. She weds an older knight at the request of her parents, then returns to Sarum after her husband dies in battle, to discover that Peter (although he's had girlfriends) has remained unmarried for twenty years, unable to feel real affection for any woman but her. Unusual in that it's the ''male'' partner who'd been waiting.
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'', though it's just best friends and not a romantic example, Firestar and Graystripe do this. In the [[ExpandedUniverse Super Edition]] ''Firestar's Quest'', Firestar goes away on a quest that leads him far out of the forest, leaving the Clan in Graystripe's care. Graystripe promises "I'll wait for you as long as it takes." Firestar, of course, makes it back safely. In the second series, when [[spoiler:Graystripe is captured by Twolegs]] and the Clans leave the forest for good to find a new home, Firestar refuses to give up hope that Graystripe will return, leaving the deputy position open, even though most of the cats believe that Graystripe is dead. He even cites Graystripe's waiting for him as a reason why he should continue to wait. [[spoiler:Eventually, several moons later, pressure from many other cats and the need for a deputy forces him to accept that Graystripe probably won't come back, and he appoints Brambleclaw as a deputy. Over half a year later, Graystripe finally finds his way to the Clan.]]
** This is the very line Half-Moon says as the last sentence in ''Sign Of The Moon'' to [[spoiler:Jayfeather.]]
** [[spoiler:Silverstream's]] spirit says this word from word to [[spoiler:Graystripe]]in[[spoiler:The Last Hope.]]
** [[spoiler:[[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] with Firestar and Spottedleaf. After Spottedleaf dies, she promises that she will wait for Firestar in [=StarClan=], but she is [[CessationOfExistence killed again]] just a while before Firestar dies.]]
* In ''Literature/CountAndCountess'', Vlad Dracula and Elizabeth Bathory are able to send letters to one another despite living more than a century apart in time. They fall in love via this correspondence (though by no means a wholesome love) and Vlad becomes determined to circumvent mortality, no matter how many years he has to wait before he can finally see Elizabeth face to face. Elizabeth is more realistic about the matter and advises him not to hold his breath.
* ''Literature/HerFathersDaughter'': Donald's mother bluntly informs him not to ask Linda to marry him because he would require this trope, which isn't fair.
-->''That is the reason I am suggesting that you think about these things seriously and question yourself as to whether you would be doing the fair thing by Linda if you tried to tie her up in an arrangement that would ask her to wait six or eight years yet before you would be ready.''
* Creator/LewisCarroll's poem "Far Away" from his novel ''Literature/SylvieAndBruno'' is about a girl who initially fears that her lover has forgotten about her while he is away at sea, but realizes that he still loves her when he briefly returns. The last stanza is a prime example of this trope:
-->''"Though waters wide between us glide,\\
Our lives are warm and near:\\
No distance parts two faithful hearts--\\
Two hearts that love so dear:\\
And I will trust my sailor-lad,\\
For ever and a day,\\
To think of me--to think of me--\\
When he is far away!"''
* In Creator/JohnCWright's ''Literature/TheHermeticMillennia'', this is Menelaus's motivation to sleep through the millennia until Rania returns. He hates being woken because every time ages him.
* In Creator/StephanieBurgis's ''[[Literature/KatIncorrigible A Tangle of Magicks ]]'', Angeline promises this, thus annoying the mother who had insisted on the ParentalMarriageVeto.
* In the Creator/GabrielGarciaMarquez novel ''Literature/LoveInTheTimeOfCholera'', Florentino is rejected by Fermina Daza, who instead marries wealthy Doctor Juvenal. He waits for her. For fifty years.
* In ''Faithful Jenny Dove'' The titular Jenny promises to wait for her lover, naturally he dies and she wastes away herself but keeps on waiting as a ghost. Things get complicated when Jenny falls for another local ghost, a young gentleman who is doomed to walk until he meets a faithful woman. Eek. Then her true love comes home alive and blows Jenny's cover. To keep her dead love she has to somehow make her grieving living lover betray her....

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/SoWeird'': "Widow's Walk" features an old woman who has waited decades for her husband, lost at sea, to return. She learns an important life lesson about something or other, then goes right back to waiting. The ghost of her husband seems to approve of this.
* On ''Series/{{Lost}}'', a MentalTimeTravel -ing Desmond asks [[MeaningfulName Penny]], who he has broken up with in 1996, to wait for a phone call on Christmas Day, 2004, and not change her phone number or move apartments in that timespan so he can still reach her. The ensuing call is the show's most triumphant CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming.
* ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'':
** Damon will wait for Elena because [[spoiler: of the sleeping curse that she was put under by Kai until Bonnie dies. When she wakes up, Damon plans on taking the cure and living a normal human life with Elena.]]
** Klaus intends on being Caroline's last love and will wait for her.
* ''Series/{{Merlin|2008}}'':
** In the episode "Queen of Hearts", Guinevere (who is only a servant girl in this version) promises to wait for Arthur to become king so that he can change the customs that keep them apart and finally let them be together.
** The series finale [[spoiler: has Merlin -- now a genuinely old man -- waiting in the present day for Arthur to return. [[HeterosexualLifePartners It's a platonic version]]... [[HoYay maybe]].]]
* In ''Series/RobinHood'', the titular character is intrigued when he comes back from five years fighting abroad to discover that Maid Marian is still unmarried - not that ''she's'' going to admit that ''he'' has [[SlapSlapKiss anything to do with that]].
** During Marian and Robin's [[spoiler:TogetherInDeath]] scene, Marian tells Robin: "I have waited for you."
* Used occasionally on ''Series/DoctorWho''.
** Sarah Jane tells the Doctor rather reproachfully that she waited for him in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E3SchoolReunion "School Reunion"]]. [[spoiler:[[WhatTheHellHero He had actually had no intention of coming back.]]]]
** Likewise, [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E4TheGirlInTheFireplace Madame de Pompadour]] waited the rest of her life to see the Doctor again. [[spoiler:[[TearJerker Unfortunately, she died of illness before he was able to come back.]]]]
** Rose Tyler after [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E13Doomsday "Doomsday"]]. [[spoiler:She also built a dimension cannon.]]
** Captain Jack, who waits around in Cardiff for a hundred-odd years for the Doctor to come back.
** Jackie Tyler, who, a year after her daughter's disappearance, still had stacks of missing posters on her kitchen table.
** In the fifth season finale [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E13TheBigBang "The Big Bang"]], Rory (possessing the body of an Auton) waited nearly two thousand years beside the Pandorica while Amy healed within it. Even the Doctor was impressed. "Rory Williams. The boy who waited."
* Anna to Mr Bates in ''Series/DowntonAbbey''. She points out after [[spoiler:they get married at long last]] that, "We've waited long enough to be together, you and I." Also, Branson to Sybil.
* A variant in ''Series/OneBigHappy''. Kate and Lizzy go on a date before finding out that the latter is the former's nurse, which means that they'd be violating protocol if they continued. Kate suggests that she'll try to wait for Lizzy's pregnancy to finish so that they can try going out again.
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest''. As he's about to depart overseas on a mission, Reese discovers his former LoveInterest Jessica has gotten engaged, but she says that if Reese asks her, she will wait for him instead of getting married. [[IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy Reese turns down the offer]] and regrets it bitterly when she's murdered by her abusive husband.
* ''Series/StrangerThings'': In season 2, this is a point of contention between Nancy and Johnathan. After the events of the first season, they had grown close, but Johnathan needed to focus on helping his brother through his trauma. Nancy was willing to wait for him... but after a month she decided that he was going to need more time than she could give, and got back together with her ex-boyfriend Steve. Note that season 2 takes place a full year after season 1 and Johnathan is still consumed with caring for his brother, so Nancy had a point.
-->'''Nancy:''' I waited for you.\\
'''Johnathan:''' You didn't wait very long.

* "Girl I Wait" and "The Other Side" by Music/BrunoMars.
* *VOiCE is a pretty upbeat Music/{{Vocaloid}} song about a robot and his undying loyalty to his master (played by Hatsune Miku) who was taken away from him because of a war. Even till his last breath, he still protects his master's house, hoping to see her one more time.
* Connie Francis' Song, Circa 1965. Quite literally titled I will wait for you. This version was used in the described ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode.
* The Alaskan folk song ''Susitna'' is another one where the waiting woman turns to stone.
* The song ''Naturaleza Muerta'' by the Spanish band Mecano, later covered by Sarah Brightman (lyrics can be found [[http://www.xs4all.nl/~josvg/cits/sb/sb409.html here]]).
* La Oreja de Van Gogh's song ''La Playa'' is about an isolated boy living in a beach house that fells in love with a girl, but it's just a summer love for said girl. The boys promises to always wait for her, but the girl never comes. In the end, the boy is already an old man and he is still waiting.
* Mana's song ''El Muelle de San Blas'' is about a woman who waited for her sailor boyfriend in the titular dock, still with the same dress, presumably until her death. [[http://www.letrascanciones.org/mana/luna/en-el-muelle-de-san-blas.php?l=en The Lyrics]].
* Music/TheDecemberists' folk-inspired ballad ''From My Own True Love, Lost at Sea'' starts out: "Fourscore years / Living down in this rain swept town / Sea salt tears / Swimming round as the rain comes down / Mr Postman, do you have a letter for me? ... From my own true love / Lost at sea"...
** Also "Yankee Bayonet". "Look for me when the sun-bright swallow sings upon the birch-bough high" / "But you are in the ground with the wolves and the weevils all a-chew on your bones so dry ..."
* ''A Fair Maid Walking'', an Irish folk song.
* ''Dear Friend'' by Music/CharliePeacock, where the bride has been waiting for many years for her groom to return, and people around her laugh at her for it. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi2kzSCC44E Video]]
* The rock opera ''She'' (based on the novel of the same name). The titular character, seeing her lover fall for another woman, kills him in a fit of rage and jealousy. After realising what she has done, she nearly commits suicide - until learning of a magical fire that can grant her eternal life, which she uses to wait for him to return, reincarnated. Two thousand years later, he arrives in the form of an English explorer. [[spoiler: In the end, when She dies by bathing in the magical flame a second time, her reincarnated lover decides that it is his turn to wait, and bathes in the flames to become immortal and wait for her to return...]]
-->Wait for me\\
I shall return again for you, Kallicrates\\
More beautiful than ever I shall live again \\
To walk upon the earth and be your queen again, forever \\
Do not fall beneath the passing years \\
Wait beyond eternity for me...
* Music/ScissorSisters' Other Side is about waiting for someone [[TogetherInDeath from beyond the veil]]:
-->[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIFU8rfF7_c If it takes another life\\
I'll wait for you\\
On the other side...]]
* "In The Hills of Shiloh" is a haunting ballad of a woman waiting in her bridal gown for her beloved to return to her, running up and down the hills, written by Creator/ShelSilverstein.
* Music/InsaneClownPosse's "Under the Moon" subverts this: the girl promised the song's character (when he went to prison for killing her attempted rapist) that she would wait for him. He knows she made herself into a liar. He is not happy.
* The old folk song "John Riley" is the very embodiment of this trope. In it, a young woman is questioned by a prospective suitor. She refuses him, because she's betrothed to the titular man, who sailed away some years previously. He persists, asking what she'll do if her fiancee has died in battle, drowned, etc. She answers that she'll mourn him and remain true to his memory. She persists in this line of reasoning, even when he suggests that her fiancee may have married someone else. After this, he reveals himself to be John Riley, having been satisfied of her fidelity. [[spoiler: Jerk.]]
** The Atlantic Canadian folk song "Dark-Eyed Sailor" has the same setup.
** So does the Scottish song, ''The Lass of Glencoe.''
** There's another version of ''John Riley'' where it turns out, after the man and woman have spent the night together, that he isn't really John Riley after all. [[FridgeLogic Which explains why she didn't recognize him.]] (The standard version goes with the old reliable NoDoubtTheYearsHaveChangedMe).
*** "Dark-Eyed Sailor", where the sailor reveals himself by showing the maiden his half of a ring they split before he left, is one of an entire subgenre of folksongs called Broken Token ballads, which all have [[RecycledPremise the same plot]]. At least one version of "John Riley" adds this element as well.
* Frederic from ''Theatre/ThePiratesOfPenzance'' forces his girlfriend to add the line "and ever after" in a successful pitch to avoid AbsenceMakesTheHeartGoYonder.
** Even without that clause he's still asking a lot. Since he was born on [[LeapDay the 29th of February]], he won't ''[[ReadTheFinePrint technically]]'' be of age until he's 84. As Mabel notes " It seems so long".
* The Harry Chapin song "Corey's Coming" is very much about this. Of course, there's a bit question about whether or not Corey even exists. Naturally, due to the singer, it's an extreme TearJerker.
* Richard Marx's "Right Here Waiting For You". It's ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. "Wherever you go, Whatever you do, I will be right here waiting for you. Whatever it takes, Or how my heart breaks, I will be right here waiting for you."
* All of the events in the rock Opera The Who's Tommy are set in motion when Tommy's father returns from war to find his wife ''didn't'' in fact wait for him.
* Conway Twitty's "Don't Cry Joni", which ends with [[YouHaveWaitedLongEnough Joni not waiting for]] [[AbsenceMakesTheHeartGoYonder the narrator to return]].
* The Oak Ridge Boy's "I''l Be True to You" plays with this. The singer's girl promises him she'll be faithful, but he doesn't and after meeting her again with him only saying goodbye, where she starts DrowningHerSorrows. The singer finally promises this after she dies.
* In the song "Penelope", the protagonist goes to train station everyday to wait for her beloved. She gets old and finally the guy comes and thanks her for being so faithful and that his wait is over, she only looks at him and says "No you don't look like he use to look (of course not, he is old now) you aren't him! and goes on waiting. (Gee, if the guy was alive all this time... couldn't he write or something?) The song is also in spanish, notice a pattern here?
* Although the promise is never made, "Travelin' Soldier" by the Dixie Chicks hardily applied this trope. He meets her the day he's shipped off for the military, ends up sending her letters. She breaks down crying when she hears his name on a list of Vietnam dead at a high school game.
* The Music/{{Vocaloid}} song "[[http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm8719573 Machibito Umi]]" (roughly "Waiting Person, Ocean") is about... well, with a title like that, what do you think?
* Subverted in the Music/GreatBigSea song ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63fwojdvwn8 Dream to Live]]''. First, its told from the guy's perspective, who tried to make his fortune in Boston. Second, he hopes desperately that she is still waiting for him... until she lets him down in the letter. He ends up moving on and starting a family of his own, but is left wondering "what if".
** The folk song "Youth of the Heart" deals with a similar situation. The narrator spent years saving up enough money to support his sweetheart as he felt she deserved then went home only to discover that she'd gotten fed up with waiting and married another, poorer man that very morning.
* Joe Nichols, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu6HyN-OoDQ&playnext_from=TL&videos=DA2IGSuErAM I'll Wait For You]]
* The Gordon Lightfoot song "Bitter Green" is about a woman waiting patiently for the return of her lover, who has been missing for quite some time for reasons the singer is uncertain of. In the final verse, the man does return, only to find her grave.
* Nastily subverted in the folk song "House Carpenter" (aka "The Demon Lover"). A woman promises to wait for her love, but when he comes back after seven years at sea, she's married with two kids. He convinces her to abscond with him (he's rich now), but after a few weeks of sailing her darling turns into a demon and sinks the ship. They both go to hell.
* Music/{{Kamelot}}'s ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFKF4ghwrUc 'A Sailorman's Hymn'.]]''
* Music/{{Voltaire}}'s ''To the Bottom of the Sea'' is a concept album set at the turn of the industrial revolution. One song has a man going off to sea to become a merchant trading in imported goods, and his wife waiting for him. Other songs imply he has had other partners while at sea, but that she is his true love, in a kind of "that was just sex, you own my heart" kind of way.
* "Penelope's Song" by Music/LoreenaMcKennitt, inspired by ''Literature/TheOdyssey'' (see below under Mythology).
* Averted in Music/TheMagneticFields' folk pastiche "Abigail, Belle of Kilronan" where the soldier specifically asks the girl to [[IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy not do this]].
* Mumford & Sons "I Will Wait", obviously.
* Music/{{AFI}}'s [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8yk7Dx35o4 'Endlessly, She Said']] embodies this. The closing song to a ConceptAlbum about isolation, it presents the idea of waiting as a misery-filled experience.
* Music/TheBeatles' "Wait" and "Blue Jay Way".
* Music/BobMarley: "Waiting In Vain", about a man waiting for his lover's love.
* Said word for word in Steve Winwood's "Higher Love."
* Music/{{Love}}'s "Alone Again Or" from ''Music/ForeverChanges'' is kind of ambiguous on the matter?
''Said it's alright''\\
''I won't forget''\\
''All the times I've waited patiently for you''\\
''And you'll do just what you used to do''\\
''And I will be alone again tonight, my dear.''
* Jairo's song "La Balada de Comicbook/CortoMaltese" (''The Ballad of Corto Maltese'') has someone waiting for the titular AntiHero in Argentina. [[spoiler: It's Corto's illegitimate son: Corto himself left the boy's mother (a local FemmeFatale and delinquent queen) to continue with his adventures, and she didn't tell him he had knocked her up. The poor kid is aware of his parentage and goes every day to the local harbor, hoping his father will appear some day.]]
* The Scottish (probably) traditional song "The Lowlands of Holland" is sung by a woman whose lover is over the ocean (conscripted in some versions) and drowns on the third attempt to get back. Her father tells her there's plenty more fish in the sea, but she'll have none of it:
-->''There shall ne'er quaff[[labelnote:*]]coif[[/labelnote]] come on my heid nor caem come in my hair'',\\
''There shall ne'er coal nor cannelight shine in my bower mair,''\\
''Nor will I love another man until the day I dee,''\\
''For I never had a love but yin and he's drooned in the sea.''
* ''Music/GordonLightfoot'''s Bitter Green, about a woman who waited for her lover her whole life. He turns up the day after she dies.

[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* Myth/IrishMythology: One version of the legend of Finn [=MacCool=] features his loyal dog being told to wait for him and doing so for so long that he (the dog, that is) nearly starves.
* There's quite a few examples in Japanese folktales with a creepy variation. The unfaithful husband leaves, and the wife pledges to wait forever, then dies after a few years. The husband returns and finds everything the same... but wakes up the next morning to find a skeleton in the bed.
* Interesting exception: According to Plutarch, King Leonidas told his wife before he left to fight the Battle of Thermopylae that she should "[[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming marry a good man that will treat you well, bear him children, and live a good life.]]"
* The Greek story of Clytie is a notable variation: Clytie loved Helios, the sun god, but he did not return her affection, though fully aware of it. No one else made her feel the way he did, so [[UnrequitedTragicMaiden she spent the rest of her life waiting under a tree for him to descend to her.]] He never came, and she eventually turned into a heliotrope flower, turning her face to him at all times. Depressingly, [[TruthInTelevision this story is a metaphor for a common real-life occurrence]].
* In the ''Literature/{{Ramayana}}'', Rama's brother Laxman's wife waits for him in Ayodhya. Rama's wife Sita waits for Rama to rescue her from Demon King Ravana.
* There's a big rock above Shatin in the New Territories of Hong Kong called Amah Rock which is supposed to be such a woman. Either she's grown since petrification or she was a giantess, it's about twenty feet tall. It has a silhouette resembling a woman with a baby on her back. [[FridgeLogic How come the baby didn't grow up during the wait?]]

* Julia in ''Theatre/TwoGentlemenOfVerona'', to Proteus. Until she gets sick of waiting, [[SweetPollyOliver disguises herself as a boy]], and goes after him.
* Penelope in ''Theatre/TheGoldenApple'', much as in ''Literature/TheOdyssey'' except her waiting period is reduced to ten years.
* Creator/WilliamShakespeare [[JustForFun/ZerothLaw did it too]], at the end of ''Theatre/LovesLaboursLost''. After [[spoiler:the King of France dies]] the Princess and her ladies-in-waiting make their respective suitors promise to wait a year and a day for them [[spoiler: so they can mourn properly (and probably get the kingdom back in order too.)]] It isn't addressed whether or not they actually do wait for them, though.
* ''Theatre/PeerGynt'' has Solveig sing, "Though winter may pass, and spring after that, and the next summer also and then year after year; I will hold you, I will keep watch, and I will wait for you." She does eventually succeed, but not until after many, many years, during which the titular protagonist presumably didn't bother at all and certainly didn't shy away from the other women.
* Bizarre version in Arthur Miller's ''Theatre/AllMySons'': son went missing in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and is probably dead. His mother assumes that the fact that his fiancee, Ann, hasn't married somebody else means she's waiting for him and uses this to validate her belief that he's alive. In fact, the fiancee is waiting for his brother to own up to his affection for her. The mother is furious that she's not waiting for her (probably dead) son, until Ann shows her a letter showing that [[spoiler:he committed suicide]].
* A variation occurs in ''Theatre/ThePiratesOfPenzance''. When Frederic tells Mabel that a loophole in the terms of his apprenticeship might cause it to last ''sixty years'', she ''still'' pledges to wait for him until then. [[spoiler:(Thankfully, the condition is annulled in the end, and they are reunited.)]]
* In Creator/FedericoGarciaLorca's 1930s play ''Rosita the Spinster'' ("Doña Rosita la Soltera"), the titular Rosita is waiting for her fiancée who went to America to seek his fortune, for what's implied to be more than 20 years. Subverted when at the end of the piece it is revealed that the fiancée married in America long time ago, and Rosita was the only one who still didn't know. Since he didn't bother to cancel his commitment to Rosita, she is now too old to find ''any'' prospect, and the waiting has left her too tired to even protest, only lament over her lost years and opportunities.

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* ''Ride/TheHauntedMansion'' ride at [[Ride/DisneyThemeParks Disneyland]] was originally based on this trope: in an old house built on an Indian graveyard, a bride sits in the attic, watching the window. Her beloved was killed in a war years before, but even when she died of heartbreak, she still walked the house, and her wails summoned all the restless spirits for miles around. Now she's been relegated to the small, veiled figure at the very end of the tour, heart still beating, whispering "Hurry back... hurry back..."
** In 2006, the ride was revamped to give the Bride back her focus, although now she's a "Black Widow" who married several men and murdered them all for money.
** The Disneyland Paris version, Phantom Manor, pretty much makes the Bride's story the entire focus. When her father finds out that her groom plans to take her away from the town, he is instantly against it. An earthquake occurs and in the chaos, the father dies, though he murders the groom from beyond the grave and continues to haunt his daughter until her death.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/Left4Dead2'', You encounter a wedding procession of infected in ''The Passing''. The groom is missing (most likely he never made it due to the pandemic), but the bride (now a Witch) and the rest of the people attending the ceremony still patiently wait for him to arrive.
* Celes plays the waiting woman in the famous opera scene of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', right down to the [[WomanInWhite white dress]] (not tattered, though).
* Both Millenia and Elena from ''VideoGame/GrandiaII'' [[spoiler:at the end]] are shown waiting for Ryudo to return to them.
* In ''[[VideoGame/LegendOfLegaia Legaia II: Duel Saga]]'', Maya and Sharon are shown [[spoiler: at the end]] to be waiting for Lang, as he goes off on more adventures.
* Ciel, at the end of ''VideoGame/MegaManZero 4'', still believes that Zero is out there somewhere and that she needs to help the world for him. ''Freesia'', the slow "I miss you" vocal version of the game's theme, plays over the ending credits, presumably expressing the thoughts of Ciel herself (especially as Creator/RieTanaka [[DoItYourselfThemeTune is the singer]]). After the credits, [[spoiler:we see [[DeadHatShot Zero's shattered helmet lying in the ruins of Ragnarok.]]]]
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia'', Klarth's assistant Mirald promises to wait as long as necessary for his return. Up until that point it had been implied that he wasn't fully aware she loved him (or even that he loved her, depending on how you interpret the character). Made all the more poignant because [[spoiler: he learns this in a vision after the party has traveled to the future to confront the BigBad. Meaning that in this timeline, she is long dead, having presumably waited her whole life for him.]] If you beat the game, he does indeed return. In a different variant, Arche makes this promise [[spoiler: to Chester, when she returns to the past. Particularly unfair, as she has to wait a hundred years to see him again, but since time travel is involved, he only has to wait until she shows up looking for him, or until he finds her.]]
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss:'' "Come home! You have to come home... you have to! I'll be waiting... always..." [[spoiler: Tear to Luke at the end just before he DisappearsIntoLight.]] The GainaxEnding leaves in question whether or not [[spoiler: it is Luke who returned.]]
* Deconstructed in ''VideoGame/TalesOfGraces''. After seven years of waiting for Asbel after the prologue, Cheria is... rather bitter by the time the main game starts. Asbel being ObliviousToLove doesn't help [[spoiler: though once they get around to talking it works out.]]
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfZestiria'' has Mikleo waiting for Sorey after the final battle for a very long time. [[spoiler:After several hundred years of waiting, Sorey does end up returning back to Mikleo.]]
* In ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'', the Nameless One has this effect on his love interests.
** "Time is not your enemy. Forever is."
** "I shall wait for you in death's halls, my love."
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' has Koromaru, who went for walks at Naginaki Shrine after his master died. Eventually, he moves into the dorm with S.E.E.S. but the player can still take him on walks there.
* In ''VideoGame/RomancingSaGa'', this happens at the end of one hero's scenario: [[spoiler: Farah is shown arguing with [[YouHaveWaitedLongEnough her mother]] over her decision to wait for Jamil to return from the final battle. Thankfully, it's implied that she didn't have to wait ''too'' long.]]
* Kairi was going to do this for Sora in KingdomHearts, but the events of Chain of Memories made her forget who Sora is for most of the year he was gone. It happened when she regained her memories of him, though.
* A variation of this is used in ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou''. [[spoiler:Shiki (having been allowed to come back to life) promises to wait everyday for Neku by Hachiko until he comes back, and holding Mr. Mew so that he'll regocnise her. Shiki never gets to do this though, because she's then (unknowingly to her) made Neku's entry fee for the next week.]]
* In ''KnightsOfTheOldRepublic II'', for three of the four possible choices for the first game's ending (Light Side PC or Dark Side male PC), it's established that the first game's PC left their LoveInterest behind when they left. With either Light Side choice, a scene near the end shows that the LoveInterest is waiting for any news of the PC's return. For the Dark Side male, Bastila got tired of waiting and went off to find him.
** This Troper plays a LS Female Revan, and got tears in her eyes during that scene. Raphael Sbarge totally earned his paycheck.
** Also, the Exile in KnightsOfTheOldRepublic 2 goes off to find Revan at the end, leaving his/her love interest behind, and it is established that Atton, [[spoiler:Mical]] the Disciple, Visas, or [[spoiler:Brianna]] the Handmaiden stay behind and wait for the Exile to return.
* ''VideoGame/GhostTrick'':
** [[spoiler: In the new timeline, when Yomiel isn't killed by the Temsik meteorite, Sissel (the fiancee, not the cat) waits ten years for him to get out of jail.]]
** And then there's the amazing [[spoiler: UsefulNotes/{{Hachiko}} Missile/Ray pulls, waiting ''ten years'' just for a chance at convincing Sissel (the cat, not the fiancee) to rescue his mistress, while dead. If that's not a Crowning Moment of UndyingLoyalty, what is?]]
* Aribeth's dialogue near the end of VideoGame/NeverwinterNights if you saved her when you talk to her before going down to face Morag.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'', pretty much every age-appropriate girl Link meets promises this by the time he leaves them, except Malon. But that might have been because she thought he was a [[{{Pun}} fairy boy]].
** Also used in the ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleGames Oracle of Ages]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleGames Oracle of Seasons]]''. That horrible tower Ambi was building in ''Ages'' was originally planned so she'd have a place to wait for her lover, who's out at sea somewhere. The skeleton captain in ''Seasons'' is frantically searching for a bell given to him by his girlfriend, "the queen of some country". Eventually the two of them do meet each other again if you play a linked game between both versions. They happily thank Link for reuniting the two of them.
*** Also in ''Oracle of Ages'', the Maku Tree is saved by Link when she is only a small shrub of a tree and she falls madly in love with him. She declares to Link that one day she will marry him. Thanks to time travel Link arrives 400 years later to when she is a full grown tree and she tells Link that she had waited all these centuries for him to return. Throughout the story she still gushes over him but realizes there isn't time for a relationship given his quest to save Queen Ambi and stop Veran, though she expresses hope that one day the two of them can get together. The statue that Ambi dedicates to Link even gets built right next to the Maku Tree.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess Twilight Princess]]'': Said verbatim by Link's [[ChildhoodFriends childhood friend]]/[[ImpliedLoveInterest implied love interest]], [[DoesNotLikeShoes Ilia]], at the conclusion of the [[SidequestSideStory sidequest]] to restore her memories. After Cor Goron and the others have [[LeaveTheTwoLovebirdsAlone given them their privacy]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4UYayCJM5U that is.]]
** There are hints of this in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild''. [[spoiler:When Link ends up OnlyMostlyDead in battle against corrupted Guardians, Zelda, who by this point has fallen in love with the chosen wielder of the Master Sword and her appointed bodyguard, has him put in the [[HealingVat Shrine of Resurrection]] to heal over the course of a century so he can once again battle Calamity Ganon. Meanwhile, she uses her sealing magic to trap Ganon in Hyrule Castle to buy Link that time. It's downplayed because both of them were in physical and mental stasis (though Zelda was sporadically conscious so she could fight Ganon and check on Link) the whole time, so the wait didn't ''feel'' quite as long to either. There's also [[ChildhoodFriendRomance Mipha]], who waited a century for Link to free her spirit from Divine Beast Vah Ruta.]]
* In ''VideoGame/RadiantHistoria'', [[spoiler: the TrueCompanions express this to Stocke, before he prepares to sacrifice himself. The TearJerker part is his love interest Raynie, who wished to give up fighting to elope with him, but instead accepted his promise to settle down after SavingTheWorld. However the GoldenEnding implies HesBack.]]
* In ''VideoGame/PuyoPuyo'', part of Oshare Bones' backstory is this. Before he died, he had a significant other who suddenly disappeared one day. He continues to wait for his lover even in undeath, and in ''Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary'', he makes a wish that they will someday be reunited. The wish is technically granted, but due to a slip-up with how Oshare words his wish, he has no idea when that day will come.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'', where Polly waits faithfully for her missing husband. But she doesn't get him back until she joins your crew and goes ''looking'' for him.
* ''VideoGame/ArTonelico2'' has an interesting variant. Croix makes what amounts to a ChildhoodMarriagePromise with Luca who agrees to wait until he's a full fledged knight and he comes to take her to Pastalia. However [[spoiler: if the player chooses the default ending, Croix says ''he'' will wait for Coccona to return from her journey to the third tower.]]
* In the Sacred Weapons (Kyo, Chizuru, Iori) Team in ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters 97'', [[spoiler: as the three work together to re-seal Orochi, Kyo has a vision of his girlfriend Yuki promising to wait for his return. And she does.]]
** Played differently in the KOF:KYO game. [[spoiler: Yuki ''does'' actually make the promise in canon, but more exactly as a part of her train of thoughts when she's held hostage by the New Face Team and they openly tell everyone present that Yuki is the game's BarrierMaiden. When Kyo and his group defeat the NFT, she's released and runs to him in joy.]]
* In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', [[spoiler: if you choose the "Sacrifice" ending, the Avatar [[DyingmomentOfAwesome sacrifices him/herself]] to defeat [[BigBad Grima]] and make sure he won't be revived. Every single member of the party is sure that somehow s/he survived, and they all vow to wait for his/her return. [[EarnYourHappyEnding And s/he comes back to them]].]]
* Averted in ''VideoGame/SamuraiShodown 2'', where [[spoiler: after her HeroicSacrifice, Nakoruru's spirit appears before her DoggedNiceGuy Galford and tells him ''not'' wait for her return. He complies and decides to live his life at the fullest to honor Nakoruru's wish.]]
* There is a variation of this in ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY''. [[AntiVillain AZ's]] beloved Floette left him 3,000 years ago after he created the [[DoomsdayDevice Ultimate Weapon]] to restore it to life, ending a war but killing thousands of humans and Pokémon in the process. He didn't even ''know'' the Floette was waiting for him, thinking it had left him forever. However, when the main storyline ends and he finally finds redemption, it flies to him out of the sky, a true CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming.
* The [[MultipleEndings bad endings]] in ''VideoGame/TriggerheartExelica'' has Exelica or Crueltear waiting for one or the other to come back even after one of the Triggerhearts have [[HeroicSacrifice sacrificed themselves]] in the end. Faintear [[spoiler: (the real one)]] doesn't have this kind of ending, however.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Kazuaki's ending in ''VisualNovel/HatofulBoyfriend'' has him promise to do this for the heroine. He wants to wait until she's no longer [[TeacherStudentRomance his student]], and would like to see if she's still interested when she grows up.
* The Normal ending of the ''Heaven's Feel'' scenario in the ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' game involves the invocation of this trope, when [[spoiler:Sakura promises to wait for Shirou after his HeroicSacrifice, though it eventually becomes clear that he never returns to her. The True ending has him getting an artificial body and living happily with her.]]
** This also happens in the Realta Nua UpdatedRerelease for the ''Fate'' path. [[spoiler:As Arturia (Saber) lay dying, Merlin visits her mentally and tells her that if her soul will wait forever; and if Shirou will look for her forever; [[TogetherInDeath they will meet reunited on the field of Avalon.]] [[CrowningMomentOfHeartWarming It happens]].]]
* ''VisualNovel/{{Planetarian}}'' features an android girl working at a planetarium. When her human co-workers are evacuated from the city due to the war that is going on, they tell her to wait at the planetarium for them, because they'll come back for her when the war is over. Several decades and one disastrous war that kills off most of the human population later, she's still waiting. However, [[spoiler:she knows they're not coming back]].
* In ''VisualNovel/SharinNoKuni'', the first thing the main character Kenichi learns about Natsumi is that she's doing this for ''someone''. [[spoiler:She was waiting for him. She either doesn't recognize him, or is in denial because she didn't want him to see her as the [[BreakTheCutie broken shell of a person she'd been reduced to while they were separated.]]]]
* Akiha's True End in ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}''. The maids think she's given up [[spoiler:after Shiki stabbed his own point of death]] but in truth, she has more confidence that he'll return than they do. She just sees no reason to keep going to his school if he isn't there. [[spoiler:One of the side stories in Kagetsu Tohya reveals that he did live and Ciel was rehabilitating him over the last year.]]
* ''Franchise/WhenTheyCry'':
** Shion Sonozaki, of ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'', does this with Satoshi. At the end of ''Matsuribayashi-hen'', she finds that [[spoiler: Satoshi has been kept in the research facilities underneath the Irie Clinic for a year. His Hinamizawa Syndrome has reached such a level that he feels immense paranoia to anything he sees, and will claw out his throat if unbound. Thus, he's been kept asleep until Irie could find a cure for the disease. It's a CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming when she then promises to continue doing this until he gets better, and to help him through his recovery any way she could.]]
** Done significantly darker in Ryuukishi's other work, ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'', as it is one of the many causes of the tragedy. [[spoiler:Sayo Yasuda, also known as Shannon, a young servant in the Rokkenjima island's mansion, falls in love with Battler. He promises to come and take Shannon out of the island the next year, so that she can start a new life, but due to problems in his family, he seems like he won't come back. After three years of vainly waiting, Shannon tries to find love with George, Battler's cousin. Then, through Kanon, a male persona Sayo Yasuda created as one of [[AmbiguousGender his/her]] coping mechanisms, s/he starts to fall in love with her childhood friend Jessica, Battler's other cousin, who lives on the island. So after six years, Sayo Yasuda is engaged in three separate relationships: the "Shannon" persona is with George, the "Kanon" persona loves Jessica, and deep down a part of him/her (represented by the "Beatrice" persona) is ''still'' waiting for Battler. And just as George is about to propose to Shannon, s/he learns of Battler's return; by that time s/he is already broken and suicidal, but his return is the final nail in the coffin that leads him/her to decide to blow up the island so that s/he can create his/her ideal imaginary world.]] The complex set of reasons that led to this is [[http://pastebin.com/631gzV4H better explained here.]]
* Riki Naoe, the protagonist of ''VisualNovel/LittleBusters'', becomes a RareMaleExample during the bad end of Sasami's route. [[spoiler:Sasami stayed behind in the artifical world created by Kuro, while Riki was kicked out and sent back to the real world. He is the only one who remembers Sasami, while [[RetGone everyone else has forgotten who she is]]. Riki realizes afterwards that he had feelings for Sasami, only to lament that he was LateToTheRealization, and resolves to wait for her return and tell her then]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Fry's dog Seymour does this in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "[[Recap/FuturamaS4E7JurassicBark Jurassic Bark]]". Using the TropeNamer song [[TearJerker makes it so much worse]]. The dog waited all its life...
** [[spoiler: However, they rectified this in ''[[TheMovie Bender's Big Score]]'', where history was changed so that he didn't need to wait at all. This was mainly because the original ending crushed souls with its sadness.]]
*** Of course, since the TimeyWimeyBall is pretty heavily involved in Bender's Big Score, both versions could have happened.
*** Either way - now you're crying. Again.
** To make matters even worse, the original plan for the episode wasn't to focus on Seymour waiting the rest of his life to come home, but Fry's mother instead. The writers realized this would push the TearJerker factor a bit ''too'' far and opted to tell Seymour's story.
* Played for laughs in the "Moon Over Minerva" skit from ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}''. Minerva is at first turned off by the stereotypically nerdy wolf Wilford, but when she finds out that he is actually a [[OurWerebeastsAreDifferent werewolf who turns into a gorgeous hunk when the moon is full]], she tells him she's willing to wait thirty days until it's full again.
* A non-romantic and non-animal invocation of this was a cartoon by Herblock that ran when the Pathfinder and Sojourner robot probes stopped reporting from Mars. The cartoon shows Sojourner holding up a sign toward Earth, reading, "I'll wait for you."
* Bowser The Foodstealer trilogy ends this way with [[spoiler: Link and Gwonam waiting for Dr. Rabbit to come, he never comes.]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The dog examples were probably based on stories of several real-life dogs who have done the same: for instance, UsefulNotes/{{Hachiko}}.
** And [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greyfriars_Bobby Greyfriars Bobby]], who's pretty definitely the originator of the Discworld example.
** And [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shep_(American_dog) Shep]].
** And recently, [[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/22/loyal-dog-refuses-leave_n_1107561.html?ref=impact this dog in China]].
** And of course [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fala_(dog) Fala]], FDR's beloved Scottish Terrier. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in her autobiography about Fala's waiting: "Fala accepted me after my husband's death, but I was just someone to put up with until the master should return."
* Lady Jane Franklin never gave up hope that members (and hopefully her husband Sir John) of the ill-fated Franklin Northwest Passage Expedition would be found alive until near the end of her life.
* Under traditional Jewish law, this can happen involuntarily to wives who are abandoned by their husbands (or whose husbands simply vanish). A divorce is only valid if the husband signs it, and there's no "legally dead" clause--a woman is not a widow unless there are ''witnesses'' to her husband's death. If a husband simply vanished, his wife would be considered legally married to him, and unable to marry anyone else. The descriptive term for such a woman is "agunah", meaning "chained". [[note]]The same applies if the husband doesn't vanish, but simply moves out and refuses to support or divorce her.[[/note]] The custom was that if a man went into a dangerous situation where he might vanish without a trace--for example, fighting in war or sailing the sea--he would leave behind a signed certificate of divorce, which could be delivered to his wife if he were lost for a long enough period. Presumably these soldiers/sailors [[IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy wanted their beloved to be happy]].
** They also wanted them to be provided for. A widow at least had the protection of the laws of redemption and levirate marriage, but if her husband was MIA, he wouldn't be around to support her, nor could she fall back on her kinsman redeemer.
** It's worth noting that if a man did return after the bill of divorce was delivered and she had already remarried, he could never marry her again, not even if her second husband died. That is the gravity of invoking IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy in this situation.