This is when one character makes a declaration of love to another. How it's done, and the reactions to it, will vary. It usually happens with a sense of drama, particularly with shy characters, who are mortified at the thought that they could be rejected by the object of their affection. It carries extra weight if the confessor has been a longtime admirer or has been carrying a secret crush. It's generally seen as a big risk with a guy confessing to a girl, but when a girl confesses to a guy it is seen as a triumphant moment. With all significant declarations there is The "I Love You" Stigma
that follows, it's meant to be a big moment. Crush Blush
may occur for either person, or both.
Unresolved Sexual Tension
is often at the core of the confession, especially if the two parties are known for being Vitriolic Best Buds
or Like Brother and Sister
. The more dramatic reactions may be an Anguished Declaration of Love
or a Dying Declaration of Love
. The reaction may either accept the confessor's affection
and reciprocating, or acknowledge the affection but turning it down
. If the person is a Jerk Ass
, expect it to be done in such a way for maximum humiliation.
In those harsh cases the end result is Did Not Get the Girl
; yet the person being confessed to may say that they're Better as Friends
or I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship
, in order to spare the confessor's feelings
. If the two parties have known each other since childhood and the confession is accepted and the love reciprocated, what you have is First Girl Wins
and Victorious Childhood Friend
Be careful, though—if the confession is refused (whether kindly or brutally) and the confessor is a bit unhinged, it may lead to an "If I Can't Have You
Compare The Four Loves
, Love You and Everybody
, and Love Confessor
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Anime & Manga
- In Robin, Tim Drake lets slip to the mysterious person dressed as the deceased Spoiler who really is Spoiler, Stephanie Brown that he loved the original Spoiler. Whilst he is beating her up. When later they simultaneously confront each other, she mostly berates his idiocy in not considering she was alive.
- Actually, he had already confessed his love to Spoiler way back when Batman gave away Tim's real identity to her. In a fit of rage, he told Batman that he felt betrayed that Batman gave away his identity so easily (while all the time he hid the secret for Batman's sake), and it affected their relationship because they were in love. It so happened that Spoiler was standing right next to Batman and she was startled by this sudden confession from Tim.
- Elin does this to Agnes at the end of Swedish lesbian movie Show Me Love in an adorably awkward babble that can basically be summarized as "Viktoria said that you loved me. Is that true, because if it is then I do too, to you I mean?" to which Agnes responds with a glowing smile and a nod.
- In Volunteers, the female love interest is about to do something dangerous, and Tom Hanks is refusing to let her go. She finally demands to know why, and he answers:
"Because I love you!"
"Who said that?"
- Peeta Mellark does this on national television in The Hunger Games.
- Lolita. Unaware that her lodger is only staying because he's fallen for her underage daughter, Charlotte Haze leaves a letter for Humbert as she takes Dolores to summer camp, confessing her love and asking him to leave the house by the time she gets back unless he shares her feelings. In the Stanley Kubrick adaptation, Humbert is shown laughing in disdain and disbelief as he reads, until he realises accepting Charlotte's advances gives him a perfect opportunity to stay close to her daughter.
- In the climactic end of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, David and Agnes finally confess their love for one another, after decades of being just close friends.
- In the third Anne of Green Gables book, Gilbert finally confesses his love to Anne and asks her to marry him (someday). Anne basically tells him she can never love him and crushes his heart to bits.
- Peeta Mellark does this on national television in The Hunger Games.
- The series ends with Katniss making such a declaration to Peeta.
- Inverted in The Wheel of Time. Rand tells Egwene that he feels their relationship is more Like Brother and Sister than love. She agrees.
- At the end of the Warrior Cats book Starlight, Crowfeather saves Leafpool's life and then confesses that he's loved her for a while.
Live Action TV
- Early in season six of The X-Files, Mulder professed his love for Scully after a harrowing Wizard of Oz-like dream sequence involving Nazis and a World War II ship. However, he is on some pretty heavy duty medication, so whether that influenced his confession is up for interpretation. Scully obviously thought he was confessing under the influence, if her reaction is anything to by:
Mulder: Hey, Scully.
Mulder: I love you.
Scully: Oh, brother. (walks away)
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike confessing his love to Buffy in a moment of quiet and fear (7x20 Touched):
Spike: A hundred plus years, and there's only one thing I've ever been sure of. You. Hey, look at me. I'm not asking you for anything. When I say I love you, it's not because I want you, or because I can't have you — it has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try... I've seen your kindness, and your strength, I've seen the best and the worst of you and I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You're a hell of a woman. You're the one, Buffy.
- That is one of many confessions Spike makes. His original proclamation of love is a little less romantic. It involved chains.
- Xander to Anya, after seeing how Poor Communication Kills the Buffy/Riley relationship ("Into The Woods")
I've gotta say something... 'Cause ... I don't think I've made it clear. I'm in love with you. Powerfully, painfully in love. The things you do ... the way you think ... the way you move ... I get excited every time I'm about to see you. You make me feel like I've never felt before in my life. Like a man. I just thought you might wanna know.
- Subverted with Anya's wedding vow in "Hells Bells", which she rehearses over a shot of Xander walking in the rain, having decided to call off the marriage.
Okay. For the last time. 'I, Anya, want to marry you, Xander, because... I love you and I'll always love you. And... before I knew you, I was like a completely different person. Not even a person, really... and I had seen what love could do to people, and it was... hurt and sadness. Alone was better. And then, suddenly there was you, and... you knew me. You saw me, and it was this... thing. You make me feel safe and warm. So, I get it now. I finally get love, Xander. I really do.'
- Tara's song to Willow "Under Your Spell" in the Musical Episode "Once More With Feeling". Also subverted in that Tara is unaware that she is literally under Willow's spell, and that her discovery of this fact will cause them to break up.
- Also subverted in "Passion" when Jenny Calender admits that she loves Giles. That night Giles comes home to find a bottle of champagne waiting and a trail of roses leading upstairs...to Jenny's body.
- Done with a lot less words, but no less CMOH, in "New Moon Rising" when Tara assumes Willow has decided to go back to her ex-boyfriend Oz.
Tara: No, I-I understand. You have to be with the person you l-love.
Willow: (smiles) I am.
- In Angel: Wesley, who tells Fred he has been in love with her basically his whole life, with her being the part that had always been missing.
Fred: Would you have loved me?
Wesley: I've loved you since I've known you. No, that's not - I think maybe even before.
- One episode of The O.C. deals with the first 'I love you' between Marissa and Ryan. It is played for laughs and drama at first, but works out eventually.
Marissa: I love you.
Ryan: Thank you.
- At least he was being polite.
- When Ted and Robin finally began dating at the end of season 2, their relationship progressed steadily and even took the two to 'I love you' land, but their first visit doesn't go that well:
- Also in the first episode, Ted confesses his love for Robin after their first date. She was not pleased.
- She tries again later on in the episode and is happy for doing it.
- In the Community episode "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design" Annie get one out during the Gambit Pileup. It is unclear if Jeff thinks it is real or that she is just acting.
- Psych has Shawn confess his feelings to Juliet, though in an ADHD way as it started with a rant about how much he loves his motorcycle.
- And, in the following season Shawn actually says that he loves her. While hooked up to a polygraph. Everyone (Shawn included) immediately looked at the readout to see if he was telling the truth.
- River Song confesses her love for the Doctor - by unraveling reality, creating a distress beacon that broadcasts to all points of space and time simultaneously, and getting a million million voices to cry out their love for the Doctor with her, simply so he wouldn't die without knowing that he was loved, and by no one more than her. As love confessions go, that one is pretty spectacular.
- At the end of the series 8 episode Mummy on the Orient Express, while on the phone to Danny, Clara quite loudly and deliberately says "I love you" while looking directly at the Doctor. Her actress, Jenna Coleman, later confirmed that those words were indeed meant for the Doctor, even so, neither of them act on it and the UST and Will They Or Won't They dynamic continues on to the end of that series (and presumably into the Christmas Special given the trailer).
- According to a comment from the showrunner, Steven Moffat, the UST will be a major focus in said Christmas special, and possibly resolved.
- Babylon 5: John Sheridan, to Delenn, in "Ceremonies of Light and Dark".
Sheridan: I think it's time you knew that I can no longer imagine my world without you in it. I don't know exactly when or how it happened, but I'm glad it did.
- Castle has two very powerful ones. The first is an Anguished Declaration of Love, from Castle to Beckett as she lies on the ground, having just been shot. The second one is from Beckett to Castle as she confesses that she nearly died, and yet the only thing she could think about was him.
- A fairly unexpected example happens in The Mentalist in The Crimson Hat when Jane tells Lisbon he loves her before pretending to shoot her. He later acts as though he doesn't remember saying it. Whether it was strictly platonic or something more is a matter of speculation.
- Mac Taylor finally told Christine he loves her on CSI: NY, a huge step for the guy who's spent most of the series struggling with losing his wife on 9/11.
- Deconstructed on the "And the Silent Partner" episode of 2 Broke Girls. Andy wants to tell Caroline he loves her, but is dissuaded by Max from doing so in the diner because it's not a terribly romantic place to do so. At her suggestion, he watches several Romantic Comedies to get ideas, and comes up with a plan to take her to Central Park and do it over hot dogs and cocoa. It keeps getting frustrated (at one point Max points out that Caroline looks cute, is embarrassed and in a public place, but then Sophie interrupts), so Max tells Caroline he was going to do it and she runs into his shop ... only to find him sitting on the toilet, where he finally tells her.
- A thoroughly ''heartbreaking'' confession on Torchwood when Ianto is dying in Jack's arms:
Ianto: I love you.
- These two can't have a Love Confession that isn't a Tear Jerker: In radio play "The House of the Dead", when ghost-Ianto is closing the Rift:
Jack: I never said it properly before!
Ianto: Doesn't need saying.
Jack: Yes it does! Ianto Jones, I love you!
Ianto: And I love you, Jack.
- Friends: When Chandler and Monica secretly become Friends with Benefits, one Thanksgiving ends with Chandler and Monica falling out. To cheer him up, Monica tries putting a cold turkey on her head complete with sunglasses, hat and a ridiculous dance. Laughing, Chandler exclaims, "You're so great! I love you!". Played with in that Monica is pleased but Chandler is so freaked out by his own confession that he immediately takes it back and refuses to admit he ever said it. In a later episode, Phoebe and Rachel catch on and conspire to break Chandler into confessing he and Monica are Friends with Benefits. When Chandler finally snaps, his confession is more than anyone was expecting.
Chandler: "Okay! Okay! Okay! You win! I can't have sex with you!"
Phoebe: "Hah! And why not?!"
Chandler: "Because I'm in love with Monica!" [Reacting to everyone's shock] "Love her! That's right! I love her! I love her! I love you, Monica."
Monica: "I love you, too, Chandler."
- Polish folksong O Mój Rozmarynie has one of these. However, the person the narrator confesses to turns him down. From there he joins the military and dies.
- This is the main goal to attain in non-H Dating Sims.
- The Tokimeki Memorial series is the most notable example, and it's even more Serious Business than standard for its characters, since each of the schools in the series have a place of legend where couples confessing their feelings there on Graduation Day will grant them eternal happiness in their relationship.
- Towards the end of Inazuma Eleven 3, you're given a choice of whether to talk to Natsumi, Aki, or Fuyuka. If you choose Natsumi, a cutscene occurs where Endou asks her why she went to all that trouble; Natsumi being her usual Tsundere self, she responds by stammering a bit then blurting out that she did it out of love, indirectly admitting that she has feelings for him. Endou being Endou, he immediately jumps to the conclusion that his love for soccer has rubbed off on Natsumi. It wasn't all for naught though, as they end up Happily Married in Inazuma Eleven GO.
- In Shin Megami Tensei I, Yuriko who is really Lilith makes it quite clear in the beginning of the game to your protagonist that she's in love with you. Finding out he doesn't feel the same does not result in her getting over it very well, unless you pick the Chaos path.
- The assorted love interests in Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II each get one. (Alistair, in Origins, actually has more than one, and which one he makes depends on whether the player has "hardened" his personality or not.) It's up to the player how to respond.
- Sorta botched and Played for Laughs in The King of Fighters XIII, where Kensou tries to confess to Athena but she's more focused in their upcoming fight. In the Story Mode he tries again, but Athena cuts him off again as well. (It's implied that Athena knows what he feels, but she simply doesn't like him like that and thus she's embarrassed at his tries.)
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, all characters that achieve an 'S' rank relationship and get married as a result have a confession. As all characters can marry an Avatar of the opposite gender, you get not just a confession with each one, but an extra picture of the person you are going to marry at the end of the final support conversation.
- Katawa Shoujo starts off with one of these. It literally gives Hisao (our main character) a heart attack, and our story begins. To make matters worse, the confessor is so emotionally scarred that gives up on trying again and later sends him a "Dear John" Letter. Each route has one as well.
- In Lilly's route, after Hisao suffers a near-heart attack during their an Hanako's trip to Hokkaido, Lilly confesses to him in the middle of a beautiful field. Their First Time comes right afterwards.
- In Emi's route, after the argument at Emi's house, Hisao will tell Emi that he is not trying to help her out of pity, but because he loves her. At first she has difficulty believing him, but ends up accepting his feelings and dropping her self-imposed barriers to cry in his arms.
- In Hanako's route, Toward the end, Hanako and Hisao confess their love for each other the day after their first time having sex, as they explain and reveal their real feelings that they have kept bottled up due to insecurity..
- In Shizune's route, Hisao acknowledges to himself that he likes her early on, but only confesses and asks her out as they celebrate Tanabata alongside Misha. And later we find out that Misha herself confessed to Shizune a while ago, but got rejected; they decided to stay friends, but it does take a huge toll on Misha's emotions.
- In Rin's route, the closest to a love confession happens after she gets chewed out by Nomiya, then cries in Hisao's arms. That same day she gets caught in the rain, Hisao helps her out and they end up having sex.
- It takes fifty-one chapters of Bittersweet Candy Bowl, but Lucy finally confesses to Mike. He isn't interested anymore. Worse, he himself had confessed HIS love to her in seventh grade, only to be rejected. Abbey's confession to Daisy goes a bit better.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Jean and Bob's mutual confession of love for each other comes off as a bit rushed (because, in the original print run of the strip, it was going to be the last episode), but no less heart-felt for that (though it's ruined a bit when Voluptua abruptly plants a big goodbye kiss on his face. The inappropriateness of this is lampshaded in the next strip when the comic has been revived.). Bob gives Jean a longer, more proper confession of love years later, when she's afraid that she's losing him to Voluptua. Voluptua, meanwhile, never actually tells Bob how she feels, but she does reluctantly tell Jean how she feels about Bob, much to Jean's consternation.
- With its usual Lampshading of these kind of tropes, this is naturally played to the hilt in The Order of the Stick. Haley's refusal to admit her feelings for Elan causes a brain growth that makes her The Unintelligible, and she figures out that the only way to speak normally again is to confess her love. She keeps chickening out on this, until finally, after getting caught by Elan in a compromising position with Elan's Evil Twin Nale (who has been masquerading as Elan), Nale tells Elan that Haley knew who Nale was all along, and is evil, a demon speaking in tongues, a slut, and The Mole who has been selling out the True Companions, all in a Brainwashing-supplemented Break the Cutie speech mocking Elan's noble stupidity, which Haley is incapable of rebutting, and nearly drives Elan to kill her. At the last second however, Haley finally blurts out that she loves Elan, destroying both her speech impediment and Nale's spell.
- Technically an inversion, but Karkat of Homestuck confesses his romantic inclinations: It makes a lot more sense in context
- In Sinfest, Slick's first attempt suffers a Gibberish of Love failure, and then Monique gets philosophical.
- Zack in Echo Chamber tells Dana that he loves her, because she said he wasn't obese enough to cause a rotunda to collapse beneath him, and that was the nicest thing anyone had ever said about him. Dana, however, is not interested.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender. Played for laughs in "Nightmares and Daydreams," but played seriously in "Day of Black Sun: Part 1."
- Played straight in the Avatar Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, when Mako is trying to tell a despondent Korra how much she still means to him even after Amon has taken most of her bending.
Mako: Listen, when Tarrlok took you, I was losing my mind at the thought of never seeing you again. I realized ... I love you, Korra.
- Later, though not immediately, Korra reciprocates the feelings.
- In KaBlam!, June confesses her love to Henry by giving him a kiss.
- The original Grand Finale for Kim Possible had one that went like this:
Kim: Do you really think there's a guy out there for me?
Ron: Out there ...in here.
Kim: Oh ...really.