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Love Confessor
Ned: What's the matter, Linda?
Linda: Nothing.
Ned: I know.
Linda: Yes?
Ned: Johnny.
Linda: Give me some more wine, Ned.
Ned: You can tell me about it, dear.
Linda: (Hesitates a moment.) I love the boy, Neddy!
Ned: I thought so.
- Holiday

A Love Confession is when a lover declares his love to his beloved. But sometimes the lover can't or won't tell the beloved. There are a few reasons this could be:

  • The beloved is unavailable for hearing the Love Confession.
  • The lover doesn't want his beloved to know how he feels.
  • The lover and/or the beloved are uncomfortable discussing their emotions — especially with each other!

There is, however, another option: The lover confesses his love to a third party. Instead of "I love you!" the confession becomes "I love her."

Dramatically, this serves a few different purposes. It lets the audience know what the lover's feelings are, and/or confirms that the lover is aware of their own feelings. It creates new dramatic potential, since the lover and the third party now share a secret that the beloved is not in on. Most importantly, it buys time for writers who want to delay the Love Confession till later.

Note that the lover must make their confession to another character; an inner monologue or soliloquy to the audience would be a Love Epiphany. Note also that the confession is made to a third party, instead of to the beloved. That means, at the time of the confession, the lover should not have revealed their feelings to the beloved. They may, of course, do so later. Or the third party may decide to take matters into their own hands.


Examples:

Film Live Action
  • In Holiday, Linda quizzes her brother Ned about getting drunk. When he asks her what sorrow she is looking to drown, she confesses that she has just fallen in love with their sister Julia's fiancÚ. Ned advises her to act on her feelings, but Linda refuses to betray Julia.
  • Sort of happens between Liz and Dexter in both The Philadelphia Story and High Society. See the "Theatre" entry.

Literature
  • This is a major theme in Natsume Soseki's Meiji period novel Kokoro. K confesses his love for Ojosan to Sensei. Sensei discourages him and later proposes to Ojosan, leading to K's suicide.
  • This happens in the book The House of Hades. Nicohe and Jason need to retrieve a scepter from Cupid, but he won't let them have it unless Nico faces his crush on Percy. Nico is forced to confess his feelings in front of Jason.

Live-Action TV
  • In the Babylon 5 episode, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark", the crew hold a rebirth ceremony that partly involves confessing something they have never told anyone before:
    • Lennier makes his confession to Marcus Cole, telling him that he loves Delenn. The confession remains a secret between the two men.
    • Ivanova also chooses the same episode to confess her love for Talia to Delenn. Talia, being permanently out of the picture at this point, is unavailable to hear the confession.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Passion", Jenny Calendar tells Giles for the first time that she loves him. Because he's angry with her, Giles doesn't reciprocate, and because Miss Calendar dies at the end of the episode, he never has a chance to. Instead, we see him standing over her grave with Buffy, and telling her that of all the friends he's lost, "Jenny was the first I've loved."
  • How I Met Your Mother: In season 4, Barney tells Lily that he's in love with Robin, something he realized at the end of season 3. He doesn't want Robin to know, as he's coming to Lily for advice on how to put an end to it since he isn't interested in a relationship and hasn't been for years.
  • On Doctor Who, Martha Jones confesses her love for he Doctor twice. The first time is in "The Family of Blood" to an amnesiac version of himself:
    Martha: He is just everything to me and he doesn't even look at me, but I don't care. 'Cause I love him to bits. And I hope to God he won't remember me saying this.
She tries to play it off later as a bit of hyperbole, but they both know she's lying. The second time is in "Last of the Time Lords", when Martha is telling people about the Doctor and how wonderful he is. She never tells him her feelings directly, but by the end of their time together it's implicitly understood that he knows.

Theatre
  • A kind of weird, prevaricating version happens between Sandy and Liz in the stage version of The Philadelphia Story. Sandy asks Liz if she's in love with Mike. Liz doesn't answer directly, but when he goes on to ask why she doesn't marry him, she admits that she's waiting for him to grow up, and that she'd be very upset if another girl tried to claim him first. It's the clearest insight we get into Liz's feelings for Mike. The scene plays slightly differently in the 1940 film, but is preserved in the 1956 musical High Society (this time between Dexter and Liz).

Love EpiphanyRomance ArcLove Confession
Lovable NerdCharacters as DeviceLove Martyr
Locked Out of the LoopThe Secret IndexThe Man Behind the Man
Love ConfessionLove TropesLove Dodecahedron
Last Confession WinsConfession TropesLove Revelation Epiphany

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