Love Hurts

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"Love hurts, love scars,
love wounds and marrs any heart
not tough or strong enough
to take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain..."
— "Love Hurts'', written by Boudleaux Bryant and recorded by The Everly Brothers, Nazareth, Cher, etc. (possible Trope Namer)

Forget life-threatening superheroism, acting Too Dumb to Live, and Tempting Fate. The dumbest, most insane and dangerous thing any hero can do in any media is... falling in love. Dare to love someone else and you set up yourself and your beloved for a plethora of emotional griefs. Love in Real Life is responsible for vast quantities of anguished poetry and tragic literature; factor in all the crazy stuff that happens on TV, and drama and disaster are practically guaranteed.

About to commit permanently? Look for an Anyone Can Die to put a permanent end to the Will They or Won't They? issue. Forget to say goodbye to your beloved that one time? It'll haunt you for the rest of your life. And let's not forget that becoming emotionally attached to one person leaves you open to the stress caused by the villain abducting your beloved or them even being killed off senselessly just to shape you into the Anti-Hero out for Revenge, or at the very least a Heartbroken Bad Ass. Your love is hurt but alive? Don't You Dare Pity Me! — they will shove you away. Or perhaps you'd be their Second Love — if only they and you didn't think Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids!. Love will make your heart go soft and pitter-pattering into the path to be crushed by the cruel forces of fate against Star-Crossed Lovers. Small wonder that so many try to protect their loved ones by dumping them.

If you've got more than one love interest, you've got a headache-inducing Love Triangle or even Love Dodecahedron on your hands. Tread these waters very carefully, lest you be on the receiving end of a Yandere's poisonous affections or a Tsundere's Megaton Punch. Pick one lover and you can look forward to either a Thundering Herd of jilted rivals or the silent shattering of many other hearts. All in the name of comedy, you say? Comedy never became as twisted as it does when dealing with lovers crazy enough to beat down your door, commit trespassing, glomp you, and refuse to let go. And remembering the love interest anywhere you go makes it worse. Could also result in the character being Not Good with Rejection.

And heaven forbid if your love turns out to be one-sided. You'll become a crazy Love Hungry psycho stalker if you don't choose to nobly sacrifice your love. Sometimes you'll even go all the way into a full-fledged villain with a grudge against humanity because humanity was not kind enough to let you have that one person. Sometimes it's even your own creator who decides that you can't get them because he couldn't get her in real life!

Such a fragile illusion... Isn't it?

In the right/wrong genre, even when you win, you lose. Little wonder why many a pessimist believes that Love Makes You Dumb, and many a hero has chosen to be a Genre Savvy Celibate Hero.

Compare Destructive Romance, Hope Is Scary, The First Cut Is the Deepest. A consequence when Love Redeems goes with Redemption Equals Death.

However, if you do manage to get it right, love can be the purest and most powerful thing in the world. Another way to resolve this is through Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends.

Contrast Happily Married. Unrelated to Lover Tug-of-War, even though that may also hurt.

Examples

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    Fairy Tales 
  • The original version of The Little Mermaid: The mermaid loves the prince and gives up her voice and family to be with him, but he ends up marrying someone else and she turns into sea foam. But a tacked-on Aesop-fuelled ending gives her an immortal (i.e. human) soul anyway. Reputedly fueled by Creator Breakdown. Technically, in the Hans Christian Andersen version, she doesn't get a soul - yet. She get's turned into an air spirit that, after a preset amount of time, will get an immortal soul. As an extra twist, whenever she passes through a house with a well behaved child, she gets a few years knocked off her sentence. Ill behaved children add years. That's right, kids. If you don't eat your vegetables... you're preventing mermaids from going to heaven.

    Opera 
  • Pick an Opera, any opera. Aida by Giuseppe Verdi is a good example. Aida, an Ethiopian princess in hiding, falls in love with and is loved by Radames, the general of the Egyptian army. Her mistress, the Pharaoh's daughter is her canny rival. After Radames saves her father, the king of Ethiopia, from certain death after being captured in battle, he brow beats her into fulfilling her "duty" as an Ethiopian to get Radames to reveal the Egyptian's troops' positions, sentencing him to death and dooming them to live apart. It's a "Happily Ever After" ending though; Aida sneaks into the tomb where Radames has been buried alive so they can slowly die together. So yes, the Deus Angst Machina is as integral a part of Opera as humor is to Comedy.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night:
    • The ending of the Fate route exhibits this to a certain extent. Saber dies, and although Shirou manages to get over the loss remarkably well, he says that he will always remember that he loved her.
    • The Heaven's Feel Normal End, however, takes this trope Up to Eleven. Shirou dies in order to protect Sakura, and she moves into his house and spends the rest of her life mourning him and waiting for him to return to her (he never does...).
  • Love, be it platonic, familiar, or romantic, in the When They Cry franchise tends to end in tragedy.

    Real Life 
  • Linguistic examples:
    • In Swedish, Norwegian and Danish the word "gift" (pronounced "yift" in Swedish/Norwegian, but with a hard g just like the English word "gift" in Danish) means both "married" and "poison", one wonders if this was made so on purpose...
    • In Japanese, "Ai" means love but it can also mean "grief/sorrow" when written differently.
    • The Japanese got it from Chinese, where the exact same thing happens: save for the tones, the words for the two concepts are homophones.
    • In Russian, "брак" ("brak") means, among other things, both "marriage" and "spoilage/defect."
    • In English:
      • Apparently, "to wed" (Or some form of marriage word) comes from the same roots as "gamble".
      • The word "passion" itself ultimately descends from the Greek pathos, "suffering" (i.e. The Passion of the Christ).
    • In Spanish, "Cazar" is "to hunt" and "Casar" is "to wed." In Latin America and some parts of Spain, the pronunciation is identical. The word "esposa", which means wife, also means handcuff. Same goes for the plural "esposas".
    • In Portuguese, "Caçar" is "to hunt" and "Casar" is "to wed."note , so it's as above.
    • In Danish:
      • The words for heart (hjerte) and for pain (smerte) rhymes, which is sometimes used as a proverb.
      • Again with "lidenskab" meaning "passion" and "lide" meaning "to suffer", though unlike German, the connection is for some reason rarely made, possibly because the word "lidenskab" is barely being used among most people in everyday life. In an inversion, "(at kunne) lide" can also mean "to like".
    • In German the word "Leidenschaft" which means "passion" belongs to the root word "leid" which means "suffering".
  • As if we need to say it: Truth in Television.


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