One True Love
aka: True Love
"All of our young lives we search for someone to love. Someone that makes us complete. We choose partners and change partners. We dance to a song of heartbreak and hope. All the while wondering if somewhere, somehow, there's someone perfect who might be searching for us."The most indomitable of story telling romantics is the idea of one utter perfect specimen who is your ultimate match. Perhaps they will have everything in common with you and share your dreams. Perhaps they will be your foil because True Love Is Exceptional. A third possibility is Mind Link Mates leading the two of them to understand each other better than anyone else. Often Love at First Sight occurs when someone spots or other wise realizes that this person is their true love. Because Destiny Says So or The Power of Love are often invoked to explain why that person is the way they are or how you met them. Not to be confused with One True Pairing which is what the fans want to happen. This only applies to examples where it's made clear and deliberate in the work, regardless of what the editor happens to ship and regardless of how convinced you are.
— Kevin Arnold, The Wonder Years
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Anime And Manga
- Naruto has been searching for the one person who would love him unconditionally. However, he was unable to reconcile this with the romantic implications of such a relationship, thanks to his emotionally-stunted childhood, which was deprived of such affection due to his status as the village pariah. He wanted it to be Sakura, because he saw her love for Sasuke, and being Sasuke's rival, sought that love for himself. The Last, however, makes it clear that the person he's really been searching for is Hinata, who has loved him from afar since childhood, but was always too shy to get close to him. Naruto was never able to notice her rather unsubtle feelings for him because he has never been able to understand romantic love. However, as the events of the movie progress and he finally begins to understand, he gradually comes to realize who the person he's meant to be with is, as he begins to fall in love with her.
- Apollo and Midnighter of The Authority and Stormwatch. The peculiarities of their comics-verse means that we've seen a great many alternate universe versions of them (Palette Swap versions, kid heroes, samurais, a golly-gee parody of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold...), and all of them are joined at the hip. They take it for granted to the point where Midnighter is disturbed and upset to meet an alternate universe version of them that broke up.
- Children of Time: Sherlock Holmes and Beth Lestrade. Interestingly, despite the series involving more couples, it's only to the Holmeses that the trope applies. The Doctor is explicitly stated to have had other loves before Rose (including his wife, the mother of his children), and Watson had Mary before Sally. It is heartbreakingly easy, however, to see that Sherlock and Beth are the only lovers each other will ever have.
- RE-TAKE: Asuka told that after Third Impact countless alternate realities were born, all of them different and unique... and the single only unifying element was that Shinji and her ALWAYS met and fell in love.
- Scar Tissue: Rei visited thousands of realities during Instrumentality. Not matter what reality she visited or what world she went to, Shinji and Asuka were always together, always bonded by destiny. They were one.
- Reconciliation: Shinji and Asuka are this for each other. For a good chunk of the fic we find several alternate versions of Shinji and Asuka. The versions may be wildly different, but they are always in love with each other. Always.
- In chapter 11 Asuka becomes aware of it:
A dream-scape formed around them. A physical realm in which their imagined forms manifested. Simply from the will of a girl who had lived infinite lives, time and time again, with only one constant. Her lover was always there. For her. It's time she was there for him.
- And in chapter 12 Lilith calls Asuka Shinji's life mate.
- In chapter 11 Asuka becomes aware of it:
- Do You Remember Love Naruto fanfic shows hundreds of alternate timelines, and Naruto and Sakura falling in love in all of them.
- In 30 Kisses, 30 Ways Asuka and Shinji the premise is each chapter shows a different alternate reality, and in all of them Shinji and Asuka get together.
Film - Live Action
- The Princess Bride: Buttercup and Westley are this for each other. The Big Bad, who wants Buttercup to marry him instead, knows he is doomed to failure as long as Westley is alive because of this trope.
- Sleepless In Seattle: Lampshaded by Annie in one scene who says it is usually invoked as means of explaining all the romantic accidents. Played straight when she later goes along with the idea that Sam is the one anyway.
- When Harry Met Sally: Mentioned by Sally complains of a man she was interested in finding his perfect match. "He just met her... She's supposed to be his transitional person, she's not supposed to be the ONE."
- Enchanted: Prince Edward and Giselle believe they are each other's, but it's Robert's kiss that awakens Giselle thus proving that he is her true love.
- Condwiramurs and Parzival in Parzival - so much so that both of their names are written on the Holy Grail, allowing them to love each other.
- Bella and Edward in Twilight are repeatedly stated to be this, giving or attempting to sacrifice everything for the sake of each other. In their universe, it is deliberately invoked by the werewolves, who bond to a single soulmate for whom they always love.
- "Lifemates" in the Liaden Universe are rare but when they do happen, that 'verse's science of psionics can objectively verify it. (It is eventually revealed that this is due to genetic spiritual meddling by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens in the past, and there's a damn good reason why it always seems to happen to the "dramliz" and not anyone else.)
- In The Dilbert Future, Scott Adams Deconstructs the trope, pointing out that the One True Love is always within driving distance, and of the preferred gender, age, and species. And if the relationship doesn't work, the person usually will find their "True" One True Love under the same circumstances.
Live Action TV
- The entire premise of How I Met Your Mother is based around Ted's search for his future wife, who has been shown to have the exact characteristics that Ted is looking for.
- This trope played with at the end of the finale when it's revealed that the Mother had died several years before and Ted's kids encourage him to go after Robin since his story makes it clear that he still loves her.
- Raising Hope: Virginia and Burt have remained married for over 20 years, despite Maw Maw continually trying to break them up, because she wanted to boot out her freeloading family. Jimmy later narrates that "if two people are meant to be together, they will stay together no matter what tries to get in their way" - while deleting a text message on Sabrina's phone from her boyfriend, asking her to go to a restaurant, so he could take her out to eat instead.
- Played for Laughs for an entire series of Peep Show, where Once an Episode Mark has decided that each and every girl he meets is the perfect woman for him.
- Parodied in an episode of Friends: Phoebe asks Chandler if he believes in soul mates. He doesn't, he believes in falling in love, but not that there's one person who's perfect for you. She says "Good, because I just met Monica's!" The rest of the episode is him feeling increasingly threatened by this guy, until Monica explains she doesn't believe in One True Love either.
Monica: I don't think that you and I were destined to end up together. I think that we fell in love and work hard at our relationship. Some days we work really hard.
Kevin Bright: "What it says is that these two were destined to be together. That it doesn’t matter if they were skinny or large, or successful or not, that these two had something in fate that was meant to be."
- This is rather odd as in their wedding vows Monica explicity called Chandler 'my prince and my soulmate' and a previous episode had Chandler declaring they were "meant for each other". Many fans were irritated by the Continuity Snarl.
- Word of God views them as One True Love is this quote (referring to an alternate universe episode where their counter-parts still got together) is anything to go by:
- Babylon 5:
- John Sheridan and Delenn, despite the fact that she was his Second Love. The Power of Love between them has been enough for Sheridan to defy both death and torture and may in fact be responsible for winning two separate wars.
- Jeffrey Sinclair and Catherine Sakai, to the point where Love Transcends Spacetime.
- Stefan and Elena from The Vampire Diaries fit this trope. The producers of the series, Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, have said in so many words that Stefan and Elena's romance or relationship is the true epic love story of the show (despite the show or plot being about a love triangle), they are anchor of the series, they are soul mates and that Stefan and Elena are each others' one true love (much to the dismay of Damon and Elena fans).
- Supernatural heavily implies Jessica to be this for Sam. He had had other love interests since her death, but none have continued to be mentioned for so long and none of them seemed to have close to the same level of impact on Sam. Azazel and Brady both mentioned that had she not died, she and Sam would have gotten married and lived happily ever after,
- Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined) has Laura Roslin and Bill Adama. Mary McDonnell, who played Roslin, explicitly stated that the two are soulmates:
McDonnell: I do think that the other thing [Ron] created is that there are soul mates in life, and I think that's true with this relationship - if you look at it from a soul-mate point of view, their destiny brought them together to serve a bigger cause, together, and in the process perhaps heal something very old and very familiar between themselves.
- An abundance of them in Princess Returning Pearl: Yong Qi and Xiao Yan Zi, Er Kang and Zi Wei, Han Xiang and Meng Dan...
- Arthur and Guinevere in Merlin. Merlin even says that Gwen and Arthur are destined to be together, even though this pairing is never explicitly mentioned in any of the prophecies featured on the show.
- One episode of Mysterious Ways focuses on the idea of soul mates and whether a person can have more than one. One character mentions that you will "never be able to shake" your soul mate once you find them; later in the episode, it's pointed out that Declan can't seem to "shake" Peggy OR Miranda.
- Once Upon a Time: Tinkerbell uses magic to help Regina find hers: Robin Hood. Unfortunately, thanks to Regina's issues and a streak of bad luck, their relationship is ground to a halt every time it tries to start up.
- Snow White and Charming are this, too. They are, according to Rumplestiltskin, the definition of true love, and will always find each other.'
- The Beatles episode "I Want To Hold Your Hand" has a scientist aboard a cruise ship, having captured an octopus whose unhappiness stems from being lovesick. The scientist lowers a diving bell into the ocean to gather some input on finding the octopus' true love. The Beatles have hidden inside the diving bell from their wild female fans, and under the sea they discover a similarly lovesick female octopus. Once back on ship, the boys buy the male octopus and throw him back into the ocean to be with the female octopus to live happily ever after.