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Rejection Affection
“I am very sensible of the honour of your proposals, but it is impossible for me to do otherwise than to decline them.”

“I am not now to learn,” replied Mr. Collins, with a formal wave of the hand, “that it is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their favour; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second, or even a third time. I am therefore by no means discouraged by what you have just said, and shall hope to lead you to the altar ere long.”
—Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Collins, Pride and Prejudice

Boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl. Girl rejects boy. And rejects him. And rejects him. Does boy take the hint? Nope.

This trope happens when a male or female character refuses to take any hints or outright rejections in their pursuit of the object of their affection. The suitors are often very vocal and aggressive in their courtship despite the lack of progress or even outright disgust exhibited by the recipient of their love. As creepy as it sounds, this is often played for comedy or even shown as romantic.

In the world of fiction, unless a character intended as one-time is the suitor and one of the main protagonists is the object of the unwanted affection – after all, no "boy wants girl no matter what" story arc means no story ideas to attract audiences and ratings – this trope often plays out straight, and frequently leads to the target being worn down and giving in. In the real world, enough "no's" could legally be considered stalking or harassment, and can lead to criminal charges and restraining orders … or in the very least a warning from the police to back off.

Mad Love could become the result of this trope, if the admirer's advances are rejected both often and strongly enough; especially if they refuse to take "no" for an answer.

Related to No Means Yes. Expect the Stock Phrase "Your mouth says no, but your eyes say yes."

Also related to Abhorrent Admirer for the one being hit on, and Hopeless Suitor for the one doing the hitting. It may become a case of Dogged Nice Guy (or girl), depending on whether the reader/audience is meant to sympathize with them.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Winner Sinclair from Karin is head over heels in love with Karin in the anime. This wouldn't be a problem, normally.. except that she's already in love with Usui... and also, she's a vampire and he's a vampire hunter. He doesn't know her true identity yet, but despite being rejected over and over again, he continues his advances on her. He could literally have any other girl, they all want him!
  • In Ai to Yuuki no Pig Girl Tonde Buurin, Takuma has a crush on Karin and repeatedly tries to win her heart. The fact that Karin is one of the only girls (and maybe even the ONLY girl) who isn't attracted to him doesn't seem to bother him.
  • Mummymon has this towards Arukenimon. She clearly doesn't like him the same way (she tolerates him whenever he isn't being touchy feely, but that's it), yet he's so devoted to her he's willing to die trying to avenge her.

    Film 
  • In the Ellen DeGeneres film, Mr. Wrong, Martha's Abhorrent Admirer Whitman refuses to accept her outright rejects and continues insisting they are meant to be... until she shoots and apparently kills him.
  • The Notebook: Allie only falls in love with Noah after rejecting him repeatedly only for him to persist.
  • Downplayed in Back to the Future, but it's there. Marty's rejection of the attentions of his future mother help fuel her attraction.

    Literature 
  • Mansfield Park: When Fanny Price refuses Henry Crawford's marriage proposal, he and her uncle both assume her rejection is not serious and just a sign of her female modesty. He continues pursuing her against her wishes, but with the full support of her family.
  • Pride and Prejudice: Averted. While Mr. Collins initially takes Elizabeth's first rejection as encouragement to continue courting her (see article quote), he soon finds out that she is serious. But his initial interpretation of her rejection as a positive step in their relationship reflects on his views of women in their culture.

    Live Action TV 
  • Downton Abbey: Edith pursues her neighbor Sir Anthony Strallan aggressively even though her parents AND Strallannote  are against the match. She finally gets the hint when he leaves her at the altar.
  • Family Matters: Steve Urkel spends the entire run of this sitcom aggressively trying to win Laura's affections even though she is repulsed by him. His perseverance pays off in the end.
  • Saved by the Bell: Even though Lisa is extremely vocal in her lack of interest in Screech, he obliviously insists they are meant to be.
  • Step by Step: Dana is the continuous subject of the unwanted attentions of her stepfather's nephew Cody, at least in the early seasons. This is downplayed later on, as he simply becomes irritating but does not pursue her romantically.
  • The Vampire Diaries: Katherine is deeply in love with Stefan who makes it clear he wants nothing to do with her. That doesn't stop Katherine from insisting she will have him again.
    • Klaus is also undeterred by Caroline's abhorrence for him.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: Harper isn't at all put off by Justin's disinterest.
  • Friends: A distilled version in one episode: An entire sub-plot revolves around Chandler getting his best friend Monica to acknowledge he's 'boyfriend material'. He doesn't succeed but they get together a season later, making it ambigious whether his joking persistence was serious or not.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • Hey Arnold!: While Helga is busy being a Stalker with a Crush to Arnold, Brainy is doing the same to Helga, but a lot more openly. No matter how many times she hits him, he persists.
  • Pepe Le Pew is practically the poster boy for this. No matter how many times Penelope flees from him, or even attacks him, he always thinks she's just playing hard to get.
  • Muppet Babies: Gonzo continually woos Piggy, despite her greeting his advances with contempt and karate chops. This is borrowed from The Muppet Show, where it occurred less frequently.
  • While it initially seemed William had his chances with Yumi in Code Lyoko, he ended up becoming this. By season 3, she is completely fed up with him and brutally tells him what she thinks. He still keeps flirting with her after that.


Prince Charming WannabeUnrequited Love TropesRomantic Runner Up
Rejected ApologyRejection IndexShut Up, Hannibal!
Reincarnation RomanceLove TropesRelationship Ceiling
Reflexive ResponseComedy TropesReluctant Gift

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