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Second Love

Sorry, girl, but you missed out
Well tough luck, that boy's mine now
We are more than just good friends
This is how the story ends
Avril Lavigne, "Sk8er Boi"

"First Love is the Best Love", that's what they say. Who "they" are is a mystery, but they are (occasionally) wrong. In reality, many people fall in love a second, third, or even fourth time. Despite the First Girl Wins trope, there are many cases when the second girl (not necessarily Last Girl) ends up with the guy. This happens with the guy as well, but not as often. This is not to say that first love can't ever work out, this trope applies to when the first love does not work out and is relevant.

Reasons for the first love not working out vary. The person may have cheated on their significant other, turned evil, or even died. Widowing is popular, as it allows the old love interest to be "out of the way" without ruining the dignity or reputation of either of the pair (especially if the deceased is played up as having been Too Good for This Sinful Earth). Often, for added tension, the first and second loves know each other, or may have been sworn enemies. In some more supernatural cases, the second love happens to look exactly like the first one.

A common ploy is to find the second love to be "true" or "real" love, compared to the first. But unlike the The Casanova, the Casanova Wannabe and even the Chivalrous Pervert, they definitely felt something for the first love.

Quite often the result of Wrong Guy First — which may make Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids! complicate this. Single Woman Seeks Good Man is more likely to succeed All Girls Want Bad Boys than the other way round.

Compare Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder. Contrast You Have Waited Long Enough, The Mourning After. Occasional overlap with December-December Romance.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 

  • Dragon Ball's Bulma starts out as Yamcha's girlfriend, a relationship that continues until about halfway into Dragon Ball Z. At some unknown point, they split up for good and Bulma ends up having a family with Vegeta.
  • Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin eventually ends up with Kaoru Kamiya after getting over his guilt of accidentally killing his first wife, Tomoe. Ironically, he was Tomoe's second love too, having killed her fiancé Akira during the war: Tomoe initially wanted revenge on Kenshin for that, but upon finding out that Kenshin was no monster, she fell for him... and sacrificed her life to save him. Too bad her little brother didn't see it that way at least until the very end.
  • Tsukushi Makino from Hana Yori Dango eventually falls in love and ends up with Domyoji instead of her first love, Rui. She undoubtedly would have ended up with Rui if he hadn't been so smitten with Shizuka for most of the series.
  • Hatsumi from the Hot Gimmick manga ends up with Ryoki Tachibana because her first love, Azusa, tried to get her raped as revenge. And if we follow the novels, she actually ends up with her third love, Shinogu
  • Akane from Ranma ½ ends up falling in love with Ranma after getting over her first love, Doctor Tofu. Additionally, Ryoga falls in love with Akari and gives up on Akane.
  • Taiga Aisaka and Ryuuji Takasu from Toradora! eventually fall in love, despite initially having first loves (Taiga liking Yuusaku and Ryuuji liking Minorin).
  • Kyoko from Maison Ikkoku eventually gets married to Yusaku after being widowed from her first love and husband, Soichiro.
    • Shun Mitaka also initially was in love with Kyoko, but eventually reciprocated his fiancee Asuna Kujou's feelings and married her.
  • InuYasha: Inuyasha and Kikyou had vowed to marry before being torn apart by Naraku. Kagome heals Inuyasha's heart, but their romance is complicated by the resurrection of Kikyou by dark magic. Being officially obliged to both women, Inuyasha cannot give up either, a situation only resolved when Kikyou is able to rest in peace, allowing him to move on with Kagome. However, while Kagome and Kikyou are two different women, Kagome is Kikyou's reincarnated soul. This results in a strange combination of First Girl Wins and Second Love at the same time.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: While their relationship isn't shown in great detail, Kittan could be considered Yoko's second love. His appearance in her ideal universe alongside obvious "first love" Kamina and their touching encounter before Kittan's suicide run hint at it, but never really bring closure to the idea.
    • Nia is this for Simon. His first love, Yoko, was admittedly just an adolescent crush, but it was strong enough to drive him crazy when she and Kamina kissed. But then Kamina dies, then Nia comes along, and he falls for her. Their love becomes strong. Very strong. As in a flying-across-the-galaxy-in-a-cool-ship-to save-her-from-an-evil-God-by-kicking-said-evil-God's-ass level of strong.
  • Casca from Berserk eventually falls in love with Guts. Though it's debatable whether she just had a case of hero worship with Griffith or if she genuinely was in love with him. However, the good times didn't last for long for these two.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, both Sakura and Syaoran's first love was Yukito. They later find out it was just a passing crush and get together.
    • Also, Yukito himself is the second love of Touya, Sakura's older brother.
      • Touya's first love, Kaho, gets a second love in Eriol.
      • And on a technical note, Yukito being Yue means Touya is the second love for Yue after Clow. Sense a theme?
  • In the manga Juline, Juline's first love was her guardian Ryoku. However, Ryoku dies. She eventually reciprocates her best friend Kio's feelings.
  • In the manga Devil Beside You, Kayano's first love was Kamijou Yuuichi. She later falls in love with and marries Jerkass Takeru, because All Girls Want Bad Boys.
  • In Marmalade Boy, Ginta Suoh and Arimi Suzuki are each other's second loves after they team up to get their first loves's affections and fail. As they mourn their losses together, they become genuinely fond of each other and hook up, becoming one of the two Beta Couples (the other being Meiko and Namura).
  • In Peach Girl, Momo was first in love with Toji, but later falls for (and ends up with) Kairi.
  • Yuki Eiri of Gravitation was in love with his tutor Kitazawa when he was younger and more innocent, and still carries a torch for him after six years even after Kitazawa almost has him raped by his friends and Yuki killed him in self-defense. Only when he meets Shuichi does he begin healing from the pain of his first love. Hiro is Ayaka's second love, Yuki being her first and depending on how one sees Hiro's feelings for Shuichi, Ayaka could be Hiro's second love also.
  • In Video Girl Ai, Youta's first love was Moemi, which was unrequited. He eventually falls in love (and ends up) with Ai, whose original purpose was to cheer him up and encourage him to pursue his love.
  • Mitsuki from Full Moon o Sagashite first loved Eichi, who was her childhood friend. However, she later finds out that he died. She eventually falls in love with Takuto, and they end up together (which may be rather Squick-worthy to some, considering that Takuto was fourteen when she was born, saw her as a baby, and was even the one that named her. But as "the cool older boyfriend" is common in shoujo manga, this is rather overlooked by many Full Moon fans, and the author herself who claims "Takuto is a pure-hearted young man who heals Mitsuki's wounds". Added to this, Mitsuki turns 16 (a legal marriage age in Japan) in the manga before revealing her feelings for Takuto.)
    • Not as squicky, but Eichi was a lot older than Mitsuki as well...he was in his pre-teens when she was a tiny little girl.
    • A lot of people don't count the time he was "dead" as his living time, making him having been in the real world for no more than 19 years or so. Still, though, he was a Shinigami...
  • In the manhwa Threads Of Time, protagonist Moon-Bin's first love was his loyal servant Chung-War. She reciprocated his feelings, but unfortunately, she was captured by the enemies and forced to marry one of the higher-up soldiers. He got drunk over it, and promptly met his to-be-second-love, Atan Hadas. Although he didn't love her as much as she loved him, they eventually do end up together. Sort of. If you count her reincarnation in the future as being the same person.
  • In Gankutsuou, Valentine's first love had been her fiancé, Franz. However, Franz in turn had an unrequited love for Albert, and ignored her most of the time. She later falls in love with and marries Maximilien.
  • In Gantz, Kei Kurono's first love was Kei Kishimoto. Unfortunately for him, she fell for Kato instead of him. He eventually gets over it, and falls in love with Tae, who becomes his official girlfriend. The same happened with Clone Kurono, who decided to hook up with Reika after he realized that his feelings for Tae would never be requited.
  • In Gundam SEED Destiny, Shinn's and Lunamaria's respective first loves are Stellar and Athrun. Stellar dies tragically, Athrun, along with Lunamaria's sister, Meyrin, defect, are shot down by Shinn and presumed to be dead. They got better. Lunamaria and Shinn end up together but due to the way it was handled, they are widely believed to have been Strangled by the Red String.
    • In Gundam SEED Kira's first love was Flay. It ended horribly. He eventually falls in love with Lacus Clyne.
  • In D.N.Angel, Daisuke's first love was Risa. He eventually falls in love and ends up with her twin sister, Riku.
  • In Chrono Crusade, Chrono was originally in love with a woman named Mary Magdalene, who he accidentally killed. The main bulk of the story, however, is concerned with Chrono's relationship with his partner, Rosette Christopher. In the anime he says to Mary's ghost that he's grown to love Rosette so much that "Rosette's taken over the place [she] used to occupy in my heart", but the manga occasionally implies that Chrono never fully gets over his first love, but grows to love Rosette just as much.
  • Princess Tutu has a spoileriffic example: Ahiru originally loves Mytho, but grows closer to Fakir throughout the show, and is implied to end up with him after Mytho chooses Rue to be his princess in the Grand Finale. Also, a childhood friend of Fakir's, Raetsel, is shown struggling with a love for his foster father, Karon, but eventually ends up marrying another man.
  • In the anime version of Prétear, Takako fell in love with Hayate, but was rejected by him. She didn't handle it well (understatement), but eventually ends up with Sasame, who had loved her from the beginning.
  • Very likely to happen eventually in Naruto. It's not clear which. If Sakura falls for Lee or Naruto, either of them'll be her second love (Sasuke being her first). If Naruto falls for Hinata, she'll be his second love (Sakura being his first).
    • Also, Naruto's obsession with Sasuke has enough shades of Ho Yay that any girlfriend might count as second/third love. Seriously, the whole thing went over Mad Love threshold long ago.
    • There's no doubt that if Jiraiya had survived his battle with Pein, he would have been Tsunade's second love-because the bet they made would have had them get married.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, as shown in a side story in Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Sousuke is Kaname's second love - her first being Fuwa, a senpai she dated during junior high.
    • Interestingly enough, Tessa, the other part of that Love Triangle, was initially the girlfriend of Bunny Morauta (the whispered that built the Arbalest). However, he died, and she ended up meeting and falling in love with Sousuke.
  • Something of a theme in Junjou Romantica. Usami is shown to have been in love with his friend Takahiro for ten years before falling for Takahiro's younger brother Misaki. Hiroki, in turn, suffered from unrequited love for Usami from early on in their childhood acquaintance, but found his second love with Nowaki. And Miyagi spent years not letting himself get over his first love (a teacher who died of a terminal illness while he was still in high school), before finally unthawing when he met Shinobu.
  • Candy's first love was Anthony, who died tragically. Then she mets Terry, who becomes her second love, but their relationship didn't end well.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, Kyoko's best friend, Hana, first had a huge crush on adult Lambo. Later, 10 years into the future, however, it's revealed that she's going out with Ryouhei. So if she indeed ends up with him, he'll have been her second love.
    • And as for Ryouhei himself, Hana herself would also be his second love, as his first love would be the adult I-Pin. A coincidence that it correlates with Hana's? I think not.
  • Eureka Seven featured two examples by way of a Love Dodecahedron. Before getting together, Holland and Talho each had a lover, Renton's sister Diane and Holland's own brother Dewey, respectively.
  • Oishinbo: Morisawa and Yamawaki.
  • In Immortal Rain, Machika is Rain's second love (Freya was his first). There may have been others (he's really old) but these are the ones shown. Eury might be this for Ayla...maybe.
  • In High School Debut, the main girl (Haruna) falls for Fumi, a friend of the main guy at first. And the main guy, Yoh, is even helping her to date him! Then, Fumi dates Yoh's sister, Asa, who only dated him because Haruna liked him. It's all very confusing.
  • In Rose of Versailles, Andre is a second love for Oscar, after her unrequited love for Fersen. But Oscar was the first (and only) love for André, as well Fersen is the first for Marie-Antoinette.
  • Although the title character of Hayate the Combat Butler could end up with his first love, it's been strongly hinted that he won't, thus, applying this trope to the young woman he does choose out of his Unwanted Harem. He's promised that he still will care for his first love though.
  • Van of GUN×SWORD continues to love his fiance after her tragic death, but the last episode of the series hints that he may have found his second love. This is a case where the first love was most definitely "the real thing;" so much so that the second love comes off looking like a consolation prize in comparison.
  • In Super GALS! Yuya falls in love with Ran right off the bat. Yuya eventually falls in love for real with his girlfriend Mami Honda. Also, it turns out Rei liked Ran from the start as well but after they agree it wouldn't work (because Ran is dating somebody else) he goes out with Aya and he is her First Love.
  • Morinaga of the Boys Love manga The Tyrant Falls in Love was left broken-hearted as a teenager when his first love, Masaki, broke up with him and was Driven to Suicide after Morinaga's straight older brother, and Masaki's actual love, caught them having sex. Masaki gets better. Morinaga says that his love for his senpai Souichi cured him of his long-term The Mourning After.
  • In another BL manga, Future Lovers, Akira's first love is a straight man, making it an Incompatible Orientation. Akira cries over him at an early point in the story.
  • Considering that Ringo Oginome from Mawaru-Penguindrum starts crushing on Tabuki-sensei, the trope will come in if she falls for Shouma Takakura, whom she's had quite a bit of Ship Tease. It does, in the Grand Finale. And then Shouma is Ret Goned to save Ringo, with his Famous Last Words doubling as a Dyingdeclaration Of Love for her.
  • Implied to be the case in Ano Hana The Flower We Saw That Day, as the ending hints that Yukiatsu and Tsuruko might have gotten together, and that Jintan and Anaru will probably do so in the future as well. This is after Menma's ghost is able to move on.
  • In Bakuman。, the main character's uncle, Nobuhiro Mashiro, and Miho's mother, Miyuki Haruno, corresponded via letters for a long time, but could never admit how they felt to each other, possibly because they were waiting for the other to say it (and in Nobuhiro's case, he was unwilling to do it until he was sure he had a hit). Eventually, Miyuki moved on to fall in love with and marry Mr. Azuki, having two daughters with him; Miho and Mina.
  • In Kokoro Connect:
    • Quite a bit of drama between Aoki and Yui is drawn from this, when it's revealed that Aoki used to love a girl similar to Yui, Nana Nishino.
    • Taichi also ends up falling in love with Inaba, after getting dumped by Iori.

    Comic Books 

  • In the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, April is actually Casey's second love; before they became an item, he had fallen in love with and married Gabrielle, a Colorado waitress. It was only after Gabrielle had died and left Casey with a daughter that a romance with April began. For the longer version see the second bullet below.
    • April and Casey were in the early stages of forming a relationship when he accidentally kills a teenage mugger during the City at War arc. This leads him into a drunken spiral and the two of them break up almost as soon as they get together. Then he meets Gabrielle who is essentially his Second Love who, sadly, dies in childbirth. He then returns to New York and reunites with April and eventually marries her. So April is really his first and third loves.
  • Peter Parker's first love was Gwen Stacy, one of the most iconic deaths in comics. He technically knew his second love longer, but their relationship wasn't "love" until after Gwen died.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Lois Lane. After Lana Lang.
  • Madelyne Pryor and Cyclops. And baby makes three! Complicated by the fact that Madelyne is actually a clone of Jean Grey, the first love, and things just get more complicated from there.
  • In the comic Lucky: The Curse of Wedge Antilles, we see that as a teenager Wedge was in love with a Rebel sympathizer named Mala, only for her to be killed by Imperials while he was "luckily" away hauling cargo; he never got to say that he loved her. Flash forward to the X-Wing Series comics and he has a casual romance with a quartermaster named Reina. Flash forward to the X-Wing Series novels and he starts getting close to a widow named Iella, only to back off with no hard feelings when they found out her husband wasn't dead; when he died for real, they started romancing each other a little more, but drifted apart. In the Jedi Academy Trilogy Wedge fell hard for Qwi, a scientist who worked on the Death Star, even writing poetry to her hair, and in Starfighters of Adumar they broke up on good terms and Wedge eventually got back with Iella. He married Iella and they had two daughters.
  • Teen Titans: Raven is this for Beast Boy, his first love being Jillian Jackson.
  • Batman: Bruce Wayne's first love was Vicky Vale, but his second love was much more popular. Three guesses who she is.
    • Following his adopted father's footsteps, Robin's (Tim Drake) first love with Ariana Dzerchenko and his second love with Stephanie Brown. In fact, Tim is Stephanie's second love — her first boyfriend, Dean, got her pregnant and abandoned her after he found out.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog, Antoine D'Coolette's "first love" is either Princess Sally or some cat shown once in the comic, Tatiana.
  • Wonder Woman becomes this for Superman in Kingdom Come.
    • Superman himself appears to be this for Wonder Woman in the New 52.
  • Batwoman is this to Maggie Sawyer, after Mags broke up with Toby Raynes. She was married to a man before, but it's implied it was a way to suffocate her lesbian feelings.
  • In Runaways we have two instances of this trope.
    • Victor is this for Nico, after her first love, Alex, betrayed the team and died. It takes them some time to get there, through. And this romance ends once Victor cheats on her with another girl.
    • Xavin is this for Karolina, after the latter's first crush, Nico, rejected her feelings on the ground of not being into girls (or deeply in the closet).

    Fan Works 
  • In one Glee fanfic, Rachel is told that if you are in love with two people, choose the second one, because it wouldn't have happened if the first love was meant to be.
  • Another Glee fanfic is Bless the Broken Road. It's an AU of Burt and Carole's relationship. The title is a reference to a song that embodies the trope, as well.
  • Yet another Glee fic Cerebus Retcons Kurt into this for Blaine, combining it with The First Cut Is the Deepest and Wrong Guy First. The kicker? Blaine doesn't seem to have any concept of this and constantly wishes he'd met Kurt first.
  • In the Looney Tunes Story, Forever Loving You, Sylvia is upset that Sylvester is marrying Tweety. Fortunately, she finds her love in Tweety's ex-boyfriend, Tyler.
  • Fallout: Equestria has Littlepip hooking up with Homage after accepting that she and her childhood crush, Velvet Remedy,would never get together.
  • In How I Became Yours, Sokka finds a third love in Azula of all people, after it is offhandedly mentioned that he broke up with Suki. Subverted with Zuko and Katara; Zuko tells Mai that he never loved her after finding out that she kept Katara's letters hidden from him.
  • In the Katawa Shoujo fanfic Reconcliation, which takes place after Hanako's bad ending, Hisao and Lilly end up as a couple. Sho becomes this for Hanako.
  • Stars Above is all about this for Homura.
  • In Weekend at Hisao's, not only has Hisao gotten together with Shizune, but his old crush Iwanako has been dating his old best friend Takumi since a few months after he started at Yamaku. Takumi and Iwanako eventually break up and marry other people.
  • In the Dances with Wolves fic Thunder Horse, the eponymous character invokes this trope with regards to his wife.
    "I don't want you to ever be alone. If I cannot be here to love and protect you, let yourself love someone. It is what I want for you. Promise me that you will try to be happy again once your time to cry has passed."
  • Red Fire, Red Planet and Bait and Switch take place in the same verse (a slightly chronology-altered Star Trek Online) and overlap a character, Ensign Kate McMillan. In RFRP she's engaged to an Academy classmate named Jacques Pierre, but in the later-set B&S she's dating a Klingon lieutenant named K'lak.
  • In Children of Time, Dr. Watson falls in love with Sally Sparrow, some years after the death of his first wife, Mary. He's not shown to have loved Mary any less, and we really shouldn't be surprised that John Watson, of all people, would have a big enough heart to have loved Mary and Sally equally.
  • In Shatterheart R!Syaoran believed that he would always love the original Sakura, but eventually moves on and fall in love with Kurogane.

     Film - Animated 
  • Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire is actually this to Milo, according to the film's 2-disc DVD. Milo's first love interest according to Disc 2 is actually named Lisa McGrath.
  • Ellie from the Ice Age series films is this to Manfred, since Manny's first wife and child were both killed by humans, causing the mammoth to distrust humanity as well as fear that he is the last mammoth left.
  • Madellaine to Quasimodo in ''The Hunchback of Notre Dame II''.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, Calhoun's tragic Back Story means that any romance is this.
  • Hercules was Meg's second love. Her first boyfriend had betrayed her and run off with another girl. (The animated series shows said boyfriend was Adonis.)
  • In Frozen, Anna's first love Hans turns out have been playing her to get on the throne of Arendelle (he's 13th in line back at home). While she doesn't get married or a real Happily Ever After at the end, she does kiss Kristoff.

    Film - Live Action 

  • Depending on the adaptation, certain interpretations of Pride and Prejudice have Wickham initially be Elizabeth's first love, with her eventually realizing his true nature, and falling for and ending up with Darcy.
  • Must Love Dogs: Sarah, a slightly embittered divorcee, ultimately falls for Jake, a guy she met from an online dating service.
  • Along Came Polly: Played straight. The main character's second love with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl becomes true love. The spontaneity and freedom of the second relationship is contrasted with the caution of the first, which serves as the obvious foil.
  • High Fidelity: the #1 in Rob's list of breakups is a childhood love who lasted a total of six hours through three days. In the fourth, she dumped him for another guy. 20 years later, he calls her... and it's summed up by Rob as this:
    Alison married Kevin! I am fine now! Married her junior high school sweetheart: kissed me on the bench, kissed Kevin on the bench - MARRIED Kevin. This is great! This has got nothing to do with me! This is fate, this is destiny; it is beyond my control, beyond my fault. I love this!
  • Charlie proposes to Irene at the end of Me, Myself & Irene. In the beginning, his wife had left him for the limo driver.
  • Imagine Me And You ends like this with the unusual twist that the person falling in love is a woman falling in love at her wedding day. Oh and the person she falls for is a woman too.
  • Carly Spencer from Transformers: Dark of the Moon to Sam Witwicky, due to Megan Fox quitting production of that film.
  • Maria was this for Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, who had lost his wife and made changes in his household - such as allowing no dancing or singing - to prevent anything from reminding him of her.
  • Robert in Enchanted didn't believe in romance and "happily ever afters" after his wife had divorced him and left him and their daughter and it wasn't until Giselle came along that he truly begun to love again.
  • The Dark Knight Rises: Following the death of Rachel in The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne spends 8 years mourning. Only to learn that ultimately Rachel didn't even want him anyway. Finding a new found respect for life, he makes a fresh start with Selina Kyle In Italy.

    Literature 
  • Harry Potter ended up with his Designated Love Interest Ginny Weasley, after an ill-fated infatuation with Cho Chang. Likewise, Ron with Hermione, after a disastrous few months with Lavender Brown. Hermione herself briefly dated Viktor Krum. Rowling has said that she specifically wanted her main characters to not end up with the first person they kissed.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Éowyn didn't get Aragorn in the end. She did, however, get Faramir. (And her love for Aragorn was admittedly Loving a Shadow.)
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novels, Caffren lost his sweetheart with the destruction of Tanith, in the Back Story; then he and Criid met.
  • In Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, Marianne Dashwood's disbelief in second loves is a major plot driver. Not unsurprising, she finds her first love unworthy of her, and ends up falling in love again with Colonel Brandon.
  • In The Belgariad, Garion's first love was Zubrette, his childhood playmate he grew up with at the farm. However, he ends up with Ce'Nedra, because fate says so. The relationship was rocky and painful, but improved a bit once the pair of them had matured a bit.
  • Luke Skywalker went through a lot of girlfriends in the Expanded Universe. Mara Jade was his latest (and longest lasting), and she was his second third fourth oh forget it! She wasn't his first love, that's all you have to know.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Firestar initially fell in love with Spottedleaf. Though they never spoke about their feelings when she was alive, she continued to visit him in his dreams. In the end, though, he fell in love with Sandstorm and became her mate.
    • Graystripe's first love was Silverstream: they were Star-Crossed Lovers, and she died giving birth to his kits. Many, many moons later - when his children are grown up and thinking about having their own kits - he falls in love with Millie.
  • In Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness, Alanna and Prince Jonathan are each other's first loves, but they ultimately break up and find happiness with other people.
  • In David Weber's Honor Harrington series, Honor ends up marrying Hamish Alexander, Earl of White Haven, but in the early books, she was in love with Paul Tankersley, the exec to her biggest enemy in On Basilisk Station. He is killed in Field of Dishonor, and she doesn't have a relationship again until At All Costs. Unlike the usual application of this trope, they really were desperately in love with each other - she named her private yacht after Paul.
  • Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane were both on their Second Love.
  • In Andre Norton's Sorceress of the Witch World, Kaththea, having been bitterly deceived, has great difficulty trusting Hilarion but lives Happily Ever After in the end.
  • In Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, Rand and Egwene start out essentially happily betrothed. But Egwene ends up finding Prince Charming Gawyn, and Rand ends up with Elayne, Min, and Aviendha.
  • In Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, the chaste heroine was engaged to be married to her college sweetheart. However, his wealthy parents objected to her being half Mexican and the engagement was broken. This left her cynical about romance, but primed for a non-human menage-a-trois with Jean Claude the vampire and Richard the werewolf. And, then, once she got started, it was, "Katie, bar the door".
  • Early on in Great Expectations, Mrs. Joe is murdered by Orlick. Towards the end of the story, Joe is Happily Married to Biddy, much to the disappointment of Pip.
  • In The Red Tent, Dinah first falls in love with Prince Shalem, then after he is murdered by her brothers, she moves to Egypt and falls in love with a carpenter named Benia.
  • In The Heritage of Shannara Morgan Leah's initial (mutual) attraction to elemental Quickening ends very badly, with Quickening dead at the hands of Pe Ell. In the last book of the series he meets and becomes friends with Action Girl Matty Roh, and it is implied that they will end up together after the end of the series.
    • In the original trilogy, Wil Ohmsford is in a Love Triangle with Amberle and Eretria. He seems to be most interested in Amberle but after she sacrifices herself to become the Ellcrys he marries and has children with Eretria.
  • In P. G. Wodehouse's Jill The Reckless, Jill carefully explains to Wally that she knows she will never marry Derek, but she still has to recover from her love before she will be ready for this.
  • Inverted in The Edge Chronicles. In The Immortals, an aged and immortal Twig tells Nate that when the caterbird flew him, fatally wounded, back to Riverrise after the events of The Last of the Sky Pirates, he stayed conscious long enough to see Maugin waving happily at him.... only to drop dead a second later when Golderyace One-Eye's poison dart hit her in the neck. We later learn that Golderyace killed her because he'd fallen in love with her thoughts from a distance over the last 50 years, but killed her out of jealousy when she remained loyal to Twig.
  • Trapped on Draconica: A mutual example. Rana's first love didn't work out because Daniar was interested in the same guy and he choose Daniar over Rana. This drove her into self-exile and seclusion. Then she meets Taurok and is quickly taken with his nobility. Taurok himself has already been married and widowed but nothing is said of what happened to his first wife. They're married in the epilogue.
  • In the Petaybee series, Sean is Yana's second husband. When she's first introduced, Yana clearly misses her deceased first husband.
  • In Poul Anderson's "Arsenal Port", Heim has not gotten over his wife when Jocelyn approaches him suggesting this.
  • In Seanan McGuire's October Daye novel Ashes Of Honor, Tybalt confesses to having lost his first love to Dying In Childbirth, which made his love a second love, and he willfully ignored that he was in love again.
  • In Seanan McGuire's Velveteen Vs The Junior Super Patriots,
    • A blind date for Velma, despite her love for Action Dude, start a second love — though complications then ensue.
    • Victoria persuades Yelena to let her court her, by convincing her that she indeed would be a second love, because of the differences between her and her counterpart.
  • In Poul Anderson's "The Sharing of Flesh", Evalyth realizes she is starting to recover when she thinks that she is young, and there may be another man, and it doesn't feel disloyal.
  • Sarah Levine, the eventual wife of Richard III in the 21st Century.
  • In Voyage Of The Basset, Medusa winds up being this for Professor Aisling.
  • The Mortal Instruments: Luke ends up being this for Jocelyn.

    Live Action TV 
  • Angel: Cordelia with Angel which is ironic, since Angel used to find the noblewomen of his era (of whom Cordelia is a modern avatar) to be a horrific bore. Cordelia immediately had a crush on him on Buffy though, so it's keeping in continuity.
  • Nobody who's seen Babylon 5 would dispute that Delenn is the love of John Sheridan's life. She is his second love; he was a widower for some years before they met. Then the tension goes through the roof for a while when there's some dispute over whether the first second wife is really dead.... note  Sheridan is also Delenn's second love, not through authorial intent, but because her character was intended as the Love Interest of the main character, and that role got passed from Sinclair to Sheridan in the second season.
  • On Friends, Ross' rarely seen ex-wife Carol might count as his second love, following as she did after his teenage crush on Rachel (or Rachel herself could be the second love, as their relationship did not progress into actual romance until after Carol).
    • Also in Friends, Chandler was Monica's Third Love whose first love was Richard and second love was Pete. She had other short relationships but they were the only ones she seriously thought about marrying. The writers specifically hammered it in, when Richard returned wanting to marry her and she decisively picked Chandler showing how people do move on and your first love isn't necessarily the love of your life, a label she specifically gave Chandler.
    • Fittingly Monica was also Chandler's Third Love as he had serious relationships with Janice and Kathy and was devastated when they ended. Flashbacks reveal both Chandler and Monica had crushes on each other the first and second time they met respectively but it wasn't until they got to know each other and been friends for almost a decade that they fell in love.
    • Monica was also this to Richard. His first love was his ex-wife, who was his High School Sweetheart, and after they got divorced, he fell in love with Monica.
    • Mike is this to Phoebe, her first love being David. Like the Richard/Monica/Chandler triangle, both of them proposed to her at the same time, and she turned David down despite being in love with him for years.
    • And, interestingly enough, Phoebe might have been this for Mike, as it was established that the latter had been married before, and the divorce was harsh enough for him to give up on the institution of marriage until he met Phoebe.
  • Happens to a number of characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Usually their second loves don't last either, but that's Joss Whedon for you.
    • According to the Origin graphic novel (the canonical version of The Movie), Buffy's first real love was Pike. However, Pike feared that he would get Buffy killed, so he left her. Buffy's next serious relationship was Angel. She had two more major relationships (Riley and Spike), but even Spike agreed that Buffy and Angel would never stop loving one another.
    • Willow had a serious relationship with Oz for almost two years, until he left because he was afraid the werewolf in him would harm her. She later established an even stronger relationship with Tara... Until Tara died that is. After Tara she got together with Kennedy, though Tara has always been portrayed as her One True Love.
    • Xander's first serious relationship was with Cordelia. After they broke up, he entered a relationship with Anya. Their relationship officially ended when he left her at the altar, although season seven was largely about them struggling with the fact that they still loved each other. Anya's death in the Series Finale was the real end.
    • Although he had been with at least one other girl before starting a relationship with Willow, Oz has said she is the only one he ever loved. After their near-two year relationship ended, he fell in love with another werewolf, Bay, with whom he has a son.
    • Dawn's first serious boyfriend was a demon named Kenny, until she cheated on him and lost her virginity to his roommate. She is now in a relationship with Xander. However, Dawn has been shown to have had a childhood crush on Xander, so one could argue he is not technically her Second Love.
  • The new Battlestar Galactica is full of these. Since we are dealing with only 50,000 human beings left, most people ended up with people they might not have picked initially as a second choice.
    • In some cases, it leads to the love of their lives, such as with Laura Roslin and Bill Adama. Just before the attacks, Laura had ended a decade-long affair and Bill had found out that his ex-wife (long-divorced) was remarrying. Forced to work together to protect the rest of humanity, the two eventually developed a close friendship that grew into real love. When Laura is kidnapped and presumed dead, Bill quits his job to stay behind on the slim chance she might still be alive, telling his grown son "I can't live without her."
  • Charlotte in Sex and the City is a firm believer in this trope, stating at one point that she thinks everyone has two great loves in their life, later proving her theory with her happy marriage to second husband Harry (who was her divorce lawyer from her first marriage).
    • A bit of Fridge Brilliance regarding this comes up later. In said episode, Charlotte "proves" her theory with Carrie's Aidan and Big. Then there's an awkward Beat, as Carrie's just gone through a horrible breakup with both men. However, Carrie eventually marries Big, proving Charlotte right.
  • On Gilmore Girls: Rory had three loves: Dean, Jess and Logan. According to Word of God, she and Jess would have found their way back to each other had the series continued the way ASP had wanted.
    • Similarly, her mother Lorelai hooked up with Luke, her Second Love after Unlucky Childhood Friend Christopher. (Though Luke was actually her Third Love, if you count Max).
  • On The O.C. Ryan had three loves, though the first mostly took place before the start of the series. The first was with his childhood friend Theresa that was never more than on and off again but left them with strong feelings for each other. The second was with Marissa and was stormy and passionate and ultimately tragic, the great romance of his life. The third love with Taylor was never as comfortable as with Theresa or as passionate as with Marissa but it was the first truly adult love and - depending on how you interpret the enigmatic ending series ending- the one that might have lasted.
  • Reid is this for Luke on As the World Turns. Well, was.
  • In a rare telenovela example, Simplemente Marãa. Marã­a ends with her second love, a humble teacher who had been near her since she arrived from the country, on all the road she went to be a famous fashion designer, instead of the rich, somewhat jerkish father of her son, a rare move back in the day. Other writers would have applied Love Redeems on the rich dude, but here they glanced towards Single Woman Seeks Good Man and built towards it.
  • Technically, if you throw away the "first person I've ever loved for real" excuse, Betty's second love is Armando, and viceversa.
  • In a supernatural example, one Beyond Belief Fact Or Fiction segment shows us a man who has lost his wife. He soon meets a new love who looks and acts very similar too her. When she ends up dying as well, he happens upon a third love who is exactly the same. It's implied that this cycle keeps on going, and that it's the exact same woman's spirit.
  • Republic Of Doyle: Rose, after her husband went to jail, hit it off with Malachy.
  • On Glee, Kurt Hummel and Finn Hudson are both raised by single, widowed parents. When Kurt introduces Burt and Carole, they fall in love almost instantly, and get married in the second season. And it is adorable.
  • Chuck is this to Blair on Gossip Girl, whose first love was Nate. Nate's first love was Blair and his second was Serena.
  • On The Vampire Diaries, Stefan is this to Elena. Elena's first love was Matt, also her childhood friend whom Elena broke up with four months before unexpectedly meeting and eventually falling in love with Stefan.
  • Ianto of Torchwood finds love again after the tragic fate of Lisa. Actually, Torchwood being what it is, most of the characters fall under this trope, losing people they loved before hooking up with or at least getting a heartbreaking Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moment before dying. Gwen is really the only exception.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has two notable examples, both involving the deaths of the previous loves: Kasidy Yates, who Benjamin Sisko marries after years of mourning for his first wife, Jennifer; and Odo, who pines after Kira Nerys for years while she's with Vedek Barail Antos (and later Shakaar Edon, but this is a less serious relationship) before eventually confessing his feelings end entering a relationship with her.
  • For The X-Files, the dying doctor Scully revisits in season 7's "all things" seems to have been her first love when she was a student of medicine. (Phoebe Green, mentioned only in one first-season episode, was Mulder's.) She still has some feelings for him but rejects the idea of restarting their relationship, all but telling him she's moved on and has somebody else.
  • In Farscape, Chiana was this for D'Argo.
    • Crichton was also Aeryn's second love, though both had recreated with plenty of others before.
  • In Merlin, Arthur is Guinevere's Second Love after Lancelot.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Although she had been in several relationships before, Ted was the first man Robin ever fell in love with, while Barney was the second. And although, after she and Barney broke up, she had two other serious relationships, she has been in love with Barney since before the second one started (she even cheated with Barney on him) and there's something like a 95% probability that she and Barney are going to get back together for good in the end. They get merried but they divorce after three years.
    • Robin is Barney's second love as well, his love before Robin was Shannon. He dated Shannon in college and loved her with all his soul, but she broke his heart when she left for a wealthy suit. Barney then took up his womanizing ways. He fell for Robin, his close friend.
    • The Mother is second love for Ted. Ted dated other girls before and after Robin, but he thought that she was his destiny and his one true love. Meeting her helps Ted move on from Robin. None of the other girls he dated were ever serious because he was always obsessed with Robin.
    • It turns out that Ted becomes the Mother's second love as their meeting allows her to move on from grieving her first love, who died when she was 21. She spent several years being single and later was in a relationship with another guy, but it wasn't love. She and Ted are soulmates.
  • On LOST, Sayid's first and second loves Nadia and Shannon became the subject of disagreement among fans that wasn't limited to shippers. Both were killed; Shannon in season 2 and Nadia in season 4 or 5, depending on your perspective. Sayid was then reunited with Shannon in season 6 courtesy of the "sideways universe" while Nadia ended up with his brother, which annoyed many fans who believed the character whose name happened to be Nadia was the "truer" of the two loves.
  • In The Dead Zone (movie and TV series), Sarah marries the town sheriff after Johnny's car accident leaves him in a coma for several years. (In the book version, her eventual husband is a lawyer and aspiring politician, with the sheriff a Happily Married separate character who never interacts with Sarah "on camera".)
  • Bones: Brennan is Booth's second love. Rebecca, Parker's mother, refused to marry him and they did try getting back together but fought too much. Then he fell badly for Bones, only to have her reject him for a while before they got together. Hannah was in there as well, but she was a rebound thing, a woman he met and turned to when Brennan rejected him.
  • CSI NY: Christine is this to Mac. His first love was Claire, and her death on 9/11 pained Mac greatly. Peyton was a bit of a subversion-they seemed in love for a while, but it became clear Mac was still not ready, and comparing then with now, it does not seem he was in love with her the way he is with Christine. Especially since he and Christine appear to be on their way to getting married as of the end of season 9.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: Detective William Murdoch's fiancée died of consumption before the beginning of the series. He falls for his colleague, beautiful pathologist Dr. Julia Ogden. He has to struggle to let his first love go and acknowledge his deepening feelings for Julia, his intellectual equal.
  • In the revived Doctor Who, Rose Tyler is in a serious relationship with Mickey at the beginning of series one, but by the end of series two she has fallen in love with the Tenth Doctor and ultimately marries his half-human clone.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • It was magically revealed by Tinkerbell that Regina and Robin Hood are destined to be each other's second loves.
    • Emma is Killian/Hook's second love after Milah.
  • In Teen Wolf, the Official Couple of Scott and Allison breaks up in the season 2 finale. Then in season 3B Scott begins to fall for new girl Kira, and Allison enters a sexually charged relationship with Isaac. However on her deathbed Allison confesses that she still loves Scott

    Music 
  • In the Child Ballad The Famous Flower of Serving Man, the heroine goes to serve the king as a serving man after her husband and baby have been murdered; there, the king falls in love with her. In some variants, her dead husband, in the form of a ghost, tells the king what had happened to her; in all, the king executes her mother, who had arranged for the murders.
  • Sally, in Smokie's Living Next Door to Alice, who too had waited for 24 years...
  • Garth Brooks' song "Unanswered Prayers" tells about a guy who runs into his ex and thanks the heavens that they didn't end up together.
  • "If I Fell" by The Beatles.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the supplemental novels for Battletech, Victor Davion, a central character, loses his beloved Omiko Kurita to an assassin in the employ of his wily sister, Katherine Steiner (who also had their mother and youngest brother assassinated as well). Isis Marik, the illegitimate daughter of Thomas Marik who was exiled and was traveling with them, gives him a "get ahold of yourself" talk in the aftermath to shake him out of his despair. Eventually, the two fall in love, marry, and have three kids. And Vic later finds out Omi had a son by him.

    Theater 
  • Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet has Romeo's first love Rosaline, who only gets mentioned a few times before Juliet's appearance makes her utterly insignificant.

    Video Games 
  • In Final Fantasy X, Lulu ended up with Wakka, after her first love, Chappu, was killed by Sin.
  • In Xenogears, Fei's first love was his childhood friend Alice (who was engaged to his other childhood friend Timothy). However, both Alice and Timothy were killed. Later, Fei ends up with Elly.
    • Later in the game, it is revealed that Elly really is Fei's first love, as they have been lovers for 10000 years via reincarnation.
  • In Metal Gear Solid, Meryl's first love was Solid Snake. Unfortunately for her, Snake was too concerned with his Heterosexual Life Partner Otacon. She eventually marries the game's Butt Monkey Johnny Sasaki.
  • BioWare seems to have a thing for this trope:
    • The Player Character to Jaheira in Baldur's Gate 2.
    • The player character of Knights of the Old Republic to Carth.
    • Neverwinter Nights:
      • The player character to Aribeth, and possibly a different player character again to Aribeth as her third love in Hordes of the Underdark.
      • Any love interest you could possibly end up with in the The Bastard Of Kosigan series is going to be your character's second at least, after Alex's unavoidable plotline death.
      • The player to Anera in the Shadowlords/Dreamcatcher/Demon arc.
    • The player character to Sky in Jade Empire, and possibly (alternately) Silk Fox to the Player Character. (Complicating matters a bit is that they're both Bi the Way.)
    • Mass Effect:
      • The player character to Thane or Jack in Mass Effect 2.
      • Shepard him/herself can have one in the second game, if you romance Ashley/Kaidan/Liara in the first game and move on to someone else in the second. This can cause tension in the third game...unless your Mass Effect 1 romance is dead, of course.
      • In the third game Male Shepard can be one to Gay Option Steve after helping him to move past the death of his husband.
    • Dragon Age:
  • The Player Character to Casavir in Neverwinter Nights 2.
    • And Gann or Safiya (depending on gender) to the player in Mask of the Betrayer. Though, given the soul-juggling mechanics, Safiya is a male player's first love and Elanee was his second.
  • The Player Character to Atton in Knights of the Old Republic 2. Depending on how you interpret his feelings for the woman he was talking about.
  • Princess Peach to Mario in the Super Mario Bros. series games. Originally, Mario's love interest is Pauline, from his debut game, Donkey Kong.
  • Atoli from .hack//G.U. Games to Haseo, at least in G.U Trilogy(the original G.U games are YMMV on it being the case!)
  • Harvest Moon: Animal Parade has Jin, one of the few and only characters in the series who is a marriageable bachelor and had a previous wife. She was an Ill Girl who passed away, and Jin, despite being a doctor, couldn't help her. Whether he ends up with the player or his Love Interest Anissa depends on the player, however.
    • The original SNES version has Ann's father marrying Nina's mother, if you marry Ann.
  • The Player Character can be this to Professor Grabiner in Magical Diary.
  • Isaac spent almost all of the original Dead Space trying to find his girlfriend, Nicole only to find out that she had been Dead All Along. In the sequel, he meets Ellie Langford; they help each other survive for a while, and Isaac eventually manages to overcome his guilt and sorrow over Nicole's death. Sometime between 2 and 3, Isaac and Ellie had a relationship. His relationship with the two women serve as Book Ends for the series; the opening of Dead Space had Isaac watching at a recording Nicole had sent, and at the end of 3 as he plummets without sign of rescue he looks at a picture of Ellie.
  • Any guy who marries Cordelia in Fire Emblem Awakening, since she has feelings for Prince Chrom for a long time and her romantic supports are, more often than not, about her trying to deal with it. And this certainly includes a male Player Character.
    • This may be the case in regards to Cordelia's best friend Sumia too, but it's much less harped on since she does have a chance to be with Chrom if the player so desires.
    • And possibly genderflipped in in regards to Lon'qu, if his thoughts and feelings regarding his dead Only Friend Ke'ri were romantic in nature. (This includes a female Player Character, of course.)
    • Also any guy who hooks up with Lissa (the aforementioned Lon'qu included) save for Frederick, her First Love.
    • In regards to the kids from the future, Cynthia implies in her supports with Inigo that she's had a crush on him since they were children, so any guy save for Inigo will be this for her. This may also be the case for Owain, in regards to Cynthia herself if his S support with her is to be trusted.

    Visual Novels 
  • Lampshaded but averted in Kanon with the Official Couple. Yuuichi jokes that he hopes Ayu retracts having said that he was her first love, as everyone knows it's only the times after your first that the relationships work.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, there are a few cases of this.
    • Emi has this happen twice. The first time was with her team captain, who turned out to be gay, and she later had a boyfriend at Yamaku, but they broke up because she kept him at arm's length (a problem Hisao must resolve to successfully complete her route).
    • Lilly had a crush on her English tutor, but never acted on it.
    • Hisao himself had feelings for Iwanako, the girl who met with him for a Love Confession in the first scene, just before he suffered a heart attack. She stops visiting him in the hospital after six weeks and later sends a "Dear John" Letter, meaning that any girl Hisao winds up with is going to be his second love.

    Web Comics 
  • Mainly of the main couples in Kevin & Kell fall under this trope. The titular couple itself is one: Kevin was a divorcee, Kell a widow. Others include Dorothy (divorced) and Douglas (widower), Martha (divorce) and Ralph (unmarried widower), Angelique (Kevin's ex) , and George (Martha's ex).
    • George is a bit complicated though. His second love was Danielle, Kevin's sister, who died during an attack on Rabbit's Revenge, but her human counterpart ended up crossing over into Domain, falling in love with George herself, and eventually married him. So, depending on whether you count the formerly human Danielle as a separate person from the original Danielle, George is either on his second or third love.
  • Makoto is Miharu's second love in Red String, after her disastrous breakup with Kazuo. Miharu, for her part, is Makoto's second serious relationship after his first girlfriend dumped him and his attempts to love and woo Karen failed. Hanae is Fuuko's second love after Maya figured out she didn't feel the same way for Fuuko.
  • In Sunstone Ally is this to Lisa; her relationship with her first love ended due to Lisa never getting the confidence to explain her intimate interests to him; despite them discussing engagement before it turned sour; this causes her moments of doubts and guilt early into her relationship with Ally.
  • In TwoKinds: Flora is Trace's second great love after his deceased wife (who's death sparked Trace's original Start of Darkness).note 

    Web Original 
  • In A Loaf Story, an entry from The Wanderers Library, after Emilio is eaten by a pigeon, Elizabeth finds happiness with this in the most Tearjerking way possible.

    Western Animation 
  • In My Dad The Rock Star Willy falls for his best friend Alyssa in the last episode. Alyssa was the second girl he fell for in the series, with his first love being Angela D'Angelo. While mutually interested, Willy and Angela's relationship never even technically got started due to the actions of Angela's extremely protective parents, with said parents moving the entire family out of town just to prevent said relationship.
  • On Phineas and Ferb, Linda and Lawrence are Happily Re-Married, each having been a single parent before they met. The creators are specifically vague about their previous spouses.
  • Although he met her first, Sokka in Avatar: The Last Airbender only fell in love with Suki after his first love, Princess Yue, Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence.
  • On Adventure Time, Flame Princess is the second love for Finn, since his old crush Princess Bubblegum considered herself too old for him (even before the reveal of her real age.) Recent events may have sunk this ship though...
  • It looked like Thundercats 2011 was going to do this when Cheetara turned out to be into Lion-o's brother Tygra and he meets a new girl. Then she, Pumyra, turns out to be Dead All Along and revived by his enemies to infiltrate his gang and betray him.
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series: Razer became a Red Lantern because of his wife's death, but he slowly falls in love with Aya during the first half of the series. And then he completely fucks it up by telling her he loves her and taking it back. Everything goes to hell after that.
  • Emma Frost was set up to be this to Cyclops on Wolverine and the X-Men after his first love/Designated Love Interest Jean Grey disappeared (after chastising him for getting into a fight with Wolverine no less), but the series didn't follow through on it.
  • Sofia the First: Miranda and King Roland are this to each other.
  • Gargoyles never showed us any of Elisa's past relationships, but Goliath's ex-mate Demona featured prominently as an antagonist throughout the series.

    Real Life 
  • In modern (especially Western) Civilization, serial monogamy is so common that some evolutionary psychologists think humans evolved to favor such relationships.

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