It used to be thought that superheroes had to be single in order to be interesting protagonists. After all, a single superhero is a mobile superhero; it's easier to suddenly drop everything to go fly into space and have adventures with the Space Princess of Neptune when you don't have a wife and kids waiting at home. And besides that, everybody knows that comic book readers are lonely, single guys anyway. So why bother them with something they can't relate to, like a committed relationship?

As such, superheroes afflicted with this trope are never, under ''any'' circumstances, allowed to settle down with anyone. ([[AlternateUniverse At least, not in the main canon]].) Unlike the CelibateHero, they may actually date, but expect them to say "ItsNotYouItsMyEnemies," and other excuses of varying plausibility. If they actually do show signs of planning to settle down with someone, expect the CartwrightCurse to rear its ugly head, resulting in the love interest getting killed off, PutOnABus or otherwise removed from the hero's life before story's end or somewhere further down the line.

Compare TrueLoveIsBoring and ShippingBedDeath, which may lead to this in more romance-focused works such as ''Series/LoisAndClark''.

Related to TheMasqueradeWillKillYourDatingLife.


* UsefulNotes/{{The Silver Age|of Comic Books}} Superman stories ran on this.
** Eventually averted by the marriage of Lois Lane and Superman.
*** Undone by {{ComicBook/New 52}} universe reboot. [[spoiler: Said reboot sent Superman back to unmarried status]].
** Averted in UsefulNotes/{{the Bronze Age|OfComicBooks}} by the marriage of the Earth-2 Superman and Lois Lane.
* This may have been the mentality behind the destruction of the SpiderMan[=/=]Mary Jane relationship in ''ComicBook/OneMoreDay''. [[FlameBait Please refrain from adding further commentary on the subject.]]
** Spider-Man is still married in the daily comic strip.
** Before Peter and Mary Jane tied the knot, a marriage had been put off by killing off Gwen Stacy and by putting Mary Jane on the bus ca. 1980.
* ''The ComicBook/IncredibleHulk'' ran on this for decades. Even after he was married in the early 1980s, most of the time he was estranged/separated from his wife (and then she died). But now he's got a whole family of Hulks.
* Averted in ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'': barring the occasional character [[ComicBookDeath death]], Reed & Sue have been more-or-less happily married for quite a long time.
** Played straight with Johnny Storm and Alicia Masters, their marriage was undone by having Alicia [[{{Retcon}} Retconned]] to be a Skrull spy.
* Franchise/{{Batman}} falls squarely into this trope in nearly all incarnations, but ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' completely averts it by introducing its [[LegacyCharacter protagonist]] in a serious dating relationship that he maintains throughout the series. [[spoiler: "Epilogue" reveals that they will marry.]]
** Batman's proteges suffer from this trope as well. Dick Grayson and Starfire's marriage ceremony in a New Teen Titans issue was cut short by an invasion, and later on his engagement to Barbara Gordon fizzled out for no reason at all.
** Tim Drake's long-term relationship with Stephanie Brown ended after she got brutally killed in War Games. She came back to life and they briefly restarted their relationship, but soon after she was sent back into limbo in the {{ComicBook/New 52}} reboot.
** Like Superman, averted by the wedding of Batman and Catwoman's Earth-2 counterparts.
* ComicBook/GreenArrow and ComicBook/BlackCanary ''tried'' to avert this but the Mike Grell era signaled the end of their relationship. Their 2007 marriage proved to be unpopular and was quickly ended by the events of ''ComicBook/JusticeLeagueCryForJustice''.
* [[Comicbook/XMen Cyclops]] married Madelyne Pryor, only to abandon her and become widowed soon after. He then married Jean Grey who is currently dead.
* Creator/GrantMorrison {{deconstructed}} this in Comicbook/AnimalMan, killing the titular character's family for drama only to bring them back at the end of the story.
* Donna Troy's husband and child were murdered in a car wreck, arguably for this trope to be justified.
* Cartoonist Lee Falk defies this trope. ComicStrip/ThePhantom married Diana back in the '70s (granted, this ''was'' after one of those decades-long NewspaperComics courtships), had two children, and the family is still together today. As for ComicStrip/MandrakeTheMagician, Falk got him and Narda married off in a huge storyline than ran shortly before Falk's own death (and heck, Mandrake and Narda's 60-odd year courtship makes the Phantom's look like a Vegas wedding by comparison!). Mandrake and Narda are still together in their comic.
* ComicBook/CaptainAmerica has rarely had a long-lasting relationship since at least the GoldenAge. In the 1980s he was with Bernie Rosenthal long enough to become officially engaged to her; however she was eventually put on a bus. In the film ''WesternAnimation/NextAvengersHeroesOfTomorrow'' [[spoiler:it is revealed he married Black Widow and had a son]].
* Franchise/WonderWoman and Steve Trevor dated steadily from the GoldenAge until the 70's. He then spent the next 15 years getting killed or PutOnABus, and then [[TheBusCameBack brought back,]] repeatedly. After the [[ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths Crisis,]] George Perez retconned away their relationship completely and married Steve off to supporting castmember Etta Candy.
** On Earth-2, Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor married, resulting in their child [[ComicBook/InfinityInc Lyta Trevor (Fury)]].
* Elizabeth Carson of the WhateleyUniverse has been married three times: two divorces and one husband killed by a supervillain. One of the divorces was apparently caused when one of their kids got superpowers and died from a burnout. She's single now, but has at least one (living) child and at least one granddaughter. (She's over seventy at the start of the series.
* [[TheFlash Barry Allen]] had his marriage to Iris West undone as part of the {{ComicBook/New 52}} reboot, with the fact that it would open up more story possibilities cited as the main reason by [=DC=]. [[spoiler:He is now with Patty Spivot]].
** Wally had his marriage undone by [[RetGone being removed from canon.]]
* [=DC=] wouldn't let [[ComicBook/BatWoman Kate Kane]] marry Maggie Sawyer and not because of their sexual orientation, due to an editorial mandate that their characters cannot be married or have happy personal lives in their New 52 continuity. It's one of the many issues of Williams III and Blackman had that made them decide to leave their run on the comic.
* Webcomic/HeroByNight - Jack's girlfriend Roz just isn't happy being with a superhero. David's love life, from what we've seen of it, looks just as bad.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Supermom}}'', this is averted in Liza's happy marriage, but she's very unhappy to find out that the comic book based on her exploits has turned her single again in its pages.
* During the original run of ''Series/DoctorWho'', this trope generally applied to the Doctor (and to most of the other characters too, as per Creator/TheBBC's policy of "[[NoHuggingNoKissing no hanky-panky in the TARDIS]]").