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I Want My Beloved To Be Happy / Live-Action TV

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Examples of I Want My Beloved to Be Happy in live-action TV.


  • On Alice, the increasingly-smitten Hatter continues to help Alice throughout all her tribulations, despite knowing that it's all in a bid to save her fiancé. He wins her in the end though.
  • Angel: Angel is jealous of the Groosalugg because he's usurping his role as The Champion, plus Cordelia's interest in him as a Lust Object. Nevertheless, at the end of "Couplet", he tells them to take a long holiday together, "some place in the sun". At the end of the season, after realizing that Cordelia truly loved Angel and not him, the Groosalugg chivalrously steps aside to let Cordelia pursue him.
    • Subverted in "A Hole in the World". Knox makes it clear that he's not going to interfere in Fred being with Wesley. Turns out he has another fate in mind for Fred, not out of revenge, but because Knox regards it as an honor for Fred's body to be used as a host for the demon god he worships.
  • Arrowverse:
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    • Arrow
      • Oliver Queen supported his ex-girlfriend Laurel Lance's relationship with his best friend Tommy Merlyn, even though he still was and always would be in love with her, because he felt he didn't deserve her love and couldn't give her the life she originally wanted with him. Laurel was still in love with him and when he seemingly moved on with Felicity Smoak, she wished him the best in their relationship on her deathbed. Even though they never got back together, it becomes very clear that Oliver and Laurel were each other's One True Love, and that all they ever really wanted was for the other to be happy.
      • Tommy also broke up with Laurel towards the end of Season 1 for this reason — he knew Laurel was still in love with Oliver, and knew it wouldn't be fair to either of them for their relationship to continue because of that.
      • Nyssa releases Sara from the League of Assassins when she realizes that her former lover will never be happy there. She reaffirms this when Sara goes to rescue her in Legends of Tomorrow, telling Sara to not let the past hold her back and find happiness, even if it isn't with her.
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    • The Flash (2014)
      • Barry Allen has been in love with Iris West all his life, and all he has ever wanted was for her to be happy. That's why, even though he knows that she loves him more than she does Eddie (even if she herself hadn't realized it yet — Time Travel was involved) and knows that in both another timeline and their own future, they were Happily Married, he stepped aside and allowed her to make her choice and be with her Season 1 boyfriend Eddie Thawne. Unfortunately, it becomes a moot point when Eddie commits a Heroic Suicide to stop that season's Big Bad, his descendant Eobard Thawne.
      • Ironically, Eddie tried to do the same with Iris when he briefly broke up with her. After learning that Barry and Iris are married to each other in the future, he is forced to confront what he's always known but refused to acknowledge: that Iris is in love with Barry, and that, when it comes down to it, she loves Barry more than she loves him, even if she has yet to fully realize and/or accept it. Iris, in turn, responds with Screw Destiny: even if she unwittingly loves Barry, even if it's him she's supposed to be with, right now the only person she knows she loves is Eddie, and she wanted to be with him. Of course, as Barry's own example shows, it simply wasn't meant to be.
      • In Season Two, Iris finally realized that she was in love with Barry, and probably always has been. However, her acceptance of this revelation came after Eddie's death. Since she was too emotionally compromised to give an honest go at another relationship, she supported Barry's relationship with Patty Spivot.
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    • Supergirl
      • Currently the case between Kara, the newly returned Mon-El, and his wife, Irma Ardeen. Short version: after ejecting Mon-El from Earth to escape its leadened atmosphere, he got sucked into a wormhole, traveled several centuries into the future and met Irma while helping that population fight for its freedom. Cue Season 3, he returns with her in tow and once the marital nature of their relationship is revealed to Kara, she chooses to ignore her own feelings and not to interfere with it.
      • Irma, for her part however, seems to be just as willing to nullify her and Mon-El's union for Kara's sake, but thus far, the current World-Killer situation is keeping this from being fully addressed.
  • Lennier in Babylon 5 is a curious example. He tries to be this for most of the show. The time he fails, he is so ashamed that he runs off to become The Atoner. The shame is perhaps not so curious when you consider his failure was an attempt to Murder the Hypotenuse.
  • On Battlestar Galactica:
    • Sam Anders does this, but Kara ultimately sticks with him.
    • In "Rapture", Lee orders Dualla to undertake a risky rescue of Kara Thrace. Dualla knows perfectly well what motivates this order and is not happy about it, but obeys her husband and superior officer anyway.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Tara tells Willow "you have to be with the one you love." Tara is convinced that Willow will go back to her ex-boyfriend Oz, and is astonished and happy when Willow's answer is "I am."
    • Interestingly, Oz's reaction (after the dust has settled) is the same as Tara's. One of the things he wants to know for sure before leaving is that Willow is happy.
    • This is Angel's reason for leaving Buffy: he doesn't think she can be truly happy with him. This is an extreme case of this trope: there is no "other guy" in sight at the time. Angel just wants Buffy to have the opportunity to have a normal relationship.
    • Angel does this again in the comics. He's jealous over Spike, who was now in official relationship with Buffy and does not approve of it all. Nevertheless, he puts aside his feelings and eventually accepted her decision because Buffy seemed happy with him. (He does, however, admit it was easier because he knows they won't last)
    • Spike briefly did this to Buffy in Season 9 for the exact same reasons as Angel, ironically enough. He thought she'd be happier without him in her life and wanted her to be with some normal guy, even though, once again, it was very clear Buffy still had feelings for him. Though, once again, like Angel, he seemed to cast this aside at some point in favor of being with her.
    • Xander eventually reconciles himself to Buffy seeing him as a friend. In Season Eight, Buffy briefly comes onto him. However, Xander recognizes that she's looking for a warm body, not love, and reaffirms that they are friends only.
    • Riley Finn turns down two separate opportunities to kill Spike in Season 6 & 7, knowing that Buffy is now involved with him. Even though Spike was responsible for him breaking up with Buffy in the first place.
  • In the Chinese drama Chinese Paladin Yue Ru settles for this after realizing there's no way in hell the hero is going to abandon his true love for her.
  • Patrick from Coupling almost does this to Sally: "You need Mr. Amazing, Mr. Incredibly-Superbly-Fantastic-Ness. In your heart, I'm sure you know I'm right." Subverted because he was talking about himself.
  • In Death in Paradise, Humphrey is finally about to confess his infatuation for Camille when she tells him that she's been offered her dream job in Paris. As her commanding officer, he has the opportunity to refuse to release her, but has a Jerkass Realization in time to clear her transfer and see her on her way.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor does this in a non-romantic sense whenever a companion leaves the TARDIS (or whenever he leaves a companion behind). It generally doesn't work, though: Sarah Jane, Jo, and Jack were all deeply hurt by him leaving them. He eventually apologizes to them all after decades.
    • Rose Tyler and her boyfriend Mickey both go through this, when they realize that Rose's love for the Doctor makes their relationship impossible. Rose wants to be fine with Mickey dating other women, and Mickey wants to be fine with Rose's feelings for the Doctor, but it's hard on both of them. Eventually, the Doctor himself breaks off all ties with Rose, since he doesn't want her to have to experience a painful Mayfly–December Romance with him. He pairs her up with his half-human mortal clone and tells them to go live happily ever after like regular humans. Mickey leaves Rose forever after a sweet goodbye and goes to live his own life.
    • In "The Parting of the Ways", even though they still don't like the Doctor much, Mickey and Jackie help Rose open up the TARDIS so she can get back to him.
    • This also turns out to be the reason Amy broke up with Rory between Series 6 and Series 7. She knew that he had always wanted children, but due to something the Silence did to her on Demon's Run, she'd become infertile. Luckily, the two later reconcile.
    • There's a more platonic take on this between the Doctor and Clara. It seems to be mutual. Played for Drama in the finale of Series 8, where they both misunderstand and lie to each other in order for both of them to (seemingly) move on with their lives and start anew. Though it gets subverted after that...
    • Played for even more drama (whether romantic or platonic is up for debate, with Word of God offering contradictory views) in Series 9 when Clara is killed, but the Doctor breaks the laws of time to extract her from the moment before her death after spending 4.5 billion years formulating a plan to do so out of grief for her loss. Knowing that the Time Lords will find her if she has any memories of the Doctor, the Doctor plans to erase her memories of him and leave her somewhere safe on earth, never to encounter him again. Ultimately, this doesn't go as planned and the Doctor accepts the Mind Rape upon himself, allowing Clara to live as long as she wants, albeit without him by her side.
  • On Dollhouse, Alpha, of all people, does this in the finale, allowing Echo and Paul to be together forever. Sort of.
  • Downton Abbey does this with the Mary-Matthew-Lavinia triangle. Initially, Mary supports Matthew's relationship with Lavinia for this reason, despite still being in love with him. At the end of series two, after seeing Matthew and Mary kiss and hearing that Violet asked Matthew to marry Mary, Lavinia tries to convince him to go back to Mary in the belief he'll be happier that way. Then she dies of Spanish flu before he can argue with her.
  • Understated and not melodramatic in Eureka. Jack Carter wants the best for Alison, even to the point of walking her down the aisle to marry another man even though he thinks she's making a mistake.
  • Family Matters: Something that keeps Steve Urkel Stalker with a Crush tendencies from getting as bad as Myra or Myrtle. He gets jealous if she Laura dates someone else but will accept it and support her doing so. And while he's quick to jump on the opportunity if he discovers said dates are just slimeballs it's more because of how they're bad for Laura than because he looking to benefit. He's actually called Myrtle out on not doing this with Eddie. This is best shown in the Season 4 episode "Dance to the Music"; Steve, despite his feelings for Laura, sets her up with popular jock Ted Curran, one of Laura few dates who not a jerk. When Ted asks, why because he knows of his feelings for Laura, Steve tells him that Laura wants to go with him and all he cares about is her happiness.
  • In the Frasier episode "Visions of Daphne", Niles does this for Daphne when she gets engaged to Donny.
  • The fourth season finale of Friends has Rachel realizing she loves Ross and rushing to London to stop him from marrying Emily. As she arrives at the church, however, she witnesses a tender moment between Ross and Emily. So when Ross sees Rachel and asks why she's there, Rachel replies, "I just needed to tell you...congratulations."
    • Previously, Chandler to Janice when she can't decide between him and her almost-ex-husband. They had a child together, so Chandler says he'll walk away so she can go back to her family. Extra heartwarming as Chandler explains his own parents split up when he was young and he doesn't want any other child to go through what he did. It then gets subverted in their last scene of the episode where Chandler takes back everything he'd previously said and pathetically begs Janice to ignore her husband and stick with him instead. It doesn't work. But the sentiment is definitely there and a heart-wrenching moment for Chandler.
    • Richard has this in his final appearance. After coming back asking Monica to get back together while she's with Chandler (even offering her marriage and children), he ultimately bows out when he sees that Chandler is also prepared to offer these things (and more willing to have children than he is) and that he himself wouldn't even be in the running if he hadn't messed up Chandler's proposal.
      Richard: You want her that badly?...you go get her, Chandler. And when you've got her... Don't let her go. Trust me.
    • Played for Laughs between Chandler and Monica after they're married. Chandler, playing on his fears as an Insecure Love Interest, is led to believe another guy is Monica's "soulmate" and he's not good enough for her. (Well done Phoebe and Rachel). Caught in an Imaginary Love Triangle, Chandler tells Monica he won't stand in her way if she wants to get a divorce and run off with her "soulmate". Naturally Monica—after she figures out what the hell he's talking about—tells him she's not going anywhere and doesn't want anyone but him.
  • Game of Thrones: Although Jorah is in love with Daenerys, and jealous of every potential love interest of hers — Daario Naharis in particular — he knows that his feelings are unrequited. In spite of that he serves her, doesn't give much voice to his jealousy, and his greatest wish is to see her sitting on her throne and to be by her side. He implies this when he declines Jon's attempt to return Longclaw to him, saying that it rightfully belongs to him and his future children, indicating that he's come to terms with any relationship between Jon Snow and Daenerys, who do fall in love with one another, although he believes that Dany is infertile so this could also be an averted example.
  • Played in a Lighter and Softer way in Girl Meets World when Farkle, who has a Running Gag of being in love with his female friends Maya and Riley, offers to help Riley learn to flirt so she can win the affections of her crush, Lucas. When Maya mentions that she thought Farkle loved Riley himself, he says, "I do, and that's why I want her to be happy."
  • Glee:
    • In a non-romantic example, in "Wheels" Kurt gives up a chance at a solo he desperately wants—he actually throws the all-important high note at the audition—because his father is getting anonymous homophobic phone calls and he doesn't want to make the situation worse by drawing attention to himself. In a more standard romantic example, in "Silly Love Songs" he supports Blaine in his attempt to woo Jeremiah with a public serenade even though he is in love with Blaine himself. He's not so generous when Blaine gets a bit confused and briefly tries dating Rachel, though...
    • And then when they finally get together, Blaine returns the favor by letting Kurt transfer back to McKinley.
    • Blaine does it again in "I Am Unicorn", deciding not to try out for Tony in the school's production of West Side Story because he knows Kurt wants the part, even though he really wants it too.
    • Finn to Rachel at the end of Season 3 when he breaks off their engagement and sends her to New York to follow her dreams of stardom instead of her staying in Lima to help him and Kurt.
  • On Gossip Girl, Chuck tells Blair he has no romantic feelings for her and is only playing a game, and sends her off to be with his best friend. When Serena asks why he would say that his reply is: "Because I love her. And I can't make her happy." The following episode he goes out of his way to make sure Blair has the perfect prom as envisioned in her secret prom scrapbook, without even telling her he is orchestrating it, just to see her be happy. He takes things a step further at the end of season 4 where Blair is about to break her engagement with Prince Louis only to have Chuck cut in saying that he had been giving Blair his blessing for the marriage...because although Blair and Chuck were in love in an insane crazy way, he knew she needed something different at that point, something she could only have with Prince Louis. In season five, Chuck spends the entire season doing everything to make Blair happy, almost always at the cost of his own happiness. Examples include letting her think he's turned bad so she can feel confident in choosing Louis, giving food poisoning to the priest who planned on ruining Blair's wedding to Louis and nearly bankrupting himself to get her out of her marriage by paying her dowry without her knowing about it, even though he knew that she would choose to date Dan Humphrey instead, a guy Chuck hates (this after she's made out with Dan in Chuck's bedroom). In the season finale he finally gets to the point where he can't sacrifice his own happiness for hers anymore. He tells her he's moving on with his life which causes her to break up with Dan to get back together with Chuck but he rejects her in what Word of God suggests is a Gone with the Wind homage. The first scene of the following season depicts them having wild sex in a hotel room.
  • On Guiding Light, Olivia decides Natalia's faith and happiness would suffer if they ever got together, so she decides to talk her into marrying the good man Frank. Much angst was caused.
  • On Heroes after learning that Charlie was sent back to 1944, and has lived a fulfilling life, complete with grandkids, Hiro decides not to go back in time to "rescue" her, despite being in love with her.
  • In The Hour, Isaac's infatuation with Sissy and inability to do anything about it leads to her starting a relationship with another man, and the two are very happy together. Isaac is understandably disappointed, but tries his best to be supportive of them, even when they get married. It's subverted with Bel and Freddie. They try to be happy for each other when they find other lovers at separate points, but it never ends up working and they always end up back with each other, though not romantically until the Season Two finale.
  • House: The patient of the week was a polygamist in an open marriage, so she and her husband have sex with people outside the relationship. One of the theories is that the disease was sexually transmitted, and when they check up on the wife's lover it comes up empty. The husband's lover is the next candidate, only he doesn't have one. Turns out he never wanted to have sex with other people, he just wanted his wife to be happy.
  • Patricia of all characters does this in House of Anubis at the end of Season 3. Despite obviously still liking Eddie and having been insecure and jealous about his relationship with KT all throughout the season, she told him he could be with her if he really wanted to. Eddie's response? Jokingly agree to it and admit Patricia is the one he still wants to be with.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Ted does this when he falls in love with his new friend Zoey, a married woman, and noticing their mutual chemistry, tries to ensure he won't accidentally ruin her marriage by pretending to hate her, hoping she'll break off their friendship. However, he is unaware that Zoey is in fact getting divorced, so he doesn't have to do it at all.
    • Ted also did it earlier for Stella, the woman who left him at the altar, when he has an opportunity to confront her and imagines delivering a devastating "The Reason You Suck" Speech to her for breaking his heart. However, when he sees her greet the man she dumped him for, his anger dissapates and he leaves them be, noting that "It was the perfect end to a perfect love story. It just wasn't mine." And several months later, he even gets the two of them back together (on Stella's request!) when they temporarily break up over the guilt about what they did to him. Talk about Up to Eleven.
    • Way back in season 2, Lily did this for Marshall while they were broken up. After making a fool out of herself in front of Marshall and his date, she apologizes, promises she'll stay away from him from now on, and tells him to go after the girl, but Marshall (of course) picks Lily in the end.
    • Ted and Robin's breakup basically boiled down to a mutual case of this: they were both still in love with each other, but realized that to fulfill their dreams the other would have to sacrifice theirs, so they decided to part amicably instead.
    • Robin does it in season seven with regards to Barney (who she is desperately but secretly in love with), even Playing Cyrano for Barney and his crush Nora.
    • After their roles are reversed in mid-season seven, Barney does it for Robin, saying that even though her choosing Kevin over him made him mad, she's his bro and if she's happy, he's happy, regardless of who she is with. And Ted does it back to Barney in the same conversation, encouraging Barney to go after Robin after he realizes what happened between them that caused the aforementioned role-reversal even though Ted himself had been in the middle of asking Robin to consider getting back together with himself, until Barney insists that Robin's not in love with him, so if she's happy with Ted, he'd be fine with it. When Robin rejects him, he quite calmly assumes it's because of Barney, and doesn't seem to believe her denial, possibly setting him up for this trope again given that Robin and Barney are set on a Will They or Won't They? track. Seriously, this entire group is so concerned about making each other happy to the detriment of their personal desires they seem to keep accidentally screwing up each other's lives due to Poor Communication Kills.
    • Ted did this again when he finally let go of Robin right before her wedding.
  • iCarly: Freddie for Carly in "iSaved Your Life". Quite an unusual example, because Freddie himself pulls out of the relationship in order to make sure Carly would be happy, instead of potentially taking advantage of a situation where she might not really like him but just thinks she does.
  • An interesting subversion occurs on In Plain Sight with one of the witness couples. They were a very unhappy but very devout Catholic couple when they see a priest murdered. Because of their faith they cannot get divorced, even though it is quite obvious they hate each other at this point. To make a long story short, she has found someone else that she likes and they both know this, but she wouldn't dare cheat. He ends up faking his death so that she can move on. She is not his beloved, but she is his wife and he admires her very much, and in order for her to be happy she can't be tied to him. So he fakes his own death and gets WitSec to help him get relocated again. At the end, the man she really loves is comforting her as he sneaks out the back.
  • Jessie: This occurs in the third season finale where Tony is jealous of Jessie's new relationship with Brooks as he still has feelings for her. He tries to tell Jessie how he feels about her, but when Brooks proposes he takes a step back and accepts her decision to marry him, even volunteering to officiate the wedding. However, this proved to be unnecessary as the engagement breaks off at the altar when Brooks leaves for a new job in Africa.
    • This is followed by a Continuity Nod in the fourth season premiere Jessie invokes this trope as well after find out that Brooks has moved on very easily and is now dating the veterinarian at his animal sanctuary.
  • Subverted in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in the episode "Birthright" with a woman and a little girl. The little girl is the woman's biological daughter. As Novak practically harasses the little girl on the stand, the little girl denies that the woman is her biological mother and cries for the mother that raised her. In the end, the woman loves her "daughter" too much to see her upset so, she quits fighting for the custody of the little girl and moves out of New York. It was a pretty upsetting episode.
  • On Merlin, both Lancelot and Arthur reveal to Merlin in separate conversations that all they want for Guinevere is her happiness. It's also something of a subversion, since between the two of them, the actions they take to secure her happiness usually end with her in tears.
  • Murdoch Mysteries:
    • At the end of Season 3, Dr. Ogden moves to Buffalo because she can't have children and knows Murdoch wants a family. She even marries another man, Dr. Darcy Garland, at the end of Season 4.
    • At the end of Season 5, Darcy says he's not going to stand in the way of Julia getting back together with Murdoch. Then he changes his mind in season 6, because drama.
    • Late in season 8, Edna's supposedly deceased husband returns just as she and George and her stepson are talking over their new life together as a family. (George proposed marriage after spending much of the season courting her, and she accepted.) Shortly afterwards, she and George meet, and he tells her to return to her husband and "be happy" rather than worry about his feelings.
  • My Babysitter's a Vampire: This is the reason why Sarah sucks out the venom from Ethan. She would rather become a full vampire herself than let Ethan die and become a vampire.
  • The Office (UK): Tim gracefully lets go of Dawn in the Christmas special, but gives her some words of encouragement. This finally compels Dawn to ditch her unsympathetic fiancé and passionately kiss Tim.
  • The Office (US):
    • For the first two seasons, Jim tries to be this with Pam, but ultimately fails due to Roy's poor treatment of Pam (i.e. he'd probably be happy that she's happy, except she isn't happy). Ultimately subverted when Jim confesses his love for Pam and kisses her. A selfish moment on his part, but it does coax Pam out of her shell.
    • Repeated in season 9 when Erin has to choose between Andy and Pete. Erin intends to break up with the less-than-considerate Andy, but Andy convinces her to fake it for his benefit and he'll (probably) try to be better. She later confesses this to Pete, knowing he'll be disappointed. Pete simply states that he wants Erin to be happy, which prompts her to kiss him and run off to dump Andy.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Starcrossed", Michael Ryan helps his former lover Cass Trenton, whom he has never gotten over, and her husband Winston Meyerburg procure a Hing spacecraft so that they can escape from Archangel.
  • Person of Interest. As he's about to depart overseas on a mission, John Reese discovers his former Love Interest Jessica has gotten engaged, but she says that if Reese asks her, she will wait for him instead of getting married. Reese turns down the offer thinking she deserves better than a government assassin, and regrets it bitterly when she's murdered by her abusive husband.
  • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: During a monster attack, Kai's crush Hannah points out a man trapped in a car that's about to be crushed by an electrical tower. She tells Kai "the wedding is tomorrow" and he was picking up her dress. Kai, though upset, rushes in to grab him before the tower falls. Kai then runs away to join the other Rangers, but later learns that Hannah was a bridesmaid and the man in the car is now her brother-in-law.
  • Played with in Princess Returning Pearl. Yong Qi would have given up Xiao Yan Zi and allowed Er Tai to woo her, in order to both allow Er Tai—his best friend—to be happy and to get Xiao Yan Zi out of an unwanted engagement. How happy Xiao Yan Zi would really have been with Er Tai is unclear as at the time Yong Qi has no idea how Xiao Yan Zi feels about him. But the fact that he gives her up so that his friend could be happy is pretty adorably heartwarming.
  • Played with in Psych. Shawn wants Jules to be happy and wants to be okay with her dating Declan, but he also wants to be happy himself, and can't picture being happy without her.
  • For the first five episodes of Pushing Daisies, Olive pursues Ned relentlessly, to the point of considering blackmailing Chuck, the girl he's interested in. By the sixth episode, though, she's decided that she just wants him to be happy, even though she's still hoping he'll wind up being happy with her.
  • Towards the end of the first season of Queen of the South, Camila arranges for her daughter Isabella to be brought to her in order to head off her husband Epifanio's threats to use his governorship to take away her parental rights. However, after Isabella expresses her vehement opposition to being kept as a prisoner, Camila finally sends her back to her father.
  • Queer as Folk:
    • In the U.S. version, Brian refuses to try to dissuade Justin from leaving him for Ethan, but at the same time continues to lend Justin money for college and pushes him to keep working on his comic with Michael. He even punches Michael when Michael attempts to take Brian's side in the split. Of course, Brian still can't tell Justin he loves him.
    • The platonic(ish—more so in the US version) variation occurs in both the UK and US series', when Brian/Stuart outs Michael/Vince in order to piss him off enough to make him leave, because he thinks he's holding Michael/Vince back and preventing him from finding true happiness with David/Cameron.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • The episode "Camille" ends with Kryten losing his love interest, the titular Camille, in a spoof of the Casablanca scene.
    • Played both straight AND subverted by Arnold J. Rimmer as he realizes that Nirvana Crane has willingly surrendered her existence on the hologram ship so that he may get a position in her place. He immediately turns in his resignation to return to the Red Dwarf, stating that "we won't be apart, we just won't be together" and in doing so quoting exactly a romantic movie he saw at the start of the episode. He instantly realizes this and adds "I can't believe I just said that!"
    • Averted by Lister, who pursues his dream girl Kochanski through a time hole after finding a picture of himself marrying her. When he finds her hotel room and he sees another man's shoes, he realizes that the groom in the photo is not himself, but the other guy. As he abandons the idea of getting together with her (and bemoaning the yuppie type of man she probably married), she opens the door and invites him to meet her new husband, who turns out to be himself from several years in the future.
  • An odd variation of this happens in Robin Hood, in which Marian is coerced into marrying Guy. Robin tries to persuade her not to go through with it, but Marian insists in order to keep her father safe. Despite the fact that marrying Guy obviously won't make Marian happy, Robin eventually respects her opinion on the matter and leaves her to it. Though of course she doesn't go through with it.
  • Schitt's Creek:
    • Alexis lets Ted go at the end of Season 4. The formerly selfish Fallen Princess realizes that she cares more about his happiness than being with him. She gives a touching monologue to the assembled crowd at her Singles Week event about the importance of moving on and being open to new loves, but Ted surprises her and they reunite.
    • While Stevie and David have settled into being Amicable Exes, she puts aside any lingering bitterness from their separation and encourages David to be with Patrick.
  • The third series of Sherlock is a platonic (or one-sided romantic, depending on your interpretation) example of this trope. Upon returning from his two-year absence, Sherlock initially thinks he can simply return to a life of solving crimes with John Watson, but finds that John has gotten a girlfriend and is now living with her. Sherlock, instead of being bitter, throws himself into helping plan the couple's wedding to the point he abandons taking on new cases. He ends up killing a man threatening to ruin the couple's lives even though it means condemning himself to certain death.
  • In Smallville, there tends to be a lot of this going around. Typically, whenever Lana has moved on from Clark and entered a new relationship, Clark will often be seen sadly saying something along these lines. Meanwhile, this is also Chloe's attitude towards Clark's attraction to Lana. Taken Up to Eleven in season five, in which both of them complain to her about their sex life, then Clark decides to tell Lana his secret and proposes to her. Clark thinks Chloe would say they are too young and whatnot, but instead she provides her support and encouragement. Chloe supportively says "If there's anyone who deserves to be happy, Clark, it's you."And this, in turn, was also Pete's attitude towards Chloe's teenage crush on Clark during the early seasons of the show. Thankfully, everyone involved eventually moved on to much healthier relationships.
  • 'Star Trek: Enterprise'':
    • T'Pol has to go through an Arranged Marriage with her childhood fiancé, Koss, to help preserve her mother's career. While T'Pol had no significant feelings for Koss, he may have harbored some for her. In particular, at the climax of the Vulcan arc, he gives her transporter codes to get into the Vulcan capital city - which, given that she's being hunted by the Vulcan government, is a risky thing for him to do. He then decides to annul the marriage, saying that with her mother dead, there is no point in remaining married.
    • Trip. Vulcan law allows for a "challenge" to be issued at weddings (basically if "speak now or forever hold your peace" was allowed to include duels to the death). Trip refuses, even at the bidding of T'Pol's mother, because even though he loves her, he understands why T'Pol is marrying Koss and won't interfere.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Price," a negotiator named Devinoni Ral threatens to take Counselor Deanna Troi away with him to get the upper hand on Commander Riker, who he knows has feelings for her. Smiling sardonically after Ral issues his ultimatum, Riker makes his feelings on the matter very clear.
    Riker: That's the first bad play I've seen you make. If you can bring happiness into Deanna's life, nothing would please me more. You know, you're really not such a bad sort, Ral. Except you don't have any values—beyond the value of today's bid, that is. Deanna is just the woman to bring some meaning to your sorry existence, if you're smart enough to take it. I doubt that you are.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Inheritance," Data discovers that he has a mother, Doctor Juliana Tainer (formally Juliana Soong). He later discovers that she is an Android too, created by his father Noonien Soong after the real Juliana slipped into a coma and died. She has her memories and personality but is unaware of this fact, believing herself to be the original Juliana. When Data also discovers a Holographic recording of Doctor Soong in her Positronic Brain he questions him about this. Soong reveals that this trope is both why he let her leave him and why he did not tell her what had happened to her, as he believes that she could not be happy living with the knowledge that she was no longer human. Data and the rest of the crew aren't so sure about this (especially since Soong programmed her body to shut down after a "normal" human lifespan), but eventually they decide to go along with it..
  • In The Suite Life on Deck, London reunites Bailey with her ex-boyfriend Moose and he asks her to move back to Kettle Corn so they can be together. When Bailey asks Cody for advice about this decision, Cody is about to tell her to stay. However, he can't go through with it and instead simply tells her to follow her heart. Fortunately, she decides to stay.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Crossroad Blues" (S02, E08), Evan Hudson sells his soul, facing eternal damnation, to save his wife from dying of cancer.
    • Whether his motivations were romantic or not is hotly debated, but this trope is why Castiel didn't ask Dean for help with the civil war in Heaven between seasons five and six. We see in "The Man Who Would Be King" (S06, E20) that Cas actually went to Lisa's house, where Dean was staying, and stood outside watching him rake leaves, unwilling to drag him back out of his normal life by asking for the help that he knew that he needed and Dean would give. Instead, he went along with Crowley's suggestion. It didn't end well.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, Damon to Elena when he tells her he loves her, then compels her to forget it so it won't ruin her relationship with his little brother.
    • Tyler to Caroline, deciding she'd be better off with Matt.
    • Stefan always wants the best for Elena and wants her to be happy, even if it's not with him.
  • Subverted in Will & Grace, where, hoping to get Grace's support about something he wants to do that will affect her, asks her if she wants him to be happy. She smiles at him and replies that she doesn't care about his happiness if it affects her negatively in even the slightest way.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place, there is an unusual inversion in that Alex stays in the family wizard competition so that she can stay in her relationship with Mason (because Muggles and magically-oriented beings can't have relationships).


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