Alice is about to be separated from her beloved Bob forever and has one last chance to say how she truly feels.
Except... she decides not to. It could be because Bob loves Cathy and Alice doesn't want to cause problems for the two of them. It could also be because she's dying and she doesn't want to cause Bob any more pain. Whatever the case may be, Alice and many other characters often sacrifice their last chance to tell their loved ones how they feel, leaving them to find out from other characters, if they find out at all.
Typically an aversion of Dying Declaration of Love and Anguished Declaration of Love, with the characters usually acknowledging this being their last opportunity and deciding not to, often explaining their reasons in thought. Unlike Cannot Spit It Out, this is typically final. Often a result of I Want My Beloved to Be Happy. If the declaration of love is cut off by something outside Alice's control, it's an Interrupted Declaration of Love.
- Assassination Classroom:
- Despite being a professional at the art of seduction, Irina fails to fully confess her feelings towards Karasuma. Her students don't take this too well.
- Kayano, after working up the courage to tell Nagisa how she feels on Valentine's Day, decides against it because she sees how focused he is on his future and doesn't want to distract him.
- In Berserk, the dying Judeau can only tell Casca that she cries a lot, and dies regretting that he couldn't confess how he really felt about her.
- In the Bleach pilot, Orihime (who died from falling down the stairs) considers confessing to Ichigo just before leaving for the Soul Society, but the spirit of her father advises against it, as it would only make Ichigo suffer.
- In the Distant Finale of Bokura no Hentai, Mai plans on confessing her feelings for Marika before she graduates, knowing they're unrequited. She instead tearfully congratulates Marika on graduating.
- D.Gray-Man: in chapter 205, This is seemingly what Lenalee is trying to do with Allen now that he´s leaving the order. It´s less of an aborted confession and more that she didn´t get to say it before Allen hugged her, dispelled her doubts and declaring his love for everyone in the order, specifically Lenalee, followed by his departure through the ark.
- Full Metal Panic! At the end of "The Second Raid" Kaname has travelled all the way to Hong Kong to make a Love Confession to Sousuke (after first beating him up for all the angst he's put her through) but chickens out at the last second.
- Sousuke follows it up with his own in the subsequent volume. Finally having achieved a proper Love Epiphany in the middle of a Christmas seajacking, Sousuke tells Kaname that he has something to tell her once they have a proper moment to talk before rushing off to save his kidnapped commanding officer. When he finally does get the chance to tell her three days later, he finds himself too Emotionally Tongue-Tied to find the right words. He doesn't bail out entirely and still manages to give her the lapis lazuli he had prepared for the occasion and manages to give Kaname a vague idea of what he feels for her, but the choice of giftnote , the way he places it in her hand, and the few comments he does manage to stammer out imply he had intended the gemstone to be more of engagement present than a belated birthday gift.
- Except that it never seems to be played as anything final, Kaoru of Hayate the Combat Butler does this while he and Yukiji are visiting Italy during Golden Week. He starts confessing and then decides that he just can't do it, so he changes the end of the sentence to be about her little sisters' relationship status. Yukiji seems to realize this but uses her Hard-Drinking Party Girl personality to play with his mind a little and continue the conversation as it was playing out, asking him what he likes about her sister.
- Naruto: In Kakashi Gaiden, Obito's dying thoughts are that he never told Rin that he loves her, and his reasons for not confessing are never explained. Kakashi reveals this to Rin just after Obito dies. As we find out later, Obito never confessed because Rin loved Kakashi.
- In Sands of Destruction, Morte very nearly tells Kyrie that she loves him and just remembered that she's loved him for millennia, but stops herself because she still thinks she's unworthy of happiness and it's too late anyway, as she's dying of a sudden case of hole-through-the-chest.
- In Uta No Prince Sama, both Otoya and Tokiya try to confess to Haruka, but lose their nerve (as well as the whole "Love is Forbidden" thing) and instead...
"I'm in love...with your music!"
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Asuka planned to confess her feelings for Judai after their tag-duel in Season 4; however, she found herself unable to spit the words out and just said she was glad to have his friendship. It's probably for the best, as he's (unbeknownst to her) already in an Official Couple, and would have had a tricky time explaining the circumstances behind it.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, on the other hand, subverts this with regards to its male and female lead, as in the last episode, the night before they all go their separate ways to live out their dreams, Aki visits Yusei in their team garage and very NEARLY blurts out her feelings, but stops herself at the last minute. However, unlike with Judai above, Yusei has always been aware of her feelings, as he then wordlessly shows that he reciprocates. What follows is the two looking at each other's eyes while holding hands, before she pulls away and goes back home. While the two are never implied to have gotten together by the glimpse into the future earlier in the episode, at the very least, both parted with their feelings for each other laid bare.
- In a bonus chapter of the Yu Yu Hakusho manga, Kurama's classmate Maya confesses to him, and he notes that telling her how he really feels would be too dangerous. When he and Hiei save her from a demon named Eight-Hands, Kurama uses a dream flower on her to erase her memories of the incident and make her forget her feelings for him.
- In New Mutants (original series), Dani 'Mirage' Moonstar is comforting gal-pal Rahne 'Wolfsbane' Sinclair on a clifftop in Scotland; '—he's an old man, filled up with hate; without you those people would be dead. You're not alone. Moira loves you; and I—' 'I know' says Rahne. '—but that doesn't make me ache any the less.' A follow-up 20 years later is also aborted by a simple interruption.
- Toy in The Ballad of Halo Jones. When she tries to perform a Dying Declaration of Love Halo fails to take the hint and thinks they're talking about their friendship. Toy decides not to clarify and dies soon after.
- In Black Widow 008, Natasha meets up with the Winter Solder, whom she doesn't remember her relationship with. Just before she leaves, he calls her back and is clearly about to tell her that he loves her, but tells her to stay warm and be careful instead. This is presumably right before he leaves earth for good to become 'the Man on the Wall', in part because he's been a bit of a loose cannon without her.
- In chapter 5 Sachiko and Yumi's Alphabet, Yumi gets nervous mid-confession and gets off track after seeing an earthworm. Sachiko is the one who successfully confesses to Yumi.
Yumi: "Onee-sama, I l-lo...What I want to say is that I...I lo...I mean I'm in l-love with...eh! An earthworm!"
- In the sixth Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf film, the goats try to get Prince Pegasus to tell Princess Blue that he loves her. After a few seconds of struggling to admit his feelings to her, he decides not to at the last second and instead says "I love watching Pleasant Goat!"
- When he's saying goodbye to the Princess Ren in A Brother's Price, Jerin is at a loss for what to say. His sisters are close enough to possibly overhear and he doesn't want them knowing what he and she almost did lest he be considered ruined, plus she's so far above his station that they couldn't possibly marry, but he has to say something.
Certainly not "Don't go" or "I think I love you" or even "Don't leave me here to marry the Brindles." With his sisters near at hand, even "I'll miss you" was dangerous. "Come back and visit" was impossible; he'd be married and gone within a few months.Finally, he found something acceptable. "Keep yourself safe."
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a strange variant (an inversion, perhaps) as Spike, who's loved Buffy for years, makes his Heroic Sacrifice in the Series Finale:
Buffy: I love you.Spike: ...No you don't. But thanks for saying it.
- Coulson and May on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., multiple times. Most notably in Season 1 Episode 17 and Season 5 Episode 19.
- Doctor Who. There is massive disagreement among fans over the nature of the Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald's relationship, but just before she is Killed Off for Real in "Face the Raven", Clara spends her last few minutes trying to comfort the Doctor and at one point he begins to say something to her which she interrupts with a hug and "Everything you're about to say, I already know. Don't do it now; we've already had enough bad timing." Rather than saying anything herself along these lines (having made a promise to her now-deceased boyfriend in the previous season never to say "I love you" to anyone else again), she strokes the Doctor's face instead.
- In "Doomsday", the Tenth Doctor appears to be about to say "I love you" to Rose Tyler before communication breaks down between the separate universes they find themselves in. As with the Twelfth Doctor and Clara, there is disagreement as to whether he was actually going to say it, though Word of God is that he was.
- This happens in Frasier with Niles and Daphne.
- Chandler got out that he loved Monica but immediately took it back. (Luckily Monica knew he loved her and gave him time to tell it once again.)
Chandler: You're so great I love you!Monica: What?Chandler: Nothing! I said you're so great and then I just stopped talking!
- Rachel tried to tell her assistant Tag that she likes him. She didn't but Joey thought she had and saw them hugging, so he excitedly said: "He likes you back!" Rachel tried to bend the meaning that it was about "her back", but it was all too clear.
- Chandler got out that he loved Monica but immediately took it back. (Luckily Monica knew he loved her and gave him time to tell it once again.)
- Happened three times with Blair and Chuck on Gossip Girl. The first time Blair was going to end their "you should say it first" game by telling Chuck she loves him, but Dan made her chicken out. The second time happened long after she had already told him how she felt, only to be rejected, and she had moved on to date his best friend (her ex). She told Chuck that if he loved her back he needed to tell her, and they could be together, and if he didn't he should stop getting in her way. Chuck told her he had just been playing games with her since he didn't think he could make her happy. The third time around Blair was single again; she confessed her love for Chuck once more and knowing that he felt the same way about her begged him to tell her. He didn't.
- How I Met Your Mother: In "Drumroll, Please", Robin was going to tell Ted she had feelings for him when he had a call, which helped him find Victoria. Thinking Ted should be with Victoria, Robin told him to go find her.
Barney: Ted, it's true, I'm in love with [turns around and sees Robin] tacos!
- Later on, when Robin and Ted were dating, Robin wanted to tell him she loved him but ended up saying "falafel" instead.
- Much later in the series, Barney bursts into Ted's apartment, about to tell him that he loves Robin.
- Leverage has Parker trying to admit that she has feelings for Hardison partway through season 3. She gets most of the way through it, too, before blurting she's having these feelings for pretzels. Thankfully, Hardison knows how to speak Parker by now, and uses the analogy to explain his stance on waiting for her.
Hardison: Well they're right here. When you want them.
- A variation of this happens between Arthur and Guinevere. In a second season episode, Guinevere is kidnapped by a warlord and held for ransom, mistakenly believed to be King Uther's ward. Arthur goes through hell to get to her, only to find that Lancelot got there first. He'd already admitted his feelings for Guinevere to Merlin on the trip there, and it was fairly obvious that he was planning to share them with Guinevere on rescuing her, only to be silenced at the sight of Gwen and Lancelot being rather chummy with each other.
- In the final episode of season three, he tries again and tells Guinevere: "I just want you to know... if I never see you again..." but she cuts him off with her assurances that they will meet again.
- Noah's Arc: In the movie, Brandon challenges Ricky to confess his love for Noah. Ricky goes up to him, but can't get out the words.
- In Radio Free Roscoe, Lily missed her opportunity to date her best friend Ray, who liked her but moved on to be with a different girl when he didn't think Lily would want to be with him. Unfortunately, Lily does want to be with him now and decides to try to win him back. She writes a song about convincing a guy to leave his girlfriend, called "You Belong to Me", but before she goes onstage to play it, she sees that Ray is actually happy with the new girl, and the song actually played is called "You Belong to Someone Else," and is about a girl that likes a guy with a girlfriend, but isn't going to interfere. It doesn't take, and Lily/Ray ends the series as an Official Couple.
- In the Seinfeld Grand Finale, as the plane they're in is crashing, Elaine gets as far as "I've always loved" to Jerry before it miraculously stabilizes, awkwardly ignoring him afterward. Then again at the end of the episode, only in something of an exaggerated inversion, instead of separating, they're about to spend a year together in the same tiny cell (yeah, don't ask):
Jerry: So Elaine, what was it you were about to say to me when the plane was going down?
Elaine: I've always loved yooooUnited Airlines.
- Happens in Sherlock, when Sherlock and John are on the tarmac and Sherlock has something he wanted to tell him always, but cuts off with a joke in order to preserve John's happiness with Mary.
Sherlock: John, theres something ... I should say; I-Ive meant to say always and then never have. Since its unlikely well ever meet again, I might as well say it now. (deep breath to steady himself) ... Sherlock is actually a girl's name.
- Wizards of Waverly Place: Alex came close to telling Dean she loves him twice. First was when they were working on her father's car ("How do you think of me...in flip-flops? Think about going casual this summer?"). Second when he gave her a wooden card ("I love it! And I love...this card").
- Soap: Jessica's lawyer E. Robert Mallu falls in love with her during her trial for the murder of Peter Campbell. He says "I love you" just as Benson comes in, so he has to add a word in order to cover up, but he doesn't do it very well.
Mallu: Jessica, I love you (Benson enters) eyes.Benson: "I love you eyes?" I love you suit.
- An Exploited Trope by Lee Thompkins in the Gotham episode "Mandatory Brunch Meeting", when in a riddle contest with (of course) the Riddler. The riddle she sets has the answer "I love you", and Riddler solves it instantly, but owing to Ed Nygma's suppressed feelings for her, he can't bring himself to actually say it.
- The entire premise of HoneyWorks "Confession Rehearsal", in which the protagonist Natsuki confessed to her crush Yuu, then gets cold feet and immediately told him that that the "confession" was simply a rehearsal for someone else. Every adaptation afterwards turns this Up to Eleven, having her put off the confession for what amounts to a few days to (in the present canon) up to a full year.
- In "Peach Scone", Hobo Johnson describes being out for coffee with someone he likes who's in a relationship and tries to stop himself from confessing to her:
"I don't know what to tell you if I try to confess my love for... SCONES!"[very earnestly] "I love... these scones."[mumbling rant about all the types of scones at this coffee shop]
- The unnamed protagonist in Lewis Carroll's The Willow Tree leaves her love to discover her feelings in a rather unconventional way.
It shall not dim Lifes joy for him: My tears he shall not see:While he is by, Ill come not nigh My weeping Willow-Tree.But when I die, oh, let me lie Beneath thy loving shade,That he may loiter careless by, Where I am lowly laid.And let the white white marble tell, If he should stoop to see,"Here lies a maid that loved thee well, Beneath the Willow-Tree."
- A lot of Dating Sim games love this trope - especially if the love interest is a Shrinking Violet, Unlucky Childhood Friend, or Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- In one route of Blaze Union, Jenon attempts to confess his feelings for Siskier but stops himself at the last minute when he finally realizes that she's in love with Garlot.
- If you fully heal the Solar Tree in Boktai, Lita will be deeply moved, to the point where she starts to confess her love for Django... and then chickens out. Several times.
- Scott of Final Fantasy II considers having the heroes relay a message to Hilda about how he feels, but orders them not to, saying that she would be pained to hear him confess his love while dying.
- In Final Fantasy VII, Tifa tries this whilst riding the gondola with Cloud, but chickens out before she can finish. Cloud, being Cloud, doesn't get the hint.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, when Midna goes back to the Twilight Realm, she says, "Link, I...See you later." Granted, she may not have been about to do a love declaration, but it's implied. Apparently it is not implied at all in the Japanese version. According to Zelda Wiki, her last words in Japanese translates to "Link...s...see you." Which, as you can see, only includes the Ironic Echo.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, when Princess Zelda leaves the Master Sword with The Great Deku Tree before going to face Ganon alone, it's implied that she was going to ask The Great Deku Tree to pass on her Love Confession to Link once he returned for the sword. It's also possible that she wasn't, given that The Great Deku Tree cuts her off before she says it, but the lead of up of "Tell him I—" sure seems to point in that direction.
- Breath of the Wild also has the Zora Princess Mipha. After Zelda suffers several failures to summon her power, Mipha steps up to try and offer the Hylian Princess some pointers. Given the lead-up, it's heavily implied that Mipha was going to admit that she used her feelings for Link as an emotional anchor to help summon her healing powers and that Zelda should try the same. However, she was cut off before she could finish speaking.
- In the ending of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Vivian, while seeing Mario off, almost confesses her love to him, but backs out last minute and says instead that she thinks he and Peach are a good couple.
- It's strongly implied that Goombella was going to confess at the end of her "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue email to Mario. She decides instead that it's better off as a secret.
- In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, during the fifth and final free time event with Nagito, he ends his conversation with Hinata saying "From the bottom of my heart... I am truly in love with the hope that sleeps within you". The original Japanese text makes it even more obvious as his sentence begins with the same phrasing love confessions usually do, and uses the word aishiteru, which is a strong form of expressing love only married couples use.
- In the Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side games, getting far enough along in a romance with any of the guys inevitably leads to a scene in which the guy in question almost confesses his love for the heroine, only to lose his nerve before he can quite manage to spit it out.
- In the Conquest path of Fire Emblem Fates, when Oboro is fought for the second and last time, she'll start to confess her feelings for Takumi. However, she dies before she can finish speaking.
- Tales of the Questor has one with Quentyn and Kestrel after the Wham Episode.
- In the Bad Future of General Protection Fault, a grown-up Sidney sees Nick and Ki's son Todd off with a kiss when he goes back in time to change the past, and Professor Wisebottom reveals that she has been in love with him for years, but isn't sure why she never told him (it could be because she grew up to be something of a Tsundere)
- Red in Gunnerkrigg Court accidentally tells "Blue" she loves her, using an awkward Verbal Backspace to claim she was actually calling her "Ayilu".
- In Darths & Droids, when Wedge thinks Luke died on the Peace Moon, he makes an anguished speech about how he never had the chance to tell him how he felt, "just five minutes would have been enough". When he learns Luke survived, he says "Oh. Well done, good buddy!"
- Bitty of Check, Please! almost confesses to Jack at the latter's graduation, but ends up chickening out.
- In American Dragon: Jake Long, Spud attempted to confess to Trixie during "Homecoming". Earlier in the episode, he and Trixie accidentally kissed, thinking they were kissing their crushes. Afterwards, they engage in some awkward dialogue related to their kiss. In the third act of the episode, when Spud thinks they're going to die, he tries to confess to her. However, he steps back when Trixie asked if they were Just Friends and nothing more.
- Dipper of Gravity Falls nearly confesses his feelings to Wendy at the beginning of "Into The Bunker", but he aborts it and asks her if she wants to hang out with him and Mabel to do some exploring. He eventually pulls a Mistaken Declaration of Love within her earshot, she later lets him down easily and they part as friends.
- The Dragon Prince: Implied While Rayla tries to get Callum to stay with her during his dark magic-induced fever, she comes close to telling him something. However, when he finally opens his eyes they both scream and she aborts with whatever she was about to confess.
- Kaeloo: in the episode "Let's Play Babysitting", Mr. Cat tells Kaeloo how he feels about her. It Makes Sense in Context, but she beats him up rather than accepting it although the feeling is mutual. He later tells her he was just kidding.
- During the Phineas and Ferb special "Summer Belongs to You!", Isabella nearly reveals her crush on Phineas but stops herself just in time.
Isabella: Well that's not the Phineas Flynn that I fell...into this situation with.
- The Simpsons referenced it with Smithers. Turns out, "The Boat House was the time!".