Follow TV Tropes


Break Up Demand

Go To

Occasionally you get a character who doesn't hold with the usual methods of getting a couple to break up - you know, Twisting the Words, saying that they'll give their blessing when such-and-such a demand is met then Moving the Goalposts, spreading rumours and other Manipulative Bastard tactics...they just go straight to one half of the couple and order them to split up with their partner, or outright threatening them to breakup after beating them up.

Well, at least their straightforwardness is refreshing...right? Well, not usually — they're not completely devoid of Manipulative Bastard traits. For a start, the partner they talk to is often not the one they know personally. So a father will order his daughter's boyfriend to break up with her, or a sister will demand that her brother's girlfriend ditches him. This usually signals that their intentions aren't entirely altruistic: if they made the same demand of the person they knew, that person would probably work out what they were up to and tell them to shove it. So they pick on the partner, who assumes that this "friend" or family member knows their lover better than they do. Normally, the interloper is trying to guilt the partner into pulling a Break His Heart to Save Him stunt.

At best, the character making the demand is a misguided Knight Templar - they honestly think the break up is the only solution to a perceived problem. In the middle are characters who are deluding themselves: they tell themselves that the break up is for the greater good, and try to ignore their actual, more selfish motive for doing it (for example, they want to date one half of the couple). And then you have the outright Manipulative Bastard, who knows he's doing this for selfish reasons but wants to shift the blame for the heartbreak onto the person forced into doing the dumping.

This may also apply to close friendships rather than romances, especially in shows featuring younger characters.

Knight Templar characters are extremely prone to making a Break Up Demand, as is the Boyfriend-Blocking Dad. If the partner proves resistant to the demand, blackmail or a verbal/physical attack with a degree of Why Did You Make Me Hit You? may be used by the person interfering.

Contrasts Shotgun Wedding.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You:
    • Hakari's mother forbids her daughter from seeing her boyfriend after discovering he has four other girlfriends. Rentarou's efforts to rescue Hakari culminate in the mother joining the harem as well.
    • When Rentarou meets Kusuri's father, the man demands he break up with all of his girlfriends except Kusuri.
  • A favourite tactic of Akito in Fruits Basket, who hates anyone getting too close to the Zodiac Sohmas. Be warned if you associate with any member of the Zodiac: if Akito can't browbeat the Sohma into breaking off the relationship, that's not a problem — the God of the Zodiac will simply scream at and abuse you instead. And make you think that you are entirely to blame for all the misery that ensues. Just ask Kana.
  • Outright Blackmail version in Gakuen Alice — Natsume is ordered to cease his association with Mikan. Or else.
  • Tohma orders Shuichi to break up with his partner, Yuki, in Gravitation, on the grounds that Shuichi is bad for Yuki's health. Tohma is not a doctor and is possibly more to blame for Yuki's "fragility" than Shuichi is.
  • Wolfram's uncle tries to pressure him into dumping accidental-fiance Yuri in Kyo Kara Maoh!, in order to secure the throne for Wolfram. Wolfram, however, schemes to ensure the best outcome for Yuri...
  • An overtly violent demand is made in the manga Mars (1996) - Hitomi is ready to crush Kira's fingers if she doesn't break up with Rei.
  • In Men's Love, Daigo's father sends his henchmen to get Kaoru to break up with Daigo, offering him a blank cheque, threatening to expose his sexual orientation at work, and telling him Daigo is getting married. Kaoru refuses and decides to take things into his own hands instead.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: Shizue Suoh demands this of Tamaki, insisting that he cut all ties with Haruhi.
  • Peach Girl: Happens a few times with Sae in regards to Toji and Momo in a relationship, because she wants to one-up Momo.
    • Kairis trio of Fan Girls absolutely hate Momo for winning Kairis affections. They make a habit out of harassing/threatening her, once deliberately made sure she got separated from Kairi and was stranded during a class trip, push her into the path of a campfire when she was holding cooking oil, and, at one point, held her down, and told her that she has to sign a contract swearing that she will stay away from Kairi or they will burn all her hair off (while holding a lighter to her hair), and try to beat her up later on when she states that their selfish and cruel actions won't make Kairi fall in love with them, and when she tells them that her love for Kairi is genuine. In addition, they take the threat even further by threatening to burn her face to the point Kairi will think her ugly and leave her as well as telling her they will set her whole body on fire.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics: In the "Betty future" of The Married Life continuity, Mr. Lodge orders Archie to break up with Betty, after the wedding has already taken place! This is supposedly just to make Veronica happy (though Mr. Lodge does promise to pay off Betty) but is actually part of a deeper scheme.
  • Batman: Bruce deeply disapproves of the relationship he sees forming between Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown, mostly because he disapproves of Steph being out on the rooftops as Spoiler, and tries separately asking/requesting both of them to drop it. Neither of them feels inclined to obey and are each other's longest-lasting and most enduring significant others.

    Fan Works 
  • A Burning Flame in My Soul: During the Time Skip, after Silverstream announced to her family that she was dating Gallus, Queen Novo absolutely forbad it, to the shock of everyone else, due to Gallus being a non-hippogriff and an orphan with nothing to his name. She demanded Silverstream break up with him, stating that due to being part of the royal family she needed to marry into a proper bloodline of high esteem. This eventually lead to Silverstream renouncing her position as a member of the Royal Family to prove her love to Gallus, including signing the paper work.
  • Persona EG: Soon after Flash and Twilight make their relationship official, Shining Armor orders Flash to break up with her, claiming that he doesn't want to risk him breaking his sister's heart. Flash refuses, pointing out that Twilight would be hurt by the break-up and accusing Shining of being a Control Freak.
  • Women of Eden: When the angels find out that Lucifer is secretly seeing Lilith, they are all mortified since it was his job to make her happy from a distance. The same goes for Eve.

    Films - Live-Action 
  • In the backstory of John Sayles's Lone Star (1996), the hero and his childhood sweetheart were forced to break up by the hero's father, a corrupt sheriff. They chalk it up to racism — she's Hispanic and he's white. Actually, as they later discover, the breakup was forced because she's his half-sister through an extramarital affair.

  • Referenced in Confessions of Georgia Nicolson. Jas claims that Georgia told her to break up with her boyfriend, Tom (making this a rare case where the "demand" was made to the actual friend, not the partner). Georgia didn't actually do this — Jas badgered her for advice, and Georgia (not renowned for giving sensible advice) commented on Jas and Tom's differing interests and asked if Jas wanted to play second fiddle to Tom's eco-warrioring.
  • In Stefanie Pintoff's A Curtain Falls, Alistair Sinclair discusses the Broadway star Maud Adams (an acquaintance of his) and the control theatre magnate Charles Frohman had over her. Alistair says to his partner Detective Simon Ziele, "I do know his influence once led her to cut off a romance that he believed to be inappropriate." Ziele's narration suggests the romance was with Alistair Sinclair himself.
  • In Little Women, Aunt March tries to convince Meg not to marry her suitor, on pain of disinheritance. It backfires, since she had been iffy about whether she wanted to marry him, until Aunt March's criticism makes her rise to his defense and realize she really does love him.
  • In Pride and Prejudice, Bingley wants to marry Jane, but both his sisters and his best friend, Darcy, don't approve of her family. Darcy convinces Bingley to not see Jane again, and then brags about it to his cousin, who accidentally lets the cat out of the bag to Jane's sister Lizzy, who Darcy is in love with, and she's subsequently furious with him. He eventually realizes the error of his ways and he and Bingley both end up with the ladies of their choice.
  • The Sharing Knife: Legacy - Dag's mother and brother demand his marriage to Fawn be invalidated. Dag's brother Dar mainly wants the arguing to stop; Dag's mother has more complicated reasons.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played With in The Big Bang Theory: when Sheldon and Amy decide to part ways, Sheldon's mom shows up and tells them that she's in complete agreement with the breakup because they really don't belong together. This prompts them to reconsider, exactly as she intended.
  • Liam on The Bold and the Beautiful takes this a step even further when speaking with his ex-wife that not only she leave her husband Wyatt, who just happens to be Liam's brother, but that the pregnant Hope also abort her husband's child, so they can be together.
  • In Season Three of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy's mother, Joyce, demands that Angel stop seeing Buffy because of his curse and the likely outcome of their Mayfly–December Romance. By the end of the season, Angel has come to agree with Joyce...just in time to go off to his own self-titled Spin-Off.
  • CSI: NY: In Blood, Sweat and Tears, the couple are from two rival circus families, and they make a suicide pact after their families tell them to break up. But then only the guy goes through with it and later the body gets dumped.
  • In the tenth season of Friends, Ross is asked to break up with Charlie by Charlie's old boyfriend in return for a very important research grant. In the end, Charlie leaves Ross to go back to her ex (because extortion is so romantic), and we never learn if Ross got the grant.
  • This is normal in Puberty Blues. A girl just goes up to a guy and says "You're dropped!"
  • In Merlin, Arthur got this from Uther in the third season...Morgana found out they were going on a picnic and led Uther right to it, leading to Uther wanting to banish Gwen because she wasn't royalty. It took a big turn from there with the whole framed for enchantment thing, but it still counts.
  • There's an episode of Sex and the City where Samantha is going out with a man whose sister tells her that she's not comfortable with her brother seeing a white woman. Eventually Samantha breaks up with him for not standing up to his sister.

  • The whole point of the Avril Lavigne song "Girlfriend"
    Hey, hey, you, you
    I don't like your girlfriend
    No way, no way
    I think you need a new one
    Hey, hey, you, you
    I could be your girlfriend
    Hey, hey, you, you
    I know that you like me
    No way, no way
    No, it's not a secret
    Hey, hey, you, you
    I want to be your girlfriend
  • Ariana Grande's "Break Up With Your Girlfriend", obviously, but with the Twist Ending, in that she's demanding the guy breaks up with his girlfriend, so she can be with her.
  • In the song Leader Of The Pack, a girl is ordered by her dad to break up with a biker. He drives off in a fury, and is killed in an accident.

    Video Games 
  • In The Sims 2, your own Sims could demand that another sim "Fight" with their sweetie if they had enough Influence points, often doing enough damage to lead to a breakup.

    Visual Novels 
  • Magical Diary: On Damien's route, the protagonist's roommates can become so annoyed by her behavior that they demand she break up with him, believing he's a bad influence. If the player promises to do so, but goes back on her word, it leads to Damien's worst ending.

    Western Animation