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Dysfunctional Romance Index

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Romance isn't always lovey-dovey, for there are couples who don't always get along well.

See Discord Tropes and Frenemy Tropes for the platonic versions.


  • Abduction Is Love: A person kidnaps their love interest to show their affection.
  • All Take and No Give: An unequal and parasitic relationship, where one person receives all the benefits while giving back nothing.
  • Am I Just a Toy to You?: A character confronts the other about how serious they think their relationship is.
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  • Awful Wedded Life: A marriage where the couple are miserable together.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Although they fight a lot, the couple prove they actually do love each other.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: A man who treats his love interest poorly, but it's portrayed as romantic and/or sexy.
  • Bastard Girlfriend: A woman who treats her love interest poorly, but it's portrayed as romantic and/or sexy.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Two people who are secretly attracted to each other constantly clash.
  • Bespectacled Bastard Boyfriend: A sub-type of the Bastard Boyfriend who also wears glasses, indicating intelligence and sophistication.
  • Best Her to Bed Her: An Action Girl will only marry or have sex with someone who has defeated her in combat.
  • Bickering Couple, Peaceful Couple: A couple that constantly argues are contrasted with a couple who get along very well.
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  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: Can sometimes apply to romantic relationships; a character is forced to hang around with another person they find annoying, but when they're apart they find they miss them.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: A woman who gets very paranoid and jealous about their partner and other women.
  • Contraception Deception: A character lies to their partner about their fertility or contraception use.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: A man who gets very paranoid and jealous about their partner and other men.
  • Dating Catwoman: A protagonist and antagonist are unambiguously in love with each other, which is bound to cause problems.
  • Destructive Romance: A relationship that is depicted as very unhealthy and dysfunctional (not always necessarily abusive, but still not a romance to aspire to).
  • Differing Priorities Breakup: A couple breaks up because they don't want the same things in life.
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  • Domestic Abuse: A person harms their significant other either physically or emotionally (or both), often to control them.
  • Fatal Attractor: A person who tends to attract admirers that are no good for them (if not outright dangerous).
  • Foe Romance Subtext: A pair of rivals/enemies are intentionally given romantic subtext in their interactions.
  • Happy Marriage Charade: An unhappy married couple pretend everything is fine when other people are around.
  • I Can Change My Beloved: A character believes they can make their love interest a better person; they're usually mistaken.
  • Kiss-Kiss-Slap: A couple start out kissing/being intimate, then start fighting.
  • Love at First Punch: Falling in love with someone you physically fought.
  • Love Martyr: A character stays with their love interest even when they mistreat them.
  • Loving a Shadow: A character is more in love with an idealized version of a person than who they actually are, which doesn't tend to make for happy relationships.
  • Loving Bully: A person bullies someone they have a crush on.
  • The Masochism Tango: A couple who frequently alternate between being affectionate and fighting.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: Falling in love with someone who kidnapped you, and vice versa.
  • No Accounting for Taste: A couple who are so obviously miserable people wonder why they stay together.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: An ex girlfriend (or less commonly, ex boyfriend) who isn't taking the break-up well at all.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: They just can't decide whether they want to be in a relationship.
  • Rivalry as Courtship: Two rivals develop romantic feelings for each other.
  • Romanticized Abuse: Abusive behavior in a relationship is depicted in a glamourized manner.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: A couple starts out fighting then ends up kissing/becoming intimate.
  • Stalking Is Love: The Stalker with a Crush actually gets with the object of their affection/obsession, who finds their behavior romantic instead of creepy.
  • Too Much Alike: When applied to a romantic pairing; a couple clash because their personalities are too similar.
  • Tsundere: They're sometimes quite rude and/or abrasive with their Love Interest, but they do care really.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: An accomplished female character complains about the shortcomings of her male love interest, who is usually considered out of his league.
  • Yandere: They're crazily obsessed with their love interest (if they manage to actually get into a relationship with them), often to the point of committing violence.


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