"Had we but world enough and time," the poet said to his reluctant Love Interest, "this coyness, Lady, were no crime," and he'd be willing to wait for centuries for a Relationship Upgrade. Normal human beings don't have centuries to work out their romantic lives, but the genres of fantasy and science fiction are full of couples who do. Naturally, if you and your beloved are both immortal, or even just really, really long-lived, you may have all the time in the world in which to fall in love, court each other, hook up, break up, and come back together. You might spend centuries in the Will They or Won't They? stage before getting your Happily Ever After, and why not? You have all the time in the world for drama. The result is a Romance Arc which could extend backwards into ancient history or forward into the far future.
Vampires may be especially prone to this trope (when they love other vampires rather than humans), but it can also apply to werewolves, The Fair Folk, gods, artificial humans or robots, and—in some works—magic users whose power grants them exceptionally long lives. A Society of Immortals may display a large number of such relationships, given the greater odds that any immortal character's romantic partner would also be immortal.
Note that any romantic/sexual relationship that lasts for an unnaturally long span of time may count for this trope: it doesn't have to be an entirely happy or healthy relationship. As a result, this trope may overlap with Living Forever Is Awesome if the relationship is a happy one, but if it is a destructive or angst-ridden one it may fall into the other end of the spectrum. See You Are Worth Hell for situations where Eternal Love is combined with And I Must Scream.
This trope differs from the MayflyDecember Romance in that it only applies to couples where both parties are immortal or near-immortal.
Not to be confused with the series The Eternal Love.
- In Hetalia: Axis Powers, it is inferred that Germany is the Holy Roman Empire, meaning that he and Italy found each other again. Daawww...
- Baccano! has two immortal couples. Firo and Ennis aptly demonstrate this trope by dating for 50 years before finally getting married, while Isaac and Miria have been in constant company for about 75 years. Note that it took the latter 70 years to even notice they were ageless and immortal.
- Tragically subverted in Fairy Tail. Mavis Vermillion proposes this relationship with "The Black Wizard" Zeref after finding out they both bear Ankhseram's Curse. Zeref, touched by her kindness, confesses his love to her and they kiss. However, the purpose of the curse is to ensure the recipients are never happy. As the curse of contradictions, the fact the curse allowed them to find happiness together became the ultimate contradiction. Thus, their first and last kiss kills Mavis anyway, breaking Zeref in the process.
- Mnemosyne has a thousand years-long romance between Rin and Tajimamori, both immortal and eternally young.
- The elves Mesha and Tark in Gold Digger. Married elves form a psychic bond, which is irrepairably broken if they are ever unfaithful to each other.
- Some relationships for the immortal Fables work like this, some don't. Beauty and the Beast appear to have this, though they both freely admit that making a marriage last centuries is extremely hard work, and they have their ups and downs. This is contrasted with Prince Charming, who has been married and divorced three times (to Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella) and by now doesn't even try to pretend that he'll be ever-faithful to the current object of his affection.
- This trope gets discussed in the Peter and Max novel, where Max refers to Peter Piper and Bo Peep having "that rare storybook sort of love, where one can't live without the other".
- Bigby spends a while telling Snow White that he has a combination of this and love at first sniff for her, though it took him centuries to act on his feelings, due to his natural reserve and his taking a long time to get sufficiently accustomed to human company and his own newly human body to work out what he was feeling towards Snow. As of issue 50 They Do, and raise seven extremely magical children together.
- Wonder Woman:
- The Earth-One (Silver Age) versions of Diana and Steve Trevor eventually found a way for Steve to become as immortal as his wife and they left the physical plane in order to live out their eternity together.
- While most of the Greek pantheon's relationships have turned even more poisonous over the centuries Ares and Aphrodite still truly care for each other even if they're usually on opposite sides of the conflicts in the book.
- Wonder Woman (1942): Hades and Persephone have an everlasting love, and when Hades' mind is poisoned by the Anti-Monitor and Ares it is through the Power of Love that Persephone brings her husband back.
- The Old Guard: Yusuf "Joe" Al-Kaysani and Nicolò "Nicky" di Genova had a rough start of it, being on opposing sides during the Crusades and killing each other several times when they were both figuring things out, but eventually they fell deeply in love and have been going strong for nearly a millennium.
- In the Suikoden III fic "Eternity", it takes a few centuries for Chris and Hugo to get together.
- In the Harry Potter fanfic Death of Today. A surprisingly sane and horcrux free Voldemort and his soul mate Izar Black are set up to become this. But this being Voldemort it involves playing 'games' and messing up with societal order in an effort to keep themselves entertained for eternity. Still Izar fully expects to become sick of living after a millennia of so.
- In Child of the Storm, Odin and Frigga are several thousand years into a Perfectly Arranged Marriage (though it's hinted that it took a while for it to grow into that).
- Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel, who have been together for centuries.
- Thor has also indicated that he'd be quite happy to marry Jane and spend the rest of his life with her, with his only real reservation being what it would mean for Jane - the people she would have to lose, friends and family who she would have to watch grow old.
- In the epilogue to Infinite Legacy, Bruce's and Wonder Woman's immortal daughter hooks up with the well over a century old and long widowed Superman. Another author has expanded it into a sequel, almost three times the size of the entire original fic.
- Pops up also in Hetalia: Axis Powers fics, given that it's possible to have relationship arcs spanning centuries.
- In the fluffy Death Note Crack Fic A Charmed Life Ryuk decides he wants to keep Light forever.
- Subverted at the end of the Andromeda fic "Harper Learns". Trance turns out to be a member of some immortal elf race, and intends to sacrifice her immortality to live with Harper. When Harper asks another member of the race why can't they make him immortal as well instead, the guy explains that, for one thing, a sacrifice of her immortality is much more socially acceptable, and for another, he can say from personal experience that this trope doesn't really work out in real life.
- In the Mass Effect fanfic Crucible, this trope happened to two mortal/non-mortal couples thanks to the non-mortal partner's power. For the first couple, the wife, who is a living incarnation of a star, bounded her husband life with her and they will live as long as their partner is still alive. Giving the fact that a star can exist for billions of years and both of them are too powerful to be killed normally, this trope is a given.
- With the second couple, the husband's actually Death who will exist as long as the universe itself (and beyond that). The wife, meanwhile, used to be human but now is dead and thanks to her husband, she doesn't have to return to the cycle to be reincarnated like other souls and instead, choose to stay with him for all eternity.
- The Infinite Loops has a number of these, such as Cadance and Shining Armor, who were together in the baseline but have been upgraded to this thanks to the Loops, and Spike and Rarity, who took a very long time to get together in the Loops, but eventually became the first couple to marry in the Loops that weren't together in baseline.
- In Children of an Elder God, Shinji and Asuka gain immortality because of slaying a number of Elder Gods and stealing their power. After the Final Battle, they leave human civilization together.
- In Smallville fanfic Under the Influence Clark and Kara hook up; and because Kryptonians age very slowly under a yellow sun, they'll be together for a long time.
Kara: They will be your family, always and forever. And I'm glad they took care of you, for I was unable to be there for you. But now the two of us are together and I'll be here for as long as you want me. And we can live for a very long time underneath the yellow sun.
Clark: How long?
Kara: Long enough where these buildings around us, they'll be nothing but dust and decay and the two of us will still be standing here, young as ever.
- in The Great Alicorn Hunt, Princess Cadance had resigned herself to a MayflyDecember Romance when she married Shining Armor. That is, until Twilight springs an ascension on Shining Armor. After she gets over the initial hilarity of her husband's appearance (baby-sized wings), Princess Cadance asks if this trope is in effect, which Luna confirms. Her reaction to this was nothing less than heartwarming.
- It's not uncommon for Tikki and Plagg from the Miraculous Ladybug to be presented as such in fanfics.
- The Dark Children: Rumpelstiltskin's curse makes him immortal and he uses a spell that keeps Belle young, looking twenty-five despite being forty. They originally agreed to have more children as their older ones grew up and leave, only for Belle to begin to feel left behind, confessing that she wants to grow old with him.
- Subverted in Princess Trixie Sparkle. Astelle was in love with her mentor Starswirl. She thought when he granted her immortality that this was his intention, but she thought wrong. Starswirl didn't love her that way and he was giving up his immortality to her so that he could finally die.
- The Royal Sketchbook: All of Luna's previous lovers were mortal. However, she's since fallen for Twilight Sparkle, which leads into marriage later in the blog. Both are alicorns and both are functionally immortal (or are at least long lived).
- Fate/Black Dawn: The witch Morgan le Faye warns her sister Arturia that if she rejects Shirou, Morgan will take him and make him her husband forever. And when a witch says "forever," she means it. The epilogue and the sequel show that they remain together for fifteen hundred years, reaching the modern era by The Slow Path. They're still Happily Married.
- Virtually all Aziraphale/Crowley fics fall under this trope in the Good Omens fandom, as they're an immortal angel and demon who have known each other for six thousand years.
- In Hancock, Hancock and Mary have had an off-again-on-again relationship for many centuries. However, this trope is inverted in that the superman/woman pairs lose their powers when they come together so that they are able to grow old together and die, should Who Wants to Live Forever? kick in.
- The film version of Stardust ended with Tristan becoming a star, and living forever with Yvaine. (In this story, stars are actual, living people, not just mementos of the dead.)
- Thor: Any Asgardian (or Frost Giant) can have a relationship of this nature with their own species, because of their extremely long life spans. Additionally, as they explored a Sif/Thor/Jane Love Triangle in the sequel, Thor: The Dark World, it's possible that Thor and Sif will end up entering into this sort of relationship later on.
- In Only Lovers Left Alive, there's every indication this is the kind of relationship the immortal main pair have. This is in spite of living apart for long periods of time. Their love is compared to Einstein's "spooky" action at a distance, in which particles that become entangled will experience everything that happens to the other, even if they're on opposite ends of the universe.
- In the Mercy Thompson book Silver Borne, Sam and Ariana are given a chance to meet again after centuries and rekindle lost romantic possibilities because of their respective long lives.
- Gaston and Freia, from Elizabeth Willey's The Well-Favored Man, are said to have taken decades to fall in love. They can do this because members of their family live for centuries.
- Andrew Marvell's poem "To His Coy Mistress" invokes the possibility of a never-ending love affair only to reject it: since the speaker in the poem and the addressee are both mortal, they'd better hook up sooner rather than risk never getting together at all.
- The Dresden Files has an Unholy Matrimony example between Nicodemus Archleone and Polonius Lartessa, both made immortal through Demonic Possession over a thousand years ago. Many characters, however, reasonably suspect that their twisted relationship cannot be love in the usual sense.
- Particularly when it's shown that Nicodemus regularly cheats on Lartessa. With their daughter.
- The Cullen family of Twilight is made up of four vampire couples and a vampire/werewolf couple.
"More than eighty years had passed since Carlisle had found Esme, and yet he still looked at her with those incredulous eyes of first love. It would always be that way for them."— Edward, on Carlisle and Esme"But of course it made sense that Alice would be watching out for Jasper's future. He was her soul mate, her true other half, though they weren't as flamboyant about their relationship as Rosalie and Emmett were."— Bella Swan explaining Alice and Jasper's relationship"I got luckier than I deserved. Emmett is everything I would have asked for if I'd known myself well enough to know what to ask for. He's exactly the kind of person that someone like me needs. And, oddly enough, he needs me, too."— Rosalie's feelings."No measure of time with you will be long enough, but let's start with forever."— Edward to Bella at their wedding."The gravity of the earth no longer tied me to the place where I stood. It was the baby girl in the blonde vampire's arms that held me here now. Renesmee.— Jacob imprinting on Renesmee.
- Roger Zelazny's "The Graveyard Heart": This story features a couple who achieve their long-lasting relationship through science rather than supernatural forces: they're members of a group that put themselves into cryogenic stasis for years at a time, only coming out of it to throw a huge party, and going back into stasis afterwards.
- In Greg Egan's Schild's Ladder, before Tchicaya finally gets to have sex with his childhood lover Mariama he contemplates "Nothing could have lived up to four thousand years of waiting. Except perhaps an original theorem."
- Diana Wynne Jones's A Tale of Time City features an immortal or near-immortal couple: Faber John and The Time Lady. They have been separated for thousands of years but that doesn't seem to have broken their love for each other once they're reunited.
- This trope applies to all of J. R. R. Tolkien's Elves, since they are immortal and it is stated that they fall in love early and for life. But an outstanding example is Elu Thingol who meets Maia Melian in a forest and then they spend centuries just standing there and looking at each other. Also of note are the Valar, who existed before the physical world and, as far as we know, entered it already paired up (except for perpetual bachelor and bachelorette Ulmo and Niënna, and Melkor).
- The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel has Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel, naturally.
- In the closing moments of Greg Bear's The City at The End of Time, it is revealed that Sangmer and his love, who are forced to spend literally eternity apart in order to prevent the end of everything, meet again every time the current universe reaches its end, only to part again when the next one is created.
- The High Elves Caelir and Rhianna in Graham McNeill's Ulthuan Duology. Rhianna must take her ancestor's place on the Isle of the Dead, being trapped there forever, and Caelir, dying from a wound, chooses to stay with her. The two are kept together and will eternally be in a moment of perfect bliss with each other.
- Deconstructed by C. S. Lewis in The Four Loves. It is pointed out that expecting eros to be more then intermittent is unrealistic and besides unfair to your love interest (your emotions are not his/her fault after all), that you should have friendship and affection as well and in any case, if you really want Eternal Love the only way to get it is to submit it to God so he can not only love you but bless your love of other humans.
- The Redemption of Althalus ends with Althalus and his Divine Date Dweia withdrawing to a Place Beyond Time to enjoy each other's company forever.
- Night World has a few examples, primarily involving vampires, Old Souls or both.
- The most prominent example in the series is soulmate couple Hannah and Thierry. Due to her being reincarnated repeatedly and Thierry being a vampire, they have been in love for over ten thousand years and will likely continue to be in love forever.
- Poppy and James are set to be an extreme version of High-School Sweethearts; James turned Poppy into a vampire to prevent her dying from cancer and now they'll be together forever. They figure out they're soulmates and so were destined to be together; Poppy also tells James she always knew she wanted to marry him someday right back when they were kids.
- InCryptid has a downplayed example: Martin Baker is a Friendly Zombie married to Angela Baker, a Johrlac or "cuckoo", a Human Outside, Alien Inside species who can live in excess of a hundred years. It's unclear exactly how old Angela is, but they've been married since 1961 and more than 50 years later she hardly looks any older.
- Russell and Talbot of True Blood are a good example. Bill's off-again-on-again love/hate relationship with Lorena may fit as well.
- From Highlander: The Series, you've got the four-hundred year old immortal Duncan MacLeod and his three-hundred-and-fifty year long on-again, off-again snarky romance with the twelve hundred year old immortal Amanda Devereaux.
- There's also a pair of immortal friends of Duncan's who've been married for centuries.
- Spike and Drusilla were together for at least one hundred years before it all fell apart.
- Angel and Darla were together for 150 years.
- This is part of the course for The Master. When Darla dumps him for the young and handsome Angelus, he dismisses it as a fling that'll be over in a century or so.
- One-off vampires Elisabeth and James were together for more than two hundred years.
- Warehouse 13 provides Bennett Sutton (the Comte de Saint Germain), his wife and his son. Given immortality over five hundred years ago, they don't die (permanently, anyway) and don't age (something their son has a few issues with, since he's stuck in the body of a teenager). They tend to swing between love and hate depending on the day.
- The Vampire Diaries:
- Katherine wanted this with Stefan.
- Damon and Elena both eventually wanted this together. i.e. "It's a good thing we have forever." But now that Elena has taken the cure to become human again, this trope no longer suits them. Damon plans on taking the cure and enjoying the normal, human life that Elena has always desired with him.
- The Supernatural episode "Shut Up, Dr. Phil!" features a pair of witches, Don and Maggie Stark, who have been together for 800 years, despite some rocky times.
Don: You're the woman I want to never grow old with.
- The final episode of Moonlight (2007) has a couple of vampires who have been together for over a century, ever since she saw his boxing match and turned him. Unfortunately, she keeps getting the hots for attractive young athletes, and vampires-human relationships have a tendency to turn... bloody. She ends up blackmailing the LA vampire community to break her out of police custody, and they retaliate by sentencing her to execution by fire. Despite her infidelity, her husband chooses to join her in death.
- According to a Greek myth, the wedding night of Zeus and Hera lasted 300 years, and since they both were happy this was the happiest era in the world's history.
- One wonders if some of Oberon and Titania's relationship woes in A Midsummer Night's Dream stem from the fact that they've been together forever and are getting bored.
- Warhammer has a few. Orion and Ariel, the Wood Elf King and Queen, are immortal demigod spirits bound eternally to one another, and the vampire counts Vlad and Isabella von Carstein grew to be passionately in love throughout their unlives (until Vlad was finally slain centuries later, and Isabella committed suicide rather than face eternity alone).
- In Planescape: Torment, Deionarra is tormented by an eternal love that transcends death itself, aimed squarely at someone who does not remember having loved her and, as it turns out, never did.
- One of Avernum 3's sidequests involve a vampire who asks your party to deal with a group of ogres who have killed his beloved.
- Anogia 's goal is to live with Miria forever, and depend on you he may die, Miria disappeared from this world or he just gave up and spend his time with Miria the rest of time that he has.
- One of the endings for Mask of the Betrayer allows for this: If you bind Akechi to your soul and serve as a guardian for Kelemvor's City of Judgement, you're effectively granted immortality - albeit with a catch that you can never return to the material plane. Not ready to part with you, your romantic interest (Safiya or Gannayev) will pledge themselves to Kelemvor as well so that they may be with you forever, and the two of you become an eternal Battle Couple.
Gann: After all, how many others boast of being able to be together for all eternity? I think the spirits have blessed us.
- Princess Waltz has one between the Big Good and the Big Bad.
- In The Second Reproduction universe, humans and demons can live the same lifespan if they sign a life-bounding contract. Thanks to it, a human can live the same time as a demon.
- Hinted at with Nash Latkje and Sierra Mikain in Suikogaiden Vol. 1 and Suikoden III. In the former, the 22-year-old Nash tells the thousand-year-old vampire queen that he wouldn't mind spending an eternity with her. In the latter, Nash is married to a woman who's blatantly implied to be Sierra, and despite now being 37 years old doesn't seem to have aged a day (possibly implying that Sierra turned him into a vampirenote ).
- Dark and cruel version is given in The Secret World with Lilith and Samael's marriage: yes, they are together for 3 Ages (effectively Universe resets) already, but their marriage is by no means happy - according to Samael she cheated on him with army of lovers and recently openly betrayed him and started to subvert all his plans and efforts. According to her, their romance grew cold, and it's he who betrayed her and their original plan and turned to Gaia, leaving her to do on her own. But after all that he still promises player Fate Worse than Death if they dare to do her harm: after all these Ages she's still his wife.
- While just about everyone in Hades is immortal and hooking up for immeasurable lengths of time, Zagreus and Thanatos's relationship is singled out as uniquely eternal, as Death will always come for Life in the end. Even if the player opts out of consummating their relationship, Thanatos is invariably listed as Zagreus's 'cherished partner' with whom he shares an 'Undying Bond'.
- In Errant Story the long-lived elves consider a near-eternal relationship to be tragic because you'll inevitably grow bored with each other, even if it takes thousands of years. One of their greatest forms of romance is when your partner dies at the peak of your relationship, so you can go on remembering all the good times without it being spoiled by your memories of falling out of love. Humans were considered ideal for this purpose thanks to their short life spans.
- Leif & Thorn: Vampires Stanczia and Imri. Started as a MayflyDecember Romance, then Stanczia turned Imri, and they've been together for 200ish years since.
- In The Adventure Zone: Balance, it's implied that when the IPRE begins its travels in The Stolen Century, Barry already has a crush on Lup. It proceeds to take him literal decades to work up the guts to admit his feelings for her, and by the end of the podcast well over a hundred years after meeting, they're still happily together. And as liches, may remain as such for many more hundreds of years. When he first admits his feelings to another character, he seems to reference this trope:
You know, we've lost a lot, and there's a lot more we might lose, but the one thing we do have is the thing that people in love rarely ever have enough of, and it's time. Barry, you've got all the time in the world, my man.
- Gargoyles' Titania leaves Oberon every so often for a couple of decades to have some fun studying humans' magic called "science," hooking up with human men and even having Half-Human Hybrid children (including Fox), although she always comes back when she gets bored. Oberon doesn't mind. He even finds her latest affair with Reynard highly amusing. He hasn't remained totally monogamous either, as he sired Merlin.
Fox: Mother, who is this guy?
Oberon: "Mother"? ha-ha Titania...what have you been up to?
- The Fairly Oddparents: Cosmo and Wanda have been married for 10,000 years. Jorgen also proposes to the Tooth Fairy by saying, "I want to spend every single moment of our endless lives together."
- Steven Universe has a few examples of this, seeing as the Gems are an immortal and non-aging alien race.
- Central to the plot are Ruby and Sapphire, who have been together for over 5,700 years and never leave each other's sides as they're constantly fused as Garnet.
- Pearl and Rose Quartz shared a mutual love for about six millennia, though Rose had several relationships with human men at the same time, most notably with Greg. It becomes The Mourning After for both Pearl and Greg by the time of the show, as Rose's immortality was cut short to give birth to Steven.