Follow TV Tropes


Forbidden Love

Go To

As long as people have been falling in love, social norms have prevented some lovers from being together. Forbidden Love applies whenever taboo tries to prevent two individuals from (openly) being in a relationship. This can result in a Secret Relationship, a Suicide Pact, Courtly Love or even Happily Ever After. Compare to Star-Crossed Lovers, which is about specific circumstances separating lovers rather than social norms, although there may be overlap.


This is a Super-Trope, although because it depends on the cultural values presented in the work. However, incest is often considered a universal taboo, and pedophilia is likewise frowned upon in many cultures (to put it lightly). As such the following almost always qualify:

The following tropes are specific sub-tropes of Forbidden Love:

The following may also qualify, although they're not as universal as the above in their application:

See also the indexes Incest Is Relative, Queer as Tropes, and Interracial and Interspecies Love Index.

Please add examples to the subtrope pages unless they don't fit anywhere but here.


Comic Books

  • Wonder Woman (1987): While the Bana and Themyscira tribes of Amazons were still at odds the Bana Anaya started dating the Themysciran Iphthime. Anaya ended up breaking off their relationship after learning that Iphthime had aided the Themysciran terrorists who started a civil war to get rid of the Bana, though Iphthime had not realized how far her sisters intended to go.

Fan Art

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: "Forbidden Love" is an official parody of the fandom's infamously intense shipping wars, made up of fanart of assorted non-couples such as Katara and Zuko and Azula and Aang, before everyone breaks up due to incompatibility and goes back to the canon couples, begging forgiveness from the show's writers.

Films — Live-Action

  • Suits on the Loose follows two juvenile delinquents named Justin and Tyler who disguise themselves as missionaries. Justin starts to fall in love with a woman in the ward named Sarah, but since he's disguised as a missionary they can't really get together at first.
  • Comic artist Jack Deebs gets drawn into Cool World, which is a Toontown that's Darker and Edgier. There he encounters The Vamp Holli Would. However, detective Frank Harris bluntly dissuades Deebs from getting it on with Holli, because the #1 rule in Cool World is "Noids don't have sex with Doodles." Nevertheless, Holli seduces Deebs to become human, breaching the barrier between Cool World and the Real World. Further; although Harris is very friendly with the doodle Lonette, their relationship remains chaste, adhering to the rule. Fortunately, there's no taboo on two doodles getting wiggly.
  • Fast Color: Bo's mother tried to stop her from being with Ellis, but by then Bo was pregnant.
  • Stealing Heaven: Abelard and Héloïse's illicit affair, due to a number of factors. They include the demand he remain celibate as a teacher, that her uncle is going to arrange Héloïse's marriage with someone else and of course since they're not married also (a serious matter in the setting).
  • Where Hands Touch: Kerstin's past affair with Leyna's father. Leyna's romance with Lutz too. Both are condemned as a result of racism. In the latter case, it has actually been made illegal by the Nazis.
  • Loving Annabelle: The Catholic school doesn't want Annabelle and Ms. Bradley to be together because they're female... while Annabelle's seventeen too, making their relationship illegal (plus Ms. Bradley's her teacher).

Live Action TV

  • Carnival Row: Romantic or sexual relationships between humans and Fae are treated this way by many Burgish people. After he finds out Imogen and Agreus are lovers, Ezra goes in with a gun to shoot the latter, calling his sister a whore. Philo's parents also had a secret relationship in the backstory. He keeps his marriage with Vignette secret from most humans for this reason as well.
  • A variation in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, in the episode "Rejoined": in Trill society, it is taboo for a symbiont host to rekindle relationships with people from previous hosts, including with the host of a symbiont from a prior relationship. This is called a "rejoining", and is strictly forbidden under pain of exile from the Trill homeworld — a punishment which is essentially a death sentence for the symbiont, since there would be no more Trill hosts after their current host dies. In this specific episode, Jadzia Dax and Lenara Kahn struggle with their feelings for each other in the face of this taboo, as the Dax and Kahn symbionts were joined to a previously married couple, Torias and Nilani.


  • Selena's "Amor Prohibido" is about this. For unspecified reasons that might be money related, people (including their own parents) disapprove of the relationship.

Tabletop Games

  • Star Crossed: The Two-Player Game of Forbidden Love is a Tabletop RPG about forbidden romantic relationships (as well as relationships that are not forbidden, but physically impossible).

Visual Novels

  • Natsumi's affection for Kenichi in Sharin no Kuni, since the setting has existing laws which can impose a literal prohibition of falling in love, to which she is subject.


  • One peculiar example involves Helen and Dave in Narbonic. He's her henchman, and it's stated repeatedly that henchmen do not get romantically involved with their employers. For one thing, the employers tend not to last. He's a latent mad scientist, anyway, so it works out all right in the end.

Western Animation

  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Queen Eclipsa abandons her throne and her people to marry a monster. They are imprisoned for their treasonous romance, while their illegitimate daughter (who would grow up to become Miss Heinous) is swapped with a peasant girl to be raised as heir to the throne


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: