Follow TV Tropes


I Love You Because I Can't Control You

Go To

"You are a hateful woman. You oppose me to the very end. But I shall forgive you. Some things are beautiful because they cannot be obtained."
Gilgamesh, Fate/stay night

A person who, by intense charisma, magic, science, or mundane methods of seduction, is able to make everyone throw themselves at their feet; absolutely anyone they want. Then they find a true challenge when they meet another character who, for whatever reason, is immune to their charms. In other words, this person has the power to choose the seducer of their own free will, and love them for who they are on the inside. Forbidden Fruit is also a factor since something unattainable is naturally more desirable.

If The Casanova gets a Love Interest, he will often fall for her because of this trope. This is often an explanation behind Ladykiller in Love and implied in Love at First Punch. Contrast All Take and No Give. Sub-Trope of Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond, Forbidden Fruit and No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction. When the uncontrollable object is not flattered by the attention, she may be dealing with a Prince Charming Wannabe. Also compare Power Dynamics Kink and Rejection Affection. Contrast Aroused by Idiocy, which involves someone being attracted to those who can't challenge them.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Mega-Control Freak Batman loves Catwoman partially because she's one of the few people who won't take it lying down.
    • In some continuities, Poison Ivy is shown to have feelings for Batman because he's the only man she can't control with her pheromones.
  • The DCU: The latest Clock King is obsessed with Rose Wilson a.k.a. Ravager mostly because she has similar precognitive abilities that can counter his own powers.
  • ElfQuest: Leetah and Rayek's relationship in the early issues could easily be interpreted this way.
    Rayek: I have asked you to be my lifemate. Any maiden here would say yes!
    Leetah: Then why pursue me, my arrogant one?
    Rayek: Because you are the only one worth having!
  • Fables: In Fairest, Prince Charming tells Nalayani he has genuine feelings for her because she's unaffected by his charm. She replies "What charm?"
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard: Loki becomes attracted to Verity Willis because she has the power to see through all forms of falsehood, including illusions, so fooling her is quite a challenge.
  • In the Sillage comic The Collector, a corrupt alien diplomat develops an obsession for Nävis in this way. He keeps a whole harem of his past conquests but obsesses over this one girl he cannot get. (He is a powerful telepath but Humans Are Special by not being psykers — her mind is blank for him.) This develops into a genuine love that gives him what might qualify as a Heel–Face Turn. Although love is a strong word. He just toned down his obsession. It didn't stop him from putting dozens of video cameras in her ship and robot friend to watch her all day.
  • Spider-Man: Gwen Stacy's attraction to Peter Parker started because he was the only guy she had ever met that didn't instantly fall at her feet and acted very disinterested and dismissive of her on their first day of college when they first met, which quickly made her very determined to get him to notice her. Little did she know that this wasn't because he wasn't or normally wouldn't be interested but because he had been running himself so ragged as both Spider-Man and Peter Parker the last several days that he could barely stay conscious much less hold a conversation at the time.
  • X-Men:
    • Jean Grey in the comics doesn't really seem to earn Wolverine's interest until she shouts him down. Every time she'd telekinetically clobber him and shout "I am no one's property!", it seemed to make him hotter for her. Pity every adaptation ever forgets that, having Logan fall for her the instant he first sees her.
    • The Ultimate Marvel adaptation has this as well. Wolverine underestimates Jean, she blasts him with Telekinesis and afterwards, he starts becoming more attracted to her and even abandons his mission to kill Professor Xavier.

    Films — Animation 
  • Beauty and the Beast:
    • While Gaston says that the reason he fell for Belle is that she's the most beautiful girl in town, Belle also happens to be the only girl in town not taken in by him and her constant rejection of him clearly wounds his ego and only makes him even more determined to have her at any cost. It's made more explicit in the 2017 live-action remake where he explains to Lefou that "it's the ones who play hard to get that are always the sweetest prey."
    • The Beast also starts to warm up to Belle after she refuses to obey and defer to him. Unlike Gaston, who views her refusal to submit as a challenge to break her to his will, the Beast is inspired by her behavior to be a better person.
  • In Charming, Prince Philippe is cursed to be so charming that every girl he meets instantly adores him; however, he's fully aware that this isn't actually "love." He falls for Leonore, who isn't affected by his curse.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Casino Royale (2006), James Bond falls for Vesper Lynd because she's the only woman he's ever met who doesn't easily fall for his charms.
  • This is the premise of Coming to America. Eddie Murphy's character, an African prince, wants to find a woman who would love him for who he is, not an Arranged Marriage trained to obey him or a Gold Digger after his money.
  • In the Fantastic Four (2005) movie, Victor Von Doom's assistant wonders, "Why Sue? You could have any other woman in the world." Victor quickly rejoins, "That's why. Because I could have any other woman."
  • Groundhog Day pulls this with the lead character, Phil, who is stuck in a Ground Hog Day Loop and can't get out. At one point he uses this to take advantage and convince a variety of beautiful women he loves them or he knew them by learning stuff about them, coming back the next day, and using this knowledge to seduce them. Since every day at 6 when he wakes up everything is reset, he can profess his love to a woman, sleep with her, and wake up without her ever realizing this had happened since technically it never did. This goes well for Phil with everyone he wants except Rita, his producer, whom he spends multiple weeks learning everything about her, and yet not one time does she sleep with him; actually they all end with him being slapped for his behavior. As would be expected, this is the one he falls for.
  • Scott from Love Before Breakfast is accustomed to getting everything he wants, but the fact that Kay doesn't fall for his money or charms makes him want her even more.
  • Inverted in Next, where the main character falls for the love interest because his powers work better on her than anyone else.

  • HoneyWorks' "Mean Encounter" from Confession Executive Committee ~Love Series~ has this as its central premise. The singer is a typical teen playboy who fools around with girls and takes life in a lax manner, but only one person seriously dislikes him for it— and that very same person is the only one that makes him start reconsidering his actions, leading to an honest romantic pursuit.
  • "Crave You" by Flight Facilities revolves around this idea, too. "Why can't you want me like the other boys do?"
  • Kesha's "Steven", a song where the narrator is a Stalker with a Crush (literally, according to the official video) features the following as its second verse:
    I've got guys waiting in a line
    For me to play my evil girly games
    With all their minds
    Just watch me
    I've got it down to a simple art
    Just bat my eyes like this
    And there's a broken heart

    But somehow
    you turned the tables
    what the hell?
    I can charm the pants off anyone else
    but you...
  • Don McLean's Everybody Loves Me Baby is a great example of this. "Everybody loves me, baby — what's the matter with you?"
  • The Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday" is all about this, a woman who lives only for the present ("yesterday don't matter if it's gone"), never stays in one place for long, and can't really be obtained by anyone.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Older Than Dirt: Mesopotamian Mythology has the story Nergal and Ereshkigal, where Ereshkigal falls in love with a god who has disrespected her emissary and abandoned her despite her seduction.
  • In Christian theology, this is essentially why God gave humans free will. He wants people to choose a relationship with him, rather than being simple automatons compelled to obey. (Granted, the alternative is pretty harsh.)


  • In My Fair Lady, Prof. Higgins realizes his attraction to Eliza only when she leaves him and declares that she doesn't need him.
  • Mrs Lovett to Sweeney Todd. She's consistently portrayed as being very attractive. Preskett Prest, author of the original book, in particular waxes lyrical about how captivating she is to the men that visit her shop and most adaptations go with that and make her very flirty but Sweeney is largely immune to her charms or incapable of having a real relationship with her. Or else he mercilessly uses her as a pawn in his plotting...
  • It's possible to interpret The Taming of the Shrew like this, with Kate being impressed that she is unable to frighten away Petruchio (YMMV of course). This is the approach taken in 10 Things I Hate About You.
    Kat: Why would you care if I never woke up again?
    Patrick: Because then I'd have to start taking out girls who actually liked me.
    Kat: Like you could find any.
    Patrick: Now see, right there, who needs affection when you have blind hatred?
    • The inverse is also true for the movie — Patrick grows to love Kat because she's not afraid of or especially impressed by him, unlike most of the student body.

    Web Comics 
  • In The Bride Of The Fox, Prince Dumisami initially finds Nubia plain, but he quickly becomes fascinated with her because she doesn't care about his looks or the jewels and fine clothes he brought for her as engagement gifts. He simply can't understand she despises him because he utterly disrespects her, to the point of taking off her glasses to force her to walk arm-in-arm with him (he gives them back after she uses her short sight as an excuse to crush his foot). Her rejection, of course, only increases his determination.
  • Dan from Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures is an incubus who believes he will never find true love. With his mind reading, charm and shape shifting abilities, Dan could seduce anyone he wants, but it would not be love. Matilda is his first real shot at a girlfriend because she is immune to his abilities, and loves him for who he is.
  • In El Goonish Shive, when Pandora was young, she had a hobby of having mortals do silly stuff in return for valuable information. But one day, as she was growing increasingly bored with how predictable it was becoming, a man named Blaike Raven refused her offer. She proceeded to persist at first for the challenge, and then because she was growing increasingly fond of him and the information she was offering him really was very important. That being that there was no treasure, and was about to be killed. She even saved his life and apologized for not telling him sooner, even though Blaike kept saying it wasn't her fault that he didn't listen.
  • Everyday Heroes: Kid Charisma is never seen with the same enthralled girl in more than one panel, but spends dozens of strips continuously hitting on Summer after he finds out that she's immune to his power. She finds this both creepy and incredibly obnoxious and hits back. Unfortunately, KC has a pretty strong Healing Factor.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Not love per se, since he seems incapable of loving anyone besides himself, but Coyote is clearly fascinated with Antimony and Reynardine precisely because they're not afraid to disagree with him or brush him off. In contrast, Ysengrin is a fawning yes-man to Coyote, so Coyote barely gives him the time of day. Except of course when he's eating Ysengrin's memories.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Bob realizes that the only reason Jean's crazy ex-boyfriend is so fixated on her is that she had the audacity to reject him.
  • Supervillain Distracterella of League of Super Redundant Heroes is infatuated with Lazer Pony, as he's the only person able to resist her charms.
  • The Princess's Jewels:
    • In his home country, Raymond was known for his silver tongue and charming qualities, which earned him scores of fawning noblewomen. When he attempts to flirt with Ariana, her swift putdowns makes him want to follow her. Even though she'd been hiding her own feelings and was in fact giddy over his forwardness, she played into it knowing he's more likely to chase her when she doesn't show it.
    • Lina, Jade's Stalker with a Crush, constantly tries to get him on her side when she learns he wants to escape Ariana's harem. Every time he rebuffs her or acts cold (as he does to everyone else) just makes her fall harder, but this eventually leads to her drugging and attempting to rape him to make him hers once and for all.
  • Skin Horse: Tigerlily Jones is the only (human) female to appear for more than a panel and not find Tip extremely attractive. She barely even noticed him unless forced to. This is probably the main reason she's the only woman Tip's actually thought twice about (without sleeping with her or her trying to kill him).

    Western Animation 
  • In Batman Beyond, Zander falls for Max because she is tough and sassy, unlike his sickeningly submissive servants.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • "You're... rejecting ME? Oh my gosh! I am so into you now! I'm gonna run home and leave a thousand messages on your answering machine, bye!"
    • "Stupid Cupid" also confirms what anyone could have guessed — that Juandissimo is so obsessed with Wanda, who hates his guts because she's "so unattainable."
  • Gargoyles:
    • Nobody probably finds his mental equal as literally "highly erotic" as David Xanatos does. He tells his new wife so in the episode "Upgrade."
    • Puck feels this way (probably platonically) towards David Xanatos.
  • Wonder Woman's attraction to Batman in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited has shades of this as part of their Opposites Attract routine.
  • The Owl House: Warden Wrath from "A Lying Witch and a Warden" is a Knight Templar who's the closest thing the Boiling Isles has to law enforcement, locking up troublemakers and weirdos in his Conformatorium (often for spurious reasons). He's also madly in love with Eda, the one criminal who's always managed to escape his grasp.
  • A villainous example from Teen Titans, Brother Blood becomes obsessed with Cyborg because the mechanical parts of his brain prevent Blood from using his mind control powers on him.
  • Total Drama World Tour: Alejandro falls in love with Heather after he finds himself unable to manipulate her nor get her eliminated as he did with the other female contestants, due to Heather being aware of his true colors.
  • In The Weekenders, Carver tries to set Tino up with a popular, stuck-up girl; the girl isn't interested in Tino until she discovers that Tino isn't interested in her either. Then, she becomes infatuated with him, claiming that "unattainable boys are so fascinating".

    Real Life 
  • In Neil Strauss' The Game (2005), a memoir about his time as a pickup artist, he describes how he ended up in a serious romantic relationship with the one woman not affected by his seduction techniques.


Video Example(s):


Drake's First Challenge

Book dumb chick magnet Drake Parker finds himself drawn to the brilliant Michelle who requires more than his usual simple, lazy charm and jokes to be impressed.

How well does it match the trope?

4.17 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / ILoveYouBecauseICantControlYou

Media sources: