A bittersweet trope where Alice loves Bob but realizes that a relationship between them cannot happen, so she decides to put Bob's happiness above her own. Accordingly, she abandons her claim to Bob and encourages him to move on and live his own life, even if that means watching (or even supporting) a relationship between Bob and someone else. The trope is intended to show that Alice is noble and selfless, but it can fall flat if the plot hasn't shown that Alice and Bob had any real connection, or if Alice appears to have ulterior motives (i.e. is still trying to get with Bob by pretending she is letting him go).
If Bob is the one who chooses to do this, this act of sacrifice may (paradoxically) be what causes Alice to notice his interest and/or decide she wants to be with him after all, thus rewarding his virtue. But even if she doesn't, Bob may still contribute to her Happily Ever After, usually in the form of an "If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her..." speech directed at her new paramour.
Under The Four Loves, this would be classified as Agape: seeking the other person's good unconditionally, even if there's nothing else in it for you. Also see Romantic False Lead, Act of True Love, Unrequited Love and Insecure Love Interest.
- In 9 Chickweed Lane, Edie is not happy that her rediscovered-love-turned-fiancé Kiesel is about to "haul off and be honorable" after they both learn that Edie's other love interest, Bill, is in fact alive but didn't contact Edie for ten years, even after he physically recovered from World War II and his amnesia supposedly wore off. Not helping Kiesel's case is the fact that he's an ex-Nazi and Bill was sent to Omaha Beach as punishment for defending Edie's honor against a superior with his fists. It's a foregone conclusion since this is a flashback, and it's implied Edie and Bill's marriage wasn't perfect ("You used dad's name and 'passion' in the same sentence!").
- In "Beauty and the Beast", the Beast agrees to let Beauty return home to see her ill father when she begs him to even though he's not exaggerating when he warns her that he'll die of grief if she stays home too long.
- A dark version in "The Little Mermaid." The title character, now a tongueless human, needs to marry the prince in order to gain an immortal soul; if he goes through with his Perfectly Arranged Marriage to another girl, the mermaid will dissolve into sea-foam and get no afterlife. She's given an out: if she kills the prince with a magic dagger and puts his blood on her legs, she'll turn back into a mermaid and at least retain her natural 300-year lifespan. She can't go through with it, dies, but gets an afterlife in reward for her sacrifice.
- In "Sweetheart Roland" by The Brothers Grimm, a shepherd picks a flower who's actually the protagonist. He proposes to her when she becomes human again, but she's still in love with the titular Roland; nevertheless, the shepherd continues to let her live with him until she eventually wins Roland back.
- Many tellings of the legend of King Arthur have him tolerate the love affair between his wife Guinevere and champion knight Lancelot because he loves them both too much to see them suffer.
- Likewise, Guinevere refuses to run off with Lancelot because she still loves Arthur.
- In the TV adaptation of The Mists of Avalon, Arthur's solution to this problem is a threesome.
- In season 2 of Merlin, Lancelot refuses to return to Camelot because he believes Prince Arthur and Guenevere are the One True Pairing. This is after they've agreed that a romance is out of the question.
- This is the central plot of the webcomic Arthur, King of Time and Space. At one point, Arthur had banished Guenevere and Lancelot in the Space and Fairytale arcs, but at least partly because he thought they'd be happier without him. He was wrong.
- In Celtic Mythology, Emer and Fand both loved Cu Chulainn so much that they BOTH were willing to give him to the other.
- King Solomon's judgment regarding a child in dispute by two women - he proposes to simply cut the kid in two for each mother to have an equal part, and one of the women says to just give the child to the other. This proved to Solomon that she was the mother, for being that selfless.
- In The Adventure Zone: Dust, Dylan Mathis was in love with Jeremiah Blackwell, who was in love with his sister; he let them get married.
Dylan: "When they got married... do you... Mr. Ryehouse, do you know- Have you ever, in a moment, been the most happy and saddest you've ever been in your whole life?"
- In The Muppets episode "Swine Song", Denise sees Kermit and Piggy singing a duet, and even though Kermit insists it was just part of the show decides to bow out.
- The climactic moment of Der Rosenkavalier, when the Marschallin gives up her younger lover Octavian to a woman his own age whom he has fallen in love with.
- Cyrano de Bergerac is about the original Cyrano helping the handsome Christian win the heart of the woman they both love, Roxane. He does this because Roxane is already fond of Christian (who's genuinely a decent guy, just lacking in wit), and Cyrano himself believes he's too ugly to ever have a chance with her. Unfortunately for them both, Roxane does fall in love with Christian, but only because of the words Cyrano gave him to use. She eventually learns the truth, but only after Christian has died in battle, and while Cyrano is dying from a mortal wound, denying it all.
- A Very Potter Musical lampshades this trope's presence in its source material with repeated references to the Spider-Man Trilogy.
- In Martin Guerre, when Arnaud is arrested for impersonating Martin Guerre and sleeping with his wife, a judge decides that Bertrade is still married to Martin, and leaves Arnaud's fate in his former friend's hands. Martin realizes that Bertrande and Arnaud really love eachother, and frees Arnaud from jail, and attempts to lead Arnaud and Bertrande away from the villiage to start a new life together.
- Used in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street when Mrs Lovett attempts to justify the lies she has been telling Sweeney. Her excuse is that she convinced him his wife was dead for his own good, because due to Lucy's insane state he could never have been happy with her. It's a chilling example of this trope invoked by a character on purpose to whitewash the machinations of a psychotic Yandere. Unsurprisingly, Sweeney buys into it about as much as the audience do.
- Twelfth Night: Viola loves Orsino, but tries her best to set him up with Olivia, the girl he professes to love, instead.
- The Phantom of the Opera: Most of the movie, the Phantom tries his hardest to keep Christine for himself, but when she kisses him at the end, he has a change of heart and tells her and Raoul to 'Go now and leave me!'
- An American in Paris: All the spares (Milo, Henri, and Adam) accept they aren't "true loves" and instead let their respective love interests find real romance with each other.
- The stage version of Les Misérables plays this trope completely straight regarding Éponine's love for Marius, unlike the novel and even the musical's film version, where her selflessness is much less consistent. Jean Valjean is also a parental example of this trope for Cosette, as in the novel.
- The Misanthrope gives you two for one. Philinte wants Éliante to be happy, and Éliante wants Alceste to be happy. Both are equally fine being the runner up to their beloved's preferred suitor.
- Hamilton: Angelica Schuyler's signature song "Satisfied" outlines how she has this platonically for her sister Eliza, for whom she played matchmaker with Alexander Hamilton even though she realized both sisters had fallen for him. Angelica knew that she could have had Alexander for herself because of her wits and status as the elder sister, but swallowed her own feelings in order to allow her sister to marry her love while she ended up in a loveless marriage.
- In the original Miss Saigon, the signature song of Ellen (the woman Chris (the titular character's lover) marries after returning home from the Vietnam War) makes it clear that she intends to fight to keep her husband. But in the revival, it's been changed to indicate that she'll give him up if that's what's needed for him to heal from his trauma.
- Shima-kun from CLANNAD, who wishes for Misae to find her happiness, since he's worried about her. The Kyou route revolves around deconstructing this trope, showing just how awkward and painful it would be in reality.
- Monika from Doki Doki Literature Club! to the player. After you delete Monika, she realizes that her actions were extremely heinous, and she restarts the game once more, restoring the other three girls, but not bringing herself back so that they and the player may be happy together.
- The ending of Fate/stay night's Fate route and the Anime falls under this trope, with Shirou allowing Saber to destroy the Grail even if it means their separation. In the game's last route, Sakura is shown to be resigned to Shirou and her sister, Rin, getting together, and is surprised at Shirou reciprocating her feelings.
- In almost all endings to Frozen Essence, Zareh helps Mina be with her chosen love interest and bids her farewell in spite of having been in love with Mina for a thousand years and being the one who unsealed her from her prison in the first place. This is the most prominent in Rune's path where he tells Mina that she will never be happy if she doesn't see Rune again, risks being captured and exposed to let Mina reunite with Rune, and tells Mina in the Light End to let go of him and focus on her future with Rune instead. What really makes this sad is that Mina doesn't even realize the full significance of this because she's lost all her memories of her past - and by extension, Zareh - so she doesn't even know who this person comforting her in her dreams is. However, this is subverted in Zareh's own Dark End where he snaps after being rejected by Mina and keeps her captive to prevent her from leaving him.
- Katawa Shoujo, this is the reason why Misha helps Hisao get together with Shizune in the latter's route. The big twist here is that her beloved is not Hisao but Shizune. Eventually, however, especially after the first time Hisao and Shizune have sex, her feelings start to come to the surface and put a strain on everyone's relationships with each other.
- Torahiko Ooshima in Morenatsu is shown to be this if you don't pick him. He is known by fans as the "Canon" Route of the story. The sad thing is, you can't pick his storyline yet.
- Every route in Princess Waltz ends with this. in the first half of the game, Chris sacrifices herself for Arata. And in the second half of the game, Arata and whichever partner you choose to fall in love with but that girl ultimately steps out of the way so he can be with Chris after she is saved.
- Rather surprisingly, Saya in Saya no Uta displays this at one point: she reveals to Fuminori that she has the ability to restore his distorted senses back to normal and offers to do so for him. If Fuminori says that he wants it, she willingly does it even though she's visibly saddened by how this will effectively force her to separate from the one human who she could truly connect to forever because his normal human senses wouldn't be able to bear the sight of her true Eldritch Abomination form.
- Ambrosia and Arsenik do this for each other at various points in War: 13th Day. Near the beginning, Ambrosia succumbs to blackmail in order to keep Arsenik out of prison. In one ending, Ambrosia is framed for murder and Arsenik decides to take the blame for it.
- Happens in backstory of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations, although the "beloved" party doesn't learn about it until much later. Iris was dating Phoenix for 6 months while pretending to be her sister Dahlia to get a necklace Dahlia gave him earlier, which was a piece of evidence that could put Dahlia in prison. During these 6 months she truly fell in love with him, but Dahlia became impatient and tried to kill him to get it herself. After Dahlia was arrested, Iris disappeared without telling Phoenix the truth, because she felt she caused him enough pain already and he'd be better off without her.
- In Maji De Watashi Ni Koishinasai, Hideo's maid Azumi does her best to help him with his love for Kazuko. Also happens in Azumi's route, when Yamato helps Azumi confess to Hideo.
- In Ikemen Sengoku, every romance route has a guy who is not that route's love interest develop one-sided feelings for the female main character. Fortunately, in almost all cases, that guy is content to step aside and let the main character be happy together with the man she loves, including even normally manipulative/villainous guys like Mitsuhide and Kennyo.
- Toma admits in the Amnesia: Memories fandisc Amnesia LATER how far he was willing to go to keep the heroine happy. And he even calls back to how he was willing to return her to Ikki in Memories when he thought the two of them were dating. Fortunately, since both have realized they love each other, Toma and the heroine are happily dating.
- In Greek Ninja, Dawson has his heart trampled on but pretends to be alright, as to not upset his love interest who was interested in someone else.
- In RWBY, Jaune Arc obliviously chases after Weiss and is seemingly unaware of Pyrrha's feelings for him. Despite her obvious reluctance, Pyrrha encourages him to continue courting Weiss. And later on, after seeing Weiss ask Neptune to a dance and learning that he turned her down because he was embarrassed about not being able to dance, Jaune encourages him to go talk to her and be honest, saying that it would make her night.
- In Twig, Sylvester and Mary have great chemistry and care a lot for one another, but Sylvester acts deliberately Oblivious to Love, because he knows that Mary also likes Gordon, a Mix-and-Match Man who is steadily deteriorating, and neither of them wants Gordon to die before Mary can tell him. Later, Sylvester and Lillian, who have entered a mutually affectionate relationship, decide to break up for the sake of Lillian's career ambitions-as Sylvester is a Tyke Bomb Living Weapon, Lillian having a romantic attachment to him doesn't go over well with her superiors and both of them value her ambitions over their happiness.
- In the Thrilling Adventure Hour episode "Art Imitates Life," an ex of Sadie Doyle's uses the wish of a genie to remove her husband Frank from existence, in the hopes of freeing her up to be with him. He failed to include that second part in the wish, resulting in Sadie becoming an art thief alongside a man named Basil. When Basil learns about Frank and that Sadie had married him, where she'd kept their engagement ongoing for years, he immediately pickpockets the lamp and undoes the wish so Sadie can be with the man she truly loves.
- The Legend of Korra: The series has this with Korra. Korra is often portrayed as stubborn and even a bit selfish. In a heartwarming gesture, she shows that she can be selfless by allowing Mako, who she is in love with, to be with his then-girlfriend Asami. Korra even goes so far as to befriend Asami and tell Mako to go to her when she needs him. Then, in a twist by itself, Mako admits to having strong feelings for Korra as well and knows how much it hurts her to see him with Asami. Finally, Korra and Mako break up because of their conflicting personalities and that they are better as friends, leading to Korra and Asami ending up dating each other at the end of the series. And one of the things that helped them bound was the fact that they both dated the same guy. And to twist it even further, by the series finale, Mako himself may have grown to feel this about Korra and Asami's relationship. The writers have stated that they think Mako will always carry a bit of a torch for Korra, and a fairly popular Alternate Character Interpretation is that Mako telling Korra that he's got her back, and he always will, was him saying that he understood and supported her and Asami's developing relationship. If you subscribe to that interpretation, his last scene in the series becomes this trope.
- In The Simpsons:
Krusty: You're the only woman I love enough to abandon at the altar.
- Near the end of the episode where a woman replaces Krusty. They're about to get married when Bart shows her a compilation of clips showing how he used to treat his previous wives. She is unbothered by this, however, Krusty realises he'd only hurt her and leaves the altar.
- In "Bender's Big Score", Fry acts at first to disrupt Leela and Lars' budding relationship, because he is desperately in love with Leela himself. He eventually learns the trope lesson to a T and goes so far as to reunite the two even after they've broken up on their own. Complicated because it turns out that Lars is Fry, a duplicate created by time travel that lived in the past for twelve years before learning the lesson, having his hair burned, voice changed and freezing himself again.
- Ironically, Lars himself does this. Upon learning that as a duplicate created from time travel he was inevitably doomed to die soon, he calls off the wedding because he wished to spare Leela the pain of her husband dying. "Lars" also does this back in the past and the narwhal he bonded with, which is what helps him realize and grow as a person enough to start this whole chain of wanting his beloved to be happy.
- In the episode "Bendless Love", Bender dates fellow bending unit Angline long enough to drive her back into the arms of her ex-husband Flexo. After Flexo gets pinned under an unbendable girder, Bender bends it off of him so they can be happy together.
- Zoidberg of all people finds true love in a kind, beautiful florist named Marianne, who not only loves everything about Zoidberg but can't be put off by his horrid stench since she lacks the ability to smell. However, she wants to be able to smell her flowers more than anything else in the world and Zoidberg ends up deciding to give her a nose transplant so she can be happy, despite knowing the second she catches a whiff of him she'll head for the hills. It's ultimately subverted in that she ends up hating the scent of flowers and loving Zoidberg's stench and Zoidberg finally earns his happy ending after an entire series of being The Chew Toy, but he never-the-less was willing to lose her so she could be happy.
- In American Dragon: Jake Long, the Huntsclan has finally gathered together the artifacts they needed and in the configuration required for the Huntsmaster to wish away all magical creatures. Rose promptly interrupts him and instead wishes away all of the Huntsclan members in lieu of the magical creatures, in her ultimate act of betrayal. Jake obviously doesn't want Rose to be annihilated with the rest of them, so he takes over and wishes that Rose was never a part of the Huntsclan to begin with. Not only does Rose live, but she also gets to live a normal life with a loving family. While they meet again briefly, she moves to Hong Kong. Jake just smiles as she hugs her parents near the taxi and wishes a Happy Homecoming. The series finale has her re-remembering her former life when she sees the photo of her and Jake at a school dance.
- Danny Phantom averts this in the episode "Flirting with Disaster" where Sam has difficulty accepting Danny and Valerie are mutually interested in each other and even pretending to be this causes a Twitchy Eye. Lucky for her, Valerie breaks up with Danny before the relationship could even start, giving Sam a lucky pass.
- In the Teen Titans episode "Things Change", Beast Boy encounters a Schoolgirl bearing a striking resemblance to his once petrified former girlfriend Terra. Eager to resume the relationship, he is met with considerable resistance on the part of the Schoolgirl when she repeatedly explains to Beast Boy that she does not wish to be associated with Terra, or Terra's bad deeds. Ultimately, Beast Boy realizes the strain he has put The Schoolgirl through when she explains that, though he may enjoy being a Titan, she just wants to be normal, and he leaves the Schoolgirl to enjoy a normal life, and attend to his responsibilities.
- A variant happens in the Teen Titans Go! comics continuing the series when Terra's brother Geoforce shows up looking for her. Beast Boy tells him about the Schoolgirl and he goes to look at her from afar, recognizing her as Terra, he is amazed that she looks happier now than she ever did in her life. He leaves without speaking to her, but she notices him out of the corner of her eye and seems happy to see him.
- Discussed and ultimately defied in "Donald's Dilemma". In it, Donald Duck gets hit on the head with a flower pot and becomes a successful singer — but as a consequence, he gains amnesia and forgets everything about his past life, including his girlfriend Daisy Duck. When Daisy consults a psychiatrist about what to do, he gives her two options:
Psychiatrist: Do you want the world to have him and his beautiful golden voice... or do you want him back again for yourself? It's either the world or you.
Daisy: Me! Me! Me! MEEEEEE!
- AndrAIa couldn't leave her game world with the boy she fell for (that would be Enzo, in case you can't tell), so she created a copy of herself and hid her on him in icon form, making this a rare example of a character conceding their beloved to their self.
- Hexadecimal does this too in season 4. She is the only one that can stop Daemon's infection from destroying the entire Net but only goes through with it because destroying the Net means destroying Bob. She even tells Dot to take care of Bob right before performing her Heroic Sacrifice.
- Total Drama:
- Cody. He liked Gwen but didn't know that Gwen was clearly the Official Couple with his friend Trent. Once he figured it out, though, he decided to help set them up together. This is averted in Season 3. By this point, Gwen and Trent have broken up, and Cody makes it clear that he's hoping she'll give him another chance. However, he's once again oblivious to the fact that she likes somebody else—Duncan, a friend of hers who's Troubled, but Cute at best and a Jerkass at worst, and already involved with someone else. When the two secretly kiss in the bathroom and later get found out, Cody's reaction is to punch Duncan in the face and continue flirting with Gwen.
- In Pahkitew Island, Ella gets her heart broken when she finds out that Dave likes Sky instead of her. When Sky asks her what's wrong Ella tells her about Dave's feelings without any hint of bitterness.
- Family Guy:
- In an episode where Peter was lost at sea and presumed dead, Lois ended up remarrying Brian (who has always held a torch for Lois), When Brian discovers that Lois and Peter are having an affair behind his back he goes to confront them, but overhears Lois breaking off the affair with Peter because of the commitment she made to Brian. In response, Brian promptly agrees to end the marriage so Lois can go back and be with Peter.
- When Peter was turned gay by an experimental gay gene treatment, he decided to leave his family and live with Scott, his new boyfriend. Brian and Stewie kidnapped Peter and sent him to a Straight Camp to turn him back. However, Lois learned about this and decided to get Peter back to Scott since he would be happy with him and she can't change who he is.
- There's a direct-to-DVD movie called "Pollyworld", which is based on the Polly Pocket toyline. When Polly and her friends find out that Polly'snote future stepmother was trying to trick Polly's father into having her sent to a boarding school, they catch the whole confession on camera and save it to a DVD. However, Polly invokes this trope be deciding not to show the DVD to her father, even though it would mean that she wouldn't have to leave her friends. She decides that it wouldn't be fair to get in the way of her father's happiness. Moreover, she drives this point home by destroying the DVD. Luckily, her father finds out anyway, and everything turns out right in the end.
- Galaxy Rangers has a heart-breaking one. Shane couldn't admit his feelings to his fellow Supertrooper, Darkstar. She ends up running off with Jerkass Stingray and becoming a wanted criminal while he was spared a de facto execution by becoming a Hunter of His Own Kind. A couple of years later, Darkstar and Stingray are hired thugs for a corrupt Cattle Baron, and Shane is sent to take them down. Shane tries to rebuild things with Darkstar, but Darkstar makes it very clear that she's staying with Stingray. Shane and Stingray have a classic Showdown at High Noon (we ARE talking about a Space Western). Shane defeats Stingray...only to turn and walk away, sparing them both. Darkstar is holding her lover and sobbing, unable to understand why Shane isn't arresting them. Lucy Martin and Doug Pries managed to act the hell out of it.
Darkstar: Goose! Why are you letting us go? I don't understand...
Shane: I know, Darkstar. I know you don't. Take care of yourself, Darkstar. Take real good care of yourself... and take care of him, too...
- Mocked at the very end of season 4 of The Venture Bros.. When The Outrider tells Dean "you should be happy as long as she's happy", he curses him back with a Precision F-Strike.
- Kim Possible:
- In So The Drama, Ron Stoppable becomes increasingly jealous of Kim's new crush, Eric, leading him to the realization that he was in love with her, and had been for some time. On the night of the junior prom, he decides to tell Kim how he really feels before realizing that if she did not feel the same way and wanted Eric instead, it could potentially ruin their friendship. Later on, he is visiting Bueno Nacho, apparently having decided not to go through with telling Kim, leaving her to attend the prom with Eric and him feeling sorry for himself. However, whilst there, he uncovers Dr. Drakken's latest scheme, leading to the revelation that Eric is a synthodrone, designed for the sole purpose of luring Kim into a trap and thus giving Ron his chance to confess to Kim. She returns his affections and marks the Relationship Upgrade between the two.
- Yori, basically a Japanese version of Kim. She was really keen on Ron, who was oblivious to her affections. When Kim tells him he is blown away by the revelation, then after he and Kim are a couple Ron tries to tell Yori, who stoically accepts this. Kim does a better job of explaining, and Yori is perfectly happy for them.
- ThunderCats (2011): Lion-O has just found out that his crush Cheetarah prefers his older brother Tygra over him. He actually takes it amazingly well, publicly encouraging their relationship. In private, however, he calls Cheetarah out on her flirtatious methods of supporting and encouraging him, which led to the misunderstanding in the first place. He does want them both to be happy, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's happy about it.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: For the longest time, Spike has been close to Rarity; when she was attempting to win the heart of Trenderhoof, he decides to help her.
Rarity: Oh, Spike, how could you ever know what it's like to be totally obsessed with a pony only to find out they're obsessed with somepony else?
Spike: [aside glance]
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Deconstructed and defied in season two. Star has feelings for Marco, but she doesn't realize it until he's already in a relationship with Jackie-Lynn Thomas, whom she was trying to set up with him for much of the school year. Star tries to invoke this trope, but finds that she has a hard time doing so. Her unintentional jealousy and bottling of her emotions cause her magic to go berserk in a number of episodes throughout that season.
- Played straight in season three. Jackie breaks up with Marco because she knows he's unhappy with life on Earth after spending so much time on Mewni, and implicitly because she knows he'd be happier with Star. Later, when Marco realizes that he has a crush on Star, he holds off on telling her because she had already moved on by that point to start dating Tom, a friend he cares too much about to hurt.
- In the Winnie-the-Pooh Valentine's Day Episode Winnie The Pooh: A Valentine For You, Pooh prepares to give Christopher Robin the Smitten which could bite him and remove his potential lovesickness, but upon seeing how happy he is to have his new friend, he ultimately decides against it.
- King of the Hill: Dale's wife Nancy has been having a very obvious affair with John Redcorn for most of the marriage, even bearing a son with him (though Dale is none the wiser). However, after Nancy and Dale rekindle their romance during a double date with the Hills, Nancy breaks off the affair with Redcorn. While Redcorn is not happy at first, Dale helps him reclaim the land that the government took from him and comes to see Dale as a true friend. Redcorn willingly steps aside when Nancy tries to get back with him since he does not wish to cause the Gribbles any more grief. At least not until the later seasons when he tries to win Nancy back.
- In Miraculous Ladybug episode "The Bubbler", Marinette knits Adrien a scarf for his birthday. However, at the end of the episode, Natalie (The personal assistant to Adrien's father) takes Marinette's name off the tag and claims it came from Mr. Agreste, to cover up that she neglected to get a gift in Gabriel's stead. Rather than reveal that the scarf came from her, Marinette sees how happy Adrien is thinking that the scarf was from his father and stays silent.
- Interpretations vary, but Søren Kierkegaard basically did this to his fiancée Regine when he abandoned her. He went as far as to destroy his own public reputation so that people would think that she had broken up with him, that he was the problem. In the time they lived in, a man breaking off an engagement with a woman reflected really badly on the woman, and could ruin her reputation for years. Kierkegaard didn't want to see this happen to Regine. The emotional fallout became the backdrop for his writings about philosophy and religion.
- This is a pretty common (and fairly painful) example of Truth in Television. One example which may be more relevant to TV Tropes as a whole is the case of fans following an actor's love life. While the Loony Fan who breaks into a celebrity's house may make the news, many other fans are simultaneously Squeeing over how cute the couple is and sad that it means their favorite crush is now off-limits (not that they were ever a realistic option, but don't crush the poor fan's dreams).
- This type of love for another is referred to as agape by most Christian churches: to love others to such a degree that you place their needs above your own, even if you don't benefit from it or suffer because of it. It is regarded as the highest form of love.
- "If you truly love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it's yours forever; if it doesn't, it never was to begin with." — an old proverb.
- People who are terminally ill or who know they may not return alive may encourage their significant others to start searching (example). Latter scenarios may overlap with If I Do Not Return.