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Love Before First Sight

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"I knew I loved you before I met you, I think I dreamed you into life... "

When a character is in love with someone they haven't met yet.

The character knows what their beloved looks like, or knows their name, or sometimes both. But for one reason or another, the infatuated one has never seen the person they love in real life. They know that they'll meet someday, Because Destiny Says So, and they'll wait for their beloved to make an appearance.

Traditionally, the beloved was seen in a dream or premonition, was foretold by a fortuneteller, described by a third party, or seen in a portrait, sculpture, or drawing. New technology has added photos, videos, e-mail, phone conversations, chat, or online gaming sessions, and radio, tv, or movies to the possibilities. Rarer methods involve finding an item of clothing, a book, or some other personal possession of the beloved one. May result in the character becoming a Stalker with a Crush.

Can be the result of a Reincarnation Romance. Girl of My Dreams is the subtrope that covers specifically dreaming of the beloved before actually seeing them. Compare with Love at First Sight.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In 86 EIGHTY-SIX's anime adaptation, a lot of anime-original scenes make it clear Vladilena is rapidly falling hard for Shin just from their daily talks over the Para-RAID commlink, long before they've met in person or even know each other's faces. It takes a bit longer in the light novels, where their feelings develop slowly and gradually change from being antagonistic strangers, to comrades, to friends, and finally to full-blown romantic partners.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Lu only knows her friend Matsuri as a girl, but he was male until shortly before they met. When Matsuri sends a Soul Fragment into Lu to exorcist an evil spirit, he appears before her in his original male form. Later on, Lu encounters Shirogane shapeshifted into male Matsuri. She ends up falling in love with "Shiromatsu" (who she thinks is an alien), having still never physically met Matsuri's original identity.
  • In Black Jack, the titular doctor performs a retinal transplant on a blind girl, allowing her to see. She starts getting visions of a young man, who she becomes curious about and gradually falls in love with. It nearly goes very badly when it's discovered that the man she's seeing is an imprint of what the previous owner of the retinas saw, and that said previous owner saw him because he'd murdered her and was quite willing to murder again to hide what he did.
  • In Descendants of Darkness, the evil Dr. Muraki fell in love with Tsuzuki at first sight... from his photo. He further became obsessed with him when he read his grandfather's (who was Tsuzuki's doctor) records of Tsuzuki's symptoms and mental health.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Mei Chan develops a crush (and claims she's "in love" with and wishes to marry) Edward Elric, after misinterpreting a description of the Fullmetal Alchemist and his legendary exploits. She sets off in search of him... and unfortunately, the real thing doesn't look at all like the one she imagined. She ends up falling in love with Ed's younger brother Al, which is a bit of an unusual variation of this trope, because although she's "met" Al, he's actually just a disembodied soul alchemically bound to a massive empty suit of armor, on a quest to get his physical body back. He has a great personality, though.
  • Fushigi Yuugi: Hotohori as a child already wondered if the priestess of Suzaku "could love him one day". He did not change his opinion by meeting her but it's subverted because it is not with him that Miaka is in love.
  • Guilty Crown: Shu's older sister Mana. After Mana was infected with the Apocalypse Virus, she turned into "Eve" in order to give birth to a new race of humans, and decided that she wanted her little brother to be her "Adam" before he was even born. It's left unclear to what extent her feelings for Shu are caused by the Apocalypse Virus driving her insane.
  • Though of debatable merit, some characters may have predicted that Hayate would fall for Hinagiku in Hayate the Combat Butler before she was even introduced in the manga. Given that Even the Girls Want Her and she falls for him when she does first meet him, this is plausibly explainable.
  • In Inazuma Eleven Orion no Kokuin, Iwato starting writing love letters to a person named Hikaru before he even knew their gender. He is shocked to discover through a reply that Hikaru is actually a guy, which is not what Iwato is attracted to.
  • During the Culture Festival arc of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, it's revealed that Fujiwara's little sister Moeha has fallen in love with Shirogane due to being best friends with his little sister Kei and having often heard stories about him.
  • In Nyaruko: Crawling with Love!, Nyarko fell head-over-heels for Mahiro the moment she read the mission report about him and immediately begged to be assigned to his case. When she actually tells Mahiro this, he's more than a little surprised...mainly since she's already progressed to "Desire to Bear Enough of His Kids to Start a Soccer Team Before First Sight"...
  • Maoyu: While her exact age is unknown, the Demon Queen is implied to be at least a couple centuries old (though she's young for her race's standards). She'd been waiting for the day to meet the Hero in person since he was born.
  • In Mars Red, Episode 7 shows that Nakajima Misaki was already pretty smitten with her fiancé Lt. Col. Maeda just from exchanging letters with him. Their first meeting in person was after she has been turned into a vampire and lost her sanity, and she dies shortly afterward.
  • Mint na Bokura has Yoshiaki, who fell for Maria after hearing his brother talking about her. When they finally meet, he promptly asks her out.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club Rich Bitch Eclair actually had fallen in love with Tamaki through the stories of her housekeeper... Tamaki's mother.
  • It can't be more fitting for Mitsuha & Taki in Your Name. Both first learnt of each other's existence through the body-swapping. Their only way of communicating with each other is via leaving notes on their respective phones during the body-swapping. Both already fell for each other by the time they met each other for the first time at the top of the hill as their respective original bodies. This trope even repeats itself when they lost memory of each other after leaving "the underworld", making them yearn for each other, despite not knowing who or what it is. At the end of the film, their reunion after several years brings out the tearful joy in each other, & prompts them to ask each other's names.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Anzu first fell for Yami Yugi when he saved her from a hostage situation in which she was blindfolded. She finds out later that he's a spirit inhabiting the body of her friend Yugi.

  • Marie de' Medici Cycle: In The Presentation of Her Portrait to Henry IV, Henry IV is smitten by a portrait of Marie. Their proxy wedding follows soon after.

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted in The Sandman (1989), in which a woodsman brings a locket containing a portrait of a princess to the princess, meeting several strangers along the way. When he finally meets the princess, he gives her the locket... and leaves.
  • In Scott Pilgrim, Scott dreams of Ramona and becomes infatuated with her before they meet, because Ramona's using his head as a Warp Zone.
  • In W.I.T.C.H. (unlike in the Animated Adaptation) Cornelia first sees Caleb in her dreams, and meets him for real later; the feeling became reciprocal. Ultimately they can't make it work due to their differences and never getting around knowing each other, so they (amiably) break up. The Oracle later make them dream what would have happened had they taken different decisions (Cornelia dreaming to go to Meridian and stay there and Caleb dreaming of moving to Earth), with rather tragic consequences.

    Fan Works 
  • Bequeathed from Pale Estates: Invoked by the Starks (particularly Ned and Lyarra) in the case of Sansa and Domeric Bolton. Sansa was originally set to be betrothed to Joffrey, but after a public display of his madness that got him essentially disqualified from the line of succession, Ned refuses the offer. Instead, he and Lyarra make a coordinated effort to turn her affections to Domeric, writing of his gallant deeds and sending her sketches of his good looks. It works. By the time Ned returns to Winterfell, Sansa was ready to ask for the match herself, and when she and Domeric finally meet, they immediately hit it off and are smitten within months of their courtship.
  • The Victorious time travel AU fic "Across the Years" features this for Jade and Tori; Jade lived in the present while Tori lived in the mid-nineteenth century, but after Jade finds Tori's picture and diaries in an antique shop, she finds herself falling in love with Tori based on what she reads in the diaries, eventually driving her to use a prototype time machine to go back and try to save Tori's life, having learned that Tori will die in childbirth (giving birth to a stillborn baby) and her husband would swiftly marry his mistress.
  • In Imagine, Spock falls hopelessly in love with Kirk (and develops Single-Target Sexuality) after only ever seeing his picture. They don't even meet until very near the end of the fic. (Whilst it's referred to as Love at First Sight in the fic, it's really this trope.)

    Films — Animation 
  • In Isle of Dogs, Tracy and Atari don't meet for most of the movie, but as Tracy uncovers Atari's efforts to find Spots, she finds it difficult to organize her thoughts about him.
    Tracy: Darn it...I've got a crush on you.
  • In The Little Mermaid (1989), after she saves him from drowning, Eric doesn't see Ariel but hears her beautiful singing voice and becomes determined to find this mysterious girl. Ursula uses the fact that Eric doesn't know Ariel's identity to her advantage in her deal to make Ariel human by requiring Ariel to become a mute as the price, minimizing her chances of making Eric fall in love with her. When Eric starts to fall in love with Ariel regardless, Ursula decides to diguise herself as a beautiful maiden and use Ariel's voice to bewitch Eric into believing she was the mysterious woman. Upon the spell being broken and Ariel regaining her voice, Eric finally realizes she was the one he was looking for, solidfying his love for her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Barretts of Wimpole Street. Robert Browning has been reading Elizabeth Barrett's poetry and exchanging letters with her. When he finally meets her, tells her he's fallen in love with her. Real Life turned out pretty much the same way.
  • The whole premise of Ben X is romance in an MMORPG. The main couple meet in RL only in the last scene.
  • The Devil's Messenger: In "The Girl in the Glacier", Dr. Seastrom falls in love with a girl inside a block of ice.
  • In Don Juan De Marco, the title character falls, hard, for a centerfold model he's only seen in a magazine. After many attempts he manages to phone her- when she tells him to bug off, his response is rather disproportionate.
  • In Enchanted, Giselle sees her true love in a dream, and builds a statue of him, being certain that he both exists and that he wouldn't find this creepy. The statue looks as much like Edward as Robert, anyway (dark-haired guy with light eyes).
  • Subverted in French movie (two versions) "Fanfan la Tulipe", Fanfan believes a (fake) prediction done by fortuneteller Adeline. So, he believes he'll marry king Louis XV's younger daughter. But, he ends up disappointed after he meets her, and prefers Adeline.
  • Flirting Scholar: The beautiful Chou-Heung falls in love with an artist before meeting him, because of his paintings and poetry.
  • This was Tatiana Romanova's cover story in From Russia with Love, which was the reason that the only agent who could extract her was James Bond.
  • Parodied when Ron eats chocolates laced with a love potion in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
    Ron: I'm in love with her!
    Harry: Okay! You're in love with her! But have you ever actually met her?
    Ron: No... could you introduce me?!
  • Arguably in Just Like Heaven, one of the main characters is or seems to be a ghost. They meet because the other character rents her former apartment. Near the end of the film, they have fallen in love, but still technically never have met in person. When they do, it seems to be a Downer Ending as she doesn't remember him, but their hands touch and she remembers him.
  • In the movie The Lake House, the main female character has not met the man she is writing letters to, as he is two years behind her time.
  • In the 1944 Film (noir) Laura, the detective investigating the titular character's murder falls in love with her through his investigation, even going so far as sleeping under her portrait. Subverted somewhat when he finds out that she's not really dead and the victim was actually another girl the murderer mistook for Laura. The two actually do fall in love and justice is served to the miscreant.
  • The romance in A Matter of Life and Death starts with them meeting over an SOS call.
  • A bit downplayed in MirrorMask, where Valentine is Helena's deuteragonist throughout her dream sequence, and she meets his real-life counterpart afterward. However, there's no explicit romance between them. At the least, it's friendship before first sight, with hints that a stronger relationship may grow later.
  • Another sci-fi twist in Oblivion (2013), combined with Girl of My Dreams. Turns out the protagonist is part of a Clone Army created for an Alien Invasion, a fact that he's unaware of. The woman he's dreaming of is actually the wife of the original subject he was cloned from. After discovering the truth, he realises it's a case of this trope and makes a Love Confession to her.
  • In Only You, 11 years old Faith hears in a spiritualism session her soulmate will be named Damon Bradley. Ten years later, on her wedding day, she gets a call from a guy named Damon Bradley. Naturally, she drops everything to go meet him.
  • The Shop Around the Corner has the two leads fall in love with another just by reading their letters/emails. The Setting Update, You've Got Mail, has Meg Ryan's character fall in love with a guy she's online dating.
  • The whole plot of Sleepless in Seattle. The official couple, Annie and Sam, meet face-to-face only in the very last scene. Annie is engaged, and she has never seen Sam; she only knows his voice, thanks to radio. This doesn't stop her from breaking off her engagement for a guy she doesn't know yet.
  • This is one of the triggers for the plot of Somewhere in Time. The main character falls in love with an actress after seeing an old picture of her, making him use Mental Time Travel to meet her after he learned that she'd already died of old age.
  • In The Terminator, Reese claims to have been in love with Sarah ever since seeing her picture, which kind of comes off as being creepy. This takes a strange turn when it's revealed that John Connor, Sarah's son from the future, chose Reese to go back in time to become his father.
  • The Thirteenth Floor puts Love Before First Sight and Love at First Sight in a cocktail shaker and mixes with glee. The two main characters have never met, but fall instantly in love in what one of them explicitly says is love at first sight. Plot twist: the main character is a simulated reflection of the other one's husband - which means he's similar, but not identical. So she's seen him before, but not *really* him. She's been following his life for a while, and explicitly says she fell in love before they met. Which of the two tropes to apply is left as an exercise to the reader.
  • In the French movie Witch Way Love, Hot Witch Morgane tells her infant son Arthur the story of a little witch. This witch fell in love with the portrait of a young man and found a magic spell that would get her pregnant by him without actually requiring his presence. Then the little witch was punished with a mindwipe, and the portrait was also erased, save the eyes of the man. Later, Morgan meets and falls in love with inventor Michael. Suddenly, we guess: Arthur was never seen with a father around him, and there is a portrait with only the eyes visible in Morgane's room. Said eyes are identical to those of Michael.

  • The (historical) troubadour Jaufre Rudel of Blaye was famous for falling in love with the (also historical) princess Hodierna of Tripoli, after having simply heard about her. Supposedly Jaufre embarked on the Second Crusade just so he could meet her, only to fall sick on the voyage and die romantically in her arms upon his arrival in Tripoli.
  • In the tale of "Maguelonne", Pierre of Provence, a southern French nobleman in the Middle Ages, compares himself to Rudel. He once heard pilgrims talk about Napoli's princess, Maguelonne, and her golden hair. He falls in love with the description, rushes to Napoli, confirms his love for the princess, and she even starts to love him as well.
  • Countless fairy tales are about a prince falling in love with the heroine's portrait. For instance, in the tale of "Doe in the Woods" written by Madame d'Aulnoy, the prince Guerrier (Warrior) falls for Princess's Desiree picture. Later on, Desiree's evil and ugly maidservant came to Guerrier home pretending to be the princess. Poor prince believes at first he's in love with an inaccurate painting.
  • In the Russian tale "Seagull Princess", a prince discovers a lady's portrait in his best friend's room, falls in love with it, and immediately tries to kill his friend, believing it's his fiancee's portrait. Wrong: It's his sister's actually, and he'll introduce her to the prince at soon as possible.
  • In some versions of Donkeyskin, the princess has never seen the prince before being asked to bake a cake for him. But she still puts her ring in the cake so he can find her later, ultimately marrying him.
  • In the Ancient Greek tale of Rhodopis (found first in Strabo's ''Geographica''), an eagle steals one of Rhodopis' sandals and drops it into the lap of the Pharaoh of Egypt. The Pharaoh, "struck with the shape of the sandal, and the singularity of the accident", resolves to marry the woman to whom the sandal belongs. At least part of his reason is that he regards the incident a divine omen.
  • "Ye Xian", another version of "Cinderella", does something similar with the king finding or being sold Ye Xian's lost gold slipper and becoming so fascinated with its tiny size that he vows to find and marry its owner.
  • Tristan and Iseult: Played with. King Mark insists on marrying the girl who left a single blonde hair on the edge of his window except that the only reason he's thinking about marriage at all is that the barons want him to be, so he decides to choose someone impossible. But his nephew Tristan guesses that the girl must be the blonde Iseult, and he brings her to the king.

  • In love stories within the Arabian Nights corpus, love before first sight is ubiquitous—for the practical reason that there was no way a man could have set eyes on an unmarried upper-class female.
    • So, in this version of the Cinderella story, the young man can only identify his beloved by the slim ankles that led to her dropping an ankle bracelet; he has not yet seen her face.
    • A somewhat more believable variant is a man falling in love with his mother's description of a woman - at least, the mother actually knows the woman in question - in some versions, it is her Really 700 Years Old best childhood friend.
  • In Belgarath the Sorcerer (the prequel to Belgariad), King Riva has interesting dreams about a particular girl — who turns out to be the titular sorcerer's daughter - the younger, mortal one Beldaran. They get married and start the line that leads to the protagonist of the main series.
  • Drustan falls in love with Ana due to seeing her in visions in Juliet Marillier's Blade of Fortriu.
  • In A Brother's Price, men are rare, and unmarried men are chaperoned by their sisters, for STD Immunity is thoroughly averted, and a man who is not pure anymore would be unmarriageable. As a result of this, falling in love with a description is not all that unusual. Therefore, it is no surprise that Ren spends the night in the kitchen in the hopes of meeting Jerin, of whose beauty she knows only from the description of her sister Odelia. She does meet him, and is just as smitten with him as Odelia.
  • In The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold, Bergon falls in love with Iselle when Cazaril describes her to him. Upon meeting, she quickly reciprocates.
  • One chapter of Dandelion Wine has a man fall in love with a beautiful girl by her photo alone, only to find out that the photo was taken a long time ago and that the girl is now an old woman.
  • Emma: Emma Woodhouse feels Attraction Before First Sight towards Mr Frank Churchill. He's the son of her close family friend, though they have never met each other. They are socially equal and close in age, and both are intelligent, charming, and handsome.
  • Eragon plays with this a bit with the title character having visions of a girl in prison. He crushes on her and rescues her, but she's not interested in him in that way.
  • The Expanse Detective Miller falls very in love with the subject of his investigation, Julie Mao particularly after seeing her determination and how she defied her father. She replaces his ex-wife as the imaginary woman he talks his cases over with. He's fully aware that he's in love more with the concept of her but it does help him realize that Julie is in control of Eros. He doesn't attempt to make any romantic overtures when he finally meets her.
  • Britomart for Artegall in The Faerie Queene after seeing him in a crystal ball.
  • In Tom Holt's Mind Screw book Falling Sideways, the protagonist falls so hard for a portrait of a long-dead woman burned as a witch that he tries to get her cloned. After much confusion and many, many lies, it turns out he was genetically engineered to feel this way precisely so the entire plot of the book could unfold as it did.
  • From Russia with Love. An Invoked Trope in the Evil Plan by SMERSH, where a Russian cypher clerk has supposedly fallen in love with Bond's picture in his file. Bond and M are skeptical, but can't resist the bait when she promises to deliver a cypher machine in exchange for meeting Bond.
  • In Harpy High, the wizard falls in love with the protagonists' mother, who is in a coma. He explains that he can read most of her personality through her face (laughter lines, etc) and so strongly believes that he knows her very well, despite never talking to her.
  • In Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin, there's a sort of case of Destiny Before First Sight: Lavinia knows by her belief in prophetic visions that she will marry Aeneas even before he arrives in Italy, and knows that this is the right thing to do for the sake of her people; she rather loves Aeneas before meeting him, too, but that's a bonus.
  • Played with in Les MisÚrables. Marius and Cosette have only seen each other and not actually spoken, but they fall in love somehow. When Jean Valjean moves and takes Cosette away with him, Marius gets so depressed he does everything he can to find her, even though they've still exchanged nothing more than a few glances.
  • Eva Ibbotson's Magic Flutes has David Tremayne falling for a princess he's never met, just from pictures of her and others' anecdotes about her kindness and bravery. Thing is, he's the assistant of said princess's Love Interest, so his love goes unrequited.
  • Virginia for Lorenzo in The Monk.
  • In Ready Player One, Wade has a crush on Art3mis from reading her blog, which grows into a full-blown infatuation when their avatars meet in the Oasis. They don't meet face-to-face until the last pages of the book.
  • In Someone to Run With Assaf follows a dog which is supposed to lead him to its master. While he does so he speaks with people the girl knows, later even reads her diary, and is already half in love with when he finally meets her. And he only falls harder from then on.
  • The Tale of Genji: Heian gallants were quite capable of falling in love with a girl's handwriting or even a description.
  • Grace Greenwood's poem "To —".
    We never met; yet to my soul
    Thy name hath been a voice of singing,
    And ever to thy glorious lays
    The echoes of my heart are ringing.
  • Alice and Jasper in The Twilight Saga. Alice can see the future, which is how she knew where to meet him in the first place.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, Elena's best friend Bonnie, who is a psychic, reads Elena's palm and tells her that in the future, she is going to meet a "tall, dark, and handsome" stranger. A few minutes later, Elena sees Stefan for the first time. Elena instantly and immediately falls in love with Stefan the moment she sees him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Angel, Wesley says this about Fred:
    "I have loved you since I've known you. No, that's not...I think maybe even before."
  • The song "Mystery" from A Bit of Fry and Laurie is all about the singer's love for someone who happens to live in a different country... and to be dead. And who probably wouldn't have liked him anyway. Hence the title.
  • Shawn of Boy Meets World finds a lost purse and, from its contents, becomes convinced that the purse's owner is the perfect woman for him. He's actually already met the owner of the purse's contents (the owner of the actual purse didn't own the contents) but didn't get to know her well enough to start a long-term relationship.
  • A somewhat twisted example from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Oz and Veruca, who are both werewolves.
    Veruca: I've wanted you even before I ever saw you. I sensed you. Did you sense me?
    Oz: Come in here.
    Veruca: Did you?
    [Oz nods tensely]
  • The TV series Catfish which centers on online romances runs on this trope. The premise is people who have fallen in love but never met in person. Every time, one of the potential people is hesitant to meet, because they are hiding something. Usually has a Downer Ending because the lies, even if for innocent reasons (such as insecurity about his/her real appearance or career), break the trust upon which the relationship was built.
  • In Criminal Minds, Reid's Love Interest in Season 8, Maeve, is being stalked. Therefore, she's afraid to leave her apartment and even more afraid of being seen in public with him, fearing the stalker will go after him. Thus, they talk on the phone and exchange emails, but they never meet in person (or even exchange pictures). Reid is even afraid to meet her because he doesn't want something as superficial as appearance to come between them. They do get one chance to see each other when her stalker kidnaps them both, but it only lasts about five minutes before the stalker takes out Maeve in a murder-suicide.
  • Dash & Lily: Lily and Dash develop feelings for each other through their interactions in the notebook that they pass to and from each other, but neither knows what the other looks like, and Dash only knows Lily's name. Deconstructed Ś they had both idealized the other in their head so when their actual first meeting where they know each others' identities happens under less-than-favorable conditions both are upset and disappointed.
  • Dates: Kate, spying Erica from the bar when she first walks in.
  • Doctor Who: A Forgotten First Meeting and various time travel weirdness notwithstanding, the first time the Doctor properly becomes aware of Clara's existence, he could neither see nor touch her because she, or rather the particular version of her was currently in denial over having been forcibly converted into a Dalek. Her voice over the intercom was enough for her to impress him with her intelligence and willpower, and do lots of flirting. This is also why he doesn't immediately recognize the next version of her that he comes across; by the time he realized that they are basically the same person, they had already kissed.
  • Dollhouse:
    • Paul falls for Echo after seeing a picture of her — though after he's told it's pathetic, he really does try to return to real life. Eventually he turns out to be right about Echo and him.
    • Both Topher and Bennett had crushes on each other before they even saw each other, having "known" each other through their various scientific achievements. After their first kiss, Topher admits he even had a crush on Bennett "back when I thought you were a dude."
  • Bryce and Keiko in FlashForward (2009). Each even makes a trip to the other's home country in an effort to find each other.
  • Love O2O: A variant. Wei Wei and Xiao Nai met in person before they fell in love through their online interactions, but they only learn who they are after falling in love.
  • British cop show Murder City had a particularly tragic story in which the investigating officer fell in love with a dead woman through reading her diary whilst investigating her murder and imagined her coming back as a ghost so he could talk to her even though he'd never met her when she was alive. The killer (her ex-boyfriend) even mocked him for it in the end.
  • Phil falls for Keely in Phil of the Future before they officially met in the first episode; his family comes to 2003 during Christmas, and Keely walks by. He becomes so infatuated that he goes back in time several times to fix a glass star Keely was responsible for as Pickford Yultide Princess that Pim broke (and keeps getting broken).
    Barbara: And don't forget the star!
    Keely: That's my favorite part.
    Phil: I know. You were the Pickford Yultide Star Princess, after all.
    Keely: That's right. Wait, we didn't even know each other then. How'd you know about that?
    Phil: Well, see...I actually met you before you met me.
    Pim: Met her? You followed her around like a pathetic puppy.
    Keely: Really?
    Phil: Psht. [sputters incoherently]
    Pim: You were like "Oh, we have to help the pretty crying girl!"
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In episode "Haven", it is revealed that Troi is due for an Arranged Marriage. When she meets her husband to be, she sees a bunch of drawings he made showing a woman's face from childhood to adult. The groom claims this is a woman who has been appearing in his dreams from a young age and always assumed it was Troi. Sure enough, said woman turns up later in the episode, prompting the groom to run off with her returning us to status quo.
    • Geordi LaForge falls in love with starship designer Leah Brahms after working with a holographic version of her. It makes things really awkward when he meets the real (and already-married) Dr. Brahms who unlike the hologram turns out to be bossy, cold, and highly critical of Geordi's work (to makes things worse, she gets really pissed when she finds out about the hologram). However, they manage to become friends, and the final episode suggests they end up getting married in at least one timeline.
  • Terriers, of all shows, uses this one. Britt saw pictures of Katie when he robbed her apartment, tracked her down at the bar where she worked and asked her out. And immediately gave up burglary.
  • In the Wings episode "Ms. Write", Brian falls in love with "R", the author of some very passionate, poetic love letters delivered to his house by mistake. He eventually meets "R", who turns out to be a 12-year-old girl.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Hindu Mythology, is full of examples of this.
    • Sati/Parvati felt a strong connection to the god Shiva and resolved to marry him even before they'd physically actually met. Explained by them being literal soulmates.
    • Nala, the King of Nishada falls in love with princess Damayanti of Vidarbha after a divine swan praises her to him. Damayanti also falls for Nala when the same swan sings his praises to her. The gods also become Shipper on Deck for them. Their love story is immortalized in the epic Mahabharata when Sage Brihadashwa narrates their story to Yudhishthira.
    • In the Padma Purana, the damsel Ashok Sundari falls in love with Nahusha even before he was even conceived. Nahusha married her and had a hundred daughters and six sons with her. Unfortunately, Nahusha obtained absolute power over the universe and became arrogant. He was transformed into a huge python by Sage Agastya and was forced to live for 10,000 years until Yudhishthira redeemed him.
    • It is implied that princess Draupadi of Panchala fell in love with the Pandava prince Arjuna before even meeting him. Due to a weird twist, she ended up marrying Arjuna and his brothers, having five husbands simultaneously.
    • Perhaps the most famous one is that of the Asura princess Usha. Played with. She had a dream of a handsome prince and fell in love with him. Later, his identity is revealed to be prince Aniruddha, the son of Pradyumna and the grandson of Krishna, leader of the Yadavas. Her friend Chitralekha kidnaps Aniruddha who reciprocates Usha's feelings and the two secretly marry. Months later, her dad, the thousand-armed Banasura discovers it and is furious. He is soundly defeated by Krishna who forces him to accept the marriage.

  • The song "I Knew I Loved You" by Savage Garden.
    I knew I loved you before I met you
    I think I dreamed you into life
    I knew I loved you before I met you
    I have been waiting all my life
  • In the song "En attendant ses pas" ("While Waiting for His Steps"), by CÚline Dion.
  • Bj÷rk's song "I Miss You"
    I miss you, but I haven't met you yet
    So special, but it hasn't happened yet
    You're gorgeous, but I haven't met you yet
    I remember, but it hasn't happened yet
  • "The Day We Never Met" by the Crash Test Dummies.
    The lips I never kissed, are lips I can't forget
    The dress you never wore, on the day we never met
    The name I never whispered, as it echoed in your mind
    The man I never was, the sweet thing that's not mine
    I drink to you, I toast your name, a name that I don't know
  • The song "Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Bublé. Especially noticeable in the official music video, where the singer dances around a department store and sings about how amazing he and his future (imaginary) lover are going to be, including the repeated line "I just haven't met you yet"... only for him to wake up from his daydream and get out of the department store embarrassed. Except as he's walking out, he walks past and notices a girl that looks identical to his imaginary lover.
  • Another case of two people affected by this trope is the David Bowie video "As the World Falls Down" — a woman falls in love with a man (Bowie) when a photo of his face mysteriously materializes via her copy machine. The man is already in love with a painting of her. She figures out where he is, but only gets as far as opening the door before turning back.
  • "I Will" by The Beatles.
    For if I ever saw you
    I didn't catch your name
    But it never really mattered
    I will always feel the same.
  • Carly Rae Jepsen: "Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad..."
  • Vienna Teng's "Nothing Without You":
    I am nothing without you, but I don't know who you are
  • ''We could be in love'' by Brad Kane and Lea Selonga.
    All my life, I have dreamed of this
    But I could not see your face.
  • "100 Years", Five For Fighting
    I'm 15 for a moment
    Caught in between ten and 20
    And I'm just dreaming
    Counting the ways to where you are ...

  • In Bells Are Ringing, Ella, as Jeff's telephone answering service girl, falls in love with his voice before meeting him in person.
  • In Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest both Gwendolen and Cecily dream of loving someone called Ernest and decides to love Ernest Worthing immediately after hearing of his existence.
    "Even before I met you I was far from indifferent to you."
  • Kaija Saariaho's opera L'Amour de Loin is another loose adaptation of the Jaufre Rudel legend, with Hodierna renamed Clémence.
  • Edmond Rostand (better known for Cyrano de Bergerac) wrote a play La princesse lointaine based on the story of Jaufré Rudel (see "Folklore", above).
  • Mozart's The Magic Flute has the hero Tamino fall in love with Pamina from her picture, and she apparently fell in love just from hearing from Papageno that he's a great hero who's in love with her.
  • Explained by Don Quixote de la Mancha himself in Man of La Mancha during the song "Dulcinea":
    Don Quixote (To Aldonza): I have dreamed thee too long// Never seen thee or touched thee// But known thee with all of my heart// Half a prayer, half a song// Thou hast always been with me// Though we have been always apart//
  • In The Most Happy Fella, Tony falls in Love at First Sight with a waitress who can't recall his face, not even after he leaves her a tie-pin and a love letter as a tip. A few months of correspondence later, she travels to the Napa Valley to marry him, with a picture of the handsome young man she assumes is Tony but unfortunately isn't.
  • The Ming-dynasty play The Peony Pavilion (Mǔdāntíng) is about two people who fall in love without ever meeting one another: The girl Du-Liniang falls deeply in love the boy Liu-Mengmei in a dream and, knowing that there is no way the love can be requited, dies of a broken heart. She, however, leaves her portrait near the titular Pavilion. Years later, the actual Liu-Mengmei comes upon the portrait and gets romantically smitten. Du-Liniang is brought back to life by The Power of Love, and everyone is happy.
  • In She Loves Me, Amalia Balash falls in love through correspondence with Georg Nowack in which they address each other only as "Dear Friend," not knowing that he also works for Maraczek's Parfumerie. Actually, at the time of their first date, he no longer works there, having quit because he found her too frustrating to work with.

    Video Games 
  • At the start of Bravely Default, Ringabel is strongly attracted towards Edea before meeting her, due to what is written about her in his mysterious journal that predicts the future. Needless to say, her actual personality is a bit different than what the writings implied.
  • Chulip: The beginning sequence wherein the player character and his love interest are named turn out to be a dream sequence that occurs when said character and his father are moving into Long Life Town for the very first time.
  • A quest in Fable II involves a man who has fallen in love with the long-dead Lady Elvira Grey. The player helps him by collecting her scattered body parts so she can be revived, Frankenstein-style.
  • This seems to be the case for Camus O. Laphroaig, the leader of the Hell Hounds, in the first Galaxy Angel game. He proclaims his love for Milfeulle Sakuraba, despite the two never having met before, and demonstrates it by revealing several facts from her past at Elementary School and Pilot Academy. Befitting his nature as an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, this scene is as silly as you can imagine. In the manga, however, Camus personality is completely different, which results in his advances being downright terrifying.
  • In King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne, Graham sees Valanice in the Magic Mirror, and sets off to find and marry her without having met her. (The Fan Remake adds an element of Mindlink Mates to this). Being as King's Quest is as bad as Shrek when it comes to screwing with Fairy Tale Tropes, this is pretty easy to shrug off.
  • Downplayed in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Paya was raised on tales of Link's heroism and his coming reawakening, and upon meeting him for the first time deems him "the very picture of the hero I always imagined," but it wasn't until actually seeing him in-person that she becomes truly enamored with him.
  • This occurs in "Palla", a two-set book you can find and read in Morrowind. The story's narrator falls in love with Pal La after seeing a statue of her fighting the monster that ultimately killed her; being a necromancer, he sets about the monumental task of bringing Pal La back to life, so they can live happily and in love ever after. He finally succeeds, but before he can join his beloved, he finds out that Pal La was the monster. Who is happy to meet him.
  • In Quest for Glory IV it's possible for the hero to fall in love with a woman that he's only met in dream sequences. Also, for the first four games in the series, she's dead - but it's possible to bring her back to life and eventually marry her in the fifth.
  • Space Quest plays this. After a big mess involving Time Travel, Roger's Kid from the Future shows him a holographic projection of Beatrice Wankmeister. Roger is instantly smitten, and (contrary to what his kid states) doesn't forget his trip to the future. At the opening of Space Quest V, Roger still can't quite get Beatrice out of his mind. In the course of the game, he meets her, and the pair start up a romance.
  • Yandere Simulator reveals in 1980s Mode that this is how Ryoba ended up falling for Jokichi. She had recurring dreams of falling in love with a certain guy and marrying him, and finally seeing said guy in her school convinced her that she was Dreaming of Things to Come and had to make it come true.

    Visual Novels 
  • A very dark example in Don't Take This Risk: you're called by a complete stranger who was trying to phone the suicide hotline and if you don't tell him you love him and agree to see him, he'll kill himself because he believes that no one will ever love him. Depending on your choices, it becomes clear that either the character you play as doesn't truly love him, only said so to prevent him from committing suicide, and has to decide whether to try letting him down gently or stay with him to give him a reason to keep living, or the character you play as is genuinely crazy and/or lonely enough to believe herself to be in love with him just from hearing his voice over the phone.
  • Fate/hollow ataraxia: Bazett has had a crush on Lancer (aka Cu Chulainn) long before she summoned him — She fell in love with him when she read the Ulster Cycle as a child, and joined the Holy Grail War in hopes that she could rescue him from his early, unpleasant death. In the original game, she was instead murdered and her command spells stolen, but in ataraxia she gets a different try.

    Web Comics 
  • The main couple in Dreamless live on different continents, but see through each other's eyes instead of dreaming when they sleep. Living each other's lives, they fall in love. He's Japanese, she's American... and it's the 1940s. When Elanor asks her father why he never wondered about her speaking Japanese, his reply is that he speaks German for the same reason. It didn't work out for him.
  • Homestuck:
    • Kanaya initially hero-worships Rose Lalonde based on a GameFAQs walkthrough written by the latter. Whether this is romantic is not canonically addressed, but shippers find it excellent fuel.
      • They do later become an unofficial item and go on outings that both carefully avoid referring to as dates except when Rose's newfound drinking problem makes her late for one.
    • Vriska goes on to get a crush on Nic Cage, and then, more seriously, John.
    • Jane, Dirk, and to a lesser extent Roxy all fell for Jake just from chatting with him over pesterchum, plus Roxy for Dirk as well. It's even worse in Dirk's case, as he's separated from Jake not only by distance but by hundreds of years of time.
  • In Jack: The American Ghost it's revealed that Jack and Go-Eun were at the same mental hospital for a while, and he fell in love with her by hearing her sing, despite not knowing who she was or what she looked like.
  • Kevin Kindle and Kell Dewclaw of Kevin & Kell met and dated online long before they met in person. This enabled them to get over the fact that Kevin is a rabbit and Kell is a wolf. The story starts one year after they got married, and they are still together 16 years later.
  • Professor Madblood of Narbonic fell in love with Helen when he read about her development as a clone as a project. He went mad as a teenager and saw a Commonality Connection.

    Web Videos 
  • In Noob, Arthéon is implied to have never met Kary, his Season 4 girlfriend, in real life.

    Western Animation 
  • In Archer, Katya Kasanova betrays the KGB because she fell in love with Archer during training, while being briefed on enemy agents and seeing his photo.
  • The premise of The Simpsons episode "Bart the Lover". Bart writes fake love letters to Mrs. Krabappel pretending to be a man named "Woodrow". He know just what buttons to press to make her think he's her dream man, such as raving about how much he shares her hatred of yo-yo's.

    Real Life 
  • Zhuge Liang had fallen in love with Yue Ying when she had started spreading rumors about herself that she was highly unattractive but very smart (this'd be in late 2nd Century, early 3rd Century China). Upon finally besting the few other suitors, Zhuge Liang fell even more deeply in love with her and proposed to her on the spot when he finally met her. Zhuge Liang was notably monogamous in an era where nobility having numerous concubines was the norm
  • Mark Twain fell in love with his future wife on seeing a portrait of her. Their courtship was largely through the mail.
  • Before there was an Internet, but after reliable mail service became well established, couples might first get acquainted by long correspondence. The most common US version of the trope involved male settlers in the gender-imbalanced West marrying a woman from back East. The bride may never have set eyes on her husband until shortly before the wedding.
  • A very common phenomenon in online communities, including this one.
    • I love you.
  • European nobles in the middle ages were known for their arranged marriages and the associated tradition of an aristocrat selecting his wife by means of a painted portrait. This resulted in a veritable avalanche of contemporary jokes about what happened when the portraits were... less than accurate, as well as several high-profile actual diplomatic incidents.
  • Robert Browning fell in love with his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, through both correspondence between the two and reading her published works, before being introduced.
  • In his memoir Spare, Britain's Prince Harry describes scrolling through a friend's Instagram page and being utterly awestruck at the beauty of the woman next to her and almost immediately thinking that she might be "the one"—"This woman with Violet. . .my God", "I'd never seen anyone so beautiful", etc. Once her friend gave him her contact information, they texted for hours on end, with him stating that he'd felt like he'd known her forever, before making plans for a date. The woman in question was of course, his future wife Meghan Markle.

Alternative Title(s): Falling For Someone Never Met