Love is something best given freely, not demanded; it's something that has to be earned and worked at to keep alive, not a one-sided thing. However, the Love Hungry character apparently never got the memo. They are too insecure, starved of affection, or even greedy: they want absolute, unconditional, and perpetual love, and feel that the ends justify the means. They won't settle for being merely loved by others, but in having their love enslaved to always do so. Even a genuinely kind person may become this out of fear of losing their love, anger at rejection, jealousy of another's love, or a narcissistic desire to be the most-loved.
This character may try to gain love through sabotaging other's relationships, deception, manipulation, propaganda, or even murder. If they lack this finesse or get really desperate, they may kidnap the person(s) that they want to love them and try to create Stockholm Syndrome. Of course, this Tragic Dream usually gets the opposite result, with the target becoming angry or fearful and rejecting the Love Hungry. The presence of magic and powers usually means that Love Is in the Air, Charm Person, and Glamours will be used to create this forced love.
This plot usually ends with An Aesop about not forcing others to love you, and many characters who try this either regret doing so before long and work towards a more genuine love or go crazy in their attempts.
Compare Yandere, who is violent about keeping their lover. Compare All Take and No Give, where the taker tries to force someone into loving and serving them. See also Love Makes You Evil and Love Makes You Crazy. Can be the result of Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond. Relate to Happiness Is Mandatory and Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul, where happy emotions are forced on others. For a more literal take, see Emotion Eater. See also Dogged Nice Guy.
- Greg in A Cruel God Reigns. He is convinced that if he whips and rapes Jeremy enough, he will come to love him. Greg believes that everyone loves him, and therefore so should Jeremy, but it kind of backfires on him and Jeremy eventually tampers with his car and kills him.
- In the backstory material for Code Geass, CC, then a young slave, who is adorable but has never had a best friend, wishes that everyone would love her. It quickly becomes a Be Careful What You Wish For tale as she learns that if you force everyone to love you, then none of it will be genuine. Full spoilers here.
- Oonagi in Copernicus Breathing, although he doesn't do this outright to Bird's Nest at the beginning. At first he is kind to him, but when Bird's Nest starts falling for his old circus co-worker Leo, Oonagi ties him up for days, demanding his love.
- Toneri Otsutsuki, the villain of The Last: Naruto the Movie, tries to get Hinata to marry him. His attempts to win her over, however, make it clear that he's more concerned about his own feelings rather than hers. The fact that she's deeply in love with Naruto, who has finally realized both her feelings and his own for her as being romantic, doesn't help either.
- In the second half of Princess Tutu, Mytho's emotion of Love is corrupted by the blood of the Raven king. Rather than "a prince who loves all and is loved by all", he demands that people love him, and hate everyone else.
- The Plutonian from Irredeemable, spurred from a childhood that consisted of being bounced around numerous foster homes. He went on to become the world's most beloved and admired superhero, but his inability to handle criticism whenever he made a mistake or to deal with Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond situations drives him off the deep end after a tragedy occurs, and he becomes the page image provider for Beware the Superman.
- It turns out this is God's motivation in Preacher: he basks in the love of humanity retaining their faith in him despite his making the world such a horrible place. He arranged for the creation of Genesis (the offspring of a male angel and a female demon) to be loved by something on his level. He ends up killed by the Saint of Killers, the Angel of Death's replacement.
- Queen Chrysalis and her changeling minions are prone to this characterization in some My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic works. Sometimes they are presented as a Woobie Species or will feature one out of an otherwise Always Chaotic Evil race who can't find true love because ponies fear and percieve them as heartless love-sucking monsters, while other times they are Shapeshifting Seducers who (ahem) "bribe" ponies to get what they want out of them.
- With a backstory that involves being torn apart on a daily basis for for being Foxy's Replacement Scrappy, Mangle is shown to be so desperate for affection in Dante's Night at Freddy's 2: Animatronic Boogaloo that she sexually assaults Foxy in a simultaneously disgusting and humorous scene.
- Yolei from Digimon Adventure 02 suffers from this trope in Digimon Adventure 02: The Story We Never Told as she chose to actively pursue a relationship with Ken just to make her feel special. With Mimi's guidance she changes her habits and her appearance, distances herself from the other children and neglects her responsibilities. Her efforts fail spectacularly, earning only Ken's contempt for trying to pursue love instead of fighting, and alienates her friends, particularly Davis.
- This is the hidden root of Xu'ffasch's motive in We Are the Night. He pursues Helena, who is the fourteen year-old half-sister of his alternate self, because he decided she's his perfect mate. He's beyond relentless because, after offing his whole family, he's Lonely at the Top and wants a companion. As Helena spells it out in her "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
Helena: You were only half right about you and Dami being different. It's not because you're stronger or smarter, it's because you're ALONE! And if I'm half of what you say I am, then I'm not going to be some doll you can dress up and play house with!
- In The Rescuers, Babysitter from Hell Madame Medusa lampshades this. Penny might have been willing to accept Medusa as a foster parent if Medusa had not prioritized obtaining the MacGuffin over Penny's safety. Spoilers here.
Madame Medusa: Snoops, you don't have a way with children. (sweetly) You must gain their confidence... make them like you.Snoops: Yeah? How do you do that?Madame Medusa: (angrily) You FORCE them to like you, idiot!
- In Citizen Kane, this is Kane's big problem. The only thing he wants out of life is love, but he wants it on his own terms.
Susan: Love! You don't love anybody! Me or anybody else! You want to be loved - that's all you want! "I'm Charles Foster Kane. Whatever you want - just name it and it's yours! Only love me!" Don't expect me to love you.
- Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith for Padme's love. While he was kind of a dick and rather aggressive, he was still undoubtedly good and his love for Padme was the only thing he valued more than being a Jedi. By Revenge of the Sith, his desperation to save Padme from his visions of her perceived death in childbirth, the severely unaddressed trauma he felt over his mother's death, and his growing feelings that the Jedi were stifling his power led to his increasing Sanity Slippage and overtly possessive actions towards her. Even more explicit in Matt Stover's novelization, where Anakin reacts angrily and violently towards any perceived threat to his relationship with Padme.
- Rare, heroic example - The Child-Goddess Aphrael from David Eddings' Sparhawk setting. Rather than 'romantic' love, she aims for 'parental' affection, but it's no less binding, and she's perfectly ruthless about it, going so far as to be incarnated as Sparhawk's biological daughter, just so she'd have a stronger hold over him. To be fair, she does love him herself and tends to spread her love around; most people actually love her because she truly is a good person who cares for others (and as a deity, she treats her worshippers benignly).
- The Belgariad provides a darker example. The Big Bad God of Evil, Torak, is driven by the need to be loved, by which he forces his people to make Human Sacrifice to appease him. At the climax of the series, he attempts to use his godly will to force Polgara to become his willing bride, and her ability to refuse him is what causes him to be defeated. Afterward, it's revealed that the other gods and his mother the Universe did love him, but he couldn't recognize it because he was so essentially narcissistic and self-centered that to him love meant obedience and abasement.
- In The Lord of the Rings, this is what would become of Galadriel if she had succumbed to the Ring and claimed it for her own.
Galadriel: ALL SHALL LOVE ME AND DESPAIR!
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it's revealed that Voldemort's mother, Merope Gaunt, was desperately in love with Tom Riddle Sr. So much so that she used a love potion to get him to elope with her. Tragically, she grew to want him to genuinely love her and released him from the effects of the potion. Once released, he fled, leaving her with their unborn child. Her Death by Childbirth (possibly due to a combination of complications, depression, homelessness, and a broken heart) left her son an orphan.
- In The School for Good and Evil, Sophie's motivation in all she does is to have her perfect fairy tale romance with a handsome prince and be a beloved, glamorous queen. How real and heartfelt the relationship is doesn't matter, because she will gladly lie or manipulate to make it happen. Her late mother was exactly the same, turning to love potions to make the most handsome boy in her village her own.
- In Neil Gaiman's dark fantasy children's novella Coraline (and its Coraline stop-motion adaptation), this is the Other Mother's primary motivation for luring children like Coraline into her realm. As the black cat explains, "She wants something to love, I think. Something that isn't her."
- Ashes of Love: Run Yu becomes this after several millennia of forced social isolation, topped off with the trauma of losing his mother and seeing his fiancée sleeping with his brother, all within the span of a few days.
- Empress by Gamma Ray is somehow close ("All shall feel the fiery Love").
- Poets of the Fall's Obsession Song "Carnival of Rust" is all about this dysfunctional approach to love. The video has its singer Zoltar, the depressive, decaying fortune-telling automaton so desperate for escape from the Carnival that he causes the object of his fixation Tarot Troubles in an attempt to compel her affection, and utters these lines preceded by a Scare Chord:
Come feed the rain
'Cause I'm thirsty for your love dancing underneath the skies of lust
- To make matters worse, the opening verse notes he's aware that his attitude "should remind [him] of greed," but he twists the realization into Wishful Projection, hoping his listener shares his outlook.
- One of the vignettes in Demon: The Fallen has a recently released demon in possession of a human woman (it's closer to a Mental Fusion). She's tempted by an Eldritch Abomination with enough power to get everything she wants, and part of that included mentally enslaving her already loving husband to never stop loving her. Like Galadriel, she realizes the vision is ultimately hurtful and refuses.
- Warhammer 40,000: Beasts of Nurgle are giant acid-oozing sluglike creatures with the mindset of a Big Friendly Dog, always eager to run around and play with their little friends. Unfortunately, said little friends tend to stop moving shortly. When the beasts mature, they turn into giant flies, driven bitter and hateful over their lonely larvahood. Nurgle being the Anthropomorphic Personification of love and despair...
- In Grand Theft Auto V, Trevor Philips has this as one of his primary character traits, due to his combination of Ax-Crazy personality and weapons-grade abandonment issues.
- Mortal Kombat: Part of Mileena's general poor mental health is that she really wants people to love her, particularly her "father" Shao Kahn and her "sister" Kitana.
- Yukitsuki Asaka of the first Fragment's Note fluctuates, but can be considered this at best and Yandere at worst. Because she believes that she has no "self", she pursues her identity through those of her romantic partners. Thankfully, she gets better...
- In Mystic Messenger, when you're playing Jumin's route and you arrive at his penthouse, you quickly realize that a life spent without any significant intimacy or warmth from others has made him very attached to you, who supports him and sympathizes with his problems and so-far cold demeanor, very quickly. He refuses to let you leave the penthouse, even trapping you in a Wall Pin of Love when you talk a little too much about how you should be getting back to your apartment. It's up to you whether or not you want to encourage this behavior and get the bad ending, or stand up for yourself and get the good ending.
- Amical from morphE. Consider that he gets upset if he suspects that his beloved seedlings do not adore him. When they call him out on being a kidnapper and a murderer he breaks down in tears. He is exceptionally eager to please.
- Show to be the main trait of The Sues in Ensign Sue Must Die, starting around the final moments of Wrath of Sue to then be completely explored in Crisis of Infinite Sues. After being left powerless and imprisoned out of frustration by Kirk, Ensign muses that all she wanted is to belong in their stories and to be loved. She then comes to realize that forcing others into loving you is not real love at all, and tries to get this idea into her Mother, God Sue/Lt. Sue's head with no results. Made more ironic when it's revealed that, despite all her claims of being a benevolent being who loves Spock with all her heart, God Sue is actually incapable of loving, and only cares about her love hunger being satisfied.
- On one episode of The Fairly OddParents due to Timmy's Wish, he and Trixie are the only two people left on the planet, and although Timmy initially enjoys being with his Love Interest due to Trixie's attention demanding personality, she wants Timmy to show her the attention that normally lots and lots of people would give to her, eventually exploding into full-on Yandere mode.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In the episode "The Best Night Ever," Fluttershy tries to get the woodland creatures around the gala to come to her in a Friend to All Living Things fashion. For some reason, they're all scared of her (she usually can get wild animals to flock to her and sing on cue), and she slowly cracks to the point of trying to capture them all, culminating in causing a stampede of wild animals fleeing her in terror and ending with the page quote.
- A non-romantic version of this (similar to Galadriel's under Lord of the Rings above) serves as the main motivation behind Princess Luna's backstory. She wanted to be as loved and appreciated as her sister and wanted her night to be as loved and appreciated as the daytime. Her plan to achieve this? Muck about with dark magics (which may or may not have possessed her) in order to become stronger than her sister, install herself as Equestria's sole ruler, and institute everlasting night in the hopes that finally her subjects would come to appreciate and love her and her night. Nevermind that most of Equestria's population would have starved and/or frozen to death had she suceeded...
- Pinkie gets an example in A Friend In Deed. Pinkie feels compelled to become friends with every single resident in Ponyville, and judging by this episode (and a few others), she is. Until Cranky Doodle Donkey arrives in town and wants nothing to do with her. Hilarity Ensues.
- It's Discord's turn in "Make New Friends But Keep Discord". He feels starved of Fluttershy's affection because of her new friendship with Tree Hugger, whom he eventually threatens to tuck away into an alternate dimension.
- In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Harry seems to be so starved for affection from his parents that he'll try to fill it with any kind of outside attention, from trying to get popular to getting a girlfriend (specifically, Gwen). He's treated sympathetically, though what turned out to be the final episode shows that he can turn manipulative to keep it up (namely, using his father's apparent death to keep Gwen from breaking up with him).
- Bojack Horseman explores the universal need for love through many characters, mostly in the titular character himself. Bojack is desperate to love himself and be loved by others, yet due to a lack of experience during his formative years, his off-putting personality and chronic self-sabotage, Bojack has no idea how to process love when he does get it, let alone how to reciprocate. (His past as a Sitcom actor doesn't help either, as its led him to an unrealistically simplistic idea of how relationships work.) The end result is a broken wreck of a (horse)man with too much money and no social life who's trying to recapture his 'glory days' and who both clings to and pushes away his friends and love-interests alike.
- Multiply It's All About Me by Green-Eyed Monster and you get Bender from Futurama. He's not above a little hypotenuse murder either.
Bender: Now to make a cake so delicious they'll have no choice but to love and worship me!
- Batman: The Animated Series reimagined Jervis Tetch, aka the Mad Hatter, using this trope. In this incarnation, Tetch is a brilliant scientist and inventor who develops groundbreaking mind-control technology. Unfortunately, his boss hates him, he has no friends besides the rats he experiments on, and he harbors a massive, unrequited crush on Alice, a secretary at his lab. After Alice and her boyfriend Billy have a fight, Tetch tries to win her over by creating the Hatter persona, only for Billy to return with an apology and engagement ring. This sends Tetch Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and compels him to use his technology on Alice in a desperate effort to make her love him—"I've waited my WHOLE LONELY LIFE FOR HER!" What makes it particularly tragic is that Tetch starts out aware of his Love Hungry nature and is able to initially withstand the temptation of brainwashing Alice; despite that self-awareness, though, he ultimately gives in to his darker impulses and ends up lonelier than ever.