Follow TV Tropes


Love Hurts

Go To

"Love hurts, love scars, love wounds and mars
any heart not tough or strong enough
to take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain..."
— "Love Hurts'', written by Boudleaux Bryant and recorded by The Everly Brothers, Nazareth, Cher, etc. (possible Trope Namer)

Forget life-threatening superheroism, acting Too Dumb to Live, and Tempting Fate. The dumbest, most insane and dangerous thing any hero can do in any media is... falling in love. Dare to love someone else and you set up yourself and your beloved for a plethora of emotional griefs. Love in Real Life is responsible for vast quantities of anguished poetry and tragic literature; factor in all the crazy stuff that happens on TV, and drama and disaster are practically guaranteed.

About to commit permanently? Look for an Anyone Can Die to put a permanent end to the Will They or Won't They? issue. Forget to say goodbye to your beloved that one time? It'll haunt you for the rest of your life. And let's not forget that becoming emotionally attached to one person leaves you open to the stress caused by the villain abducting your beloved or them even being killed off senselessly just to shape you into the Anti-Hero out for Revenge, or at the very least a Heartbroken Badass. Your love is hurt but alive? Don't You Dare Pity Me! — they will shove you away. Or perhaps you'd be their Second Love — if only they and you didn't think Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids!. Love will make your heart go soft and pitter-pattering into the path to be crushed by the cruel forces of fate against Star-Crossed Lovers. Small wonder that so many try to protect their loved ones by dumping them.

If you've got more than one love interest, you've got a headache-inducing Love Triangle or even Love Dodecahedron on your hands. Tread these waters very carefully, lest you be on the receiving end of a Yandere's poisonous affections or a Tsundere's Megaton Punch. Pick one lover and you can look forward to either a Thundering Herd of jilted rivals or the silent shattering of many other hearts. All in the name of comedy, you say? Comedy never became as twisted as it does when dealing with lovers crazy enough to beat down your door, commit trespassing, glomp you, and refuse to let go. And remembering the love interest anywhere you go makes it worse. Could also result in the character being Not Good with Rejection.

And heaven forbid if your love turns out to be one-sided. You'll become a crazy Love Hungry psycho stalker if you don't choose to nobly sacrifice your love. Sometimes you'll even go all the way into a full-fledged villain with a grudge against humanity because humanity was not kind enough to let you have that one person. Sometimes it's even your own creator who decides that you can't get them because he couldn't get her in real life!

Such a fragile illusion... Isn't it?

In the right/wrong genre, even when you win, you lose. Little wonder why many a pessimist believes that Love Makes You Dumb and goes for Safety in Indifference instead, and many a hero has chosen to be a Celibate Hero.

Compare Destructive Romance, Hope Is Scary, The First Cut Is the Deepest, and Revenge Romance. A consequence when Love Redeems goes with Redemption Equals Death.

However, if you do manage to get it right, love can be the purest and most powerful thing in the world. Another way to resolve this is through Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends.

Contrast Happily Married. Unrelated to Lover Tug of War, even though that may also hurt.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts:
    • One of the many reasons Charlie Brown is The Woobie is his inability to get the Little Red Haired Girl to notice him. A minor case of Creator Breakdown; Schulz admitted that he had his own "Little Red Haired Girl," whom he lost.
    • If this wasn't so funny, it would be depressing: Charlie Brown is to Peppermint Patty as the Little Red Haired Girl is to Charlie Brown, making it an unrequited Love Triangle. Good Grief!
    • Love Rectangle. Marcie also loves Charlie Brown. Too bad her loyalty to Peppermint Patty requires her to aid and abet her "Sir's" plans.
    • Indeed, unrequited love is a running theme throughout the comic's run: Linus towards Miss Othmar, Sally towards Linus ("I'm not your sweet baboo!"), Lucy towards Schroeder... the list goes on.

    Fairy Tales 
  • The original version of The Little Mermaid. The mermaid rescues a prince from drowning, but she falls in love with him. She gives up her voice so that she could be human and spend time with the prince, but the prince has fallen in love with the princess of a neighbouring kingdom, believing that she is the one who rescued him. The prince then invites the mermaid to the wedding, believing she wants to share in his happiness, but the mermaid is heartbroken over the entire ordeal. On top of that, the prince and princess were genuinely fond of the mermaid; it is just that the prince was not in love with the mermaid and the princess unknowingly acted as a romantic rival.

  • Aida by Giuseppe Verdi: Aida, an Ethiopian princess in hiding, falls in love with and is loved by Radames, the general of the Egyptian army. Her mistress, the Pharaoh's daughter, is her canny rival. After Radames saves her father, the king of Ethiopia, from certain death after being captured in battle, he brow beats her into fulfilling her "duty" as an Ethiopian to get Radames to reveal the Egyptian's troops' positions, sentencing him to death and dooming them to live apart. It's a "Happily Ever After" ending though; Aida sneaks into the tomb where Radames has been buried alive so they can slowly die together. So yes, the Deus Angst Machina is as integral a part of Opera as humor is to Comedy.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Danganronpa, generally speaking, if characters seem to care about someone else, it won't end well.
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
      • Makoto and Sayaka get some cute Ship Tease in the first chapter that is then horribly Subverted because Sayaka intended to frame Makoto for killing Leon so she could graduated the killing game, but Leon overpowers her and kills him instead. Makoto then finds her corpse in his shower the next morning. It's also implied Leon had a crush on Sayaka, only for her to pick him to attempt to murder and then he's brutally executed because he killed her before she could.
      • Toko is madly in love with Byakuya, who generally treats Toko with nothing but disdain and even uses her feelings for him to manipulate her more than once. Toko's backstory also had her writing a love letter to a crush at school, only for him to publish the letter and show it to everyone, who laughed at her and Toko was bullied even more harshly than before.
      • Whether you interpret it as platonic or romantic, Aoi has a complete breakdown when Sakura dies and she barely recovers after the trial, even ranting at the class that they didn't even see her as a human. Ishimaru also goes something like this when he becomes close friends with Mondo and then Mondo kills Chihiro and is executed and he loses the only friend he's ever had.
    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair:
      • Fuyuhiko and Peko, who keep their previous association a secret from the other students. When Monokuma reveals that Mahiru helped cover for the girl who killed Fuyuhiko's sister, Fuyuhiko is furious and just when he is about to kill her Peko steps in and does it herself. During the trial, Peko gets the class to vote for her as the culprit, then says she is merely a tool of Fuyuhiko's who has no will of her own, making him the real killer, hoping to spare him from the game. Fuyuhiko then faces a doozy of a Morton's Fork - either he can agree and take credit for the murder and walk out of the killing game, confirming to Peko he never cared for her, or he can deny he only thought of Peko as an object, stay trapped in the game and live with the fact both his sister and Mahiru are dead. Either way, Peko dies. He chooses the latter and tries to save Peko from being executed, but fails and loses an eye for his trouble. To further twist the knife, Hiyoko tells him it's his fault both of them are dead and Fuyuhiko fully agrees with her.
      • Akane and Nekomaru get some Ship Tease, which adds for some tragedy when Nekomaru ends up Taking the Bullet for Akane, destroying his body and forcing Monokuma to rebuild him as a robot. Then Akane has a full-on breakdown when Nekomaru dies for real.
      • A lesser example than the above, but Kazuichi becomes enamoured with Sonia and unintentionally creeps her out with his Stalker with a Crush tendencies and as the game goes on, Sonia (who is generally polite to her fellow students) treats Kazuichi like dirt and even tells him during the fourth trial it's a pity he isn't the killer, basically implying she wants him dead to his face. Sonia also gets a crush on Gundham over the course of the game and when it's revealed he killed Nekomaru, she actually begs Monokuma to spare him.
      • Hajime and Chiaki. They have a lot of Ship Tease in later chapters, and they actually get intimate in one Free Time Event when Hajime catches a falling Chiaki. Come Chapter 5, and not only is Chiaki the case's killer (through a completely unfair technicality, no less), but is also revealed to be the traitor sent to spy on the group by the Future Foundation. Suffice it to say, after her execution, poor Hajime breaks entirely, being unable to even get out of bed for the entire next day.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
      • We have Shuichi and Kaede, who form a Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl duo and become very close over the course of the first chapter when they wake up in a classroom together and comfort each other during tense moments. Later on, Kaede is the culprit of Chapter One, after setting a trap to try and kill the Mastermind and killing Rantaro instead. She is executed in front of Shuichi and he mourns her for the rest of the game. This gets even worse with the revelation in the final chapter that her trap actually failed but she was still framed as the killer. Needless to say, Shuichi is not pleased.
      • Tenko clearly has feelings for Himiko, who doesn't reciprocate. Tenko attempts to bond with Himiko throughout the game and becomes very concerned when Himiko starts preferring the company of Angie and becomes detached from reality as a result. Just as they appear to be mending their friendship Tenko is killed in a trap originally intended for Himiko, and Tenko's parting words to Himiko kickstart her Character Development that carries her through the game.
      • Kiibo and Miu are a Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy who get along very well, as Miu is the Ultimate Inventor and Kiibo is the Ultimate Robot. They are frequently seen together from the end of the second trial onwards, Miu frequently repairing and upgrading Kiibo and being one of the only students who treats him with any respect. Kiibo is devastated when Miu becomes Chapter Four's victim, lamenting he is Unable to Cry for her death and vows to continue on to the end of the Killing Game in her memory.
      • This is even an Invoked Trope — Maki starts out the game as cold, rude, and aloof from her classmates, only for her to gradually warm up to them thanks to Kaito and Shuichi reaching out to her. By the end of the fourth trial it's clear she has feelings for him and she is not happy when he's taken hostage. Unfortunately, her attempts to rescue Kaito make everything worse and then it's revealed Kaito was secretly dying and he killed Kokichi in an agreement between the two of them to try and end the killing game and save Maki from being executed. Maki admits she's fallen for Kaito and tearfully begs him not to leave her. Which is revealed by Tsumugi in the final chapter to be all a part of Maki's "storyline", and they made her fall in love with Kaito to boost ratings and gave Kaito the terminal illness that killed him because it would make his character "more interesting." Maki does not take it well.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • The ending of the Fate route exhibits this to a certain extent. Saber dies, and although Shirou manages to get over the loss remarkably well, he says that he will always remember that he loved her Luckily for them, they do reunite in Avalon.
    • The Heaven's Feel Normal End. Shirou dies in order to protect Sakura, and she moves into his house and spends the rest of her life mourning him and waiting for him to return to her (he never does...).
  • Love, be it platonic, familiar, or romantic, in the When They Cry franchise tends to end in tragedy.

    Real Life 
  • Linguistic examples:
    • In Swedish, Norwegian and Danish the word "gift" (pronounced "yift" in Swedish/Norwegian, but with a hard g just like the English word "gift" in Danish) means both "married" and "poison", one wonders if this was made so on purpose...
    • In Japanese, "Ai" means love but it can also mean "grief/sorrow" when written differently.
    • The Japanese got it from Chinese, where the exact same thing happens: save for the tones, the words for the two concepts are homophones.
    • In Russian, "брак" ("brak") means, among other things, both "marriage" and "spoilage/defect."
    • In English:
      • Apparently, "to wed" (Or some form of marriage word) comes from the same roots as "gamble".
      • The word "passion" itself ultimately descends from the Greek pathos, "suffering" (i.e. The Passion of the Christ).
    • In Spanish, "Cazar" is "to hunt" and "Casar" is "to wed." In Latin America and some parts of Spain, the pronunciation is identical. The word "esposa", which means wife, also means handcuff. Same goes for the plural "esposas".
    • In Portuguese, "Caçar" is "to hunt" and "Casar" is "to wed."note , so it's as above.
    • In Danish:
      • The words for heart (hjerte) and for pain (smerte) rhymes, which is sometimes used as a proverb.
      • Again with "lidenskab" meaning "passion" and "lide" meaning "to suffer", though unlike German, the connection is for some reason rarely made, possibly because the word "lidenskab" is barely being used among most people in everyday life. In an inversion, "(at kunne) lide" can also mean "to like".
    • In German the word "Leidenschaft" which means "passion" belongs to the root word "leid" which means "suffering".
  • As if we need to say it: Truth in Television.


Video Example(s):


"I'm a Zombie"

Unable to confess her feelings for Kyosuke, Sayaka approaches before breaking down and crying in her shoulders, calling herself a zombie and gradually losing her confidence and self-esteem.

How well does it match the trope?

4.55 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / LoveHurts

Media sources: