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Love-Obstructing Parents

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So your character has got himself a girlfriend and life is looking pretty sweet. We mean, it's just a matter of time until the relationship progresses naturally, right?

Not so much.

Here come the Love-Obstructing Parents, friends and family of the girlfriend whose job from the writers is to ensure that for the progression of the relationship, Failure Is the Only Option. They will, of course, insist on moving in with the both of you. Being the Moment Killer is their job title.

There are two kinds of Love-Obstructing Parents.

  • The ones who absolutely hate your guts and will sabotage you at any chance they get, up to and including attempts on your life for the absolute worst of them. Usually Boyfriend Blocking Dads and adoring little sisters who think you're a loser.
  • The ones who supposedly are trying to help push your relationship along in the tackiest, tawdriest way possible. Usually a subset of Hard-Drinking Party Girl, They make any feelings of desire you have towards your girlfriend feel dirty and rushed, which is just as effective in halting any relationship progression. These are usually older sisters or occasionally even mothers (who may be more low-key about it)

If your character is lucky, he will eventually gain their respect, and maybe even count them as True Companions. Unfortunately, this does not aid in relationship building as their friendship means he will never be alone with the girlfriend.

Naturally, the girlfriend never sees this, to the point of Comedic Sociopathy. It's just so nice that everyone she likes is under one roof. One wonders if she even has a sex drive or possesses any plans for the future. It's technically her job to address Love-Obstructing Parents about this since it would not be proper for the main character to do so. She will have Selective Obliviousness towards this duty. Your character better be a Chaste Hero or else be prepared to take cold showers for a long time.

Sometimes, the In-Laws include a sensible 'neutral' party, like an aunt or grandmother. Unfortunately, they rarely ever get involved in any useful way. See Harem Nanny.

Subtrope of Relationship Sabotage. See also Obnoxious In-Laws, Meet the In-Laws, Parental Marriage Veto, Dating What Daddy Hates, and Wedlock Block.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ah! My Goddess: Skuld and Urd would be ur-examples of the first and second types respectively. The first manga was written in 1988; it took until 2006 before Keiichi got as far as actually admitting he loved Belldandy... That said, remember that 20 years of Real Life time is approximately less than a year of in-story time. In 2012, it turned out that the original contract had sealed his sexual desires for Belldandy, explaining the long delay in their relationship developing, and Belldandy finally established a new one that undid this effect, though now he had to undergo certain trials to be allowed to make things permanent. The series finally ended in 2014 with the final chapter showing their wedding.
  • Horrifying example in Blood on the Tracks as Seiko is smotheringly overprotective and pretty much incestal to her son Seiichi. When a girl Fukiishi comes into his life and gives him a love letter Seiko cries upon reading it, makes him destroy it, has Seiichi promise to stay away from her, gets supicous when smelling perfume on him and when she sees Seiichi and Fukiishi snuggling together on a bench in the evening Seiko outright chases them into some bushes in Nightmare Fuel fashion.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Hercule Satan was not a fan of Gohan before and after he learned his daughter Videl had fallen for him ("My daugher ain't dating no alien") and tries come between in the 25th Martial Arts tournament and fails spectacularly. Averted by the time Gohan and Videl married as he's a Doting Grandparent to Pan.
    • Played With in regards to Chi-Chi, she didn't like Videl when she first rocked up on her door rudely demanding to know where her son was (Gohan had promised to train her how to fly) and while she let Gohan train her she blunty tells Videl to keep her mitts off her son. When she learns Videl is a millionare however, Chi-Chi says they should think about marrrying — leading to a beautiful Spit Take from Gohan.
  • Ranma ½: The two fathers are a good example of the second type. They keep pushing Ranma and Akane together, and their spectacular failures end up making the "happy couple" yell at each other.
  • Please Teacher!: Mizuho's sister Maho and mother Hatsuho fill roles one and two respectively. The latter mostly only really does so in the OVA, though, which is bizarre because Kei and Mizuho had consummated their relationship in the first TV series.
    • It was probably to add a little spice to their life AND get a video of them of their nightlife. Which still doesn't make sense, since Maho already had videos of them, unless Maho was keeping those a secret from her mother.
      • Well, would you tell your mother that you had videos of your sister having sex?
  • Urusei Yatsura: Lum's infant cousin Ten hates Ataru and implores Lum to dump him and return home. He even moves in with the Moroboshis, just to mess things up.
    • Ironically, none of Lum's other relations have any problems with her marriage to him, and generally support the idea — though her father does throw a matchmaking party (without Lum's knowledge of its actual purpose) in one story to find her a new husband (and, in his defense, Ataru was openly against marrying Lum initially), he starts accepting him again at the episode's end. The only "old friend" who is opposed to it is Rei, her former fiance who she dumped when she decided that his massive good looks didn't balance out his stupidity and Involuntary Shapeshifting.
  • Love Tyrant: Akane's mother, Suo Hiyama. She has zero tolerance for Seiji and forces Akane to break up with him; in fact she's furious at the very idea of love in general. This is due to her former husband having moved on from her and getting remarried after she decided to prioritize her family's assassination business over what she really wanted, and she became bitter about that.
  • My Bride is a Mermaid: Nagasumi has to deal with Yakuza mermaids related to Sun, his self-declared wife-to-be. Her father and her servant actively try to kill him without getting Sun upset. She'll stop them if they're too obvious about it but thinking about that is unpleasant, so she usually doesn't. Sun's mother is more in the "perv" category if she's not the one stopping her husband's antics.
  • Ai Yori Aoshi: Miyabi (Aoi's guardian and surrogate older sister) fulfills the first type with regards to Kaoru, who she initially can't stand. Slightly subverted one way, in that Aoi is perfectly aware of her disapproval, and rebels as much as she can. Subverted completely when not only does Miyabi comes to respect Kaoru, but she proves to be understanding and genuinely helpful (often arranging for them to have their rare moments of alone-time).
  • A more justifed case in A Silent Voice with Yaeko Nishima Shōko’s mother, who interrupts the bonding her daughter shares with Shōya at the bridge, even giving a Bitch Slap to the latter after telling him to get lost. This is because Shōya was The Bully to Shōko in elementary school and she absoutely hadn't forgiven him for helping make her deaf daughter's life hell along with the other students. Even after her other daughter Yuzuru bonds with Shoya, she still doesn't like the idea of Shoya being with her daughter very much and only begrudgingly puts up with it. When Shōya saves Shōko from commiting suicide however Yaeko changes her attitude towards the boy completely and whole heartedly supports her daughter's relationship with him along with Yuzuru and Miyako, Shōya's mother.
  • Spy X Family: Played for Laughs with Yuri Briar (an officer of the Secret Police) who despite being the whole reason his sister Yor felt she needed a husband in the first place, cannot stand Loid Forger and jealously hates him to the core for being the man his sister has married and loves. He does everything he can to come between them and freaks out of the sight of them doing anything romantic together, even when it was at his request when he was understandably suspicious of their relationship (often leading to him getting accidently beaten senseless by a bashful Yor). Yuri even considered bugging their house but realised that meant he'd be hearing what Loid and Yor could be doing in the bedroom and quickly nixed that idea.
  • Summer Wars gives us a perfect non-fantasy example with the Jinnouchi household, effectively mixing both kinds of in-laws to the very end. And, effectively enough, the grandmother serves as both the sane person AND a whole other kind of in-law, by pushing Kenji into actually considering establishing himself with Natsuki. And indeed, once the plotline kicks in, Love Machine starts rampaging through OZ and the grandmother dies because of it, they indeed become True Companions. (The fact that Kenji reveals he's an awesome badass inside helps A TON.)
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: You could look at Hayate's relationship with Nagi as playing with this. The only real relative of Nagi's is her grandfather Mikado, who seems to harbor a definite dislike of Hayate, and whom Nagi is terrified of.
    • It could be a complete inversion though, with all of Mikado's plans serving to push the two of them closer.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Played with. Kuwabara is in love with Hiei's sister Yukina. Hiei and Kuwabara won't stop sniping at each other. However, neither Kuwabara nor Yukina know that she's Hiei's sister and he can't tell (since said promise involved Shigure and was made right before the latter implanted Hiei's Evil Eye on him), limiting how much he can interfere.

    Comic Books 
  • Atari Force: Senator Jamieson forbids his daughter Melissa from seeing Christopher. He considers Chris a "freak" because of his powers and also hates Chris' dad and Atari Force. Jamieson's hatred for father and son comes to the extreme of having them sued for crimes they didn't commit.
  • The Incredible Hulk: General Ross has spent at least 70% of his comic history doing his best to come between Bruce and his daughter Betty, which only got magnified when he learned Bruce was Hulk (his Moby Schtick) along with the rest of the world. Eventually it cumulated in him storming his daughter and Bruce's wedding armed with a pistol leading Betty to publicly disowning him as her father.
  • The Mighty Thor: Odin often doesn't approve of Thor dating the mortal Jane Foster. Early on, he decided to "test" her worthiness by dumping her in a room with a big monster. Somehow the ordinary human woman being utterly terrified of the big monster proved she wasn't good enough.
  • Robin (1993): A sort of strange case occurred with Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown's relationship which Bruce disapproved of and spent years sabotaging. Weird because Bruce was Tim's guardian when it started since Tim's only living parent was in a coma, but the relationship was over due to Steph dying about a month before Tim was actually orphaned, and Bruce's behavior toward Steph was why Tim then made up a fake uncle and tried living on his own instead of moving into the manor straight away.
  • Scarlet Witch's brother Quicksilver has in the past tired to come between her and The Vision's love, he didn't see Viz as a person and likened it to his sister loving a toaster or fridge, though he eventually learned to accept it. Magneto to a much lesser extent has put himself between Wanda and Vision or at least voiced his disapproval, as like Pietro he doesn't think a synthezoid has any business with his daughter.
  • In Wonder Woman Hippolyta has been know to come in-between Diana and Steve's romance, even erasing her daughter memories in an attempt to end their relationship. Depending on the Writer it's because of her Does Not Like Men ideals or similar to Marvel's Odin simply doesn't approve of the divine-mortal love. Regardless, Diana always calls Hippolyta out and has even threatened to never return to Themyscira when her mother has pulled such stunts.
  • In X-Men Mystique has done her upmost to come between her daughter Rogue and her boyfriend-now husband Gambit, she utterly hates their romance and doesn't think he's worthy of her daughter at all. She's even tried to pull the Shapeshifting Seducer trick to prove Gambit doesn't deserve Rogue, even turning into her daughter to do so, which is all kinds of squick. Unfortunately for Gambit and Rogue as of the X-Men: The Krakoan Age Destiny (Rogue's other mother) has gotten in on the action, voicing her petty distain for their marriage whenever she can.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • In Lilly Epilogue Family Matters, Lilly's father is a Jerkass who disapproves of Hisao for, among other things, being a "cripple" and a "middle-class bumpkin", and also is quite cruel to Hisao and Lilly's mutual friend Hanako. He does, however, warm up to Hisao in the end. Lilly's mother, however, likes Hisao and is glad that he survived his heart attack at the end of Lilly's route.
  • Tammy Billings ' Emergency! arc "Return" "Eye of the Beholder" and "Christmas in Lame Deer" begin this way. Dani's parents try to forbid her from seeing Johnny because he is only half Native American, not full blood. (Also Half-Breed Discrimination). But later on, they warm up to him and fully accept him as family.
  • Advice and Trust: Played with. Misato had no problem with the idea of Shinji and Asuka being in a relationship (in fact the fic was originally a one-shot of her giving Shinji advice) but after she finds out that they had a Secret Relationship she puts her foot down on them sleeping in the same bed (which is the one thing that they really need). And she hates the fact that it makes her the bad guy.
  • Extremely Naughty: Chloe uses her father's connections with Gabriel Agreste to force his son to date her. When he breaks it off and openly dates Marinette, Gabriel disapproves, thinking that she is below their class, while Marinette's parents disapprove due to Gabriel's attitude (and the evidence that their relationship is more than emotional…). They all eventually get over it though.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Book of Life, General Posada detests Manolo and wants Maria to marry Joaquin instead. In the end, he finally relents.
  • In Turning Red, Wu had disapproved of Ming's choice in boyfriends which led to the relationship seen in the film.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • C-3PO in The Empire Strikes Back. "Sir, might I suggest that you-? It can wait."
    • Which was of course taken further in Spaceballs; Dot Matrix is equipped with a virgin alarm set to "go off before you do".
  • In Titanic, Rose's mother tries to discourage her daughter from seeing Jack Dawson again because she knows that it won't solve any of their financial problems.
  • In Thor: The Dark World, Odin tries to discourage Thor's feelings for Jane out of both practicality (Thor will outlive her by centuries) and a certain elitism. He eventually respects Thor's decision in a Could Say It, But... way... except that's Loki in disguise talking.
  • In Mad Love (1995), Casey's parents, who still think she's merely a Troubled Teen and not mentally ill, think her boyfriend Matt is a bad influence. After she tries to swim the Puget Sound to be with him, her father bans the two of them from seeing each other.
  • Young Hearts: Harper's mom soon realizes she's with Tilly and having sex, opposing this saying they're too young (both are teens) though Harper refuses to stop seeing him.

  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Beren and Lúthien: King Thingol disapproves of his daughter's lover Beren for, among other things, existing, so he attempts to sabotage their relationship by forcing Beren to undertake a suicidal, impossible quest to earn his approval. The fact that Beren succeeds against all odds forces Thingol to reevaluate his views and accept his daughter's choice.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: Rielle's father and both Ludivine's and Audric's parents don't approve of Rielle and Audric becoming a couple. In Ludivine and Audric's case, it's because their parents want to strengthen their political ties. In Rielle's case, it's because her father doesn't want her to overshadow Audric's talent or accidentally kill him.
  • Set in Puerto Rico shortly after Red October, Flight of the Swan features a godparent variety. Diamantino's parents are deceased, but his godfather Don Pedro and his wife Doña Basilisa frown on him having a relationship with prima ballerina Madame, who is older and Russian.
  • Prudence Penderhaus: At first Prudence's mom supports Cassius, but the more serious Prudence becomes about her relationship with him, the more her mom thinks she's throwing her life away on someone who can never be a proper boyfriend due to his trauma and autism. She repeatedly tells Prudence to stay away from Cassius, and at one point bans him from their house, although that doesn't last.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ur-Example: Bewitched. All of Samantha's family (except for Aunt Clara, and maybe Uncle Arthur) hate or at least immensely dislike Darrin, especially Endora, the Evil Matriarch. In fact, most of the Witch and Warlock community take a low view of Darrin, resulting in him being transformed and having curses put on him all the time. He isn't even safe from the ones who like him, as Aunt Clara is a bit of a senile version of The Ditz who can't cast a spell right and whose backfired ones usually hit Darrin, and while Uncle Arthur might like Darrin a bit, he's a prankster who likes to play tricks on him.
  • Chasing Life: Greer's parents forbid her to date Brenna after they get in trouble together, fearing it will damage her future.
  • Janda Kembang: Upon arriving in the neighbourhood, Malik's mother Ella finds out about Malik's love for Salmah and immediately tries to steer Malik away from Salmah because she is a widow. Malik, Wulan (whom Ella prefers for Malik) and Salmah's daughter Laila (unknowingly) manages to change Ella's mind.
  • Let the Right One In: Eleanor is in mutual love with Isaiah, wanting to be with him as he accepts her being a vampire while very few would. Mark, her father, gently says that it can't be, since his mother is a cop who could expose their crimes. Eleanor is left heartbroken as a result.

  • Homer And Jethro sing a song about a man who never gets Maggie alone. Every verse ends with a punch line:
    There was her father, her mother, her sister and her brother, oh I never see Maggie alone!
  • Inverted in Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht. Schlendrian actively offers to find Lieschen a husband if she will give up coffee.

    Video Games 
  • Friday Night Funkin' has your player character's girlfriend's parents, Daddy Dearest and Mommy Mearest. Both want you dead and away from their daughter, so they face you multiple times throughout the game in an effort to break up with her, even intruding on a concert you two planned for Christmas. Hell, they even hire an assassin just to get you out of their hair.

  • Played straight and subverted in Dominic Deegan with Dominic's parents... and grandparents. Miranda Deegan's parents did NOT approve of her betrothal to a bard, expressing it with magical pranks possibly reaching the level of felonious criminal assault. The first time Miranda Deegan realizes she's behaving like her parents in regards to her child's beloved, she breaks down into effusive apologies. It doesn't hurt that Luna is as intelligent as she is sweet - hard to find fault with a girl after you've offered her a position as magical researcher.
  • In Girl Genius, Klaus Wulfenbach was betrayed by his villainous ex-girlfriend, Lucrezia, and is absolutely determined to ensure his son doesn't repeat that mistake with her daughter, Agatha. Agatha herself is innocent, but Klaus refuses to see any difference between them due to fearing that the evil on both sides of Agatha's family may well be part of a Villainous Lineage. Towards this end, he has even gone so far as to resort to using Mind Control whenever Gil gets close to her.

    Western Animation 
  • Miraculous Ladybug: In the Bad Future timeline in "Chat Blanc", Gabriel Agreste blackmails Marinette into breaking up with his son Adrien, by threatening to pull Adrien out of public school and isolate him from his friends. Gabriel has a far more sinister motive than most, however — he's secretly Hawk Moth, the show's Big Bad, and intends to use Marinette's emotional turmoil to turn her into a powerful akumatized villain.
  • The Owl House features an entirely unintentional example. After finding out that Luz chose to stay on the Boiling Isles, Camila mistakenly comes to the conclusion that she is the reason Luz ran away and begs her to promise that she'll stay on Earth with her once she has a working portal to get back, unaware that this would permanently separate Luz from her new girlfriend Amity. That said, this ultimately ends up being suberted. When Amity ends up stranded on Earth, Camila instantly accepts her as Luz's girlfriend, and later decides to go back to the Boiling Isles with Luz to deal with Belos, showing that she's rethinking the whole "staying on Earth" thing.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Anime In Laws


Gabriel Agreste

Gabriel tries separating Marinette and her son as an opportunity to akumatize her.

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Main / LoveObstructingParents

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