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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 Overprotective 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.
  • 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 her knowledge) in the anime's 22nd episode, 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.
  • My Bride is a Mermaid: Nagasumi has to deal with Yakuza mermaids related to San, his self-declared wife-to-be. Her father and her servant actively try to kill him without getting San upset. She'll stop them if they're too obvious, but thinking about that is unpleasant so she usually doesn't. San's mother is in the "perv" category.
  • 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).
  • 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.''
  • 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.

    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 an 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.

  • In The Book of Life, General Posada detests Manolo and wants Maria to marry Joaquin instead. In the end, he finally relents.
  • 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.

  • 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.

    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.
  • 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.

  • 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 


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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