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Not Staying for Breakfast

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"Just call me angel of the morning, Angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby."
Merrilee Rush (and many others), "Angel Of The Morning"

Also known as "Fuck then fuck off".

Two characters have sex. Upon waking the next morning, the woman reaches out for her man. The camera follows her hand to the empty pillow; he has flown in the night.

Usually a man does the loving and leaving, but women do it too. The scene is a sad one, the root of the sadness perhaps being the broken link between sex and love/commitment. The broken link is highlighted by the furtive, even guilty, departure.

A common subversion is to have the missing lover show up seconds later with coffee or breakfast for two.

On occasion the desertion will be shown; time for moonlit regret, lingering last looks of her sleeping face.

Sometimes the man is leaving on a mission. Added pathos points if the man is going to his death. In this case, he will often have left something (or someone) behind.

Contrast: Breakfast in Bed, when one serves their lover breakfast upon waking up in bed; Bedmate Reveal.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Berserk, after having sex with Princess Charlotte, Griffith escapes her bedroom in the morning before she wakes up and only leaves a pendant he promised to return. Unfortunately for Griffith, soldiers catch him immediately and Charlotte's father has him tortured before attempting to rape his own daughter.
  • In FAKE, after Dee and Ryo have sex for the first time, Ryo leaves while Dee is sleeping, leaving a note behind on his pillow. Dee makes a cursory complaint about it being unromantic, but he's too thrilled at having finally made some progress in their relationship to actually be upset about it, and unlike most examples it doesn't signify anything resembling a breakup.
  • In Golgo 13, Togo does this after sleeping with a Girl of the Week, who gets curious as to where he's going and follows him. Unfortunately for her, Togo is on his way to commit an assassination.
  • Fujiko is shown doing it in the ending (Seine no Kaze ni... (Adieu)) of Lupin III: Part 5, complete with writing "Adieu" on the pillow with lipstick.
  • Implied to happen between Millie and Wolfwood in the Trigun anime. Wolfwood leaves the morning after.
  • Arashi and Sorata from X1999, with the woman leaving. Depending on which version of events you follow, this leads to Sex Signals Death for either or both of them.

  • Henri Gervex painted in the late 1870s and finished in 1878 Rolla - the scene of the young bourgeois and spendthrift Jacques Rolla leaving in the morning the beautiful courtesan Marie and going to end his own life, inspired by Alfred de Musset's poem in the Literature example below.

    Comic Books 
  • Pondus has some interesting variations on this one, from the beginning with Jocke as the man leaving, and later with Eddie in similar situations. One of the funniest has Jocke waking up in a bed, not remembering much, but spotting a rather homely girl in the bed beside him. Cue Jocke getting fast out of bed, looking for his clothes and visually about to skidaddle, only to discover he is in his own bedroom. Hilarity ensues.
  • Scott Pilgrim wakes up one morning after (rather seriously) fighting with Ramona to find her missing from bed. He freaks out, then hears the shower running and breathes a sigh of relief. Then gets a text and runs out without Ramona hearing the reason, only to return and find her leaving him.

    Fan Works 
  • The Victorious fic "After the party" opens with Jade and Tori waking up naked in bed together after a drunken party the night before. Jade essentially kicks Tori out of her bed, only allowing her time to wash up before she has to leave her house, vowing to Tori that she will forget this night ever happened, leaving Tori emotionally hurt and bitter at Jade's rejection. It takes seeing Tori dating a new girl at Hollywood Arts and Beck confronting Jade about her actions (having found a video Jade made of some of their night together) for Jade to admit that she was just scared to admit her bisexuality and acknowledge her feelings for Tori.
  • Double subverted in Cabin Fever: Parting Shot: First of all, Paul does (reluctantly) stay for the extremely awkward breakfast; but he hightails it out of there the instant he is finished, curtly dismissing a request from his beloved for him to wait so that she can come with him. Secondly, he wasn't actually the one who slept with the girl; he stumbled upon another guy bedding his unrequited love and now he just wants to run away from both of them.
    • Averted later on with an impulsive casual sex scene: the sort you figure that the participants will probably regret immediately afterward, and would typically set up Not Staying For Breakfast. Yet despite at least one of the lovers having a What Have I Done moment when they notice who they've woken up with, the pair stick together for a cozy morning lay-in.
  • This is discussed non-sexually in denouement. When Mion sleeps over at her not-quite-girlfriend Rena's house, she sometimes has to leave in the morning for family reasons. Rena hates this and, during one sleepover, begs Mion not to be gone in the morning.
  • The Hooves-Platinum-verse: In the first story, Derpy explains to her daughter how, after a date with a stallion, she had gone to bed with him in a hotel room but woke up the next morning to find he was gone, leaving her alone and pregnant with Dinky. Then the chapter transitions to the stallion in question, who's also thinking about her and how she'd been gone by the time he got back with the engagement ring he'd gone out to buy. Furthermore, since they'd never gotten one another's names, neither has any idea where to find the other and clear up the misunderstanding. Until the second story, that is.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Subverted in the sequel Picking Up the Pieces - Gentle Step wakes up with a hangover and finds her best friend Memorizing Gaze, whom she's just undergone a Relationship Upgrade with, is not in bed with her. She considers, for just a moment, that he was only using her... and that's when he walks in with a tray of breakfast and something for her headache, asking if she's okay, which makes her very happy.
  • In Pony POV Series, Prince Blueblood mentions that he has had several one night stands over the years, but he always wakes up to find the mares gone. He later realizes it was because they were turned off by his Prince Charmless behavior. When he Took a Level in Kindness, he finally gets a steady girlfriend in Arcane Spell.
  • Subverted in Harry Potter Slash Fic Reparations. When Draco tells Harry that he should go home, Harry asks him to stay but then falls asleep before Draco can reply. So when Harry wakes up to an empty bed, he naturally assumes that Draco left anyway. That is, until he finds a few of Draco's things, as well as his trousers, on the bedroom floor. Turns out Draco is having a cup of tea in the kitchen, wearing nothing but one of Harry's shirts.
  • In Rivals Series: this happens twice:
  • Shadowchasers: Conspiracy: Subverted when Philip and Sofia sleep together. When Sofia wakes up and finds him gone, she gets extremely pissed, before finding him in the kitchen cooking bacon and serving it to her, making her realize he truly loves her.
  • Subverted in Things We Don't Tell Humans. Wheeljack wasn't supposed to stay for breakfast, but he does, much to everyone's brief embarrassment when Prowl finds him asleep on the couch with Ratchet.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 40 Carats, Ann and Peter meet on vacation in Greece and have a one-night stand on the beach. The next morning, Ann sneaks away from the campsite, flags down a boat, and takes off while Peter sleeps.
  • 68 Kill: This is what Chip thinks has happened when he wakes up at the motel and Violet is gone, along with the money, the guns, and the car. Then he finds her body in the bathroom.
  • In American Pie, Jim and Michelle sleep together at the after-prom party. Jim wakes up alone. He realized he was used. After a moment's reflection, he's psyched about it.
  • After Crash and Annie finally sleep together in Bull Durham, she wakes up to a note from Crash explaining that he was headed out to Asheville for an opening as a catcher. Annie is mildly disappointed but understands: baseball may be where she finds metaphysical meaning in the world, "but it's also a job." He comes back at the end of the baseball season after breaking the minor league home run record and quitting.
  • Cabin Fever: Paul and Marcy go from being platonic friends to casual lovers in a matter of minutes. As soon as the deed is done, Paul is almost as fast to rinse Marcy's love juices off his wang with Listerine and tell her curtly that he's gonna run off into the forest to look for Marcy's boyfriend Jeff because "[He] just can't stay there any longer [with her]". Despite Marcy's anxious protests, Paul leaves her all alone in the Cabin. Of course, he left with a parting gift from Marcy: the flesh-eating disease she passed to him because they didn't use a condom.
  • Colombiana: Cataleya always leaves her boyfriend Delaney early in the mornings after they have sex.
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982) loves and leaves Valeria in the movie in order to head to the Mountain of Power and infiltrate Thulsa Doom's cult to take vengeance for his people. She chases after him, which is just as well because Conan gets his ass kicked by the cultists when Doom uncovers him.
  • Conan the Barbarian (2011): Tamara sneaks out while Conan's still sleeping after they have sex together. She does clearly care for him, but she doesn't want to distract from their missions.
  • Daredevil (2003). Matt Murdock gets dumped by a girl he's dating for constantly doing this trope. Of course, his reasons for slipping out at night are because he's a masked vigilante, plus he has to sleep in a sensory deprivation chamber thanks to his Super-Hearing—but he can hardly tell her this. Later, Elektra does the same to Matt but leaves an engraved invitation to a black-tie event held by her father (which he'd previously turned down) on the pillow next to him.
  • In Death Ring, Lauren and Matt spend the night together after he wins the 'Survival of the Fittest' race. When she wakes up, he is gone, leaving behind a note that just reads 'SORRY!'. She immediately sets out to find him.
  • Played with in The Eiger Sanction. Government assassin Dr. Hemlock meets a beautiful black stewardess on the aircraft taking him to Switzerland and spends the night with her, only to find she's gone the next day. Then, to his delight, she rings him on the phone...only to tell him to get in contact with his spymaster boss.
  • Dom does this to Letty in the fourth The Fast and the Furious film when the increasing heat forces them to split up. Not surprisingly, he comes to regret this decision.
  • In Forrest Gump, Jenny leaves Forrest after she has sex with him one night.
  • In Gang of Roses, Johnny attempts to pull this on Chas. He also attempts to rob her in the process. Both decisions prove very unwise on his part.
  • In the film Heat, Neil McCauley is shown leaving Eady in the night, after making love. Neil is a professional thief and has vowed to have no attachments so as to be able to walk out of his life in thirty seconds if the heat turns up. And then subverted when he gets back together with her a day or two later.
  • Both subverted and played straight in Hitch. Sara wakes up, sees the other side of the bed empty, starts getting emotional about it... and Hitch walks in with breakfast. Earlier, though, her friend slept with sleazy Vance, who played it straight.
    Casey: I've never seen a man get dressed so fast!
  • Subverted in If You Could Say It in Words. Sadie wakes up in Nelson's apartment, thinking she's alone until he suddenly walks into the room. He tells her that he bought her coffee and a sweet bun and that they did not have sex.
  • The Incredible Jessica James: After sleeping with Boone, Jessica sneaks out in the dead of night. She stays for coffee the second time.
  • Iron Man:
    • In Iron Man, Christine had sex with Tony and woke up to find Tony gone and Pepper kicking her out of the mansion with clean clothes, a waiting cab, and a snide remark.
    • Iron Man 3: Tony does this to Dr. Maya Hansen in the opening prologue taking place before the first movie. It bites him in the butt years later when she returns with a vengeance.
  • James Bond: James is a veteran lover and leaver, but this is done to him in at least two films—On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Die Another Day (possibly referencing the former film and even if not, fitting, as the woman doing is a Distaff Counterpart).
  • In the Stanley Kubrick adaptation of Lolita, our first indication that Humbert has accepted Charlotte Haze's marriage proposal is her reaching over to his side of the bed and finding him not there. He's actually reading in the study and promptly goes and locks himself in the toilet when he realises she's awake. This is done as a sign that their marriage is a sham, as Humbert's sexual interests lie elsewhere.
  • Mario (2018): The morning after Mario and Leon have sex, Leon wakes up to find a note that says, "I'm at my parents'. See you Monday." They don't see each other again until the next football practice.
  • Subverted in Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005). The morning after meeting each other, Jane wakes up and doesn't find her partner in bed. John promptly enters the room carrying breakfast.
  • Professor Harold Hill loves and leaves in The Music Man. At least until he finally gets his "foot stuck in the door" with Marian.
  • The Naked Witch: After being seduced by the witch and spending the night in the cave with her, the student wakes to find himself alone: the witch having departed to murder Kirska.
  • Done in Out of Sight. Subverted in that she completely expected it—after all, he's a fugitive bank robber, while she's the US Marshal trying catch him. Amusingly, as a memento, instead of a rose, Jack has left Karen's gun on her pillow (he stole it from her earlier).
  • The Saint (1997) had Simon romance Emma so he could steal her formula and then leave her the next morning with a bunch of notes saying "I'm sorry" because he'd genuinely formed an emotional response to her. Emma, however, subverted the trope because she wanted her cards back and went after him.
  • Subverted in Single White Female. The female protagonist reaches out for her boyfriend. She wakes up in a panic upon not finding him — only to find him sleeping right there. They only recently reconciled following his infidelity, and it's implied that she was having a nightmare in which he did leave, hence her panicky reaction.
  • In the film version of Stardust, Tristan leaves Yvaine after they make love. He fully intends to come back that same day, leaving only to disillusion his former not-so-true love in swashbuckling-hero fashion, but upon waking up alone Yvaine mistakenly believes he has abandoned her (thanks to Poor Communication Kills, Tristan asked a hotel employee to tell Yvaine where he went, but the man bungled the message).
  • in Top Gun, Charlie wakes up to find Maverick gone. Turns out it's a subversion in that he's left a note that she smiles while reading. Considering that the movie's title refers to what is basically a school (it's proper title at the time was Fighter Weapons School), he likely has to go to class (an earlier scene has a line of dialog indicating this - class in the morning, flight training in the afternoon).
  • Tough Guys (1986). Elderly ex-con Archie does on a date with much younger Skye. After a night of passion, Archie tells Skye to go ahead to the gym and that he'll join her later, as she's worn him out.
    Skye: Archie... are you going to be here when I get back?
    Archie: [beat] No.
    Skye: Why?
    Archie: Skye, you're a sweet kid but... I need to start acting my age.
  • Colonel Hal Moore has to leave in the middle of the night to deploy with his men to Vietnam in We Were Soldiers. Julia wakes up in the middle of the night but only after he has gone. With the subversion that he hasn't left because he doesn't love her but because he knows that her watching him leave to go into combat will be very painful for her. He also doesn't look back and doesn't give her a thought until he finally returns home from his deployment.
  • When Harry Met Sally... has a variation. He stays but rushes away in the morning.
  • In White, Karol does this to Dominique the morning after he finally gives her a night of passionate, satisfying sex as part of an elaborate scheme to get her thrown into jail for his murder and hence get revenge on her for divorcing him with his inability to consummate their marriage as her given reason.

  • Standard etiquette among the nobility of the Heian Era (794-1185AD in Japan). It was much more embarrassing if your lover stuck around, forcing you to explain or hide his presence from your awakening and inevitably curious ladies-in-waiting. In fact, the great Heian lady poet and ancient blogger, Sei Shonagon, even wrote an entry in The Pillow Book detailing the ideal technique for a young man slipping graciously away in the morning.
    • There are still remnants of this in modern Japanese language, where the wedding banquet is called "coming-out-of-the-closet banquet," i.e. a departure from this stage into a more regular, ritualized relationship.
  • The protagonist of Airframe has a casual sexual relationship with a pilot, and he never stays after sex, though she wishes he would. This is contrasted with the antagonist, a shallow television news reporter who has sex with a stuntman she knows in the area, and she is annoyed that he doesn't leave afterwards.
  • Babylon Babies. The protagonist takes home a woman he met in a bar, but as he has to get back to bodyguarding the Living MacGuffin, he tries to sneak out without even waiting for morning. She gives a You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me! reaction when she catches him doing so.
  • Invoked in By The Sword when the mercenary Kerowyn and Herald Eldan were fleeing the Karsites she rescued him from. She realized that A) the priestess hunting them was tracking her enchanted sword, B) the only way Eldan could escape to Valdemar was if she drew off pursuit, & C) he would try to talk her out of it (and her feelings for him were such that she might let him). So she basically shagged him senseless, left a note, and fled into the night; not seeing him again face-to-face for a decade. Eldan forgave her for it... eventually.
  • The Chronicles of Dorsa: Tasia is introduced after her latest tryst with Markas, having stayed in bed later than usual with him. She always sneaks away without staying with him over night, but fell asleep by him that time and has to rush.
  • Subverted in First Drop of Crimson. Denise wakes up the morning after to find the other half of the bed empty with smooth sheets, and the bathroom empty. At first, she panics: Maybe he regrets it. Maybe he left me, before she calms down and thinks Maybe he doesn't rumple the sheets when he sleeps, and maybe he just went downstairs. She's right, of course; Spade spent the night in her arms and left just before she woke to answer the door.
  • In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett wakes up alone the morning after Rhett forces himself on her, "and had it not been for the rumpled pillow beside her, she would have thought the happenings of the night before a wild preposterous dream. She went crimson at the memory. . ." Despite Scarlett's numerous Kick the Dog moments, this is an instant where Rhett is the one to sabotage the relationship—for once, Scarlett is willing to reach out to him and try to reconcile, but his disappearance makes her reconsider.
  • In Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, Eris leaves after her first night with Rudeus, leaving a vaguely-worded note that seems to imply he's inadequate. She actually left because she felt she was inadequate and needed to be stronger so she could stand by his side; she's bordering on illiterate at that point.
  • Jacques Rolla, the hero of Alfred de Musset's poem Rolla, tries to leave quietly in the morning to end his life, after squandering his inherited fortune and spending his last gold coins on a passionate night with beautiful High-Class Call Girl Marie.
  • Seven Stars has a gender-inverted example, with the series protagonist Richard Jeperson waking up to find that the woman he's just spent an extremely satisfactory night with has already left; he never sees her again.
  • The War Against the Chtorr.
    • In A Matter for Men, McCarthy spends the night with a woman, then has an Oh, Crap! the next morning when he realises he's late for a meeting with his superior. The woman assumes this trope and refuses to talk to him again despite repeated attempts.
    • Earlier his friend Ted seduces the poor boy while he's still smarting from the whole "man-eating alien caterpillars are real" thing, then treats it as a mindless fling the next morning. The worst part is that Ted's highly libertine upbringing means he never really understands what McCarthy's so pissed about.
    • A sci-fi take on this trope occurs in A Day for Damnation. Ted (who has become a telepath) Body Surfs into the body of a beautiful woman so he can seduce McCarthy again. The next day McCarthy wakes up next to a very grumpy woman who kicks him out of bed, Ted having moved on to another body and left the original owner to deal with the hangover and cleaning up.
  • Rand and Elayne in The Wheel of Time, with Rand leaving (for the perfectly understandable reason that he still has to go out and save the world). He leaves behind a flower as an apology/expression of love (which she accepts). He also leaves her pregnant, but he doesn't actually know that yet.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow:
    • Oliver Queen and Helena Bertinelli realise they're not so different as lonely vigilantes hiding behind a Secret Identity and fall into bed with each other at the end of "Muse of Fire". In the next episode, Helena slips out of bed in the middle of the night to continue her Roaring Rampage of Revenge. It's played entirely like this trope with Oliver having to chase after Helena and coax her into continuing their relationship.
    • In "Keep Your Enemies Closer", we see Oliver Queen getting dressed because he has to go on a secret vigilante mission, then a Reveal Shot shows that Isabel Rochev is in his bed. When he's about to make up an excuse for leaving, she responds bluntly: "Do I really strike you as someone who needs to cuddle?"
    • In "This Is Your Sword", Thea Queen finds out her boyfriend Roy Harper faked his death and they spend the night together. Roy leaves her in the morning, quits his job and moves out of town leaving only a message explaining that he doesn't want her to be forced to live with him as a fugitive.
    • In "Genesis", Thea wakes up to an empty bed, only to find her next boyfriend Alex Davis downstairs cooking breakfast. However, the momentary disquiet she feels is only the first when she realises there is something odd about the Stepford Suburbia he's brought them to...
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Divided Loyalties", Talia (in Ivanova's quarters) wakes up and is surprised to find the other half of the bed empty. The next scene is an attack on Lyta Alexander, who has arrived at the station to deliver a warning about a Psi Corps sleeper agent. This turns out to be a bit of misdirection; after an episode with many clues pointing to Ivanova, the sleeper agent turned out to be Talia. The scene also serves as a deniable indication of the characters' possible relationship. Word of God has since confirmed that they'd slept together in more than the strictly literal sense.
    • On another occasion, Ivanova invokes the trope in her "sex" scene with the Lumati ambassador:
      Ambassador: What happens now?
      Ivanova: Old style, you roll over and go to bed. New style, you go out for pizza and I never see you again.
    • Jeffrey Sinclair and Catherine Sakai are implied to have done this to each other repeatedly over the years: They meet up, start talking about the past, eat dinner, fool around, one of them leaves the next morning, a few months pass and the cycle continues. They finally made an attempt at averting it at the end of Season 1, with him even proposing marriage (which she accepted); unfortunately, nothing came of it on the show as Sinclair's actor had to quit for health reasons. Their story is fairly neatly tied up with a bow in the declared-canon novel To Dream in the City of Sorrows, though.
  • Batwoman (2019): Played seriously when Kate Kane hooks up again with a girl she briefly dated earlier in the series, after a near-fatal mission to retrieve Lucius Fox's journal, only to wake up the next day and find both the girl and journal are missing.
  • Brennan in Bones made it her policy never to stay at her lover's place overnight or to let her lover stay with her overnight after having sex, as she didn't believe in romantic entanglements. This changed obviously when she and Booth finally became an Official Couple.
  • Bridgerton: Played for drama. In season 2 chapter 7, after Anthony and Kate slept together in the garden, the next morning Anthony found himself waking up alone while a remorseful Kate has left on her horse. Anthony immediately chases after her, but unfortunately Kate hits her head when her horse is startled.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer played a lot with this trope:
    • In "Innocence", Angel leaves Buffy the morning after because he turned evil. As Evil is Petty, he returns to taunt her over how It Doesn't Mean Anything to him. As this is Buffy's first time, the event is so traumatic this trope gets a Call-Back whenever Buffy takes a new lover.
    • Angel pulls this again on Buffy in "I Will Remember You". When he becomes human again and finally can spend the night with her, he gets called by Doyle in the morning to face a demon. In that case, it's because he doesn't want to worry Buffy.
    Doyle: Don't you want to wake the girl?
    Angel: [smiling] Not for the world.
    • In "The Harsh Light Of Day", we have the "went to get coffee" version when Buffy sleeps with Parker. When she sees the coffee, she's greatly relieved, which makes the following reveal - that Parker was really just in it for sex - much crueler.
    • In "The I in Team", Buffy wakes up in bed, turns over in alarm...and finds Riley smiling back at her. As per the Rule of Threes, she's finally found a decent man.
      Riley: Hey. What's the matter? Weren't expecting to see me?
      Buffy: [relaxing again] I never know what to expect.
    • Then it becomes a Gender-Inverted Trope during Buffy's Destructive Romance with Spike. Because Buffy is ashamed of her Dating Catwoman relationship with the bad boy vampire, she never hangs around afterward, much to Spike's bitterness (it's not as if he can chase after her in the daylight). Buffy even gives the It Doesn't Mean Anything speech, just as Angelus did to her.
    • This happens even after they reconcile in "Touched" and spend the night just holding each other; Buffy leaves before Spike wakes because she has to fight Caleb, leaving a letter for him in case she doesn't come back.
    • After taking Xander's virginity Faith spears him out the door. Turns out she did the same to Wood and basically any guy she's been with. Wood however comments on this, and Faith begins to change her ways.
  • Subverted in the Season 5 premiere of Castle; Castle wakes up alone in his bed. Enter Beckett, wearing his shirt, a cup of coffee in each hand, ready for another round. Then double subverted as his mother shows up and Beckett has to hide in the closet.
  • Charmed: The very second episode opens with Prue pulling this on Andy, waking herself off to take off before he wakes up. She even uses her powers to toss his alarm clock out the window when it's about to go off.
  • One episode of The Closer had the victim who did this for a reality TV show. He'd pick up drunk women for a night and leave before they woke up. Then find them again and show them the video of the said night and film their reaction. He did this eight times, which led up to the line: "He did this eight times and was only shot once?"
  • Conversations with Friends: After having sex with a guy whom she met on a blind date, Frances sneaks out afterward, dissatisfied.
  • Conviction (2016): In the last episode, Hayes is shown taking off after having had sex with a man the night before. He tries to arrange a future meeting, but she brushes it off and drives away in a cab.
  • Humorously done in Coupling with Patrick's behavior as The Casanova. He has it as engrained behavior to leave immediately after sex and instinctively make a telephone sign should his lover be awake as he is leaving. This understandably creates problems when Sally tries to start a long-term relationship with him.
  • Variation in Criminal Minds: Morgan is in a serious committed relationship with Savannah and awakens early one morning to find she isn't in bed. She's in the living room preparing to leave, since she'd been called into work (she's a doctor). She gives him a brief goodbye, asks him to walk her dog for her, and tells him to lock up when he leaves. In this case, it's used to show that the relationship is advancing and that Savannah is comfortable having him around her apartment without feeling the need to excuse her absence. Garcia also points out the Double Standard, as Morgan would have no qualms about doing the same to Savannah if he'd been called in for a case, but the fact that it was a woman doing it to him weirded him out.
  • Played for laughs in Crisis on Earth-X when Alex Danvers gets drunk and has a one-night stand with Sara Lance. While Sara's promiscuity is a Running Gag, Alex (having never had a one-night stand before) has a My God, What Have I Done? and tries to discreetly slip away only to fall off the bed onto her behind. When they meet up later Sara and Alex have to be reminded of each other's names and Alex freaks out to her sister over having done such a "horrible guy thing", much to Kara's amusement.
    • In the same episode, Barry Allen does a romantic version of this trope. After waking up in bed with Iris on the day of their wedding, he zips away using his super speed. When Iris wakes she finds a tray with breakfast, Flowers of Romance and a note saying that it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding.
  • Subverted on ER when Carol wakes up and finds Doug gone. He walks into the room a second later with Breakfast in Bed and teases her about her thinking that he had left, although given his previous behavior (he did this frequently the first time they dated) he can hardly blame her.
  • The First Lady: After sleeping with Hick the first time, Eleanor tries to quietly leave. Hick notices though, and she left some things behind when doing so.
  • The George Lopez Show: In "Now George Noahs Ex-Zack-ly What Happened", George privately confronts Carmen's delinquent boyfriend about his plans to dump her as soon as he gets what he wants. This remark actually makes George lose it and try to attack him.
    George: I'm not telling you again: It's over between you two!
    Zack: I think it'll be over when Carmen gets out of bed to make me a sandwich.
  • High Fidelity: Clyde leaves without saying goodbye after he sleeps with Rob. He later claims it was due to his car being towed, though Rob doesn't believe it.
  • Used cruelly in the season 5 finale of House she was gone in the morning because she was never there.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Barney's standard post-coitus procedure is to sneak away while the woman is in the shower. When he eventually winds up in a committed relationship, he still often ends up sleepwalking out of his girlfriend's apartment.
    • Barney's also set up his apartment to invoke this from the women he invites over. Although when the setup starts to go wrong, he uses Lily as a fake wife for a while to scare them away.
  • Keep Breathing: Liv continually resisted getting into a real relationship with her on again/off again lover Danny, rejecting his offer to make breakfast the morning after they slept together. It's made clear from her past that she fears intimacy due to her mom abandoning her, thinking he'll just leave her as well later so she avoids it this way preemptively, despite Danny's protests.
  • Subverted in McCallum when the title character wakes up to find his Girl of the Week has slipped out after stealing his brand new shirt and leaving a score of his bedroom performance (he didn't rate very high).
  • The Murders: In "Queen of Hearts", after sleeping with Pete the night before Kate leaves early in the morning after declining an offer to stay longer with the excuse she has work, but is heavily implied to not want more than having casual sex.
  • On My Name Is Earl, Earl has done this to a lot of women over the course of his life, but the most notable incident is Number 86 on his list. He hooked up with a woman named Didi, and when she got out of bed in the morning to make them some breakfast, Earl found out that she had only one leg. He was shocked and upset, and decided to run for it. Meaning, he stole money from her purse, her prosthesis, and her car to make his getaway. It's unknown what he did with her car, but he buried her prosthetic leg under his old trailer home. To make up for it, she makes him do all her chores and errands hopping on one leg, to teach him how difficult he'd made her life in the ensuing years.
  • In the 2002 mini-series Napoléon, Napoléon Bonaparte's Polish mistress turns up just as his troops are marching off to war. When Napoleon looks reluctant, she jokingly points out that he has the perfect excuse for leaving when he grows tired of her, as he can always say he has to go command his armies.
  • The Punisher (2017). In the first episode of Season 2, Frank Castle spends the night with Beth The Bartender. Even though they get along fine, he tries to slip out quietly the following morning, except downstairs he unexpectedly runs into her son, and he ends up taking them out for breakfast. The two of them make a more 'adult' departure after that, but Frank decides to come back to her bar the next night instead of driving on. Unfortunately, that doesn't end so well...
  • Used on Raising Hope. The morning after Jimmy and Lucy have sex, Jimmy wakes up to find his van empty. He then goes into the house to find Lucy in the kitchen, talking to his family.
  • One episode of Seinfeld has Elaine warn a coworker (who's a virgin and has it bad for Jerry) about this trope. When this coworker finally manages to sleep with Jerry, she asks him in the afterglow whether he's planning to leave now.
    [bewildered] Why would I leave? This is my apartment.
  • Played with in different ways in Sex and the City. Features everything from really making them breakfast to finding a break-up post-it note the morning after to the girls themselves fleeing the beds of various guys right after for different reasons.
  • In the She-Hulk: Attorney at Law episode "The Retreat", Jen sleeps with a guy who was not only gone the next morning, but never called her back or answered her text messages. The Stinger makes this even worse when it's revealed that he was part of the Intellegencia organization and only slept with her so he can steal a sample of her blood.
  • Subverted in Six Feet Under. Nate gets together with a woman from his daughter's creche. Having recently lost his wife and in need of emotional support, he stays, only for her to snub him and tell him that she hoped he would have left because she was just after some quick shag.
  • Jim Henson's The Storyteller retelling of "Theseus and the Minotaur": Theseus loves and leaves Ariadne as in the myth. When she wakes up a Woman Scorned, she calls down a curse on his head in true Ancient Greek fashion. The curse causes him to forget to put up the right color sail to tell his father he survived — and thus, as she curses him, he witnesses his father leap from a cliff.
  • S.W.A.T. (2017): After Erika's death, Chris has a one-night stand and departs without giving the guy either her number or even name, despite his request for them (he's interested in more, but she isn't).
  • Ted Lasso: Subverted in "4-5-1". The episode opens on Colin waking up alone after clearly having slept with someone the night before, but it turns out that the other guy is just downstairs making coffee.
  • Torchwood. Gender-Inverted Trope in "Out of Time" with main character Owen standing in for the woman in every port, and Girl of the Week Diane for the flyboy who leaves before it can get too serious.
  • The White Lotus: After Lucia gets 50,000 euros from the Di Grassos she spends one more night with Albie but sneaks out of the room just before he wakes up. It's this act that convinces him he'd been played.
  • The Witcher (2019):
    • Geralt spends the night with Renfri after she promises to give up her revenge on the mage Stregobor. When Geralt wakes up alone, he realizes she manipulated him.
    • Yennefer always leaves Geralt in the morning before he wakes up. As it turns out, it's payback for Geralt pulling this first on her after their first time.

  • "Angel of the Morning" was a hit song in 1968 for Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts. Its importance can be gauged by the 29 cover versions listed on The Other Wiki, from 1968 to 2007. It describes the feelings of a woman who expects her lover to Not Stay For Breakfast. She has an adult acceptance of the one-night stand she is seeking, but she is conflicted, perhaps longing for something more.
  • The Beatles's "Norwegian Wood" from Rubber Soul (though in this case, it's the lady who owns the house that leaves; the guy replies by torching the place)
  • "Wednesday Morning, 3 AM" by Simon & Garfunkel is about a man on the run after robbing a liquor store, who spends his last night in bed with his lover. He deeply regrets his crime, which forces him to leave her for good.
  • This is the subject of the Blackhawk song Will You Be There (In The Morning?).
  • Melody Gardot's Live From Soho EP of her song "Goodnite."
  • This is also the subject of The Shirelles' hit "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"
  • Bob Seger's Fire Inside has the protagonist pretend to be asleep while listening to and allowing their (male) lover to sneak away after a one-night stand.
  • Matt Monro's Softly As I Leave You
  • Trisha Yearwood's Walkaway Joe: Somewhere in a roadside motel room/ Alone in the silence she wakes up too soon/ And reaches for his arm/ But she'll just keep reachin' on...
  • Universe, by Savage Garden: Cuddle up close/ Lay on my chest now/ Listen my heart beat's coming down/ If you get tired you close your eyes now/ When you wake up I won't be found.
  • "A Simple Twist of Fate" by Bob Dylan from Blood on the Tracks: He woke up, the room was bare/He didn't see her anywhere/Told himself he didn't care, pushed the window open wide/Felt that emptiness inside/To which he just could not relate/Brought on by a simple twist of fate.
  • "Ruby's Arms" from Heartattack and Vine by Tom Waits.
  • Supertramp's "Goodbye Stranger", about a drifter recalling his latest fling (of several), having departed before dawn.
  • Brazilian band Skank had the song "Formato Mínimo", which ends with the man leaving before she wakes up... but somehow feeling guilty.
  • "Mary Jane’s Last Dance" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers has the narrator as a "love 'em and leave 'em" type (though he's honest about it) who realizes the emptiness of this type of lifestyle when the titular Mary Jane does the same thing to him ("It was too cold to cry when I woke up alone/I hit my last number and walked to the road").
  • "Drive By" by Train has this as the cause of the breakup the singer is trying to undo; he claims he left due to panic that he was feeling more emotions than expected and wasn't sure how to deal with them. This is also shown in the video.
  • "Daylight" by Maroon 5. "When the daylight comes, I have to go / But tonight I'm gonna hold you so close."
  • "Stay With Me" by Faces, contrary to what the title might suggest.
  • In 1967, Julie London sang "Nice Girls Don't Stay for Breakfast", explaining to her beau that the right thing for a woman to do was to avoid having to skip breakfast by not spending the night in the first place. But she completely subverted the notion; the last line is " Please pass the jam."
  • Charlotte Hatherley's "Bastardo" tells of how Charlotte had a one-night stand with a Spaniard called Antionio. When she woke in the morning, not only had Antonio disappeared, but he'd taken her favourite guitar with him.
  • Inverted in Hooverphonic's "The Wrong Place" — Belgium's Eurovision Song Contest 2021 entry —; the singer regrets the one-night stand and is annoyed that the man insists in staying for breakfast while she just wants him to go away.
  • In 'The Only Exception' by Paramore, the singer fully expects their lover to pull this trope and asks them to leave "some kind of proof it's not a dream". The music video starts with the vocalist Hayley Williams pulling this trope (although both her and the boyfriend are fully clothed and just sleeping on a couch), but in the end she joins him again.

  • Chris tries to do this to Kim in Miss Saigon but finds himself too enamored of her to leave. Plus, she wakes up shortly after he returns to her room.

    Video Games 
  • Neera the Wild Mage from the Updated Re-release for Baldur's Gate warns you on her romance route that she's never been very good at sticking around after sex with her previous lovers. Even after she finally admits she does love you, her romance epilogue notes that, one day, she just vanished after a passionate night together. Subverted in that the player character is stated to have known exactly where she went and just tracked her down afterwards, it being implied to end up becoming a little game that the Chaotic Neutral half-elf enjoys playing with her boyfriend.
  • The evil and disturbingly kinky Emperor Doviculus in Brütal Legend, sometimes yells "Do no cling to me!" when ending a Double Team, among other Double Entendre lines.
  • At the start of DmC: Devil May Cry, Dante has a threesome with two strippers in his trailer. They are gone in the morning and leave a "Hell of a night, call us!" lipstick note on his arm. This eventually leads to him having a Naked First Impression with Kat.
  • Half of the initial love scenes in Dragon Age II: Merrill and Anders will stick around, and eventually move in with Hawke (if s/he doesn't choose to boot them out the door right after their Love Confession), but Fenris and Isabela leave immediately. In Isabela's case, this is because she refuses to participate in anything deeper than a Friends with Benefits relationship (at first), and in Fenris' case, he has a brief lapse in his Identity Amnesia before he loses the memories again. The incident causes him to pull away from the relationship (for the moment).
  • Benny doesn't bother sticking around after sleeping with a female character in Fallout: New Vegas. He does leave a note, however, that is simultaneously hilarious, sweet, and completely infuriating.
  • If you decide to go through with the Optional Sexual Encounter between Ethan and Madison in Heavy Rain, the next scene will consist of you controlling Ethan as he tries to pull this maneuver off, that is, of course, until he comes across Madison's wallet and finds out she is a journalist.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Eva does this to Naked Snake, leaving behind a note that tells of The Reveal.
  • Enforceable in Persona 3 Portable, if the female main character does Shinjiro's special event on October 3rd...

    Visual Novels 
  • In Melody, Isabella gets up early after a night with the protagonist before he wakes up. Twice. However, it’s not because of her personal feelings; she just has to go to work early.
  • Happens twice in Tsukihime: after having sex with Shiki, Arcueid leaves to fight Roa alone to not endanger Shiki; similarly, Kohaku drugs him and leaves to confront Akiha on her own. The former scene also makes it to the anime adaptation.note 

  • In "The Glass Scientists", this is what it looks like to Lanyon when he wakes up after his Relationship Upgrade with Dr. Henry Jekyll to find him missing. In actuality, Jekyll involuntarily transformed into Hyde in the middle of the night and left to keep his identity a secret.
  • Lampooned in Sluggy Freelance:
    Torg: So how'd your date with Gwynn go?
    Riff: Don't know. When I woke up she was gone.
    Torg: Dude! All right!
    Riff: No, I mean I fell asleep at the restaurant.

    Western Animation 
  • In American Dad!, episode Stan of Arabia, Hayley the liberal moves to Saudi Arabia and jumps into bed with a member of Al-Qaeda. She wakes up and says, "Hmm, now I know how a kebab feels." She rolls over and finds him gone, in his place is a note explaining that he's gone away to bomb the American embassy. When she arrives at the embassy, she finds him working at a fast food kiosk nearby. Two American girls walk up and explain, "He tricked you into thinking he was a terrorist so you'd have sex with him. He does that with all the American girls."
  • Arcane: Mel is shown waking up alone after spending the night with Jayce. The very next scene shows he has a good reason to have left since he went to the hospital after hearing Viktor had collapsed.
  • In the Ben 10: Ultimate Alien episode "Couples Retreat", it is heavily implied that Charmcaster and Darkstar had sex, because Charmcaster wakes up in bed and wonders where he went.
  • Quagmire from Family Guy repeatedly follows this trope, when he isn't just saying "Hey, are you still here?". Unlike most of these examples, Quagmire's just being his Jerkass self.
  • Robot Chicken turned the James Bond example on its head, where James presents himself this way, but it was actually the women he hooked up with getting sick of his constant puns about their name.
  • Parodied on South Park with the Shake-Weight (tm). After spraying "water" on the user, it spits out cab money and promises to call.
  • Briefly done in one episode of Superman: The Animated Series to demonstrate that the husband in the Special Forces has fully integrated with the experimental combat suit and does not need his wife's affections anymore.
  • In The Venture Bros. both parties end up doing this in "Tanks for Nuthin'"; Brock tries to sneak out of his newfound partner Warriana's apartment only to see she's already up and dressed for work and she dismissively tells him there's coffee in the kitchen. However, the two make up by the end of the episode and start a proper relationship.