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Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome

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Many stories have an Official Couple. In some genres, their relationship will drive the plot. There will be lovers' tiffs and Unresolved Sexual Tension. However, most official couples have something that stops things from getting too bad.

Sometimes, however, an Official Couple gets put through Hell. Fights, breakups, infidelity and sometimes even people trying to kill them will get in the way in an ordeal that can last anything from months to years. If they're lucky, their relationship will make it out intact but changed. Warning: in extreme cases this can lead to mental breakdowns and even death.

This trope exists because people tend to identify with an Official Couple. Therefore a good way to keep up the suspense is to make their relationship dramatic, as having them be happy with no issues runs the risk of Shipping Bed Death because True Love Is Boring. Thus, the entire point of creating this couple and making it official is to make the tragedy of its demise/near-demise all the more obvious/painful to the reader. If the Official Couple stays together despite being put through this trope it's an Earn Your Happy Ending.

Happens a lot in Soap Opera. When it's a very long arc, they are known as a "Supercouple".


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Natsuki and Masaki from Amakusa 1637 were already together when the story started. A good part of their ordeals is less about getting together and much more about staying together.
  • Kaoru and Aoi in Ai Yori Aoshi. They're both head over heels for each other, the problem is that Aoi's family doesn't approve (to the point of trying to physically force her to marry another man) and that several of their associates are beautiful young women who aren't aware of Kaoru's feelings for Aoi and are interested in Kaoru themselves.
  • Guts and Casca from Berserk are very much that Darker and Edgier version. From their first meeting, the story was set on bringing these two together, and their beginning relationship was rough enough as it was. When they did admit their feelings to each other and become official, the universe made it its official mission to keep the two apart by any means necessary.
  • Habaek and Soah from The Bride of the Water God. Anytime it seems their relationship is going farther, the universe brings some more problems to them; either of trust, with other gods or some Love Triangle.
  • In Beyond the Boundary, Akihito and Mirai get hit with this hard. Akihito is a half-human, half-youmu hybrid. Mirai is from a spirit hunter clan whose blood is deadly to youmu. Even worse, it's revealed that Mirai was given a mission to assassinate Akihito because the youmu inside him, known as Beyond the Boundary, is a powerful reality warper who could potentially destroy the world. Mirai can't bring herself to do it because she realized Akihito was the only one who understood her and cared for her, and that she'd fallen in love with him. So rather than kill Akihito, Mirai sacrifices herself and absorbs Beyond the Boundary, essentially wiping herself from existence.
    • In The Movie, Beyond the Boundary: I'll Be Here, Akihito falls into depression after Beyond the Boundary brings Mirai back to life at the cost of her losing her memories. He constantly tries to avoid her and has a pained expression whenever he sees her, unable to accept that she's forgotten about him and all they went through together. When Mirai confronts him about this, he insists that he just happened to pass by when she regained consciousness on the roof, and that the reason he broke down in tears upon seeing her was because of his glasses fetish. Despite all of his friends telling Akihito to tell Mirai the truth, he stubbornly refuses because he feels he'd be robbing her of living a normal life. And when Mirai starts to regain her memories after visiting a park she and Akihito had gone to in the past, Akihito tells her that she is "the most important person in his life", but that they can't be together because she'll just be unhappy with him. And then Mirai gets infected by a parasite youmu, becomes Brainwashed and Crazy and tries to kill Akihito and all of her friends. Thankfully, Akihito and Mirai finally get (back) together at the end, and in fact it's their love for each other that defeats the Big Bad.
  • CLANNAD: The Official Couple of Tomoya and Nagisa has them eventually getting married and expecting a child. Death by Childbirth separates the couple leaving their child Ushio with a broken father and no mother.
  • In Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, this happens to Lucy and David post-Time Skip. And oh boy, do we have a heartbreaking example here. Their relationship becomes strained due to David's increased obsession with chroming up at the expense of his tolerance to cybernetics and Lucy's unwillingness to share her efforts in eliminating Arasaka netrunners pursuing data related to David's tolerance of cybernetics. Lucy eventually gets kidnapped by Faraday with plans to send her back to Arasaka, and he uses Lucy's voice to provoke David into installing the cyberskeleton. Once David realizes Lucy was being held hostage, his Roaring Rampage of Revenge ends with him rescuing Lucy... and also ending up in a hopeless fight against Adam Smasher. He only has time to get Lucy to safety (with Falco's help) before ultimately being outmatched and killed by Smasher.
  • Averted in High School D×D, which is notable for a harem series. While Issei and Rias do hit the skids early on, it's because being with an open Harem Seeker who nonetheless has self-worth issues and difficulty expressing his feelings is emotionally taxing for everyone and takes some getting used to. Once they work through these issues and Rias establishes her claim as Top Wife, the relationship solidifies and steady, supportive, and healthy for all involved - including the other half-dozen harem members. From there the only internal drama the relationship sees is the girls bickering over who gets to be first mistress.
  • Hiro and Zero Two from DARLING in the FRANXX. And how. Not long after Hiro made a Childhood Marriage Promise with Zero Two, APE soldiers capture the two. Hiro gets hit with Laser-Guided Amnesia as punishment for their escape attempt, while Zero Two once again becomes a subject of Coldblooded Torture to study her Klaxosaur physiology. Because of Hiro's tampered memories, Zero Two has no idea he was her original Darling when they meet in Episode 1. Then, when they finally recover their memories in Episode 13, Zero Two gets reassigned to the Nines and Ichigo stops Hiro from chasing her. It's not until Episode 15 when they at long last reunite and make up for lost time.
  • Poor Miaka and Tamahome in Fushigi Yuugi get hit with this quite a bit, especially in the first series. Kidnapping, Brainwashing, Attempted Rape, Poor Communication Kills resulting in a few breakups, obstructive stalkers and near-death experiences made these two earn their Happily Ever After.
  • My Monster Secret averts this; once Asahi and Youko become a couple about halfway through the series, they stay together the whole way through (thanks in no small part to basically the whole cast being Shippers On Deck). However, this is spoofed in Chapter 115 where Youko apparently got mad enough with Asahi to want to break up, but by the end of the chapter it's resolved just as easilynote . However, the bigger issue is the fact that there's a Bad Future where Youko's vampire powers went out of control, forcing her to hide from human society and leaving a broken-hearted Asahi alone for 50 years. They end up succeeding, and while the series has its serious moments it never really loses its overall light-hearted comedic tone.
  • Naruto: From the start, Sasuke and Sakura's relationship has been little but turmoil. The first major Ship Tease moment is literally Sakura crying over Sasuke's body because she believes he's dead. It doesn't get much better afterwards and it gets even darker when Sasuke runs off after taking a revenge-driven Face–Heel Turn. Most of Sasuke and Sakura's interactions post-timeskip are tense, with them even trying to kill each other, but they part on on a pleasant, romantically tinged note. It's later shown that they ended up married and had a daughter named Sarada. How they became a couple is not clear however it is shown that they're Happily Married by Boruto. But, even that has its downsides. Sasuke has been on a mission, away from his wife and daughter, for nearly all of Sarada's childhood. As a result, Sarada has a mixed relationship with her father.
  • Tuxedo Mask and the eponymous Sailor Moon. After they're reincarnated, he almost dies, she has to fight against him when he's evil and brainwashed, he's taken away from her many times, and so on. But they are always together.
  • In Ten Yori Mo, Hoshi Yori Mo, a good part of Mio and Rei/Shou's conflict of their relationship deals with this. They went through this twice in different centuries. In both centuries, it ended up badly for them.

    Comic Books 
  • Aquaman: Aquaman and Mera:
    • Pre-Flashpoint their relationship was never the same after Black Manta murdered their son. And then before it could fully return to normal, Arthur was Killed Off for Real, and later, rose as a Black Lantern during Blackest Night, to the horror of an already crushed Mera. Thankfully he is revived at the end via the White Lantern, and they get a second chance.
    • Post-flashpoint sees them on more stable ground, but their wish to live together is complicated by Atlantean politics and treachery, conflicts between land and sea, and even an invasion or two from ancient god or terror alike.
  • Batman: Batman and Catwoman fall into this any time their relationship begins to become more serious. When they're just flirting, nothing seems to stop them other than being on opposite sides of the law. However, the few times they've made a real go at it mostly have something happen to cause them drama:
    • Batman: Hush: Bruce reveals his real identity to Selina during their hunt for the mysterious villain behind using Poison Ivy to brainwash her and trying to kill him. While Bruce's friends and family are fairly accepting of it, things get heated as the hunt continues, as it becomes clear that the mysterious villain is using all of Batman's rogues to get at him, including recruiting one of Bruce's former friends and turning him into the villain "Hush". In the final scene, Selina tells Bruce to "hush" and he freaks out at her, and she realises that he doesn't trust her, and they go their separate ways.
    • In "Heart of Hush", Selina is targeted by Hush in order to get at Bruce. She's almost killed but recovers, and she and Bruce share a night together... but explicitly just that one night. At the time, Bruce was dating socialite Jezebel Jet, who was secretly The Mole, and he was trying to dismantle her organisation, the Black Glove. Once he's done with that, Bruce "died" in Final Crisis.
    • In Batman (Tom King), after years of flirting, Batman and Catwoman finally start making a go at being a serious couple and even become engaged. However, after the two assaulted Bane's home, he concocts an elaborate plan to "break Batman" again, but emotionally. Bruce and Selina are told of a timeline where Bruce is happy and the world is horrible and Selina's best friend (and secretly Bane's ally), Holly Robinson, questions the idea that a happy Bruce could be Batman. This leads Selina to abandon Bruce at the altar, causing him to lash out at everyone and everything around him while she leaves Gotham. The two would eventually reunite to combat Bane, and Bruce would accept that he can be happy and be Batman. The alternate continuity Batman/Catwoman title (and several one-off stories leading up to it) have the two getting married, having a daughter who becomes the new Batwoman, and growing old together before Bruce passes away.
    • However, in the canon follow-up, Batman (James Tynion IV), it's revealed that Selina had taken part in a plan with several other of Batman's villains in the past, and when this comes back to bite them both, they "take a break" after the problem is resolved. Soon after, when the Catwoman title switched writers, Selina ended up in a relationship with someone else, and Bruce hears him when he calls Selina, seemingly causing them to call it quits again.
  • Robin: Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown. Their relationship's first snags are due to Bruce refusing to allow Tim to tell Stephanie his secret identity. Then Bruce nonchalantly tells Steph his identity without first discussing it with Tim, Tim is forcefully kissed by a classmate in front of her, and Bruce hires her as Tim's replacement Robin without either of them talking to Tim. The largest blow to their relationship though was when Stephanie's death was faked with Tim left thinking her dead for years. It takes him a long time to trust her again.
  • Spider-Man: Spidey and Mary Jane. Dating a superhero makes you a target of hundreds of supervillains. Marrying him means the writers want to break it up as much as possible. And yet, because this is the web-slinger we're talking about, things could be even worse.

    Fan Fiction 
  • The Trope Namer is the The Magic School Bus Fan Fic First Impressions of Earth, which has since been deleted. The story's main pairing is Arnold and Phoebe, but it puts them through eleven years of torture including an abusive stepchild, a car crash, a miscarriage, and infidelity, causing Phoebe to have a Heroic BSoD that culminates in a mental breakdown. And that's just the halfway point.
  • In Jus Primae Noctis this is downplayed but present. Louise and Saito keep suffering interruptions to getting around to Their First Time, but nothing too horrible to cope with.
  • In Washed Down The Drain Woojin and Joonyeong get together before the events of canon, only Woojin manages to escape his canonical death without injury while Joonyeong seems to have succumbed to his. It's then revealed that Joonyeong also survived, only to become a hambie. Terrified of hurting his boyfriend with his new abilities, Joonyeong hides and lets Woojin think he's dead, even though it hurts him to do so. As a result, Woojin becomes depressed and is furious to learn the truth.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hancock: Hancock and his one true love are destined to be apart forever, because if they're together too much, their powers leave them and they eventually die. This is what has happened to their entire race; only she and Hancock are still alive.

  • In A Brother's Price, Jerin falls in love with a princess. As he's a commoner, problems ensue. Then, more problems ensue because one of her sisters doesn't want to remarry. After that is resolved, Jerin is kidnapped. His sisters, who play only a minor role, manage to find a husband without so many complications.
  • Harry Potter does this to Ron and Hermione (usually played for laughs). Order of the Phoenix plays it straight with Harry and Cho.
  • His Dark Materials makes Will and Lyra go through Hell (figuratively) individually, meet, go through Hell (literally and figuratively) together, and then have to leave each other in Alternate Universes because doing so is the only way to save the multiverse.
  • The Hunger Games: Played up in-universe for Katniss and Peeta, especially in "Catching Fire" when they are forced to go back into the arena. They're not actually a couple at that point and their relationship is a facade for the Capitol audience but it becomes real soon enough.
  • The Mortal Engines series is effectively the narrative of this happening over an eighteen-year period with Tom and Hester, culminating in his death from a heart attack and her suicide over his dead body.
    • Each book's Beta Couple also tend to go through a lot of ordeals, especially Katherine and Bevis in the first book. they both die. The Beta Couple in the second book don't even get to be a couple until they've gone through an ordeal in the third book, sixteen years later.
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four: Winston Smith and his love interest, Julia, have sex, rebelling against the system. Then, with The Reveal, O'Brien is found to have turned them in and takes part in re-institutionalizing them into the system. They are reunited at the end, if briefly, but it turns out they have no feelings for each other anymore, especially since part of the torture they went through involved making them betray each other through using their worst fears against them in Room 101.
  • In Överenskommelser by Simona Ahrnstedt, Beatrice and Seth have an extremely difficult time. To be fair, it partly is their own fault, but they also have to deal with three villains, who do everything to keep them apart. It takes them twenty months and alas, Beatrice being raped and almost killed before they can solve their misunderstandings and find happiness together.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: At the end of The Last Olympian, the Official Couple Percy and Annabeth are together complete with an Underwater Kiss. Then came the Sequel Series The Heroes of Olympus. In The Lost Hero, Percy's disappearance is a major plot point. Then, in The Mark of Athena, they end up falling into Tartarus. When shippers said they'd ship the pairing to Tartarus and back, they didn't know it would literally happen!
  • Star Wars Legends: Han and Leia. There's the stuff that happens onscreen in the movies, then in the books there's the death of Chewie, the entire Yuzhaan Vong war, the death of their son Anakin, the galactic civil war and fighting with Luke, their older son turning to the Dark Side and killing his aunt... not to mention far too many kidnap and assassination attempts over the years. Luke and Mara kind of fall into it, but to a lesser extent. There is the whole thing with her illness and pregnancy during the war and the stress of the aforementioned civil war and Han and Leia ending up opposing them briefly.
  • This is a fundamental trait of the Sword of Truth series. Richard and Kahlan have been in love since early in the first book, but the increasing turmoil in the setting means they have to deal with separation, invasion, apparent betrayal, and ultimately save the world ten or twelve times before (and after) they can be together.
  • Vicky Holmes, the Erin Hunter author who writes the storylines and makes the major decisions for the Warrior Cats series, often jokes that she likes doomed romance. And apparently this is true:
    • Graystripe and Silverstream are from different Clans, and it's very difficult to meet and even see each other, since their relationship is forbidden by Clan law. They're thrilled when Silverstream's expecting kits, but then she suffers Death by Childbirth.
    • Oakheart and Bluestar were also from different Clans. Bluestar became pregnant with his kits, and he offered to join ThunderClan to be with her. However, she stood a good chance of becoming deputy - she wouldn't be eligible for the position with kits - and she felt it was her duty to become deputy since she felt the only other cat being considered for the position would lead the Clan to disaster. Though she wished it could be otherwise, she ended the relationship, and after her kits were born, she gave them to Oakheart to raise in RiverClan.
    • Perhaps part of the reason that so many of these Official Couples are doomed is because they're forbidden. Leafpool and Crowfeather's relationship was forbidden in two ways - they're in different Clans, and she's a medicine cat, forbidden to take any mate. They ran off together for a while, but when disaster struck her Clan she realized that they needed her more than he did. She secretly had his kits a short time later. He took a mate in his own Clan, though the authors have described that as a "marriage of convenience", and they seem to argue every time they see each other afterward - and he refuses to acknowledge Hollyleaf, Lionblaze, and Jayfeather as his kits. Despite this, they still have some feelings for each other deep down, even though they never get back together.
    • In a rare non-forbidden example, Brambleclaw and Squirrelflight. They became best friends after going on a long journey together, even though initially they were always irritated by each other. Their relationship was tested when he began to follow his evil father, and associate with his half-brother, who made no secret of his dream to rule all the Clans, and there was a bit of a Love Triangle when Ashfur showed interest in her as well. Their relationship was eventually mended, and StarClan sent a vision of the two as mates, walking into the sky with stars trailing behind their paws in a single path - their destiny intertwined. Everything seemed fine - they had kits. Then it was revealed that they weren't actually her kits; she'd been covering for her sister Leafpool, who, as a medicine cat, was forbidden to take a mate. They barely spoke to each other for at least two years, until Brambleclaw became leader and chose her as his deputy, admitting that she'd always done what she thought was right; they eventually have kits of their own.
    • Dawn of the Clans starts out with an official couple of Clear Sky and Bright Stream, but then Bright Stream gets killed by an eagle. And just when you think that Clear Sky and Storm will work out, Storm leaves and dies, forgiving Clear Sky with her last breath. This ends up breaking Clear Sky pretty hard.
  • The Witchlands: Safi and Merik. After a book's worth of UST, they finally have their first kiss (and a little more than just a kiss), but then they're forced to run, become separated, and eventually each of them is convinced that the other has died.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All My Children:
    • Cliff and Nina, the characters engaged in a decade spanning romance that saw the couple marry and divorce four times, with their fifth wedding sticking before the two left Pine Valley.
    • Likewise Erica and Dimitri. While Dimitri seemed to be just another in Erica's long line of many forgettable husbands, the pairing proved to have such burning passion and chemistry they were able to survive even Erica's stabbing him in a fit of PTSD, reliving her rape. The couple only really ended due to Michael Nader's drug problem in real life affected his performance, and his replacement, Anthony Abbido not sharing the same level of chemistry with Susan Lucci, and thus after a short stint, both Dimitri, and his long lost wife Alexis, left Pine Valley, and Erica, behind.
  • As the World Turns:
  • Booth and Brennan on Bones in spades.
    • Season 5-6: Booth struggles with his feelings for Brennan after a coma dream where they were married. He admits he loves Brennan but she runs away to an island in the Pacific. Booth trains soldiers in Afghanistan and brings home a girlfriend, causing Brennan to angst over missing her chance. Then finally, they get together and Brennan gets pregnant.
    • Season 7-9 Cyber criminal Christopher Pelant enters the scene. He frames Brennan for murder, sending her on the run for three months until she manages to clear her name. Then when Brennan is finally ready to propose, Pelant forces Booth to reject the proposal without explanation or he’ll kill 5 random people.
    • Season 9-10: Pelant is finally killed and the wedding happens. But Booth is caught in a conspiracy, with three heavily armed men attacking the couple, destroying their home and nearly killing Booth. Booth then gets arrested for murdering them. Brennan resorts to blackmail to get him out of prison and the murder of Lance Sweets nearly drives Booth rogue in his desperation for justice.
    • Season 10-11: After being cleared, Booth is struggling to trust. Brennan gets pregnant again but the news causes Booth to fall prey to his gambling addiction after an undercover case. Brennan kicks him out until she can trust him again. They try to retire but it doesn’t last. Booth tries to help his brother but his brother is killed and Booth disappears trying to stop the sale of a list of undercover agents. He’s wounded again.
    • Season 12: The son of a warlord Booth killed as a sniper seeks revenge, torturing and killing several people and attacking the safe house Brennan’s dad and the kids are at. Her dad dies fighting to save his grandchildren and the attacker is caught. However, he escapes while everyone is focused on Cam’s wedding and blows up the lab with explosives, causing Brennan a head injury and resulting in a final dramatic battle as the series ends.
    • Angela and Hodgins as well. She forgot she was married before, they broke up because she had commitment issues, then got back together and married. She got pregnant and they faced the possibility of the baby being born blind due to a genetic issue. Later, Hodgins lost his family fortune to Pelant and worst of all he was paralyzed from the waist down in season 11, leaving him bitter and angry. He asks for a divorce, but Angela talks him out of it and things finally begin to get better. Angela even got pregnant again in the end of the series, though the explosion terrified them both.
  • Buffy and Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The fact that the first time they made love, Angel lost his soul, turned evil, and then tried to kill Buffy and end the world only later to have his soul brought back just in time for Buffy to have to send him to a hell dimension in order to save the world illustrates the point. Or perhaps Buffy's later quote when Angel was complaining of her current association with Spike does "What was the highlight of our relationship: when you broke up with me or when I killed you?"
    • Also to a lesser extent Tara and Willow with Tara first being sent crazy by the Big Bad and Willow's later magic addiction.
    • This certainly happened to many of the principals on Angel's spinoff. The show began to ship tease Ange/Cordelia in Season Three, ending with a planned romantic rendezvous at the disastrously-picked Point Dume. Cordelia was literally roadblocked by a higher power and beamed up from her car, while Angel was tazed and nailed inside a coffin at the ocean's bottom. When Cordy was redeposited on Earth, she inexplicably came down with amnesia (that old chestnut). She eventually became a secondary Big Bad of Season Four, being puppeteered by her own fast-aging, fallen angel offspring, before landing herself into another coma. She did return in time to assist Angel in "You're Welcome" and confess her love, but her brain activity had already ceased by that point, and the Cordelia he'd seen was just a temporary astral projection.
  • Once Castle and Beckett upgrade their relationship, this takes a pretty big turn. It goes like this, per season ender:
    • Season 3: Castle declares his love for Beckett as she lay motionless from a sniper bullet.
    • Season 4: After Beckett nearly dies, she realizes she only wants Castle.
    • Season 5: Castle proposes to Beckett just as she takes a job with the Justice Department in Washington D.C.
    • Season 6: Their wedding is interrupted by mysterious men who run Castle off the road, kidnap him for 2 months, then erase his memory of what happened.
    • They finally get married in mid-Season 7.
    • Season 8: Marriage hasn't stopped the trope. A hitherto unknown enemy related to Beckett's mother's murder surfaces, and she has separated from Castle to pursue her own private investigation into this. She's gotten multiple speeches from people who've been in her shoes basically asking her what the hell she's doing. But she's already set her mind to this.
  • Charmed (1998) has Piper and Leo. They get together quickly, but he has to leave because he's a Whitelighter who gets reassigned. Then he comes back, but they can't really be together because the Elders forbid Witches and Whitelighters having relationships. Then Piper falls for her neighbor Dan, prompting a Muggle and Magical Love Triangle. She picks Leo and they decide to fight the Elders, causing them to take Leo away again. Once they prove their devotion and manage to get married, it's still not over. Leo gets promoted to Elder status and has to leave the family (now including his infant son). When he comes back, it's only because he's killed another Elder (who was threatening said son) and is dealing with the emotional fallout of that. He gets put through a Secret Test of Character by yet another Elder who manipulates his decisions to justify keeping him away from Piper, but manages to choose love, causing him to be depowered which leads to more angst. He then joins the Avatars out of belief that they can end the battle between Good and Evil, but can't tell Piper because she considers the Avatars the enemy. Once he realizes his mistake, the only way to snap Piper out of her brainwashing is to die in front of her (he gets better). And then the Angel of Death warns Piper that Leo has to die for real soon; she manages to convince the Angel of Destiny to spare his life by having him trapped in crystal for a year because she has to lose him in order to have the motivation to the final fight. She wins and gets him back, but because Phoebe and Paige died in the fight, she has to reset the timeline and lose him again in order to win the right way. Phew.
  • The slowly developing and frequently sidetracked relationship between Chuck and Sarah is the meta-plot of Chuck. A later season episode implies that Sarah fell in love with Chuck on their very first meeting in the very first episode.
    • They officially got together only once and were together for the rest of the series. Outside love interests never came between them again and there was never any threat of a break-up. They did, however, continue to take turns getting kidnapped and almost dying.
  • In CSI: NY Danny and Lindsay have a mid-strength case of this syndrome. First, Lindsay pulls back because of what she's going through with the aftermath of a traumatic childhood incident she survived. Then,after a boy Danny's caring for is shot, Danny pulls away and even sleeps with the kid's mother once. After they get married and Lindsay has his baby, Danny is shot and temporarily paralyzed. Then barely a year later, they and their daughter are stalked by a deranged criminal who blamed Danny for losing his idyllic image of his brother. He battled Danny during the family's first vacation, and they only escaped because he was knocked over the railing of a lighthouse. Then, he shows up in their apartment, holds their daughter hostage and wants to kill all of them. Only Lindsay stops him. Then a year after that, there's Danny as a sergeant, getting grilled by IA because one of his rookies shot the wrong guy. The cop who did it accuses Danny of cheating because she's scared to tell the truth, and Lindsay has to pressure her to tell what really happened.
  • Daredevil (2015): Matt Murdock and Karen Page are set up for Official Couple status beginning in "Penny and Dime". Of course, the moment they start dating, Elektra reenters Matt's life and essentially hijacks him, causing him to falter in contributing to Frank Castle's trial. It doesn't help when Karen stumbles upon a wounded Elektra in Matt's apartment and thinks he's cheating on her. While they're estranged for most of the third act of the season, in the final scene of season 2, Matt privately meets with Karen to reveal his secret identity, hinting at the possibility of them reconciling. They then spend The Defenders (2017) with Matt clearly interested in reaching out to Karen, but Karen is still guarded around him because she doesn't want to talk about killing James Wesley. After Matt's presumed "death", there seems to be an indication that they'll reconcile firmly in season 3.
  • Crichton and Aeryn on Farscape. It starts with Aeryn's Peacekeeper training and associated baggage cooling her on the thought of romantic attachments. Then they start to fall for one another, leading to a kiss that scares Aeryn and Crichton's subsequent marriage to a planetary royal. Once that gets resolved they ramp up the Will They or Won't They? until the season 2 finale when they confess their love for one another. Unfortunately, Crichton is being controlled by Scorpius's neural clone and bashes Aeryn's head in right after. And then later in the episode Aeryn dies. She gets better in the season 3 premier and they finally say "I love you," but the Heroic Sacrifice by Zhaan to revive her leads Aeryn to insist on not acting on it. Then Crichton gets duplicated, and the crews split up to escape Aeryn's mother. Aeryn and Crichton on Talyn get together for real, and then Crichton dies in a Heroic Sacrifice (and this Crichton stays dead). So when the crews reunite on Moya, Aeryn turns cold and wants nothing to do with the surviving Crichton, and eventually leaves him behind at the end of the season when she goes off on her own. By the time Crichton and Aeryn reunite in season 4 she's now decided she wants him back, but now Crichton is giving her the cold shoulder with the aid of drugs given to him by Noranti. Aerynfinds out about this and reads him the riot act, at which point they finally get together for good. And then Aeryn gets kidnapped and tortured by the Scarrans. By the time Crichton gets her back and they defeat the plans of the Scarran Emperor in the series finale, the couple finally settles down to catch their breath, at which point Crichton proposes marriage to her, and Aeryn accepts. And then they get vaporized by an alien spacecraft in the cliffhanger ending (Farscape was originally signed for two additional seasons, but was cancelled). Fortunately, the miniseries finally gives them their happy ending. Whew!
  • Friends: A thousand times Ross and Rachel. The writers admitted they planned to keep milking their issues until the end of the series, so by the end it's hard to remember they ever had a relationship at all. Averted with Monica and Chandler who didn't break up once. After upgrading from Friends with Benefits to a serious relationship the pair stayed together, in-love and ended Happily Married. They also retained the fandoms patience.
  • Luke and Lorelai of Gilmore Girls. After four seasons of UST, they start going steady and even got engaged at the end of the season. The wedding gets called off when Lorelai realized that Luke found out about a secret love child of his and didn't tell her about it. Lorelai even somewhat lampshades the trope when she realizes that all of the wedding preparations were going by perfectly and was expecting something to go wrong along the way. By next season, showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband weren't working on the show anymore, leading to nearly an entire season where Luke and Lorelai were broken up. Everyone knew they would get back together because advertisements for the show continued to show the couple together, it was just a question of when they would. It wasn't until the last few minutes of the series finale that they renewed the relationship.
  • Meredith and Derek from Grey's Anatomy. The first season ends with Derek's wife showing up just as they're about to get together officially and the second has Meredith as his mistress. The third was somewhat stable but in season 4 Meredith messes with Derek's clinical trial and he finds out about it, breaking up with her. They almost get married in season 5, but then give the wedding to their friends. In season 6 Derek is shot by a gunman in the hospital and Meredith has a miscarriage while operating on him. And then in season 11, Derek is killed.
  • Vanessa and Ethan on Penny Dreadful: In Season 1, both are with various different people, but their official couple status is hinted at in several moments, most noticeably in the episode "Possession" where Vanessa confesses to who she thinks is Ethan that she may be in love with him. The romance is ramped up to 11 in Season 2 when the show mythology becomes about their coupling, implying it is fated and it will prevent the apocalypse. However, their romance arc is affected by both characters' Can't Have Sex, Ever and they only share one kiss before Ethan turns himself into the police and shipped off over 3,000 miles away. Vanessa thinks he has abandoned her. In Season 3, though they are promoted as the show's Official Couple and the mythology around the importance of their connection is again ramped up, they never actually meet until the very last episode of the entire series, in which Ethan has to kill Vanessa to save the world. In the end, they only ever kissed twice - the First Kiss and the Last Kiss - never consummated anything, and were never really in an acknowledged romantic relationship, only UST straight to angst and separation, straight to character death.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand: Granted it is a show about people who have been enslaved and stage a Gladiator Revolt. Naturally this makes their romantic lives complicated to put it mildly. But even the comparatively well-off Roman elite tend to have relationships of the Unholy Matrimony or Destructive Romance sort. Nobody has a drama-free relationship!
  • Leonard and Penny from The Big Bang Theory. The romance starts with Leonard's infatuation with Penny followed by her appreciation of his loyalty, kindness and what a great guy he is. Being cute and smart also turns her on. They break up after Leonard tells Penny he loves her and she can't say it back due to her insecurity over her intelligence. They both date other people however, they clearly still love each other and eventually get back together and Penny even says I Love You to him. The romance eventually concludes in marriage and settling down together although they still face some challenges. By the end of Season 12 they're finally secure and expecting a child.
  • Stefan and Elena from The Vampire Diaries. Their romance and relationship drives the plot of the entire series. Although Stefan and Elena have endured endless obstacles (varying from minor to major) trying to keep them apart, Stefan and Elena still manage after all the problems to come back together, surprisingly stronger then ever before. Some minor examples throughout the series include Stefan pulling away from Elena because of his secret blood issues in season one. Another minor example is Stefan and Elena breaking up because of Katherine threatening to harm everyone Elena loves in season two. One major example is in season three, Stefan sacrificing himself to Klaus in order to save Damon's life and protect Elena. During this time, Stefan left Elena and Mystic Falls, turned off his emotions (his humanity) and became a Ripper. With Stefan being a Ripper with no emotions, Stefan had almost tried to kill Elena by biting her under Klaus compulsion. Despite Stefan not feeling anything, Elena was determined to bring Stefan back and get him to turn on his humanity again so that he could feel. This was a huge obstacle and struggle that Stefan and Elena faced in the series. Regardless of how bad or awful things get, somehow, Stefan and Elena manage to overcome the problems, be together happily as if nothing ever happened and come back together as a couple stronger then ever before.
  • Velvet: In the first half of the series, Ana and Alberto endured a broken engagement, being left at the altar, and a marriage to someone else before getting together. Then the second half of the series happens...
  • Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls. You can almost lose count of the number of times they get together, break up, get back together, break up again, and so forth. By Season 4, they finally seem to have settled down for good and end up getting married in the finale... and then Logan ends up getting abruptly killed at the end of the episode.


  • Romeo and Juliet, the original Star-Crossed Lovers: Initially, both are greatly in love with each other. However, as the plot moves past the romance, kin and family are killed: Mercutio for Romeo and Tybalt for Juliet. As both are torn by grief, they are at risk of being separated by their Feuding Families. With both families ready to destroy each other by play's end, Romeo and Juliet both commit suicide in grief at having lost each other. Juliet was under the effect of a potion and appeared dead. Romeo proceeds to commit suicide and Juliet follows suit after him.
  • This also occurs in Othello, climaxing in Othello murdering Desdemona and killing himself. Even worse, the entire plot was being carefully choreographed by Iago.

    Video Games 
  • At the beginning of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, after a very long series of confrontations and problems of all kinds which even involved one giving a death threat to the other as vengeance for killing a friend, Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan finally get the Official Couple status, despite the fact that it doesn't last as much. Starcraft II Legacy Of The Void puts them through even more before an ambiguous Stinger that seems to finally let them have their happy ending.
  • Mortal Kombat X has Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, who, after surviving two Mortal Kombat tournaments and Outworld's invasion to Earthrealm, after all is said and done, hook up and even have a daughter, Cassie Cage. Some time during the 20-year Time Skip between the Story Mode's first and second chapter, they divorce due to job issues, but over the course of the following chapters they gradually reconcile.
  • Friday Night Funkin': Boyfriend and Girlfriend are dating, but actually being able to consummate that relationship, along with spending time together in general, is constantly thwarted by evil overbearing parents and people coming out of the woodwork to challenge them. And since the game relies on the two never seriously getting their alone time, they go through weeks of being interrupted.

    Visual Novels 
  • School Days is likely the darkest and edgiest this trope will ever get. Though the Official Couple were Makoto and Kotonoha. Makoto and Sekai proceeded to sleep together. Makoto sleeps with just about everything that moves. In the end, depending on what rendition of School Days you are referencing, we have variations of Sekai murdering Kotonoha and Makoto to Kotonoha murdering Sekai.
  • Fate/stay night in the Fate route/Anime. The Saber-focused Fate route has Shirou and Saber come to love each other. With the war at an end we get a Bittersweet Ending with the romance entering Star-Crossed Lovers territory. With the Big Bad and his Dragon defeated, the Holy Grail war ends, Saber returns to the past to finally allow her body to die and complete the myth of King Arthur. If you play the PS2 port and complete EVERY single requirement, the Revised Ending allows Saber and Shirou to be together. Even if it's in death.

  • Dad Egbert and Mom Lalonde from Homestuck. They may be an Official Couple, but that doesn't mean they're exempt from being killed off.
  • Yumi's Cells:
    • Yumi and Woong have to deal with Woong's friend Sia attempting to drive them apart, and then Woong's insecurities about his failing studio cause them to break up.
    • Yumi and Babi go long-distance for a few months and then take up careers that are less stable and more time-consuming than their office jobs. Babi then hires a part-timer who catches feelings for him and quits. When Yumi finds out, she is upset that he hid this from her and breaks up with him. When they get back together a few months later, Yumi realizes she doesn't love him anymore and turns down his marriage proposal before they part ways for good.

    Web Original