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One True Love

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"All of our young lives we search for someone to love. Someone that makes us complete. We choose partners and change partners. We dance to a song of heartbreak and hope. All the while wondering if somewhere, somehow, there's someone perfect who might be searching for us."
Kevin Arnold, The Wonder Years

The most indomitable of romantic ideals is the idea of one utter perfect specimen who is your ultimate match. Perhaps they will have everything in common with you and share your dreams. Perhaps they will be your Foil because True Love is Exceptional. A third possibility is Mindlink Mates leading the two of them to understand each other better than anyone else.

The main difference between a standard Official Couple and a One True Love is in how each partner views the other. While an Official Couple simply needs to be a canon pairing between two characters, a One True Love also requires a canon couple to view each other as their be-all, end-all soulmate with no romantic interest in anyone else once the pair gets together. This is comparable to the difference between daisuki and ai shiteru, both terms meaning "I love you" in Japanese. Daisuki is a casual term that couples typically use whether they are dating or married. It can be heard often between partners in public, and it can also double for loving a thing (e.g. "I love pizza" or "I love watching basketball"). Ai shiteru, on the other hand, is a term reserved only for couples that view themselves as soulmates. Those who say ai shiteru would do anything necessary to stay by their partner's side and view their partner as their One True Love. It's a serious term, and you'd seldom, if ever, hear it in public explicitly for this reason.

Often Love at First Sight occurs when someone spots or otherwise realizes that this person is their true love. Because Destiny Says So or The Power of Love are often invoked to explain why that person is the way they are or how you met them. If sex is involved, it may overlap with Sex Equals Love.

Sub-Trope of Love Interests.

Not to be confused with One True Pairing, which is what the fans want to happen. This only applies to examples where it's made clear and deliberate in the work, regardless of what the editor happens to ship and regardless of how convinced you are. Also not to be mistaken for the Short Story by Isaac Asimov about a computer that falls in love, titled "True Love".


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You: Despite the premise, Hahari deconstructs this by bringing up the corollary that only your one true love will do. She was madly in love with Hakari's terminally ill father and her decision to have Hakari was so that a piece of him may live on. It was an incredibly dangerous decision that she openly admits was reckless and left her a single mother. Furthermore, she goes into detail about how losing him caused a void in her life that not even her daughter's love could fill. It was only when she fell in love with Rentarou, which proved that she could love again and disproved the notion that only that one specific person will do, was the void filled.
  • CLAMP are very fond of this trope, and use it frequently in their manga. Most evident in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, which ties together all their various stories into one multiverse (along with alternate universes thereof), and when counterparts of established romantic couples pop up, they will invariably still be in a relationship regardless of how their circumstances differ in the various worlds.
  • Deconstructed at the end of Codename: Sailor V: Minako and Ace share this, but Minako will always put her mission over love and Ace, knowing this, became Danburite so that she'd understand it by killing him. Needless to say, by the time she debuts in Sailor Moon Minako has some serious issues, even if she does everything in her power so nobody will notice.
  • Cyberpunk: Edgerunners: As the series progresses, it becomes clear that David and Lucy are soulmates who have searched for meaning in their lives—and found it in each other. While David is initially upset with Lucy for her Manic Pixie Dream Girl act, he never resents her and joins Maine's crew partially to get close to her. It soon becomes clear how far both are willing to protect one another, and David's willingness to help others wins over Lucy's heart. Once they become an Official Couple, Lucy trusts David to the point of revealing her traumatic childhood at Arasaka as well as her deep-dive neural port, and both come to value the other's life over their own. While their relationship does become strained from David's slippage to cyberpsychosis and Lucy's unwillingness to share the truth of Arasaka's plans for David, both David and Lucy remain committed to one another when push comes to shove. Their love is so strong, Lucy's True Love's Kiss helps David recover from his cyberpsychosis... which sadly ends with David sacrificing himself to help Lucy escape Arasaka Tower.
  • DARLING in the FRANXX: The main symbol of the series is the Jian, a one-winged bird from Chinese mythology. In Chinese myths, a pair of Jian birds represents marriage since the two are inseparable and co-dependent on one another. Much like a Jian pair, Hiro and Zero Two are inseparable and serve as each other's wings. Back when they were children, Hiro tried to help Zero Two escape the APE facility where she was being tested on and tortured. Looking past Zero Two's inhuman appearance, Hiro became the only boy who admired and loved her for who she was Warts and All, and even promised to marry her while they were on the run. Their short time together as children made an impact on Zero Two and, as Episode 12 reveals, she spent much of her life looking to reunite with her original "darling", the boy she loved and missed. When she finds out Hiro was her "darling" all along in Episode 13, she becomes distraught over her actions up to that point before the two make up in Episode 15. Since then, the two have shown unconditional love for one another and know that their bond will help them overcome whatever obstacle fate throws at them.
  • Fairy Tail: Zeref Dragneel and Mavis Vermilion — they are undoubtedly the love of each other's lives, but constant misfortune has kept them apart. As the only two existing bearers of the Curse of Contraditions, they are the only two people that could ever hope to fully understand and empathize with each other. This fact caused them to fall in love with each other, but as the curse's purpose is to deny its bearer happiness, Mavis "died", separating them for over a century before Mavis was revived. Denied a chance to be with the love of his life and the only person to have ever made him truly happy, Zeref fell into greater despair than ever before until he finally snapped and dedicated himself to being as evil as the world declared him to be. Mavis, now an Astral Projection only visible to members of Fairy Tail, stayed close to Zeref and was forced to watch as the man she loved begin his true Start of Darkness, all the while being unable to comfort him and stop him in his tracks. In the present storyline, despite everything that has happened, they are still deeply in love with each other — Mavis all but begs Zeref not to destroy the world because it was the world where they met, while Zeref's only regret about his plan is that in the new world he wishes to create, he and Mavis will never meet. The sheer tragedy of their relationship is only highlighted when fans are shown in an omake that in least one other world, they managed to find happiness together. Eventually, thanks to the power of the One Magic, they are finally able to be together in the afterlife.
  • Inuyasha: A bit of a complicated example because Inuyasha's One True Love is Kikyou's soul. Inuyasha and Kikyou were deeply in love and were very close to living out their ideal married life, but this ended tragically when Naraku tricked the two into hating each other. Naraku fatally wounded Kikyou while disguised as Inuyasha, and expected Kikyou to take Inuyasha's life while using the jewel to heal herself. She could not bring herself to do either out of love for Inuyasha and instead used her remaining strength to shoot a single sealing arrow to pin him to the Goshinboku tree; this meant, Kikyou was full of both bitter hatred and very strong love towards Inuyasha at the time of her death, so the Shikon Jewel became corrupted in response to her hatred while the love granted her a wish to see Inuyasha again. Naraku planned to use the tainted Jewel but Kikyou realized this and with her last words, ordered Kaede to burn it with her body, which she and the locals did. Inuyasha and Kikyo's love transcended time and space as the desire to see Inuyasha again was the wish that the Shikon Jewel used to reincarnate Kikyou as Kagome Higurashi, and therefore reconstitute itself despite Kikyo's conscious decision to destroy the jewel with herself. With time Kagome becomes Kikyou's successor, and although Kikyou was the woman Inuyasha "loved most in all the world", Inuyasha comes to realise that he is destined to be with Kagome (though they are different people, they are also one and the same), and Kagome also comes to understand it and let go of her own insecurities about Kikyo and herself. Inuyasha and Kikyou (as Kagome) finally get to live out their happily married lives together in the end, like they had first planned those many years ago. And before that, the revived Kikyou passed away peacefully in Inuyasha's embrace, finally free of everything. Rumiko Takahashi stated that she chose Kikyou's name basing on the language of flowers, as the Chinese Bellflower's meaning is "unchanging love".
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Marie and Allelujah are destined to be soulmates and connected (thanks to their quantum brainwaves) since their childhood. However, when he and the other kids try to escape from the institute, Allelujah decides to leave her in the institute because she still needs medical treatment. When the researchers implanted the Soma Peries persona to make Marie into a perfect super soldier, Soma has no memory of Marie's persona and doesn't know who she is, making her unable to remember Allelujah too. After he learns her identity and the truth about her, Allelujah decides to save her from the A-Laws and the Federation, so she will never be used by the military as a "living weapon". After Marie's persona returned, Marie remains on Allelujah's side and is very supportive of him. Even when/if Soma and Hallelujah's personas dislike each other, Marie and Allelujah will always be together and will never be separated.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto has spent almost his entire life searching for the one person who would love him unconditionally, in spite of everything that has and will transpire in his life, along with all of his flaws, like his parents would have if they lived beyond his birth. However, since he never understood the romantic implications of such a relationship, he's been blind to the fact that the person he's been searching for has been right in front of him all this time: Hinata, the girl who has admired, acknowledged and loved him for the way he is since the day they first met as children. It takes him until the Canon movie The Last: Naruto the Movie to finally realize that Hinata is the precious person he wants to protect and be with. Confirmed by Word of God in this 2015 New York Comic Con interview:
      Masashi Kishimoto: I think what made me realize it was partly because, if you really look back and think about it, Hinata always supported and acknowledged Naruto, even before Master Iruka. She had the ability to see beyond his reputation and see the true person inside. I think I started realizing that they were meant to be.
    • Naruto's own parents recognize they are each other's soulmates. His mother Kushina was bullied as a child for being an outsider and for her long flowing red hair in particular, which caused her to resent it. She also initially didn't think much of his father Minato, believing him to be "flaky", similar to how Naruto initially thought of Hinata as "weird". One day, though, Kushina was kidnapped by Kumo ninja for being the Kyuubi Jinchuriki. She made a Trail of Bread Crumbs using strands of her hair, and just when it seemed no one had caught on, Minato appeared and rescued her. He was the only one to catch on to what she was doing and even admitted that the first thing he noticed about her when they first met was her beautiful long red hair. That was the moment that Kushina realized that the hair she hated so much had become her Red String of Fate that led her to her soulmate.
  • Princess Tutu: Rue and Mytho end up being this to each other by the end.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Usagi and Mamoru are repeatedly stated to be this, and their love is often used by Usagi to gather the strength to defeat the villain in the end.
    • This is also the case between Haruka and Michiru, who are in a long lasting relationship after S and are rarely seen apart from each other.
  • It played literally for Nozomu in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei where he only has love for Kafuka and no one else. Despite marrying all the girls in his class, he insists to everyone that he has only one wife whom is Kafuka. It makes sense in context when Kafuka is revealed to be a ghost, indirectly living through her organs and blood donated to the girls in Nozomu's class, and only able to possess one of the hosts at a time on a daily basis. Nozomu is willing to go through a daily repeating cycle of divorce & marriage among his wives to stick to his beliefs on only loving Kafuka despite having babies with all of his wives
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Jaden and Yubel. In a past life, as children, he promised to love them and only them forever. His feelings for them were so strong, they carried over through his reincarnation and memory loss: it only takes him a few minutes after remembering to reaffirm the vow and fuse their souls together for eternity. On Yubel's end, they loved him so much they voluntarily underwent a Painful Transformation into a monster just so they could protect him, and apparently waited thousands of years for him to be reincarnated. Yubel's love was so strong it drove them to insanity, damned and redeemed them in succession.

    Comic Books 
  • Aquaman: Arthur Curry and Mera are this to the point that most non-comic book fans aren't even aware that Aquaman had other love interests. They were married long before Lois and Clark and it took the death of their son for there to be any real strain in their relationship. In the New 52, when Aquaman's relationship with Mera did start breaking down, it turned out to be because she had been replaced by her evil younger twin sister Hila.
  • Apollo and Midnighter of The Authority and Stormwatch. The peculiarities of their comics-verse means that we've seen a great many alternate universe versions of them (Palette Swap versions, kid heroes, samurais, a golly-gee parody of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold...), and all of them are joined at the hip. They take it for granted to the point where Midnighter is disturbed and upset to meet an alternate universe version of them that broke up.
  • Jessica Jones and Luke Cage hasn't really had any other love interest than each other since they got married and any issues in their marriage has never involved jealousy or unfaithfullness.
  • Batman, despite his numerous relationships in both personas, has only ever loved two women: Catwoman and Talia al Ghul. Of those two women, the one that can be described as the love of his life is Catwoman. But because True Love Is Boring, they have never managed to settle down in a lasting relationship with each other long enough to cement them as this in the eyes of the general public, though this has been explored in What If? scenarios. In adaptations where Bruce does manage to settle down, it's usually with Selina.
  • Green Arrow and Black Canary. While their relationship tends to be turbulent at times, in the end they only really have eyes for each other. There's only ever been one adaptation they both appear in where they aren't an Official Couple, and that's one of the main reasons why that adaptation isn't very popular with comic book fans. DC themselves went out of their way to reinforce this after that adaptation ended, with one comic noting that as long as they're apart, it doesn't matter how happy they are — they will both always feel as if something is 'missing'.
  • Green Lantern: Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris are living proof that just because you're this, it doesn't mean your relationship is stable; while Hal admits the only woman he wants to settle down with is Carol, it's not enough to keep them from constantly breaking and making up. Though the epilogue of Wrath of the First Lantern does reveal they will get their Happily Ever After one day.
  • Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy have recently become this as many find the duo's chemistry great, especially since the latter is shown to be a healthier partner for the former than The Joker.
  • In a case of Word of God, James Tynion IV said in an interview for Death of Wolverine Legacy, that Mystique has only ever loved one other person and that was her partner, Irene Adler aka Destiny. Her death drove Mystique insane and she has expressed her willingness to do anything in order to get Destiny back several times.
  • Kate Kane and Renee Montoya have each had multiple love interests, but the two of them together is, according to both comic canon and Word of God, the pairing that is meant to be at the end of the day. This is perhaps made most explicit in the Rebirth Batwoman series, but they also end up together in Convergence and 52. And in Injustice: Gods Among Us, though an alternate universe, they're even married.
  • Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman are this. Reed has shown no interest in basically any woman aside from Sue apart from flashbacks from before they met, while Sue has had the choice between Reed and other guys and always goes with Reed. The two of them have also been together in the comics since 1965 with their wedding issue and have never actually broken up since which is something of an anomaly for comics. Even when their marriage is strained, they still find their way back to each other.
  • Nightwing has two: Barbara Gordon and Starfire (Koriand'r). While most media tend to lean towards Barbara, Kori's romance with him has gotten extensive focus as well (usually in Teen Titans media), and he's technically gotten married to both (as seen in Convergence). His pre-Flashpoint version married Barbara, and his pre-Crisis version married Kori. Essentially, if Dick Grayson is ever going to settle down, it's going to be with one of them. But because True Love Is Boring, he's never going to seal the deal with either of them.
  • X-Men: Scott Summers and Jean Grey are this to one another — while Scott married Madelyne Pryor (Jean's literal clone, not that anyone realised), and had a long-term relationship with Emma Frost, he was always pining after Jean (something both women were acutely aware of). Likewise, while Jean's flirted with Wolverine a few times, she's always defaulted back to Scott. As teen Hank explains to Bloodstorm (a teenage vampire alternate Storm), her crush on Scott is as doomed as his was on Jean, because Scott and Jean always end up back together — even after the two spent ages trying to avoid the matter to try and avoid their perceived Bad Future, it happened.
  • Spider-Man: Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, a fact that writers and editors have struggled with, given that she's both good for Peter and popular with the audience, which led to their marriage in the regular continuity after vocal public demand. The issue? See: The True Love Is Boring caveat, one of the things that led to the much-reviled One More Day storyline that retconned their marriage out of existence. The fact that Aunt May wanted to set her up with Peter, and that she and Peter have a great deal in common (being both poor kids from Queens who wanted to make it big), and that she spent the longest time married to Peter in the regular continuity and appears in most adaptations, made her for most of Spider-Man's history. The only love interest Peter Parker ever came to loving as much as he did Mary Jane was his First Love, Gwen Stacy (whose death, incidentally, was what pushed Peter and Mary Jane together in their grief).
  • Superman: Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Everyone and their dog knows that these two are made for each other. Evidence: every form of media they've ever appeared in. There's not a single adaptation where they don't end up together — and if Clark ends up with anyone else, it's after Lois' death. (One exception: In the New 52 they were just work collegues, and Clark eventually started dating Wonder Woman. And then Rebirth rendered that whole thing Canon Discontinuity and retconned back in that he'd been married to Lois the entire time.)
  • Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown. They've been a mostly solid Official Couple after they got together and only really broke up because Stephanie died (or faked her death, so to speak). They got back together in Convergence, as did their New 52 counterparts, and have barley shown any interest in anyone else since.
  • The Flash: Wally West and Linda Park may rival Lois and Clark in this regard. They've literally come back from the dead for each other through The Power of Love, and their love was so strong that when Neron (DC's stand-in for Satan) took it, it almost killed him.
  • Wonder Woman: Diana and Steve Trevor have been each other's love interests since the Golden Age of Comics. One of the reasons for Diana’s lack of romance Post-Crisis is because Steve was demoted from being her love interest and paired off with Etta Candy instead. Any and all attempts to pair Diana with other men failed because they simply lacked the chemistry Steve and Diana had, which eventually led to Steve being promoted back to being Diana’s love interest in DC Rebirth.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Addams Family: In almost every version, Gomez and Morticia Addams are always presented to be madly in love with each other, with this being especially apparent in the 1964 series, the Barry Sonnenfeld-directed films and the Wednesday-centric series too. The two never think of cheating on each other and constantly refer to each other as the love of their life. Even the slightest word from Morticia is enough to have Gomez all over her, and Gomez even once says he would not only kill for Morticia but die for her as well. The two are also up for anything the other wants, and even after having two kids are constantly affectionate with each other. For example, in the first of the Sonnenfeld films, just hearing that Morticia is in danger is enough to get Gomez out of his depression and in the Wednesday show, he took the blame for someone she killed to protect him when they were in school too.

    Fan Works 
  • In 30 Kisses, 30 Ways Asuka and Shinji, the premise is each chapter shows a different alternate reality, and in all of them Shinji and Asuka get together.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Two people, one love. As in Italy was in love with both Germany and Japan at the same time, because both fulfilled him. They loved him too, and they grew to love each other as well.
  • The Big Bad of The Bug Princess mockingly uses this exact term for the relationship between the leads. He's trying to rattle BJ's cage, but at the same time, he's right.
  • Children of Time: Sherlock Holmes and Beth Lestrade. Interestingly, despite the series involving more couples, it's only to the Holmeses that the trope applies. The Doctor is explicitly stated to have had other loves before Rose (including his wife, the mother of his children), and Watson had Mary before Sally. It is heartbreakingly easy, however, to see that Sherlock and Beth are the only lovers each other will ever have.
  • The Princess and the Knight: Victoria and Jadelyn are presented as being true loves. When Noxymis tries to force Jadelyn to fall in love with him, he finds himself unable to do so. Jadelyn's love for Victoria is so strong that as long as she lives, he can't use the gem on Jadelyn to this end. When Victoria is on the edge of death, she refuses to die once she hears Jadelyn asking her not to and is able to hold on long enough for Trina to save her.
  • Reconciliation: Shinji and Asuka are this for each other. For a good chunk of the fic, we find several alternate versions of Shinji and Asuka. The versions may be wildly different, but they are always in love with each other. Always.
    • In chapter 11 Asuka becomes aware of it:
      A dream-scape formed around them. A physical realm in which their imagined forms manifested. Simply from the will of a girl who had lived infinite lives, time and time again, with only one constant. Her lover was always there. For her. It's time she was there for him.
    • And in chapter 12, Lilith calls Asuka Shinji's life mate.
  • RE-TAKE: Asuka told that after Third Impact countless alternate realities were born, all of them different and unique... and the single only unifying element was that Shinji and her always met and fell in love.
  • Scar Tissue: Rei visited thousands of realities during Instrumentality. No matter what reality she visited or what world she went to, Shinji and Asuka were always together, always bonded by destiny. They were one.
  • Transformers Animated: Cybertronian Genesis: Optimus Prime views Elita-1/Blackarachnia as his, which is why he doesn't even entertain the idea of a relationship with anyone else, even though, as the Hero of Cybertron, he could have anyone he wanted. In another life, had Blackarachnia remained Elita-1, it would've been mutual — it's outright stated that Optimus was the only 'bot she ever felt anything for, even during her relationship with Sentinel. But in this life, she refuses to acknowledge his feelings, even though some part of her still feels the same way.
  • In The Many Dates of Danny Fenton, a Danny Phantom fanfic, Kara Kent is this officially to Danny.
  • Subverted in Somnium. Aurora believes that her chance at love is gone because her One True Love, Phillip, died after saving her with True Love's Kiss. She initially tries to reject Giselle with this, but Giselle tells her that love can come more than once.
  • explosivesky is a RWBY fanfic author famous for fics were Blake and Yang are always destined to be together, no matter what. In most of the fics, Blake and Yang figure it out immediately, and often mention that they feel like they've done all this before. There are also usually background relationships of Ruby/Weiss, Jaune/Pyrrha, and Sun/Neptune, but they don't get much focus. Sometimes the background pairings are shuffled around.
  • In Interpretive Steps for a New Tango, it's shown that Bruno and Pablo love each other so deeply that even after they break up due to Pablo's lingering hang-ups about his sexuality, they're completely unable to form a meaningful relationship with anyone else because all other romances feel hollow compared to what they had with each other. When they inevitably get back together, the narration confirms that the two of them lived Happily Ever After.
  • The author of the Video Game Shrines loves this trope:
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Bolt and Mittens become the Official Couple of this series in "The Ship", and their soulmate status is overtly confirmed in "The Rings" and "The Gift".
  • In the Facing the Future Series, Danny and Sam both show and outright say that they see each other as the love of each other's life.
  • In one day at a time (Nyame) and its sequel the superhero game, Jason Todd has only ever really loved three women in his life. However, he admits the only one that can really be described as the love of his life is Donna Troy. When Donna comes back in time like him, she admits she feels the same way about him, and the two lose no time in restarting their relationship.
  • In the House/Once Upon a Time fanfic Definitely Not Lupus, Emma and Regina are constantly called true loves throughout the story. Their love is strong enough that Emma becomes pregnant through said love, and when they kiss, it manages to give Emma her magic back.

    Film — Animated 
  • Beauty and the Beast: The titular characters here, the follow-up films and the 2017 live action remakenote :
    • Belle and the Beast—Prince Adam—at first of course couldn't be more different, but find that incredibly common ground throughout the film given he's a man turned animal for how spoiled and rotten he was and she's a lovely woman who constantly is looked down on for actually having an intelligent mind. Belle agrees to stay with Beast in the castle in exchange for her father Maurice—his prisoner—being set free—and a surprisingly moved Beast accepts the offer while then saving Belle from wolves later while she then helps Beast after he's wounded too. Belle helps teach Beast how to be a man again and he soon enough falls in love with her; Beast tells Belle she's free to go and save Maurice from the cold; Belle goes back to save Beast from Gaston—with him inspired to fight back and then grant Gaston mercy upon seeing her—and Belle confesses her love to Beast just in time to break the spell and turn him back to human, resulting immediately in Happily Ever After.
    • The Enchanted Christmas & Belle's Magical World: The two animated follow-ups expand upon their relationship further as Belle and Beast overcome different issues like disagreements about whether or not to bring back Christmas or who should apologize first. While it's reasonable how much the two movies downplayed the stronger aspects and simplified things too much, the outcome of the story isn't changed though. Despite the two taking hits character-wise, it doesn't in any way ruin the perfection of their love story in the first film.
  • Shrek: Shrek and Princess Fiona. The spell cast on Fiona to eventually break her curse is supposed to allow her to meet her true love (who is supposed to rescue her from the dragon guarding her while she's in the highest room in the tallest tower), with True Love's Kiss sealing the deal. The problem is that no one really expected Fiona's true love to be an ogre (least of all Fiona herself), so it takes time for them to really acknowledge they're this. It's also something of a deconstruction, in that while Shrek and Fiona are soulmates, they aren't actually in love with each other when they first meet, instead falling in love while they're traveling to Duloc in order to deliver Fiona to Lord Farquaad to be his bride. As all but stated by Shrek Forever After, even if Shrek had kissed Fiona when they first met, it wouldn't have broken the curse because they weren't actually in love yet.
  • In Turning Red, the song "1 True Love" is predictably about the singer declaring their crush to be this.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017): This remake of the 1991 animated filmnote  adds to the relationship to Belle and the Beast—Prince Adam—by means of their parallel lives through their childhoods: Belle raised by her loving father Maurice when losing her mother to the Black Plague and Beast losing his mother to illness only for his cold and distant father to run his life as the servants tried to be supportive later on. Beast upon learning Belle's situation is quick to also forgive Maurice for trying to steal one of his roses and Belle is also able to warm to Beast thanks to the very warm treatment the servants give her and their insistence that he has way more good in him that one would think. In fact, Agathe the Enchantress in this version also witnesses Belle's Love Confession during Beast's Disney Death but after the last pedal on the rose falls and that results in her personally reversing the spell anyway.
  • The Conjuring Universe: Ed and Lorraine Warren, for each other — something they reference repeatedly.
    Lorraine: God brought us together for a reason.
  • In The Constant Nymph, Tessa tells Lewis that they were made for each other, that she was always going to be with him; fate made her a few years late in finding him, but young or old, they were meant to be together. It helps to know that she's only 14 and he's at least in his 30s.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy: Played with and arguably deconstructed. Bruce Wayne has only ever loved his Childhood Friend Rachel Dawes and has every intention of being together with her when he's finished with his mission as Batman. While Rachel does love Bruce and originally intended to wait for him, she begins to change her mind when she meets Harvey Dent and starts a relationship with him. Ultimately, she chooses Harvey and wrote a letter to Bruce explaining her intentions to marry him and that they're Better as Friends — which Alfred then burns to spare Bruce any more pain after her death. Unfortunately, that leaves Bruce to continue mourning Rachel for the next eight years because he was so convinced that she was his soulmate. It's only after being told the truth that Bruce finally becomes open to the idea of love again, first with Miranda Tate (aka Talia al Ghul), then much more successfully with Selina Kyle (who, in the comics, is his real One True Love).
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Lois Lane for Clark Kent/Superman. Before his Heroic Sacrifice against Doomsday in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Clark has these words for Lois:
      Clark: This is my world... YOU are my world!
    • Steve Trevor for Diana/Wonder Woman. Their story was brief, cut short by Steve's heroic death in the climax of Wonder Woman, but that was enough for her to remember him for a century and counting, as seen when she was looking for the photo they took during World War I in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. She went to Steve's family ranch and kept heirlooms of him as seen in Wonder Woman 1984, and even admits to the temporarily-revived Steve that the main reason she can't move on from him is because the only lover she has ever wanted is him.
  • Enchanted: Prince Edward and Giselle believe they are each other's, but it's Robert's kiss that awakens Giselle, thus proving that he is her true love.
  • Fingernails: The test claims that they can tell if a couple is truly in love, as long as you each tear off a fingernail to be analyzed. This is taken as seriously as a declaration of soulmateship, with many couples splitting up if they fail, and many less-than-ideal couples staying together just because they pass. The test claims that Ryan and Anna are real love twice, but she's so unhappy with this result that she tears off the rest of her fingernails, not wanting a test to dictate her feelings for Amir.
  • The Frighteners: Frank Bannister and Dr. Lucy Lynskey meet when he has her and her dumbass husband Ray haunted and then pretends to show up and solve the problem. Lucy's marriage to Ray has become loveless over the years and it's ended when Ray is murdered—much like Frank's own wife Debra was murdered years earlier by the same people just as their marriage was on the verge of failing too. The connection between both Frank and Lucy is instant and strong, she believes in both his ability to communicate with the dead and his innocence when he's accused of the murders, she helps him escape and be temporarily separated from his body at another point, he gives up his life saving hers, gets sent back from Heaven with Debra's blessing to "be happy" and begins a new life with Lucy while she in turn also develops and now also shares his unique ability.
  • Godmothered: Subverted. Eleanor tries throughout the film, but Mackenzie doesn't end up in a relationship with Hugh Prince.
  • Hannibal Lecter film series: Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling share an unexpectedly deep and respectful bond despite him being a psychiatrist who's also a cannibalistic Serial Killer and despite her being an FBI agent as well. Lecter thinks highly of Starling's intelligence and mindfulness as she begins as a trainee seeking his help on capturing the serial killer "Buffalo Bill"—not getting any kind of high expectation or praise from many others working around her—and Starling in turn still treats Lecter like a person despite his crimes and the nature of them. Both come from tragic backgrounds as well as Starling lost her widowed father at a young age while Lecter at a young age lost most of his family in World War II and witnessed the horrid murder of his younger sister Mischa as well. Lecter also helps Starling when they both are targeted by Mason Verger by saving her life shortly after she saved his and when she cuffs herself to him to prevent him from escaping, Lecter chooses to cut his own hand off rather than hurt her—especially when he previously had no qualms about targeting former friend Will Graham who first captured him—and Starling is profoundly effected by the decision he made.
  • Indiana Jones: Throughout the films, Indiana has a few flames and even admitted to having others, but the one woman whom he has cared for the most is Marion Ravenwood. Their relationship, however, was never easy, as the two do spend much of their time bickering. Indy and Marion had a fling ten years prior to Raiders, where Marion tells him that she loved him only for him to leave her since their tryst destroyed his friendship with her father. Marion is initially angry at seeing Indy again & forcefully tags along, but throughout their adventure their relationship rekindles, and the film ends where she invites him to get a drink. However, Indy's commitment to his archeology work & constant adventuring ended their relationship again, but Marion hides the fact that she was pregnant with their son, Mutt. The two reunite a second time in Crystal Skull where they realize that they still care deeply for each other and the film ends with them finally marrying, with Indy happy to be with the woman he loves and happy to have a son. Unfortunately, by Dial of Destiny, Mutt has died while serving in the Vietnam War, which made their marriage fall apart and for Marion to file for divorce, which made Indy miserable. In spite of everything, it's apparent that Indy still loves Marion and continues to wear his wedding ring throughout his adventure with Helena. When he finally returns to his apartment in New York at the end of the film, Helena invites Marion over to bring groceries. Indy is surprised to see her and neither know what to say, but the two realize that they still love each other, and are back together again.
  • In addition to the whole group being True Companions more generally, It: Chapter Two reveals that even after twenty-seven years apart Ben and Richie are still hopelessly devoted to their childhood sweethearts (Bev and Eddie respectively). It's implied that, despite being 40 years old by now, neither of them have ever had a serious relationship due to their adherence to this trope.
  • It's a Wonderful Life: George Bailey and Mary Hatch. As kids, Mary while she never outright showed it had had a huge crush on George, having often gone to the shop when he was working there. Later when George's brother's graduating, George and Mary reconnect as he finally starts to develop feelings for her; George then starts to have Mary on his mind more and more as she continues to hold a torch for him and eventually decides to reciprocate Mary's love for him and marry her. When they’re leaving for their honeymoon becomes disrupted, Mary encourages and helps George in saving Bailey Bros. Building and Loan from being obtained by Mr. Potter and even chooses their love nest in Bedford Falls—and she tries to encourage him when he's in other trouble later too, specifically when she both rallies everyone to get behind him later on and personally goes looking for him as well. Eventually Happily Married with four kids in the present, George when he sees how terrible life would be for everyone around him if he never existed and that his kids wouldn't be alive at all, seeing Mary would've lived an incredibly lonely life because she'd never wanted anyone else but him is ultimately the linchpin that wants him to be able to "wanna live again".
  • Jack Ryan films: Dr. John "Jack" Ryan and his wife Cathy, a medical doctor, show a bond that goes beyond Ryan's work as a CIA analyst—to the point that he tells her about his work and what he goes through and has her full confidence and understanding while doing so. In their first appearances, Cathy sees Ryan off to the airport and they have a passionate goodbye and in the next film, after Ryan—having retired from life in the agency to have more time for his family—protects her and their young daughter Sally during an attack on the Royal Family and then stops said attack, Cathy treats his wounds and later encourages him to go back to work as an analyst to make sure their family's protected—all while pregnant with their second child John Jr. Then in the film after that, Cathy helps Ryan through being the only survivor in the caravan attack; listens and is understanding when he explains the situation with the illegal war with the Colombian Cartels; supports him when mentor Admiral James Greer dies of Pancreatic Cancer; helps Ryan identify Félix Cortez as the one playing both sides of the war and Cathy is also there to support Ryan when he testifies about it all to Congress at the end of the movie too.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Captain America: The First Avenger: It's implied that Steve believes in this to a certain extent, which is why he has such a hard time with women — he's not looking for a fling to have some fun with, he's looking for someone with whom to spend the rest of his life. He thought he found that with Peggy Carter, but as we all know, fate denied them a chance at a happy life together. While he's thrown himself back into the fight so he doesn't dwell on what he's lost, The Winter Soldier and Civil War suggest he might have a second chance at happiness with Sharon Carter. In Avengers: Endgame, however, Sharon is one of those taken by the Snap, and Steve is ultimately unable to move on from Peggy. When it's all said and done, he goes back to the 1940s and lives out the rest of his life with her in an Alternate Timeline; the final scene shows them finally having their dance and kissing.
      Steve: Figured I'd wait.
      Peggy: For what?
      Steve: The right partner.
    • Iron Man: Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. Pepper could have left him behind years ago and become successful on her own but stayed behind as his Beleaguered Assistant because she was in love with him. And out of all the women Tony has slept with over the years, out of all the people that he's let into his life, however tangentially, the only person he could count on to be there when it really mattered was her. Tony and Pepper also play with this a little, in that despite knowing that the only people they really wanted were each other, it took them years to start a relationship — not because there were other people, but because Pepper refused to even entertain the idea until Tony became a better man, the kind of man she always thought he could be.
    • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: Shang-Chi's parents, Xu Wenwu and Ying Li. One thousand years of conquest, and yet after meeting Li and falling in love with her, Wenwu gave up all his power and longevity to start a family and grow old with her. Her untimely death destroyed him, causing him to return to the Ten Rings and his old life of criminality and conquest, and eventually made him susceptible to the manipulations of the Dweller-in-Darkness, by impersonating her and convincing him that she was the one being kept prisoner behind a gate in her home village of Ta Lo instead of it.
    • Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne, the original Ant-Man and Wasp. The two were Happily Married and had their daughter Hope, but one mission in the 1980's led Janet to pull a Heroic Sacrifice that trapped her in the Quantum Realm. Even after 30 years, Hank never stopped loving her and never even tried to find love again. The events of Ant-Man and the Wasp take place because Hank and Hope find a way to rescue her from the Quantum Realm and it is Hank himself who goes to rescue her. Cue one of the most heartwarming reunions in the franchise.
    • Wanda Maximoff and Vision. From the day of his creation, they’ve only had eyes for each other, and another character even refers to them as soulmates (if somewhat condescendingly). He's her Living Emotional Crutch, and they even got a tv show named after themselves where they're living in apparent domestic sitcom bliss. Their love is so strong that Wanda is able to create a perfect replica of Vision from her own memories, and even after somewhat accepting her loss in the finale, it’s clear that she has no desire to ever move on. This is further touched on in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, where Wanda acknowledges that Vision was the love of her life and his death left her a broken woman.
      Darcy Lewis: The love you two have is real. You belong together.
  • After hinting at it throughout the original trilogy, The Matrix Resurrections more or less explicitly confirms Neo and Trinity as soul mates who will always find their way back to each other. Their love for each other is strong enough to transcend any attempts to suppress it and eventually leads to Trinity breaking free of the Matrix altogether when she is properly reunited with Neo.
  • A New York Christmas Wedding: Gabby is Jenni's, which she realizes over time. The prime timeline had Jenni lose Gabby years ago and move on to David, but when she's sent back being with her again sparks Jenni's realization.
  • The Princess Bride: Buttercup and Westley are this for each other. The Big Bad, who wants Buttercup to marry him instead, knows he is doomed to failure as long as Westley is alive because of this trope.
  • The Rocketeer: Cliff Secord and Jenny Blake. She's immensely supportive of his job as a pilot and he's supportive of her working toward becoming an actress too and when we initally meet each of them, they have a picture of the other that they clearly cherish—with Cliff actually making it a point to save his picture of Jenny from his burning, crashed plane. He doesn't tell Jenny about it because he didn't want her to worry about him and she's upset because Cliff didn't trust her about it. He tries to tell Jenny about the rocket after he's found it because he wants to show he can trust her and she eventually believes him about the danger before Big Bad Neville Sinclair abducts her. Cliff is willing to at first fight the Nazis to rescue her, willingly gives the rocket to Sinclair in exchange for her safety and Jenny helps Cliff to fight Sinclair and the others while also stealing plans for the rocket which she then provides later so it can be rebuilt. When Howard Hughes asks him about how flying the rocket felt, Cliff comes quickly to the realization that it's probably second compared to the love he has for Jenny.
  • Sleepless in Seattle: Lampshaded by Annie in one scene, who says it is usually invoked as means of explaining all the romantic accidents. Played straight when she later goes along with the idea that Sam is the one anyway.
  • When Harry Met Sally...: Mentioned by Sally who complains of a man she was interested in finding his perfect match. "He just met her... She's supposed to be his transitional person, she's not supposed to be the one."

  • The Chronicles of Dorsa: Tasia and Joslyn are this for each other. Over all the adventures and hardships they experience, both of them remain in love with each other fiercely, realizing this by the end.
  • Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Played with in regards to Ganth and the Dreamweaver. Ganth obsessively adored her, and it was clearly unhealthy. It definitely isn't glamorized — it's clear this is very screwed up... although Ganth's feeling at least are also somewhat tragic. But even so, Ganth definitely believes she is his One True Love... but no one else really agrees with him, and the story doesn't present them as such.
    Ganth: You don't understand. What happened was fated.
    Trishien: Well, it was certainly fatal.
  • In The Dilbert Future, Scott Adams Deconstructs the trope, pointing out that the One True Love is always within driving distance, and of the preferred gender, age, and species. And if the relationship doesn't work, the person usually will find their "True" One True Love under the same circumstances.
  • Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi: Mo Xiang Tong Xiu revealed she tried writing many different love interests for Wei Wuxian but nobody clicked until she ultimately concluded that Lan Wangji, the very first love interest she wrote, was perfect for him. The story went out of its way to reinforce this stance: from their Opposites Attract dynamic to Wei Wuxian pulling Lan Wangji's forehead ribbon (that only family members or spouse can touch), to creating a Love Theme named after their courtesy names. It's also clear that both are attracted to each other at first sight, have never been romantically interested in anyone else and even being dead for 13 years and being transmigrated in a different body will not stop Lan Wangji from loving Wei Wuxian.
  • Harry Potter: Per Word of God in this 2007 interview, Harry and Ginny are soulmates. Tellingly, Harry's last thoughts right before Voldemort kills him (Harry actually survived, but he didn't know he would) are of her, all but stating that she was the greatest comfort in his life. Notably, Harry tried to deny his feelings for her at first (mainly because she was Ron's sister) and only after seeing her make out with her boyfriend did he finally accept the truth. Ginny herself admits after they got together that she never fully got over her crush on him at the beginning of the series. They only broke up because of, as Ginny puts it, "some stupid, noble reason", with the unsaid understanding that if they both made it through the war, they would get back together. The epilogue reveals they eventually got Happily Married with three children. Also, in all the alternate timelines shown in The Cursed Child, Harry and Ginny still become an Official Couple.
  • The Hunger Games:
    • While the series for the most part averts this trope, it is surprisingly brought up at the very end. Upon declaring her love for previously fake-boyfriend Peeta Mellark, Katniss Everdeen states that the two of them ending up together "would have happened anyway", implying that she believes they would have fallen in love even if they hadn't been in the Hunger Games together.
    • Finnick Odair and Annie Cresta both from District 4 were each Victors in the Hunger Games in different years and ended up falling in love. When Finnick is chosen as the male tribute for the Quarter Quell—the 75th Hunger Games, Annie is chosen as the female one too—though Mags Flanagan volunteers in her place and Finnick is nothing but incredibly grateful to her for it. One of the traps sent for the tributes is Jabberjays that have the engineered but pained cries of loved ones and when Finnick hears what he thinks are Annie's cries for help, he instantly goes into panic mode trying to desperately save her—and is nothing but relieved when she's rescued from the Capitol later on. Before Finnick goes to fight in the war—where he unfortunately gets killed in battle, he and Annie end up getting married; she ends up pregnant with their son; Annie votes against the idea of a Hunger Games with the Capitol's children knowing full well that Finnick would've rejected the idea too and Annie later writes to Katniss and Peeta about how wonderful it is to get to raise her and Finnick's son in a Panem that is now far more peaceful thanks in part to his father too.
  • The wolves in Louise Searl's Kona's Song believe that a mated pair become one soul. If one of the pair dies, the other may never recover.
  • "Lifemates" in the Liaden Universe are rare but when they do happen, that 'verse's science of psionics can objectively verify it. (It is eventually revealed that this is due to genetic spiritual meddling by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens in the past, and there's a damn good reason why it always seems to happen to the "dramliz" and not anyone else.)
  • A major plot device in Night World (that is often central to the plot of every novel) is the Soulmate Principle, in which everyone is destined to have a partner who is ideal for them and makes them a better, more complete person. The connection between soulmates is so strong that some of them will be instantly attracted or drawn to each other even if this is the first time they met and making physical contact sends an electricity-like jolt between them. It's also implied that some soulmates can even reincarnate together. Every book features the main protagonist finding her soulmate, which will almost always be complicated by the fact one of them is human and the other is a Night Person, which is forbidden under Night World law. Given that a lot of Redferns and Harmans (or their relatives) start finding human soulmates, the witches speculate that this could be a sign that times are changing for both the Night World and the human world.
  • Odd Thomas and Stormy Llewellyn were destined to be together forever. It says so on the little card a carnival fortuneteller machine gave them. Taken to the extreme when Stormy dies at the end of the first book. Odd seems perfectly willing to go the rest of his life without finding anyone else. When it seems he might find someone to replace her, he can't help but feel conflicted.
  • Condwiramurs and Parzival in Parzival — so much so that both of their names are written on the Holy Grail, allowing them to love each other.
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: The Driving Question of the first third of the novel is which of Evelyn's husbands was the great love of her life. The answer? None of them. Evelyn's true love was Celia St. James, and the majority of Evelyn's marriages were to either hide their relationship or to get over Celia.
  • Subverted, like so many tropes, in A Song of Ice and Fire: Cersei Lannister has spent their entire lives convincing her twin Jaime that she and he are this for each other. It is instead made very clear that Cersei's only interest in Jaime is in his role as a male version of her; once he loses his right hand and begins to rediscover his own honor, instead of simply being a reflection of her who will do her bidding, she has no more use for him.
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty: Conrad Fisher has dated several girls, but he outright admits that the only girl he truly fell in love with is Belly Conklin. Goes both ways, as Belly realizes that she will always pine for Conrad despite being married to someone else, which is why she decides to cancel her wedding to Jeremiah at the last minute.
  • Older Than Feudalism: In Plato's Symposium, Aristophanes tells a "Just So" Story about how human beings once had four arms, four legs and two heads, which allowed them to roll around like boulders and (somehow) gave them enough power to threaten the gods of Olympus. Most of the pantheon suggested these humans be wiped out, but Zeus instead split them all in twain with his thunderbolt, leaving the navel as the place where they were stitched up again. This, Aristophanes explains, is why humans love: we are looking for the half that we lost (which could be the same sex as us). This work, published ~ 375 BC, is the Ur-Example of the "One True Love" trope in Western Literature.
  • The Syrena Legacy: Most young Syrena males become attracted to several females and can decide which would be the most suitable mate, but some feel "the pull" towards only one Syrena who is their perfect match in every way. Galen has never had any interest in finding a mate even though he's old enough that he's expected to do so, but he still dismissed the pull as a myth until he met Emma and instantly fell in love with her.
  • Isaac Asimov's "True Love": Milton is disappointed in the first date that he and Joe arrange, and they realize that they can't be Milton's ideal woman unless he's their ideal man. So the two of them adjust their search to figure out who would see him as their ideal man. Only one woman out of the 3,786,112,090 in the world match their criteria.
  • Bella and Edward in The Twilight Saga are repeatedly stated to be this, giving or attempting to sacrifice everything for the sake of each other. In their universe, it is deliberately invoked by the werewolves, who bond to a single soulmate for whom they always love.
  • In the Vita Nuova, Beatrice is the only woman Dante can truly love; all the women he fawns after after her death are just distractions from the memory of his true beloved.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 100 has Clarke Griffin and Lexa who, despite their rocky start and the rough patch they hit after Lexa chooses to rescue her people from Mount Weather over Clarke's own, are shown to develop a strong bond for each other that eventually becomes a romance. Lexa's early death shocks Clarke and she never fully recovers and she never gets together with anyone else in the series. To cement her status as this in the series final episode the Judge who decides whether humanity will transcend to a higher form of consciousness or be destroyed takes on Lexa's form for Clarke with both the show and its creator confirming that this is because Lexa was Clarke's greatest love.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons. Fitz and Simmons have been put through Hell and back over the course of the series and still find a way to be together. With Fitz letting himself drown to save her to jumping into an alien portal find her. Even if it means helping Ward and HYDRA bring a monster back to Earth to prevent them from hurting her. When Fitz is plugged into the Framework, AIDA alters his memories so that she took Jemma's place in Fitz's life. This causes Fitz to not only become a sadist but to develop obsessive loyalty not to Jemma, but to AIDA. When Fitz is woken up from the Framework, AIDA still wants to be with him, but even with two lives' worth of memories, Fitz says he can't love anyone but Jemma. Despite witnessing the horrors Fitz committed in the Framework Jemma still believed in Fitz.
  • Babylon 5:
    • John Sheridan and Delenn, despite the fact that she was his Second Love. The Power of Love between them has been enough for Sheridan to defy both death and torture and may in fact be responsible for winning two separate wars.
    • Jeffrey Sinclair and Catherine Sakai, to the point where Love Transcends Spacetime.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003) has Laura Roslin and Bill Adama. Mary McDonnell, who played Roslin, explicitly stated that the two are soulmates:
    McDonnell: I do think that the other thing [Ron] created is that there are soulmates in life, and I think that's true with this relationship — if you look at it from a soul-mate point of view, their destiny brought them together to serve a bigger cause, together, and in the process perhaps heal something very old and very familiar between themselves.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tara is generally portrayed as this to Willow. While she gets together with other people after Tara, none of the relationships ever last and even years down the line in season 10, she confesses to Andrew that she occasionally thinks about finding a way of bringing Tara back to life.
  • ER: Doug Ross and Carol Hathaway, to the point where Carol calls him her "soul mate" and a friend of theirs says that she is "the one" for Doug. This remains true for all six seasons they are on the show and they do get their happy ending together.
  • The Flash (2014)
    • Barry Allen and Iris West. They're even married on an alternate earth and in the first timeline of the series. While both are capable of feeling genuine attraction to others and can even fall in love with other people (Eddie Thawne for Iris, Patty Spivot for Barry), it always comes back to them in the end. Barry fully admits that Iris is the love of his life, and she admits she feels the same way, too.
    • Caitlin Snow and Ronnie Raymond, who were also together/married on an alternate earth (the same alternate earth as Barry and Iris' doppelgangers, in fact). While Caitlin was able to move on from Ronnie's death and find love again with other people, neither of those relationships went anywhere (one of them because the guy turned out to be evil). And even then, it's outright stated that Ronnie will always be first in her heart regardless of who she ends up with in the end.
  • Friends:
    • Parodied in "The One Where Joey Tells Rachel": Phoebe asks Chandler if he believes in soulmates. He doesn't, he believes in falling in love, but not that there's one person who's perfect for you. She says "Good, because I just met Monica's!" The rest of the episode is him feeling increasingly threatened by this guy until Monica explains she doesn't believe in One True Love, either.
      Monica: I don't think that you and I were destined to end up together. I think that we fell in love and work hard at our relationship. Some days we work really hard.
    • On the other hand, "The One That Could Have Been" reveals that, even if everything was different, Monica and Chandler would still end up together. Also, Ross would still end up in a Will They or Won't They? with Rachel (although his crush on her does precede the point of divergence, so that makes sense).
  • Glee:
    • Rachel and Finn are described as this by several people and its strongly implied the two would have ended up married at some point in the future if not for Finn's tragic and sudden passing.
    • Santana and Brittany refer to each other as this over the course of the show and similarly to the aforementioned couple, have been called such by several of their friends in the choir room.
      Santana: "No matter how many times we've tried to put our thing down and walk away from it, we can't because I don't want to live my life without my one true love."
    • Kurt and Blaine considers themselves soulmates that will inevitably end up together no matter what. Sure enough they end the series by getting married in a big double wedding alongside Santana and Brittany in a barn in Indiana.
  • Good Omens (2019): A platonic example until season 2
  • In The Good Place, everyone has a soulmate that they are introduced to upon their arrival in the afterlife. Eleanor is Chidi's, and Jianyu is Tahani's. Except Eleanor is only in the Good Place due to a mix-up, and it all goes haywire from there. This is ultimately subverted when the season one finale reveals that they are all actually in the Bad Place in an elaborate form of psychological torture. Michael even confirms later that soulmates aren't real, but rather he made them up to torture the four humans.
    • A season four flashback shows Michael confessing to Chidi that he doesn't know if soulmates are real, but if they are, they're made, not found.
  • Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham in Hannibal. Invoked throughout the series: Hannibal and Will's other relationships are all either doomed to fail because Hannibal or Will are too 'abnormal' compared to their partner, or framed as lacking something essential even when they're otherwise satisfying. Conversely, Hannibal and Will are consistently framed as being the only ones who can truly "see" the other — understanding and accepting each other to a degree of intimacy inaccessible to anyone else — and are irredeemably drawn to each other. Will has a harder time accepting this than Hannibal, but in the series finale, they're revealed to be in love with each other, effectively marking them as a twisted, violent version of this.
  • Holby City: Serena Campbell calls Bernie Wolfe "the one great love affair of my life", and Bernie admits without shame that she would wait for Serena "for eternity". The writing goes on to make it painfully clear that they are "it" for each other, and no one else will ever come close. The series ends with them married, working together again, and ready to start the next chapter of their lives together.
  • House of the Dragon: King Viserys and Aemma Arryn very much loved each other and the loss of Aemma would haunt Viserys until the end of his life. Even after remarrying, it's clear that he doesn't have the same feelings for Alicent nor cares about his children with her as much as he does with his only surviving child by Aemma, Rhaenyra. Since Aemma is dead, we don’t know if she feels the same way about him after he had C-section done on her without anesthesia for the slim chance of having a male heir.
  • The entire premise of How I Met Your Mother is based around Ted's search for his future wife, who has been shown to have the exact characteristics that Ted is looking for.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Lampshaded by Louis de Pointe du Lac at the end of Season 1 when he refers to Armand as "the love of my life," and it's important to note that he never told Lestat de Lioncourt "I love you" directly. Armand is extremely devoted to Louis because "I care for him more than he cares for himself." By 2022, their ongoing romance (a minimum of 49 years) has lasted a lot longer than Louis and Lestat's relationship (which was just over 29 years).
  • Lucifer (2016):
    • Lucifer Morningstar and Chloe Decker. Not only is Chloe the first and only woman Lucifer has ever truly loved, but Chloe was literally made for him by his Father, who had Amenadiel bless Chloe's mother so she could be conceived. This is deconstructed, because Lucifer fears his feelings for her might not even be real but instead another tool for his Father to manipulate him and takes some time to accept this isn't the case. Later in Season Five, after Chloe finally finds out, she begins fearing that she has no choice in the matter, and like Lucifer, that her feelings aren't even real. It takes her time to accept that while she may have been made for Lucifer, it's up to her whether or not they get together.
    • Dan Espinoza and Charlotte Richards. In an Alternate Universe where Dan never met Chloe, he still manages to find his way to Charlotte, and it is shown that their romantic relationship is stronger than Dan and Chloe's ever was. And after Charlotte dies, he doesn't so much as give any other woman a second look for the rest of the series (sans a depression-fueled one night stand with Ella that he immediately regretted). Eventually, after Dan himself dies and makes peace with his guilt, he ascends to Heaven and reunites with Charlotte there.
  • Arthur and Guinevere in Merlin. Merlin even says that Gwen and Arthur are destined to be together, even though this pairing is never explicitly mentioned in any of the prophecies featured on the show.
  • The Middle: Axl Heck and Lexie Brooks. Having met due to the former being Sue's older brother and the latter being her college roommate, Axl very nonchalantly is fully himself around Lexie and while they start out having an adversarial but very respectful friendship, Axl clearly started out highly interested in Lexie from the beginning and still acted like Lexie was interested in him even when he had a girlfriend already in the form of April. Lexie eventually sees that genuinely caring and sensitive side to Axl and she begins to realize her own feelings for him, wanting to get his attention and when Axl discovers this, he nearly rushes to see her—even while he still has said girlfriend. Eventually it's not long after Axl ends things with April that he reciprocates Lexie's feelings by kissing her, the two spending a lot of time together, her constantly being cheerful and proud of their union, supporting each other through difficult times and eventually making it through the ups and downs in end. Proves how ultimately strong that bond of love is when in the future, they're Happily Married with three-four kids.
  • One episode of Mysterious Ways focuses on the idea of soulmates and whether a person can have more than one. One character mentions that you will "never be able to shake" your soulmate once you find them; later in the episode, it's pointed out that Declan can't seem to "shake" Peggy OR Miranda.
  • NCIS:
    • Main protagonist Leroy Jethro Gibbs' true love was his first wife, Shannon, who was killed alongside their daughter Kelly. At one point, Ducky, one of Gibbs' oldest, closest friends, called her the love of Gibbs' life. Gibbs has never been able to let go of their deaths, and it has doomed every single romantic relationship he's had since, including his three marriages after Shannon.
    • Tony DiNozzo and Ziva David are strongly implied to be this. Both had numerous relationships with other people throughout both their tenures in NCIS, but when it came down to it, the ones they loved most were each other. Ziva's childhood friend and her brother Ari's lover even used this in the Season 11 premiere to hurt Ziva by lying to Tony about whether or not she'd seen her while Tony was hunting for her in Israel; she wanted to pay Ziva back for taking away the man she loved by separating them. Even after Ziva left NCIS and stayed in Israel permanently, Tony never stopped thinking about her. Eventually, he departs from NCIS himself after Ziva supposedly dies in the Season 13 finale to take care of their daughter, Tali. Ziva herself returns from hiding in Season 17, and after finishing her own unfinished business, leaves the espionage world for good to be with Tony and Tali.
  • Quite literal in the Netflix series The One (2021). Rebecca Webb and her business partner James have developed a dating service that finds your "match", who is pheromone DNA matched to be the best person for you. From what is seen in the show, it works and changes dating as we know it.
  • One Tree Hill:
    • Lucas and Peyton. Despite both having other relationships over the course of the series, they've always found their way back to each other because they are soulmates and meant to be, to the point they are described this way by Word of God itself and by basically every other character at one point. And by everyone, that includes their significant exes.
    • Also Nathan and Haley. They are each other’s First Love and ended up getting married and even having a child while still in high school, but they managed to stay together through life ups and downs and form a pretty solid and loving family. Neither of them has ever imagined to be with someone else. To the point their ‘catchphrase’ is “Always and forever”.
  • Once Upon a Time: Tinkerbell uses magic to help Regina find hers: Robin Hood. Unfortunately, thanks to Regina's issues and a streak of bad luck, their relationship is ground to a halt every time it tries to start up.
    • Snow White and Charming are this, too. They are, according to Rumplestiltskin, the definition of true love, and will always find each other
  • Played for Laughs for an entire series of Peep Show, where Once an Episode Mark has decided that each and every girl he meets is the perfect woman for him.
  • Every main character in Pretty Little Liars has one. In Emily's case, that person is Paige. In some of the fandom's eyes, it's Alison but by season seven it's made abundantly clear that it's Paige. Even if they didn't end up together and Emily ended up with Alison, the show wanted the audience to know that this was not the happy ending Emily herself wanted and that it was fanservice to the max and it lampshaded it in 7x15 when Emily and Paige have their final goodbye:
    Emily: Nobody wanted this
    Paige: Somebody did, they just never asked any of us.
    Emily: I HAVE to do this.
    Paige: I know. That's what makes you Emily.
  • An abundance of them in Princess Returning Pearl: Yong Qi and Xiao Yan Zi, Er Kang and Zi Wei, Han Xiang and Meng Dan...
  • Raising Hope: Virginia and Burt have remained married for over 20 years, despite Maw Maw continually trying to break them up, because she wanted to boot out her freeloading family. Jimmy later narrates that "if two people are meant to be together, they will stay together no matter what tries to get in their way"—while deleting a text message on Sabrina's phone from her boyfriend, asking her to go to a restaurant, so he could take her out to eat instead.
  • The Resident has top-flight surgeons Randolph Bell and Kit Voss, who start out as close friends with chemistry and come to find, to their own mutual surprise, that they are the loves of each other's lives — something both state out loud on multiple occasions.
    Kit: are the great love of my life, and I'm pretty sure I'm the great love of yours.
  • Played With in Runaways: Xavin wholeheartedly believes they're this to Karolina, due to their understanding of a prophecy claiming that the two are spiritually betrothed and destined to be together. Karolina, however, is having none of it, due to already being in a complicated but committed relationship with Nico, and generally wanting to be free to make her own romantic choices even if her current relationship doesn't work out. The conflict is resolved when Xavin becomes the foster carer of Karolina's newborn sister Elle, and realises that the prophecy was real but that their "great love" was always meant to be for their adopted daughter.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The final episode of the series reveals "soul stones"; everyone has one on the North Star, and those that fit together are soulmates. Sabrina stops her wedding with Aaron after she finds that their soul stones don't fit, and walks away from the altar—only to run into Harvey. They kiss and ride off as their soul stones fall together and fit perfectly.
  • Scandal: Olivia Pope and President Fitzgerald Grant III are the love of each other's lives. Unfortunately, because True Love Is Boring, their relationship is constantly on-and-off, either due to outside forces (such as Fitz's political career, as he's unhappily married to First Lady Mellie Grant — Olivia is/was his mistress, even though he sees her as more than that) or their own personal reasons (Olivia broke up with Fitz in Season Five even though his divorce meant they could finally be together openly because she, like Mellie, hated the idea of being stuck in a Gilded Cage and playing the part of First Lady, being far more capable than just a glorified hostess and housewife).
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Will Riker and Deanna Troi may get plenty of action in Gene Roddenberry's Free-Love Future, but ever since their first brief relationship, they have been each other's Imzadi (a Betazoid term that, in the EU, has deeper meanings than just "beloved"). They finally get married in Star Trek: Nemesis, and as of Star Trek: Picard, they've been married for twenty years and are raising a daughter.
  • Supernatural:
    • Sam had had other love interests since Jess' death, but none have continued to be mentioned for so long and none of them seemed to have close to the same level of impact on Sam. Azazel and Brady both mentioned that had she not died, she and Sam would have gotten married and lived happily ever after.
    • In Season 5, Sam and Dean visit Heaven where a friend confirms that they're soulmates and share a Heaven, leading to a full five-second silence where they don't look at each other.
      Ash: Mm-hmm. Yeah. See you got Winchesterland. Ashland. A whole mess of everybody-else-lands. Put them all together: heaven. Right? At the center of it all? Is the Magic Kingdom. The Garden.
      Dean: So everybody gets a little slice of paradise.
      Ash: Pretty much. A few people share—special cases. What not.
      Dean: What do you mean 'special'?
      Ash: Aw, you know. Like, uh, soul-mates. [Neither Sam or Dean say anything.] Anyway.
    • As it turns out, Dean was this for Castiel since the first moment they saw each other in Hell. Unfortunately, this doesn't save either of them.
  • That '70s Show: Eric Forman and Donna Pinciotti. Having known each other since they were young kids living next door to each other, Eric while always having had a crush on Donna didn't end up dating her eventually until they were teens and she finally showed the same interest. Eric and Donna constantly support and trust each other through difficult times—Donna confiding in Eric when her parents have had problems for one thing—even when their relationship has been on and off again and have probably the healthiest relationship among the teens in the show. Donna's constantly forgiven Eric for dumb things he's done that either broke them up or put them on the ropes and the two also do whatever they can for each other—with Eric going to California to find Donna when she runs away and Donna putting off college to stay with Eric—to the point that even when Eric leaves for Africa and then comes back in the series finale, Donna almost immediately takes him back. By the time of the sequel series, Eric and Donna are husband and wife and have a teen daughter named Leia.
  • Damon and Elena from The Vampire Diaries fit this trope. While the series initially centers on a love triangle between Damon, Elena, and Stefan, she eventually chooses Damon while her relationship with Stefan is explained as being magically manipulated. According to Word of God, Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec planned to continue the love triangle to see if Elena could find her way back to Stefan and to end the series with both brothers dying for her. But the departure of Elena's actress Nina Dobrev solidified Damon and Elena's status as the main pairing. Damon and Elena are also the end game pairing of the novel series the show is based on where they are confirmed as soul mates.
  • Warrior Nun: Ava and Beatrice are this to each other. While their time together is short, it's clear from the scenes they share and their subtle interactions that they value and care for each other greatly, quickly becoming the most important part of each other's lives. Ava turns to Beatrice as she's the only person who aids her during her difficult time in the Cat's Cradle, bonding with the Sister Warrior over a short period of time and even reassuring her that "she's beautiful" after Beatrice tearfully vents about her Dark and Troubled Past. Meanwhile, Beatrice becomes attached to Ava as she sees a version of herself in her, not tied down by the church or duty. They grow so close after the Time Skip to Season 2 that they both, at different points, try to get the other to abandon the fight and leave to just live their lives.
  • Yellowstone: Kayce and Monica Dutton are VERY much this. From the beginning of the series, it's obvious that they are deeply in love. Even when they argue, it's clear that their love for one another is at the forefront and no matter what happens, it's the two of them, that's it. Dialogue implies it was true from the very beginning.
    Kayce: I'm trying to remember what I was wearing when I met you.
    Monica: All I remember is, you weren't wearing it for long.

    Video Games 
  • Trick & Treat: As the official Steam store indicates:
    Trick or treating in a vampire's house. Trick & Treat is a light-hearted Halloween adventure. It's about exploring and solving puzzles in a spooky atmosphere. There will be some horror elements, romance, many bad ends and a happy ending of true love.
  • Invoked in the NES game based on the Beetlejuice film. When Betelgeuse (who is the player character) first comes across Lydia, he explicitly identifies her this way.
  • Count Bleck from Super Paper Mario has one in the form of Timpani. Losing her is the reason why he became a villain in the first place, though happily he stops his villainy upon discovering that Timpani is alive. He even turns down the advances of Nastasia, his underling, saying that there is nothing she can do to replace Timpani as his beloved.
  • The Witcher features a side story starring a Hooker with a Heart of Gold named Carmen and her paramour — a guard captain-turned-vigilante werewolf. Carmen risks life and limb to find a cure for her beloved's lycanthropy, and with Geralt's help, she tries out everything until only one option remains: the proverbial "true love". Geralt is understandably skeptical and awkward when he suggests it, but to everyone's surprise, it actually works, somehow, with Carmen's lover cured of lycanthropy. Even a hardened cynic like Geralt is taken aback by this success and calls the whole story nothing less than a fairy tale.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fated relationships, both romantic and platonic are a key element of The House in Fata Morgana.
    • The main game features Michel and Giselle, who despite a rocky start never look anyone else's way after getting together. While Michel's dying wish is for Giselle to find someone else and live a happy life, she refuses to move on, spending nearly a full millennium waiting for his reincarnation to return to her. When they finally reunite for good in their next life, they quickly rekindle their relationship and eventually get married.
    • Despite causing her mutilation and death, Jacopo has been in love with Morgana since she was eleven, while she is heavily implied to have had a Precocious Crush on him. Word of God states that Jacopo is attracted to her soul and would have fallen for her regardless of age or gender, and while he marries someone else in his second life, his wife turns out to be an incarnation of part of Morgana's soul. In the afterlife, Jacopo is on the brink of destroying his soul out of guilt when Morgana saves him despite not having forgiven her murder, allowing him a chance to make amends and win her heart in their next life. Both the prequel and sequel give them much heavier focus (even more than Michel and Giselle), with the prequel exploring their friendship in their first lives and the sequel exploring their new relationship in their third and final life together. They're instantly drawn to one another, finally reconciling thanks to Jacopo's better treatment of her even before they regained their memories of their past lives and his Anguished Declaration of Love, and the game ends with them taking a trip he'd promised her in their first life together.

  • Heartstopper: Nick and Charlie. The series confirms they would find each other in any universe, and several side stories depict them falling in love in different settings and timelines.
  • Discussed and explored in Goblins, as Kin — a yuan-ti — explains to Minmax that her species doesn't form emotional attachments, though there are rare cases of "True-Seeing", in which they're literal soul-mates and can experience each other's pleasure and pain, but applies solely to yuan-ti. She has to explain this because Minmax is falling in love with her, and Psion!Minmax believes it to be true - it later turns out that they're the sole exception to that rule.
    Psion!Minmax: As childishly cliched as it is, the previously unnoticed detail is love. The two of you are genuinely in love. Something so mathematically improbable that I suspect you to be the only reality to suffer from this state. There are many realities in which the two of you are romantically involved, but none of them are able to demonstrate actual love on a relevantly deep level. Real love is indeed something very special. It's known universally as the most efficient way to inject nausea into simple mathematics to the point of permeation.
  • David Willis has said that Dumbing of Age is a deliberate aversion — the core couple of the Walkyverse might have been Joyce and Walky, and they were very happy together, but that doesn't mean they have to be. Dumbingverse Joyce outright dislikes Walky, and barely notices Danny, her counterpart's other main love interest, and instead has dated Ethan, Jacob (neither of whom she even met in the previous universe) and most recently Joe, which would be utterly absurd in the Walkyverse, but makes a surprising amount of sense here.

    Web Original 
  • Kontrola: Natalia and Majka break up, then both of them date other people. However, they still clearly want each other, no one else. They break up with their other partners and get back together. Natalia is even described as this by one of Majka's friends.
  • In the Minecraft Multiverse, Joel SmallishBeans and Lizzie LDShadowLady the content creators are Happily Married in real life, and the series they're in frequently establish their roleplay characters' love to transcend the servers they're on, as a reflection of their content creator counterparts' dynamic.
    • In particular, in the Life SMP, even if he tried to kill Lizzie on at least two occasions in the second season, Joel can always recognize his real-life wife in-game, even if she is possessing another body at the time.
    • Their characters also get married in Empires SMP Season 1, in an occasion celebrated by the entire server.
  • Deconstructed in a What If? entry. While Munroe doesn't attack the idea of someone who is perfect for you, he does address the corollary — that you'll be miserable with anyone else — and points out how that condemns the vast majority of humans to a loveless existence.
  • WitchCraft SMP: By Word of God, Scott and Milo have been referred to as "soulmates". It's Played for Drama considering how downhill Scott's mental health has gone in canon after Milo's death in an attempt to bring him back; a passing comment in the finale and one of the alternate endings only further solidify how deep the grief goes. However, while this series is technically part of the Minecraft Multiverse (as above), this trope only holds in the WCSMP continuity for Scott; his characters on other servers have a wide range of other love interests, depending on the SMP.

    Western Animation 
  • The Beatles episode "I Want To Hold Your Hand" has a scientist aboard a cruise ship, having captured an octopus whose unhappiness stems from being lovesick. The scientist lowers a diving bell into the ocean to gather some input on finding the octopus's true love. The Beatles have hidden inside the diving bell from their wild female fans, and under the sea they discover a similarly lovesick female octopus. Once back on ship, the boys buy the male octopus and throw him back into the ocean to be with the female octopus to live happily ever after.
  • Danny Phantom: Jack and Maddie Fenton, the titular protagonist's parents. In an alternate timeline where Maddie married his best friend Vlad Masters, who also had feelings for her (and still does in the main timeline), it is shown that she is absolutely miserable with Vlad and still loves Jack, who took Vlad's place as the first halfa and stayed away from Maddie out of shame as a result. Hell, when Vlad designed a computer program based entirely off her, designed specifically to love him and disparage Jack, the program reveals in its dying moments that it never loved him and instead loved Jack (or "The Jack Program", in this case). It doesn't matter when, where, or what they are; Jack and Maddie are simply meant to be.
  • Futurama Turanga Leela is this for the main character, Philip J. Fry. This doesn't stop him from dating other women though. Leela mostly rejects him in early seasons, but eventually admits to her love for him. They have a rather unstable relationship for a season after the show was revived, but eventually settle into a more stable relationship starting with the following season.
  • Justice League: John Stewart and Shayera Hol are implied to be this, as they were in love in a previous life. Though Shayera falls for a male Hawk first, it's John she always ends up with in the end.
  • Kim Possible: Word of God confirms that Kim and Ron are this. Both have dated other people and have had brief relationships but as the show goes on, it becomes very clear to everyone except them — both in and out of universe — that the people they're meant to be with are each other. So the Drama implies that deep down, even they knew it, but refrained from taking the next step for their own reasons (for Ron, it was their long-standing friendship; for Kim, it was peer pressure and the level of Ron's maturity). It's only after Drakken interferes and tries to push them apart that they finally muster up the courage and act on what's between them.
  • Miraculous Ladybug both plays it straight and inverts it. Marinette, who is the titular heroine Ladybug, has such a massive crush on Adrien Agreste that she has trouble speaking around him. Adrien, who is the superhero Chat Noir, is in love with Ladybug and flirts with her constantly. Neither is aware of the other's identity, however, so they are unknowingly in love with each other. The only times they reciprocate their feelings are when Marinette, while in her identity of Ladybug, meets Adrien.
  • A variation in the 2010 Pound Puppies series: Everyone has a soulmate-level perfect pet.

Alternative Title(s): True Love