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Rejection Affection

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Elizabeth Bennet: I am very sensible of the honour of your proposals, but it is impossible for me to do otherwise than to decline them.
Mr. Collins: I am not now to learn, that it is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their favour; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second, or even a third time. I am therefore by no means discouraged by what you have just said, and shall hope to lead you to the altar ere long.

Boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl. Girl rejects boy. And again. And again. Does boy take the hint? Nope.

This trope happens when a character of any gender refuses to take any hints or outright rejections in their pursuit of the object of their affection. The suitors are often very vocal and aggressive in their courtship despite the lack of progress or even outright disgust exhibited by the recipient of their love. As creepy as it sounds, this is often played for comedy or even shown as romantic.

In the world of fiction, unless a character intended as one-time is the suitor and one of the main protagonists is the object of the unwanted affection—after all, no "boy wants girl no matter what" story arc means no story ideas to attract audiences and ratings – this trope often plays out straight, and frequently leads to the target being worn down and giving in. In the real world, ignoring enough "no's" could legally qualify as stalking or harassment (or both), and can lead to criminal charges and/or restraining orders...or, at the very least, a warning from the police to back off.

Mad Love could become the result of this trope if the admirer's advances are rejected both often and strongly enough, but they still remain crazy in love. If they start refusing to take "no" for an answer, then they likely have become a full-blown Yandere.

Related to "No" Means "Yes" and I Love You Because I Can't Control You. Expect the Stock Phrase "Your mouth says no, but your eyes say yes."

Also related to Abhorrent Admirer, for unattractive rejects, and Hopeless Suitor, for rejects that simply have no chance. It may become a case of Dogged Nice Guy (or girl), depending on whether the reader/audience is meant to sympathize with them.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Aho Girl: Protagonist Yoshiko constantly insists on trying to seduce Akuru, even though he made it very clear he had no interest in her.
  • Crossplay Love: Otaku x Punk: Shuumei's friend Kanoko is head-over-heels for Mei (Shuumei's female alter ego), even stalking her, despite her making it clear that she wants nothing to do with him.
  • Digimon Adventure 02: Mummymon has this towards Arukenimon. She clearly doesn't like him the same way (she tolerates him whenever he isn't being touchy-feely, but that's it), yet he's so devoted to her he's willing to die trying to avenge her.
  • Gray was this towards Juvia in Fairy Tail, constantly rebuffing her displays of affection (which admittedly were exaggerated and off-putting for him), but it doesn't dissuade her one bit. While it takes quite a while, Gray eventually reciprocates her affection towards the end of the series, making it a rare instance where the persistence is rewarded.
  • Kagura in Fruits Basket repeatedly shows (sometimes violent) affection towards Kyo, who understandably wants nothing to do with her. This is lampshaded by Rin, who says that Kagura forces herself on Kyo and still says she loves him. Shortly afterward, Kagura takes the hint and gives up after honestly confessing to Kyo.
  • Girls Bravo plays the trope for laughs and fanservice, by having Kosame persistently lust after Kirie no matter how many times she tells Kosame that she isn't interested. So she repeatedly has to fight her off, though Kosame manages to steal Kirie's First Kissnote  as a genuine show of affection. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Junjou Romantica has this between Misaki Takahashi and Kyo Ijuuin. While Misaki has told Ijuuin countless times that he does love him, it's the love he has as a dedicated fan of Ijuuin's manga meant as respect and admiration. After Misaki's first "confession" that broke him out of a particularly bad writer's block, Ijuuin ended up falling in Love at First Sight and tries to romance Misaki upon their remeeting 3 years later. It's a problem particularly due to the fact that not only could Ijuuin easily tell that Misaki and Akihiko were dating from the get-go, even after Misaki made it clear that he didn't love Ijuuin that way, Ijuuin keeps trying to win Misaki over. Once he's warned that if he doesn't stop, Misaki may come to hate him, he does quit. Though Ijuuin makes it quite clear to Akihiko if he ever comes to upset Misaki, he'll be there to steal him away.
  • Winner Sinclair from Karin is head over heels in love with Karin in the anime. This wouldn't be a problem, normally.. except that she's already in love with Usui... and also, she's a vampire and he's a vampire hunter. He doesn't know her true identity yet, but despite being rejected over and over again, he continues his advances on her. He could literally have any other girl, they all want him!
  • In Super Pig, Takuma has a crush on Karin and repeatedly tries to win her heart. The fact that Karin is one of the only girls (and maybe even the ONLY girl) who isn't attracted to him doesn't seem to bother him.

    Comic Books 
  • Robin: Darla Aquista seems to think Tim just needs a bit of time to get used to her father's criminal activities and then he'll say yes to her attempts to ask him out, despite the fact that Tim is quite happy with his current girlfriend and has absolutely no interest in Darla, which means she keeps it up in hopes of getting a different answer. When she returns from the dead she's even worse and decides they're dating.
  • In Runaways, after Nico dumps him for cheating on her, Victor keeps trying to win her back, usually making his overtures at inappropriate moments.

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield: Jon fell in love with lots of women over the course of the series, but he pursued the hot veterinarian Liz most often, considering she was the one to whom he had to bring Garfield and/or Odie for checkups. It didn't matter how much or how blatantly she turned him aside, he persisted, and even got to go out with her a lot before they became the Official Couple and the emphasis shifted to Jon being unable to handle actually being in a relationship. Early on in the series, their first date went over quite well, but then Flanderization set in as her Deadpan Snarker tendencies in dealing with him took over (and in turn, he only became more of a dork).
  • Liō: The titular character relentlessly pursues Eva Rose, despite the latter's repeatedly reciprocated cruelty and disdain towards him (tho it is quite possible that for her it is a case of Belligerent Sexual Tension, but alas Status Quo Is God so we'll probably never find out...).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Downplayed in Back to the Future, but it's there. Marty's rejection of the attentions of his future mother helps fuel her attraction.
  • Indecent Proposal: Billionaire John Gage continually pursues Diana Murphy even though she spends a good portion of the film rebuffing his advances — from the moment he approaches her in the boutique, offering to buy an expensive dress for her—"The dress is for sale. I'm not", to the infamous titular proposal, to his showing up at her job uninvited, to the point where she even explicitly tells him, "I hate you", which he dismisses with an offhand, "You wish you hated me" and tries to kiss her even as she's pulling away from him.
  • Scott from Love Before Breakfast won't stop following Kay and declaring his love for her even when she constantly puts him in his place for his annoying behaviour. She eventually falls in love with him. The 1930s for you.
  • In the Ellen DeGeneres film, Mr. Wrong, Martha's Abhorrent Admirer Whitman refuses to accept her outright rejects and continues insisting they are meant to be... until she shoots and apparently kills him.
  • In My Man Godfrey, the female lead can't stop hitting on Godfrey while he is constantly rejecting her advances.
  • The Notebook: Allie only falls in love with Noah after rejecting him repeatedly only for him to persist.

  • In The Faerie Queene, Canacee's many suitors only become more infatuated with her the more she rebuffs them and shows her sense of modesty
  • Referred to in Gone with the Wind, when Scarlett notes that the war is making young women accept proposals and get married at a shockingly fast rate, rather than rejecting a beau at least two times, as a proper lady should. She herself does this to Rhett, who pursues her despite the numerous times she essentially tells him to kiss off, and Ashley does this to her—even him marrying another woman can't seem to get it through to her that he doesn't love her, and she views them having a child as a betrayal of her.
  • Mansfield Park: When Fanny Price refuses Henry Crawford's marriage proposal, he and her uncle both assume her rejection is not serious and just a sign of her female modesty. (It's not.) He continues pursuing her against her wishes, but with the full support of her family.
  • Monster of the Month Club: Icicle has a massive crush on Sweetie Pie from the moment he first lays eyes on her... and won't take the hint even after she decks him one.
  • Pride and Prejudice: Mr. Collins initially takes Elizabeth's first rejection as encouragement to continue courting her (see article quote), but he soon finds out that she is serious. But his initial interpretation of her rejection as a positive step in their relationship reflects on his views of women in their culture. It's ironic that Lizzie also first rejects the proposal of the man she's ultimately happy to accept after some mutual character growth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A running subplot in the first season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is Boyle's repeated attempts to woo Rosa, no matter how many times she rejects him. About halfway through the season, he gets the hint and agrees to move on, at which point they become friends (and nothing more).
  • Downton Abbey: Edith pursues her neighbor Sir Anthony Strallan aggressively even though her parents AND Strallannote  are against the match. She finally gets the hint when he leaves her at the altar.
  • Family Matters: Steve Urkel spends the entire run of this sitcom aggressively trying to win Laura's affections even though she is repulsed by him. His perseverance pays off in the end.
  • Friends:
    • A distilled version in one episode: An entire sub-plot revolves around Chandler getting his best friend Monica to acknowledge he's 'boyfriend material'. He doesn't succeed but they get together a season later, making it ambiguous whether his joking persistence was serious or not.
    • In a later series, Joey gets an attractive model as his roommate after Chandler moves in with Monica, who turns out to not be attracted to him at all, but he isn't convinced. They do end up getting together a few episodes later, but then she suddenly reveals she can't stand Chandler and Monica, which breaks them up.
  • Saved by the Bell: Even though Lisa is extremely vocal in her lack of interest in Screech, he obliviously insists they are meant to be.
  • Seinfeld:
    • In "The Masseuse", George goes from merely wanting to get along with Jerry's girlfriend (he seems genuinely upset that she dislikes him, especially as he's neither said nor done anything to warrant this), to being downright obsessed with making her like him, to actually being attracted to her because she doesn't like him.
      George: Jerry... This woman hates me so much... I'm startin' to like her.
      Jerry: What?!
      George: She just dislikes me so much... It's irresistible.
      Jerry: [nodding] I can see that.
    • Discussed in another episode: Kramer has an epiphany that women are attracted to men who snub them. George quickly debunks the theory.
      Kramer: You see? Women, they like that! Yes! I understand women. The snub is good, they love the snub!
      George: No they don't. I tried that once. I snubbed for a year. Nothing. Every woman I saw, I snubbed. You never saw people so pleased.
  • Step by Step: Dana is the continuous subject of the unwanted attentions of her stepfather's nephew Cody, at least in the early seasons. This is downplayed later on, as he simply becomes irritating but does not pursue her romantically.
  • The Vampire Diaries:
    • Katherine is deeply in love with Stefan who makes it clear he wants nothing to do with her. That doesn't stop Katherine from insisting she will have him again.
    • Klaus is also undeterred by Caroline's abhorrence for him.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: Harper isn't at all put off by Justin's disinterest.


    Video Games 
  • Insaniquarium: One of the enemy aliens, known as Psychosquid, is named so as a nickname from a past ex-girlfriend, who started to refer to him as such due to basically being in denial in their relationship ending and acting as if the rejections never happened.

    Visual Novels 
  • Exaggerated with Dennis in Double Homework. Not only does he not take a hint that none of the girls in the summer school class are interested in him, but he comes up with a video game-style points and multiple endings system to guide his actions. And of course he makes it look like he’s doing better than he actually is.

    Web Comics 
  • In Homestuck, Roxy persistently hits on Dirk despite knowing that he's gay. She later expresses regret over her behavior and acknowledges that it was annoying and inappropriate.
  • Magick Chicks: Initially played straight between Faith and Tiffany, who was resistant to Faith's advances because she was straight. But the writers eventually changed their minds about Tiff's sexuality, by making it so she has a one-off attraction to Faith. Since then, they've segued from UST, to full-blown will they or won't they?
  • The example involving Yuki and Matt in Ménage à 3 was less about affection than a straightforward and essentially pragmatic wish for sex. (It's a Long Story.) Funnily enough, not only did Matt eventually succumb — partly thanks to some interference by a third party — but the two of them ended the comic in an actual and quasi-romantic relationship.
  • Sandra on the Rocks: Christophe keeps asking Marie for dates, despite always being rejected (because she's naturally suspicious of his record as The Casanova, and anyway she's more interested in Alex). Fortunately, it's all quite amicable on both sides.
  • Sticky Dilly Buns: After having slept with Jerzy once in the past, Angel pursues him very persistently, despite repeated (but perhaps insufficiently forceful) rejections, until Jerzy succumbs after a few too many drinks.
  • Yumi's Cells: Ruby relentlessly pursues Wook for the majority of the story, though much of it takes place in the background. Yumi and Ruby start off as rivals, but Yumi quickly learns that Wook is not interested in women. Ruby presumably never finds out and chases him rejection after rejection. She finally gives up after a few years when she finds herself surrounded by couples and ends up with another man.

    Western Animation 
  • Code Lyoko: While it initially seemed William had his chances with Yumi, he ends up becoming this. By season 3, she is completely fed up with him and brutally tells him what she thinks. He still keeps flirting with her after that.
  • Hey Arnold!: While Helga is busy being a Stalker with a Crush to Arnold, Brainy is doing the same to Helga, but a lot more openly. No matter how many times she hits him, he persists.
  • Kaeloo:
    • Pretty to Mr. Cat. It's obvious how much he hates her.
    • Mr. Cat with Kaeloo. Every single one of his LoveConfessions to her has ended in disaster despite the feeling being implied to be mutual, mainly due to his Poor Communication Kills.
  • Pepé Le Pew is practically the poster child for this. No matter how many times Penelope flees from him, or even attacks him, he always thinks she's just playing hard to get.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Chat Noir continues to pursue Ladybug despite her repeatedly rejecting him because she's in love with another guy. The twist is that this "other guy" is actually him, but neither of them know it because Ladybug both refuses to tell him the name of her crush and insists that they not reveal their secret identities to each other.
  • Muppet Babies: Gonzo continually woos Piggy, despite her greeting his advances with contempt and karate chops. This is borrowed from The Muppet Show, where it occurred less frequently.