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Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor

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"One of them is dark and poor
One fair with lots of money
I don't know which one to choose
The flower or the honey"
Celtic Woman, "At the Ceili"

One of the most common complications in the classic Love Triangle scenario. Two men are vying for a woman's affection. Who's the right one? It's hard to tell, but there's a good chance that one of them is considerably wealthier than the other, and he can provide security, glamour and the good life, while the other (who has a good chance of being an impoverished artist) can give none of the same. What are you gonna do?

Most of the time, it's going to be "go with the poor one," and the story will carry an Aesop that true love is worth more than material wealth. This makes sense if the rich one is a total bore or outright jackass, or the woman is just not in love with him as she is with the broke one. After all, it's simple Rule of Drama that our leading man isn't going to be wealthy and a great kisser. When done poorly, the rich one often ends up as the Designated Villain. This trope overlaps considerably with Wrong Guy First and Disposable Fiancé, but keep in mind that the rich suitor is not necessarily wrong, first or particularly disposable.

This trope is most often "two men and one woman" because of a sense that a woman needs someone to "provide for her". This sort of logic ties into Unable to Support a Wife and generates part of this trope's conflict.

If the suitors are also a Betty and Veronica pair, the dynamic will typically be either "poor but kindhearted vs. rich but haughty" or "poor but exciting vs. rich but boring suitor," being obviously slanted toward the poor suitor in both cases. In fact, having the rich suitor win or even be a decent, likeable person is rare with this trope (but Not a Subversion since this trope isn't explicitly about their personalities). If the poor suitor is portrayed as the bad guy, it's usually a Gold Digger situation where he's deceiving and exploiting her.

Compare Gold Digger, Meal Ticket, and Uptown Girl. It can involve Compete for the Maiden's Hand.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Love Triangle among police officers in Case Closed had local Non-Idle Rich Ninzaburo Shiratori against "poor suitor" and middle-class Nice Guy Wataru Takagi, both pining for the local Action Girl Satou. Satou ultimately chooses Takagi, after quite a while of Can't Spit It Out. Shiratori eventually finds his First Love, local Hot Teacher Sumiko Kobayashi, and they invoke Childhood Friend Romance.
  • Taichi and Arata, respectively, for Chihaya in Chihaya Furu, though it only comes to play in the beginning, when Taichi actually bullies Arata for the latter's poverty. Later on they technically remain Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor, but it doesn't have any impact on the situation, and Chihaya only cares about abilities in playing karuta anyway.
  • Played for Laughs in Dokonjou Gaeru. Local Hot Teacher Yoshiko Yamanaka is pursued by her co-worker Yoshio Minami (hinted to be from a rich family) and Sakakubei (Hiroshi's Big Brother Mentor who works as a sushi chef), but she completely fails to notice their interest in her.
  • Dr. Slump: In an episode of the remake, Arale had Obotchaman and the head of the school (Bawz) fight for her affection, in which it is shown that the Bawz comes from a wealthy family while Obotchaman lives like any other villager (in the original anime and manga he also works delivering milk). This also applies in the sequel manga Dr. Slump Returns, where we are introduced to Karte Karte, the eldest son of a wealthy family of doctors.
  • Fushigi Yuugi:
    • Miaka Yuuki is the Suzaku no Miko and main girl of the series. The rich suitor is Hotohori, the Emperor of Konan. The poor suitor is Country Mouse Tamahome. Miaka chooses Tamahome.
    • Hotohori's character novel and OAV, Suzaku Hi Den. His future wife and empress Houki is in the middle of the Love Triangle; Hotohori is the rich suitor, while his long-lost brother Tendou Shu is the poor suitor. This time, Hotohori wins and Shu dies... in Houki and Hoto's arms.
  • Future GPX Cyber Formula has Asuka Sugo involved in a love triangle between the middle-class guy and her longtime friend Hayato Kazami (poor suitor) and the aristocratic rich guy Karl Lichter von Randoll (rich suitor). She eventually chooses Hayato, although it's almost pretty obvious on who she will choose.
  • In Hana no Ko Lunlun, a beautiful young woman chooses a French sea captain over a rich Italian count. That woman was Lunlun's Missing Mom. And 18 years later, Lunlun meets the man who could've been her father... who turns out to be a rather kind-hearted guy.
  • Haruka Nogizaka's Secret has Nogizaka Haruka, the wealthy and popular High School student, who is the love interest of Ordinary High-School Student Ayase Yuuto, the "Poor Suitor" (middle-class but, if you compare him to Haruka and the "Rich Suitor"), and Shute Sutherland, who demeans Ayase in any given opportunity. Ayase Yuuto's self-steem issues are more of an obstacle than Sutherland, who isn't even a regular character.
  • Honoo No Alpen Rose:
    • Jeudi (or rather, Alicia Brandel) is pursued by George de Germont, who is the local Count and Lundi Courtout, who lives on the countryside. She obviously chooses Lundi, as the Count (given his personality), never stands a chance.
    • There's another triangle later, with Elegant Classical Musician Leonhardt "Leon" Aschenbach as the Rich Suitor to Lundi's poor suitor. In a variation, this happens after Lundi and Jeudi have gotten together, but by these days Lundi is MIA and believed to have died in a Heroic Sacrifice, and not to mention Leon is portrayed much more sympathetically than the Count. When Lundi turns out to be alive and reunites with Jeudi, after some pep talks Leon accepts that he's the Unlucky Childhood Friend and wishes them well, asking Lundi to protect her in his stead.
  • Rare female example in Kasei Yakyoku: the noblewoman Akiko Hashou and her maid Sara Uchida are this to Taka Itou, the male lead. Neither wins. Though Sara came damn close, love declaration and night of sex included before things got worse.
    • Played straight with Taka (Poor) and Saionji (Rich) for Akiko. Neither wins, again. Then the female Poor Suitor gets together with the Rich Romantic False Lead.
  • Maison Ikkoku:
    • Yusaku Godai is the poor college student, Shun Mitaka is the rich guy who only coaches tennis as a hobby. Kyoko Otonashi spent six years choosing between them, thanks to a rash of Status Quo Is God. She chooses the Poor Suitor. The Rich one finds a wife of his own and they're happy together.
    • Grandma Godai had a pair of these when she was younger and chose the poor one. However, she tells Kyoko to go for the rich guy since the poor one will only give her a life of misery.
  • Medabots: Both Ikki (Poor Suitor) and Koji (Rich Suitor) love Karin, who has yet to notice either's feelings for her.
  • Ojamajo Doremi: In one episode of Dokkan, Doremi had Akatsuki, the prince of the kingdom of the wizards (Rich Suitor) and Kotake her classmate of Misora (Poor Suitor) in which they fought in a game of sumo for her affection.
  • Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle has Krulcifer faced with the choice of Lux (prince of a now-destroyed empire, with a massive debt) and Balzeride (heir to one of the most powerful noble families in the New Kingdom). Unusually for this trope, Lux is only in the equation because Krulcifer asks him to pretend to be her lover to stop her family from forcing her into marriage. Krulcifer proposes that they settle things with a duel, which Balzeride loses and hence attempts to cheat. He's disgraced and imprisoned as a result, while Lux ends up being accepted by Krulcifer's family as an acceptable suitor.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Building by Will Eisner, Helen had a college sweetheart poet who loved her, but instead chose to marry the more stable, richer dentist — but ended up having an affair with the Poet because the marriage was ultimately loveless.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Some stories involve a Love Triangle between Donald, Daisy and Gladstone Gander. Gladstone tries to woo Daisy with material gifts he can afford thanks to his incredible luck while Donald is often to broke to go out with Daisy. Most of the time Daisy would choose Donald over Gladstone thanks to Donald being more down to earth and a good and sympathic Jerkass with a Heart of Gold compared to Gladstone's Jerkass.
  • Richie Rich had Mayda Munny (Rich Suitor) and Gloria Glad (Poor Suitor). Well, Gloria isn't exactly poor, but compare her to either Richie or Mayda.
  • Not played with much, but in the John Romita days of Spider-Man, upper-class socialite Gwen Stacy was the rich suitor and working-class party girl Mary Jane Watson was the poor suitor.
  • In the early years of X-Men, Jean Grey had to choose between Warren Worthington, who was incredibly rich, handsome, charming and athletic, and had wings, and Scott Summers, who was a penniless orphan, skinny, massively introverted, and always wore giant nerd glasses lest he blast someone's head off.
  • One of the stories in What If? v2 #60 (which was devoted to what-ifs about Jean and Scott's relationship) showed what would have happened if she did choose Warren over Scott. Basically, Scott's edges would have been even harder had she not been there to soften them, and he was an even bigger antisocial Jerkass than he is in the normal continuity. So much, that Professor X named Beast as the leader of the X-Men since he had compassion and cared to endear himself to his teammates. This caused Cyclops to storm off and join the Brotherhood.

    Fan Works 
  • The Peace Not Promised: Lily doesn't let wealth influence her thinking much, although she can't help but feel the crimp when her father passes away, leaving her with only a house that she has to sell to clear the mortgage, and she and Severus start out so poor that they decide against even attending a cinema together. Severus, however, is perfectly aware that in another lifetime she married James Potter and would never have had to worry about money again. Still, he has good prospects for future income until he loses his right hand.

    Films — Animated 
  • Corpse Bride twisted this quite a bit with the two men who wished to marry Victoria. Victor, the rich suitor, was kind, but was of a Nouveau Riche background while Lord Barkis (the poor suitor) was a Jerkass Impoverished Patrician.
  • From the Disney Animated Canon:
    • In Lady and the Tramp at first, there was going to be this, with The Tramp competing for Lady's affections with a rich neighbor family's dog named Boris. Eventually, the neighbor roles were given to the characters of Jock and Trusty and Boris was moved to elsewhere in the film.
    • In Beauty and the Beast, Belle has two suitors over the course of the film, the huntsman Gaston (Poor) and The Beast (Rich), a prince who lives in a magnificent castle and whose servants make up much of the cast. She never shows any real interest in Gaston despite his obsessive pursuit of her, and eventually chooses the Beast aka the Rich Suitor once she helps him realise that he must become a kinder person.
    • Given a bit of a twist in Aladdin, where Jasmine falls in love with "street rat" Aladdin and doesn't much care for this Prince Ali who comes parading down the streets with an ostentatious display of wealth and possessions. The twist, of course, is that "Ali" is actually Aladdin who's been turned into a prince by Genie. Jasmine only begins warming up to him when she figures this out and he begins acting more like himself. And it was not like she knew she had a choice between the "two of them", since Jafar lied to her by claiming Aladdin had been executed (as part of his plan to use Aladdin to get the lamp from the Cave of Wonders).
    • Gender-inverted in The Princess and the Frog, where Prince Naveen, cut off by his parents, chooses to marry the rich Charlotte LeBouffe] for her money... before falling for her poorer friend, Tiana. It seems like he might have to marry Charlotte even after choosing Tiana, but Charlotte does away with that issue herself.
    • Frozen (2013): Princess Anna falls in Love at First Sight with Hans, a prince from a neighboring kingdom; they later agree to a Fourth-Date Marriage. Kristoff is a grumpy ice harvester living alone with his pet reindeer, and chides Anna for agreeing to marry a guy whom she just met. During the betrayal scene, Hans turned out to be a Gold Digger seeking Arendelle's throne. After learning her lesson with Hans, she takes it slowly with Kristoff. At the end of the sequel, Kristoff and Anna finally marry and live Happily Ever After.
  • Metegol : El Grosso is a rich and famous soccer player, Amadeo isn't rich, and both love Laura.
  • Moomins on the Riviera had Clark as the rich suitor and Moomin as the poor suitor for Snorkmaiden.
  • In Disney's Direct-to-DVD film Mulan II, three princesses are set for an Arranged Marriage to princes from a neighboring kingdom for diplomatic reasons, but all three fall in love with the common soldiers Yao, Ling, and Chien Po on the journey to the other kingdom, and are eventually able to convince their father to allow them to marry the soldiers instead.
  • In Shrek, though Fiona was intended to marry the wealthy lord of Duloc Farquaad, she falls in love with the common ogre Shrek. At first, she accepts Farquaad's proposal after a falling out with Shrek, but is seen to be extremely miserable and loathing of Farquaad. However, after Farquaad is eaten by Dragon at the wedding, she marries Shrek.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Renata, a rich girl from the Mexican film Amar Te Duele has to choose between Francisco and Ulises; the former is a Jerkass hinted to be the son of an influential politician and the latter who is a poor boy whose family sells clothes on the street. She does choose Ulises, but it doesn't end well for them.
  • Arthur (1981) has a gender-flipped variant — the title character is Idle Rich but he won't stay that way unless he goes through with an Arranged Marriage with a rich, boring woman. Too bad he falls in love with a poor, feisty waitress. When he chooses the poor waitress, each version comes to the same ending via different routes — in the 1981 original, his grandmother decides not to cut him off because she doesn't want anyone in the family to be working-class, while in the 2011 remake she finds him too immature to love, so he first becomes a responsible working adult in the family business (fixing the inheritance issue), and then reconciles with her.
  • In Cafe Setareh, Salomeh is engaged to Ebi, who is Unable to Support a Wife. When Ebi goes to prison, and a rich Jerkass begins courting her, she is genuinely conflicted and in the end commits suicide.
  • Played with in Coming to America, where Prince Akeem portrays himself as poor so that his future queen will love him for who he is, rather than how much money he has. In his fight for Lisa, he is up against Daryl, the money-rich but personality-poor heir to the Soul Glo fortune. Of course, it comes out that Akeem is really a prince, even with his father the King coming to fetch him back home. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Diary of a Mad Black Woman: when the main character Helen has to choose between her wealthy, disabled, but abusive husband (Charles) and a factory worker she meets, Orlando. She zigzags between them because she at first chooses Orlando, then when Charles is paralyzed goes back to him, then finally chooses Orlando.
  • Johnny and Neil in Dirty Dancing. Provided, it doesn't hurt that Johnny is incredibly attractive and an extremely good dancer, whereas Neil is more or less a Jerkass loser.
  • In Enchanted, Giselle initially falls in Love at First Sight with Prince Edward, but once in New York falls in love with pragmatic lawyer Robert (who does quite well for himself, but definitely isn't anywhere near royalty). Giselle and Robert eventually end up together, with both of their previous love interests ending up Happily Ever After together as well.
  • The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas: Casino owner Chip Rockfeller and quarry employee Fred Flintstone are rivals for Wilma's affections. The movie twists the trope by having Chip needing to marry Wilma, who's from a rather affluent family as well, to be able to pay his debts and stay wealthy.
  • A rare male version in Tyler Perry's Good Deeds. Wesley Deeds has to choose between his fiancee Natalie (rich) or a down-on-her-luck single mother who is a janitor in his office building.
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has Juliet choose between Mark (a high-society military man) as the Rich Suitor and Dawsey (a rural pig farmer) as the Poor Suitor.
  • High School Musical offers a rare gender-flipped, modern example. The second film has Sharpay using her social connections and scholarship opportunities to lure Troy away from his ordinary, middle-class girlfriend Gabriella. (Who is working with him at Sharpay's parents country club.) Troy is only ever interested in Gabriella, but Sharpay's interference does eventually break them up. Until Troy realizes what's going on, tells Sharpay to go to hell and wins Gabriella back.
  • Played with in High Society: Poor Suitor vs. Self-Made Man Rich Suitor vs. Born Rich Suitor - the first is part of the Beta Couple; the second is very proud of his money, and the power it affords him; the third is incidentally rich and doesn't really display it. Not only does (one) Rich Suitor win; but out of the two rich men, the richer is the nice, artistic composer and singer, rather than a boring coal tradesman, and wins.
  • Played with in How to Marry a Millionaire: Schatze Page sets out to marry a rich man and finds herself torn between wealthy older gentleman J.D. Hanley and working-class stiff Tom Brookman. Although J.D. is a kind and caring man and Schatze gets along very well with him, she has much more chemistry with Tom and ultimately chooses him, only discovering afterwards that Tom is in fact a bona fide millionaire in his own right.
  • In I Know Where I'm Going!, Joan Webster has to choose between Robert Bellinger, the owner of Consolidated Chemical Industries, or Torquil MacNeil, the poor laird who has to rent his beloved Kiloran to Bellinger.
  • IQ: A downplayed example. In the film it's clear that Catherine's fiance, James, enjoys a more affluent lifestyle than his romantic rival, Ed. However, it's never remarked upon and it ultimately doesn't factor into Catherine's decision on which man to be with.
  • Played with in Just Friends in which Jamie must choose between her former high school best friend who is now a Jerkass, a successful The Casanova with a glamorous job in the music industry and another former friend who has grown up into a nice, down to earth small town paramedic. Except it turns out the Jerkass Rich Suitor is really a Jerk with a Heart of Gold while the supposedly nice Poor Suitor is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing deliberately looking to break her heart for not noticing his crush on her in high school.
  • A Knight's Tale: Jocelyn must choose between Count Ademar, the nobleman, and William, the squire disguised as a knight (and only a country knight of minor nobility at that, although his money situation improves as he keeps winning tournaments). She thought they were both noble, but she was still willing to love William after she found out his true heritage.
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day calls this trope boring, and gives Delissia LeFosse a choice between three suitors: charming club owner Nick, eager young Phil, or poor but passionate Michael.
  • Moulin Rouge!: Satine must choose between the rich Duke (that's his only name) and the young bohemian playwright Christian — or, more poetically, between her diamonds-are-a-girl's-best-friend materialism and her desire to be free to love. And of course the a show-within-a-show they're planning has the exact same love triangle — inspired by said conflict, but this time featuring a courtesan torn between a poor sitar player and a villainous maharajah. However, while he is very definitely the villain of the film, the Duke does still get a chance to comment on the love triangle and question why he's the villain in this situation:
    Duke: Why would the courtesan choose a penniless sitar player over the maharajah who is offering a lifetime of security? That's real love.
  • Mr. Deeds: Deeds as the rich suitor; Babe's coworker and fake mugger as the poor suitor.
  • The Notebook: the rich guy is decent and very lovely.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In the cinematic Grand Finale to the series, wealthy Lawrence Nolan proposes to Miss Brooks. Although Miss Brooks likes Nolan as a friend, and he's overall a good person, she can't see herself in love with him. Miss Brooks prefers her longtime Love Interest, shy biology teacher Phillip Boynton. At the end of the film, they finally marry and live Happily Ever After.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: Elizabeth must choose between her true love, penniless blacksmith Will or the older, wealthier Commodore Norrington. Unlike other examples, both guys are portrayed as good men and both genuinely love her. She chooses Will. Norrington accepts it with grace and tells Will "If You Ever Hurt Her", but dies a while later.
  • Pretty in Pink: Impoverished young Andie must choose between rich boy Blane and poor boy Duckie.
  • Prom Wars: Selby student Percy (who makes ends working as a waiter) and Lancaster student Geoffrey (who goes through money like it's tissue paper) make jerks of themselves fighting over Diana Riggs, who hates Geoffrey but gets mad at Percy for his behavior during the fight.
  • Reality Bites: Lelaina must choose between successful businessman Michael and slacker/philosopher/asshole Troy.
  • In A Recipe for Seduction, Billy is the rich suitor, coming from a powerful family and being Jessica's Jerkass boyfriend at the start of the film. Harland is much less wealthy and gets mocked by Billy, but he's charismatic and kind, and quickly starts to appeal to Jessica.
  • A Room in Town has the main obstacle to Violette's wish to marry Francois be her own poverty, while Edith is comparatively well-off.
  • Shampoo: Jackie must choose between the rich Lester and the blue-collar hairdresser George.
  • Brad and his billionaire brother, Farley, are this for Janet in Shock Treatment.
  • Shopgirl: Mirabelle must choose between a wealthy older man and a penniless younger man.
  • Spartacus: Slave girl Varinia (and, in a way, slave boy Antoninus) must choose between high-ranking Roman general Crassus and rebel slave leader Spartacus. She chooses Spartacus. And then he dies. Crassus makes sure that Varinia is released and then commits suicide to tell "fuck you" to his enemies.
  • Sylvie's Love: In the first act, Robert is the Poor Suitor (an aspiring musician employed by her father) and the offscreen Lacy is the Rich Suitor (his father is a successful doctor) for Sylvie's hand.
  • Titanic (1997): Rose must choose between the wealthy businessman Cal and impoverished artist Jack. Leonardo Dicaprio won.
  • Two Moon Junction: April must choose between her wealthy fiancee and her newly found fling, who is a carnie. In the end, she marries the rich guy, but ends up with the carnie, too.
  • Wayne's World: Tia Carrere must choose between lower-class Wayne and TV executive Rob Lowe.
  • Wayne's World 2: Tia Carrere must choose between slightly-higher-class Wayne and record executive Christopher Walken.

  • Explicitly called out in 1632. The up-time Americans prefer the plucky young poor-but-earnest suitor, while the down-time Germans think the Americans are crazy and strongly prefer the currently wealthy suitor over one whose prospects are iffy at best.
  • In A Brother's Price, Jerin's suitors include the neighbour girls (all of them), later on a noblewoman asks for his hand, and the princesses want him, too. Jerin hopes his sisters won't make him marry the neighbour girls, who are not only poor but also uncivilised and brutish. He gets his wish because his sisters think they can get a higher brother's price by marrying him to a rich family, and at least his sister Eldest wants him to be happy, too.
  • The knight Palamon and the commoner Arcite for Emily in "The Knight's Tale" of The Canterbury Tales. Arcite wins the physical duel for Emily's hand but suffers fatal injuries when his horse throws him off during his victory celebration, making Palamon the winner by default. It's also worth noting that Emily prayed to Diana to either remain unmarried or become married to the man who loved her the most which implies that Palamon's love for her was purer than Arcite's, something that is usually not done with the rich suitor.
  • Charly: Mark comes from a wealthy East Coast family while Sam comes from a more humble background in the Intermountain West.
  • In the novel Les Chiens Et Les Loups by French Ukrainian-born writer Irène Némirovsky where the major theme is the contrast between the Nouveau Riche Jews (les chiens aka the dogs) and the poorer Jews who still live in the ghetto (les loups aka the wolves), the protagonist Ada is a poor Jewish girl who is in love with her rich distant cousin Harry (who develops feelings for her after meeting her in Paris and starts an affair with her) but ends up marrying her first cousin Ben who has loved her all his life and shared with her a rather unhappy childhood of poverty.
  • "The Choice" by Dorothy Parker is a poem about a woman who has a choice between a man who offers her lands and fine things and a man who charms her with his singing alone. She chooses the latter without a second thought—and then wonders afterward if there's something wrong with her head.
  • Agatha Christie used this on occasion:
    • Death on the Nile:
      • Linnet and Jacqueline are this to Simon Doyle. Linnet, the rich one, manages to steal Simon away from her poorer friend Jackie. Except that it turns out Jackie was the victorious one all along; Simon always loved her and married Linnet, who he saw as just a Clingy Jealous Girl, only so that he and Jackie could murder Linnet on a boat voyage over the Nile and inherit her money.
      • Death on the Nile also has a "beta" case of "rich suitor, poor suitor." Cornelia Robinson, the poor relation of a rich woman on the boat, is being courted by both the scraggly Communist agitator Mr. Ferguson and the successful, famous Dr. Bessner. She chooses the poor suitor which turns out to be the doctor, who is comfortably well-off, but not spectacularly wealthy. Ferguson was a wealthy Lord, but Cornelia didn't care. She thought he was just as much of a Jerkass as an aristocrat as he was as a commoner.
    • One Hercule Poirot story has a young woman in this situation, and Poirot easily guesses that no matter her reasoning, she can't help but love the poor suitor and not the rich one.
  • Even though few doubted who she'd wind up with, this is basically the plot of The Courtship of Princess Leia. Leia gets courted by Prince Isolder, and Han naturally vies for her attention. He eventually tries to take it into his own hands by kidnapping her and taking her to Dathomir, which he won in a sabaac game. She agrees to give Han a week to convince her to marry him, and although there are complications because of things happening on the planet, she eventually agrees to marry him.
  • In Don't Look Back, Sam was dating Del, a Jerk Jock from a rich family close to hers, prior to her disappearance. She also has feelings for her childhood friend Carson, the son of the poor groundskeeper who works for her parents. She tries to make things work with Del for a while, but certain revelations about what their relationship was really like, along with her growing closeness to Carson, lead her to choose the latter.
  • Enoch Arden plays with this trope. Annie Lee's two suitors fit the profile: Enoch Arden, a poor but ambitious orphan, and Philip Ray, the miller's son. However, she is never directly forced to choose between them, as when each one proposes, the other is not a candidate for her hand at the time. She eventually marries both in succession.
  • In The Golden Demon, Miya Shigisawa is betrothed to and in love with Kan'ichi Hazama the poor orphaned student living with her family, but she also has the eyes of amoral, wealth-flaunting banker's son Tadatsugu Tomiyama. Her budding Gold Digger tendency allows her to falter and let herself betray the former to marry the latter, which leads to a lifetime of pain and tragedy for both her and her old lover.
  • In The Great Gatsby, the backstory had Daisy being torn between common soldier Jay who's away at war and wealthy Jerk Jock Tom. She chose Tom, but it's implied that she regretted not waiting for Jay and loved him more than she loved Tom. Jay returns even richer than Tom and begins successfully courting Daisy, only for Daisy to be ultimately too weak-willed and shallow to choose him over Tom and Jay to get shot for trying to cover up a death Daisy accidentally caused.
  • In Harry Potter, Snape, who grew up poor, was in a failed one-sided Childhood Friend Romance with Harry's mother, Lily. Lily herself grew up in a middle-class home in the same town as Snape. Harry's father, James, came from a wealthy pureblooded family whose wealth was greatly compounded by a hair potion his father, Fleamont invented. James was also something of a magical Jerk Jock and a troublemaker while in Hogwarts, though he matured out of that later. Given Harry's existence, it's pretty easy to see whom she fell in love with (hint: it's the rich one).
  • Holes: During Stanley Yelnats's great-great-grandfather's story, Elya (the grandpa) is the poor one and he's up against a fat slob rich guy who's significantly older. The contest is decided by the size of the bride price, a pig, but they turn out to be the same size. The father lets the bride choose which one but she can't make up her mind. At that point Elya realizes she doesn't care about him and leaves in disgust, ultimately emigrating to America (and forgetting the promise he made to the witch to get the pig).
  • A variation appears in the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy where Katniss has to choose between Gale and Peeta. Depending on how you look at it, Gale can be the poor suitor and Peeta the rich suitor or the roles can be reversed. Gale was born in the Seam, like Katniss, and is by that definition the poor suitor. Peeta was born merchant, which doesn't make him rich but still better off than Gale, and after the first book he's got enough money to last for the rest of his life. On the other hand, Gale is a hunter who brings home fresh game and is able to support a family while Peeta is a painter and a baker who would probably be in trouble if he lost his Games' winnings. About halfway through the book it's clear that the one who won Katniss' heart is Peeta.
  • In Island Beneath the Sea, cocotte Violette initially finds herself with two lovers who treat their relationship as exclusive: rich planter Toulouse Valmorain and military officer Étienne Relais, who has a rather modest income. Eventually the love triangle resolves itself peacefully, as Valmorain's intentions were never serious, and Violette ends up happily married to Relais.
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover: Lady Chatterley has a nobleman husband who can't have sex with her, and a working-class gamekeeper paramour who can.
  • In Many Waters, a sequel to A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle, Yalith is pursued both by one of the nephilim, a powerful angelic being who promises her splendor and protection from the oncoming flood, and Sandy and Dennys, the twins from another time, who can't exactly promise a way to save her. However, she Takes a Third Option when she trusts in the seraphim, who takes her away to be with God.
  • In The Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe, there is a mention of a wealthy young woman named Victorine LaFourcade, who was involved with a poor journalist named Julien Bossuet. She caved under pressure from her family, though, and married a prominent banker, who abused her until she fell ill and (apparently) died. Julien comes to her grave with the intention of taking a piece of her hair as a memento of her...only to find that she had been Buried Alive! He took her home and nursed her back to health, and they left France for America together. Later, when they return to France and he's challenged by the banker, Julien legally gets to keep her as his wife, because of the unusual circumstances and the decades that had passed.
  • Pride and Prejudice: A deliberate and ruthless twist of this trope with the heroine initially despising the rich Jerkass who calls her not pretty enough to dance with and liking the poor but charming suitor who treats her like a lady. The rich guy turns out to be a Defrosting Ice Queen who has a heart of gold underneath his aloof demeanor, and the poor guy turns out to be a slimeball who seduces a naive girl just so that he can mooch off the girl's family.
  • Queen of Babble plays with this. Both Luke and Chaz are rich trust fund kids but Luke is a European prince and wealthy banker while Chaz is a Ph.D. student wanting to be a Philosophy professor.
  • A downplayed variation leaning towards Puppy Love, with all the parties aged around thirteen, in The Footfalls of Chess Horses. Kostya and Vashek both have crushes on Belka. Kostya is the son of the richest man in town, while Vashek's parents can't afford even the cheapest holiday trip. However, both are genuinely nice boys, Belka likes both of them and has Ship Tease moments with each, but it never affects the friendship between the three of them and there is no clear resolution of the triangle.
  • Song at Dawn : Discussed Trope and one of the many conundrums resolved by the Court of Love: if both are equal in all aspects except wealth, then the fulcrum is the lady's own wealth. If she is wealthy, she should choose the poor suitor because she could provide for him, and "love's greatest joy is providing for a lover's needs". On the other hand, if she is poor then she should choose the rich suitor so he can take care of her. After Arnaud proposes to her, Estela turns him down and tells him to wait for "the heiress of his dreams".
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: In the backstory, Catelyn Tully was betrothed to Brandon Stark, heir to one of the great houses of Westeros, but also the object of the affections of Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, her childhood friend and heir to a minor house. Petyr challenged Brandon to a duel for her hand which resulted in Brandon giving him severe injuries; when Petyr was well enough, he was banished from the castle. Ultimately, Catelyn didn't marry Brandon because he was executed by the Mad King Aerys II and married Brandon's brother Ned, with whom she had a happy marriage. 15 years later, Petyr, after rising in the world, used his influence to get Ned killed and kick-start a devastating continent-wide Civil War that ultimately claimed Catelyn's life, using the resulting chaos to accumulate titles, money, and Catelyn's daughter Sansa.
    • There are numerous wrinkles to this example. First of all, Catelyn isn't interested in Petyr romantically and doesn't take his advances seriously. As The Dutiful Daughter, she doesn't protest against her engagement to Brandon (it helps that he is rather handsome and charming, which isn't a given in Arranged Marriage), but doesn't know him that well and when she has to marry his brother, she's not torn about it either. Her sister Lysa is in love with Petyr, but he doesn't reciprocate; she tricks him into sleeping with her and becomes pregnant, thinking she could then marry him... But ends up forced into aborting the child and marrying older Jon Arryn, who as lord of the Vale is technically the rich suitor in this scenario. Lysa never stops loving Petyr, which allows him to use her for his plans - but he never reciprocates, ultimately murdering her for threatening Sansa.
  • In Song of Songs from The Bible, an alternate interpretation of the story between the Shulamite and her Beloved is that the Shulamite's Beloved isn't King Solomon, but a shepherd, and that the whole story is actually a Love Triangle of the Shulamite dealing with two suitors — King Solomon as the rich suitor and the shepherd as the poor suitor — vying for her attention. By the end of the story, the Shulamite chooses the shepherd over Solomon, saying to the effect that all the money in the world wouldn't be enough to buy her love.
  • Parodied in the spoof melodrama "Sweet Ermengarde". Young and innocent (or so she'd like you to think) Ermengarde has the standard melodrama heroine choice between 'Squire Hardman, a rich and evil Dastardly Whiplash who holds the mortgage to her father's land, and Jack Manly, the poor but honest and handsome young man who's loved her since their school days. Hardman gives up the pursuit halfway through the story when it occurs to him that, since he's threatening to foreclose on the land to force Ermengarde to marry him so he can inherit the land, it would be simpler just to foreclose anyway and leave Ermengarde out of it. He is then replaced by a different rich suitor, a city sophisticate who tempts Ermengarde into eloping with him, only for Ermengarde to push him out of a moving train when she realizes he's only after the land as well. Meanwhile, Jack has gone off to the city hoping to prove his worth by making his fortune and buying out the mortgage, but comes back penniless and married to someone else. Ermengarde becomes rich through a Long-Lost Relative, buys out the mortgage, and then forces 'Squire Hardman to marry her so she can get his fortune too.
  • Deconstructed in James Thurber's fairy-tale parody short story "The Princess and the Tin Box", where a princess raised in luxury comes of age and is given a choice between many suitors. All but one are the "rich suitor", who present her with jewels in the hopes that she'll marry them only for them. The other has all the trappings of the "poor suitor", giving her only a tin box full of pebbles out of lack of anything else, which intrigues her because she's never seen anything like it before. The princess, after carefully considering everything...chooses one of the rich suitors. (The reader is admonished in the end that "All those who thought that the Princess was going to select the tin box filled with worthless stones instead of one of the other gifts will kindly stay after class and write one hundred times on the blackboard, I would rather have a hunk of aluminum silicate than a diamond necklace.")
  • The second and third books in the Twilight series run on this trope, with Bella having to choose between Edward and Jacob. Edward is a vampire with literally millions of dollars and who gives Bella expensive cars and jewels. Jacob is werewolf who has to take care of his wheelchair-ridden father and who gives Bella hand-carved trinkets. Edward wins.
  • The Wolf Den: Amara is stuck between her true affection for the slave Menander and the freedom and comfort offered by the wealthy Rufus.

    Live Action TV 
  • Happens all the damn time in soap operas, usually with a blue collar leather-jacket wearing bad boy with a heart of gold vs. a smug, arrogant, suit-wearing bastard. The Poor Suitor almost exclusively wins.
    • Happens so much that The '70s comic Mafalda was already parodying it in one of their strips. Susanita's mother is replying to a phone survey about telenovelas and she starts blabbing about how she finds so horrible that the lead female ("a girl from such a high-class family, you see") is cheating on the rich suitor ("a lawyer, such a serious and nice boy") with the poor suitor ("that guy from the mechanic place, he may be handsome but he's a low-class worker - not that I have anything against workers, but..."). In the background, Susanita and Mafalda are very embarrassed.
    • A notable exception in Days of Our Lives was the creation of the quite unconventional Super Couple Jack and Jennifer. Jennifer (the classic girl-next-door type) had to choose between rich, arrogant, manipulative, snarky, corrupt, ex-rapist Jack Deveraux and sweet, caring, poor, leather jacket-wearing Emilio. Even though Jack was doing the typical Rich Suitor stuff like throwing his money around, demeaning the poor suitor and manipulating the situation to seem superior, he still got the girl and became one of the show's most popular characters for years to come while Emilio got cheated on and eventually fell off a roof and died.
  • Acapulco: Working-class Maximo has a crush on his colleague Julia, who is dating but not really happy with their wealthy boss Chad. When she considers this love triangle late in the first season, she thinks that Chad might not truly get her like Maximo does, but he is sweet and rich and that counts for something.
  • The poor country vet James Harriot vs. rich Richard Edmundson for the hand of Helen Alderson in All Creatures Great And Small.
  • The first season of the Reality TV dating show Average Joe had a plain-looking guy who owned his own company and a good-looking guy who wasn't even out of school yet as the final two choices for the girl, and she ultimately chose the latter. In a twist, her choice of the "poor suitor" was blasted by most viewers who felt that she chose him solely because he was better-looking than the "average Joe".
  • Belgravia: Lady Maria Grey is engaged to John Bellasis, nephew and second-in-line to the wealthy Earl of Brockenhurst, but forms a mutual attraction with the middle-class businessman Charles Pope, who happens to be the Earl's illegitimate grandson through his deceased son Edmund; John, being a cad, is apathetic to the whole business and couldn't care less about the match (it's Maria's Impoverished Patrician mother who's really pushing it). The situation gets turned on its head when Charles is discovered to be legitimate when papers legalizing the marriage are found, leaving John with nothing; despite Charles' altered circumstances, Maria declares that she would have chosen him regardless, having resolved to elope with him rather than marry John.
  • In Dickensian, Honoria Barbary is engaged to the poor soldier James Hawdon, but her sister Frances would rather she married the rich (and elderly) Sir Leicester Dedlock. (Readers of Bleak House will be aware what choice she made in Dickens canon.)
  • At close to end of Family Matters, this happened with Laura between Steve (poor) and his counterpart-split-from-him Stefan (rich) who both proposed to her at the same time. At first, Steve attempted to take the decision out of Laura's hands by moving to Russia and performing a I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy, but in the end, Laura ended up choosing him.
  • Averted in Frasier: Niles leaves rich plastic surgeon Mel Karnofski for poor health care worker Daphne Moon, but he's already a wealthy psychiatrist so it was more about social status than wealth. Daphne herself leaves rich lawyer Donny for the equally-rich Niles — it leads one to wonder if the writers made sure Donny was wealthy so that when Daphne chose Niles over him, no accusations of gold-digging could be slung around.
  • Full House: D.J. must choose between the abnormally rich Nelson and the flaky but sensitive guitarist Viper. She eventually chooses neither.
  • Galavant has Affably Evil King Richard and the titular knight both vying for Madalena's hand. She chooses Richard for his fame and fortune, with her Bitch in Sheep's Clothing nature becoming increasingly apparent as the series progresses.
  • This is a common situation in the Gilmore Girls. Lorelai has to choose between gruff, working class Luke, who is her best friend, and glamorous, flighty childhood friend Christopher, the father of her daughter Rory, who belongs to the wealthy lifestyle she abandoned. She picks Luke.
    • In Season 6, her daughter Rory has a similar choice between rough, rebellious, writer Jess and overconfident, insanely rich, high-class society Logan. In an odd twist Logan wins (for reasons that are never really explained), he gets better but Rory breaks up with him later, leaving her ultimate partner unknown.
  • Gossip Girl tried to play up this trope when Dan pursued Blair, to the point of actually calling him "the pauper" in promos. Apparently living in a large loft in Brooklyn, having gone to expensive private schools, having an über rich stepmother who gets you prestigious internships, riding around in limos, traveling the world and having published a best-selling novel and making a ton of money off the deal in your early twenties is the same as being poor. Ironically, the rich suitor in this scenario (Chuck) spent the first episodes of season four living on much more limited means than Dan ever did. Most fans found the pauper angle for Dan downright ridiculous.
  • Charlotte Wells finds herself in this trope in the first season of Harlots. Daniel Marnay is a penniless sex-worker who loves Charlotte for who she is. George Howard is a filthy rich aristocrat who views her as his property.
  • Merlin has Gwen's love interests, Prince Arthur and Lancelot who in this adaptation, is a peasant. A rare variant where Gwen ends up with the rich suitor due to a Betty and Veronica Switch and Lancelot's heroic sacrifice.
  • Early episodes of The O.C. had this in the form of Ryan (poor) vs Luke (rich) competing for Marissa's love.
  • Revenge has the main character Emily Thorne being pursued by the wealthy Daniel Grayson and the comparatively poor Jack Porter. Though in something of a twist for this trope, while Daniel is wealthy by any objective standards, Emily is even more so and could probably equal Daniel's entire net worth with the money she loses in her couch cushions.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): The episode "Spur of the Moment" is about a woman who has to choose between a rich man she doesn't love and a poor man she does love, and her future self pursues her on a horse to warn her not to choose the wrong man. The woman ultimately chooses to run off with the poor man. Unfortunately, he turns out to be the wrong choice her future self had tried to warn her against. The poor guy is predictably lousy at handling money and runs the farm they depend on into the ground.
  • Victorious has a play in Tori the Zombie in which the lead character is pursued by an obnoxious rich man and a kind valet.

  • One of the stories in the Celtic Woman song "At the Ceili", as per the page quote. She picks the poor suitor.
  • Patsy Cline mulls these over in her song "A Poor Man's Roses (Or a Rich Man's Gold)".
  • The 2011 Cee Lo Green song "Fuck You" (also known by its bowdlerized version, "Forget You"):
    I guess he's an Xbox, and I'm more Atari
    But the way you play your game ain't fair
  • The Billy Joel song "Uptown Girl", despite being vague about specific characters, makes numerous allusions to "high class toys" and refers to Billy Joel as a poor working-class Prince Charming, despite his commercial success.
  • Barry Manilow's Copacabana is the story of a dancer named Lola, who worked in the famous bar Copacabana and had the bartender Tony as her Poor Suitor (and the one she favored) and the rich client Rico as the Rich one. When Rico "went too far", Tony leapt to face him - and was shot dead right there. Thirty years later, the Copacabana is a famous disco - and Lola, now a White-Dwarf Starlet, still drinks herself into a stupor there, remembering her lost love.
  • The Spin Doctors' "Two Princes" has the poor Prince (the singer) and the rich Prince (the guy with the diamonds and the rockets).
  • "Now I ain't saying she's a gold digger..."

  • On one episode of the BBC panel game My Word!,note  the quote "And so to bed"note  occasioned a story about a woman in one of these situations, culminating in the narrator rhetorically asking whether, after her marriage, she would be in Tibet (where the rich suitor had promised to take her) or her poor suitor's house? The morning after she was "wedded and bedded", she woke up... and saw Tibet.note 

  • In Celebration, the Orphan and Edgar Allen Rich struggle against each other to get the girl. Their names speak for themselves.
  • In "Fulgens and Lucres": the noblewoman Lucres must choose between two suitors: the thrifty but honorable Gayus or the filthy rich but depraved Cornelius. She decides to marry whoever is nobler, and has them both make speeches listing why they fit that description. Needless to say, the one who kept his speech short won.
  • In The Good Person of Szechwan, Shen Te receives the attentions of both Shu Fu, who is old and ugly and rich, and Yang Sun, who is young and handsome and poor. At first it seems like the story is heading in the traditional direction, but then it turns out Yang Sun doesn't love her back and is only playing on her sympathies for his own advantage. (Meanwhile, Shu Fu seems genuine in his devotion and offers of support, but Shen Te is unwilling to accept him just for his money, and there are hints that if she got to know him more closely he wouldn't be a better man than Yang Sun.) The situation remains unresolved at the play's conclusion.
  • Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore has two potential mates, the wealthy Sir Joseph Porter and the lowly Ralph Rackstraw. She even has a dramatic aria comparing the two, though at other times she obviously favors the tar over the lord.
  • The Merchant of Venice: Almost all of Portia's suitors are rich (princes, dukes, barons, etc), and Bassanio, a "poor...gentlemen" is the exception. Needless to say, he's the only one she's really interested in. A lot of the plot revolves around the fact that he's borrowed money from a friend in order to woo her.
  • In RENT, Mimi is in a triangle with broke musician Roger and rich entrepreneur Benny (it didn't seem to matter that he was already married).
  • Parodied in The Rivals. Lydia dreams of a romantic elopement with the impoverished Ensign Beverley, and rejects her aunt's attempt to marry her off to the wealthy Captain Absolute. What she doesn't know is that Beverley is Jack Absolute, who chose to woo her under an assumed identity because he spotted that she was a romantic and would never have given him a chance if she'd known how well-off he was. She spurns him when she finds out the truth, but realizes in the end that she loves him for himself, regardless of how wealthy he is.
  • Ruddigore has the prosperous farmer Robin Oakapple and the poor sailor Richard Dauntless vie for Rose Maybud's hand. Rose prefers Robin, partly because his moral character is superior and partly because she's a Gold Digger, but turns to Richard when Robin's true identity is revealed, which invokes the curse that requires Robin/Ruthven to become a career criminal. When Ruthven breaks the curse with a Logic Bomb at the end of Act II, which allows him to become good again, Rose pivots back to him.
  • In Songs for a New World the singer of "Stars and the Moon" has a choice between three suitors, two who were poor, one wealthy. She picks the wealthy one, but comes to regret her decision.
  • In Thoroughly Modern Millie, Millie initially sets out to marry her rich boss Trevor Graydon III, but eventually chooses the poor Jimmy Smith, who is genuinely in love with her. Becomes a bit of a Broken Aesop when it turns out Jimmy was secretly wealthy the whole time.
    • In the Screen-to-Stage Adaptation her best friend Miss Dorothy has to choose between the wealthy Trevor, with whom she shares a mutual falling in Love at First Sight, and the poor Chinese immigrant Ching Ho, who she eventually chooses.
  • This is the plot of Il trovatore. The Rich Suitor is Count di Luna, the local prince; the Poor Suitor is an officer and troubadour with Roma blood named Manrico, and both are in love with the Spanish Queen's Lady-In-Waiting, Leonora. It ends in tragedy, not just because Manrico is executed and Leonora is Driven to Suicide... but because the Count later finds out that Manrico was his long-lost little brother, whose kidnapping by Roma drove him to hate them. Holy Ironic Hell.

    Video Games 
  • Affairs of the Court: Choice of Romance plays this extremely straight with your main two suitors (not including the King/Queen) being wealthy but unattractive nobleman Torres and romantic but impoverished artist Mendosa. Picking Mendosa gives you a considerably happier ending where the two of you live a wild, love-filled life and eventually come into money too; while Torres is genuinely sweet and devoted to you, you never truly love him and wonder what could have been if you had followed your heart more.
  • In the fighter's path in Baldur's Gate II, you become lord of a manor. One of the challenges is to decides who to marry a ward of the estate to, the rich suitor or the poor one.
  • The 37th case of Criminal Case: Pacific Bay is essentially a Titanic (1997) reference, where the murder victim is a poor artist who had been involved in an affair with an actress named Lizzie Dion, who is engaged to a wealthy but very possessive and controlling movie producer. In an interesting twist, the rich suitor actually wins (sort of). The poor artist wanted to get Lizzie elope with him to Italy after impregnating her, but Lizzie realized that she loves her luxurious lifestyle that her fiancé could provide her more than having to live with a penniless dude for the rest of her life, so she killed the latter to cut off her ties with him.
  • The legend of Flemeth in Dragon Age: Origins. The commonly-known story is that Flemeth was married to a wealthy lord named Conobar, but fell in love with a traveling bard named Osen and ran off with him. Morrigan, however, relays a very different version of the tale, supposedly told to her by Flemeth herself: that Osen was her husband, and Conobar a jealous onlooker. According to this version, Flemeth offered to trade herself to Conobar, in exchange for his giving Osen wealth and power, which they both accepted; as Morrigan puts it, "love fades in the wake of hunger." Conobar, however, had Osen murdered so he wouldn't have to keep up his end of the bargain. Flemeth eventually found out, and summoned up spirits to kill Conobar...
  • Gender flipped examples abound in the Mass Effect trilogy. In the first game, we have Ashley the enlisted soldier whose career is going nowhere fast, competing with Liara the scion (not that kind of Scion) of a wealthy and influential matriarch among a Race of Space Elves who are already the richest species in the galaxy. In the second game, you have Miranda, the "daughter" of the richest man in the galaxy, competing with Jack, a convict who has just been sprung from prison. They all vie for the Player Character, with the first pair cornering you and asking you to choose, only if you romance them both initially. The second pair is scripted to get into a fight no matter what, regardless of whether any romance has been initiated.
  • Can be gender-flipped in True Love Junai Monogatari, if the Player Character has enough love points with both Remi (Rich) and Mikae (more Middle-Class than Poor, but yea). It's the closest to a Love Triangle in the whole game, since the MC can romance all the girls at the same time (before deciding on one at the end)... but that can't be done with these two. It's either one girl or the other.
    • Additionally, this may be played straight in Mikae's path too, only with the MC as the Poor Suitor and The Casanova Toshio as the Rich Suitor (he's implied to be from an upper-class family, unlike middle-class MC who has a part-time work).

    Visual Novel 
  • The main plot of Mai Sakuragi's route in Dōkyūsei, with Kenji Aihara being the Rich Suitor and the Player Character being the Poor Suitor. True to form of the trope, Kenji is quite an arrogant jerk who is also an unfaithful womanizer to boot, but because Mai's family prefer him due to his own family's high status they are effectively in an Arranged Marriage in all but name, meanwhile, the Player Character, a working class guy with aspirations of being a writer, is the one who Mai ends up falling in real love with, due to the fact that he accepts and treats her as a person.

    Web Original 
  • In Koibu, Olivia has to choose between wealthy Baron Alex Guilder and poor Kellen.

    Western Animation 
  • In Book One of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Princess Yue of the Northern Water Tribe is set to be in an Arranged Marriage with the wealthy, arrogant Han. She strikes up a connection however with Sokka, a boy from the much poorer Southern Water Tribe. Though her feelings are stronger for Sokka, she struggles with turning her back on her traditional duty to marry Han. In the end, she ends up with neither as she makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save the Northern Water Tribe by becoming the new moon spirit.
    • In the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, a gender-inverted case occurs when former Street Urchin Mako has to choose between the heiress Asami and simple country girl Korra. He chooses Korra, but they break up permanently during season two. Played With in that Korra is the Avatar and thus is one of the most important people on Earth, and in season two it's revealed she is Water Tribe royalty since her father is the first-born son of the previous chief of the Northern Water Tribe.
  • Bojack Horseman has the two suitors for BoJack's mother Beatrice, the working class Butterscotch Horseman and her selected rich suitor, Corbin Creamerman. She picks Butterscotch after he gets her pregnant from a one night stand and he offers to marry her to preserve her honor (only after she refuses an abortion). We then see how their relationship falls apart; Butterscotch's plans of becoming a novelist are stymied by his poor writing abilities and being stuck in the past, and Beatrice doesn't know how to get along without the comforts she knew growing up. Both of them take this out on BoJack, seeing him as the thing which trapped them in the marriage.
  • The Looney Tunes short "A Hick a Slick and a Chick" revolves around a mouse who's girlfriend get's stolen from him by a much wealthier mouse.
  • In Loulou de Montmatre, the heroine is caught between Gaby, a street performer and her best friend, and Charles, an Endearingly Dorky young aristocrat. The discovery that Loulou is Lost Orphaned Royalty only further complicates things. Eventually, Charles bows out gracefully and helps Loulou realize she's in love with Gaby.
  • In Muzzy in Gondoland, Bob is a simple gardener while Corvax is the King's advisor. In this case, however, it's more about social status than actual wealth.
  • Parodied in The Owl House short "Coven Lovin Soap Opera". The Boiling Isles being what it is, the woman is a cyclops tentacle creature, the rich suitor rides in on a literal wave of money, and the poor suitor is a humanoid egg. A very muscular humanoid egg with beautiful hair. Then the woman's mother dies just before she was about to reveal something important, and the suitors cry diamonds and eggyolks respectively in sympathy.
  • The Simpsons: Mr. Burns and Grandpa Simpson, for Marge's mother, Mrs. Bouvier—at first, Mrs. Bouvier was with Grandpa Simpson, but she ended up leaving him for Mr. Burns and almost marries him. In the end, Mrs. Bouvier chooses not to marry Mr. Burns but also doesn't get back together with Abe—however, Mrs. Bouvier at least leaving Mr. Burns is good enough for him.
  • In the crossover between Superman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series, Lois fell in love with the wealthy Bruce Wayne and Bruce somewhat fell for her in return. Clark felt jealous, especially after he found out that Bruce was Batman. But that ended when Lois dumped Bruce when she found out that he was Batman.
  • Tom and Jerry: Blue Cat Blues portrayed Tom as the poor suitor to Butch's rich suitor—the girl they were trying to win over ultimately chooses Butch over Tom, even to the point of marrying him—the same thing happens to Jerry, and the end of the short very strongly implies that the duo ends up committing suicide-by-train.