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The Mourning After

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"I am stretched on your grave and will lie there forever
If your hands were in mine, I'd be sure we'd not sever
Oh, the priests and the friars approach me in dread
For I love you still, my wife, and you're dead."
Táim shínte ar do h'uaigh (traditional Irish poem)

Bob once loved Alice. How far this relationship went, whether Alice knew how Bob felt, how happy a couple they actually were (if they were a couple) are all unimportant.

Alice dies. (Or gets married to someone else, although this isn't as common a version as it used to be.) The point is that the relationship between Bob and Alice, or the possibility of a relationship between Bob and Alice, is over.

Bob will never get over it, will never find a new girl no matter who shows up. Alice was the one for him, and if anyone says he "loved" Alice, he will waste no time correcting their tenses. May be regarded as Excessive Mourning — though it may not, if he otherwise soldiers on.

Often used as a Cynicism Catalyst. Done poorly, can result in Stalker with a Crush tendencies. This old love may not hold up if a Manic Pixie Dream Girl appears.

Often invoked in I Will Wait for You to confirm that the love really is that steadfast. See also I Let Gwen Stacy Die and The Lost Lenore. It is common (and indeed, in many cases, expected) for a Yamato Nadeshiko or other variety of Proper Lady to never remarry after the death of her husband.

Inverse of Second Love. Contrast You Have Waited Long Enough, Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder. Compare and contrast Her Heart Will Go On. Not to be confused with The Murder After.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Mashiro's Uncle in Bakuman。 is this for a girl he fell in love with during his school years. In his case, while his correspondence with her never got any further than that due to their inability to tell each other how they felt, he believes that he got this far because she served as his inspiration, as he hoped to become a success before telling her how he felt, and he believes (correctly, as it turns out) that she's still watching him.
  • Fujitaka in Cardcaptor Sakura, who never stops loving his dead wife Nadeshiko.
  • In Claudine, Rosemarie never stopped loving and caring for Claudine after his death and the last few panels of the manga show her visiting his grave in the snow.
  • Code Geass:
    • This happens to Suzaku Kururugi when Euphemia dies in the hands of Zero. After he learned that Zero is his childhood friend Lelouch and put him into custody under the Emperor's command, he never moved on and tried to do Euphy's wishes and to help his fellow Japanese. He's still angry at Lelouch for killing her, but realizes he lied about doing it on purpose and later, after accidentally nuking Tokyo, agrees with him to do the Zero Requiem.
    • Though Lelouch felt really bad for killing Euphy, he's completely broken down when Shirley was killed by Rolo. This sets him on the path to do the Zero Requiem with Suzaku.
  • In Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, Chiaki Nanami's death is what finally motivates Izuru Kamukura into abandoning his Bystander Syndrome. Kamukura picks up her hairpin before he leaves and leaves flowers on her classroom desk, despite Izuru having no idea who Chiaki is and having had no interaction with her prior to speaking with her just before she finally bleeds out, indicating that Izuru isn't really the one mourning, Hajime is. Years later, though, he's still carrying the hairpin and replacing the flowers with fresh ones.
  • After Rei Asaka's death in Dear Brother, everyone grieves her intensely. In regards to her Love Interests, Nanako spends at least two episodes in an Heroic BSoD, and her POV is constantly tinted with sadness afterwards, whereas Fukiko decides to never ever fall in love again, half due to this and half due to her crush Takehiko getting back together with his girlfriend, Rei's best friend Kaoru.
  • In the finale of Future Diary, Yuki is so devastated by the death of his beloved Yuno that he spends 10,000 years floating amongst the ruined remains of the world, staring mournfully at the final entry of his cell phone diary stating that she died. Thankfully the Gainax Ending turns this around into a happy ending.
  • Gundam:
    • Platonic, non-death version in Gundam Build Fighters. We find out in Gundam Build Fighters Try that in the intervening seven years since the events of GBF, Reiji has not yet been able to return to Earth from his homeworld of Arian, and thus has been unable to keep his promise to Sei. Sei had prepared a special Gunpla for him upon his return, the Build Burning Gundam, but as each successive year passed with no sign of Reiji, an increasingly saddened Sei finally went and sealed the Build Burning Gundam away in his World Championship trophy and, according to China, 'his good memories of his precious best friend with it.' Though Sei and China got together and Sei continues to build and battle Gunpla, it's heavily implied that he never again took on or built for another partner the way he did with Reiji.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Lyle Dylandy the second Lockon is saddened with Anew Returner's betrayal and death that he left Kataron and officially joined Celestial Being at the end of the series. He also has a picture of her in The Movie.
  • Van of GUN×SWORD is still "head over heels in love" with his murdered fiancée, Elena, three years after her death, and isn't interested in other women. However, the final episode hints that he may be moving on to Second Love.
  • Inuyasha: Sesshomaru does this for Kagura. While he does not cry, he becomes so infuriated when Moryoumaru insults Kagura that he attacks him viciously and breaks his sword Tokijin with the force of the blow, putting his own life in danger in the process. More notably, afterwards Tenseiga transforms into a fighting weapon because of Sesshomaru's feelings for Kagura. When he receives the finished sword, he thinks of her again and accepts it because "whether her death was in vain or not is for me to decide".
  • In Maison Ikkoku, a major problem preventing Godai (and the other suitors) from pursuing Kyoko is that Kyoko feels this way about her first husband.
  • A Man and His Cat: Kanda had a lovely wife, but after her death and the kids moving out he's become depressed and lonely. Fukumaru coming into his life changed that; now while he doesn't think to move on with another woman, he has a fulfilled love in taking care of the big cat.
  • In Naruto, Obito's love for his childhood crush Rin led him to become Tobi and participate in an Assimilation Plot that would put the entire world under an illusion and essentially allow him to see her again, despite the fact that she has already passed on to the afterlife. He's literally rejecting reality and substituting it with his own just so he can see his dead crush.
  • A darker version in Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gendo Ikari is quite willing to commit planetary genocide in order to reunite himself with his dead wife. In fact, in Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse, all alternate universes are in peril thanks to original flavor Gendo.
  • King Neptune in One Piece is apparently this to his late wife Otohime. In a scene, he believes that Robin is hitting on him and refuses her (non-existing) approaches by saying that he will still be loyal to his wife. The scene is mostly played for comedy, but the point still stands.
  • In one Ranma ½ manga arc Soun Tendo is revealed to be deeply devoted to his dead wife.
  • In Rumbling Hearts when a character goes into a coma. They don't show the mourning until after they showed him fully recover, though...
  • In Shiroi Heya no Futari, after Simone perishes at the hand of her Crazy Jealous Guy, Resine makes the decision to not fall in love ever again for as long as she lives.
  • Neviril from Simoun is a victim of this after her lover Amuria dies, which plays a big role in her refusal to pilot a Simoun with Aeru (aside from the fact that Aeru is also quite pushy). In the Distant Finale, it's revealed that this also happened to Rodoreamon, with regards to Mamiina.
  • This is the crux of Shikako's arc in Sing "Yesterday" for Me. Her beloved childhood friend was a sickly boy, and despite them being intimate he never gets to live past high school. His death swore her off from dating for a long time, and she was afraid to get any closer to people she cared about, in part, due to the fear that they may one day change and leave her. The boy's death also marks trouble for his younger brother Rou, who wants Shikako to acknowledge him as a man but can't see him as anything other than a little brother figure—and his growth only serves as a painful reminder of the deceased since he looks more like him every year.
  • Strawberry Panic!: How Shizuma lives after Kaori dies.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Simon vows to never forget his late wife, Nia, and in Lagann-hen he spends the rest of his life Walking the Earth in order to fulfil her last wish to make the world bloom with flowers.
    • Yoko also goes through this with Kamina. With the possible exception of forgiving Kittan for stealing a Last Kiss from her and tenderly hugging him goodbye just before his Heroic Sacrifice, she neither loved another man after Kamina's death nor stopped loving him.
  • A mild example from Tiger & Bunny. Even years after his beloved wife Tomoe's death, Kotetsu still wears his wedding ring and is completely unaware that one of his female teammates has an enormous crush on him. He also keeps a portrait of Tomoe, which he occasionally confides in, and visits her grave whenever he can.
  • In Twin Spica, Asumi's teacher Yuuko, after her boyfriend Takano dies aboard the exploding rocket which also caused the death of Asumi's mother. After several years of mourning, she decides to go on and then finds someone else to marry pretty quickly. Sadly she never realized that all this time Takano had been roaming the town as a ghost named "Lion-san".
  • We Were There: Part of the primary concept, although the relationship between Yano and his dead girlfriend Nana was more complex than it first appears.
  • Watanuki of ×××HOLiC does not react well to Yuuko's death. It hits him so hard that his personality drastically changes, with him going so far as to incorporate some of her quirks and habits into his own character, and basically just clinging onto whatever he can of her. The last chapter released indicates he's still not willing to let go, even after 100 years have passed.

    Comic Books 
  • Karen Hayes, Emily’s and Navin’s mother, in Amulet stays single, even years after the car accident in which her husband David (Emily’s and Navin’s Disappeared Dad) died.
  • In the last issue/book of Circles, as Paulie dies of AIDS and Douglas is left alone, falling into a detached "going through the motions" state. Thankfully, the rest of Kinsey 6 is successful in making his life meaningful again, though Douglas makes it clear that "there will never be another Paulie".
  • Elongated Man's wife dies in Identity Crisis, and he spends the rest of his rather short life mourning her.
  • Zoe seems to fit this in Firefly: Brand New 'Verse as 20 years have passed since Wash died and she never seems to have been with anyone else.
  • Garfield: His 9 Lives has Sara, who never plays the piano again after Dianna passes.
  • Green Lantern:
    • When informed about John Stewart and Katma Tui planning to get married, Ch'p bursts into tears and sobs over how he can't go back to his wife M'nn'e due to her being married to his friend D'll as a result of the history of his homeworld being altered by the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
    • John Stewart claims he'll never fall in love again after the death of his wife Katma Tui.
  • The Punisher never gets over the murder of his wife and children (no matter how many criminals he kills).
  • Robin (1993): The circumstances of Stephanie Brown's death permanently damaged Tim Drake's ability to trust the other Bats, he started closing himself off from his allies, is never seen cooking or skateboarding again, his next two relationships with women he liked and considered pretty were attempts at appearing to have attained some level of normalcy rather than being caused by his attraction to the women in question and he broke them off due to still loving Steph.
  • In Runaways, Chase has yet to get over the death of his first girlfriend, Gert, and it's questionable whether he ever will. Even bringing her back from the dead brings him no comfort, because he's now grown too old to resume their relationship (as the method of her resurrection involved bringing her past self forward in time), and she's moved on to dating Victor.
    • Speaking of Victor, he had a thing with a girl from the 1900s named Lillie, back when the Runaways were sent back in time, but when he offered to bring her back to the future with him, she declined. Over a century later, she hasn't gotten over losing him.
  • The Superman universe provides several examples:
    • Double subverted in Kingdom Come. Superman spends one decade mourning Lois Lane before getting together with Wonder Woman. Even so, they never get married because Superman will never marry anyone but Lois.
    • In The Third Kryptonian, Karsta Wor-Ul's husband Ro-Kul got murdered several centuries ago. She's remained celibate since then.
    • In Power Girl's 2009 series, Vartox explains that, even though he's certainly fond of women, he'll never remarry because no woman can be compared with his late, dear wife.
    • Supergirl is the only woman whom Legion of Super-Heroes member Brainiac-5 has loved and the only he'll ever love. He remains helplessly heartbroken and utterly devoted after her death in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
    • In The Strange Revenge of Lena Luthor, Lena Colby is still mourning her husband Jeffrey's death, giving no indication that she will ever consider remarrying.
  • The Walking Dead: Maggie debates this towards the end of the series long after her husband Glenn was murdered by Negan. She is courted by Dante but tells him that while she "likes" him, she will never love anyone like she loved Glenn again. Later, after she finally confronts Negan and gains peace to move on from Glenn’s demise, she kisses Dante and starts having an affair with him, admitting it feels good to be liked by somebody again. She tells Sophia that she’s not sure how it’s going to go with Dante, but he makes her happy and she’s made her peace with Glenn having died a long time ago. However, the relationship never gains any proper closure before the series ends, leaving it unknown if Maggie did settle down with Dante as a Second Love or if she simply had a physical relationship with him.
  • Wonder Woman (Vol. 1): While every other woman is shown flirting or at least checking boys out Paula has been uninterested in romance since her husband's murder.
  • X-Men: While Scott Summers isn't quite Jeansexual, he's come close at times. Although some writers have tried to give him different Love Interests, it's been established over and again he will never, ever, get over Jean.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • In The Bridge, this is what divides the split forms and personalities of Kaizer Ghidorah from Monster X. Once a normal Xilian man, his wife died on the day he became a kaiju fighting King Ghidorah. Monster X developed amnesia but soldiered on to form a genuine friendship with Gigan, Megalon, and Irys, finding a Second Love in the human world with Aria Blaze and kept his bonds to both even after regaining some memories. Kaizer Ghidorah never stopped obsessing over their old life and late wife, utterly loathing all of them and going berserk in their presence.
  • In Earth's Alien History: Andromeda Dreams, the reason Drax can't bring himself to act on his newfound feelings for Takara is that he's still mourning his family.
  • A probably platonic variation appears in the My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! fanfiction Fortune_Lover_(TGS Beta)(SARU_rip)[T+Eng0.75_Sincere].zip. It is strongly implied (but not explicitly stated) that the titular mod played by Parasite_Ib was created by Atsuko long after the "Monkey Girl"'s death, indicating she still couldn't get over it—the "Monkey Girl" died when she was 17, and this Game Mod was probably created when she's working as a game developer. Parasite_Ib even postulates the titular Game Mod was created under a Heroic BSoD caused by extreme grief.
  • Hero of Hero: The Guardian Smurf mourns the loss of his first wife Wonder, going to the point where he is Driven to Suicide in order to join her in the afterlife. Smurfette stops him from doing so, though, and the two end up in a Rescue Romance that results in Hero marrying Smurfette and having another daughter through her.
  • A Man of Iron: In Tywin's first POV chapter, it's shown this is the case regarding his late wife. The first thing he does when he wakes up each morning is look to her side of the bed, in the hope she might be there this time.
  • Subverted in Moving. After Martha's suicide, Karen falls into a near-suicidal depression that leaves her aimlessly drifting from city to city. Eventually, she picks herself up.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide, Misato is still reeling from Kaji's death, and she does not want another love partner. Hence, she admits Nakajima looks handsome... but she is not interested in him.
  • A Northern Dragoness: Jonnel Stark is wed to Daena Targaryen less than six months after the death of his first wife, and is nowhere near recovered from the trauma of her death (especially since she died of blood poisoning from a miscarriage, for which he blames himself). Jonnel's father is not especially sympathetic, maintaining that the chance to marry a Targaryen into the Stark line is too priceless to be passed for something as trivial as properly mourning a dead wife.
  • Our Own League fan novels: As part of his Adaptational Backstory Change, the unjust execution of his lover Sha'laina changed David Hyde from a pirate undergoing Love Redeems to Black Manta, a Supervillain with a vendetta. In Teen Titans: Witch-Hunt, it is first assumed Manta is working for Circe because she cast a love spell. Turns out, he's getting paid a crapload of treasure, but only because the sorceress found Manta's loyalty to Sha'laina makes him immune to such magic.
    Black Manta: (To his son, Aqualad) There ain't enough Copperfield crap in the world to make me forget your mom.
  • In Second Chances (TheNovelArtist), Marinette is still suffering from the trauma of Nathaniel's death even a year later and finds herself conflicted over her growing attraction to Adrien because she hates how the idea of a "second husband" seems to imply that husbands are replaceable or interchangeable.
  • In Snowmaiden, the elvish lover of the titular human maiden mourns her after she dies of old age, as is standard for Tolkien's elves, but refuses to return to his people, instead roaming the places where he was happy with her. He eventually meets someone else, who may, or may not, be his true love reborn
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition fanfic Walking in Circles, a non-fatal version of this trope happens to Solas after Evelyn becomes Tranquil.

    Films — Animation 
  • A major character point for Carl in Up is how much he misses his late wife.
  • In Encanto, Alma had been in love with her husband, Pedro, but the night she gave birth to triplets they had to flee their home and when four horsemen came after the refugees, she had to watch her beloved husband be murdered by the horsemen when he tried to plead for his family and the other refugees. After the miracle that saved the refugees occurred, Alma never married again and wore a mourning shawl as she mourned her husband.
  • In a flashback shown during How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Stoick is shown weeping to himself, grieving his wife Valka who he believed to be dead at the time. When a young Hiccup asks him if he’s going to find another wife, Stoick bittersweetly says that he doesn’t want to find another wife, as Valka was the one for him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • At the start of A.M.I.: Artificial Machine Intelligence, Cassie is still miserable over having lost her mother in a car accident that they were both in. She tries to mitigate this by customizing the titular A.I. on her phone into sounding just like her. Things go downhill from that point.
  • Cloud Atlas: It's implied Sixsmith lived forty-five more years, but never loved again after Frobisher. Ouch.
  • Cocaine Bear: Former drug dealer Eddie is mourning his late wife, and his depression drives him to drink and leave his son with his dad and former boss, Syd.
  • Mercedes in The Count of Monte Cristo still has her string engagement ring when she confronts Edmund Dantes, who was thought to have died but was really sent to a Hellhole Prison, later in the story.
  • Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises. After Rachel dies in The Dark Knight, Bruce resolves never to love anyone else romantically and becomes a recluse for eight years, seeing no chance of having a normal, happy life now she's gone. He even thinks trying to move on would somehow insult her memory, because he believes she never gave up waiting for him. It's then subverted when Alfred reveals that Rachel actually chose Harvey Dent over Bruce (which he didn't mention at the time to avoid pouring salt in the wound); after this revelation, Bruce pursues a relationship with Miranda Tate. That doesn't end well either, though luckily Selina Kyle is quick to take her place.
  • Robin Williams' character Sean from Good Will Hunting.
    Sean: Maybe you're perfect right now. Maybe you don't wanna ruin that. I think that's a super philosophy, Will; that way you can go through your entire life without ever having to really know anybody...
    Will: ever think about gettin' remarried?
    Sean: My wife's dead.
    Will: Hence the word: remarried.
    Sean: She's dead.
    Will: Yeah; well, I think that's a super philosophy, Sean. I mean, that way you could actually go through the rest of your life without ever really knowing anybody.
    Sean: Time's up.
  • In Highlander, immortals (Always Male as far as the films are concerned) invariably have the dilemma of outliving any significant other by several centuries. Sean Connery's character, Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez, ends up marrying three times. After his third wife died, he played this trope straight, encouraging his protege, Connor MacLeod, to avoid romantic attachments in the first place, hoping to spare him this pain. Connor, naturally, doesn't listen, and per Ramirez's warning, Connor's wife, Heather, dies of old age while Connor... doesn't. After this, Connor avoids getting romantically involved with other women and lights a candle on Heather's birthday each year, repeating this pattern until a Second Love does show up... five centuries later.
    Rachel: You never let anyone love you.
    Connor: Love is for poets.
  • Just Like Heaven: David spends most of the movie mourning his late wife who died suddenly of a cerebral hemmorhage. It takes Elizabeth's not-ghost pestering him to get him to stop spending his days sitting around on the couch drinking and watching his wedding video.
  • In Love Again, sfter her fiancé dies, it takes Mira two years of cocooning herself in the country before she tries to get back out there.
  • In the Bollywood movie Mohabbatein the hero's girlfriend killed herself because they couldn't be together. A decade later, the hero is still in love with her and can "see" her whenever he closes his eyes...
  • Anakin Skywalker never got over his wife Padmé's death in Revenge of the Sith and it's implied he mourned her for the rest of his life. It's made worse by the fact he turned to the Dark Side in an attempt to save her life, only to end up being the one who caused her death.
  • A major character point for Rocky in Rocky Balboa. With characteristic eloquence, Sylvester Stallone says of Adrian:
    "Yeah my wife's gone. But she ain't, you know, gone."
  • Malcolm's wife in The Sixth Sense, though this is Mistaken for Cheating for much of the movie until we learn that Malcolm was Dead All Along.
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home reveals that Webb-verse Peter never truly moved on from Gwen Stacy's death following The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as he points out that he has no time for 'Peter Parker stuff' when Raimi-Verse Peter asked him about his love life.
  • Alexandre is like this in Tell No One; eight years after his wife Margot was murdered, he still hasn't moved on. Except she's still alive.
  • Noriko in Tokyo Story is doing this for her husband, who was killed in World War II eight years previously. Although, as she confesses to her father-in-law Shūkichi when he urges her to remarry, it isn't quite that simple. In fact, she feels terrible loneliness but is racked with guilt about her desires to move on after her husband's death.
  • In What a Girl Wants, Daphne tells her father that her mother never dated anyone else after they broke up. Daphne is eighteen years old, and her parents broke up before she was born.
  • Young Sherlock Holmes: Sherlock vows that he will never love again after Elizabeth's death.

  • In the novel Back To The Moon, Jack is hesitant in his budding relationship with Penny because he is still mourning his dead wife Kate. In fact, his entire reason for doing anything in the story is out of loyalty/guilt over what happened to Kate.
  • Anthony Trollope's The Chronicles of Barsetshire: Lily Dale falls in love with a cad who abandons her so he can marry a rich girl. She decides to remain perpetually single, and Eames, who loves her, also remains single for her sake.
  • Chronicles of the Kencyrath
    • Ganth Gray Lord for his the Dream-weaver. It was Love at First Sight, and he spent years haunted by her before she became his consort. They were only together for a short time, a two or three years at most, and he never got over her mysteriously leaving.
    • Lady Brenwyr on Brandan, for her Lost Lenore Aerulan. We first meet Brenwyr 34 years after Aerulan's death, and she's still heartbroken.
  • In Cloud Atlas, it's implied that Sixsmith lived forty-five more years, but never loved again after Frobisher. Ouch.
  • In the Deryni novels, Kelson puts off the thought of remarrying for a couple of years or so after Sidana is slaughtered at the altar by her brother, and procrastinates a further two or three years after Rothana refuses him after Conall's execution. In this interim, Kelson is pressured by his mother and his courtiers to provide for the succession. Rothana finally picks out another woman to marry him (his cousin Araxie Haldane) and persuades each of them that their marriage would be for the best.
  • Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt Adventures: The Mediterranean Caper: Teri von Till feels this way about her long-dead husband, to the point of depression. Dirk Pitt tries to convince her to move on with her life.
  • Pretty much Dante Alighieri's whole body of work but especially The Divine Comedy is built around one of these. Not Truth in Television only because he seems to have confined it to his literary side.
  • In A Drowned Maiden's Hair, one of the phony psychics' easiest and most reliable marks is a man named Horace Burckhardt who lost his wife Agnes to Death by Childbirth thirty years ago, and pays the Hawthornes to give "séances" so he can talk to her. He never remarried because he believes in being "true unto death," but now he's fallen in love again, and wants Agnes's permission to remarry. Hyacinth, pretending to be in a trance, tells him, "My darling Horace, you have been true too long! The time has come for you to love again!"
  • In Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte, after all the 16 years Elizabeth Marschner still considered herself married to August Riefenstahl, despite the two technically didn't marry (they were in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage but her parents issued a Parental Marriage Veto owing to him dying). The time she appeared in the series she's still wearing a wedding ring, and when Leon attempts to suggest a romantic relationship between him and Elizabeth, she declined out of still being loyal to August.
  • In the Chivalric Romance Floris And Blanchefleur, Floris is told that Blanchefleur is dead; it grieves him but does not shake his love.
  • In Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, Miss Havisham became a hermit in her own home after being betrayed and jilted by Compeyson, remaining dressed in her wedding dress with the clocks stopped at the time she was betrayed, and the rotten wedding feast in place.
  • The Half-Life of Planets: Hank's dad has been dead for five years, and his mom is still grieving. She falls asleep drunk while looking at his wedding album.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it turns out Severus Snape was Lily Evans's Unlucky Childhood Friend, and the guilt and grief he felt over her death (which he partially caused, during his time as a Death Eater) motivated him for the rest of his life.
  • In the Honorverse, President Eloise Pritchart essentially goes into emotional shutdown after losing the love of her life, Admiral Javier Giscard, in battle. Though she continues to function both as a President and as a human being, she never really recovers; she clings to her Not Love Interest Thomas Theisman in the wake of losing him, and the narration makes it painfully clear that she will never be the same and that Javier was the great love of her life.
  • In The Hunger Games, Katniss's mother goes into a near-catatonic depression after the death of Katniss's father, leaving Katniss to support the family. Even when the mother becomes functional again, she never really gets over his death.
  • In the novels, part of the reason why James Bond's Girl of the Week relationships last so briefly is that one woman he truly loved (in Casino Royale) - Vesper Lynd - was a traitor, who proceeded to kill herself. When he opened up to Tracy Vincenzo in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the Cartwright Curse struck, turning him into a total wreck.
  • In the Liaden Universe series by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Liaden lifemate marriages do not provide for divorce nor allow remarriage, even after a spouse's death. And true lifemating can often lead to the non-deceased soon following the deceased party into death.
  • Isaac Asimov's Light Verse: The story implies Mrs Lardner's first husband died at least a decade ago, but she never remarried. Instead, she would throw lavish parties, showing off her collection of jeweled objects and light-sculptures for free.
  • The Lord of Bembibre: After his wife's death, Don Álvaro goes briefly crazy. After his squire helps him regain his sanity, he relinquishes his title and his lands, divides his remainder properties among his servants and vassals, and enters a remote monastery as a monk.
  • According to Pocket Monsters: The Animation, Delia's unnamed husband ran off years ago and she has mostly gotten over him, but hasn't formally divorced him. Delia routinely gets flirted with but she isn't interested in another relationship.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter, Eramus is still in mourning for his first wife. So much that when she came back, he kept rejecting her. Cruelly.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's The Raven, the Elf, and Rachel from Rachel Griffin, Rachel's (somewhat melodramatic) vision of her future when she fears a Forced Transformation can't be reversed.
  • Redwall: In one of the novels, Martin the Warrior falls in love with a mousemaid named Rose, who dies in battle towards the end. He never gets over her and never becomes romantically involved with any other character, though he does eventually find happiness.
  • In Shadows of the Apt, Tisamon. Even though he thought she betrayed all of them. Sometime after he learns they had a child — once he calmed down — he gives her a sword he had intended for her mother and had been carrying around for seventeen years.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Invoked by the villain of the "A Case of Identity" story. He disguises himself and dates his stepdaughter so that she would fall in love with him. On their wedding day, the villain has his fake persona disappear so that she would be devastated and never be able to love another man again. Without the chance of her marrying anyone and moving out, he can continue leeching off the stepdaughter's income and inheritance.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Tywin Lannister is hardened by his wife Joanna's death to the extent that he never smiles again and treats Tyrion (whose birth caused Joanna's death) like absolute shit.
    • King Robert Baratheon never stopped loving Lyanna. Even when he married Tywin's daughter Cersei (which he had to do for political reasons), he called her "Lyanna" in bed on their wedding night. Unsurprisingly this caused a lot of tension between them.
    • Ser Loras Tyrell, following King Renly Baratheon's death. He has no problem joining the Kingsguard which requires lifelong service and celibacy. As he puts it "When the sun has set, no candle can replace it." Tough all over, innit?
    • All of them are trumped by Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish whose years-long, unrequited love for Catelyn Stark has caused him to take the Yandere trope up a notch.
    • Ellaria Sand tried to move on after her lover Prince Oberyn Martell brutally died in a Mutual Kill against Ser Gregor "the Mountain" Clegane. She even refused to participate in Doran Martell and the Sand Snakes' revenge plot, knowing that it would cause another Cycle of Revenge which got Oberyn killed in the first place. This is in sharp contrast in the TV show where she wants revenge on the Lannisters via Revenge by Proxy on Myrcella, who had nothing to do with Oberyn's death.
    • Catelyn Stark as well by the time Ned's head got chopped. It gets worse when she was resurrected as Lady Stoneheart who seeks vengeance against those who killed her family.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • There was the Medstar Duology by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry, a pair of books taking place during the Clone Wars and featuring several just-off-the-battlefield surgeons and a Jedi healer, among others. The Jedi healer made friends with several other mains and died not more than a few years after those books. Twenty in-universe years later on the Death Star (in a novel called Death Star), it turns out that one of those surgeons, having been coerced into continuous service is still around and was very attached to that Jedi. He does state that he doesn't know if it was love or not, but he thinks of her often, particularly when trying to navigate ethical dilemmas.
    • This is also how General Grievous gets his name; his co-general was killed during a battle.
  • Survivor Dogs: After her mate Fiery dies of radiation poisoning caused by Animal Experimentation, Moon swears to never take another mate.
  • The Time Traveler's Wife:
    • Clare never gets over Henry, doesn't remarry, just waits around to see him one last time when she's 80.
    • Henry's father goes to pieces after the death of Lucille and drinks himself to infirmity.
    • Ingrid, in the "marriage" version, never gets over Henry falling in love with Clare instead of her, despite Celia's attempts to pick up the pieces, and she eventually kills herself in front of him over it.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • The Silmarillion:
      • Aegnor, an elf, and Andreth, a mortal woman, fell in love, but Aegnor pretended not to return her affections because he believed love between elf and mortal could not work out. Andreth was bitter over this until Aegnor's brother Finrod revealed to her that Aegnor had vowed that he would never marry because he could never love anyone else. This continues even in death, as Aegnor refuses to leave the Halls of Mandos (kind of an Elvish purgatory) and be re-embodied in Valinor because he doesn't want to live in a world that doesn't have Andreth in it. In the meantime, Andreth refused to marry any mortal man and, ironically, outlived Aegnor when he was killed in battle.
      • In the tale of Beren and Lúthien as a mortal Man and Elf princess, there were already severe complications to their relationship. Eventually, Beren is slain by the great wolf Carcharoth, and Lúthien out of love for him dies from grief. Unfortunately, because the souls of Men aren't allowed to remain in Valinor and are forced to pass beyond the circles of the world, and Elves are forced to remain and can't pass to wherever it is Men go, the lovers are faced with being eternally separated again in the afterlife, at which point Lúthien out of love sings a lament over their fates, the suffering of Men and Elves at Morgoth's hands, and the prospect of spending an eternity without her love. This gets averted when her song moves the unmovable Mandos to pity, and he personally pleads their case to Manwë. Beren and Lúthien are allowed to return to Middle-earth to live out their lives together as mortals, and when they finally die their second deaths, pass from the world along with the rest of the race of Man.
      • Thingol's wife Melian (a Maia spirit) is so heartbroken by his death, that she departs the world never to return after her husband is slain by dwarves over the silmaril, dooming Doriath to eventual conquest.
      • Turgon's wife perishes crossing into Middle-earth from Valinor, and he mourns her for the rest of his life.
    • The Children of Húrin: Húrin and Morwen are separated for decades, and Morwen never gives up her torch for Húrin, reuniting only in time for Morwen to pass away.
    • The Lord of the Rings: Théoden never remarries following the death of his wife birthing their son, Théodred.
  • In the eponymous poem of Louise Glück's poetry collection The Triumph Of Achilles, she suggests that although he may be about to deal Troy a crushing blow and go down in history for it, Achilles will never recover from Patroclus's death.
    "In his tent, Achilles
    grieved with his whole being
    and the gods saw
    he was a man already dead, a victim
    of the part that loved,
    the part that was mortal."
  • The Twilight Saga: Volturi leader Marcus once attempted to escape the coven alongside his wife, Didyme, only to be caught by Aro, who killed Didyme as punishment. Marcus never moved on from her death even after centuries, and became apathetic to anything, aside from his surprise at learning that Bella is willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of Edward, as it reminds him of his love for Didyme. While the films leave this backstory out, it does get a nod in the final film, where Marcus' somber final words ("Finally...") during Alice's vision of the Cullen vs. Volturi battle indicates that he is a Death Seeker.
  • Richard Whitestone in Unnatural Issue does not take his wife's Death by Childbirth well, refuses to set eyes on his daughter, and turns to necromancy.
  • Vanity Fair: Amelia mourns her dead husband George for years, ignoring the feelings of another suitor and eventually driving him away. It isn't until Becky tells her that George had been planning to run away with her (Becky, that is) just before he died that Amelia finally gets over him.
  • According to the Vita Nuova, it takes a year after Beatrice's death for Dante to even think about other women. Even then, one dream about his lost Lenore is enough to make him repent of writing poetry for any other woman and dedicate his life to offer her praise never written before.
  • Nicolas Spark's A Walk to Remember IS this trope. Landon and Jamie fall in love and get married at age 17 because Jamie's dying of incurable leukemia. Decades and decades later, Landon has not considered anybody else, once, and has not taken off his wedding ring.
  • Warrior Cats: Graystripe and Silverstream. After she rescues him from drowning, Silverstream and Graystripe start to sneak off to see each other, and fall in love. Silverstream later dies giving birth to his kits. Graystripe never really gets over this, even when he got a new mate, Millie, he admits that he's still in love with Silverstream and that he dreams about her frequently; and wishes that he didn't have to wake up from those dreams.
  • In Wet Goddess, Ruby always remains the first and foremost in Zack's heart.
    Zack [25 years later]: So here we are again, and not a day has gone by when I haven't thought about you, Ruby.
  • While My Pretty One Sleeps: Myles never met anyone else in the seventeen years after his beloved wife Renata was murdered. Their daughter thinks it's a shame and a sign that he's still hung up on her death; while Neeve is obviously grieved by Renata's death, she has been able to move on with her life and wishes Myles would do the same, saying Renata wouldn't want him to be miserable and lonely. Myles threw himself into his work to distract himself from Renata's death, but was forced to retire last year. He finally ends up meeting and bonding with widow Kitty Conway, with it being implied that they will eventually become a couple.
  • Elphaba's father, Frex, in Wicked, after both his true loves, Melena and Turtle Heart, die. Turtle Heart dies first, and Melena a few years later.
    Frex: I haven't loved anyone else since your mother died, except of course my children.
  • The Wind Knows My Name: Leticia's third husband loves her and treats her kindly. Sadly, he dies at a young age, leaving Leticia with a young daughter. At his funeral, she swears they will be together forever. Years later, she is uninterested in marrying ever again.
  • Heathcliff for Cathy in Wuthering Heights, to the point where he even digs up her body YEARS after the fact.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The father in the TV version of 10 Things I Hate About You continues to wear his wedding ring after he is widowed, and claims to be married when a woman flirts with him. (Though he does later go on an enjoyable date with this woman.)
  • Babylon 5:
    • From the series finale: "Every morning for as long as she lived, Delenn got up before dawn and watched the sun come up." Note that she outlived her husband by at least eighty years.
    • Susan for Marcus: After he dies to save her life, she leaves Babylon 5, never falls in love again, and doesn't mention his name until the series finale...twenty years later. It's especially tragic as she never admitted she loved him while he was alive.
    • Lennier seems to have this reaction to Delenn and Sheridan's marriage. After swearing himself to Delenn's side as her trusted aide, he begins to fall in love with her, believing that his is a "pure, perfect love" but that she is "fated for another". As this admission occurs right as Sheridan and Delenn's relationship is starting to blossom, it is implied that Sheridan is this "other", though he confronts neither Sheridan nor Delenn openly about it. Outwardly, he accepts their relationship and claims to accept it in his heart, but ultimately his jealousy towards Sheridan grows stronger and leads to Lennier's unfortunate downfall. He separates himself from both of them and seemingly never moves on from the heartbreak.
  • This is implied for William Adama after Laura Roslin died in the Battlestar Galactica finale.
  • In Bless Me Father, Mrs. Pring married her husband whom she had two weeks together with. He then went off to fight in World War I in which he was killed. The two weeks were enough to father a daughter with her. Mrs. Pring has remained loyal to her husband in the forty years since, never remarrying.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Buffy has shades of this. While she does try to move on in season 4 with Riley, it's clear that she's still pinning for Angel. And if the Angel episode "I Will Remember You" is any indication, she's willing to dump Riley at the drop of a hat if it looks like Angel's willing to be with her again. Whether you like these two together or not (or believe they're "soulmates", or whatever) you have to admit that Buffy's actions are pretty unhealthy. One of the many reasons she turns Spike down is because he loves her without his soul, which in turn questions why Angel didn't love her without his (hinting that maybe he didn't love her as much as she believed). The fact that she unintentionally compares all her other love interests to him doesn't help. "End of Days/Chosen" reinforces just how ridiculous she's being, even though she does turn him away and she does tell Spike that she loves him. The continuation comics though seem to show that she is still divided over the two of them.
    • Angel isn't much better. He's clearly pinning for Buffy for the first two seasons. By the end of season 2, it looks like he's finally moving on with Cordelia, but even afterwards it's implied that he's still holding a torch for Buffy. By season 5, he's having Buffy followed by Wolfram & Hart spies - and has a fling with a werewolf while this is happening.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Impossible Astronaut", River Song says that her worst fear is having to do this after the Doctor no longer knows her (because of the Timey-Wimey Ball their relationship is happening roughly in reverse for each of them, she knows the Doctor more after each visit, but he knows her less because she's meeting him earlier in his timeline). This makes her first (last?) appearance and Heroic Sacrifice in "Forest of the Dead" all the more poignant.
  • On ER, we never see Elizabeth Corday show a hint of interest in anyone else after Mark Greene dies.
    Elizabeth: I'm not afraid of being with him - I'm afraid of being without him.
  • Game of Thrones: Robert Baratheon has never gotten over the loss of his betrothed, Lyanna Stark, to the point of drunkenly calling Cersei "Lyanna" on their wedding night, igniting her spite against him.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Hercules felt this way about his wife, Deianeira, who had been murdered by Hera. In one episode he politely turned down the proposition of a band of Amazons, saying he was still in love with his wife. He does eventually get a Second Love in the form of a Ceryneian Hind named Serena note , but Ares kills her, putting a different trope into play.
  • On How I Met Your Mother, this is the reason that the titular mother waited for Ted; her first love Max died on her 21st birthday and she spent the next eight years morning his death. It wasn't until she met Ted that she really got over it. While she had a boyfriend in between, she still hadn't got over it.
  • Lost Love in Times: Yuan Ming never remarried after his wife Xian Wu died.
  • So is Patrick Jane of The Mentalist. Though in Jane's case, there have been other women whom he's met after his wife that he's shown to have feelings for. Sadly, none of these have gone well so far.
  • Monk is still married. His wife is dead, but he's still married. Absolutely.
  • NCIS: Gibbs has undying feelings for his late wife and daughter. Although he has made several attempts to start anew, his romantic relationships since have always fallen apart, some of them after he married and then divorced the woman.
  • In New Tricks, Jack is still very much in love with his wife who died 9 years ago, and when asked about a woman who was showing an interest in him, simply replied: "I'm married."
  • Person of Interest: Harold still is Grace's fiancé, his "death" in 2010 notwithstanding, and she has trouble referring to him in the past tense.
  • The Punisher (2017):
    • Frank Castle, obviously, as he's mourning the loss of his family.
    • In a temporary example, Karen Page has visibly never recovered from Matt's recent "death" in the destruction of Midland Circle at the climax of The Defenders (2017). She's taken up drinking, keeps a photograph of herself celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Matt and Foggy on a table where she has to look at it when she sits on the couch; and her decision to provoke Lewis Wilson seems to be out of a desperate need to get an adrenaline high to take her mind off the pain.
  • In Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Spartacus never truly gets over the death of his wife, Sura. This ultimately dooms his relationship with Mira, his would-be Second Love. Although he developed feelings for Laeta eventually, it's strongly implied Sura was always his One True Love - on his deathbed, he expresses happiness that they will be reunited at last.
  • Sort of played with in the backstory for Dr. Noonien Soong in Star Trek: The Next Generation. When his wife, Juliana, died, he created an android replica of her. Although the android Juliana had the memories of (and believed herself to be) the original, Noonien ultimately realized it was not the same as actually having his wife back and retreated into his research out of guilt. Unaware of her Replacement Goldfish status and thinking Noonien was simply becoming Married to the Job, the android Juliana left Noonien, and he spent the rest of his life playing this trope straight.
  • John Winchester in Supernatural is a classic example of this trope. His inability to save his wife Mary and his devotion to hunting down the thing that killed her has made him an obsessive (and occasionally abusive) Hunter. It's been implied more than once that their marriage wasn't all that happy while she was alive, although he glorified it in retrospect.
  • Teen Wolf: Sheriff Stilinski - Stiles's father - has never recovered from his wife Claudia's death and still struggles to talk about her. Although Claudia died at least six years before the show, he continues to wear his wedding ring and shows no interest in dating again, despite having a lot of chemistry with Scott's mother Melissa.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look:
    • The series manages to invert the premise of Rebecca with Mister DeWinter constantly brooding on what his second wife is going to be like, much to Rebecca distress and confusion.
    • Another has a 'life insurance' policy that offers to replace your dead spouse with a beautiful young immigrant who will behave impeccably sweetly out of gratitude for their nice new life.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Dream Me a Life", Roger Simpson Leeds is still devastated by the death of his beloved wife Rachel three years earlier. He makes little to no effort to interact with his close friend Frank, their fellow retirement home residents, or even his children and grandchildren. Frank takes every opportunity to try and bring him out of his shell, inviting him to play poker every night, but Roger always turns him down. The experience of helping Laurel Kincaid overcome her grief at her husband's death in her dream allows him to do the same thing. As a result, Roger gains a new lease on life.
  • The Walking Dead: In contrast to her comic counterpart, Maggie never has any other relationship with another man after Glenn’s murder before the end of the series. In the Grand Finale she spells out to Negan that she will never love anyone like Glenn again, partially because of how cruelly and sadistically Negan took him away from her and her son before the latter was even born.

  • A lot of Kamelot songs are about this trope, for instance, the album Epica features a love story which ends with the subject of the singer's love songs early in the album committing suicide, and the singer/main character of the songs goes into a deep mourning, which even spills over into their next album.
    • Worth noting that one of their songs is even titled "The Mourning After."
  • Ludo's Broken Bride album is all about this.
  • Fairly common in folk music, both classical and neo. There's "The Resurrected Lover," "Lover's Last Chance," "The Long Black Veil," "Steer By The Stars," "When I Sing About You"...
  • "He Stopped Loving Her Today," possibly the greatest Country Music song ever, was about a man pining after his lost love until he dies.
  • "Baby's In Black" by The Beatles. Possibly written about pre-fame member, the late Stu Sutcliffe's mourning girlfriend in Germany, Astrid Kirchherr.
  • Project Pitchfork's appropriately named "Lament":
    I miss you too much, I can't go on without you
    Every day is wrong, the whole world is dying in this song
    The blues of the world swirled around my heart and screamed
    We are apart, forever apart
  • The Burning Hell's "Grave Situation, Part 2" seems to be about this, from the perspective of the dead guy.
  • Judas Priest's "Close To You":
    And as I stand here by the grave
    And the wind calls out your name
    I know that time could never heal
    The emptiness I feel
  • Abney Park's "Stretched on Your Grave" is, word for word, the poem that serves as the page quote.
  • "Final Breath", a Touhou Project Eurobeat remix by Odyssey:
    If I told you I loved you, would you still have survived?
    Every day gone without you is tearing like a knife
    As a mortal, I dance on the precipice of death
    Till the day we're united, I draw my final breath
  • Pulp's "Disco 2000" is a song written from the "married to someone else" point of view of this trope; the singer is convinced that he and his love are right for each other, even if they were nothing more than friends and she's now married with children. By the end of the song, he's so determined just to meet her again that he doesn't care if she brings her child to a meeting he's suggesting.
  • Lana Del Rey's Grief Song "Dark Paradise" is all about this.
    Loving you forever can't be wrong
    Even though you're not here, won't move on
    All my friends ask me why I stay strong
    Tell 'em when you find true love it lives on


  • In The Rose Tattoo, Serafina treasures the memory of her late husband of twelve years as "the first best, the only best." She jealously keeps watch over his ashes (which she keeps in defiance of Catholic doctrine) and is proud to say that he was "never touched by the hand of nobody" except her, which is unfortunately untrue.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has a particularly tragic case of this. Sweeney is told by his neighbor Mrs. Lovett that his wife Lucy took poison shortly after Sweeney was wrongfully arrested and she was raped by the judge who convicted him. Sweeney vows vengeance against those responsible, and despite Mrs. Lovett's obvious feelings for him, he remains wholly uninterested in her. Eventually Sweeney is forced to kill a crazed beggar woman who has been bothering him throughout the show. Once he gets a good look at her, he's horrified to realize she was his wife all along; although Mrs. Lovett wasn't technically lying about Lucy poisoning herself, she became insane rather than dying.
  • It's briefly mentioned in Two Gentlemen of Verona that Eglamour swore perpetual chastity after the woman he loved died.
  • A case where the love interest doesn't die but leaves and irreparably damages the character: Kathy in the Vanities musical, as told in "Cute Boys with Short Haircuts", loses her BF after he knocks up another girl and ends up marrying that one, thus derailing all her future plans. By the third act, she is a Broken Bird holed up in an unknown friend's Manhattan apartment.
  • Westeros: An American Musical: The fact that Robert still loves the deceased Lyanna is spelled out a couple times:
    • "King Robert Baratheon" has lyrics about Lyanna waiting for Robert in the crypts and Robert never moving on.
    • In "Hand-Holding", Robert's reason for having drifted apart from Lyanna's brother Eddard, who was his foster brother, is implied to be that he had trouble being around Eddard after Lyanna's death.

    Video Games 
  • Booker Dewitt from BioShock Infinite. He became a widower almost twenty years earlier and there's no indication given that he's ever been with anyone else since — when Elizabeth asks what happened to his wife, he curtly responds that she died in childbirth, his grief audible in his voice.
  • In Disco Elysium it's revealed near the end that the Detective was once in love with a woman named Dora who left him due to his unstable nature. The experience has since caused him to become even more unstable as he succumbed further to his addictions and became a burnout, ultimately culminating in him inducing amnesia in himself in a desperate attempt to escape his memories.
  • In Dishonored 2, Empress Jessamine Kaldwin's assassination fifteen years prior still have left deep emotional wounds in her royal protector/paramour Corvo Attano and their now-adult daughter and heir Empress Emily Kaldwin.
  • Dragon Age:
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Subverted as far back as Final Fantasy II: A dying prince ends his Will They or Won't They? situation with a princess by coughing a "tell her that I love her" at the party, but then realizes that she would follow this trope and tying her to a dead man would be nothing but selfishness. He forbids the party from saying anything, and they obey, even though the princess is expecting word. It's implied that the princess ends up with his brother.
    • In Final Fantasy VII and Dirge of Cerberus, Vincent is living this way because of Lucrecia, spending long hours in the cave where she had sealed herself inside a crystal and talking to himself.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • The titular character in Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice has her one great love, Dillion, and a significant chunk of her internal conversation revolves around how strongly she feels for him. He's already dead at the start of the game.
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist: If Flulu dies, her husband, Geranium, never gets over it since he has to take charge of Geoponics. In the epilogue, he ages early due to the stress from managing the sector without her, and he eventually dies from a heart attack.
  • If you romanced Kaidan in Mass Effect, then when Shepard dies at the start of the second game he goes into a two-year depression where he refuses to date anyone else because he loved Shepard too much. It gets better when Shepard is brought back to life and can rekindle their relationship in the third game, but it's implied that the same thing happens to him again if Shepard dies again at the end of the third game. Although a rather extreme and bizarre example is when he is romanced by a male Shepard given the fact that you can only romance him in this game but still share the same prologue with a female Shepard that romanced him from the first game.
    • This could happen to Shepard if she romanced Thane in the second game who will be killed by Kai Leng in the third game. As long as she didn't pursue another love interest, the game will treat it as if she never moved on with his death and the Citadel DLC gave her the chance to properly mourn for him.
  • In Mother 3, Flint never gets over his wife's death.
  • James Sunderland of Silent Hill 2 never got over the death of his wife, Mary. When 3 years after her death he receives a letter from her, claiming that she's waiting for him in their special place in Silent Hill, he immediately sets out to find her. He even realizes he must sound crazy, looking for a dead person, but still says he'd do anything to be with her again. It is revealed near the end of the game that Mary had been sick for 3 years and only died hours before the start of the game, at the hand of James. James' extreme guilt and need for punishment over mercy killing her terminally ill wife was strong enough that when he drove with her body to Silent Hill to commit suicide, the supernatural forces of the town created a nightmarish purgatory based on his feelings and memories... memories he also repressed to escape his guilt, thus leading to him believing she's been dead for 3 years.

    Visual Novels 
  • In CLANNAD there are multiple cases of this depending on the route but the most famous is when Tomoya's wife, Nagisa, dies in childbirth.
  • In Fate/stay night Heaven's Feel Normal End has a depressing example that flashes through the rest of Sakura's life in Shirou's home after he dies at the end of the Grail War, constantly waiting for him to come home.
  • Godot, aka Diego Armando of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations is one of these — the game doesn't actually discuss whether he'd have another girlfriend, but his attitude about Mia's death, and the lengths he'd go to "avenge" her make him definitely appear to be one of these. Interestingly enough, both of them might have fitted this trope (while she was alive, he went into a coma, not to wake up until she died) but she was of the more well-adjusted variety if she fits this trope at all.
  • In one Bad Ending of School Days, after Kotonoha commits suicide in front of them, Makoto and Sekai break up, and Makoto never gets together with anyone else.


    Western Animation 
  • Happens to Sypha in Castlevania (2017). Following Trevor's final showdown with Death, he's presumed dead as the platform was collapsing, and no body could be found. She spends the next 2 weeks mourning the loss of the man she loved and the father of her unborn child, contemplating returning to the nomadic Seekers despite Alucard and Greta offering her a place in the new village they're building in and around Dracula's castle. But thankfully Trevor shows up alive, but injured, and breaks Sypha out of her funk.
  • Garfield's Babes and Bullets: Sam finds himself attracted to Tanya, even while he suspects her of having killed her husband. When he solves the case, she gently lets him down because obviously she is still in mourning, and they are too different. Tanya does pay him handsomely for his time.
  • The Owl House: Luz's father, Manny, is explicitly confirmed in "Reaching Out" to have passed away when Luz was a little girl, many years before the events of the series when she’s a teenager, and his wife, Luz's mother Camila, never married anyone else, still being a single mother even in the present day.
  • At the very heart of Steven Universe: All the Crystal Gems minus Steven are still grieving and recovering from the loss of their beloved Rose, though for Garnet and Amethyst, it's in a platonic variant. Both Greg and Pearl were in romantic relationships with her, and are still doing their best to move on while raising the child she left behind.

    Real Life 
  • Joanna the Mad - Queen of Castile - for her husband, Philip the Handsome. She took to carrying his coffin around with her and sleeping with it. Her son, Carlos I of Castile (better known as Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor) played this up a little when assuming rule on her behalf. She clearly had a screw loose, in addition to being a woman - two major handicaps for any sixteenth-century would-be monarch.
    • Joanna's problem was actually less that she was a woman or even seriously mentally ill; As Joanna's own mother, Queen Isabella of Castile aptly demonstrated, women (yes, including married women) could even back then easily reign in their own right or even exercise more influence than rulers of the opposite sex. Joanna's problem was more than when she was born, she was only third in line for the throne after her two older siblings Juan and Isabella, and thus never properly prepared to rule two of the most powerful monarchies in Europe at the time. Instead Joanna grew up as a very shy and reserved girl with limited social contact whose only purpose at the time was to be married to a man she had never met before, and she must have been rather ecstatic to discover that her fiancé was essentially the Big Man on Campus among European nobility. The untimely death of her siblings made her unexpectedly successor to the thrones of Castile and Aragòn, but she apparently didn't have much interest in ruling the Iberian peninsula as much as simply living a family life, a matter she complied with by simply giving most matters political into the hands of Philip, who unlike her, had had a political upbringing. In contrast to Joanna, who was fiercely devoted to her husband, Philip was, like most nobles at the time a playboy who certainly didn't always place a strain on his libido (although he also clearly appreciated his wife), a fact that apparently made Joanna quite jealous for a while and provided the necessary excuse that her father in particular needed to declare her mentally ill to take hold of her possessions in his quarrels with his son-in-law. In other words, Philip's death simply shattered a reclusive woman's personal life as well as threw her unprepared into conflict with her own father. It should also be mentioned that Joanna summarily abandoned her children after her husband's demise and Charles, a man widely known for taking his responsibilities very seriously, beyond deeming her irresponsible, must certainly also have felt a bit resentful towards his mother when making his decision.
  • Related to the example above, Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire had an arranged, yet loving marriage to Isabella of Portugal, a fine example of Silk Hiding Steel. When she died after the miscarriage of their 6th child, Charles V was away on a conquest. Her death shattered him so much he wore black for the rest of his life and never remarried. Charles V later abdicated and died in a monastery.
  • Later on, Charles III of Spain lost his wife, Maria Amalia of Saxony, in 1760 (after giving him 13 children). He lived on for another 28 years, in which he never remarried, got a mistress, or even a (in modern terms) one-night stand. This in an era where political alliances were still held by marriages and every king (Charles III's father included) routinely went through two, three, or more marriages in his life.
  • British monarchs:
    • A strange one: George II was famous in his time for having both a loving relationship with his wife Caroline of Ansbach and a parade of mistresses. Caroline, a clear-eyed and realistic sort (she was also popular among the British political class and people as a wise — and devoutly-Protestant—advisor to her sometimes-clueless husband), didn't really mind his philandering as long as she approved of the mistresses personally, and so George took pains to ensure that Caroline vetted all of his paramours. When Caroline predeceased him, passing in 1737, she begged him on her deathbed to remarry when she was gone; sobbing, he cried, "Non, j'aurai des maîtresses!" ("No, I shall have mistresses!") to emphasise that none could replace her as his wife and queen. He stayed true to his word; he never remarried, and only had mistresses for his remaining (almost) 23 years after Caroline's death.
    • Possibly the most famous example in royal history: Queen Victoria was (famously) deeply, deeply in love with her husband Prince Albert. (Here's the obligatory Hark! A Vagrant strip poking fun at their relationship.) When he died young in 1861 at the age of 42, Victoria went into mourning for the rest of her life—all thirty-nine years of it. She was never seen out of widow's weeds ever again and commissioned her famous small diamond crown specifically to accommodate this (the small size meant she could wear it on top of the veil, and it was made of silver and diamonds because those were appropriate materials for mourning). In the early years, she even failed to appear at the required social and state occasions, bringing the monarchy to its highest level of unpopularity since the Civil War; it's often said that only the Prince of Wales' personal popularity prevented Britain from becoming a republic during this period. Of course, Victoria had strong personal reasons for ignoring this; as she herself said:
      "There is no one to call me Victoria now."
  • There are some people who genuinely consider the death of a partner to be very different from the dissolution of marriage; most, however, consider the death of a spouse to be akin to a forced dissolution.
  • Princess Nino Chavchavadze, after her husband died ridiculously soon after their marriage.
    • Related to this you have Grigol Orbeliani, who was in love with Nino and courted her but respected her choice to never re-marry. However, because he loved her so much, he never got married not even when she passed away 30 years before he did.
  • Sir Patrick Moore. His fiancée was killed in 1943 when a bomb hit the ambulance she was driving.
    "That was it. There was no one else for me. Second best is no good for me. I would have liked a wife and family, but it was not to be."
  • James Buchanan, the only U.S. president to never marry, after his fiancée Ann Caroline Coleman's death. "Marry I could not, for my affections were buried in the grave." He seems to have eventually had romances and even reconsider his position on marriage, but never actually went through with it. Although many historians are pretty sure he was gay.
  • Man recreates dead lover as a sex doll.
  • Princess Helene of Wittelsbach aka Nene, older sister of the famous Elisabeth of Wittelsbach aka Sisi, remained unmarried after the death of her husband Maximilian of Thurn-and-Taxis, refusing other possible engagements and focusing on helping manage the Thurn-und-Taxis family business and philanthropy instead.
    • After the tragic murder of Sisi, it's said that her hubby Franz Josef felt similarly, despite how unstable their marriage was; in her memoirs, his relative Princess Zita from the Habsburg clan wrote that she heard him say "Nobody will ever know how much I loved Sisi".
  • Another Lizzie here: Saint Elisabeth of Hungary, said to have gone into a huge Heroic BSoD once she learnt that her husband and Victorious Childhood Friend Margrave Ludwig of Thuringia had died in the Crusades, repeating a Madness Mantra by the lines of "He is dead. He is dead. It is to me as if the whole world died today!". She then went Rebellious Princess by doing anything in her power to not re-marry, from leaving Thuringia despite her brother-in-law's orders to telling people "Either leave me alone and let me become a Franciscan tertiary, or I'll cut off my own nose and disfigure myself so no one will want me!" She got her wish and died single at age 24.
  • Eliza Emily Donnithorne, the possible inspiration for Ms. Havisham, was dumped by her fiancé on their wedding day, and shut herself in her home for the rest of her life, drawing the curtains and leaving everything in its place to rot.
  • Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe in 1954, but they divorced in the same year. They became close again in 1961, and it was rumored that they might remarry. When she died in 1962, he arranged her funeral and would send half a dozen roses to her grave 3 times a week for the next 20 years. He never remarried or talked publicly about Marilyn or exploited their relationship, unlike others. When he died in 1999, his last words were "I'll finally get to see Marilyn."
  • Sgt Lena Mae Basilone never remarried after her husband, Gunnery Sgt John Basilone, was killed in action at Iwo Jima. The two never had any children, and when she passed away in 1999, the obituary pointed out that she still wore the wedding ring from when they were married.
    • She would later sponsor the Gearing-class destroyer "USS Basilone", and was present for the christening.
  • Science Fiction/Horror writer Jack Butler lost his wife to cancer, but 20 years later still talks about being married in the present tense. In a magazine interview, he once told a story about how his oldest daughter tried to get him to date again, and how he couldn't understand why she didn't get the concept of "married."
  • Mildred and Richard Loving were an American interracial couple, who were the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case 'Loving v. Virginia'', in which the Court ruled that anti-miscegenation laws are unconstitutional. They married in 1958 and lived together until Richard died in a car accident in 1975. Mildred never remarried and lived in the house Richard built for them until her own death in 2008.
  • Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti was murdered during the Holocaust in 1944. His widow, Fanni Gyarmati lived for almost 70 years after that, dying at age 101, but she never remarried and never moved out of the apartment where they lived together.
  • In ancient China, memorializing women who never remarried eventually became official government policy. If one managed to remain a widow for life and prove it with credible evidence, the matter could go all the way up to the Emperor, she would get a plaque, and her family would receive a prize as well.
  • Betty White outlived husband Allen Ludden by 40 years. When asked if she had ever considered remarrying after Ludden, White famously replied “once you’ve had the best, who needs the rest?”.


Rose's Scabbard

Pearl recalls her past with Rose Quartz.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (8 votes)

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Main / TheLostLenore

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