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The Obstructive Love Interest

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Usually female, this character's sole purpose in the story is to misunderstand, obstruct and otherwise torment the male hero, thus creating unnecessary complications of plot until the end, where she finally rewards the hero with her hand or... other body parts.

This character trope is Older Than Print, dating back to the unreasonable lady-love of medieval romances. An especially irritating version is often seen in war movies or action films, whining about being "neglected" when her significant other is absorbed in vital, world-saving projects. Expect your hero to feel conflicted between her and his Band of Brothers. Your Obstructive Love Interest may undergo some Character Development and come to honor her honeybun's choice to put duty before love, even if she may not necessarily like it — in which case, she and he both exhibit Loved I Not Honor More.

Not to be confused with the Romantic False Lead, the decoy Love Interest doomed to be kicked aside for the sake of the OTP. The Super-Trope for Wet Blanket Wife, who torments the hero only over supposedly wrong (but interesting) parts of his life.

Please don't use this trope to pigeonhole love interests you don't like for one or another reason.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Shiori in Glass Mask, who is Hayami's fiancée. When she realizes that Hayami loves Maya, she shows her true colors and often causes events that make Maya come across as rude or mean out of jealousy.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers: There are also two one-sided examples with Belarus and Russia and Belarus and Lithuania. Belarus stalks and terrifying her brother, certain she can get him to marry her, but her being his love interest is all in her head. Meanwhile, Lithuania sees Belarus as a love interest, while she's not interested but still breaks his fingers while on a date. Subverted with Hungary, who beat up her future husband Austria before she became his love interest.
  • Played straight and depending on if you think it's funny, parodied in the yaoi title Ill Be Your Slave. The Obstructive Love Interest is a pretty boy, well aware of his looks, who's used to having his admirers doing everything for him. The seme becomes his dedicated slave to keep him co-operative in a modelling job. The boy abuses this to no end.
  • This is one of the two primary "romcom" foundations for Ranma ½, with the other being a clash of personality flaws. Whether intentionally or otherwise, Akane Tendo usually tends to make Ranma Saotome's life far more complicated than it needs to be. She constantly mistrusts his motivations, interferes with his schemes, or simply attacks him in a fit of rage and/or jealousy. She has thrown things at him when he's in the middle of a fight, once been about to apologize for hitting him for hugging Shampoo when under Mind Control only to instead break off the apology and hit him for it again, constantly takes the side of his rival Ryoga Hibiki, accused Ranma of being in league with Happosai, accused Ranma of being a Panty Thief and even a potential rapist, left herself open in the middle of a fight to focus on accusing Ranma of impropriety, and in general been as much of a torment to Ranma as his rivals. It's morbidly impressive that Ranma is still attracted to Akane despite the constant misunderstandings, bickering and violence.
  • Gender-Inverted with Lum in Urusei Yatsura. She loves the male protagonist Ataru Moroboshi, but he constantly ignores her and goes chasing after other girls. When she's not foiling those plans, she often accidentally makes trouble for him due to misunderstanding Earth rules or misusing her advanced alien technology.

    Comic Books 
  • In the original Spider-Woman series, Jerry Hunt had shades of this, constantly getting frustrated over Jessica Drew's inability to put his needs before her drive to fight crime, even when said crimes tended to involve him. One issue gave us a peek into his mind and showed that he would have much preferred if Jessica had been a damsel in distress who needed him to rescue her.

    Fan Works 
  • Ghost of You: Lance repeatedly and unintentionally sabotages Keith's efforts to get together with him due to misinterpreting his actions and words, along with being generally Oblivious to Love. Keith eventually realizes that much of this is due to the failure of Lance's last relationship leaving him convinced that he's not even worthy of love.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Chev's girlfriend in Crank isn't the sharpest tool in the shed and can't comprehend the gravity of the situation Chev is in.
  • Jocelyn is this to William in A Knight's Tale. Among other things, she has him lose battles intentionally (since any knight ever smitten by her good looks has tried to dedicate his victory to her, she asks for William to demonstrate his love by going against his own nature and losing for her instead), then after he goes through with it long enough to be almost knocked out of that tournament, she asks that he win all the battles left just to prove his love. Though the latter could be viewed as letting him off now he'd proved his sincerity, so YMMV.
  • Brooke in Magic Mike responds to most of Mike's flirting with Snark-to-Snark Combat and disapproval about his chosen lifestyle. Until the end where he announces he's quitting stripping.
  • Mary Jane is the whining variant in Spider-Man 2, with all her screentime devoted to Peter pining over her or her pining over Peter without much to add for herself (well, she actually did, but it ended up all on the cutting room floor of the movie.)

  • In Gordon R. Dickson's Childe Cycle, both Anea Marlivana from Dorsai! and Melissa Khan from Tactics of Mistake are obstructive love interests. (The latter is lampshaded in the later story "Amanda Morgan", where the title character observes that Melissa is terrific in a crisis, but incompetent the rest of the time.)
  • The lady in Leigh Hunt's "The Glove and the Lions", which was based on a supposed actual event, tossed one of her gloves into a pit of vicious lions just so her significant other could "prove his love" for her by retrieving it. He reacted poorly to this, to say the least.
    ...The leap was quick, return was quick, he has regained his place,
    Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady's face.
    "By heaven," said Francis, "rightly done!" and he rose from where he sat;
    "No love," quoth he, "but vanity, sets love a task like that."
  • Subverted in A Hat Full of Sky. Jeannie the kelda initially shows jealousy to Tiffany, the young Witch of the Chalk, because Jeannie's brand-new husband, Rob Anybody Feegle, has known Tiffany longer than he's known Jeannie, was briefly engaged to her (long story), and is itching to leave behind his home and duties there because he knows Tiffany is in danger. Rob understands Jeannie's stress and promises that if she asks him, he'll stay with his clan and be the Big Man. Jeannie thanks him, then lays a geas on him to go and find Tiffany and protect her, because the Chalk needs its witch. Jeannie and Tiffany end up becoming fast friends.
  • The heroine of The Night Land goes to absurd lengths to put herself and her rescuer in mortal danger to make sure he pays proper attention to her. But really, she just wants to be whipped.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Skyler White in Breaking Bad devotes a lot of her screen time to questioning what Walt is up to when he's out secretly cooking and selling drugs. Uniquely they're already married at the start. Also unusual in that, as annoying as she is from an out-of-universe perspective, she's completely right to not trust Walt.
  • Daredevil (2015) and The Defenders (2017):
    • Karen Page falls into this trope for her detractors, especially considering how annoyed she gets at Matt when he tells her he's taking up Daredeviling again, nevermind Karen has legitimate reasons to be concerned about what Matt does. This seemed especially jarring considering how much she had been supporting Frank Castle during Daredevil season 2. Foggy arguably falls into the male variant of this trope even though he's just Matt's best friend, as he's also got legitimate concerns about Matt's activities as much as Karen's does.
    • Elektra provides a bit of this too, since the second half of season 2 is about Matt being fixated on helping her and Stick stop the Hand, at the expense of helping Karen and Foggy with the Castle trial.
  • Good Omens (2019):
  • Used with Lucy Lane in Supergirl - but this is to show her as a Romantic False Lead for James. She's constantly questioning what he's up to and misunderstanding a lot of his situations - when he's really helping Kara keep her secret identity as Supergirl.
  • Male version: Walter on Ugly Betty (actually, it seems that all of Betty's boyfriends will turn into this if they're around long enough).
  • Male version: Pedro from Velvet spends two seasons driven by a combination of insecurity, jealousy, and an inability to tell Rita he loves her without five minutes of prologue about other women, causing heartache for both parties.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • The love interest in Unfit exists entirely to make unreasonable demands for the main character to deal with. She is never in the right, she never shows any positive emotions towards the main character, and it's impossible to tell why he hasn't dumped her yet. In contrast, he's always a perfect saint towards her. (One can't help but suspect that the author had a failed relationship and is using the comic to work through his own issues.)

    Video Games 
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty's Rosemary. Raiden is off trying to save the world (or, at least, save the President of the United States and his entourage from a superpowered black-ops cell gone rogue, and with access to nuclear weapons) and all Rose can talk about is how he refuses to discuss their relationship and how his room in his home contains nothing but a desk and a bed. Poor Raiden can only sigh and try to insist that they'll talk about it after the mission, but she won't let up. And creator Hideo Kojima supposedly based her on his wife. It turns out, Rose is intentionally screwing with his feelings under orders from the Patriots, in order to make sure the S3 training project can sufficiently compensate for personal emotional stress. This goes so far that Raiden is taunted by an AI copy of Rose during the final sequence of the game just to twist the knife into his psyche further.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Double Homework, Ms. Walsh doesn’t get an ending, and she can draw the protagonist away from a sexy time with Lauren.
  • Multiple ones in Melody:
    • The protagonist can pursue a romantic/sexual relationship with Xianne, but there is no ending with her.
    • Zigzagged with Sophia. She can prevent the Perfect Ending by getting involved with the protagonist, but she also unlocks the possibility of a three-way relationship between him, Melody, and herself.
    • Jade is the logical extreme. She basically exists to torpedo the protagonist's relationship with Melody when it seems to be a slam dunk.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Obstructive Love Interest