She is beautiful. She is sweet. She is sincere. So why can't she get the guy already? The Unrequited Tragic Maiden is (usually) a female character that seems to have all the perfect characteristics to make her the ideal romantic interest or even The Ingenue of the story, but alas, for some reason the object of her affections does not view her as such. Usually this is because she is overshadowed by another female character who has captivated the heart of the guy, placing the Unrequited Tragic Maiden on the sideline only to be seen as a friend or ward.
No matter how painful her yearning for love is, the Unrequited Tragic Maiden never truly achieves her happily ever after with the one she loves. She endures it all with a sad smile and is often reduced to a tragic fate. She is the poster child of Unrequited Love. In the end, she will often sacrifice herself or her happiness to make sure her beloved is happy.
Fan reactions to her tend to be mixed. Many fans will cheer and push for the Maiden's success, to the extent of calling The Hero an Ungrateful Bastard if he doesn't fall at the girl's feet (because the — more often than not never asked for — pining and sacrifices are seen by fans as him owing her affection or sex, no matter what he actually thinks or says) or Slut-Shaming any possible female love rival (because The Hero is seen as a tool of women's validation and some think that women shouldn't act on their own romantic feelings if it interferes with others's); and if the Maiden doesn't succeed, much bashing of the author shall be expected. On the other hand, others will turn against the Maiden and call her insulting names, from "idiot" to "bitch" to "slut" to "bad example for women": this is especially obvious if either The Hero has another prospective love interest or female friend who's perceived as being "stronger" and "cooler" than the maiden herself (because again, The Hero is a tool for women's validation, and a woman seen as "strong" will not be fully completed if she doesn't have the love interest that fans want for her), or the Maiden has a second prospective love interest (who's often male, but at times female) whose canon-or-not feelings she passes up on to favor The Hero (because a woman's feelings for Man 1 are automatically less important than Man 2/Woman 3's feelings for her, and she owes Man 2/Woman 3 affection no matter what).
(It should also be pointed out that, especially in modern times, several of these Maidens are also full-blooded characters with motivations, relationships, backstories and/or interests that go beyond their Unrequited Loves. And yet many fans will insist on only focusing on their love woes, either ignoring or refusing to see their non-romantic character depths.)
Compare to Hopeless Suitor, Did Not Get the Girl and Romantic Runner-Up, who is the brother of this trope but usually with a less tragic end. May wind up becoming The Lost Lenore after death if the person they loved grieves for them, blames themselves for her death or else only discovers that he loved her when it was too late. Contrast to Green-Eyed Monster, in which the woman is more prone to sabotage and a devious nature unlike the docile nature of the Unrequited Tragic Maiden.
This is starting to become either a Discredited Trope (as romantic portrayals of females become less dependent on the male characters), a Deconstructed Trope (to showcase a point-of-view of it being an unrealistic idea of romantic love) or a Gender-Inverted Trope (since male examples are starting to be more common).
- Played with in Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day. Menma suffers a tragic death right after hearing Jintan deny having a crush on her. In reality, he returned her feelings while she was alive, and still liked her even when she was a ghost.
- Ashita no Nadja:
- Sylvie Arte is a beautiful woman who's in love with a Blithe Spirit friend of hers named Raphael who simply cannot love her back because he was widowed in very tragic circumstances. The trope is also discussed, as Sylvie explains her situation and Raphael's to Nadja and warns her that not everything in love is happiness.
- This is also what Marianne Hamilton turns out to be in the end, since her love for Francis turns out to be pretty sincere, but she can't do anything to sway him away from Nadja.
- Candy Candy;
- Annie Brighton believes that she is this to her beloved Archibald "Archie" Cornwell in the Boarding School arc, which does not mixes well with her strong self-esteem issues coming from both her background as an orphan and her secret jealousy of the titular Candy, her best friend and the girl whom Archie seems to crush on. It turns out that Annie's love for Archie is requited in the end, as he realizes that while he does care for Candy, Annie is the girl he actually loves. And Candy is a Shipper on Deck with her own romantic woes, anyway.
- Also subverted with Susanna Marlowe. She has ALL the signs of being Terry Granchester's tragic maiden — but he ultimately decides to stay by her side after she falls victim to Break the Cutie.
- Shirley Marks from Captain Tsubasa loves Stefan Levin deeply, can't tell him her feelings because his dead fiancée Karen was her best friend and she clearly knows he simply can't love her back. This is a pretty sucky situation, but the girl is somewhat savvier than usual and she attempts to not complain about it.
- Shirley Fenette from Code Geass. At first Played for Laughs, then for intense drama with a side dish of Break the Cutie. And right when it looks like she may have the chance to get Lelouch's love... BAM! Fatal injury to the gut, pool of her own blood, death in front of Lelouch.
- This happens differently in the movies. Even though she stays safe this time, her and Lelouch's roles are basically swapped because his death still happens.
- Subverted by Youko Nakagawa in the anime of Cardcaptor Sakura. She pines for Touya Kinomoto who (unbeknownst to her) is starting to develop feelings for Yukito Tsukishiro, and plans to tell him about her love in the School Festival. She does cry when Touya politely turns her affections down at the end of the episode she's featured in, but she actually apologizes for crying and tells him she'll be okay. Her only request is for him to dance with her around the bonfire.
- Surprisingly, once his actual motivations are explored, Juzo "Ultimate Boxer" Sakakura from Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School ends up fitting in this trope. He loves Kyosuke "Ultimate Student Council President" Munakata deeply but knows he can't have his romantic affection, would rather step aside and give Chisa "Ultimate Housekeeper" Yukizome the chance to love him and being loved back, suffers enormously for such feelings (even if he shows it in very different ways than the standard trope), and ends up dying in a terribly tragic manner to, among other things, protect Munakata with his life. His Famous Last Words are about how much he wants Munakata to live no matter what.
- Detective Conan:
- Several of these appear, with the most tragic case being Shouko Utakura from the Seance's Double Locked Mystery Room Case. Who ends up murdered by the guy she loves (Ryuuichi Mifune) because he mistakenly believes her to be involved in the death of his girlfriend Kira. (She sorta is, but definitely NOT in the way he expected her to.)
- The reason why Sonoko dislikes Shinichi is because she thinks Ran will end up as Shinichi's UTM. For all that she knows, he's out there resolving cases while she pines endlessly for him! (Little do the girls know that Shinichi is the titular Conan, however.) Sadly, the Stranger of Ten Years OAV implies that were Shinichi not to return to normal, Ran would be very likely to play the trope straight, or at least he deeply fears that she would do it.
- There was a case where Conan, Eri, and Ran met up with a judo champion named Yuuko. She used to be this to her sempai Hajime, a sportsman whom she adored enough to get into sports to follow his example... but was already Happily Married when this took place, so Yuuko's love for him was fully unrequited. Yuuko married another man, Shirou, who believed she was still hung up on Hajime... and got so horribly jealous that he deliberately had an affair with Hajime's wife to "punish" the woman who, in his mind, didn't love him enough. When Yuuko realized this, she was so angry and hurt by Shirou's pettiness she ended up murdering him.
- Heartbreakingly subverted in Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden. Firuka sincerely believed that she was this to Urumiya Hagas... but in reality, Hagas loved her dearly. He couldn't ever show it to her, however, since he was an Ill Boy whose days were numbered and was planning a Self-Sacrifice Scheme; Firuka only learned that his other wish was for her to be happy and loved when he was already dead, and the one who told her was his surviving twin brother Tegu aka the one Hagas pulled his Self-Sacrifice Scheme for, and who'd eventually become Firuka's Second Love.
- At some point, this is discussed... and ultimately defied: The Baby deals several and extremely cruel Breaking Lectures to Kagome, telling her that she's pretty much condemned to be this to Inu-Yasha himself, due to his feelings for his ex-girlfriend (and Kagome's past self) Kikyou. Kagome is this close to give in and have a FaceHeel Turn, which is the Baby's purpose... but then she snaps back at him via first admitting that yes, she is often jealous of Kikyou, but then adding that these feelings are proper of human beings, and finally stating that she does love Inu-Yasha anyway. Such emotional honesty, and especially coming from a Tsundere and self-admitted Clingy Jealous Girl, is VERY welcome and refreshing. And even more so when it keeps her from going the "Love Makes You Evil" way.
- In the anime, Princess Sara plays it straighter. Her deal is much more complex, though.
- Michiyo Akaishi's stories have two of these:
- There's one in Ten Yori Mo, Hoshi Yori Mo... But it's not Mio Mizumori, who actually has her feelings for Shou requited very soon. It's Miyabi Fujiwara, the local Ojou, who falls for Shou at first, then is manipulated by Tadaomi due to her feelings... and ends up dying in a plane crash caused by Tadaomi in an attempt to kill Shou.
- Akaishi also provides the very Rare Male Example: Naozumi "Kotaka" Yatsuka from Amakusa 1637, who's painfully and deeply in love with Natsuki and that really doesn't help him when he's stuck in the past and ends up Going Mad From The Isolation.
- Marmalade Boy :
- In the anime, Anju Kitahara has more than one whiff of this, being a Yamato Nadeshiko and loving her Childhood Friend Yuu, who already has a girlfriend named Miki by the time they meet again. She immediately recognizes the trope and tells Miki that not only she will not step in between them but she'll support them as much as she can. She does have a slim chance later when Yuu and Miki break up during a crisis, but since they hook up again later, Anju decides to step aside.
- Played much straighter with Ryoko Momoi, a local teacher who is this to her fellow teacher Shinichi Namura, who is in love with his student Meiko and is loved back despite how everything is against them. She gets better in the end, but not before much heartbreak.
- Played with in Monster Musume, with Mero. She wants to be the Unrequited Tragic Maiden to the man she harbors affection for, eagerly stepping on the sidelines and only wanting to be a tangential part of the protagonist's harem. Later on, after she has a brush with an actual tragedy, she decides that maybe it's not all it's cracked up to be.
- Played With in regards to Hinata Hyuga in Naruto. For the majority of the series, she seemingly played this trope straight—Naruto did grow to care for her quite a bit, but he never noticed her feelings for him, even after the times she put her own life on the line to save him, and instead had a one-sidedcrush on Sakura. Even when he let go of Sakura after Chapter 469, and even when he and Hinata started having significant moments together from the War Arc onward, Naruto still never noticed Hinata's feelings for him. In the Gag Series spin-off and some of the anime Fillers, this situation was often parodied for the sake of comic relief. It finally got Subverted in the epilogue, where Naruto and Hinata are Happily Married with two children. It got completely Averted in the canon movie The Last: Naruto the Movie, where, judging by the dialogue from the other characters (including Sakura), it's heavily implied that Naruto had been in love with Hinata for quite some time, but he couldn't fully realize it until the movie for two reasons. First, his emotionally-stunted childhood and lack of a stable and loving home environment left him unable to properly tell the difference between familial love or even the love for ramen from romantic love. Second, Naruto confirms in his Heroic Vow that, deep down, he's insecure around Hinata because he never thought someone like her would genuinely love him for him—which was implied by Kiba in the War Arc.
- For such a short story, Natsu e no Tobira has two of these for The Protagonist, a Pretty Boy named Marion Fiesse:
- The first is Ledania Francoise, a quiet and gentle young woman who holds secret feelings for him, while all the boys in town have crushes on her. Marion is doesn't return her love, and when Ledania does tell him about, he's already in love with Sara and rejects her.
- The second is actually a Rare Male Example: Claude, one of Marion's school friends. Claude claimed to have feelings for Ledania but in reality, his love is all for Marion, and for worse, he's strongly implied to be drug-addicted. When he gives Marion a disastrous Anguished Declaration of Love with a side-dish of Attempted Rape, a terrified Marion hits him, and Claude is found dead in the river the day after; Marion is devastated and heavily blames himself.
- Parasyte: Kana believes herself to be Shinichi's soulmate due to her unexplained psychic connection to him, but as he explains, she's linked to people like him, and the others are all the villains of The Masquerade. She takes to seing him as her Knight in Shining Armor, but borders on Stalker with a Crush while he sees them as Just Friends. The last time she sees him with his girlfriend, she pines for him, thinking "Why don't you notice me? Look over here! Feel me. Please...", as she turns away her own unrequited love interest. Shinichi is somewhat aware of her interest, but sends mixed messages, including skipping a date to meet with her. But on that night, as she resolves to rush to him to proclaim her love, she runs into one of the monsters, who gives her a fatal wound as Shinichi arrives seconds too late, leaving her to die in his arms, still close to him, but not reciprocated.
- In the backstory of Please Save My Earth, there is Enju towards Gyokuran. And arguably Shusuren, in regards to her. In the present, Enju's reincarnation Issei was about to become a Rare Male Example to Jinpachi, the reincarnation of Gyokuran, but it's averted as he ultimately falls for Sakura aka Shusuren's reincarnation.
- Played With quite a bit in Princess Tutu — both The Heroine Duck/Tutu and Anti-Villainess Rue/Kraehe vie for this position. Considering that Drosselmeyer was trying to write a tragedy, it's not that surprising. And considering the theme of the show, it's not surprising that they both subvert this role.
- Duck has an unrequited crush on Mytho and at first, she thinks that he'll take notice of her once she starts helping him as Princess Tutu, but soon she discovers that because she's Tutu, she'll die if she ever confesses her love to him. Not to mention that although Mytho falls in love with Tutu, he never finds out that Duck is Tutu, and only thinks of her as a friend. Ultimately Subverted, though, when she realizes that she was never really in love with him to begin with—she does care greatly for Mytho, but more outta admiration than romantic love; therefore she refuses to give up hope as Drosselmeyer clearly intended her to, and she falls in love with another man... Fakir, The Lancer to Mytho and the local Knight in Sour Armor.
- Rue/Kraehe is set up as the hypotenuse of the Love Triangle, The Vamp and temptress who wants to corrupt the heroic Prince. Once her very tragic reasons to be the way she is, the massive pain she has gone through thanks to the Big Bad and her actual love for Mytho are shown, though, she becomes more and more of a tragic character. Mytho starts out indifferent to her despite Rue actually being his girlfriend, and ends up downright abusive once she contaminates what's left of his heart, while he clearly develops feelings for Tutu. After Rue/Kraehe finally manages to express her love via a mixture of Anguished Declaration of Love and an Heroic Sacrifice (and one that Duck/Tutu explicitely says that she would have NOT managed to pull off, were she in Rue/Kraehe's shoes), however, Mytho remembers their shared past, recognizes her love as well as his own love for her, rescues her from a cruel Death Trap she's been put inside after her Heroic Sacrifice, and takes her as his princess at the end.
- In Project ARMS, Yugo is clearly in love with Ryo, but knows he loves Katsumi and thus does everything in her power to help rescue her. She eventually dies saving him and everyone else from the Jabberwocky.
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Sayaka Miki is a sharp, vicious deconstruction of the trope. She seems to play it straight at first sight (she yearns for Kyousuke's love, but he shows no romantic interest in her and after Sayaka doesn't confess her love for him in time, he hooks up with Hitomi, who does come forward when she had the chance)... but the truth is FAR more complex. Sayaka already had serious self-esteem problems from before becoming a Magical Girl, and when she's offered to become one and mentions that she wanted to use her wish for Kyousuke's sake, Cool Big Sis Mami immediately questions her purpose. She makes her wish for him against Mami's warnings, since she sincerely believes it would still be worth it; only then Sayaka learns that being a Magical Girl is NOT as sparkly and beautiful as she thinks it is, which clashes with her black and white view of the world and her emotional conflicts. While losing in the Love Triangle is a part of the reason why she fell out of grace and witched out and it took her quite a while to recover , it's not the only reason... but several of her "fans" peg the girl only as the local Unrequited Tragic Maiden, reducing her to a one-note character and little more.
- Kaede Fuyou from the SHUFFLE! TV series is a rather unusual example, as she plays this straight first... and then dips into yandere. Though she gets better, and she has pretty good reasons for her Yandere episode. In the original Visual Novel, whether Kaede is this or not...it actually depends on the player.
- Played for Laughs in Urusei Yatsura, with Lum playing the tragic Cute Alien Girl, pining for the love of a Casanova Wannabe named Ataru. Interestingly enough, this was supposed to be played straight with Ataru staying with his original girlfriend, Shinobu, after all the hijinks ended. But Lum became such a popular character that the storyline was changed so Lum wins in the end.
- The Flower Princess and the Alchemist: A rare male example. Edward comes so close to becoming this when a villain seductress tries to use his heartbreak and despair against him. She cruelly breaks him by talking, trying to manipulate him into turning against Orihime by mocking that as long as Orihime is in love with Ichigo, she would never return his affections, even providing him mental images of Orihime choosing Ichigo over Edward, something she knows deep down he so desperately craves just to rub salt on the wound. Once she has him in her clutches, she plants a Forceful Kiss on him, which steals his life energy. Luckily, Ed manages to snap out of it in time when recalling his Declaration of Protection to Orihime and giving an epic Shut Up, Hannibal! speech that basically boils down to "So what if he's jealous? That's a stupid reason to betray Orihime. It's perfectly natural for anyone to feel jealous, or it could just be another strong aspect of his personality when it comes to Orihime. At the end of the day, his feelings are his and his alone, and no one has any right to take advantage of them." This becomes one of the greatest Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when Ed passionately admits that seeing Orihime cry would be way worse than his hurt feelings. However, since most of his energy has been drained, he's rendered too weak to fight back. Ultimately, he is saved once again when Eria pulls a Villainous Rescue.
- Heartbeat of the War God has Shukidevi, Tenou's seer and half-sister, who holds a great passion for Yasha and equally great enmity towards Ashura to whom Yasha is absolutely devoted and loyal towards. She's also conscious that that Yasha will never love her the same he does love Ashura but she is willing to be happy enough with being the mother of his child.
- In the Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic series The Stalking Zuko Series, Jin is a Nice Girl and accepting of Zuko's Dark and Troubled Past, but Zuko only has eyes for Katara.
- In the Danny Phantom fanfic ResurrectedMemories: The biggest reason why Ember (after falling for Danny) is reluctant to reveal the truth of her identity to him, is out of fear that Danny will reject her and she will become one of these.
- Emily from Tim Burton's Corpse Bride could qualify as one of these. A beautiful young woman murdered on the night of her elopement by who she THOUGHT was her true love, she who spent her afterlife heartbroken and longing to experience real true love. When she found it in Victor, he was already betrothed to a woman named Victoria, with whom he sincerely was in love. Albeit Emily initially insisted that Victor keep a promise to marry and spend eternity with her that he made unwittingly, in the end she was willing to let him go and spend his life with his own true love, rather than keeping him to herself and causing Victoria a pain that wasn't much different from the one she felt. Once this was said and done, Emily finally released herself from her pain and was able to ascend to Heaven, her undead body turning into butterflies that peacefully flew away.
- Arthurian Legend:
- "The Lady of Shalott" from Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem of the same name which is based on the Arthurian Legend character Elaine of Astolat, who pined after Lancelot (who, of course, only had eyes for Guinevere) and eventually died of a broken heart.
- The Arthurian canon also includes a strong aversion of this trope. The young lady in love with Lancelot, in this case, opts for a platonic relationship in which Lancelot becomes her friend and champion. It works.
- Chronicles of the Kencyrath has two Gender Inverted examples:
- Dally to Jame. He's her first friend in Tai-tastigon and as good a friend as you can imagine, trusting and honest. He loves Jame, so he just keeps being a really good friend, hoping she'll start liking him too. But unfortunately for him, she's never shown any interest like that in non-Kencyr. In the end, Dally gets killed.
- Tirandys to Jamethiel Dream-weaver. When their lord made a Deal with the Devil, Tirandys followed him, knowingly and willingly damning himself—partly due to My Master, Right or Wrong, and partly because he loved Jamethiel. She was already the above-mentioned lord's consort, though, and Tirandys didn't get her. But oh, he loved her, and even 3,000 years of unrequited love later, he said:
Tirandys: She was only his tool and may yet save her compromised honor by choosing to disobey him. I would gladly give what remains of both my honor and soul to see that.
- Ivanhoe: Rebecca of York to Ivanhoe, due entirely to the fact that she's Jewish. She warns Ivanhoe not to fall for her at their first meeting and does a graceful I Want My Beloved to Be Happy bow out at the end allowing Rowena and Ivanhoe to be together and devotes the rest of her life to doing good works. Notable in that even the author preferred Rebecca and Ivanhoe, but couldn't pair them up due to Moral Guardians.
- In the original story of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, The Little Mermaid, the mermaid rescues and falls in love with a prince. He marries a different girl whom he believes had rescued him, and who actually did help in his rescue (and in some versions, she was actually his betrothed from before the mermaid incident happened). Because she was unsuccessful in making the prince fall in love with her, the mermaid turns to sea foam, choosing his happiness over her own life. In some versions, she is rewarded for her sacrifice with a new life as an air sprite, during which time she will earn a soul (mermaids don't naturally have them) and go to Heaven.
- Deconstructed in The Lord of the Rings with Éowyn. She is beautiful, she is of noble birth, she falls in love with Aragorn... who is already engaged to Arwen and has been in love with her for a long time. She even actively works towards a tragic death, which doesn't work. And not only she's saved by Aragorn, but he had recognized her feelings and specifically tells Éowyn's older brother Éomer that she's more in love with the idea of him rather than with him, in what's quite the direct potshot to the trope itself. Once Éowyn calms down and starts recovering, she bonds with the Warrior Prince Faramir, and they develop feelings for one another; the next time Aragorn speaks to them, he notes how she's much happier than before.
- Actually subverted in the original Les Misérables with Eponine — she's more pitiful than tragic, and far from selfless. She despairs when he falls in love with Cosette, so she figures she'll just have him die with her.
- Emma on Bates Motel seems to be one of these. She is every bit as hot as Bradley, but Norman just likes Bradley better.
- Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer was this for a while, pining away for Xander, until she got a boyfriend of her own. And then became (or realized she was) a lesbian or a lesbian-leaning bi.
- Olive Schnook is very obviously "hopelessly devoted to" her boss Ned on Pushing Daisies, but Ned very obviously only has eyes for his Childhood Friend Charlotte "Chuck" Charles.
- Molly Hooper on the BBC's Sherlock spend almost the entire show not-so-secretly pining for the main character, with questionable and within the fandom, very debatable results.
- In Smallville, Chloe is solidly pining after Clark for the first five seasons, and even after getting together with Jimmy for season six and seven, it is pretty obvious that she would be with Clark if she gets to choose. Not to mention an Anguished Declaration of Love in late season seven. Subverted when she seems to be Happily Married with Jimmy. Double subverted when Jimmy divorced her for always taking Clark or Davis' side. Triple subverted when she ends up with Oliver. Although that probably counts as being Strangled by the Red String.
- Helen Chao from Flower Drum Song is one of these. Like Eponine, she gets one of the arguably better songs in the show and does everything she can to be a supportive friend to Ta. He first rejects her by chasing the wrong love object before again passing her over.
- Giselle. In some versions, Giselle falls in love with Albretch, but Albretch is engaged to Bathilde. After dying of a broken heart (perhaps literally), Giselle becomes The Lost Lenore.
- Ophelia from Hamlet might be seen as one. Against the warning of her father, she's fallen in love with the Prince, and as soon as Hamlet begins to feign madness, the first thing he does is try to break off his relationship with Ophelia. She doesn't take it well, and then things go From Bad to Worse. At her funeral, Hamlet sobs profusely for his love for her.
- Eponine from Les Misérables is in love with Marius and does everything she can to help him, even though he is in love with Cosette and only views Eponine as a friend. This portrayal contrasts with the one she has in the original book, where she's more of a Stalker with a Crush.
- Liu the slave girl from Puccini's Turandot. She continues to follow and care for Timur only because his son, Calaf smiled at her. Once. But Calaf is in love with the Princess Turandot and doesn't realize Liu's devotion to him until she dies rather than reveal vital information.
- Viola describes herself like this (although she claims to be talking about her sister) in the middle of Twelfth Night, trying to explain to Orsino that sometimes you don't end up with the person you want and there's nothing you can do about it. She does get the guy at the end of the play, though.
Viola: My father had a daughter loved a man, as it might be, perhaps, were I a woman, I should your lordship.
Orsino: And what's her history?
Viola: A blank, my lord. She never told her love, but let concealment, like a worm i' the bud, feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought, and with a green and yellow melancholy she sat like patience on a monument, smiling at grief.
- Glinda from Wicked is traditionally pretty and popular, seemingly a perfect match for the traditionally handsome and popular Fiyero. Unusually for this trope, the two even date for a while and are engaged at one point. Fiyero however is in love with the fiery, green-skinned outcast Elphaba (who also happens to be Glinda's best friend), and leaves a heartbroken Glinda to go be with her. Throughout the show Glinda struggles with the fact that she's always been able to get everything she wanted except Fiyero's love.
- Dragon Quest V: Potentially Bianca, provided the hero chooses to marry Flora instead. She helps him complete his Engagement Challenge, then gets her hopes briefly raised and then dashed.
- Drakengard: Furiae is a Barrier Maiden preventing the coming of the Apocalypse by a number of seals that are successively broken by the Empire, causing her ever-greater pain, in addition to the fact that the man she loves is unaware of her feelings for him (and when he finds out, rejects her), causing her death in all story branches (and rebirth into... something... in one). All in all, it's a shame that man was her own brother Caim.
- Fire Emblem has a few of these due to most characters being given multiple romantic partners.
- The Trope Codifiers for Fire Emblem come from from the Archanea continent. Not only that, but they're sisters: the Lady of War and the eldest of the Pegasus Knights sisters, Palla, is in love with the cavalier Abel who marries her youngest sister Est, while her second sister Catria has feelings for Marth who is already in love with Princess Caeda.
- Perhaps an even more tragic example, Princess Nyna. She is in love with General Camus of Grust, who does love her back, but they can't be together due to social differences and him having to keep her prisoner for some time to save her life. The circumstances put them in opposite sides of the conflict, and Camus is seemingly killed by Marth over the course of the story. Afterwards, Nyna marries Prince Hardin (who also has a Bodyguard Crush on her) for political reasons, has to pretend to romantically love him despite her love for Camus, and this drives him to despair and ultimately become Brainwashed and Crazy when he finds out. Even worse when it turns out that Camus is Not Quite Dead but by that time he has assumed a new name and fell in love with the White Magician Girl Tatiana, who saved his life. Though he does help release Nyna when she's used as a Barrier Maiden, he cannot stay with her any longer.
- Princess Julia from Geneaology of the Holy War. She falls in love with her half-brother Seliph, but cannot be with him... without glitches and lots of patience in the player's part. (And it's even lampshaded in-game, with Seliph's potential love interest Lana actually feeling guilty upon having her feelings requited.) Averted in the Oosawa manga, where the ending strongly hints at them ending up together even after finding out that they're half-siblings, and Lana's feelings seem to be geared towards another childhood friend of hers, Larcei's twin brother Ulster.
- Ironically, Lana herself can potentially fit in as well if she doesn't get paired up with anyone. She will mourn about Seliph not noticing her crush on him, but if she stays single she doesn't tell him either.
- Sylvia also is this in the Oosawa manga. She fell in love with Lewyn after he showed her the kindness nobody else would and proclaims her feelings for him more than once. However, Lewyn already has feelings for Erinys, whom he professes his love to during the Silessa arc, after apologizing to Sylvia due to being unable to like her back. When she confronts Erinys about it, rather than issuing a challenge over Lewyn like in the game, Sylvia explains her backstory and then runs away crying, which brings Erinys to tears too.
- Blazing Blade has a Double Subversion in Priscilla. She does have a number of possible lovers she can Support with, but due to her status as nobility, she ultimately ends up in a Star-Crossed Lovers situation — with all but one of them the magician Erk, who has peerage only due to his tutelage under Pent, the Count of Reglay.
- Also, if Eliwood reaches an A support with anyone but Ninian, she will become this since her romantic feelings for Eliwood are set in stone regardless of support levels and she must return with her brother Nils to the land beyond the Dragon's Gate anyway if she's not romanced. Though she also has several other reasons to be depressed, and if she has to leave for the Dragon Gate lands, she is able to tell Eliwood goodbye without crying a single tear, having recovered from her former trauma.
- Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has the VERY rare male example: Prince Lyon of Grado, who has always had feelings for Princess Eirika and a very complicated bond with Prince Ephraim. Then it all goes From Bad to Worse...
- Path of Radiance has Titania, second-in-command and Team Mom of the Greil Mercenaries. It's revealed in her Supports with Ike that she grew close to and became enamored with Ike's father Greil while training under him, but she pushed away her feelings for Greil when she discovered that he was already married with children. It should be no surprise that she (along with Ike and Mist) is hit the hardest by his death at the hands of the Black Knight (to the point that she breaks down into tears in their A Support when Ike thanks her for taking care of his father in his final years). She does have Ship Tease with Ike, Boyd, and Rhys in Radiance, but ultimately ends up single by the end of Dawn.
- Cordelia in Fire Emblem Awakening is in love with Chrom and is hurting badly over it, but will never say anything because she's sure it'll never work out. The game mechanics don't even let the player pair them! Sadly, while this aspect is a prominent part of Cordelia's character, the Fan Dumb ignore her other reasons to be depressed and in the process completely flatten her into either a Chrom-dependent weepy maiden who "deserves" his affection better than any of his other prospect girlfriends, or a creepy Stalker with a Crush who thinks she's entitled to Chrom and will throw everything away for him. And that, in a further subversion, she can be romanced by other male characters — including the Avatar). In the Bad Future, however, her daughter Severa is under the mistaken impression that she still is one, tries to call her out on it in both frustration and fear of losing her in battle... and it backfires TERRIBLY.
- In Fire Emblem Fates, Felicia's older sister and fellow Ninja Maid Flora is strongly implied to have a crush on the Avatar's Battle Butler Jakob, and even tries to give him a Love Confession in-story but he interrupts her. What happens to her is different, according to what path is chosen... In the Birthright path, she commits suicide after a huge Break the Cutie process completely shatters her. In the Conquest path she can be recruited towards the end and potentially be romanced by a male Avatar. In the Revelation path, she must run away with the survivors of her tribe but can potentially be recruited later too and have the Male Avatar as a Second Love.
- Cordelia's expy and, in the Revelation path, possible granddaughter Caeldori subverts it since she's more of a mix of Serial Romeo and Smitten Teenage Girl. She tells the Male Avatar that once had a deep crush on her caretaker from the Deeprealms but had her feelings rejected, and she's crushed on other men without much more luck. Still, she can be romanced by other guys (the Male Avatar included) without much trouble.
- In the Fire Emblem Gaiden remake, Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, the Girl Next Door Faye is quite in love with her childhood friend Alm and joins his group out of desire to stay with him, despite him having feelings for their other female childhood friend Celica. Her ending says she never fully gets over him.
- Defied by a potential Rare Male Example, the Camp Gay archer Leon. He's secretly in love with his best friend Valbar and is perfectly aware that he's not likely to return his love (especially since Valbar is a Crusading Widower), but he doesn't angst about it and all but states that he's perfectly okay with just having said feelings and being close to Valbar forever. If Valbar lives to the end, he opens a shop and they stay friends forever; if Valbar dies, Leon becomes a well-respected military instructor but never gets over him.
- In Alm's route, there's an NPC Rigelian girl who can potentially fill in. If the group fight/kills the aforementioned Zeke and then goes to the nearby village, when Alm speaks to the girl she reveals that she loved Zeke from afar and then curses the group. If Zeke and Tatiana are rescued and recruited instead, she'll greet the group happily and tell them how Zeke and Tatiana met, implying that she likes him but thinks that if he's happy with Tatiana, then she's happy for them.
- The Trope Codifiers for Fire Emblem come from from the Archanea continent. Not only that, but they're sisters: the Lady of War and the eldest of the Pegasus Knights sisters, Palla, is in love with the cavalier Abel who marries her youngest sister Est, while her second sister Catria has feelings for Marth who is already in love with Princess Caeda.
- Naminé from Kingdom Hearts is drawn to Sora and wishes she were Kairi (which, in a way, she is). In the end, she wants Sora and Kairi to be happy and merges with Kairi thus destroying her own identity and existence in some ways.
- Xenoblade Chronicles has Melia fall in love with Shulk. As Princess of the High Entia and a very attractive girl in general, she would be a great Love Interest for Shulk... if it weren't for the fact that he was already in love with Fiora.
- Played with in regards to Sakura Matou from Fate/stay night. Because of her past, she believes that she doesn't deserve Shirou's affections and thinks this is how she'll eventually end up. And while we don't know her fate in the first two routes (which, considering that Zouken Matou, the one behind her suffering, is still alive by BOTH route's ends...) in the third she is driven mad by a combination of jealousy and being possessed by an evil spirit, but is saved and redeemed by Shirou and her sister, Rin.
- Subverted during Shizune's path in Katawa Shoujo. Misha fits in this trope well... but the person she's hopelessly in love with is Shizune, not Hisao. Which also makes her the rare Schoolgirl Lesbians version of the trope.
- You Tsukuba from Saya no Uta, in Unrequited Love with Fuminori and totally outclassed by Saya. Since theirs is a Crapsack World, it does NOT end well.
- Beatrice from Umineko: When They Cry may qualify, depending on which versions of reality the players believe.
- Up to episode 50, this seemed to be Daphne on Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. And that was mainly because Freddy was acutely clueless about Daphne's love for him.
- Pearl from Steven Universe can very easily be seen as being this for Steven's Missing Mom Rose Quartz, who she was deeply in love with because she made Pearl feel like she was "everything". This and several other factors left Pearl seriously messed up, and she's still reeling from Rose's death after at least 14 years. Over the course of the series, she manages to outgrow this and learns to fight for herself instead of always serving others.