A person from one universe (of The Multiverse) falls in love with someone from an alternate universe. Or a Time Traveller falls for someone in the period he's visiting, or vice versa. The dilemma for the Time Traveller or dimension-hopper is how far to pursue the relationship: Maintaining such a relationship often means that one of the parties involved will have to give up their own life in their own universe or timeline to fit into the other's.
May result in Star-Crossed Lovers. Compare Stay with the Aliens and Time-Travel Romance. Contrast Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest, which avoids this happening by giving one of the lovers a convenient substitute for the other one, native to their own world/time.
- Fushigi Yuugi and its prequels, Genbu Kaiden and Byakko Ibun. As for the results... Tamahome is ultimately reincarnated in Earth and reunites with Miaka. Takiko dies in Hokkan and in Uruki's arms, and their reincarnations get together again. Suzuno and Tatara are separated, but they die at the same time in their worlds and are ultimately Together in Death.
- Inuyasha: At the end, Kagome stays on the Sengoku Jidai to "get married", on the words of her present day's friends. Inuyasha would've likely been alive in our world, though he cannot pass through the well anymore - and Kagome temporarily cannot either, her last "jump" into the past being the one she makes to stay with him.
- In The Familiar of Zero Saito is summoned by Louise to alternate world. If not for the implication that one can return to Earth by flying toward a eclipse there would be no choice possible to make it this trope.
- The Vision of Escaflowne: At the end it looks like they both returned to their own worlds, but in the final scene, Van appears riding the Escaflowne on Earth. It ends there so it's up to the viewer to interpret what happens next.
- Brigadoon: Marin and Melan ends with this choice. Frustratingly, the anime doesn't actually say whether Marin and Melan stay together, or in which world they might stay. In the manga, they go their separate ways.
- In the Haruhi Suzumiya movie (and fourth Light Novel), Nagato's attraction to Kyon causes her to create an alternate universe (technically, she just modifies the existing one) in which, unlike in the old universe, it is possible for them to become a couple. She leaves the "which universe?" decision to Kyon, who decides to reset the world to its original state, partly due to his self-denied feelings for Haruhi. But the other option is not ignored.
- Toyed with and ultimately discarded for the Marvel Versus DC crossover (the big one that led to the Amalgam Universe), where Jubilee and Tim Drake (Robin) struck up a rather sweet mini-romance that made them having to fight each other rather difficult.
- Two cosmic entities of the DC and Marvel universes Kismet and Eternity fall for each other only to be forced apart at the mini-series' end.
- The comic had a straight example with Hawkeye, in an Alternate History, ditching his universe to be with Black Canary (a Shout-Out to the way Canary herself switched Earths in the Bronze Age, although she did that because she had lost, rather than gained, a lover).
- This was the main tension in the relationship between Doctor Strange and Clea. He was Sorcerer Supreme of his dimension and she was a member of the royal house in hers — they never did find a way to solve the problem and eventually separated to their own worlds.
Doctor Strange: You and I are one, Clea. Something more than either of us. Something more than a thousand mystic sages could fathom. Our spirits are wed forever.
Clea: I know, Stephen. But its the commute, isnt it?
- This occurs in the Runaways. The kids accidentally end up in 1907. Victor falls in love with a girl and invites her to come back with them. She refuses because she's too scared to leave her own time.
- Vampirella: The last Warren issue has a Multiverse traveler falling in love with the protagonist. When things go haywire, he tries the next universe. note
- Legion of Super-Heroes has Brainiac 5 and Supergirl, who were in love but were born and lived in different millennia. Ultimately, their relationship cannot progress because neither of them can move out of their own century permanently. Nonetheless, in some elseworlds like Kingdom Come, Kara moves to the 31st Century and she and Querl have a daughter.
- On a Cross and Arrow:
- Both Fluttershy and Rarity end up falling in love with their male counterparts (Butterscotch and Elusive, respectively). Meanwhile, Applejack and Rainbow Dash seem to be sweet on each other's male counterparts, Rainbow Blitz and Applejack. There's also a hint of this with Celestia and her Rule 63-universe counterpart, Prince Solaris, at the end.
- The sequence where Rainbow Dash and Rainbow Blitz are set up to "hoofwrestle" with the opposite dimension's version of Applejack can be read as them trying to encourage each other to confess their bisexuality and homosexual crush to their own dimension's version of Applejack.
- In the JLA Watchtower universe, Starfire and Hugo. A bit of background: Watchtower was a spin-off of Livejournal roleplay Lunatic Cafe, which was a multiverse crossroads. One of the Watchtower players had a character for the Lunatic, a universe-displaced, alternate timeline version of Hugo Weaving who had been slated to die in a traffic accident, but was snatched to the Lunatic. In a plot that crossed both games, an injured Nightwing stumbled into the cafe after an incident on Watchtower. Hugo was the first to intervene and saved Nightwing's life. When Nightwing's friends from Watchtower came to take him home, that universe's version of Starfire took a fancy to Hugo. A whirlwind courtship later, "Hugo Wallace Anders" was set up with a new life and identity in Watchtower-verse.
- A Diplomatic Visit:
- Discussed in chapter 20: Twilight mentions having had feelings for a boy from another dimension once (she doesn't say outright, but from the context, it's pretty clear she means the human Flash Sentry), but when faced with this trope and knowing she had her responsibilities in Equestria, she chose to return home.
- Chapter 11 of the sequel Diplomat at Large reveals that the Alpha of the Packlands is going steady with Principal Celestia, and drops by her universe to take her out every now and then. The epilogue of the fourth story, The Diplomat's Life, further reveals that they got married during the six-year timeskip, and Principal Celestia is expecting their first child; the Alpha still lives in the Packlands, but visits his wife every weekend.
- In Lieu of the One I Love: Lilly and Alex's relationship starts out commuting by wand between their respective universes' New York and Malibu.
- In Hellsister Trilogy, Kara Zor-El travels from late 20th Century to 30th Century to rejoin the Legion of Super-Heroes and falls in love with Dev-Em. Unfortunately, Dev hates the 20th Century, so they visit each other on weekends. Considering such an arrangement cannot last, though, Kara decides she can move to the future permanently as long as she can travel back to the present whenever she pleases.
The last couple of weekends he had spent with her in the 20th. Now, she'd have to pay him back by visiting the 30th, this weekend and next. It was a weird form of romance, to be certain. But Dev-Em, who had started out as an enemy of Superboy's before going to the future, going straight, and becoming a spy, had satisfied her as no other man ever had. Both in bed, and in her heart.
But what could she do with this romance?
Linda flopped down on the side of the bed, her black-and-orange suit still in hand. True, she loved Dev more than any man in her life. But neither one had offered to give up his or her time-era for the other, yet. Dev hadn't agreed to marriage yet, and she was reluctant to bring it up.
How could she leave the 20th, and her natural and adoptive parents?
How could he leave the 30th, with his espionage work for the United Planets and the Legion?
- The Flower Princess and the Alchemist: The author has heavily implied that Orihime's going to have to choose between staying with Ed and Al, or returning back to her old world. Also implying she has to choose between Ichigo and Edward.
- Somewhere in Time hinges on this. The reply is being Together in Death.
- Kate & Leopold depends on this as well: Leopold, a Victorian Duke, travels forward in time from 1876 to 2001 and falls in love with modern woman Kate. However, if Leopold doesn't return to his own time when the temporal portal re-opens, history will be altered and any impact Leopold would have had on history (including all of his descendents and the invention of the elevator) will cease to exist. He ends up going back, and Kate chooses to join him in his time rather than remain in the present.
- In Enchanted, this becomes an issue when Giselle, from the fantasy land of Andalasia, realizes she and Robert, from the land of New York, have fallen in love. She stays in New York with him — and his fiancée, Nancy, goes back to Andalasia with Giselle's fiancé Edward.
- Doc Brown and Clara Clayton in Back to the Future Part III have something like this, but the fact that Clara was supposed to have died (and survived only through Doc's timely intervention) may help simplify matters. In the end they seem to choose option C. Live sort of outside of time traveling through the past and future with their flying train.
- In The Game, due to some other time-related shenanigans, Doc is left in charge of his father's estate (he wasn't in the "older" timelines) and, thus, the Browns take partial residence in Doc's house in the 1980s.
- Amy Robbins in Time After Timenote is a modern woman who falls in love with H.G. Wells during his trip to the 20th century. She finally decides to return with him to the 1880s.
Amy: "I'm not makin' any promises, but when we get back, I'm changin' my name to Susan B. Anthony".
- The Film of the Book of Prince Caspian adds romantic tension between Caspian and Susan, who are from different worlds, but have no romance at all in the original books. Interestingly, the Pevensie siblings never married in all the years they ruled Narnia, despite all but forgetting they came from another world and despite The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe mentioning Susan and Lucy having many, many suitors (but the only one we ever meet personally is a haughty, evil prince).
- In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Dr. Gillian Taylor (the scientist responsible for taking care of the whales) chooses to go with Captain Kirk to his time - then promptly leaves him. Kudos to her for staying alive, though.
- She seemed to have chosen to go to the future primarily to be with the whales rather than Kirk.
- There is a short, but deep, version of this in the original The Terminator. The time machine is only one way though, so it's not like the guy had much of a choice after he arrived and he dies anyway.
- In Date with an Angel, the Angel chooses to stay on earth at the end.
- In Alan Dean Foster's The Time of the Transferrance, Spellsinger Jon-Tom must choose between returning to our world and remaining in the warmlands, where his wife, friends, and magical abilities are.
- An issue for Lyra and Will in His Dark Materials, though subverted as one can't live in the universe of another for long and the doorways all have to be sealed.
- Actually, one door can be left open, but Lyra and Will choose to stay apart so that the door opened in the world of the dead—so that the ghosts can disintegrate into the rest of the universe instead of just existing for the rest of eternity—can stay open.
- In Nora Roberts' Circle trilogy, each set of lovers is either from a drastically different period of time from each other, or from two different worlds.
- In Princes Nevermore by Dian Curtis Regan, Princess Quinn finds herself in the Human world—and there falls in love with a human boy. however, she is informed that she will not age like he will, and she only has three days to decide if she should go home in the end, she returns home, but she hopes one day to see him again, and he tells her he loves her
- In the 1632 novel series, all relationships (romantic, platonic and political) between "up-timers" (from the US, year 2000) and "down-timers" (from 1630s Europe) are significantly affected by cultural differences.
- In The Secret of the Unicorn Queen, Sheila and Darian try to tell each other how they feel, but she is returned to earth before they can say anything. Later, when they are reunited, Sheila must decide if she can go back to her ordinary life, or if she should stay with him. She chooses to return home but discovers she can SPEAK with him mind to mind!
- In the Star Trek Expanded Universe novel Stargazer: Three, Andreas Nikolas is secretly infatuated with the Asmund twins. Unfortunately, Gerda and Idun were raised by Klingons (also, one of them is already in a relationship). The Stargazer's transporter then deposits an alternate universe counterpart to the twins named Gerda Idun Asmund on the ship. Unlike her duplicates, she was raised by humans and is much more friendly. He instantly falls for her, and she returns his affections. Unfortunately, she is an agent from the Mirror Universe, sent to steal the ship's chief engineer as a last-ditch effort to save the Terran Empire from The Alliance. When her subterfuge is discovered, she tells Nikolas that, in her universe, they were lovers until he was killed in battle. He lets her return to her universe but wants to join her. She leaves alone but breaks down into tears on the other side. The next novel shows that this has had a tremendous impact on Nikolas and he eventually resigns.
- In Barbara Hambly's The Windrose Chronicles, Antryg Windrose, wizard, ends up fleeing an order of execution in the Empire of Ferryth, and crossing the Void to stay with his lover, Joanna Sherton, in 1980s Los Angeles. He quickly finds work as a bartender and fortune teller, despite not thinking to omit 'wizard' from his resume.
- This turns out to be something of a problem, because Earth has no magic. The implications of a very powerful mage living in a magicless world are further explored in Dog Wizard and the short story Firemaggot.
- The magic situation becomes even more of a problem at the end of Dog Wizard, when it's revealed that the Master-Spells have fallen to Antryg, making him Archmage of the Council of Wizards back in Ferryth.
- In Time and Again the hero thinks that the heroine will prefer his more equal-opportunities time. She's a little freaked out by it, so he moves to hers.
- 11/22/63 plays with this. Jake travels from 2011 to 1958 so he can prevent the Kennedy assassination, but along the way he falls in love with the lovely Sadie. At first, he plans on simply staying in the past and living out his life with Sadie, but after her psychotic ex-husband destroys half her face with a kitchen knife he promises her he'll take her back to his time where she can receive a better treatment for the injury. Ultimately he doesn't get to do either, as Lee Harvey Oswald ends up killing Sadie in 1963 instead of Kennedy.
- In the short story "Random Quest" by John Wyndham, Colin Trafford is sent to an Alternate Universe where he falls in love with his counterpart's wife Ottilie Harshom.
- In the short story "Impossible Dreams" by Tim Pratt, Pete discovers a video store from an Alternate Universe called Impossible Dreams Video that appears for increasingly short periods of time every night. He has a romantic notion about convincing the store clerk Ally to allow him to stay in Impossible Dreams Video so that he can stow away to her universe and watch all of the films that don't exist in his own universe. He even thinks that he could become Ally's new roommate. Pete notes that the plan made sense at three o'clock in the morning but he had subsequently realised that it was full of holes. For one thing, he did not even know Ally's name at that point so she wouldn't be willing to welcome him into her life. It might work in a movie but not in real life. Over the course of the next six nights, Pete and Ally spend more time together and they develop a mutual attraction. Ally eventually decides to settle in Pete's universe as there is nothing for her in her own.
- Jacob has to make this decision in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. He stays at first, but leaves in the end.
- At the end of Syfy's Alice Alice and Hatter have an awkward goodbye where they lightly suggest one of them could sometime visit the other one's world. It doesn't take long for Hatter to show up at Alice's door.
- Several examples in Doctor Who.
- When Rose is trapped in an Alternate Reality, she can no longer be with the Doctor. Later, a clone of him joins her in this universe.
- Rose's mother falls in love with the version of Pete (Rose's father) from an alternate reality.
- In Season 3, the Doctor must become human to escape the Family of Blood, and falls in love with nurse Joan Redfern. He must choose whether to remain a human and live out his life as John Smith with her, or to return to his life as a Time Lord.
- In Farscape, John has to choose between Earth and Aeryn. He chooses Aeryn.
John: There's no wormhole. There's no home. There's only you...
- In The Flash, Wally West (Earth-1) and Jesse Quick (Earth-2) date despite her having to return to her Earth. Cisco Ramon (Earth-1) and Gypsy (Earth-19) have feelings for one another, but haven't taken the plunge yet.
- Fringe plays with it a bit in the second season finale. Olivia kisses Peter to convince him to return to her universe from the one he is originally from, and seemingly succeeds. However, she is then replaced by her alternate universe counterpart, who goes back with Peter and Walter to spy on them, while our Olivia is imprisoned and tortured.
- Generally subverted as the series progresses and the alt-Olivia situation is resolved. Peter had spent most of his life thinking that he's from our side anyways, so neither seems to particularly care that they're technically from different universes.
- Played straight near the end of the 4th season when the universes need to be walled off and Lincoln decides to leave his universe behind to be with the alternate Olivia.
- In Life on Mars, Sam abandons the team and wakes up only to change his mind and commit suicide to get back, save everyone and kiss Annie
- Also slightly subverted in Ashes to Ashes (2008) it isn't really much of a choice for Alex; she wants Gene, but wants to go home to her daughter more however she realises this is impossible when she discovers she is in fact dead. So she chooses to stay with Gene, but then that's thrown out the window too as he insists she goes to heaven instead.
- The ending of Lost in Austen sees Amanda staying inside the world of Pride and Prejudice to be with Darcy — after having systematically burned all her bridges there because she was planning on returning to the 21st century.
- In Neverwhere, Richard Mayhew is offered the choice between his normal life in London Above and his new life in London Below twice. The first time, he doesn't really understand the choice and stays in London Below. The second, he returns to his normal life... and ends up hating it so much he returns to London Below, and to the Lady Door.
- Sliders had this come up more than once.
- In "Love Gods", a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Mrs. Fields fell in love with Quinn in a universe which was dangerously short on men. Quinn slid off and left her pregnant.
- In "Luck of the Draw", both Rembrandt and Wade get involved with people in that universe. (Or rather, someone from that universe gets involved with Wade.) Rembrandt's interest would rather die (she's looking forward to it) than slide off, and is looking forward to his joining her; Wade's interest helps rescue them and slides off with them — though, since this was a Season Finale, he is dropped with only a Handwave at the beginning of the next season.
- And in the third season, Maggie gives up an adopted universe, and Quinn gives up a short trip to his home universe, for each other.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise", (an Alternate Universe version of) Tasha Yar returns to the past with Lt. Richard Castillo on the Enterprise-C.
- That wasn't really about the feelings they had for each other, more that Yar knew she was probably dead in the original timeline, and her best chance of survival was actually to go with them.
- Roger Whittaker sings in The Last Farewell of a man who must return to his (sailing) ship to fight in the war, then (if he survives) return home to England and leave the woman he loves behind in her tropical paradise.
- In Star Ocean: The Second Story, some of the recruitable heroes weren't born on Expel, coming from other planets and space-faring cultures. Depending on your Relationship Values, this can lead to one side of a given pairing choosing to stay on Expel to be with their loved one, or the other member deciding to accompany them into space, leaving behind their old life in the process.
- Same in the third installment: Fayt can stay on Elicoor with Albel or Nel, travel to Klaus with Cliff or Mirage, or head off to some as-yet-unknown place with Maria.
- Iron Man when placed opposite of any female, humanoid character in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. This ranges from Crimson Viper to Tron Bonne to Hsien-Ko to Morrigan. The only exception? Amaterasu, who is a dog.
- The Fushigi Yuugi video games, just like the original source, play with this trope. In Genbu Kaiden: Kagami no Miko Mariko cannot stay with any guy from the Book she falls for, and the ony love interest who can stay with her is her Japanese friend Takumi. In Suzaku Ibun, Madoka more often than not has to return to Japan as well, but two special endings can be unlocked if she has enough love points - in one her beau will be reincarnated in Japan and live with her, in another she will be able to stay in the Universe of the Four Gods with him.
- In Fire Emblem Fates Owain, Severa, and Inigo struggle with this trope if they marry and have children, especially considering the very real possibility that their children may choose to stay in the world they grew up in.
- Torg has had this a couple times in Sluggy Freelance. First when he time-traveled to medieval Europe and met Valerie before she became a vampire. At first he tries to pursue a relationship with her, but backs out upon discovering that the Unresolved Sexual Tension he'd had with vampire Val in his modern world was only because he looks like (and may be the reincarnation of) her dead husband. Later, when he spends a long stretch of time in the Dimension of Lame, he hooks up with that universe's version of Zoe. However, she dies before they have a chance to decide between breaking off their relationship or continuing it indefinitely in a dimension that one of them will find nearly unbearable. After that, Torg realizes that Alt-Zoe was also just using him to replace a dead husband, namely her own dimension's version of Torg. He also realizes that she's still not the same as the Zoe from his dimension, the one he's really in love with. Pete Abrams just does not seem to want Torg to get any extra-dimensional love.
- In this Supernormal Step Van discourages Akela from pursuing a relationship with Fiona because of this trope.
- Brunhilda in The KA Mics is dating Bobby (Life) from Life and Death.
- Dark Eyes from Magical Misfits got pregnant by Brian from Prismatic Vodka.
- In Homestuck, at least a third of the extra-dimensional aliens have fallen for various human characters, and vice versa. They seem to be taking a third option, and creating a new universe entirely for all of them to live in.
- Not voluntarily. Both their home universes are doomed.
- Monday from Missing Monday is unable or unwilling to move to Foyle's world permanently, and Foyle is not eligible for world-hopping. Thus, Monday commutes.
- Freaking Romance: By season 3, external forces have realized that two dimensions are colliding when they shouldnt be. They give Zelan and Zylith a chance to be together, but with a catch; one of them must abandon their home dimension.
- This trope is of course based on the very real situation which lovers from different cities/countries face. Rarely played fully straight today, as most will keep some form of contact with their friends and families going, or at least have that option if they wish. In older times though, a sailor or a merchant on the silk route might have well decided to settle somewhere, with no more contact with his family back home than a few letters, half of which don't even arrive. Some trading companies went as far as shipping young women out to their trade posts as brides for the men there. The women hadn't met any of those men before deciding they were probably worth moving to the other end of the world for. This practice was often quickly abandoned, as finding a local woman turned out to be a lot more practical.