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Playing With / I Want My Beloved to Be Happy

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Basic Trope: A character decides to stop pursuing another romantically so they can be with the one they love.

  • Straight: Bob and Charles are in love with Alice. Once Bob realizes she really wants Charles, he stops pursuing her so she can be happy.
  • Exaggerated: Bob, Charles, and a bunch of guys down to Zeke are all in love with Alice. Once they realize she loves Zeke, they all step back and let him have her.
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  • Downplayed: Bob falls in love with Alice, but calmly accepts it when she tells him she already has a boyfriend.
  • Justified:
    • Bob's hoping that Alice will see him letting Charles win and fall for him instead.
    • There are factors besides Alice's feelings that make Charles more suitable partner. Perhaps Bob has a painful addiction or anger issues. Maybe Charles is rich while Bob is poor, and thus can provide for Alice better. Or maybe Bob's leading a life of crime and doesn't want Alice hurt.
    • Bob cares more about Alice's happiness than his own.
    • Bob has a rather low self esteem, and despite Alice being one of the few people he feels confident about talking to, he never truly sees himself as somebody who could make her happy.
    • Bob is not very easily jealous, and Charles is his best friend. He'd rather see them both happy than ruin what relationship he has with both Charles and Alice.
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  • Inverted: Murder the Hypotenuse; If I Can't Have You...
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted:
    • ...Turns out they were just rehearsing a play. Bob really did give up.
    • At the end of his private rant, Bob sees Alice enjoying the day with Charles, genuinely happy. He realizes he was being immature and selfish and calms down.
    • Bob convinces her to get back together with Charles because Charles is a better boyfriend than Bob could ever be.
    • But it turns out he was only badly injured and survives.
  • Parodied: Both Bob and Charles try to pull this, and they get into a knock-down, drag-out fight as to who gets her.
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  • Zig Zagged: Bob steps back and lets Charles get Alice, but hits on her when they're alone. Then it turns out they were rehearsing a play. But the reason Bob's performance was so heartfelt was because he still loves Alice...
  • Averted:
  • Enforced: "Alright, this harem anime is getting close to the end. It's time for Alice to pick her suitor."
  • Lampshaded: "Bob's one of those romantics who has it in his head that the other person should be happy, if he's there or not."
  • Invoked: Zeke felt Bob needed less distraction in his life, so he set Charles up to appear more ideal to Alice, knowing Bob would back off.
  • Exploited:
    • Pretty much the same as "Justified", actually - Bob steps back, specifically so Alice notices and chooses him instead.
    • Alice/Bob wants to leave their partner (for any reason, ethical or not), so s/he use Bob's/Alice's behavior to separate without much trouble.
    • Alice and Bob really do love each other, but Bob is an Insecure Love Interest. Charles, who wants Alice, convinces Bob that she'd be better off with someone else.
  • Defied:
  • Discussed: "Bob is by far the better choice for Alice. After all, he is willing to give her up just to make her happy!"
  • Conversed: "We must be getting to the end of this romantic comedy, because it looks like Bob's about to throw in the towel."
  • Implied: Bob never mentions the reason he stopped pursuing Alice, but the next time Alice is shown, she and Charles are married.
  • Deconstructed:
    • Bob steps back and lets Alice and Zeke become the Official Couple, but never moves past her and spends the rest of his life bitter and miserable, wondering What Could Have Been.
    • Bob's insistence on stepping back hints at his much more deep-seated issues: namely, his completely rock-bottom sense of self-worth. At the same time, it turns out that Alice doesn't like Zeke as anything more than a friend, but isn't sure how to break the news to him without hurting his feelings. Bob is the one she truly loves, but ultimately he doesn't feel worthy of her, and she doesn't know why he keeps trying to distance himself from her when his true feelings are so transparent.
    • Bob is already in a relationship with Alice, and decides to break up with her. Rather than simply leave her lonely and miserable, he goes to the trouble of finding his replacement, a man who will make Alice just as happy as Bob used to. Once he has found Charlie, it is then time to announce this change.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Carol, a friend of Alice's, notices how bitter and miserable Bob is and confronts him about the issue. She informs him that neither Alice nor Zeke wish for him to be that way and that he needs to move on with his life if he wants any semblance of happiness. Bob takes Carol's advice to heart and begins to spend more time with her. Who knows? Maybe something might happen with them.
  • Played For Drama: Bob is in love with Zeke, but Zeke doesn't swing that way and is deeply in love with Alice, who is love with Conrad. Bob's desire to make Zeke happy leads him to murder Conrad so that Alice is free to be with Zeke. By the time he's confronted it's clear Bob has lost his mind entirely, and he starts raving about how even though Zeke isn't in love with him, he's content with devoting his life to working from the shadows and crushing anything that would make his beloved Zeke unhappy.
    • In a less disturbing route, Bob steps back and let's Alice be with Zeke, knowing it is the right choice. However, as he tries to move forward and see other women, another problem arises: he constantly compares them to Alice. It's painfully clear that he isn't over her and it's damaging any possible relationship that can happen.

Listen, I've enjoyed my time with you, but I know where your heart longs to be. Go back to I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.

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