Aborted Declaration of Love

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"Kid, I love... I've always loved your hair. (Narrating) I have no idea where that came from. So great... not only am I gonna die, but I'm gonna die a socially inept virgin with a hair fetish."
—Sasha "Hammer" Carelli, Angels 2200.

Alice is about to be separated from her beloved Bob forever, and has one last chance to say how she truly feels.

Except... she decides not to. It could be because Bob loves Cathy and Alice doesn't want to cause problems for the two of them. It could also be because she's dying and she doesn't want to cause Bob any more pain. Whatever the case may be, Alice and many other characters often sacrifice their last chance to tell their loved ones how they feel, leaving them to find out from other characters, if they find out at all.

Typically an aversion of Dying Declaration of Love and Anguished Declaration of Love, with the characters usually acknowledging this being their last opportunity and deciding not to, often explaining their reasons in thought. Unlike Cannot Spit It Out, this is typically final. Often a result of I Want My Beloved to Be Happy. If the declaration of love is cut off by something outside Alice's control, it's an Interrupted Declaration of Love.

Examples of Aborted Declaration of Love include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Naruto's Kakashi Gaiden, Obito's dying thoughts are that he never told Rin that he loves her, and his reasons for not confessing are never explained. Kakashi reveals this to Rin just after Obito dies.
    • The title character once tried to confess love to Sakura, unfortunately, she wasn't listening and walked away.
  • In the Bleach pilot, Orihime (who died from falling down the stairs) considers confessing to Ichigo just before leaving for the Soul Society, but the spirit of her father advises against it, as it would only make Ichigo suffer.
  • In a bonus chapter of the Yu Yu Hakusho manga, Kurama's classmate Maya confesses to him, and he notes that telling her how he really feels would be too dangerous. When he and Hiei save her from a demon named Eight-Hands, Kurama uses a dream flower on her to erase her memories of the incident and make her forget her feelings for him.
  • In Berserk, the dying Judeau can only tell Casca that she cries a lot, and dies regretting that he couldn't confess how he really felt about her.
  • Except that it never seems to be played as anything final, Kaoru of Hayate the Combat Butler does this while he and Yukiji are visiting Italy during Golden Week. He starts confessing, and then decides that he just can't do it, so he changes the end of the sentance to be about her little sisters' relationship status. Yukiji seems to realize this, but uses her Hard-Drinking Party Girl personality to play with his mind a little and continue the conversation as it was playing out, asking him what he likes about her sister.


  • In New Mutants (original series), Dani 'Mirage' Moonstar is comforting gal-pal Rahne 'Wolfsbane' Sinclair on a clifftop in Scotland; '-he's an old man, filled up with hate; without you those people would be dead. You're not alone. Moira loves you; and I-' 'I know' says Rahne. '-but that doesn't make me ache any the less.' A follow-up 20 years later is also aborted by a simple interruption.


  • Although she didn't die afterwards, the white woman in the Bollywood film Lagaan declares her love to the Indian hero Bhuvan... In English. She did, however, then leave the country without really telling him.

Woman: (In English) I'm falling in love with you, Bhuvan.
Bhuvan: (In Hindi) Ma'am, I don't speak English.


Live Action TV

  • Friends did this constantly through the first and second seasons. First it was Ross who never could find the right time, then it was Rachel, who found out about Ross but couldn't do anything because he had started dating someone else.
  • This happens in Frasier with Niles and Daphne
  • In Radio Free Roscoe, Lily missed her opportunity to date her best friend Ray, who liked her but moved on to be with a different girl when he didn't think Lily would want to be with him. Unfortunately, Lily does want to be with him now, and decides to try to win him back. She writes a song about convincing a guy to leave his girlfriend, called "You Belong to Me", but before she goes onstage to play it, she sees that Ray is actually happy with the new girl, and the song actually played is called "You Belong to Someone Else," and is about a girl that likes a guy with a girlfriend, but isn't going to interfere. It doesn't take, and Lily/Ray ends the series as an Official Couple.
  • Happened three times with Blair and Chuck on Gossip Girl. The first time Blair was going to end their "you should say it first" game by telling Chuck she loves him, but Dan made her chicken out. The second time happened long after she had already told him how she felt, only to be rejected, and she had moved on to date his best friend (her ex). She told Chuck that if he loved her back he needed to tell her, and they could be together, and if he didn't he should stop getting in her way. Chuck told her he had just been playing games with her, since he didn't think he could make her happy. The third time around Blair was single again; she confessed her love for Chuck once more and knowing that he felt the same way about her begged him to tell her. He didn't.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a strange variant (inversion, I guess?) as Spike, who's loved Buffy for years, makes his Heroic Sacrifice:

Buffy: I love you.
Spike: ...No you don't. But thanks for saying it.

  • A variation of this happens between Arthur and Guinevere in Merlin. In a second season episode, Guinevere is kidnapped by a warlord and held for ransom, mistakenly believed to be King Uther's ward. Arthur goes through hell to get to her, only to find that Lancelot got there first. He'd already admitted his feelings for Guinevere to Merlin on the trip there, and it was fairly obvious that he was planning to share them with Guinevere on rescuing her, only to be silenced at the sight of Gwen and Lancelot being rather chummy with each other.
    • In the final episode of season three he tries again, and tells Guinevere: "I just want you to know...if I never see you again..." but she cuts him off with her assurances that they will meet again.
  • This happened on Degrassi, when JT was killed before he could tell Liberty that he still loved her.
  • In the Seinfeld Series Finale, as the plane they're in is crashing, Elaine gets as far as "I've always loved" to Jerry before it miraculously stabilizes, awkwardly ignoring him afterward. Then again at the end of the episode, only in something of an Exaggerated Inversion, instead of separating, they're about to spend a year together in the same tiny cell (yeah, don't ask):

Jerry: So Elaine, what was it you were about to say to me when the plane was going down?
Elaine: I've always loved yooooUnited Airlines.
Jerry: ...uh-huh.

  • Noah's Arc: In the movie, Brandon challenges Ricky to confess his love for Noah. Ricky goes up to him, but can't get out the words.


  • The unnamed protagonist in Lewis Carroll's The Willow Tree leaves her love to discover her feelings in a rather unconventional way.

It shall not dim Life’s joy for him: My tears he shall not see:
While he is by, I’ll come not nigh My weeping Willow-Tree.
But when I die, oh, let me lie Beneath thy loving shade,
That he may loiter careless by, Where I am lowly laid.
And let the white white marble tell, If he should stoop to see,
"Here lies a maid that loved thee well, Beneath the Willow-Tree."


Video Games

  • Scott of Final Fantasy II considers having the heroes relay a message to Hilda about how he feels, but orders them not to, saying that she would be pained to hear him confess his love while dying.
  • In the ending of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Vivian, while seeing Mario off, almost confesses her love to him, but suggests that he and Peach would be a good couple.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, when Midna goes back to the Twilight Realm, she says, "Link, I...See you later." Granted, she may not have been about to do a love declaration, but it's implied.
    • Apparently not implied at all in the Japanese version. According to Zelda Wiki, her last words in Japanese were "??????????", which translates to "Link...s...see you." Which, as you can see, only includes the Ironic Echo.
  • In one route of Blaze Union, Jenon attempts to confess his feelings for Siskier, but stops himself at the last minute when he finally realizes that she's in love with Garlot.

Web Comics

  • Hammer in Angels 2200 has feelings for Kid, but her position as leader of the Icebreakers prevents them from getting closer. When she volunteers to stay behind to allow the Icebreakers to escape from the Ellie Arroway, she considers telling her how she feels, but decides that doing so would be inappropriate for the situation and unprofessional, and ends up saying she "loves" her hair. While she seemingly dies, she is actually still alive and a prisoner of the rebels, and may yet get another chance in Angels 2.0.
  • Tales of the Questor has one with Quentyn and Kestrel after the Wham! Episode.
  • In the Bad Future of General Protection Fault, a grown-up Sidney sees Nick and Ki's son Todd off with a kiss when he goes back in time to change the past, and Professor Wisebottom reveals that she has been in love with him for years, but isn't sure why she never told him (it could be because she grew up to be something of a Tsundere)
  • The Order of the Stick's Haley has one in this comic.

Western Animation

  • The Simpsons referenced it with Smithers. Turns out, "The Boat House was the time!".