Love Father, Love Son

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Yeah, but Monica, do you really want to be in a relationship where you can actually use the phrase, "That's not how your dad used to do it"?
Phoebe, Friends

Love Father, Love Son is a love trope in which a person who can't have the person that they love for one reason or another winds up falling for their progeny, possibly because there's a strong resemblance in looks or personality, or maybe just because.

This is often a result of a Mayfly-December Romance, Human Popsicle or Time Travel, and it may involve a Jail Bait Wait.

See also Settle for Sibling and Wife Husbandry.

Compare My Grandson, Myself, Identical Grandson, and Generation Xerox.

Examples of Love Father, Love Son include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, Evangeline goes from Nagi to Negi.
  • In Shimizu Reiko's A Million Pound Love, an 80-year-old millionaire asks a 20-year-old playboy to marry her. She is due to die in a few months and says that he will inherit all her money if he marries her. He agrees, but finds himself falling in love with her. On her deathbed, he discovers that it was not him she fell for, but his grandfather.
  • Kare Kano (His and Her Circumstances), Asaba - a straight male, always had confusing feelings about male lead Arima. At the end of the series he hooks up with Arima's daughter.
  • In Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru, the protagonist discovers that his dorm is haunted by a Cute Ghost Girl. A little later, it is revealed that she is the ghost of his late mother's underclassman who was in love with her and is utterly smitten by her son.
  • Implied in Neon Genesis Evangelion that Rei might have had feelings for Gendo at one point. When he turns out to not care for her at all, she starts to get attracted to Shinji instead.
  • Combined with Reincarnation Romance—in the messed-up, round-about way that only CLAMP can provide—in Cardcaptor Sakura: Yue was in love with Clow Reed. Clow dies, and Yue is sealed in a book. Later, Clow Reed is reincarnated as Fujitaka Kinomoto, and Yue's alternate form Yukito (and later Yue himself) falls in love with Fujitaka's son Touya. Follow that? (For added madness, Clow had intended for Yukito to fall in love with Fujitaka's daughter, the titular Sakura.)
  • In Kodomo no Jikan, this combined with Wife Husbandry and Kissing Cousins, is what Reiji's doing with Rin. He fell in love and was with her mother, but then she died of lung cancer. Now he's raising Rin to replace her.
  • The first Fullmetal Alchemist gives us Big Bad Dante, who had planned to trick/seduce Ed into loving her - by taking over Rose's body, as a replacement for Dante's first love, Hohenheim.
  • In Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, Ayeka shifts her affections from her long-lost half-brother/fiancee to his descendant, Tenchi.

Comic Books

  • The Captain America (comics) example below is also in the comics: due to Comic Book Time, Sharon "Agent 13" Carter was originally said to be the younger sister of Peggy Carter, but she's now her neice.
  • An old EC Comics science fiction tale had an astronaut testing a faster than light spaceship. From his point of view, it works fine. Then he returns home and find that decades have passed. His girlfriend is now an old woman, married to his best friend. He ends up falling in love with their daughter, who is now his age.
  • The Spider-Man: Sins Past storyline infamously reveals that Gwen Stacy slept with Norman Osborn, with whom she secretly had a pair of twins. Though Gwen was primarily Peter's Love Interest, she had dated Norman's son Harry as well.

Fan Fiction

  • Take Evangelion. Add fanfiction. Now make Ritsuko the main character of the fic. About 80% of the time, she'll be (or become) into, you guessed it, Shinji. Around 80% of THAT time, her age won't change, and neither will his. Squick.
  • A standard excuse for shipping Harry Potter with Severus Snape anyone from the previous generation.


  • Austin Powers in the first movie falls in love with and marries the daughter of his (married) female assistant from the 1960s, Mrs. Kensington.
  • In the Captain America (1990 film), film after Cap woke up in contemporary times he fell in love with the daughter of the girl he was involved with in the 1940s.
  • A gender-flipped version. In Bicentennial Man, the Android butler, Andrew, comes back after making himself more human and falls in love with the granddaughter of the woman he loved in the past, who looks exactly the same to the point that they are played by the same actress.
  • In Hook, Peter Pan continues to visit Wendy as she ages. One day he returns to find her an old woman and is distressed that the girl he loved has grown old and forgotten how to fly. She tells him about her own granddaughter, Moira, who is asleep in her old bed. Peter promptly falls in love with Moira and decides to stay and grow up to be with her.
  • In Drowning Mona Rona is playing wheel of fortune with both Jeff and Phil Dearly.
  • This is gender-reversed in some adaptations of the French novel Le Bossu (The Hunchback), though not all of them. In the novel and its two major film adaptations, the hero marries his ward or adopted daughter, the natural daughter of his former love interest, who is herself the widow the man whose death he is avenging. In the 2003 French miniseries Lagardère, the titular character instead winds up with his original love interest after raising her daughter as his own.
  • Ilsa, the extraordinarily fortunate villainess in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, gets to sleep with both Doctor Jones. Of course she's only using them but who says she didn't enjoy it?

Henry Jones: I'm as human as the next man.
Indiana: I was the next man.
(Awkward silence)


  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Littlefinger seems to have this for Sansa.
  • Afra Lyon in the Tower and The Hive series by Anne McCaffrey: he can't have the Rowan, so he marries her daughter Damia.
    • Discussed in the book where Afra rejects this accusation by saying that he and Rowan were never meant for each other. YMMV on whether to believe him or not.
  • Infamously in the Twilight series, when Jacob imprints on Bella's daughter while said daughter was still an infant.
    • Arguably inverted; it's implied in his internal narration that he was only in love with Bella because she would be the mother of his true love, Reneesme.
  • In The Judas Tree by Cronin. Somewhat subverted, though; the man is the one who ditched the first girl in order to marry a rich woman. Years later, he comes back and falls for his first love's daughter. It doesn't end well.
  • In Pollyanna Grows Up, when Pollyanna and Jimmy discover that Mr. Pendleton was in love with Pollyanna's mother, they believe this is his intention, and Pollyanna feels obligated to marry him if he wants her. Fortunately for Jimmy, he doesn't.
  • Deerskin, which is based off the fairy tale Donkeyskin, has the heroine's father becoming sexually attracted to her after her mother passes away from an illness.
  • In Jodi Picoult's Second Glance, a man falls in love with a ghost and ends up with her granddaughter.
  • In John C. Wright's Golden Age trilogy, Phaethon finds out his wife was trying to make good on a childhood crush on his father Helion, and was originally just trying to use Phaethon to get closer to him. By this time, they've been Happily Married for centuries, though, so it worked out.
  • The Japanese novel Thousand Cranes plays this straight when the main character sleeps with his deceased father's ex-lover, then Gender Flips / inverts it when he falls for that woman's daughter, leading to a Did They or Didn't They? situation at the end. (For added fun, someone's trying to set him up with a third, unrelated woman while all this is going on.)
  • In the Denouement of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Warlord of Mars, Thuvia's hopeless crush on John Carter is showing every sign of being cured by meeting his son Carthoris. (Things go wrong so that she and he get their own book, Thuvia, Maid of Mars.)
  • The Third Life of Grange Copeland is all over this: Grange was having an affair with Josie, and eventually runs off to the North. Then Josie starts sleeping with Grange's son Brownfield, who also sleeps with Josie's daughter Lorene. Then he marries Josie's niece, Meme, while Grange comes back and marries Josie. The whole family is already completely screwed up, and that's before Brownfield murders Meme.
  • In Her Fearful Symmetry, Julia has a crush on the married Martin, which he declines. She later goes for his son.

Live Action TV

  • In Arrested Development, Kitty towards Gob.
  • In the French TV series L'amour en héritage, the french painter was in love with Maggie (he was already older than she was), and then she left. He married some other girl, but then he met Maggie's daughter and had an illegitimate child with her. She died and he was left taking care of his daughter.
  • The 4400 had Lily and Richard. When Richard was abducted, he was engaged to a woman named Lily. He was returned many years after her death, only to meet fellow abductee Lily - the original's granddaughter. The two fall in love and marry.
  • In Friends, Monica is attracted to Richard's son. Initially.
  • On Angel, Cordelia went through seasons of Will They or Won't They? with Angel, only for Angel's suddenly grown son Connor to take an interest in her too. They wind up having a one-night stand, and Cordelia gets pregnant. Played with because Cordelia is secretly possessed by the season's Big Bad when they had sex, and made creepier because her pregnancy is basically just to give the Big Bad a new body, making this Parental Incest, sort-of-maybe.


  • In The Bible, Joseph manages to barely resist an affair with Potiphar's wife. He later marries the daughter of a man named Potipherah, which is similar enough to Potiphar that some believe them to be the same person. (Averted in the Muslim version of this story, where Potiphar's wife is more sympathetic and eventually marries Joseph herself.)
    • One Jewish tradition holds that Potiphar's wife wanted to sleep with Joseph because she knew from divination that they were destined to have descendants together—misunderstanding that those descendants would be through her daughter.
    • Joseph's brother, Judah, inverts this trope: in accordance with the law of levirate marriage he winds up marrying Tamar, the widow of his two older sons.


  • Agatha Christie's play Go Back For Murder (based on her novel Five Little Pigs) is about a young woman, Carla, who upon coming of age re-opens the investigation on the murder of her father 16 years ago, which was pinned down on her mother Carolina (who has died in prison). The solicitor she goes for help remembers the trial and having a youthful crush on Carolina; by the end of the play, he and Carla get together. (This plot element was not present in the original book, where Carla goes to Poirot instead of the solicitor - as she used to do, Christie wrote Poirot out of the play adaptation.)

Video Games

Western Animation

Burns flashes back to the outdoors of the 25th Yale reunion feast of his Class of 1914. A much younger C.M. Burns sees his unrequited love of his college years, Mimsy Bancroft, a middle-aged woman staring back at Young Burns. Young Burns becomes wide-eyed as the narration goes on. "Of course, by then, Mimsy had her share of wrinkles and a grey hair or two, but my adoring eye saw past those minor imperfections - to her 21-year-old daughter, Lily."

  • In one episode of The Pirates of Dark Water, and elderly alchemist reveals that she was Ren's father's ex-girlfriend. She never got over losing Primus to Ren's mother. She later used a potion to restore her youth and blackmailed Ren into marrying her in a crazed attempt to reclaim her past happiness. Sadly, the potion backfired on her—likely because she used a drop of Dark Water to make it—and she suffered Rapid Aging. When Ren tries to apologize for his father jilting her, she absolves him and his father of blame saying that she was the one who couldn't let go of the past.

Real Life

  • Irish poet W.B. Yeats proposed to Maud Gonne multiple times before proposing to her illegitimate daughter Iseult, who also turned him down.