20 Popular Romance Tropes

20 Popular Romance Tropes: From Enemies to Lovers to Damsels in Distress

Romance tropes... where to begin.  There are so many, but a few are considered ever-green among writers and readers alike. From enemies turning into lovers to amnesia causing a romantic twist, here are 20 popular romance tropes and what makes them so captivating.

  1. Enemies to Lovers: Two characters start off despising each other, but as they spend more time together, they begin to see each other in a different light and eventually, fall in love.
  2. Second Chance: A couple who broke up or drifted apart years ago is given a second chance to rekindle their relationship and fall in love. This tope also includes characters who have lost love and have the chance to discover love again.
  3. Rejected Mate: One character is rejected by his/her fated mate, but that mate's love and dedication eventually wins him/her over.
  4. Forced Proximity: Two characters are forced to spend time together due to circumstances beyond their control (e.g. trapped in a cabin during a snowstorm), giving them time to develop romantic feelings for one another.
  5. Redemption: One character is initially seen as a bad person. Over the course of the story, that person redeems himself and becomes worthy of love.
  6. Secret Baby/Accidental Pregnancy: An unexpected pregnancy may become the reason for a couple to come together... or break apart. But eventually, the two will find their HEA (happily ever after).
  7. Secret Identity: One character has a secret identity (e.g. royalty or undercover agent). His/her secret identity can be a surprise to both the love interest and the reader but can also become the cause of complications during the story.
  8. Outcast/Ostracized: One character is an outcast or ostracized from society, and another character falls in love with him or her, despite society's 'norms'.
  9. Mail Order Bride: A man 'buys' a bride through a catalogue or auction, and they fall in love despite not knowing each other before they meet. This is popular in Alien Romance!
  10. Fated Mates: Two characters are destined to be together. No matter what obstacles come their way, they find their way back to one another.
  11. Orphaned/New Family: One character is an orphan or estranged from his/her family, and another character helps him/her find love and acceptance with a new family.
  12. Forbidden Love: Two characters fall in love despite the society and/or family disapproving of their relationship.
  13. Grumpy Sunshine: One character is grumpy and pessimistic, while the other is optimistic and sunny. They balance each other out, leading to love.
  14. Tortured Soul/PTSD: One character has experienced trauma and has a difficult time trusting others, but they eventually find love with someone who helps them heal.
  15. Age Gap: Two characters have a significant age difference, but love transcends age.
  16. Injury/Physical Disability: One character is injured or has a physical disability, but they find love with someone who sees beyond the person's limitations.
  17. Amnesia: One character forgets who he/she is and falls in love with a person who helps him/her remember his/her past.
  18. Forced Marriage: Two characters are forced to marry due to circumstances beyond their control, but they eventually fall in love with each other.
  19. Avoiding Marriage/Commitment: One character is afraid of commitment, but eventually finds love with someone who helps him/her overcome his/her fear.
  20. Damsel/Dude in Distress: One character saves the other, leading to a relationship that eventually blooms into romance.

These 20 romance tropes are just a few of the many ways that love can blossom between two characters. No matter the trope(s) used, all romance will end in an HFN (Happy For Now) or HEA (Happy Ever After)!

Author's Note: I've listed all my books (alien romance, shifter, reverse harem, and sci fi romance) according to the tropes listed above.... here.