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A form of Heroic Self-Deprecation where a character thinks they're not good enough for their Love Interest. They may think this while they're actually in a relationship with said person (in which case they may break it off before things get worse), or they may avoid pursuing them in the first place.
Anime and Manga
- Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess is this way towards Keiichi. Numerous times things happen that make it seem as if he's losing interest in, or cheating on her, and she more or less ends up asking if she's good enough. And every single time, he promises her that she is, considering the wish he made to her in the first episode ("for a girl like her to stay with him forever" after being rejected by another woman), he doesn't intend to betray her trust. It turns out that there's a BIG reason: the Gods had suppressed Keiichi's libido with magic to avert him and Belldandy having children (which could cause a massive mess), and she knew about it from the start - and hated herself for it.
- In Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu despite how much he may deny feelings for and run away from Shouko and her advances on a frequent basis, when Yuuji actually talks about his relationship with her, he makes it out like it's all his fault that she's fallen in love with a worthless guy like him.
Yuuji: I want to set her free.
- Which hilariously backfires and only causes her to fall in love with him even more anytime he tries to convince her that she deserves a better guy than him.
- Naruto in Naruto seems to display this trope to an extent. While not having a romantic relationship with Sakura, he states to Sai that he could not tell her how he feels if he couldn't keep his promise to her, so he seemingly implies he's unworthy of her. Though he's more of a I Want My Beloved to Be Happy character. It turns out that the girl he truly loved was Hinata, and both of them were this to one another. From Naruto's part, the The Last movie states that while he did like Hinata a lot, part of him felt that he thought she was too kind and beautiful for himself, and a good part of his development in the movie is about him realizing that she loves him the way he is.
- Ironically, the aforementioned Hinata Hyuuga is one for Naruto, considering her frail self-esteem.
- While Jun Misugi and Yayoi Aoba from Captain Tsubasa are in a Childhood Friend Romance, it's implied later that the reason why they aren't engaged to marry is that he has become this. This is because it seems that Misugi's lie-threatening illness might come back.
- In the USA-only second season of Voltron, Sven has become this to Princess Romelle. He's pretty much her bodyguard, but he isn't of noble origins and therefore considers himself as unfitting for her, one of the rulers of Planet Pollux alongside her brother Bandor.
- Tommy Monoghan of the Hitman comic book ends his relationship with Tiegel once and for all by pretty much telling her outright that he's a scumbag, and if they stay together he'd just keep letting her down and screwing up. He's saying it because it's true, but he's ALSO saying it because he's about to take on a pretty good sized chunk of the CIA and doesn't want her around for it. Whether or not a reader thinks he would have said/done it if not for the whole CIA thing varies.
- Shipping fic in general adores this trope for the hurt/comfort possibilities.
- Jessie and James are this for each other in the first two stages of Cori Falls's Pokémon fic series.
- Curtis/Shiro fic often casts Curtis as this in the Voltron: Legendary Defender fandom, due to Curtis being a simple Communications Officer and Shiro being...well, Shiro. Notably, at least a fraction of the time it's a direct response to the fandom's attitude towards poor Curtis.
- Sheith fanfic does this, too, working off of Keith's canon insecurities and fear of abandonment. Like Curtis, some of this is done in response to the fandom bashing Keith for taking Shiro's place as leader. Despite that being exactly what Shiro wanted.
- The Avatar of either gender is this for Chrom in many a Fire Emblem Awakening fic pairing them together, thanks to the former's dubious origins and turning out to be a vessel for the local Eldritch Abomination. Chrom/female Avatar fics will also throw in fertility angst via a miscarriage or other pregnancy issues, and Chrom/male Avatar fics will amp up the Gayngst.
- This is why Audrey doesn't consider leaving the abusive "semi-sadist" Orin for her Adorkable Nice Guy coworker Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors; she likes Seymour, but she considers herself too dirty and worthless to be with him.
- She's Out of My League is from the perspective of one of these; it's about a man who has found a very attractive girlfriend who really likes him, but he considers her way out of his league, leading him to sabotage things. It doesn't help that almost everyone around him appears to be an incredibly petty and spiteful person who either encourage him or actively attempt to sabotage things out of jealousy.
- This is a constant problem for Georgina Kincaid. She thinks she's not good enough for Seth and is going to end up hurting him, because she's hurt people in the past. That and she's a succubus, whereas he's a reserved and virtuous man.
- In New Moon of the Twilight series, Edward leaves Bella because of this, resulting in much Wangst from both of them.
- Although in this case it's less "I'm not good enough for you" and more "I'm finding it very difficult not to eat you."
- This is Lupin's reason for not getting together with Tonks (and the reason she's been so depressed throughout) in the 6th Harry Potter book. He comes around at the end and they're a couple in the 7th.
- Vin and Elend provide a double example, Vin thinks she's too Book Dumb and violent for Elend, Elend feels he's too much of a passive screwup for Vin.
- Dr. John Watson to Mary Morstan in Arthur Conan Doyle's The Sign of Four. As a wounded retiree from the Afghan army with little income, he feels that he has no right to even think about her, and things get worse when it turns out that she stands to gain a large sum of money. Turns out she likes him back and, when the money is lost, she's actually happy about it because that removes the biggest obstacle to their relationship.
- Katniss Everdeen feels that she doesn't deserve the unconditional love of a Nice Guy like Peeta. Haymitch agrees with her.
Haymitch: You could live a hundred lifetimes and not deserve him, you know.
- Several Catherine Anderson heroines are this, but especially Laura Townsend in My Sunshine and Molly Sterling in Sweet Nothings.
- Nip Tuck has Christian break up with Natasha because he thinks she deserves better than a Casanova like him.
- In Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this is Angel's reasoning for ending his relationship with Buffy.
- Lennier never admits he loves Delenn until the fifth season of Babylon 5.
- Basically the premise to the Tal Bachman song "She's so High."
What could a guy like me ever really offer?
She's perfect as she can be, why should I even bother?
- Seems to be the main theme of "She's Like the Wind"
I feel her breath in my face
Her body close to me
Can't look in her eyes
She's out of my league.
- The song Amanda has the line "Fate should have made you a gentleman's wife".
- Found in the Anna Nalick song "Sort of Delilah."
Once you were a tower, and given the power, how did I become the wrecking ball?
Didn't wanna hurt you, didn't deserve you, I'm usually the victim after all.
- Dora of Questionable Content may well be the Trope Codifier for webcomics. She's a ball of neuroses who is constantly worried that Marten, the first decent male she's ever dated - is going to leave her because of her hangups. And also because she's convinced he's still pining for Faye, despite both of them saying that's never going to happen. It does eventually split them up.
- Parodied with the psychotic Ask That Guy With The Glasses. Even though the Love Martyr narrator tells him how amazing he is constantly, he'd rather be abused and told he's worthless.
- Nice Guy Jacob in Mass Effect 2 feels this way towards both Miranda and Female!Shepard (if you romance him).
- Tali'Zorah also feels this way if Shepard pursues a relationship with her. See the entry on I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
- Through similar reasons as Tali, Garrus may count as as well.
- In the third game, this is subverted; Garrus and Tali both become a lot more relaxed around a romanced Shepard. Jacob, on the other hand, cheats on Shepard and gets another women pregnant.
- Also from BioWare, Anders of Dragon Age II...with good reason. He's possessed by a spirit of Justice corrupted into a demon of Vengeance, and by the end of the game, he's plotting to blow up the Chantry.
- Raven from Rune Factory 3. If you marry her, much of your dialog with her consists of her being reassured that you love her and wanted to marry her.
- In Clannad, Nagisa initially acts like this when she and Tomoya start dating. Tomoya gets fed up with it pretty quickly and tells her to have more confidence in herself.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, if the player hooks up Laurent and Princess Lucina, Laurent turns out to be one. While he does speak about his feelings first, he does so via an Anguished Declaration of Love in which he tells her that he's VERY under her station and yet he still can't help loving her.
- Ninian is this to Eliwood in The Blazing Blade if you get their complete support chain. Due to keeping a secret from him and being indirectly responsible for Lord Elbert's death, she tells Eliwood she feels unworthy to even stand in his sight. He responds by telling her he loves her and doesn't care what secrets she's keeping from him.
- Soren has shades of this towards Ike in Path of Radiance. While their relationship hasn't progressed past a deep friendship yet, it's obvious he feels very strongly for Ike and fears that his status as a Branded would disgust him into walking away from him.
- Rhajat is this to an Avatar of either gender in Fates, but especially this to a female Avatar in the Japanese version, thinking the Avatar would be disgusted at having a girl stalk them and then confess her love. The other bi option Niles is the same way, mistaking the Avatar's surprise at his proposal for disgust at being asked such a thing by a street urchin like himself.
- Inverted with Lance in Voltron: Legendary Defender. He thinks of himself as "just a boy from Cuba" compared to the handsome, silver-tongued, powerful Prince Lotor, who serves as Allura's love interest at the time. By the time he and Allura are proper love interests, he's overcome most of his insecurities.