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Break up to make upThat's a game for fools.
That's all we do
First you love me
Then you hate me
—The Stylistics, Break up to make up
There are probably only so many things a story can examine about a romantic relationship. This is one of the big ones.
Will They or Won't They? has gone by.
Now, something -- infidelity, voting for the wrong political party, or even slurping soup in a really irritating way -- has happened and one party has to decide if they can bear it for all time.
The cause of the breach is presented here as both serious and silly (Because, brother, that soup thing is just nasty!), to highlight that the instigation is not the thing. The story will examine how the offended party comes to grips with it. Sometimes the decision will come down on the Make Up side, and sometimes it will not.
Also see Feud Episode. Frequently used to reassert Status Quo Is God, or as a way to Retcon a relationship (in that case, they will not only break up, but the relationship will quickly be forgotten as if it never happened.)
- Scrubs is fond of this trope, with Dr. Cox and Jordan, as well as Turk and Carla, and
possiblyJD and Elliot as examples.
- Seinfeld had fun with Elaine and David Puddy, as well as George with Susan.
- How I Met Your Mother: Lily and Marshall at the end of season 1.
- Happens to Ted and his paramours as well.
- Bones: Angela and Hodgins during season 4. Currently back to Will They or Won't They?.
- They did! * squees*
- Friends: Ross and Rachel.
- Cody and Bailey of The Suite Life on Deck didn't so much end their relationship as put it out of its misery.
- Naomily's story for 75% of the fourth season of Skins.
- On Boy Meets World, every couple in the show, except for Happily Married Alan and Amy, go through this arc, often more than once.
- Most couples on The Drew Carey Show end up in a situation like this but it happened between Drew and Kate the most.
- This happens more or less once per season between Marge and Homer on The Simpsons.
- Examined in several ABBA songs. One man, one woman ends in makeup, while When all is said and done is on the breakup side.