The Dark Side Of TV Love: Toxic Romances We Just Can’t Quit

By Isabel K

It’s so easy to fall in love with TV couples because they are quite charming and do everything right to take us on their love journey. However, in the same way we can recognize healthy and beautiful relationships, we can also identify that some TV couples are toxic. 

That’s how shows reflect our reality because toxic relationships are prevalent today. It’s another case of art imitating life. While some of us still ‘ship’ these dysfunctional couples, it’s important to recognize the red flags when you see them.

Frankly, there are plenty of red flags in TV couples today. Though we still enjoy seeing these relationships on screen, some of them are a total shipwreck, so we decided to highlight them today. If you come across some of your faves, just read fast and move on to the next one!

1. Kelly and Ryan

Though The Office was a wholesome sitcom, it still had toxic relationships. The one that stood out the most was Kelly and Ryan. Aside from being rude, Ryan didn’t even seem to like Kelly at all, not even as a friend. So, their relationship just seemed like something that would eventually pass. 

Image Source: The Office

But Kelly wasn’t innocent either. She once pretended to be pregnant to get Ryan to propose to her. Ryan, on the other hand, only seemed to want Kelly when she was with other people, which didn’t help their situation at all. Their relationship was very unhealthy. 

2. Jackie and Kelso

That 70’s show was iconic, and no one can deny that. But it had its fair share of relationships that were not meant to be. Even though Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher ended up together in real life, their on-screen romance was doomed. 

Image Source: That 70s Show

Jackie always expressed her love and affection to Kelso, but what did she get in return? He would constantly cheat on her, which, as we all know, hurts deeply. But this didn’t stop these young kids from somehow falling even deeper in love with each other!

3. Carrie and Big

Carrie had a lot of issues as a character on her own. She wasn’t perfect, but then again, no one is. She had this strange habit of testing her partners as a way for them to prove they loved her. Unfortunately for her, these guys weren’t mind readers. Her biggest weakness, though, was Mr. Big.

Image Source: Sex and The City

He would play games and treat her horribly. Ignoring her, going for long periods without communicating with her, then showing up with lavish gifts and gestures to get her to forgive him. Even though they ended up together in the show, we highly doubt a relationship like theirs would survive in the real world.

4. Sam and Ruby

Supernatural fans knew Sam always wanted a normal life with lots of love, and we’re glad he got it. But it came at a cost because he was constantly heartbroken while looking for love. Although he was the ‘chosen one,’ he and Ruby made some questionable decisions. 

Image Source: Supernatural

Ruby claimed to love Sam but tricked him into drinking demon blood so they could free “Lucifer.” She lied and manipulated him, claiming she was on his side and not as evil as Dean always suspected. Eventually, Sam learned the very obvious lesson that trusting a demon never ends well. 

5. Miss Piggy and Kermit

Yes. No couple is off-limits. Not even everyone’s favorite puppets, Miss Piggy and Kermit. While everyone loved to laugh at the expense of their toxic back-and-forth relationship, it was clear they weren’t good for each other. And they knew it too when they split in 2015. 

Image Source: The Muppet Show

This was long overdue because they had been together as a couple since the 1970s. Isn’t that long enough to wait for someone to fix their problems? While some of the commentaries were directed at adults, it was clear the couple played an unhealthy relationship just for laughs. 

6. Haley and Dylan

Haley wasn’t the brightest bulb in Modern Family, but neither was Dylan. Considering these facts, you could say the two fit well together. Though we think Haley could have done better, she always seemed to gravitate back to Dylan because he was always there when she was lonely. 

Image Source: Modern Family

This didn’t do any favors for her character on the show. She seemed to accept Dylan’s shortcomings and would ignore any wrong behavior from him because she loved him. Given that Andy was a stable option and they were great together, we always wonder why she chose Dylan.

7. Phoebe and Cole

Phoebe and Cole seemed to have the most romantic love story of the century. She was a good witch who happened to fall in love with a demon sent to kill her and her sisters. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t know who Cole really was until she was madly in love. 

Image Source: Charmed

Cole just wasn’t good for her. When they finally gave their relationship a real shot and got married, he was consumed by an evil power and turned her to the dark side, and that’s when the abuse began. This guy even tried to get her pregnant without her consent!  

8. Joey and Dawson

While sometimes long-time friends make the best lovers, one person always loves the other more. In this case, it was Dawson. He would have done anything for Joey, especially after realizing she’d had a massive crush on him for years. 

Image Source: Dawsons Creek

But Dawson wasn’t perfect. He wanted Joey to do things a certain way even when it went against the person she was. Luckily for her, she found a deeper love with Pacey and picked him in the end. These two were just meant to be friends and nothing more. 

9. Jamie and Cersei 

The fact that these two were brother and sister is only one of their many red flags. They had no reason to be together at all. After a young boy learns of their strange relationship, Jamie pushes him from the tower to keep it under wraps. 

Image Source: Game of Thrones

Their intense love and tension made them do some crazy things for each other, including risking their lives. Cersei was also emotionally abusive to Jamie, but that was nothing new in the Lannister family. Finally, it ended up costing them the crown and their lives. 

10. Ross and Rachel 

While fans were excited when Ross and Rachel finally decided to take a chance on their feelings, many didn’t realize it was the beginning of trouble for these two. Rachel was self-centered, and it showed more when they were in a relationship.

Image Source: Friends

Ross also had his issues, don’t get us wrong. They were imperfect together, and we feel they still needed to grow as individuals before trying again. Despite Rachel getting pregnant when she did, it was good that they didn’t rekindle their romance at the time. 

11. Ted and Robin

How I Met Your Mother had a number of toxic relationships. But the one we chose for this piece was the doomed romance between Ted and Robin. Yes, we know they supposedly ended up together, but from how we saw things play out, they didn’t seem right for each other. 

Image Source: How I Met Your Mother

Though they stood by each other during the difficult and good moments as friends, they both viewed life and relationships so differently. They just weren’t meant to end up together. Also, let’s not forget about how their relationship started with him cheating on Victoria and lying about it.

12. Jade and Beck

Jade and Beck had a weird relationship, and many fans wondered what they even saw in each other long enough to be a couple. While it was obvious Beck loved Jade, and she felt the same way, Jade was never nice about it. 

Image Source: Victorious

She even became obsessive with Beck, a land you should never cross over to in a relationship. They weren’t healthy for each other, even though the show tried to make us think that them getting back together was a good idea. It just sent the wrong message.

13. Aria and Ezra

Pretty Little Liars had several problematic relationships, but none was as bad as the one between teacher and student. While the show tried to make the relationship work, it always felt weird, from the way they met to the power dynamic between them. 

Image Source: Pretty Little Liars

Ezra was Aria’s English teacher in high school, but that didn’t stop him from falling in love with her. We also come to realize later on that he was stalking another high school student, which made it even more cringe that they ended up together in the end. 

14. Piper and Alex

In Orange is the New Black, couples face difficult situations that force them together. That said, none was as toxic as Piper and Alex. How could they even trust each other when they’ve both reported the other to the police numerous times? 

Image Source: Orange is the New Black

Their unhealthy codependency saw them rely on each other even when it didn’t benefit them. While they deeply cared for each other, they had very strange ways of expressing it. But oh well, maybe being in jail changes a lot of the normal dynamics of a healthy relationship.

15. Damon and Elena

The Vampire Diaries had all of us in a chokehold. Despite that, we grew up and rewatched it and discovered just how messed up Damon and Elena were. For example, this wasn’t the first time Damon was dating his brother’s girl, but it seemed he hadn’t learned his lesson. 

Image Source: The Vampire Diaries

The main issue was that Elena started dating and having feelings for Damon when she became a vampire and was under his sire bond. Even after knowing this, Damon still didn’t let her go, and they ended up together. Would she have loved Damon if she wasn’t sired to him?

16. Derek and Kate

Derek Hale didn’t have the best luck in love on the MTV series Teen Wolf. When we were first introduced to his story, he was going through a rough time after losing his entire family to a fire. Additionally, his first relationship ended in pain when Paige died from his werewolf bite. 

Image Source: Teen Wolf

That set him up to be easily seduced by Kate Argent. Kate was nothing but evil. However, Derek, with his big heart, couldn’t help but care about her, even though it would harm him. Luckily, in the Teen Wolf movie, it seemed like, for a while, he found love. 

17. Lana and Lex

Comic book lovers and Smallville fans were surprised when Lana and Lex started dating. We know it happens in the comics, but we didn’t expect to see it on the show because of how evil Lex Luther was in the series. What did she see in him?

Image Source: Smallville

Their relationship got serious, and she even married him, though under duress from his father, Lionel Luther. As expected, Lex reared his true colors by keeping Lana under surveillance and away from the family she once knew. This relationship was so terrible that she had to fake her death to escape him. 

18. Craig and Manny

Degrassi: The Next Generation was mostly about relationships, so it’s no surprise that some weren’t healthy. Maybe that was the whole point of Craig and Manny’s love story on the show; to show you that even toxic stories can appear beautiful at a certain point. 

Image Source: Degrassi: The Next Generation

The two were together for a long time, but that didn’t mean they were happy. Their relationship showed us how you could stay with one person for years just because you love them, but at the same time, they secretly use you to feel better about themselves. 

19. Owen and Christina

Office romances always end in heartbreak, even when they take place in a hospital. In the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, Owen and Christina were among the most interesting couples. But it was clear they weren’t the best match after watching a couple of episodes of the show. 

Image Source: Greys Anatomy

Owen wasn’t the kindest person. He once yelled at Christina for not wanting to get married and have children like he did. Though he claimed to love her, he wanted to guilt-trip her for her choices. His reaction after she got an abortion told us everything we needed to know about their fate. 

20. Archie and Veronica

If you read the Archie comics, you know that Archie and Veronica weren’t the healthiest couple. Betty was always in the middle of their relationship, whether she wanted to or not, and the show, Riverdale, didn’t stray too far from this storyline. 

Image Source: Riverdale

When Archie and Veronica were together, they brought out the worst parts of each other. He would also shrink himself when he was around Veronica, probably because of her strong personality. Theirs was more of an intense attraction rather than a healthy relationship.

21. Al and Peg Buddy

Married with Children, in many ways, showed what it is like to live with someone and raise children. Definitely not easy. In almost every episode, Al and Peg would get hostile with each other. While their toxicity was played out for laughs on the show, looking back, they weren’t happy together. 

Image Source: Married with Children

Considering it was an ’80s show, it’s clear that toxicity and unhealthy relationships have plagued us for years. Peg made mean comments about Al’s hygiene while he would make fun of her for not having a job. Though they would laugh and smile, it was clear they had problems they weren’t dealing with. 

22. Nate Jacobs and Maddy

Euphoria has several toxic relationships we could talk about, but the most prominent one was between Nate and Maddy. Though Nate looks like a Roman sculpture coming to life, he has problems he needs to deal with, especially with his father. 

Image Source: Euphoria

These issues keep him from treating Maddy the way she deserves, but he can’t seem to stop himself. On her part, Maddy seems unable to free herself from this toxic and abusive relationship because Nate always masks his weird and violent behavior as love. 

23. Chuck and Blair

Gossip Girl was one of those shows that just can’t be replicated. The casting was perfect, and so was the captivating storyline that got us so invested in couples like Chuck and Blair. Chuck was never nice, even before he admitted to Blair that he had feelings for her. 

Image Source: Gossip Girl

He would treat her like garbage and go out of his way to make her feel bad. They lied to each other and played mindless games to prove they didn’t care for each other. It was a toxic relationship, both emotionally and physically. But as usual, they ended up together

24. Ray and Debora

As much as comedy shows like Everybody Loves Raymond were mostly made for laughs, they also occasionally addressed serious topics in their episodes. For example, Ray and Debora went through many a number of issues that were played out on the show. 

Image Source: Everybody Loves Raymond

While Debora directed some not-so-nice words at Ray, you could see that sometimes it hurt her. Ray wasn’t perfect either; he wasn’t considerate of her feelings and was a jerk to her occasionally. But somehow, they still managed to stay together and make us laugh.

25. Finn and Rachel

Rachel from Glee was always in trouble with her fellow students because she thought she was better than everyone else. However, after Finn became single and started showing interest in her, we all thought she would change for the better. 

Image Source: Glee

But she didn’t. Rachel only wanted Finn because he was popular. Also, Finn didn’t like her personality and would make her feel bad about what she liked and wanted to do. After he got her, it seemed like he didn’t want her anymore. Frankly, we just watched this show for the music

26. Bellamy and Clarke

Many things can happen when you are stranded on a planet without your parents to watch out for you. And it’s difficult trusting other people when everyone is looking out for themselves and trying to stay alive through this difficult time. 

Image Source: The 100

That’s the story of The 100. Although Bellamy and Clarke seemed to have each other’s back, they would constantly deceive one another for selfish gain. Though the show tried to show us how they would do anything to keep the other safe, they just came off as selfish.

27. Tate and Violet

This relationship seemed to mimic the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet. However, Tate was no Romeo in his real life. He was troubled and did many questionable things in his life to fit into the ‘bad boy’ persona he wanted. 

Image Source: American Horror Story

He not only assaulted Violet’s mother but also shot up a school. So when he died, Violet didn’t want to live without him and took a handful of sleeping pills so she could join him in the afterlife! See what we meant by Romeo and Juliet?

28. Kurt and Blaine

Another Glee romance that had red flags everywhere was the one between Kurt and Blaine. Blaine seemed nice initially, but we started seeing the warning signs when he snooped through Kurt’s phone and found text messages between him and someone else. 

Image Source: Glee

Afterward, he doesn’t come clean about it, and instead, he chooses to gaslight him. While we loved it when the show finally decided to pair up Kurt with someone, these two had major problems. But like we said, the music was the core!

29. Tony and Michelle

Games in a relationship can be thrilling, but after a while, they end up causing more harm than good. While Michelle was excited about the games she played with Tony on Skins, it quickly became boring because she was always on edge. 

Image Source: Skins

She always had to do too much to chase and keep up with him. Not to mention the comments he would make about her body, which to him were just harmless jokes. It’s so sad that Michelle didn’t see the red flags right in front of her. 

30. Mindy and Danny

Mindy doesn’t have the best luck in her roles because they always have difficulty finding love. In her series, The Mindy Project, she was dating Danny. But Danny wasn’t a good guy and constantly mistreated her. So, why did she stay?

Image Source: The Mindy Project

He would criticize her about her goals in life and go as far as calling her a bad mother. While we were hopeful that he would improve as the seasons passed, he only dashed our hopes. It is still surprising how Mindy was so attracted to someone who was abusive to her. 

31. Midge and Joel

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a unique and exciting series that showcases many aspects of relationships that other shows skim over. Aside from Joel cheating on Midge while they were together, there were other red flags in their relationship that fans overlooked. 

Image Source: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Midge clarified that she wasn’t comfortable enough to be herself around Joel. She wouldn’t even take off her makeup when she went to sleep! The fact that they would always come back to each other, even when it was apparent Joel was jealous of her comedic career, just made the cracks more obvious. 

32. April and Jackson 

Grey’s Anatomy was one of the longest-running drama series on TV. That said, it was expected that some relationships wouldn’t last, including April and Jackson’s. Most fans didn’t love this pairing because as much as it started out all cute and romantic, it got ugly fast. 

Image Source: Greys Anatomy

Though Jackson tried to make it work, April was stubborn and so set in her ways that they were hardly ever on the same page. Fortunately for them, they both realized they didn’t feel that strongly for each other in the end.

33. Miles and Tristan

Miles and Tristan from Degrassi were a favorite couple of many fans, mainly because of Mile’s personality. Though he wasn’t perfect in the relationship, he had good intentions and tried to grow into a better person because he was constantly held accountable.

Image Source: Degrassi

But Tristan would always hurt him, and they just let him do it because it was who he was. He would also criticize Miles about his sexuality which didn’t feel suitable for viewers constantly tuned into the show. Even worse, the writers never acknowledged how wrong Tristan was for doing this. 

34. Fitz and Olivia

As electrifying as this relationship was, and trust us, it really was on fire, it doesn’t change that it was wrong. Though Olivia was used to handling messy situations, she couldn’t do it when it was at her door since she was having an affair with the president of the United States of America. 

Image Source: Scandal

From the secret service fetching her at odd hours to them sneaking around in the White House, they knew what they were doing was wrong, but they couldn’t stop. They loved each other, but it cost them and the people around them a lot.

35. Beck and Joe

It’s safe to say that Joe from the show You is the toxic factor in most of his relationships. Although Beck had her faults, she didn’t deserve to die like she did. At first, Joe seemed like the ideal guy; he loved to read and was attentive and caring toward her, with just one imperfection. 

Image Source: You

He is a stalker. But it doesn’t end there. His obsession with Beck became too much, and he got possessive of her to sociopathic levels. This guy even killed her friends! It’s really too bad that Beck only found out the truth when she was in too deep.

36. Jess and Rory

Rory from Gilmore Girls had several boyfriends that weren’t good for her, and one of them was Jess Mariano. As much as they appeared to be so in love, it seemed like Jess just wanted Rory to help him avoid the problems he was going through. 

Image source: ggsnocontext/Twitter

He pressured her into having sex, and he was ultimately the reason Rory broke up with her boyfriend, which was a bad idea. Though they shared some cute moments, it was evident in the earlier seasons that they brought out the worst parts of each other. 

 37. Leonard and Penny

Penny and Leonard were an unlikely pairing for The Big Bang Theory, but they were also very adorable, so fans, including us, grew fond of them over the seasons. But were they healthy for each other? Many speculate that the only reason they even started dating was that they were neighbors. 

Image Source: The Big Bang Theory

Penny would use Leonard and Sheldon when she needed something, and Leonard just wanted his friends to see how hot his wife/girlfriend was. They weren’t comfortable around each other, and you could tell that Leonard would sometimes belittle Penny because she wasn’t as bright as he was. 

38. Jon Snow and Daenerys

Game of Thrones was known for its dysfunctional relationships, especially between family members. While fans were rooting for Jon and Daenerys to be end-game, they quickly backtracked when they came to find out that the two could be related by blood.

Image Source: Game of Thrones

While the chemistry was there, it was clear that they both had their own agenda when they joined forces to defeat the white walkers. What we didn’t see coming was him killing her when she had finally achieved her life’s purpose and gotten the iron throne!

39. Don and Megan 

Don and Megan seemed to be doomed from the first moment they met. It didn’t help that Don was always portrayed as a serial womanizer with a drinking problem on the show. Additionally, his secrets were a significant problem in his relationship with Megan.

Image Source: Mad Men

The huge age gap between them also didn’t do them any favors when they needed to sort out their issues in an amicable way. Don was unfaithful, lashed out at her even when it wasn’t warranted, and didn’t even try to make their marriage work when he had the chance. 

40. Buffy and Spike

Buffy had a habit of dating vampires, which was strange because she was born to hunt and kill demons. After her failed relationship with Angel, Buffy starts getting close to Spike, and they end up in a relationship when he changes for the better. 

Image Source: Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Although he is practically a good vampire, they exchange some unkind words together and even on opposite sides. His feelings for Buffy led him to sacrifice himself in the end. Though we loved them, their history as a vampire and a vampire slayer was just bound to interfere.

41. Joe and Love

Joe went on to find another love interest after Beck. As much as he thought he would finally be happy and content with someone like Love and with a kid to take care of, he was mistaken because he couldn’t change who he was on the inside.

Image source: Netflix

Love was also toxic, and she was even worse than Joe. It was easy for her to accept Joe even after finding out about all the people he killed since she was the same way. Their possessive and murderous tendencies were only bound to end up with one of them killing the other.