15 Most Toxic Television Couples

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Television shows are filled with dysfunctional relationships. It makes sense, considering that romantic relationships are featured in almost every show on tv, and drama and conflict helps ratings. Sadly though, many of the most toxic relationships are also ones that viewers see as incredibly romantic. Even if these relationships sometimes seem romantic, viewers should take a closer look and see that they are extremely unhealthy, and that they shouldn’t cheer for these couples to stay together.

15. Carrie and Big, “Sex and the City”

Carrie and Big are the epic love of the series according to many fans, but their relationship is far from perfect. From season one until the end of the second movie, viewers see them somehow survive 10 years of on-again off-again turmoil. Big says he never wants to get re-married when he’s with Carrie, but shortly after they split up, he marries someone else. He cheats on his wife with Carrie, and she cheats on Aiden with Big. Big always wanted her most when she was happy with someone else. In the movies that were released after the series ended, he stood her up on their wedding day. Throughout the series, they hurt each other countless times and they brought out the worst in each other, yet countless fans were praying for them to end up together at the end of the series, and they did.

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14. Rory and Dean, “Gilmore Girls”

Rory’s relationship with Dean starts out fairly strong. Sure, he kind of stalked her a little before they dated, but once they started dating, things seemed quite romantic. Not long after, though, Dean starts to get jealous, angry, and violent toward Tristan, a boy who seems to like Rory. Later on, Dean gets jealous of Jess, who Rory later ends up dating. Dean breaks up with Rory because she seems to like Jess. Later on, Dean gets married. Here is where things get even worse. After his marriage starts to fail, he starts dating Rory. Much to the dismay of many fans, Rory loses her virginity to Dean while he is still married. Dean only leaves his wife when she finds out about Rory and kicks him out. Rory starts to date him again, but things don’t work out. It took them years to figure out that they just weren’t the best people for each other, and many people wish that Rory could have figured it out sooner and saved herself a lot of suffering.

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13. Ross and Rachel, “Friends”

Ross and Rachel’s relationship spans from long before Friends begins until the very end of the series, but it is far from consistent. Ross falls for Rachel in the ninth grade, but she sees him as just a friend for years. They eventually end up together, but have issues. Rachel says that they should take their infamous “break;” Ross sleeps with another woman; Rachel finds out, and they break up. They then proceed to be on-again, off-again for years. At Ross’s wedding to Emily, he says “I Ross, take thee Rachel” and Emily calls off the wedding. He then invites Rachel on his honeymoon, but Emily shows up and he leaves Rachel to chase after Emily. Ross and Rachel get married much later, while drunk in Las Vegas. Ross tells Rachel he will get the marriage annulled, but doesn’t. After getting divorced, having a baby, and plenty more complications, they eventually end up together again. A relationship that is that inconsistent and tumultuous will never be stable, and they should have called it quits years earlier.

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12. Veronica and Logan, “Veronica Mars”

Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls are another example of an on-again, off-again “epic” romance that’s actually quite toxic. Before dating, Logan despises Veronica. He bullies her, threatens her, vandalizes her car, and is all around awful to her. Veronica retaliates and gets him suspended. He supplies the date rape drug that leads to her getting raped at a party, and instead of helping when he sees that she has been drugged, he makes the situation much worse. Somehow, after all of that, Veronica and Logan slowly start to bond, and eventually end up dating, although they keep things a secret in the beginning. They then proceed to break up and reunite countless times. At one point, Veronica thinks he was the person who murdered her best friend/his ex-girlfriend, Lilly, and actually has him arrested for the crime. He wasn’t guilty, and somehow they recover from this and date again. Logan put her through far too much. He is self-destructive and violent, and they would have been better off remaining enemies.

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11. Aria and Ezra, “Pretty Little Liars”

Many fans love Aria and Ezra together despite how unhealthy this relationship is. First of all, Aria is only 16 years old when she meets Ezra. They end up hooking up in the bathroom of a bar shortly after meeting. The next day at school, Aria discovers that he is her new English teacher. He claims that he is upset with her for letting him believe she was in college. The most messed up thing about all of this is that Aria later finds out that Ezra knew her age and who she was the whole time, and actually set up the whole thing to try to get information about her group of friends for a book he was writing about Alison. However, the show makes it seem like he is somehow taking the moral high road by objecting a few times before deciding to date his student. Even after his secret comes out, and we see that he has been manipulating her, lying constantly, and spying on her and her friends, she ends up dating him again, which is baffling.

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10. Blair and Chuck, “Gossip Girl”

Blair and Chuck are another couple that is seen as hopelessly romantic despite clearly being toxic. First of all, Chuck is not a good person. In the very first episode, viewers see him attempting to rape two different girls at a club. Second of all, he makes a deal with his uncle so that he can get a hotel in exchange for Blair having sex with this uncle. The case against this pairing could end there, but there’s more to be said. Chuck is manipulative, dishonest, and violent. He threatens Blair multiple times, is incredibly angry and controlling, and has bursts of rage in her presence. Blair is not completely innocent in the relationship either, with each of them coming up with many ways to lie to and manipulate each other. When Blair tries to move on, he threatens her, telling her that she is “his.” They break up and get back together multiple times throughout the series. This “epic love,” is actually just toxic.

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9. Buffy and Spike, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

Spike pines away for Buffy for ages, and it even makes him decide to go against his nature and fight with the good guys. Over time, he gains her trust with his good deeds, but it isn’t until after her death and resurrection that they start dating. Unfortunately for Spike, Buffy is only using him to feel alive again. With one person with deep romantic feelings and the other person somewhat disgusted, using them for sex, and keeping the relationship a secret, things are clearly not going to end happily ever after. Eventually, Buffy breaks it off with Spike, and he becomes very angry and tries to rape her. He is immediately horrified by his actions, and leaves Sunnydale on a quest to get back his soul. When he comes back, Buffy forgives him and he earns his place in the gang again. In the end, Spike sacrifices himself for Buffy, and they both say “I love you.” Dying for someone might be seen as romantic by some, but the entire relationship was an unhealthy disaster that hurt both parties involved.

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8. Olivia and Fitz, “Scandal”

Olivia Pope is seen as a strong, independent female character, except in regard to her relationship with President Fitz Grant. One unhealthy aspect of this relationship is that he is always exerting his power over her and making her feel and appear weak. Another major sign that their relationship is toxic is that Fitz is married. He cheats on his wife, and won’t divorce her despite wanting Olivia. He is extremely controlling of Olivia and even puts her under surveillance to monitor what she does and who she interacts with. They both lie to each other all the time. Fitz is aggressive, and has hurt Olivia more than once. When she tries to move on and be with someone else, he tries to ruin it for her. And finally… he’s a murderer. That’s probably a deal-breaker for most people.

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7. Emily and Paige, “Pretty Little Liars”

There are too many toxic relationships in Pretty Little Liars to only list one here. Many people loved seeing Emily and Paige together, but for those who didn’t have short memories, their relationship was pretty screwed up. Most importantly, before they date Paige is jealous of Emily, treats her horribly, makes homophobic comments to and about her, and TRIES TO DROWN HER. The fact that Emily dated someone who nearly drowned her is completely baffling, and somehow this doesn’t seem to be a relevant issue on the show. Even after they start dating, Paige is terrified that people will find out. Being closeted is understandable, but their relationship is flawed, they don’t trust each other, and the homophobia, the bullying, and the assault all make for a person who Emily never should have dated in the first place.

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6. Rumpelstiltskin and Belle, “Once Upon a Time”

Whether he is being called Mr. Gold or as Rumpelstiltskin, this character is bad for Belle. Their relationship begins when he imprisons her, which isn’t really the best start. After he frees her, Belle is kidnapped, tortured, and imprisoned (once for 28 years) by several people because of her relationship with Rumple. After she is with Rumple again, Belle tries to get him to stop using magic and to stop killing people, but he breaks every promise he makes to her. When she loses her memory and turns into a somewhat self-destructive person, she actually enjoys it when he inflicts harm on others, and encourages his worst behaviour. After her memory returns, he proposes to her with a lie, claiming that he is giving her the magical dagger that controls him, saying how much he loves and trusts her. He even asks her to use the dagger to prove test his honesty, but it’s all a lie. Any relationship where one person is a murderer is unhealthy, but it seems that almost every aspect of this relationship is toxic.

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5. Piper and Alex, “Orange Is The New Black”

Fans seem to love Alex Vause from Orange is the New Black, but I doubt that many of them can claim that she has a healthy relationship with the main character, Piper Chapman. Piper goes to jail because Alex turns her in for smuggling drug money for Alex one time. Alex turned her in as revenge for Piper dumping her. Piper dumped her almost immediately after Alex found out that her mother had died. That was certainly not kind, but hardly merits jail time. After they both get thrown in jail, there is a string of lies and betrayals and their relationship is on-again, off-again. They constantly cheat on each other and their other partners. Alex turns on Piper and gets her charged with perjury, Alex gets released, and later Piper gets Alex thrown back in jail. When romantic issues result in jail time, there’s definitely a problem with the relationship.

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4. Lana and Lex, “Smallville”

After things didn’t work out between Lana Lang and Clark Kent, Lex Luthor’s crush on the much younger Lana was finally reciprocated and they started their incredibly toxic relationship. Lex gets progressively evil with each season of Smallville, so any relationship with him is bound to be an unhealthy one. One of the worst things Lex does to Lana is tricking her into thinking she is pregnant with his child by carrying out an elaborate plan involving hormones and a hired doctor. This was all done in order to get her to marry him. She almost backed out of the wedding, but then his father blackmailed her, threatening to kill Clark if she didn’t go through with it. When she discovers the truth about her pregnancy, she steals millions of dollars from him, fakes her own death and frames Lex with her murder. Later on, she spies on him using some very elaborate tactics. Clearly, they were not a match made in heaven, and their relationship was so riddled with lies and deception that it was painful to watch.

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3. Marissa and Volchok, “The O.C.”

Marissa Cooper and Kevin Volchok are far from a perfect couple. It seems like Volchok is constantly fighting with someone, stealing something, or partying too hard. Before dating Marissa, he actually kidnaps her once. That’s always a good prelude to a healthy relationship. He eventually ends up dating her in part to deal with the grief of losing his best friend, and in part to make Ryan (her ex-boyfriend and his enemy) jealous. He proves that he’s a great prom date when he steals the post-prom party money and cheats on her, causing Marissa to break up with him. Later on, after he and Ryan almost kill each other, he tries to get Marissa back. He blackmails Ryan to try to get her back, but it doesn’t work. He drunkenly drives after them and rams into their vehicle to get them to pull over. It doesn’t work, and eventually he pushes them over a ridge, their car crashes, and Marissa dies in Ryan’s arms. Their entire relationship was toxic, and he caused her death.

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2. Cersei and Jaime , “Game of Thrones”

The fact that Cersei and Jaime Lannister are twin brother and sister is enough to make this relationship less than ideal. Even in the world of Game of Thrones, this is not something that society deems appropriate. In addition to the whole incest thing, Cersei cheats on Jaime constantly, while Jaime claims that he is always faithful to her. Over time, Cersei no longer seems to love Jaime romantically anymore, and doesn’t show him any affection anymore, but Jaime is still deeply in love with her. Shortly after their son, King Joffrey, was murdered, Jaime rapes her at the altar containing their dead son’s body. There are too many disturbing things in that sentence to comprehend. In addition to all of that, Cersei and Jaime have both committed countless horrible acts involving each other and to the people around them, and Cersei in particular seems to be a highly manipulative psychopath who will kill anyone who gets in her way.

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1. Katherine and the Salvatore Brothers, “The Vampire Diaries”

When going into the realm of the supernatural, relationships can go from toxic to downright sadistic. The Vampire Diaries is filled with unhealthy relationships. Some of the worst ones are the relationships between Katherine and the Salvatore brothers. Katherine dates both Damon and Stephan Salvatore, which is messed up enough. She cheats on Stephan and lies to him. She convinces Damon that she’s in love with him, and he spends decades searching for her after he thinks she’s been locked in a tomb. She isn’t trapped, but she doesn’t care enough about him to let him know that she is ok. Later, she tells Damon that she never loved him, and always loved Stephan, and then she forces Stephan to turn off his humanity in order to make him more fun, so that they can be together again and go on murderous rampages together. Katherine’s relationships with both of these brothers are seriously twisted, cruel, and toxic.

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Sam Hodder