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8 Beloved On-Screen Couples Who Actually Have Problematic Relationships

Falling in love with a TV character is just like falling in love with a real person. Sometimes we start to idealize them and believe in the image that exists only in our heads. This just proves that scriptwriters know this can happen and use the power of our imaginations to create more and more successful TV shows. But there are many interesting things that work magically on-screen yet ought to be avoided in real life.

1. Jim and Pam, The Office

Unrealistic relationships in sitcoms are not unique, and Jim and Pam from The Office are no exception. However, many people still like to idealize this couple. This is mostly because it’s fun when someone jokes and pulls pranks on their co-workers, but it doesn’t affect us on the other side of the screen. And that’s what Jim and Pam do on the show.

Actually, this is a couple that bonded mainly over criticizing their fellow co-workers. Pam, at first, seems sweet and nice. But then we see how she flirts and leads Jim on again and again, only to deny him when he finally makes an advance toward her. When they finally get together, she becomes even more controlling, and Jim continuously gives up all his dreams and ends up losing himself completely.

Then there are trust issues as well. It started with them interfering in each other’s relationships. Like how despite knowing Pam was engaged, Jim flirted with her and always found ways to be near her. He even goes in to kiss her and Pam doesn’t pull him away.

Knowing some of their colleagues caught them cheating, they don’t tell them anything, which was wrong for both of them. It’s no wonder that after all this, they didn’t trust each other in their own relationship.

2. Ted and Robin, How I Met Your Mother

From the very beginning, they had very different outlooks on relationships in general. Ted was looking for someone to spend the rest of his life with, but we didn’t see anything like that in Robin. She simply doesn’t want to tie the knot with anyone so early in her life, and dedicated her time to more “serious” goals as she sees it — like wanting to travel to Argentina or something.

On the other hand, Ted continues to look for “the one” until the very end of the series, while Robin is constantly avoiding commitment, running from any long-term relationships. Ted already has a wedding planned out in his mind, but Robin doesn’t even want to hear about it. It’s strange how such different people can stay together for so long, never even trying to have an honest conversation on the matter.

3. Dawson and Joey, Dawson’s Creek

Their relationship became the show’s foundation, and it all began pretty innocently. They were kids playing games together, making movies, and talking. But everything changed when they started to grow up and become honest with each other.

Dawson becomes highly judgmental of everything Joey does, and vice versa. Joey doesn’t like it when he spends more time with other girls, and he believes she is unable to make friends on her own. He even starts accusing her of giving up her dream of traveling to France and so on. Well, we all quarrel sometimes, but these intense emotions are too much for any relationship.

4. Tina and Bette, The L Word

Even with all the beauty this TV series has, this is a great example of when a narcissist and a codependent person are in a relationship. Bette is absolutely domineering in it, being both physically and emotionally disrespectful to Tina.

Bette wants to control everyone around her and basically acts out of selfishness. She’s highly manipulative and lacks empathy toward her victims. On the other hand, Tina is a codependent person. She is very insecure and too dependent on Bette financially and emotionally, which makes her easy prey for people like Bette.

5. Nate and Andy, The Devil Wears Prada

In this movie, there were many antagonists, but most fans unexpectedly pointed out Nate, Andy’s boyfriend, as the most problematic character. And we can agree that sometimes he was really unsupportive of all the beautiful changes his beloved girlfriend was experiencing.

Andy became very successful in the fashion world, one that she hadn’t known much about beforehand. And she was about to make a huge career move in this business. At moments like this, we usually expect our significant others to be happy for us and encourage us to move forward.

Nate actually called his girlfriend out for changing herself and sulked when she bailed on his birthday party at the last minute when she needed to be back at the office. He had every right to feel this way, but eventually, it wasn’t the only thing that troubled him so much — he didn’t like Andy’s choice of career at all.

6. Buffy Summers and Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy’s relationship with Spike was doomed from the very beginning. Actually, in all relationships with vampires, people simply forget one thing. Vampires are considered to be walking as the “undead,” ever since Stoker’s Dracula, no matter what death has already done to them. And the only way to change it is to become a vampire yourself, which no one would wish upon their loved one.

On top of that, Buffy doesn’t want to become one of those creatures herself. So despite all the good moments of Spike being nice and tender with her, Buffy uses him as a valuable resource to contact other evildoers. She’s also learning from him directly because he had already killed 2 slayers before, and she doesn’t want to be his next victorious trophy.

In her mind, there is no way he could be saved and redeemed, and she doesn’t trust him either. There are feelings between them — no one can deny that. But all in all, this relationship was never meant to be healthy, serious, or everlasting.

7. Jack And Rose, Titanic

In the film, the relationship people romanticize actually lasted only 2 days. And although we tend to think that it was a great love, it’s pretty obvious that it was more lust and affection than anything else, which is quite common for such an affair.

We all may believe in love at first sight, but we’re still fully aware that love and a healthy relationship take a lot of time to develop, to form a commitment, a connection on different levels, trust, and deep respect for each other. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to show all this in a 3-hour-long movie.

8. Jess Mariano and Rory Gilmore, Gilmore Girls

Lack of communication can ruin any relationship, and this relationship had this very theme from the beginning. Either Rory would refuse to tell Jess anything about her plans, or Jess would give her one-word answers, never fully explaining anything. Sure, they were inexperienced, but one of the main rules of drama says that characters should change in the end, and we really do love watching the process.

However, instead of growing, they both try to play games and manipulate each other, which is not the best strategy to achieve anything. They intentionally do things to annoy each other and make one another jealous. And they really do spend too much time trying to push each other’s buttons.

Jess also has too much of an issue with authority, starting with problems at school and finishing with a lack of respect for Rory’s grandparents. For instance, when asked to have dinner with them, he showed up late, with a black eye, sulking and grunting the whole evening. He’s too self-centered and shows no respect for anyone, not even his girlfriend.

Yet still...

Nevertheless, despite all the troubles they had, Jess and Rory shared wonderful chemistry between them. And one of the greatest things he did for her was challenge her to think about how she wanted to approach life.

For instance, when she dropped out of Yale, he pushed her to get back to what she really wanted. Growing up in a town that literally worshiped her mother was a tough thing. But Jess made Rory believe in herself, move forward, and choose her own way to make her dreams come true. And that’s a really great way to encourage and support your beloved to grow.

What TV couples do you still like the most? Have you ever tried to look at their deeds and actions from a more realistic point of view?

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