Toxic On-Screen Relationships That Give Audiences A Twisted Sense Of What Love Is

Television and film have provided audiences with some incredible on-screen relationships throughout the years. Nevertheless, unfortunately, many of these relationships give people a false sense of what it means to be in love. And although they may seem incredibly romantic and something fans wish that they had for themselves, many of these relationships are not only unrealistic but completely toxic. So, take a look to see which ones are the worst in both film and television, but be warned, some of these might break your heart.

Olivia And Fitz From Scandal

Picture of the couple
ABC
ABC

In Scandal, Olivia Pope is a crisis manager working in Washington DC, and Fitzgerald Grant is the President of the United States who are involved in an affair together.

While Olivia is trying to break off the affair, Fitz ensures that she can’t, and on top of that, he’s jealous, spiteful, and rude to her. Furthermore, he constantly has her under a microscope. So, essentially, they didn’t belong with each other in the slightest, and it probably didn’t help that Fitzgerald was the President of the United States.

Fitz And Aria From Pretty Little Liars

Picture of he couple
ABC
ABC

Considering that their relationship is between a teacher and a high school student, it’s already off to a bad start and something that’s widely frowned upon.

While Fitz denied that he knew how young Aria was when they first become romantically involved, the audience learns in a later season that he was lying, making it all the worse. Along with being aware that she was a minor, he also used to help him write his book.

Chuck And Blair From Gossip Girl

Picture of Blair and Chuck
The CW
The CW

Chuck and Blair from Gossip Girl are one of the most toxic couples in the world of television. Not only is Chuck physically and emotionally abusive to Blair, but at one point he even makes the attempt to assault Blair’s best friend, Serena.

Blair is also an all-around bad person that isn’t afraid to lie and hurt others in order to get her way. Chuck is also very possessive of Blair and uses her to get the things that he wants, such as a hotel.

Carrie And Big From Sex And The City

Picture of Bradshaw and Big
HBO
HBO

At the beginning of the hit series, Carrie Bradshaw is a successful and independent woman that is dominating the journalism world with her weekly column “Sex and the City.” However, when Big is introduced to the show, Bradshaw is no longer her usual self and spends a lot of her time chasing after a man who essentially is careless when it comes to their relationship.

Bradshaw also gives him more chances than he deserves and the two develop a relationship based on resentment of one another. Even the author of the book that the show is based on has noted that she hates their relationship.

Dawson And Joey From Dawson’s Creek

Dawson and Joey
The WB
The WB

At the beginning of Dawson’s Creek, Joey starts out as a girl infatuated with Dawson, her neighbor. However, it most likely would have been better for everyone if she hadn’t fallen for him in the first place. Not only is he incredibly rude, but he is also judgmental of almost everything that she does.

Furthermore, adding fuel to their bonfire of a relationship because she is a self-absorbed partner makes it so Joey can’t discuss his feelings. Once they were no longer together and Dawson started to do better, it was clear that they weren’t meant to be.

Kathleen And Joe, You’ve Got Mail

Picture of Joe and Kathleen
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

While most audiences may not believe that you could dislike any character played by Meg Ryan or Tom Hanks, the two managed to accomplish this in You’ve Got Mail. This is because their relationship is incredibly hard to watch.

To begin, Joe stalks Kathleen and even results in her losing her book shop, and Joe doesn’t make the situation any better by being an awful partner. All in all, their relationship is based on deception, which creates an incredibly unhealthy pairing between the two.

Khal Drogo And Daenerys From Game Of Thrones

Picture of Drogo and Daenerys
HBO
HBO

For starters, their relationship began as a business arrangement in which Khal Drogo would receive Daenerys as a wife in turn for providing her brother with an army, which is never good.

By no means did she enter the marriage willingly, and to make matters worse, on the first night of their marriage, Khal Drogo forces himself upon her. Furthermore, although the two do eventually fall in love, there’s still no way to condone all of the ultra-violent and arguably evil acts he committed in the past.

Ted And Robin From How I Met Your Mother

Picture of Robin and Ted
CBS
CBS

Even though it sounds like it, How I Met Your Mother isn’t necessarily about two people meeting, falling in love, and starting a family. At first, when Ted Mosby encounters Robin Scherbatsy, he wants her, although the two aren’t really all that compatible, even though he is borderline creepy at times.

Furthermore, although he claims to love her, he expects a lot from her, and the two have very few of the same goals, which is destined to put a strain on any romantic relationship.

Jackson And Ally From A Star Is Born

Jackson and Ally in A Star Is Born
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

In 2018, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga acted as Jackson and Ally in the newest rendition of A Star Is Born. Although the film can be understood as a romance, it also sends the message that women should stay with a man, even if he is dragging them down.

Throughout the film, Ally continues to make sacrifices for Jackson because she feels in debt to him for the success that he brought her. On top of that, when Ally finds success independently, Jackson isn’t happy for her but slips deeper into depression and addiction, causing her more pain.

Kelly And Dylan From Beverly Hills, 90210

Picture of Kelly and Dylan
Fox
Fox

While many audiences might argue that Dylan and Brenda had the worst relationship of Beverly Hills, 90210, that may not necessarily be the case. It’s also important to look at the romance between Dylan and Kelly even though many fans were in full support of it.

It all started because it worked out for Dylan after he cheated on Brenda with her best friend when Brenda was out of town. The two had a laughable amount of trust between them, and Dylan was known to constantly compare her to Brenda.

Alex And Piper From Orange Is The New Black

Alex and Piper from Orange is the New Black
Netflix
Netflix

From the very beginning, Alex Vause and Piper Chapman had an unstable relationship. They were both dishonest and unreliable to each other, which did not help their situation. It all started when Alex got Piper into the drug business, which resulted in her being sent to Litchfield prison after Alex ratted on her lover.

Regardless, the two always find themselves back in each other’s arms because they are both clearly addicted to each other, no matter how toxic their relationship may be.

Verona And Archie From Riverdale

Picture of Veronica and Archie
The CW
The CW

Veronica and Archie’s relationship were doomed from the start, beginning when Archie never confronted the fact that his teacher, Miss Grundy, acted inappropriately.

Even though Veronica isn’t on the best terms with her father, he is constantly bringing Archie down, and Veronica never steps up to defend him. However, the cherry on top of their tumultuous relationship is that it’s very shallow and almost completely based on the sexual aspect with very little communication.

Beck And Joe From You

Joe and Beck from You
Warner Bros. Television
Warner Bros. Television

Although Joe Goldberg may think that he’s doing the right thing and saving Beck from her bad boyfriends, in reality, he’s nothing more than a creep and a stalker. His idea of romance was twisted by the romantic comedies that he watched while growing up, and he turned out to be a sociopath and a murderer.

Penn Badgley, who played Joe commented on the character stating, “Joe believes he is in love with Beck and romancing her, but he’s not. He’s obsessive, lustful, and possessive. None of this is love.”

Joel And Midge From The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Picture of Joel and Midge
Prime Video
Prime Video

Since the release of Season 1, one of the aspects of the show that has viewers returning in the potential reconnection between Midge and Joel. But this might not be the best for either of them, starting with Joel’s infidelity and his inability to support Midge when her comedy career is on the rise.

The fault isn’t all Joel’s either, as Midge is unable to be her true self around him, like leaving her makeup on until he goes to sleep. They’re also clearly co-dependent as they always find their way back to each other.

Sandy And Danny From Grease

Danny and Sandy from Grease
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Sandy and Danny may be one of the most iconic pairs of high school lovers in the film, but by no means does that mean they were perfect together. After their romantic summer fling, it turns out Sandy is staying in the United States and attends the same school as Danny.

However, Danny gives her the cold shoulder and lies about their relationship to make himself look cool in front of his friends. He even tries to pressure her to have sex with him at the drive-in. Finally, Sandy eventually transforms herself into a “greaser” girl to get back with him, which nobody should have to do in a relationship.

Romeo And Juliet From Romeo + Juliet

Picture of Romeo and Juliet
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

From the start, it doesn’t seem like Romeo and Juliet’s relationship has much of an opportunity to work out, considering that they’re from rival families. But that’s not the worst of it.

Regardless of not even knowing each other, they dive headfirst into a steamy love affair, even though they know it will create serious problems for themselves and the people around them. Their lack of communication with each other also results in both of their deaths. So, maybe they shouldn’t have gotten together in the first place.

Harley Quinn And The Joker From Suicide Squad

Picture of Harley Quinn and The Joker
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

While Harley Quinn and The Joker may seem like a match made in heaven considering the tendencies for violence and overall twisted personalities, it doesn’t work out as well as people might think.

The Joker is the real issue in their relationship as he is frequently both physically and emotionally abusive to her. This results in Quinn being afraid to express herself emotionally and always forgiving him no matter how terrible he may be acting. That being said, it’s good to remember that Quinn is a psychopath as well.

Belle And The Beast From Beauty And The Beast

Picture of Belle and The Beast
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures

Beauty and the Beast may be a classic that resolves in an uplifting way, for a fair period of the film, The Beast is far from kind to Belle. He’s aggressive, ignores her, and attempts to keep her afraid of him. Unsurprisingly, he was even turned into The Beast in the first place for his inability to have compassion.

On top of everything, he actually keeps her as his prisoner, so when they do fall in love in the end, it begs the question of whether it was real love or a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome?

Anastasia And Christian From The Fifty Shades Series

Anastasia and Christian
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

In case you didn’t already know, the 50 Shades series actually began as a Twilight fan fiction. Knowing this, it’s no shock that Anastasia and Christian have a less-than-healthy relationship.

Outside of the sexual side of the series, Christian is also manipulative, controlling, and sometimes takes things to the point that Anastasia is downright uncomfortable. Christian also throws her into a world she isn’t exactly prepared for, which can be extremely dangerous for people that don’t have any experience.

Anakin And Padme, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith

Padme and Anakin
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

While their relationship is hard to watch, mostly because it’s so cringe-worthy, it’s actually weird at the same time too. Beside the fact that Padme was once Anakin’s babysitter, even as he begins to turn to the dark side, she refuses to let him go even though he is no good for her, or anyone for that matter during his transformation.

Their relationship even goes on to kill Padme as she dies of a broken heart during childbirth, leading him to become a Sith Lord. At that point, Padme was so afraid of him that she sends their children away to protect them from their father.

Allie And Noah From The Notebook

Allie And Noah
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

Upon its release, the love story between Allie and Noah has grown to be considered by many as one of the most romantic films to date. While the ending may be incredibly romantic, the couple’s relationship is more toxic than anything.

Noah is a relentless boyfriend that is overly obsessive, verbally abusive, and manipulative to the point that he threatens to kill himself. Furthermore, as the story progresses, the two learn to resent each other only until their steamy affair occurs.

Bella And Edward From The Twilight Saga

Bella and Edward
Summit Entertainment
Summit Entertainment

Although it was most likely unintentional, Stephanie Meyer’s book series turned-film franchise resulted in hordes of young people believing that true love was based on possessive and abusive behavior.

First off, it’s safe to say that a relationship between a 17-year-old high school girl and a vampire well over hundreds of years old probably isn’t the most appropriate thing. Bella then goes on to become obsessive about Edward to the point that she contemplates suicide, with her finally giving up her life and mortality to ultimately be with him.

Tina And Bette From The L Word

Bette And Tina
Showtime
Showtime

After The L Word came back on the air in 2019, both new and old friends had the opportunity to look back and see how uneasy the relationship between Bette and Tina was in the original series.

Bette clearly wears the pants, which shouldn’t happen in a healthy couple, and is overall abusive to Tina. Furthermore, neither of them are loyal to one another, with murder, kidnapping, and other crimes never being a good foundation for a couple.

Mindy And Danny From The Mindy Project

Mindy and Danny
Fox/Hulu
Fox/Hulu

Something that should never happen in a relationship is when one partner puts down others’ aspirations. Well, that’s precisely what happens between Mindy and Danny in The Mindy Project, with Danny always looking down on Mindy’s dreams, even giving her an ultimatum with she was both pregnant with their son and after he is born.

Danny was also no stranger to being misogynistic, which lead to Mindy having to keep secrets from him to avoid being berated.

Ross And Rachel From Friends

Ross and Rachel
The WB
The WB

Notably, one of the most famous couples to ever take on the small screen, Ross and Rachel of Friends probably shouldn’t be the kind of relationship people seek out. They are jealous and childish at times, and what’s more, they have an extremely low level of trust.

They also aren’t afraid of attempting to sabotage one another’s other relationships throughout the show. Ross is also insensitive to Rachel’s feelings at times and even lies to Rachel about important things such as having their Vegas marriage annulled.

Steve And Nancy From Stranger Things

Steveand Nancy
Netflix
Netflix

Over the course of the first season of Stranger Things, we see a handsome couple of Steve and Nancy as the talk of the school and a rather cliché of the typical popular high school couple.

However, due to Steve’s actions, their relationship begins to falter, and Nancy begins to fall for Jonathan. When Steve sees this, he becomes incredibly jealous, even leading him to not stop others from graffitiing slanderous claims about his and Nancy’s relationship.

Andy And Nate From The Devil Wears Prada

Andy and Nate
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

In The Devil Wears Prada, Nate is known for treating Andy incredibly unfairly regardless that he knows how much pressure she is under at work. Also, when Andy begins to transform into the best version of herself, Nate is anything but supportive and, in fact, does the opposite.

Finally, when Andy gets a massive opportunity, he breaks up with her, expecting that she will leave everything behind in order to make a move that will only benefit his life and career.

Elena and Damon From The Vampire Diaries

Elena and Damon
The CW
The CW

There’s no denying that Damon Salvatore is a truly despicable human, and therefore, boyfriend to Elena. Not only does he use the poor girl to get revenge on his brother, Stefan, but he assaults Elena’s best friend.

He also convinces Elena to kiss him to make his brother jealous, ultimately stealing her away from his own brother. On Elena’s side, she continues to stay with him despite all of his killing and the terrible things that he does to her and her family.

Don and Megan From Mad Men

Don and Megan
AMC
AMC

Considering Don Draper’s selfish and lustful lifestyle, none of his relationships in the series work out, and it’s obvious that none of them well. Eventually, he meets the young and attractive Megan, who has dreams of becoming an actress.

While Megan satiated him for a time, it was inevitable that he would mess things up with his womanizing, drinking, and keeping his entire second life a secret from her. Megan even puts up with Don for way too long until she realizes she’s better off without him.

Nate Jacobs And Maddie From Euphoria

Nate and Maddy
HBO
HBO

If you’ve ever seen Euphoria, you’ll know that Nate is an utter disaster in every way and has no problem blackmailing people, committing extreme acts of violence, and hiding who he truly is. Not necessarily boyfriend material.

So, it’s no surprise that he is one of the worst boyfriends on television that treats Maddy like complete trash both physically and emotionally, constantly breaking her heart. Maddy is also willing to stay in this abusive relationship because she truly believes she loves Nate, and he loves her back.