TV boyfriends who ruined dating for us forever

TV boyfriends, a definition: Those incredibly perfect leading guys who date your fave gal characters (but who you secretly fantasize are dating you). Yup, you’re not the only one who does that.

Admit it, TV love has hit you hard at least once in your life. Realistically speaking, the more TV you watch, the more TV boyfriends you’re going to have, and the more TV love you are going to fall in. It’s totally natural to be head over heels in love with fictional television characters. Totally.

It’s also totally natural to be juggling multiple TV boyfriends across different shows and even different channels. As much as it full-body pains us to admit it, these guys are fictional. Pacey isn’t going to text, Seth Cohen isn’t going to call, and you’re not going to spend your Saturday night with Zach Morris at The Max. (Sorry for the mega harsh real talk, but that’s what friends are for.) What happens instead, is we expect real life boys to act like our TV boyfriends. And then we’re incredibly confused when the real boys don’t run to our house in the rain, or confess their love for us over the school speaker system, or risk their lives for us on the regular. As much as we wish they could, sometimes the real boys just can’t stack up against their fictional counterparts. The struggle is real, and it’s a struggle we have to live with every day.

Here are just a few of the best TV boyfriends that we’ll never have a chance with, ever (sad trombone). Let’s agree to not fight over these guys, ladies. There are enough episodes to go around, though it’s safe to say they might have ruined real-life dating for us.

Pacey Witter, Dawson’s Creek 

Was there anything more beautiful and true in the history of the WB than the love between Pacey and Joey? Pacey was JUST the right mix of brooding, goofy, and so so romantic. He challenged Joey, he supported Joey, he respected Joey, and he spent a perfect summer sailing with her on “True Love.” He also was filled with those perfect one-liners that were not-too-romantic and just the right amount of witty, every single one of them punctuated with his rolls-right-off-the-tongue nickname for her that only he could use: “Jo.”

Jordan Catalano, My So-Called Life  

Jordan Catalano is the stuff TV boyfriend legends are made of. Who could ever fault Angela for falling head over feet for the soulful guy with the perfect flannel shirts, the unexpected depth, and the spot-on ’90s man choker? Definitely not us. Jordan Catalano also had the perfect hot guy name: Jordan Catalano. Factor in that Jordan Catalano grew up to be Jared Leto and it’s all just too good to be true.

Nick Miller, New Girl

Nick may be bit of a man-child but that’s one of the many, many things that makes him so endlessly lovable. Sure he’d rather spend his entire life on the couch than literally anywhere else, but the way he looks at Jess is enough to make us believe in love, even couch love. And that kiss? That kiss is in the Kiss Hall of Fame where it will never, ever be dethroned.

Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother

You either love Ted Mosby for his over the top romantic gestures, or you can’t stand Ted Mosby for his over the top romantic gestures. Wherever you fall on the Ted scale, you have to admit that the guy’s got pretty intense dating game (even if your conversation starts off with a little, “haaaaaave you met Ted . . . ?”). So what if he told Robin that he loved her on their very first date? He stole her a blue French horn, too. That takes a lot of chutzpa. And let’s not forget the single greatest Ted Mosby date moment ever: the two minute date with Stella.

Ben Wyatt, Parks and Recreation

There’s something very special about Ben Wyatt. He and Leslie downright hate each other when they first meet, but soon enough the two come around. Ben is willing to risk his entire career for the woman he loves, and he never leaves her side no matter how tough it gets. He supports her, just as much as she supports him. They’re like two perfectly synched peas in a pod, and each one knows that they’ve hit the jackpot with the other. Plus, Ben’s a total nerd when it comes to Game of Thrones, he invented his own board game, and he’ll never fight over Li’l Sebastian Memorabilia with you. Plus plus, Ben really does have a really cute butt. Can I say that?

Cory Matthews, Boy Meets World

I’m willing to wager that there’s not a single person on this planet who isn’t all about Cory and Topanga 4EVA. But even more than the two as a duo, we have to acknowledge Cory as one of the best boyfriends (and then husband and father) in the entire TV world. He knows Topanga can change the world, and he wants to show her every single day, how much he believes in her. Cory’s love for Topanga is one of those loves that could move mountains. He fell in love with her before he could walk, for crying out loud.

“Cappie,” Greek 

Cappie and Casey, Casey and Cappie. Sometimes what happens freshman year is truly meant to be, and sometimes you have to wait for that perfect guy to grow up into the awesome man that you know he’ll be . . . once he finally learns to prioritize you over the frat. The beauty of Cappie (and there were so many things that were beautiful about Cappie) was just how truly good he was. He liked everyone and everyone liked him, and he really only wanted to have a good time. Who can fault him for that? Especially when he’s so darn cute.

Stefan Urquelle, Family Matters

Ok, Steve Urkel was the ULTIMATE nerd (we kinda liked him too though) but when he stepped into the chamber, used the “Cool Juice” and became the smooth-talking, sharp-dressed Stefan all bets were off. He suddenly became the perfect man, and we do not blame Laura for falling in love . . . we fell in love a little bit too.

Steve Hale, Full House

Back before we even knew what love was, we were in love with Steve, DJ’s boyfriend on Full House. He was a sweet guy to everyone in the Tanner household, from Danny, to Joey, to Michelle (and I guess we can say he tolerated Kimmy). DJ was heartbroken when he opted to go to college on the opposite coast, but in the end Steve stayed behind in San Francisco to be closer to her. They eventually broke up, and Steve headed off to college (LOVE CAN BE SO CRUEL) but Steve came back just in time to take Deej to prom. And don’t forget how much Steve loved to eat — a guy after our own heart.

Jim Halpert, The Office 

No TV couple made us believe more firmly in the sanctity or office romance than Jim and Pam. In an office filled with tomfoolery, Jim is a shining beacon of hope. Their romance is also a great reminder that sometimes the stage for love is set by incredible friendship. I mean, these two spend YEARS as buds before even testing the romantic waters. It was entirely worth the wait.

Will Smith, The Fresh Prince of Bell Air 

Will was a ladies man, but when he found love he’d fall incredibly hard. Just think about his relationship with Lisa — he was romantic, he was charming, and perhaps most importantly he totally cracked her up. Will was also very graceful and gracious post break up, reminding us that the cool guy can also be a great guy, and the genuinely nice guy.

Seth Cohen, The O.C. 

Seth Cohen started a full TV boyfriend archetype: the nerdy guy turned absolutely hilarious and unexpected heartthrob. He loved Summer so much (like SO much) and had since the beginning. Who didn’t fully swallow their heart when he recalled her grade school antics: “And, none of those guys was there the day you had to read your poem aloud in class and your hand was shaking because you were so nervous and you cared what the other kids thought.” We would have kissed him too. 

Logan Echolls, Veronica Mars

Logan delivered this speech to Veronica: “I recently had my heart broken . . . I thought our story was epic, you know? You, me. Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined, bloodshed. Epic. But summer’s almost here, and we won’t see each other at all. And then you leave town . . . and then it’s over.” And then Veronica said, “Come on. Ruined lives? Bloodshed? You really think a relationship should be that hard?” And then Logan had to go and say, “No one writes songs about the ones that come easy.” And we all just melted into a little puddle of feelings because Logan is such a tortured soul and all we want to do is give him a hug and tell him it’ll be alright. Since we can’t do that, the task falls to Veronica. Thankfully, she pulls through for us.

Caleb Rivers, Pretty Little Liars

There’s some worthy debate to be had about who the best boyfriend on Pretty Little Liars really is. Some might side with charming and intellectual Ezra, or kind and caring Toby. But come on, is there really a competition when Caleb’s in the mix? He comes off as a tough, rough-around-the-edges guy, but there’s not a bad bone in his body. Everything he does is for Hanna, to protect Hanna, and support Hanna. And, he’s not just looking out for his girlfriend, but her best friends as well. Remember, he once got SHOT trying to protect Emily. Caleb’s the kind of guy who won’t bail, no matter what.

Chuck Bass, Gossip Girl

Has there ever been a TV boyfriend as suave as Chuck Bass? No. And there probably will never be one like him ever again. Everyone knew he was bad news, even Blair knew he was bad news. But, there was something about him that kept all of us — including Blair — coming back for more each time. Maybe it was simply the way he said, “I’m Chuck Bass.”

Brandon Walsh, 90210 

Can anyone ever live up to the perfect Brandon Walsh? I mean when he fell in love with you, he was in it for the long haul (unless you turn out to be a serial arsonist, cough, Emily Valentine). Brandon was the guy you’d bring home to your parents and he’d impress them with updates on the task force he’s organized at college and his strong work ethic as a beach club employee. Maybe he wasn’t as much of a badboy as Dylan McKay, but he set the gold standard for chivalry in the ’90s. He was the guy you called when you needed anything, he’d hook you up at the Peach Pit, he looked good in sideburns, and when he fell, he fell hard. Have we mentioned those crystal blue eyes?

Jess Mariano, Gilmore Girls

Jess was always the token “bad boy” for Rory, and he stole our hearts along the way, too. The thing about Jess was that he actually challenged Rory, and she desperately needed that. But, while Jess was really good at the intellectual stuff, he was also really good at slacking off with everything else. However, by the end of the show, he gets his act together, writes a book (!!), and professes his love for Rory. Rory might have chosen Logan in the end, but I’m still firmly Team Jess.

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