“The course of true love never did run smooth” wrote William Shakespeare. This sentiment rings especially true when it comes to TV romances. Whether it is unrequited love, bad timing, miscommunication, an argument or just plain incompatibility, TV couples often have a long road to travel before reaching their final destination of happily ever after. Some never get there at all. We’ve compiled a list of television’s most compelling on-again/off-again couples.
#11 Finn and Rachel on Glee
This high school romance grew from an unrequited crush into a marriage proposal. With Rachel on the fast-track to stardom, and Finn undergoing serious existential angst, these star-crossed lovers are on hiatus.
#10 Alex and Dave on Happy Endings
Alex got cold feet about marrying Dave at the altar. Thanks to a close-knit group of friends and family, the couple managed to stay friends. They are now dating exclusively once again.
#9 Derek and Meredith on Grey’s Anatomy
Sexual attraction was the initial driving force behind Derek and Meredith’s relationship. Fate has conspired against this duo throwing estranged spouses, near-death experiences and intimacy issues in their path. Seattle Grace’s power couple is now bound together by a Post-It.
#8 Angela and Dwight on The Office
Nothing ends a relationship quicker than killing your girlfriend’s cat. However, time heals all wounds, and Angela and Dwight eventually picked up where they left off. Their secret trysts continued even though Angela was engaged to self-proclaimed cuckold, Andy. Now that Angela is married to a closeted homosexual state senator, the couple is definitely off, for now.
#7 Penny and Leonard on The Big Bang Theory
After going on a date in the season one finale, Penny’s insecurities mixed with Leonard’s insensitivity put them squarely back in the friend zone. After officially entering into a romantic relationship at the beginning of season three, the two have had difficulty getting their timing right. They got off to a bit of a rough start this season, with Penny even coming close to breaking things off between them. But, the two remain romantically linked.
#6 Elena and Stefan on The Vampire Diaries
Passionate about each other from the moment they met, the biggest obstacle for this twosome were the many months that Stefan served as a lackey to original vampire Klaus. The two have reconciled and have more in common now than ever.
#5 Blair and Chuck on Gossip Girl
After losing her virginity to Chuck in the back of a limousine, this duplicitous duo encountered obstacles ranging from royal suitors to their own ambitions. However, there are few TV couples so perfectly suited for one another than Blair and Chuck. The two are currently very much together with whispers of a wedding on or before the series finale.
#4 Booth and Brennan on Bones
Apparently, saving Brennan’s life on multiple occasions wasn’t enough of an indication of Booth’s devotion. When the handsome FBI agent finally confessed his true feelings for Brennan, she shot him down fearing the loss of their friendship. Brennan finally comes around, but their coupling is waylaid by his relationship with another woman. After years of foreplay, the two are currently co-habitating and raising their daughter.
#3 Haley and Dylan on Modern Family
Who can forget the song “In the Moonlight (Do Me)” that Dylan wrote for Haley and performed in front of her whole family? When Haley breaks up with Dylan for the first time, her dad is more devastated than Haley. The couple had plans to move in together until Haley got accepted into college. The last we saw of Haley’s high-school sweetheart, he was sleeping on the Dunphy’s couch. Their current relationship status remains unknown.
#2 Rick and Lori on The Walking Dead
It is arguable whether the time that Rick and Lori spent apart while he was comatose officially counts as a separation. However, she was sleeping with his best friend without conclusive evidence that her husband was dead. Living in a post-apocalyptic world has taken its toll on this union. They currently occupy the same space but emotionally they are worlds apart.
#1 Barney and Robin on How I Met Your Mother
Barney and Robin first have sex in season three. The pair finally become a couple (of sorts) at the end of season four but end things in season five. This back and forth goes on and on and on…each dating other people until the current season, when the two may or may not tie the knot.
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.