The best part of shipping characters on TV is all that "will they or won't they" tension. We hope, we root, we might even shout at the TV, but sometimes it doesn't go they way we want. Sometimes it does, and our faves get together, but (because TV) they break up. For some of our favorite television characters, this cycle seems endless. Here's 11 of our very favorite on-again-off-again couples.
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Penny and Leonard -- The Big Bang Theory
They may be married now, but it took a long time to get there. Penny was the pretty blonde actress across the hall, and Leonard harbored a secret crush for far too long. They broke up and got back together so many times, partially due to how little they have in common. But, at the end of the day, they overcame all their differences, and that's what makes them such a strong couple now.
Joan and Roger -- Mad Men
This couple may have never been official, but they certainly knew each other well. Both married to other people, their affair was passionate and temperamental. They even share a child together, which Joan tried to pass off as her husband's.
Damon and Elena -- The Vampire Diaries
These two are about as destructive as they are steamy. Even though Elena bounced between Damon and his brother, Stefan, they always found their way back to each other somehow. They broke up as a result of supernatural intervention, good judgment and even death, but nothing can keep these two apart.
Lorelai and Luke -- Gilmore Girls
These two were the only ones who didn't see how perfect they were for each other. Audiences had to suffer through so many breakups, misunderstandings and episodes of bad timing, and it was torture. Yes, they ended up together in the end, but it was an emotional roller coaster for us all.
Kelly and Dylan -- Beverly Hills, 90210
As everyone's favorite high school couple, they faced so much tragedy, it's no wonder they couldn't hold it together. When you have to face addiction, death, international espionage and the constant interference of loved ones, it's likely that your relationship will suffer. They broke up and got together so many times, I quit counting. All I know, is they were absolutely meant to be, so it was particularly satisfying when they ended up together in the end.
Ross and Rachel -- Friends
This couple had the breakup that was heard around the world, and their timing was the worst I've ever seen in a couple. They were never in the same head space as the other, and spent much of the series pining after each other, despite the other not having a clue. Ross secretly crushed on Rachel, then after they broke up, she secretly wanted him back, and they ping-ponged back and forth for years. Most of their problems could've been solved with better communication.
Carrie and Big -- Sex and the City
Not only were these two on again/off again, but they were also terrible to and for each other. Big treated Carrie as a disposable object, and Carrie used him as a safety net. They hurt so many people in the trajectory of their relationship, they deserve each other. They aren't necessarily good for each other, but they certainly weren't good for anyone else.
Dawson and Joey -- Dawson's Creek
They are among our favorite on again/off again couples only because we were just so glad when they were finally "off" for good. They were insufferable together, and I mostly just watched them with a constant cringe. Joey wound up with Pacey, and it was the best possible way to do away with possibility of a future between Joey and Dawson.
Cookie and Lucious -- Empire
The sexual tension between these two is like a house on fire, but two such strong personalities is bound to create some major problems. Cookie and Lucious have faced down organized crime, shady dealings and more betrayal than you can fathom, but they still keep coming back for more. I guess that's how you know it's true love.
Buffy and Angel -- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
These two weren't destined to be together, but that didn't stop them from trying over and over again. This couple could have been great together if not for that whole "vampire with a soul thing." They had potential to go the distance, but when a couple consistently tries to kill each other, you have to cut your losses and move on.
Nick and Jess -- New Girl
It's always such a letdown when couples can't see they're right for each other. Nick and Jess broke up because of their differences, and it was a total waste. They're finding their way back to each other, let's just hope it won't be too late by the time they do.
Ted and Robin -- How I Met Your Mother
Ted and Robin played a part in one of the world's most disappointing finales. Audiences were terribly let down that they wound up together because we wasted so much time mourning their breakup(s). Why couldn't they just be together all long, and save us all the trouble of having to mourn, then root, then mourn again?
Which of these couples is your favorite? Can you think of any other couples that belong on this list? Tell us what you think in the comments!
(Images courtesy of CBS, AMC, The CW, Netflix, YouTube, NBC, HBO, The WB, FOX)