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When you’re having a disagreement with your boyfriend, sometimes the easiest thing you can do is distract yourself by watching your favorite TV show. Characters whose lives are worse than yours can help you put your own issues into perspective. While some TV couples have taught us awesome lessons in lovethese fictional characters are often a great source for ideas on what to avoid in relationships. One trend we’ve noticed on TV is the awful boyfriends and we wonder why some of our favorite leading ladies ever dated these men in the first place! So next time you get upset at your boyfriend for eating that last pizza slice, think about these boyfriends and be glad your beau is nothing like them. (And if he is, get out of there!)

Fisher from Greek

When Fisher first arrived as the new hasher at the Zeta Beta Zeta house, the girls swooned at how attractive he was. He and Ashleigh shared what at first seemed like a happy relationship, going to film festivals and meeting each other’s families. But even after Ashleigh gave him a second chance after he kissed Rebecca, she discovered over winter break that he had a second girlfriend back home!

Obviously, no one wants to date a cheater. But how do you find out what your boyfriend’s up to without seeming paranoid? In the case of Ashleigh and Fisher, Ashleigh got burned for trying to see the good in Fisher, but he used her kindness to deceive her again. If you find your boyfriend kissing someone else, ladies, do not try to “get even” or to give him another chance. You deserve to find someone who accepts you as more than enough.

Steven from Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23

Luckily, June’s ex-fiancé Steven only appears in a few episodes of this ABC hit. While June was pursuing a career in New York City, Steven was in graduate school in Indiana, having an affair with one of his assistants. Luckily, June went on to have several romantic adventures (and will hopefully have many more in season two) without him. Not to mention, she was friends with James Van Der Beek himself.

For Steven and June, the cheating question is a bit trickier, since they were in a long-distance relationship. If you are in a committed, long-distance relationship, make time to speak with your boyfriend regularly and make sure that the miles of separation between you don’t cause a lull in your relationship. Steven told June he cheated because she was too “boring.” If you get the sense your boyfriend’s not happy in your relationship, try addressing the problem by talking to him. It’s better to be honest and try to work things out than to be surprised later (in June’s case, at a mutual friend’s wedding).

Ryan from The Office

Ryan and Kelly were the office’s “will they, won’t they?” couple after Jim and Pam got married. Ryan consistently cheated on Kelly with other women and was unwilling to hold a decent conversation (even when she told him she might be pregnant). Even while they were dating, Ryan consistently looked for a better relationship and never appreciated Kelly for all of her good qualities.

Ryan’s problems were more than just cheating—he never put as much effort into the relationship as Kelly did. You deserve a boyfriend who’s as interested in you as you are in him, so if you notice your boyfriend routinely zoning out when you talk about your awesome job or research you’re doing, take that as a warning sign. You don’t have to like the same things, but you need someone who will listen to you and support you.

Dennis from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

This self-proclaimed ladies’ man never seems to hold onto his relationships and it’s no surprise why. Dennis Reynolds was too self-absorbed to show anyone he dates the respect and attention they deserve, and he never thought they could live up to his standards. The man even wrote a book praising his own sexual performance. He married his high school crush, Maureen Ponderosa, only to divorce her within days because he preferred the freedom of single life. In the show’s ninth season, Dennis is still single.

While most college men aren’t as bad as Dennis Reynolds, he does represent an extreme version of an egotistical man incapable of a real relationship. If your guy is constantly bragging about his achievements and performance and not taking the time to realize how great you and your accomplishments are, too, you should probably find a relationship that’s more two-sided.

Dennis from 30 Rock

Something about the name “Dennis” must just inspire TV writers to create horrible boyfriend figures. Liz Lemon has dated a number of men in 30 Rock’s seven seasons, some better than others (anyone else still longing for Jason Sudeikis as Floyd?). But Dennis Duffy has to be the worst: He has some serious anger issues and refuses to look for a substantial career. Duffy’s ancestors were kicked out of both Ireland and America—maybe being a jerk ran in his family. Either way, we’re super stoked to see Liz with adorable boyfriend Criss Cross now.

Anger is a huge warning sign to get out of relationships, pronto (Chuck Bass, anyone?). Your guy might be going through a lot of stuff, but it’s not your job to let him take his anger out. If you’re dating a guy whose anger can get out of control at times, let him work out his own issues before you consider a relationship with him.


Tom from Parks and Recreation

It’s no surprise that Tom’s relationship with Ann didn’t last—Tom is too in love with himself to commit to a stable relationship. Tom focuses on creating business plans like Entertainment Seven Twenty and Snake Juice, which aren’t viable proposals in the long run, instead of working out his own personal life.

Tom is certainly lovable at times, but you don’t want a boyfriend that you feel you have to “fix.” Tom still has a lot of growing up to do, like many college guys. If a guy is overly immature and can’t take his future seriously, that’s not a good sign. Dating someone who makes you laugh is important, but so is dating someone who has goals.


Shawn from Psych

We were all rooting for Shawn to date Juliet since the first season, but it’s hard to support their relationship when it’s built on his own lies. Shawn’s father knew he was pretending to be a psychic, and if he wanted to spend his life with Juliet, doesn’t she deserve to know, too? When Juliet dated Declan, she broke up with him after finding out he was lying about his talent in the same way Shawn does. And we’re baffled as to why the adorable Gus is still single—he’s far more reasonable and truthful than Shawn.

Okay. Shawn’s pretty hot, and it would be awesome to date someone who worked for the police force. But would it really be that great to date someone who’s basically a serial liar? There’s no way Juliet could know that Shawn was lying, but if you get the feeling your guy’s hiding something from you, take that as a warning sign. Committed couples need to be open with each other to have successful relationships, and if a guy isn’t ready to be honest with you, you should find someone who is.

Joey from Friends

Joey was known as the “womanizer” of the Friends group, routinely dating several women at the same time and often engaging in noncommittal relationships. While his signature pickup line, “How you doin’?” certainly worked on many ladies, he was really taking advantage of them.

We all love Joey for his innocent and hilarious comments, but he’s definitely not boyfriend material. You should date someone who respects who you are, not someone who sees you as one hook-up in a string of relationships. It’s not old-fashioned to expect a monogamous relationship with your boyfriend, so if your guy is reluctant or says he “doesn’t want to label things,” that’s not a good sign.

Gob from Arrested Development

If you’re dating Gob, you’ve made a huge mistake. Gob, amateur magician and overall goof, combines a lot of boyfriend red-flags into one, including cheating, self-interest and lying. Gob frequently cheated on his girlfriend Martha and wasn’t much better to the other women he dated, either. He was too shy to break up with Amy Poehler’s guest character and he slept with Kitty to gain information about his father. Gob is definitely not a great boyfriend.

While Gob is one of the best Arrested Development characters, he’s not someone you’d want to date in real life. It’s easy to see why you might be attracted to this type of guy—aside from being attractive, Gob is fun, easygoing and isn’t afraid to go against the norm. While these can all be great qualities, watch out if your guy doesn’t care about planning for the future or seems unconcerned with maintaining a steady career. It’s great for dedicated couples to support each other in times of need, but you don’t need a freeloader weighing you down. And you definitely don’t need a cheater, either!

Did we miss any of your favorite (or least favorite) characters? Let us know in the comments section!

Meghan is a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill studying classics and English. She has interned at Girls' Life and Parenting magazines and was a Collegiate Correspondent with USA TODAY in Spring 2012. Meghan loves all things entertainment related and plans to move to New York and work for a national magazine after graduating in May 2013.