When we think of our favorite television shows, we think about the characters that we love, and that means that we think about the people that they love, too. The romances definitely come to mind first. It's impossible to think about Gilmore Girls without swooning over Dean and Jess and Logan (and, okay, of course, we're going to think about Lorelai and coffee and pop culture references, too). We're also always going to remember Joey and Dawson's friendship-turned-relationship on that juicy teen drama and it's also tough to think about Pretty Little Liars without remembering the adorable couples that fans have given nicknames (Spoby and Haleb, of course).
But when we really think about it, these TV couples weren't actually together for as many episodes as we thought that they were. It's totally easy to think that Lorelai and Luke were together for every single episode of GG since that's probably the main love story that comes to mind, but that's not actually the case. The same thing goes for all of our favorite shows, from Friends to Veronica Mars to Gossip Girl. Curious how our fave shows stack up? Let's take a look. Read to find out 18 beloved TV couples that didn't last as long as we thought! These are a total and complete surprise!
18 Lorelai And Luke On 'Gilmore Girls': 45 of 154 episodes
How long were these two small-town lovebirds actually a couple? Yeah, that would be 45 of 154 episodes. This isn't counting the revival, of course, but the original seven-season show that aired on The WB and, later, The CW. It sounds like absolutely nothing when we're looking at over 150 episodes, but of course to us loyal fans, their relationship was such a big deal.
Lorelai and Luke are such a beloved, special couple, and fans always want to think about them being together. But of course they had a long, hard road to happily ever after, and they each dated other people. Remember when Luke was with that traveling, free-spirited photographer Rachel? And when Lorelai dated Christopher (and even married him)? And, of course, it's impossible to forget the romantic English teacher Max Madina.
17 Rory And Jess On 'Gilmore Girls': 13 of 154 episodes
When we talk about Gilmore Girls, the conversation inevitably turns to who we think that Rory should end up with. There are only three possible choices, of course: Dean, Jess, or Logan. Those are names that us fans know by heart. But when it comes to Rory and Jess's relationship, it actually only took place over 13 episodes.
Yup. 13. Fans totally swoon and go nuts over Jess and yet he was barely on the show. It's easy to assume that he was a regular cast member for all seven seasons of the show when, actually, he appeared in most of the second and third seasons, which is when he and Rory dated. Otherwise, he randomly came back to visit, and Rory had moved on. Thankfully, he came back for the Netflix revival.
16 Joey And Dawson On 'Dawson's Creek': 19 of 128 episodes
For some Dawson's Creek fans, Joey and Dawson are the best couple ever, total soulmates and star-crossed lovers, and they absolutely should have ended up together. Others are thrilled that she found forever love and happiness with Pacey. It really just depends who we ask.
Even though the show opens with Joey and Dawson having been best friends since childhood and Joey harboring long-held romantic feelings for him, the two didn't date that much. They were only a couple for 19 out of 128 episodes. They kiss in the first season finale and then date for six episodes in the second season. They break up and get back together in episode 18 of season two and are together until the end of the second season. Joey and Dawson do reunite in the college years of the show and start dating again for five episodes in the fifth season, and they also date for two episodes at the beginning of season six.
15 Mark And Lexie On 'Grey's Anatomy': 25 (officially) of 319 episodes (and counting)
When Mark and Lexie start dating, they hook up in a season five episode. Well, technically, Lexie throws herself at him and that's that. They break up 25 episodes later because Mark's life becomes super complicated and he's suddenly got a baby in his life. Lexie just can't deal. But it's super obvious to everyone that the two still have the hots for each other. Just part of the frustrating deal of being a TV fan.
The two date on and off during the eighth season, but just as they both realize that they're super in love with each other and really want to be together, they're both in the infamous plane crash in the eighth season finale. And (ugh) they both pass away. Yeah, love is cruel and so is this show sometimes. Talk about the very definition of heartbreaking.
14 Lane And Zach On 'Gilmore Girls': 55 of 154 episodes
When Lane and Zach first start dating, it's super adorable since they share a common love of music and we just knew that Lane needed to be with someone like that. They're in the same band and the early days of their relationship are equal parts adorable and hilarious, which is basically just like Lane and Zach themselves.
They don't get together until the fifth season of the show and they break up for a bit in season six, only to get back together and stay together. So although 55 episodes is a pretty big chunk of the show's run time, they weren't together for about 100 other episodes, so their relationship isn't quite as long as some fans might have thought. Thankfully they worked things out since they had the cutest twins and are still living a rock and roll (although a bit more domestic) life in the Netflix revival.
13 Phoebe And David On 'Friends': 3 of 236 episodes
When fans think about Phoebe's two big relationships on Friends, David is one guy that comes to mind. We would assume that he was in the majority of the show's episodes then... but that's not actually what happened.
In fact, David appeared in three episodes. Yes. Three. They dated for only one episode at first and then later for two. They broke up at first (if we can call it a break-up after such a short thing, which was a total of one week) because he moved, and once he was back in NYC, she decided to be with Mike instead. Most fans would probably agree that Paul Rudd's character Mike was definitely her one true love, but at the same time, it's hard to believe that a relationship that had such a big impact on Phoebe was so brief.
12 Rory And Dean On 'Gilmore Girls': 16 of 154 episodes
It's impossible to think about the early days of Gilmore Girls without remembering all the sweet and adorable scenes between Rory and her first boyfriend Dean. They share their first kiss in the market (and she says "thank you" and steals a box of cornstarch). Lorelai invites him over for their movie night and he sees how much pizza and junk food Rory can consume. They go to Chilton's dance and fall asleep and get in tons of trouble. And they're just really cute together.
But Rory and Dean didn't actually date for that long. They were together for eight episodes at first and then when Rory can't tell Dean that she loves him on their three-month anniversary, they break up. They get back together at the end of season 1 and break up in season two when he's super jealous of Rory and Jess. So, basically, they're together for 16 episodes, and then later sleep together when he's married to Lindsay. It's not that long at all.
11 Monica And Richard On 'Friends': 6 of 236 episodes
Before Monica was with Chandler, aka her soulmate and one true love, she was dating Richard. He was a lot older than her, which was what ultimately made them break up since that caused all kinds of problems in their relationship. But he was dreamy and handsome and charming and nice, and that made her seriously fall for him.
It's hard to realize that Monica and Richard were only together for a total of six episodes, but that's the truth. Sure, Chandler was her major relationship and love story and lasted much longer, but Richard was a big part of Monica's life and character arc. That just proves that was some super powerful storytelling if we could have connected that much to a character who was only in a handful of episodes.
10 Ryan And Marissa On 'The O.C.': 33 of 92 episodes
It's easy to think that Ryan and Marissa were together for the whole four seasons of The O.C.... but then we remember that, oh yeah, Marissa sadly and tragically passed away at the end of season three. Even before that, though, the two of them struggled a lot (typical teens...) and broke up twice.
They first got together in season one and broke up when Marissa fell for Oliver (aka the crazy one) and Ryan was trying to get her to see that he wasn't a good influence. They got back together later on in the first season only to break up when it appeared like Theresa was going to have Ryan's baby. Yeah, that was definitely a whole lot of conflict and drama, and their relationship was full of teen angst.
9 Veronica And Logan On 'Veronica Mars': 18 of 64 episodes
Oh, Veronica and Logan. Since Veronica Mars only ran for three seasons and 64 episodes, it wouldn't be possible for that popular couple to be together for a ton of episodes, but at the same time, we might think that they dated for all 64 episodes. Nope.
Instead, they were together for 18 episodes. We could definitely say that Veronica was involved in a whole bunch of love triangles, whether that was her choosing between Logan and her ex-boyfriend Duncan, or between Logan and Piz. There was a lot of juicy drama and romance on this show for sure, along with all the mysterious storylines. Thankfully, Logan and Veronica did end up together in the movie, so it's safe to say that fans were relieved.
8 Lyla And Tim On 'Friday Night Lights': 19 (officially) of 76 episodes
Lyla and Tim are one of those TV couples that are just so adorable and that we might not think would work so well together. After all, they totally prove that sometimes, opposites really do attract. Lyla's a churchgoing good girl who excels in school and Tim's a beer drinking chill guy who wants to live in Texas forever. But they really do love each other and it's the sweetest thing ever.
They start their relationship by having an affair since she's still dating Jason, but end things before becoming a real couple. In the second season, Tim's still got it bad for Lyla, and he spends a few episodes pining for her and trying to get her to date him again, but they're not technically a couple. They're together for roughly 19 episodes. They do try things again later on when Lyla comes back from school but they know that it's just not right anymore.
7 Dan And Serena On 'Gossip Girl': 34 of 121 episodes
Yup, Serena ended up with Mr. Gossip Girl himself, and they do get married at the end of the show. But, technically, the two are only together for 34 episodes. It definitely doesn't sound like a lot when we think about the fact that the show aired for 121 total episodes.
Dan and Serena are pretty cute together, especially when they start dating in the first season. It must be because she's this sophisticated, fashionable rich girl and he's this cool aspiring writer from Brooklyn. Opposites totally attract, especially on teen dramas. Fans would probably say that they love this couple, although of course everyone tends to go crazy for Chuck and Blair. Although they end up together, they do date a lot of different people throughout the course of the show.
6 Ted And Robin On 'How I Met Your Mother': 23 of 208 episodes
When this hilarious and sweet sitcom starts, Ted has a big thing for Robin. It seems like they will not only be together but date for the whole series... until it becomes clear that she just wants to be friends. Ugh. The worst.
Ted makes a play for her at the end of the first season but they only officially date until the end of the second season. It becomes obvious in the series finale that Ted and Robin are reuniting and will end up together, and that's probably a massive relief for fans who were waiting for them to finally realize how much they love each other all along. But it's kind of crazy to think that they were only dating for so few episodes compared to show's more than 200.
5 Hanna And Caleb On 'Pretty Little Liars': 55 (roughly) of 161 episodes
Haleb is a beloved Pretty Little Liars couple, but even though we might think of them as being a thing for the entire show, that's not the case. They broke up a lot and got back together a lot, so it was definitely a rough ride there for a while.
It's hard to calculate beyond their 55 episodes that they were together at first because of all the time jumps and flashbacks on this show. They break up sometime before the eleventh episode of the sixth season, and then halfway through the seventh season, they reunite and get engaged. The show ends with them married and planning to start a family, and it sucks not to be able to watch that adorable kid grow up. If only shows didn't have to end.
4 Toby And Spencer On 'Pretty Little Liars': 33 (roughly) of 161 episodes
It's tough to calculate exactly how long Spoby has been together because, beyond the 33 episodes that they were an official couple, their latter break-up happened during an unknown time. After the 10th episode of season 6 called "Game Over Charles", the show went through a time jump, and when we saw the liars again Toby and Spencer weren't together anymore. It wasn't clear to fans when exactly the break-up happened (and it didn't technically happen in an episode, so it would be impossible to calculate).
In the series finale, it was obvious that Toby and Spencer would always be together, which was the best news ever. Sure, it was a big surprise when Spencer dated Caleb and it was actually kind of lovely and amazing, but of course fans ship Spencer and Toby like no other couple. Well, besides Aria and Ezra and Caleb and Hanna. Okay, so every couple on this show is the greatest.
3 Phoebe And Mike On 'Friends': 19 of 236 episodes
Phoebe ends up living happily ever after with her husband Mike, so it might be a surprise that they only were together for 19 episodes. That was his entire run on the show, actually.
At first, although Phoebe and Mike really love each other, it seems like things won't work out because he doesn't want to go through with another wedding. Then he realizes his mistake and marries Phoebe anyway, which was, of course, the smart thing to do. Come on. You can't get much better than Phoebe. She's kind and hilarious and quirky and interesting, and life would definitely never be boring with someone like that. Fans loved Mike, especially since he was played by the very cute and beloved Paul Rudd. It's impossible not to adore Paul Rudd.
2 Stefan And Elena On 'The Vampire Diaries': 48 of 171 episodes
The Vampire Diaries may be over but the characters will live on for fans forever. The show is all about the love triangle between Elena and vampire brothers Stefan and Damon. She and Damon end up being the ones who are truly in love and meant to be together, which might be a surprise to anyone watching the first season since it totally seems like Stefan will be the one for her.
Stefan and Elena date in season one and he seems like a great match for her since he's the so-called nice, good brother (as opposed to the evil Damon). But they don't work out. Even so, it's easy to remember him as being with Elena for almost the entire show, when it was only 48 of 171 episodes.
1 Angela And Jordan On 'My So-Called Life': 2 of 19 episodes
This beloved 90's teen drama starring Claire Danes was a truly special TV gem. It featured lots of plaid shirts, teen angst galore, smart commentary on teen life, and of course, the romance between Angela and Jared Leto's broody hunk Jordan Catalano. Despite the fact that fans always remember their romance, it didn't last for the entire show.
Sure, it was a brief show since it unfortunately only lasted for 19 episodes, but even so, Jordan and Angela only technically dated for two episodes, "Self-Esteem" and "Pressure." The two of them hide in the stairwell at school and make out all the time, but when she's not ready to go all the way with him, it's clear that their romance is better left alone. Oh well. That crush was fun while it lasted.