7 Movie and TV Boyfriends That Were The Absolute Worst (And Narcissistic)

These television and movie boyfriends didn’t just fall short of the ideal, they bordered on toxic and narcissistic.

Ross Geller from Friends

Ross and Rachel may have had a memorably romantic friends-to-lovers story on Friends, but Ross “We were on a break!” Geller isn’t exactly the ideal boyfriend for many reasons. When Rachel gets her dream job in the fashion industry, he’s miffed she can’t spend more time on him (and interestingly, when she gets the opportunity to go to Paris, he tries to stop her so she can be with him). He says Rachel’s name when he’s at the altar marrying Emily. He can be possessive and controlling and misuses his intelligence to be condescending to others. He even makes a list declaring Rachel is “just” a waitress and dates one of his younger students. Yikes!

Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother

While we loved the show How I Met Your Mother, its main protagonist has some toxic behaviors that were hard to stomach and he may as well be Ross Geller’s long-lost brother. He cheats on his girlfriend Victoria, dumped another one of his girlfriends Natalie on her birthday (twice), and is always loudly proclaiming what a “nice guy” he is. He’s always idealizing every woman he goes after with the gusto and obsessed persistence of Joe Goldberg and despite being infatuated with Robin, leads women on in thinking they have his full interest. He’s the typical boyfriend with the shady “girl best friend” who we’d advise against pursuing. Spoiler alert: even after he meets “the one,” he still wants to pursue Robin when he’s widowed. What the heck?

Hardin Scott from The After We Fell Series

Tessa Young’s boyfriend from the After We Fell movie series must be one of the most toxic and narcissistic boyfriends we’ve ever seen on screen. The premise of their relationship starts out as a lie since he is dared to make Tessa fall in love with him despite knowing she has a boyfriend. Then, when he really does fall in love with her, he becomes a possessive, emotionally abusive, and controlling partner, constantly expecting Tessa to be with him at all times, subjecting her to angry outbursts, and trying to micromanage her every move.

Danny Zuko from Grease

“Bad boy” Danny isn’t interested in true love – he cares about his reputation as a playboy. He is sexually aggressive with Sandy, deceives her about another woman he’s pursuing and tries to force himself upon her with his advances in his car. Sorry, but his musical numbers don’t make up for being one of the most toxic movie boyfriends.

Noah Flynn from The Kissing Booth

Okay, who wants to make fun of The Kissing Booth with us? The whole series is problematic AF, but Noah Flynn takes the cake when he has a suspiciously close “friendship” at college but remains possessive and controlling of Elle and even victim-shames Elle when she is forced to dress in a short skirt and gets unwanted male attention and someone gropes her. He threatens all the boys in school from asking her out, has anger issues, and attempts to control Elle’s college plans so she remains close to him. Talk about a walking red flag.

Nate from The Devil Wears Prada

While Nate does serve as the voice that stops Andy from betraying who she is while pursuing her career, he appears envious of her ambitions and often shames her when she’s working late hours at her job trying to survive in a cutthroat fashion industry, or attending a special event that is meaningful and important. For sure, Andy was working for a narcissistic boss, but Nate’s concern seems less centered around the fact that she’s suffering (he actually seemed to add to her problems, not provide empathy or solutions) and more centered around the fact that he’s not getting enough attention in the relationship. Fair enough, but we’d rather see a partner who comforts and validates you when you’re stressed out and cheers you on when you’re winning.

Nate Jacobs from Euphoria

Nate Jacobs from TV show Euphoria (also played by Jacob Elordi) is a popular star quarterback and one of the most toxic and abusive boyfriends depicted in television history. He violently abuses his girlfriend Maddy multiple times, but love bombs her by giving her flowers every day and claiming he loves her, while being violently possessive and overprotective. He’s manipulative and callous, blackmailing people like Jules to keep quiet about his family’s secrets, and framing others for his crimes to avoid jail. He also cheats on Maddy with her best friend, Cassie Howard.

About the author

Shahida Arabi

Shahida is a graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University. She is a published researcher and author of Power: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse and Breaking Trauma Bonds with Narcissists and Psychopaths. Her books have been translated into 16+ languages all over the world. Her work has been featured on Salon, HuffPost, Inc., Bustle, Psychology Today, Healthline, VICE, NYDaily News and more. For more inspiration and insight on manipulation and red flags, follow her on Instagram here.