If there's one thing anyone who's seen even a single episode of Grey's Anatomy knows, it's that the series delves into the various nuances of dating, relationships, and marriage from time-to-time with a little bit of medicine thrown in for good measure. The series may be about surgery, but that's really only the setting when you get right down to it. Like all of Shonda Rhimes' shows, relationships are pretty much everything that's going on and Grey's Anatomy is filled to the brim with them. Now, not every relationship in the show has been a great one. Every now and again, a couple of people get together and both the audience, as well as several of the characters in the show, are left scratching their heads wondering just what they were thinking.
Now, plenty of people could argue that many of these relationships were necessary and formative for the characters' development, but not every good or bad relationship needed to proceed on the series. We aren't putting some of the more chaotic or traumatic relationships on here as they were necessary for those characters to grow, but even without putting Cristina Yang and Dr. Burke on here, there are plenty of other relationships on the series that just needed to be written off. This list takes a look at some of those relationships that either surprised everyone when they happened or were so questionable, even the characters involved wondered what they were doing. Some may have been sweet and loving, while others were chaotic and dangerous. With that in mind, here are 20 Couples Grey’s Anatomy Wants Everyone To Forget.
*Minor SPOILER Warning if you aren't up to date!
20 JO WILSON & JASON MYERS
Fans who are caught up on the series are well aware that Dr. Jo Wilson is happily married to Dr. Alex Karev, but their relationship wasn't always as picture-perfect as it appears these days. Back when she was trying to make Alex a bit jealous, she got together with Jason Myers, an Ob-Gyn doctor who shared a common trait with her ex-husband.
Things got rough and he became as offensive as her ex, which led to her fighting back. Their brawl was particularly difficult to watch, and things got pretty bad before the end. Fortunately, Jo was able to defend herself, but Myers took a hit to put it lightly. He ended up in a coma, she and Alex continued their relationship, and Dr. Myers was never seen or heard from again.
19 ARIZONA ROBBINS & ELIZA MINNICK
Dr. Arizona Robbins has had a lot of interesting relationships on the series since she first skated onto the scene, but there was one that her friends were a bit wary of. Dr. Eliza Minnick came to Grey Sloan Memorial to help revamp their surgical residency program, which didn't make her a fan of anyone in the hospital. Many saw her as problematic, thanks to the changes she implemented and only a few would speak to her.
Then, there was Arizona, who reluctantly fell for her. This didn't go over too well with her friends, seeing as pretty much everyone in Arizona's life was being negatively affected by Minnick's work. Almost immediately after their relationship progressed, Minnick was fired. Instead of handling it well, she “ghosted” Arizona and blew out of her life as quickly as she had appeared.
18 MEREDITH GREY & WILLIAM THORPE
Dr. Meredith Grey has had a lot of relationships on the show, but not all of them worked out as well as the one she had with Derek. Actually, it was Derek's passing that put the kibosh on Meredith and Dr. William Thorpe's relationship. While visiting the hospital to work with a patient, he flirted with Meredith... several times, but she didn't pick up on his flirtations as she was a bit out of practice.
After a while, she gave him her number and they made plans. She backed out, but eventually, they dated a few times. The third date resulted in him staying over, but that may not have been a good idea. In the morning, Meredith freaked out and yelled at him. She opened up about Derek's passing and determined she wasn't ready to pursue a romantic relationship yet.
17 DEREK SHEPHERD & ROSE
While they may have been involved in the pilot episode, it took a lot of “will they or won't they” for Derek and Meredith to finally get together. In the beginning, there were periods where they dated other people. Case in point, Rose, a nurse who worked at the hospital, caught Derek's eye and the two kissed, which put a brake on his and Meredith's relationship for a while.
Soon after, Meredith began therapy and Derek seemed to be perfectly matched with Rose, but in truth, he wasn't. He delayed getting close with her and when he finally did, he was thinking about Meredith the whole time. Eventually, Meredith made a big showing at his land with a home outlined in candles. She proclaimed they should be “extraordinary together rather than ordinary apart” and Derek broke up with Rose.
16 CALLIE TORRES & PENNY BLAKE
When Derek was in a car accident, he was taken to the emergency room where he was placed under the care of Dr. Penny Blake. Sadly, during her watch, he succumbed and was ultimately taken off life support. Penny showed up at the hospital to work there as a surgical resident sometime later, which immediately became difficult for Meredith. Seeing her was a constant reminder of Derek's passing, which didn't make things any easier when she began to date Dr. Callie Torres.
At first, neither was aware of the connection to Meredith, but a dinner party changed all of that. Meredith's unease caused a strain and they broke up, but later got back together. Eventually, Callie moved to New York to be with her after Penny won the Preminger Grant, but once again, Arizona later revealed that they had broken up.
15 OWEN HUNT & EMMA MARLING
Dr. Owen Hunt's time at the hospital has been spent stitching up patients and delving into some of the more chaotic relationships in the series. His first and most important was Dr. Cristina Yang, whom he married and divorced. When Cristina was in the “ex” category, he met Dr. Emma Marling and the two flirted, but took a while to get together because she (correctly) saw that he was still hung up on Dr. Yang.
Eventually, the two did get together and they remained a couple for several months. It was getting pretty serious and they were all set to move in with one another until the inevitable happened. Owen got close with Cristina right before they could finalize their moving-in plans, which led to their breakup.
14 MARK SLOAN & JULIA CANNER
Dr. Mark Sloan dated a lot of women during his time on the series and famously got close to Addison, Derek's ex-wife, before working at the hospital. His most important relationships were with Lexie and Callie, but he dated others as well. A while after dating Lexie, Mark began seeing Dr. Julia Canner, and the two got pretty serious with one another. They discussed having a child, but before anything could progress, he was in the plane crash that took Lexie's life.
Initially, Julia flew out to Boise, Idaho to see him, but wasn't allowed since she wasn't family. Once Julia got to see him and professed her feelings, he said that he loved Lexie and the two broke up.
13 IZZIE STEVENS & GEORGE O’MALLEY
Dr. Izzie Stevens dated a lot of eligible bachelors during her time at the hospital, but there was one relationship many people may have forgotten about, but that doesn't mean some other people let it go. When George was married to Callie, he and Izzie were involved and things progressed about as well as you might expect from there.
The two longtime friends realized they had real romantic feelings for one another and decided to make something of it, but Izzie stopped George from telling Callie. She didn't want to make her boss (Callie) angry about her actions and stalled him. Eventually, they decided they were better as BFFs and let the whole thing sort of pass.
12 GEORGE O’MALLEY & OLIVIA HARPER
When we first saw Nurse Olivia Harper, she went off with Alex at a mixer for the interns. The two hit it off and began seeing one another casually. At this point in the series, Alex was a bit of a dog, which is something that George would learn the hard way.
George ended up asking Olivia out while she was still involved with Alex, but she decided to break things off with Dr. Karev and see what might transpire with O'Malley. Their relationship hit a bit of a snag and became awkward from that point forward. In the end, he was hung up on Meredith at the time and couldn't focus on anyone else.
11 MARK SLOAN & TEDDY ALTMAN
Often, people who get into a relationship do so for different reasons. In the case of Mark and Dr. Teddy Altman, neither wanted the same thing and it ultimately doomed the relationship. Teddy wasn't looking for something serious, but Mark was more interested in a meaningful, long-term relationship. He was pushed by Callie to go out with her for this purpose, but Teddy wasn't interested in that.
Eventually, they did become involved and Teddy ended up getting what she wanted, but Mark saw the writing on the wall and knew there wasn't a long-term situation happening. It wasn't a regretful relationship for the series, but more of a hiccup for these characters that most people simply forgot about and moved on from.
10 TEDDY ALTMAN & ANDREW PERKINS
Teddy's relationships have never been easy, which is something she realized when she found herself interested in Dr. Andrew Perkins. He had come to the hospital to provide counseling for survivors, but never treated Teddy as a patient. She eventually started a relationship with him, but spent most of her time talking about her problems... much like she would with a therapist.
When it came time for him to leave, she detached from him when she realized she fell for unavailable men. Eventually, they got back together and planned to move to Germany together, but when push came to shove, Teddy decided to stay behind so she could be close to Henry Burton, whom she married so she could get him on her insurance.
9 CALLIE TORRES & GEORGE O’MALLEY
This is one of the few relationships on this list that might surprise you, but the marriage and ongoing relationship between Callie and George was probably one the show should have stayed away from.
Granted, that's entirely hindsight, but when you think about it, George was the last normal, somewhat healthy, relationship Callie was in and it did not go well for her. While they were together, George got involved with someone else and they fought constantly. It was a constant struggle when these two were together and they never had a good chemistry with one another. Most of their time together was spent with Callie telling George she loved him but got no response, leaving her emotionally drained. It was hard on her, and frankly, entirely unfair.
8 MAGGIE PIERCE & CLIVE JOHNSON
On the surface, this was a lovely coupling between Dr. Maggie Pierce and Clive Johnson, a stockbroker whom she matched with via Tinder. When they were first set to go out, Maggie actually forgot all about it and he showed up expecting her to be ready. She wasn't, but they went out anyway and they began to see one another. During this period, Maggie was basically completely distracted from anything and everything related to Clive, but they got along nicely.
She even went so far as to bring him to a game night hosted by Meredith and Amelia specifically to meet Clive. They showed up, and the games began, but not the games they had planned. Clive's wife showed up and things went south pretty fast. Jackson had to intervene and tell Clive to leave and never contact Maggie again.
7 CALLIE TORRES & ERICA HAHN
Erica Hahn was the Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the hospital and a pretty important person on the series for a few seasons, before she disappeared. During her time on the show, she became incredibly close friends with Callie and the two were often drinking at Joe's. They worked closely together and eventually formed a romantic relationship with one another.
Things were going well between the two until Izzy decided to steal a heart to give to Denny, which is something the chief heart surgeon at a hospital might take umbrage with. She fought over this issue with Callie to the extreme and that was the last we saw of her. She quit her job and has been off the show ever since.
6 ALEX KAREV & REBECCA POPE
Alex's earliest relationships on the series were often sparked with controversy. When he wasn't becoming involved with his nurses, he was getting involved with a patient. When she first came into the hospital, Rebecca Pope had none of her memories and went by “Ava.” She got close to Alex who bonded with her over her treatment. Although she regained her memories, and remembered her husband, she ended up getting involved with Alex. As a result, it became a difficult experience for her moving forward.
She ended up injuring herself and while Alex still loved her, he was forced to have her transferred to a psychiatric facility for treatment. Their relationship was rife with controversy and pain, but clearly had a lasting impact on Alex.
5 LEXIE GREY & ALEX KAREV
After Izzie left Seattle, Alex found himself in bed with Dr. Lexie Grey. Soon after, Izzie came back to town and wanted to make things work, but Alex was done with her and they divorced. Soon after, Alex was in an accident and nearly succumbed to his injury. The woman who sat by his side and helped nurse him back to health was Lexie, but Alex mistook her for Izzie in his haze and apologized asking her to never leave him again.
This clearly hurt Lexie, but she didn't tell him about it. Eventually, Lexie told him about the Izzie mix-up and the two were done as a couple.
4 STEPHANIE EDWARDS & JACKSON AVERY
When Dr. Stephanie Edwards came to work at the hospital, she quickly fell into the trap many interns do on the show: she fell for her boss. In her case, that was Dr. Jackson Avery after the two were set to go to Bailey's wedding.
They talked about how it wouldn't be a good idea to become romantically involved and then immediately did the opposite. From there, their relationship progressed, but Jackson saw it as meaningless while Stephanie was falling for him. Stephanie even formed a relationship with Catherine, Jackson's mother, after the two started out poorly and things were looking up... then came April's wedding. Jackson went to the wedding with Stephanie and then left with April after he interrupted to confess his love for her.
3 MEREDITH GREY, MAGGIE PIERCE, & NATHAN RIGGS
Things rarely work out well when two sisters have the attention of a single man. That's what happened when Maggie was completely taken with Dr. Nathan Riggs, but he wasn't as interested in her as she was with him. Point of fact, he was all about Meredith, but because nobody was talking about their feelings in an open and honest way, Maggie was eventually hurt by his rejection.
Unfortunately for Maggie, Nathan didn't even notice that Maggie was crushing on him and was forewarned by Meredith over her feelings for him. When she asked him out, he declined on Meredith's suggestion. Eventually, he did get together with Meredith, but when Megan Hunt came back after being a P.O.W. for years, he left Meredith for her and hasn't been seen on the show since.
2 ARIZONA ROBBINS & LAUREN BOSWELL
Arizona has had a lot of relationships on the series, some of which we've covered, but none as detrimental for her as the one she had with Dr. Lauren Boswell. When the two met, Lauren was helping on a case and she immediately took a liking to Arizona. She first began talking with her in an elevator, but Arizona put a stop to it by informing her of her marriage to Callie.
Lauren was relentless with her intentions and when the two were stuck in the on-call room thanks to a power outage, they became closer. Callie later found them with their scrub tops switched and she pieced together what happened. This event played a big part in splitting up Callie and Arizona's marriage, which is why it is probably Arizona's worst relationship.
1 MEREDITH GREY & GEORGE O'MALLEY
For almost the whole time George was on the show, he was infatuated with Meredith who was only interested in being his friend. The whole time he was infatuated with her, she was all about Derek, but there was one night the two of them were involved and the audience knew it was a huge mistake, even if it took Meredith a minute to figure it out.
Unfortunately, she figured it out right in the middle of their time together and she burst into tears. This was somewhat humiliating to George, who quickly withdrew from her. Eventually, he was able to accept her apology over her reaction and the two were able to become friends again, but the whole event was so weird, it had to top our list.
Know any other couples from Grey's Anatomy that should've made the list? Sound off in the comments below!