Once you walk through the doors of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, as a patient or a doctor, odds are, you're going to end up in some sort of relationship on Grey's Anatomy. It's inevitable. (You're also likely to be very attractive, upping the chances of multiple relationships.)
The ABC medical drama has had numerous romances among its staff and patients over its 14 seasons (so far).
Usually, relationships involving a doctor and a patient are the ones that hurt the show. After all, they have close to zero chance of lasting, not to mention the fact that they shouldn’t happen in the first place.
Then there are the relationships that start with one of the characters being unfaithful. Those are rarely ones fans are going to root for to last.
This is also true of relationships where the main characters don't like one of their friends' chosen partners. In at least one case, no one liked someone because that person was detrimental to the way the hospital was run.
Some relationships weren't meant to last at all, but were instead necessary stepping stones to make one person ready for another one later on.
A couple relationships ended up saving the show because they meant characters got the only happy endings they could upon their exits.
In at least one case, all it took was one sad, very tragic conversation to make all the drama between a couple moot. They became a couple you wanted to see get the happily ever after they dreamed of because you knew they couldn’t.
Here are the 11 Couples That Hurt Grey's Anatomy (And 9 That Saved It).
20 Hurt: Izzie and George
Remember when George was married to Callie (and alive)? It was during that time that he and Izzie slept together.
Adultery pretty much guarantees a couple a spot on the hurt side of this list.
Even worse? Remember when they decided that they were in love and George was going to tell Callie, but Izzie stopped him?
Callie was her boss at the time, and she wanted George to wait to let everything work out.
She even said he could use their long hours and suggest that she was having an affair. When he asked how long he should wait, she said a month.
Then, they realized they were better as best friends … and that was it?
19 Hurt: Arizona and Lauren
Arizona cheated on Callie with Lauren after the women's growing attraction came to a head during a storm.
Though Arizona tried to put a stop to it, Lauren told her she was allowed to lose control. That was what Arizona did.
Then, in the following episode, Arizona told Callie. It came back to Callie making the decision for Arizona to lose her leg. "You didn't lose anything," she told Callie. "I did."
Arizona and Lauren wasn't about either of them, not really. It was a physical manifestation of how Arizona felt about Callie's decision after the plane crash.
That, combined with the infidelity, means they never stood a chance to be anything positive for Grey's Anatomy.
18 Saved: Jo and Alex
It took years, but Jo and Alex finally got married in the season 14 finale.
The truth about her abusive ex-husband could have easily made them a couple that hurt the show.
However, Grey's Anatomy — and Alex — handled that in the right way (including showing how their meeting could have gone down).
Alex became someone fans could see in a serious relationship with Izzie their last attempt at being together.
However, it was with Jo that alex became someone you could see being — and staying — married to someone for the long run.
Sure, he made mistakes along the way (like beating up Andrew), but he learned from them and was willing to take responsibility for what he did.
17 Hurt: Callie and Penny
Remember when Penny was responsible for Derek losing his life? The answer is probably yes, because no Grey's Anatomy fan will forget that anytime soon.
Then, Penny showed up as Callie's girlfriend — at a dinner at Meredith's house. To make things worse, she announced she was going to be working at the hospital. Did these two ever stand a chance?
That wasn't even factoring in Callie's relationship with Arizona. While the two were broken up, fans wanted them to get back together. (Arizona's exit suggested there was hope.)
It was because of Penny's decision to move to New York—and Callie's to go with her—there was the custody battle for Sofia.
That didn't even end up mattering, since Arizona then gave Callie plane tickets to New York and agreed to joint custody.
16 Saved: Ben and Bailey
Does anyone else have a soft spot for relationships that last across shows? Ben may have moved from medicine to fighting fires on Station 19, but it hasn't negatively affected his marriage.
It's just something else the couple has to deal with, and so far, they've handled it well.
Having Bailey with Ben has allowed the show to explore a softer side of the doctor, one people weren't used to seeing in earlier seasons.
Not only are the two of them good for and there for each other, it's always delightful to see them be a family with Tuck.
They don't always have to agree — on a professional or personal level — but both shows will be at their best with them ending up on the same page.
15 Hurt: Owen and Amelia
Maybe one of the worst parts about Owen and Amelia is that they have potential—now.
Her brain tumor could explain most of her strange behavior for years. Now that it's gone, maybe they could work things out — if they start anew.
The problem with that is fans remember everything that happened before.
Owen and Amelia each had plenty of baggage going into their relationship, and even once they were together, things weren't much better.
She almost pulled a Runaway Bride before their wedding, and he wanted kids, while she didn't.
Then there's the fact that Teddy's back in the picture (and pregnant). That sets up a potential love triangle. Those are always tricky and have the potential to ruin a show.
14 Saved: Mark and Lexie
Mark and Lexie may not have been the best couple at times, but they had potential. In fact, if they hadn't lost their lives in the plane crash, it's possible they could've been something great.
The on-again, off-again nature of their relationship — and Lexie's relationships during the off-again part — wasn't the best.
However, it was Lexie and Mark's goodbye as she was trapped under the plane that cemented them as a couple fans wanted to see get a happy ending.
He tried to lift the plane off of her himself, something he realistically could never have done.
They were "meant to be" together, they said, even thinking about a life together. It's just too bad they never got to have that.
13 Hurt: Alex and Rebecca (aka Ava)
Let's be honest. When one person doesn't remember anything about their life, a couple never really stands a chance. When one person is a patient and the other a doctor, that's true as well.
When Rebecca regained her memory, she lied at first because she'd been in an unhappy marriage. Then, after she left, she returned to Seattle to be with Alex.
That resulted in him being suspended for sneaking her into the gallery to watch a surgery.
They didn't meet under the best circumstances—at the scene of an accident—nor did they have any real sweet moments.
Instead, their relationship began like it started: with Alex taking care of her. Rebecca had thought she was pregnant (and didn't believe she wasn't) and tried to take her own life.
12 Saved: Callie and Arizona
Arizona and Callie's first kiss was certainly memorable in the best way—and that's a sign of a good couple. "There will be people lining up for you," Arizona told her and cheered her up before kissing her.
They had their fair share of drama, but they got past it.
Callie slept with Mark, which led to her being pregnant, but the three of them raised Sofia together.
Arizona cheated on Callie with Lauren, because she hadn't forgiven her for taking her leg after the plane crash.
Even after that — and a custody battle for Sofia — there always seemed to be hope for the two of them. That was something Grey's Anatomy did well, so it was satisfying that Arizona's exit included texts with Callie and moving to New York, where her ex was.
11 Hurt: Meredith and Nathan
Meredith and Nathan had one thing in common: they both lost people they loved. She lost Derek, and he lost Megan.
However, he got his lost love back.
All the hints dropped on Grey's Anatomy that Megan could return meant Meredith and Nathan never stood a chance.
There was no way that the series wasn't going to capitalize on her still being alive. She is, after all, also Owen's sister. There was too much story to tell there, as was seen once she appeared onscreen.
Some fans also just weren't — and still aren't — ready to see Meredith in another serious relationship. The fact that what connected her and Nathan was she lost Derek made that even worse.
10 Saved: April and Matthew
This might be a surprising entry, but once it was announced Sarah Drew wasn't coming back, April needed a happy ending. Grey's Anatomy gave her that the best way they could on a personal level by reuniting her and Matthew.
April and Matthew weren't the best couple when they were together the first time.
It can also be argued they rushed into things with their reunion, considering how soon it was after he lost the mother of his child.
Jackson wasn't an option, so, for April to have a happily ever after, Matthew seemed to be the only possibility.
There was something sweet about Arizona revealing to everyone they'd reunited.
"They knew each other's pain like they knew their own," she said. Something good came out of that pain.
9 Hurt: Mark and Julia
Did Julia ever stand a chance? If Mark and Lexie hadn't lost their lives as a result of the plane crash, they probably would've reunited.
There wasn't anything special about their relationship.
There wasn't anything particularly memorable either, except for their breakup — and that's never a good sign.
Julia was just there, as Mark's girlfriend, when they were together.
She did try to see him in the hospital in Boise. Considering that she told him she loved him in the hospital in Seattle, there were real feelings on her side.
However, he told her he loved Lexie, who had lost her life in the woods due to her injuries. Really, even if Lexie hadn't been a factor, there was never the sense he and Julia would've lasted.
8 Saved: Cristina and Burke
When they were together, Cristina and Burke had some pretty great moments (amidst the mess and the drama). C
ould they have lasted onscreen together if he hadn't left her at the altar? Probably not. They probably would have clashed (and crashed) and burned.
Still, when they were together, they were entertaining to watch.
Who could forget her taking his hand when he faced the possibility of never operating again? Who could forget her asking him to not die on her? These moments stand out, even years later.
Even the way he left her was actually a positive — for her. After that, fans watched Cristina become an amazing doctor, and it's possible that wouldn't have happened if she'd married him.
7 Hurt: Arizona and Minnick
No one liked Dr. Eliza Minnick … except for Arizona Robbins for a brief period of time.
Minnick was brought on as a consultant at the hospital and basically took over Richard Webber's job.
What made this relationship horrible was that Arizona and Richard were close. Not only that, but no one at the hospital liked Minnick — and for good reason.
It didn't feel like a lasting relationship because it never felt like Minnick would last at the hospital. Once she was gone from the hospital, you knew that she would be out of Arizona's life, too.
It says something that the best parts of this storyline were Minnick being fired and then ghosting Arizona.
6 Saved: Izzie and Alex
Izzie and Alex weren't perfect, by any means. They were together, then they weren't. However, they were good for each other, for the most part.
It's hard to imagine another couple that would've been accepted as taking over Meredith and Derek's wedding, after all. (No, that wasn't just because of her cancer diagnosis.)
While they didn't — and couldn't — get a happily ever after, they did have some happy moments, despite the drama.
They made it past ghost Denny, after all.
Most importantly, his relationship with Izzie showed Alex is a good person who could be in a serious relationship. That's what matters for his character going forward.
Without that relationship, Grey's Anatomy might not have the Alex it does going into season 15.
5 Hurt: Callie and George
Callie and George just never made sense—and they didn't bring out the best in each other. A problem was George's friends didn't like Callie, and at that point on Grey's Anatomy, she was the new person.
How Meredith, Cristina, Izzie, and Alex felt about her was what mattered. They didn't particularly care for her, so why would the audience?
Then there was Callie sleeping with Mark right after their breakup, and George cheating with Izzie.
The series allowed Callie to grow as a person and become someone fans liked away from George. Her other relationships weren't always the best choices (i.e. Penny), but none really as bad as George.
For her, the problem was it didn't allow here to be introduced in the best light.
4 Saved: Nathan and Megan
Once the series put Nathan with Meredith, you knew they wouldn't last—and not just because he wasn't Derek. There were too many hints that Megan could be alive.
Once Megan was revealed to be alive and Meredith and Nathan ended, there needed to be an exit plan for him.
He couldn't really hang around the hospital, not when the major relationships tying him to the place were wrapped up (Meredith and Owen).
The best thing for him was to have him get a happy ending with Megan and her son — and he did.
They may have had their own drama (including him cheating on her), but Grey's Anatomy did a pretty good job of showing they still cared about each other, even after their reunion.
3 Hurt: Izzie and Denny
Oh, Izzie and Denny. This was a couple that never stood a chance. He was a patient, she was a doctor.
Maybe if he'd come into the hospital for something as simple as stitches after a minor accident, they could've worked. That wasn't the case.
He needed a new heart, and even though he got one, he still lost his life after having a stroke.
That should've been the end of it. If it had been, Izzie and Denny still wouldn't have been a great couple. They still would've hurt the show, but not as badly.
He appeared as a "ghost," a sign that she had cancer. It's probably best that everyone just forgets the ghost arc, especially given what it included.
2 Hurt: Cristina and Owen
Owen and Cristina had their moments. However, it can be argued that they shouldn’t have started dating when they did.
He was dealing with his PTSD, which resulted in him hurting Cristina because of a nightmare. He wanted to end their relationship after that, but she fought him at first.
They disagreed about having kids—he wanted them, she didn't—and they avoided talking in the aftermath of her abortion.
They tried couples therapy, but that didn't work, and then he cheated on her.
Perhaps the best thing about their relationship is how they said goodbye when she left. They didn't have time for a big goodbye, just one last look.
They obviously cared about each other, but they weren't each other's great loves.
1 Saved: Meredith and Derek
They are (were) the Grey's Anatomy couple. Once Meredith and Derek got past all the drama — Addison and the "pick me, choose me, love me" of it — they were solid.
Because of that, the positives of their relationship and what it meant for the show far outweigh the negatives.
Because of all that drama, it was right they had a low-key wedding. First, it was just with a Post-it note and then, to make it legal, in a courthouse.
Their marriage wasn't perfect, but the drama was more acceptable, like choosing between jobs and each other.
After Derek's life was taken from him in a car accident and due to poor medical care, Meredith has struggled to move on.
Not only that, but fans still aren't ready to see her with anyone but Derek.
Can you think of any other couples that hurt or saved Grey's Anatomy? Let us know in the comments!