With decades of comic book history, numerous animated series and over ten feature films, the X-Men have had no shortage of relationships between teammates. Sometimes heroes have even found themselves driven into the arms of their enemies as well.
Superhero comics have always been stories of mythic soap operas, and the X-Men have represented that better than most.
There have been dozens of complicated relationships that have defined both the team and the series as a whole throughout its run.
Some of those pairings have been phenomenal. They have gone on to be ingrained in pop culture to the point that they’re some of the first couples people even think of when they think of the X-Men.
Others have been met with ridicule by fans, becoming widely known as mistakes over time. Both groups of couples are worth examining.
It takes a lot to get a comic book relationship right. Some of them feel as if they were destined to be, while others were disastrous from the get-go.
With that said, here are the 10 Couples That Hurt The X-Men (And 10 That Saved Them).
20 Hurt: Rogue & Magneto
Nobody wanted to see Rogue and Magneto finally get together. On principle, it was strange to see Magneto fall for a member of the X-Men.
Even though he had turned over a new leaf at the time and had done so many times before that as well, they were still enemies more often than they were friends.
With Rogue, the age difference was also something that fans took into account as she is much younger than he is.
More than anything, fans simply didn’t seem to be sold on exactly what the two saw in each other or why they suddenly fell for one another.
Eventually, Marvel recognized this and the two were no longer together, but the decision to pair them up remains one of the most baffling ones in recent X-Men history.
19 Saved: Dazzler & Longshot
Dazzler has never had an easy go of it in her comic book career. Introduced during the events of the classic Dark Phoenix storyline, Dazzler declined to join the X-Men at first because at they time they were too dramatic even for her.
When she joined, she attempted to use her celebrity to give the X-Men some positive publicity, but it just wound up destroying her career.
In Longshot, she found a kindred spirit, someone with a flair for putting on a good show.
Neither of these characters were among the most popular X-Men on their own, but pairing them together reminded fans not only of what a great team they made but why they were so great individually as well.
18 Hurt: Psylocke & Fantomex
The Psylocke/Fantomex relationship was a black mark on what was an otherwise terrific Uncanny X-Force run.
While the comic was substantially darker than the main X-books at the time, this relationship pushed that a bit too far.
This was a pairing based on manipulation and misdirection, extremely unhealthy for both parties involved. Even some of the most strained elements of it, such as the constant fighting between the two of them, seemed to be romanticized.
Psylocke had a brief fling with both Fantomex and the female incarnation of his consciousness, EVA. But the relationship was too strained to sustain itself.
It dissolved quickly and eventually Fantomex was driven insane leading—as these relationships always do—to a fight between them.
17 Saved: Nightcrawler & Scarlet Witch
Wolverine and the X-Men was a surprisingly good cartoon that easily won over the fans. While it kept the core of the characters intact, it told a new story, with the X-Men reuniting after having been disbanded.
One of the more interesting elements was the exploration of the relationship between Scarlet Witch and Magneto, depicting Wanda almost as a princess on the secluded mutant sanctuary of Genosha.
During the series, Nightcrawler makes his way there and the attraction between them is immediately noticeable.
In that series, their relationship is a star-crossed romance, as Scarlet Witch believes in her father’s mission and Nightcrawler represents the views of the X-Men.
The show makes a great balance of establishing the connection between them even if they can’t ultimately be together.
16 Hurt: Bishop & Psylocke
While Ultimate X-Men proved to be a terrific and critically acclaimed book at the start, it took many extreme directions after writer Mark Millar ended his tenure on the series.
At one point, though Psylocke perished early in his run, she is revealed to have transferred her consciousness into the young Kwannon, just as her main universe counterpart.
Given that this is the body of a teenager, Psylocke is physically the youngest member of the team. It then becomes extremely uncomfortable when Bishop—an old man in this series—reveals Psylocke to be his future wife.
He even admits to his attraction to her, making for one of the most disturbing storylines of that comic, which is saying something in a series that had made Professor X’s attraction to Jean explicit as well.
15 Saved: Polaris & Havok
Fans of the movies and TV shows would no doubt be surprised to learn that Polaris and Havok were at one point one of the main couples of the X-Men books.
They first fell for each other as X-Men early on in the original run of the series, then left the team together and eventually went to X-Factor together as well.
Even though they didn’t ultimately work out and went their separate ways, the two of them spent years together as a couple.
Ultimate X-Men even tried to add a love triangle to the mix, revealing that both Summers brothers, Havok and Cyclops, had dated Polaris in the past.
X-Men: The Animated Series did something similar by revealing that Polaris left Iceman for Havok.
14 Hurt: Kitty Pryde & Iceman
While Kitty Pryde and Iceman are two of the best, most endearing X-Men characters ever, the pairing between them never worked out.
Even though there was an age difference of a few years between them, the pairing made sense at first as they were both the youngest X-Men when they initially joined the team.
However, they continually got on each others’ nerves, often bickering with one another, as Kitty would complain about Iceman’s lack of maturity and self-awareness.
Later on, the two looked back on their relationship after Iceman had made some realizations about himself, leading them to see that he had simply been trying to feel something he didn’t feel and trying to want something he didn’t actually want.
They are much better friends now than they ever were as romantic partners.
13 Saved: Colossus & Northstar
While there were many bizarre pairings tossed into the second half of Ultimate X-Men, this relationship was the shining light of that downhill turn for the book.
Throughout Mark Millar’s early issues, he dropped many hints as to the orientation of his version of Colossus. Later writers simply allowed the character to come out and embrace who he was.
After admitting and embracing that, Colossus even entered a relationship with the openly gay X-Man Northstar.
This pairing brought great representation to the Ultimate X-Men title. It was one of the best things about the second half of that title, which despite some intriguing plot points was not as well received as its debut.
It was especially daring considering the fact that the main universe Colossus was straight.
12 Hurt: Beak & Angel Salvadore
One of the best things about Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run was that he introduced many of the less beautiful and less useful mutants to show the wide variety of those born with an X-Gene to prove that not everyone who is a mutant is born with an impressive superpower.
Beak, for example, looks like a bird crossed with a man, without the spanning wings of Angel. Angel Salvadore was another such mutant who strung along Beak, who most considered to be terribly ugly.
She berated him, constantly told him he was worthless and told him that he would never amount to anything and that his life would never be worth living because of the way he looked.
However, she still spent time with him and even kissed him, so Beak still took all of her insane amount of verbal abuse.
11 Saved: Storm & Wolverine
While never a focal point in the X-Men books, there are times when Storm and Wolverine have been paired romantically.
Of course, Wolverine has always been somewhat defined by his attraction to Jean Grey, but he’s had many other much healthier relationships than that.
His brief relationship with Storm was without a doubt one of the strongest of them. Storm understands Wolverine’s nature as well as his moral gray area in a way that many of the other X-Men do not. She is patient and soothing with him and the two have always been great friends.
In a future timeline in X-Men: The Animated Series, Storm and Wolverine were shown to be a very compassionate and faithful couple.
Although much of it was cut, X-Men: Days of Future Past also showed the future versions of the characters to be romantically involved.
10 Hurt: Iceman & Rogue
Iceman never had the best luck with relationships, which is why his recent comics post-coming out have been so exciting as they represent a brand-new chance at happiness for him.
Bobby Drake’s Ultimate Universe counterpart has never fared much better either, though. After a rough, brief teenage fling with Kitty Pryde, the young X-Man focused his romantic attention on Rogue.
Things never really worked out between them, especially as she fell for Gambit and then absorbed all of his memories.
The movies also put a lot of focus into an Iceman/Rogue relationship until Kitty Pryde rose to prominence in the third movie, shifting attention toward them as Rogue’s arc took a direction away from Iceman and the X-Men altogether.
9 Saved: Storm & Forge
For the most part, even if they haven’t ultimately worked out, Storm has had many successful relationships with fellow heroes and X-Men.
While her marriage to Black Panther was rocky, her relationship with Wolverine was based on mutual respect, even if it was very brief.
Forge was the first major romantic interest that Storm ever seemed to have in the comics and for many fans it will always be the great love for both characters. Though Forge asked Storm to marry him several times, her duties as an X-Man got in the way of that.
Ultimately, even if the fans enjoyed the two of them together, fate and the larger comic powers-that-be just wouldn’t let it happen.
Many times over the years, fans have speculated as to whether or not the two would get back together and it’s been hinted at several times that the feelings have never totally gone away.
8 Hurt: Kitty Pryde & Colossus
This is a very popular pairing. These are two great characters and their feelings for one another are genuine.
In the comics, the two of them almost got married, but when Kitty truly thought about it, she realized that it wasn’t meant to be and was ultimately right for making that decision.
As great as these characters are and as much as their love for one another feels genuine, there’s always been something off about their relationship.
Kitty was a young teenager when she first had feelings for Colossus, who was college age.
Even though they waited until she was older to act upon it, his feelings for her felt reciprocated and it was a very uncomfortable and rocky start to the relationship.
Even now that they’re much older, it’s hard to escape such a weird beginning.
7 Saved: Shatterstar & Rictor
Shatterstar was not portrayed as being gay when first introduced. His fluid orientation was something that got explored organically over time.
Because people had such a clear idea of who he was in their minds, it was shocking when he kissed Rictor for the first time in the comics— especially to his creator, Rob Liefeld, who was initially put off by the decision to explore the character’s orientation.
He later became much more open to the idea and even came back to write the character for a little bit. Shatterstar and Rictor’s relationship brought some fantastic representation to the main universe X-books of the time.
Even as time has gone on, Rictor and Shatterstar have been widely accepted as one of the best couples in the history of the X-Force books in all of its incarnations.
6 Hurt: Bishop & Deathbird
While the relationship of Professor X and Lilandra was a central part of the books for a long period of time, the relationship between Bishop and Lilandra’s sister Deathbird was much more strained.
Deathbird was a villainess who wanted the Shi’ar throne for herself, which made her relationship with an X-Man a very tough thing to balance.
The two of them agreed on almost nothing and therefore fought each other quite a bit, even when they were still together. It was clear from the beginning that they were not going to work out, but they tried anyway.
In the X-Men: The End comic series set in the future, Bishop and Deathbird even have a teenage daughter who grows up to become one of the future generation of X-Men.
5 Saved: Psylocke & Archangel
Even though it’s been extremely rocky at times, there’s always been something special about the relationship between Psylocke and Archangel. T
hey’ve been on-again-off-again more times than anyone can count, but there’s something about the way they understand and relate to each other that truly works.
Both of them have had to deal with people getting inside their heads and turning them into something they’re not, both of them have had to deal with adjusting to drastic transformations with their bodies, both of them come from wealth.
They have a lot more in common than one would think.
Their relationship was briefly explored in X-Men: The Animated Series where the attraction between them was made immediately clear. They even managed to display brief moments of romantic tension in their appearances in X-Men: Apocalypse.
4 Hurt: Cyclops & Emma Frost
Like Colossus and Kitty, these are both fantastic characters in their own right and they even have fantastic moments together. However, the relationship between them is often extremely rocky and overall, it’s not great.
The biggest factor here is that they started having an affair while Cyclops and Jean were still married, just before Jean perished.
After she Passed away, they continued to see each other, even making it clear that this was not just a fling but a clear and long-lasting relationship.
They stayed together for years, ending their partnership only recently. While they often showed definite love for one another, it’s hard to get over that beginning.
Once Cyclops became a mutant revolutionary, it caused a seemingly permanent rift between the two of them.
3 Saved: Cyclops & Jean Grey
For many fans, this is the definitive X-Men relationship, and there’s a very good reason for that. Especially during their early adventures, it was clear that these two would throw their lives on the line for one another.
They always had each other’s backs, even agreeing to essentially share each others’ minds during the Phoenix Saga. As many times as he’s quit the X-Men and as many times as she has perished, they have always managed to find their way back to one another.
The defining moment of their relationship might be the end of the Dark Phoenix Saga, in which the two of them are left to fight off all manner of alien armies to save Jean Grey from execution, only for Jean to realize that she can’t let him take his life for her like this, sacrificing herself to save her love and her friends.
2 Hurt: Wolverine & Jean Grey
In the movies and the cartoons, this is the easy relationship to root for. At first glance, Cyclops and Jean certainly look like two people who could have met and fallen in love at a coffee shop.
Wolverine’s a bad boy, he’s tough, he’s crass, and he doesn’t play by anyone’s rules and that’s attractive at first.
However, the reality is that he’s a guy who tried to force himself in on a healthy relationship, trying to wear down a woman who made it explicitly clear that she was in love with the other guy.
No matter what, no matter his intention, it’s a bad look.
It’s a nice fantasy and it works in the first two movies when it’s only hinted at, but any attempt to bring them together in the comics has been a mess because it just shouldn’t happen.
Wolverine’s had other, much healthier relationships and so has Jean.
1 Saved: Rogue & Gambit
While Jean and Cyclops might be the go-to couple in all of X-Men history, Rogue and Gambit might genuinely be the best.
They’ve had their ups and downs, but they work. They succeed together in a way that very few comic book couples ever do.
These two characters are fully-realized individuals, but they complete each other. Some of this is thanks to the great portrayal in X-Men: The Animated Series, which built that relationship over time.
Gambit is a self-titled ladies’ man who thinks he can successfully flirt with any girl he sets his eyes on, but he falls in love with a girl he can’t even have physical contact with.
Their relationship is built on so much more than the physical because of that. Recent events in the comics have proven just what a huge impact this pairing has had over time.
Can you think of any other couples that hurt or saved the X-Men? Let us know in the comments!