Ross And Rachel’s Relationship On ‘Friends’ Was Iconic—But Here’s Why It Was Toxic

There’s no denying that Ross and Rachel from “Friends” are pretty much the most iconic TV couple. They had some perfect moments, so most of us fans believe that they were meant to be together. But, we can’t ignore the fact that their relationship was actually pretty toxic.

On the show, Ross and Rachel’s relationship was filled with acts of jealousy and manipulation. Yet IRL, the two actors have a great relationship and would often be found cuddling on the couch while shooting early seasons. Read on to learn about situations on the show that made us realize everyone’s favorite on-again, off-again couple shouldn’t be anyone’s “relationship goals.”

Ross & Rachel

Ross and Rachel from friends pointing fingers at eachother
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television

From their iconic first kiss to the “I got off the plane” moment, thisFriends” couple had some amazing moments. Even though I like these two together, I have to admit that Monica and Chandler are (and forever will be) my favorite couple on the show.

But, many fans have voiced their opinions about Ross and Rachel actually being pretty toxic at times. Let’s go through some of the reasons why.

They Went Behind Each Other’s Back

Ross and Rachel in the second season sitting on the couch together
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television

Ross and Rachel were both very jealous characters, and this caused a major lack of trust in their relationship. Viewers pointed out that whenever the two would argue about something, they went behind each other’s back instead of confronting the issue.

For example, back in season two when Ross made a pros and cons list of being with Rachel or Julie. Ross could have just communicated to Rachel the doubts he was having about being in a relationship with her.

Ross Could Never Properly Communicate His Feelings

Ross and Rachel at a christmas party
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television

From the very beginning of their relationship, Ross had trouble telling Rachel how he felt. Rachel always found out about Ross’s feelings from someone or something else.

In the finale of season one, Chandler was the one to tell her that Ross loved her, rather than Ross himself. Of course, this could all have been because Rachel wasn’t exactly the nicest person to Ross in high school, and he was scared to be hurt. Yet arguably, things could have gone a lot easier if he had just told Rachel what he was thinking more often.

Rachel Meddled In Ross’s Relationship With Julie

rachel and julia sitting across from one another with ross
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television

Rachel sabotaged and ruined Ross’s very happy relationship with Julie because she was nearly insane with jealousy and possessiveness. For example, Rachel told Phoebe to give Julie a terrible haircut and attempted to stall Ross and Julie from consummating their relationship.

Rachel meddled in the relationship a lot, and often talked badly about Julie even though she was innocent in the situation. Ross and Julie eventually broke up when Rachel admitted her feelings to Ross over his answering machine.

Ross Interfered In Rachel’s Career

Ross and Rachel from Friends staring at one another
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television

In season three, Ross insisted on attending a seminar with her so she wouldn’t go with Mark. While there, he talked to her the whole time and even fell asleep. Even when they weren’t a couple in season 10, Ross still meddled in Rachel’s career.

Wanting Rachel to turn down the Paris job, Ross went behind her back to her old boss and offered him various incentives to get Rachel’s old job back. He was trying to control her professional and personal life by doing this. Ross literally took it upon himself to decide the course of her career just because he might miss her.

The “We Were On A Break!” Situation

Ross and Rachel from Friends arguing
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television

Back in season three, Ross and Rachel certainly needed some time apart. Ross brought up his concerns about Mark during a fight and acted super jealous. This was a breaking point for Rachel, and she told him she needed a “break from us.” She even told Monica, “We sort of broke up.”

After the fight, Rachel sought comfort in Mark’s arms and told him she wanted a break from Ross. She later showed up unannounced at Ross’s house and flipped out when she discovered he had sex with someone else. She was furious even though she was the one who had wanted a break from the relationship. Rachel held the situation over Ross’s head throughout the course of the entire show.

They Never Allowed The Other Person To Move On

ross holding his son with his girlfriend
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television

Ross and Rachel were always in an on-again, off-again relationship. Even the night they conceived their daughter, both couldn’t agree on who had made the move on who. Some fans also pointed out that the show made it seem like Rachel only wanted Ross when he had a relationship with another woman but not when he was alone.

Or when Ross got upset when Rachel went out with a guy named Cash, but an episode or two later, he was dating Mona. It was clear that even when they didn’t want to be together, they also didn’t exactly want the other person to be in a relationship.

Ross Lied About Getting An Annulment

Ross and Rachel arguing about something
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television

After the two got married while drunk in season five, they decided to annul the marriage in season six. Yet, Ross hated the fact that he would have had three failed marriages, so he secretly stayed married to Rachel against her wishes.

When Rachel asked if he had gotten the marriage annulled, he lied to her! This led Rachel to find out and be extremely (and justifiably) angry. They later went in front of a judge to officially get their marriage annulled, but it was rejected so they were forced to get a divorce anyway.

The Letter Situation

Ross and Rachel promo shot hugging
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television

Manipulation is always present in a toxic relationship, and that includes Rachel and Ross. When Rachel decided to give Ross another chance as long as he read a letter she wrote for him, Ross fell asleep while reading it, but lied to Rachel and said he agreed with it.

Once he realized that he didn’t actually agree with the letter, he blamed Rachel for writing 18 pages “front and back.” So, instead of taking the time to read it, he blamed her for writing it in the first place. Huh?

They Had Healthy Moments

Ross and Rachel holding hands and staring at eachother
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television

Ross and Rachel’s relationship was definitely rocky at times, but most fans wanted them together because it felt right. Ross had loved Rachel since high school, and it was clear in even the first episode ofFriends” that his feelings hadn’t ever gone away.

After all, when ending the show, the producers knew that they had to have Rachel and Ross together because people had been waiting years and years for a happy ending.

Their Decision To Co-Parent

pregnant rachel sitting on the couch with ross
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television

Even though Emma was not expected, and the two were not fully together when she was conceived, Rachel getting pregnant is considered one of the best plot twists on the show.

Ross and Rachel decided to be on good terms to raise their daughter. Ross was supportive during the pregnancy, and Rachel knew she could rely on him. They even decided to share an apartment to make things easier when the baby was born. The two disagreed on many things, but when it came to Emma, they always tried their best to come across as a united front.

Aniston and Schwimmer Were Crushing On Each Other

Actress Jennifer Aniston and actor David Schwimmer attend the
Photo Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images

If you’re not living under a rock, you have heard about the “Friends” reunion, which aired on HBO.

“I had a major crush on Jen. At some point we were both crushing hard on each other,” Schwimmer revealed. “But it was like two ships passing,” he continued. “One of us was always in a relationship and we never crossed that boundary. We respected that.” Aniston confirmed this, and it’s clear now why their on-screen chemistry felt so real and romantic.

Their Iconic First Kiss (In More Ways Than One)

Season 2 friends rachel and ross first kiss
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television

In season two, episode seven, Rachel and Ross kiss for the first time. It’s one of my favorite TV moments, and I still get chills watching it today. The romantic tension had been building for more than a year, and fans were ready to see some action between the two.

Schwimmer explained during the reunion that the on-screen kiss was the first time that the pair had ever smooched. It felt so real because the two had budding feelings for one another.

Other Fan Theories

ross hugging his son
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television
Photo Credit: MovieStillsDB.com / Warner Bros. Television

In addition to Rachel and Ross being in a toxic relationship, there are also tons of other (potentially less realistic) fan theories out there.

Some believe that Ross lost custody of Ben because he was a terrible father. Another theory claims that Richard knew that Chandler was planning to propose to Monica, which is why he rushed to tell her that he wanted to commit to her.

Rachel Dreamed The Whole Thing

Friends season 4
Photo Credit: @tedthefox / Twitter
Photo Credit: @tedthefox / Twitter

No, please, no. I can’t handle another repeat of “Lost.” In the summer of 2017, a photo of the “Friends” season four DVD box ignited a crazy fan theory. Ross, Phoebe, Monica, Chandler, and Joey all have their eyes shut, but Rachel is wide awake and looking directly at the camera.

One Twitter fan claims that Rachel fell into an anxiety-fueled dream the night before her wedding to Barry. They claimed that perhaps she imagined her own group of hip New York friends to cope with her frustration and dread. And maybe she woke up the next morning, as shown on the DVD cover, where she’s surrounded by her dream friends.