Love is such a beautiful thing. There are butterflies, happiness, chills and passion. All of those feelings are addicting and intoxicating when you add in an insane amount of chemistry.
Love can also be a hell fire. There can be pain, heartache, tears and angst. All of those feelings are toxic and inescapable when the chemistry between two people explodes for the worst.
Growing up, I witnessed these interactions between some of my favorite teen couples from the hit TV shows of the '90s and '00s. I even found myself either repeating some of their mistakes or identifying with the circumstances of their various trysts.
Here are some of the takeaways I learned from each couple's relationship:
1. Dylan McKay and Brenda Walsh From "Beverly Hills, 90210”
Without a doubt, they are my favorite teen couple in the history of television. You have Brenda, who has a flair for drama and is totally naïve to the reality of living in such a fast-paced and famous city. Then, mix that with Dylan, the misunderstood bad boy with a heart of gold, and you have enough baggage to fill up 10 airplanes.
They were a match made in heaven that was doomed from the start. However, I always wanted them to make it work, despite it all. They taught me being young doesn't equate to innocence. Brenda helped Dylan overcome his demons and face all of his problems.
Sure, their relationship was pretty intense and toxic at times — with pregnancy scares, screaming matches, and defying parents — but their passion was unmatched.
2. Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence From "Boy Meets World”
This couple is the sweetest, and they definitely should have copyright ownership over the term #RelationshipGoals. Cory and Topanga were the epitome of the perfect relationship, but that doesn't mean they didn't have flaws.
They were able to recognize their flaws, and they could always work through them. This couple definitely taught me what a healthy relationship should be. They were committed to one another, had a few breakups, made their way back together, worked through their problems maturely and overcame infidelity and dishonesty. They did all of that without any malice or ill will toward each other.
They were also a role model couple because they set themselves apart from the majority of other teen couples. They saved themselves for marriage, and I thought that was a beautiful thing for people my age to see. They knew each other at their best and at their worst. They could always laugh anything off because they were friends before anything else.
3. Lucas Scott and Brooke Davis From "One Tree Hill”
I was one of the few fans who really rooted for Lucas to end up with Brooke instead of Peyton. When this didn't happen, I was devastated. I always liked the idea of Lucas and Brooke together.
It was also refreshing to see a female character who didn't need saving for once. I enjoyed watching her dominant, persistent and unafraid self bring a quiet, passive and reserved Lucas out of his comfort zone. They were polar opposites, and I think that's what made them perfect for one another.
This couple taught me how important it is to be consistently honest and upfront throughout a relationship. One little white lie here and there usually made this couple implode before they could even comprehend how things ended.
They also taught me about how damaging keeping secrets can be to a relationship. Brooke pretended not to be bothered by his relationship with Peyton, and Lucas lied about his feelings for Peyton. It was all just a big circus show of hurt, betrayal and regret. If they had been honest and forthcoming about events as they unfolded, I think these two may have lasted.
4. Dawson Leery and Joey Potter From "Dawson's Creek”
If there was ever a couple God was determined to break up, it would definitely be Dawson and Joey. Talk about having bad luck, misfortune and bad timing every single time. They never could catch a break. Every time they wanted to work things out, something would always go wrong.
Here are just a few examples: Dawson became obsessed with Jen Lindley, Joey fell for Jack McPhee, Dawson had to turn in Joey's drug trafficking father, Joey has a secret fling with Pacey Witter and Dawson's father died. I mean, the list goes on and on.
If I learned anything from this doomed-from-the-start couple, it would have to be that sometimes, no matter how much you want a relationship to work out, it just won't. I also learned that the sooner you stop trying to make the impossible relationship work, the better off you'll be.
Every time Dawson and Joey tried to make things work, they were always let down and more crushed than before. They should have just let each other be and left well enough alone.
5. Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts From "The OC”
This couple is one of my favorites because they are a complete wild card, yet they ended up together in the end. Seth was such a cute and hilarious character. His nerd-like quirks and comic book obsession were a huge part of his charm. I also enjoyed Summer because although her character was intended to be a rich and spoiled ditz, there was so much more to her than that. I think Seth brought out those layers.
The banter between these two was genius, and it made them endearing. Once again, opposites attract. These two taught me to never judge a book by its cover. They could have easily written each other off as a nerd and a spoiled rich girl, but they looked past the surface.
I also learned to never say never. If these polar opposites could end up together and make it work, then who knows what else a relationship with someone unexpected could bring?
6. Ryan Atwood and Marissa Cooper From "The OC”
The other "OC" couple I could not resist analyzing is Ryan and Marissa. They also would never have been together if you matched them up on paper. He was a guy from the wrong side of the tracks, and she was a seemingly perfect rich girl. Except, this bad boy wanted to be good, and the rich girl kept getting him caught up in trouble.
They were the classic "guy saves the girl" scenario, with a way more complicated twist. Marissa was always intentionally putting herself in dangerous situations, hoping Ryan would save her. It just seemed like no matter how hard Ryan tried to stay away and do the right thing, he was always getting dragged into Marissa's trouble. He took on the role of her protector, her defender and her advocate, even when it usually almost meant sacrificing himself in the process.
This couple taught me that no matter how much you love someone, you can't always save him or her. If a person doesn't want to change for the better, your efforts will backfire every single time.
This happened to Ryan every time, until he had to pull her from that burning car in the middle of the highway, and she died in his arms. (I am still not over that moment.)
7. Dean Forester and Rory Gilmore From "Gilmore Girls”
Dean was always my favorite of Rory's boyfriends during the series. I mean, he was the perfect first boyfriend. He loved Rory for who she was, and he told her he loved her first. He also built her a car; never pressured her sexually; waited for her after school; had a great job; spent time with his family; supported her when she decided to go to a better school and even hung out with her and her mom. He knew how much all of that meant to Rory.
This guy was even a perfect ex-boyfriend. He was still sweet to her after she broke his heart and left him for the bad boy, Jess Mariano. He was the perfect guy, and I never understood why Rory dumped him for Jess.
Fast-forward a few years, and Jess abandons Rory. She's left heartbroken, and Dean has moved on and married a new girl in town. They end up reconnecting and having an affair. Dean even leaves his wife for Rory, and they try to start a new relationship. Ultimately, things don't work out.
From this couple, I learned you shouldn't expect to recreate what you once had with a person. Things will never go back to exactly the way they once were. Sometimes, the magic in a relationship is meant to last only for so long.
Rory thought she could have Dean back after she broke his heart, but they failed as a couple. More often than not, the past is better left alone.
These TV couples were a huge part of my life growing up. They taught me things about love that I previously had no clue about. By watching them, I learned about what I wanted and did not want in a relationship. These couples can help you figure out how spare yourself some heartache, or how to fall completely in love.