It’s no secret that one of the reasons to watch television these days—especially sitcoms—is to get engrossed in the ever-fluctuating relationships of television characters. But if you watch those same shows with someone who doesn’t love that genre, they’ll be able to point out all the flaws with the characters. The same things that make some of those characters interesting to watch—the drama and the mystery—also tend to make them kind of terrible people if you think about it too hard. But sometimes, producers manage to write a romance that’s actually healthy for the characters involved, in which the guy would be totally worth bringing home in real life. Here are 10 TV men we’d actually want to date in real life.
Marshall Erikson from How I Met Your Mother
Ted Moseby spends How I Met Your Mother flitting from woman to woman and relationship to relationship. Through all of that, Marshall remains loyal to Lily. Even when Lily leaves Marshall to find herself, Marshall continues to love her and grieve her. He shows his emotions and communicates well, and while he doesn’t always do exactly what Lily wants him to do in a given moment, he always tries his best. When looking at fictional examples of what a real relationship should look like, Marshall reigns supreme as the fictional boyfriend.
Luke Danes from Gilmore Girls
While Lorelai flits from relationship to relationship, and Luke does have a couple of relationships before Lorelai, he always treats whatever woman he’s with well. Unlike Lorelai, Luke never sleeps around and really has minimal tolerance for Lorelai’s will-they won’t-they habits. Even better, Luke steps up and cares about Lorelai’s daughter. For single moms out there, a guy who will love your kids as much as you do is a must—as is perfectly embodied by Luke.
Ron Stoppable from Kim Possible
Some of the best relationships start as friendships, and nowhere is that truer than in the relationship between Ron and Kim in Kim Possible. Ron isn’t the smartest guy on the planet, but he’s absolutely one of the sweetest. Loyal to a tee, Ron always has Kim’s back and also has a great partnership with her. He never treats her like she needs to be protected because she’s a girl. He just treats her like a friend and a girlfriend who he cares about, in general.
Pacey Witter from Dawson’s Creek
Can we all just agree that Dawson was the worst character on Dawson’s Creek? Much more enjoyable was his best friend, Pacey. Though Pacey got a lot of flak, especially in early seasons, for being a bit of a goofball, as the television show progresses it becomes obvious that he enters relationships willing to put his entire heart on the line. He also puts the other person’s needs above his own, even taking actions that he knows will end the relationship if it’s the healthiest option for the other person.
Chandler Bing from Friends
When people talk about romance in Friends, the instinct seems to be to focus on the on-again-off-again relationship between Rachel and Ross. Far more romantic in reality, however, is the relationship that steadily grows and develops between Chandler and Monica. Chandler’s love for Monica grows in front of your eyes throughout the course of the show, and he consistently does his best to support her and love her and be her partner.
Corey Matthews from Boy Meets World / Girl Meets World
The relationship between Corey and Topanga is one of the greatest loves stories of our times, growing through the course of two television shows from the time that they’re in middle school until they’re adults with kids of their own. One of the things that makes Corey so dateable is that Topanga is his friend. He can joke with her and goof around with her, and when he makes mistakes, he apologizes.
Jake Peralta from Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Generally, you shouldn’t date your coworkers. But if you’re going to date a coworker, you want to date someone like Jake, who is actually capable of having a relationship outside the office and still behaving normally inside the office. Jake is funny and fun, and he pushes himself to be more mature for the sake of his girlfriend, which counts for a lot.
Rory Williams from Doctor Who
How many guys do you know who are willing to die for you, not once, but over and over again? Rory stays by Amy’s side throughout the course of Doctor Who. He’s not insanely jealous but is instead steadfast and cautious and respectful of Amy. He’s also willing to fight for her, going to insane odds to ensure her safety and happiness.
Timothy McGee from NCIS
McGee grows more than possibly any other character throughout the course of NCIS¸ starting off as an awkward, uncomfortable techy and growing into a powerful, confident officer. As he grows, we get a glimpse into the type of man he is and the type of boyfriend he is in relationships. McGree is wonderfully protective, but he also has a steadfast moral compass that he sticks to no matter what. If you’re the type of woman who understands the importance of your spouse having boundaries and expectations and respecting himself, you’ll fall in love with Timothy McGee.
Bob Newby from Stranger Things
Bob Newby was just a genuinely nice guy. He cared for his girlfriend, he supported her, and he took the time to listen to her—even when she sounded completely insane—and tried to understand what she was saying and where she was coming from. And despite his fear, he stood up and fought to protect the people he loved. At the end of the day, he’s really dateable—and deserves a life somewhere other than the Stranger Things universe.
A lot of TV shows glorify relationships that are, ultimately, unhealthy. Producers give us excuses for their bad behavior, but the truth is that the Ross-Rachel relationship in Friends only plays out as romantic on TV. In real life, Ross and Rachel would both look flakey and unreliable, and their relationship would be more unhealthy than healthy.