The Friends Scenes That Prove Ross And Rachel's Relationship Was Actually Toxic

The continuous on and off, will they or won't they relationship between Ross Geller and Rachel Green was a massive part of "Friends" throughout its 10-season run. Fans of the show eagerly watched year after year as Ross and Rachel began a relationship, split up, and had brief flings before ultimately getting back together in the series finale. Still, though many "Friends" fans shipped this pair, plenty of others have pointed out that Ross and Rachel's drama-filled romance wasn't exactly healthy. Also, according to Affinity, their relationship definitely isn't one worth envying. Why? In many instances, the pair's behavior showed serious signs of emotional abuse.

For example, the write-up pointed out that the duo frequently sabotaged one another's relationships (such as Ross's romances with Julie and Bonnie). They also never reached any sort of agreement on their infamous debate as to whether the pair were or weren't on a break. Not to mention Ross's controlling behavior, which is seen when the paleontologist gets overly upset by how sensitive his and Rachel's male nanny is and ultimately pushed to fire him despite his obvious qualifications for the job. 

If that's not enough to make fans of the series realize that Ross and Rachel definitely aren't #couplegoals, here are all the scenes that prove their relationship was unquestionably toxic over the years.

Ross' behavior at Rachel's office

Ross and Rachel's relationship took a serious turn after Rachel met Mark and she started working at Bloomingdale's. Despite the fact that nothing romantic ever happened between Rachel and Mark, Ross became seriously insecure about his girlfriend's new coworker (the episode is even called "The One With All The Jealousy"). It's clear that Rachel is excited to finally be working in her desired career field and wanted to focus on doing well at her new job. However, her simple acknowledgment of Mark while talking to Ross on the phone led him to repeatedly slam down the phone while Rachel is still on the other end.

While Ross was apologetic about doing so, he then decided it would be a good idea to send an overload of romantic gifts (including a giant card with a picture of his face) to Rachel's office. The message isn't exactly subtle; Mark even commented to Rachel, "wow, somebody wants people to know you have a boyfriend." If that wasn't embarrassing enough, a barbershop quartet then appeared to serenade Ms. Green and remind her that "it's nice to have a boyfriend!" Things only get worse later, when Rachel confronted Ross about his jealousy and he denied the obvious. In this episode, Ross' behavior toward his girlfriend definitely doesn't scream healthy.

The time Ross lied to Rachel about their marital status

One thing you shouldn't do after getting married while drunk in Las Vegas is lie about your marital status. In "The One Where Ross Hugs Rachel," Ross immediately told Rachel Green that they've gotten an annulment after she asked if their situation was taken care of. Howeve, the second that Rachel walked away, Ross confided to Phoebe that he didn't get the annulment. "We're still married," he revealed, seeming pretty giddy about his secret. If that wasn't awful enough, Ross also dragged the pair's mutual friend into the situation by telling Phoebe not to tell Rachel.

So not only is Ross a pretty lousy ex, but he's also a bad friend for putting Phoebe in an uncomfortable situation. Naturally, when Rachel finally discovered that Ross lied about them no longer being married, she got pretty upset. Still, Rachel's behavior also had its fair share of problems. When the pair finally went before a judge to get an annulment, Rachel repeatedly lied on the form, claiming that Ross had mental health issues and was a heavy drug user. She also swore that Ross lied to her about his sexual preference and couldn't consummate the marriage as a result. However, the judge quickly realized Rachel was lying and denied the request.

Rachel convincing Bonnie to shave her head

It was no secret that Rachel got jealous when Ross started dating Bonnie. Still, Rachel's feelings toward Bonnie weren't fair and weren't a healthy way to cope with her lingering feelings for Ross. 

After telling Phoebe it was okay for her to set Ross up with Bonnie, Rachel got upset when she saw Bonnie in person and realized she didn't look the same way she used to. "You said she was bald," Rachel said, then admitted to Phoebe that she'd only been okay with Ross being set up because she thought Bonnie would be too weird for Ross to consider dating.

Later, when the gang goes on a beach trip, Rachel's actions got even worse, as she convinced Bonnie to shave her head again. "You definitely should do that," Rachel said. Bonnie (unaware that Rachel had an ulterior motive) happily agreed. Later in the episode, after Ross realized what happened, he confronted Rachel about her behavior. Though Rachel initially denied her involvement, Ross told her he knew it was Rachel's idea. "She said you gave her the razor," Ross said. Likewise, while Ross' behavior revealed that he is clearly superficial regarding who he dates, Rachel's actions in this episode showed that there were serious issues in their relationship.

Rachel pouring out her heart when Ross was dating Julie

When it comes to jealousy issues, both Ross and Rachel are guilty of bad behavior. Still, Rachel's feelings toward Ross' then-girlfriend Julie were seriously extreme, especially considering that Ross and Rachel hadn't even dated at the time. For example, when Julie sensed that there was tension between her and Rachel, she attempted to reach out to make amends. Though things appeared to be going smoothly, Rachel called Julie manipulative after she walked away. If that wasn't enough to show that Rachel's treatment of Julie was seriously unfair, she also tried to drag Monica into the drama.

In "The One With The Breast Milk," Rachel got seriously upset after learning that her friend had spent time with Julie. Rachel's reaction is clearly over the top, considering Monica was only trying to be nice to her brother's girlfriend. Likewise, ScreenRant pointed out that similar to her later actions with Bonnie, Rachel attempted to ruin Julie's hair by telling Phoebe to give Julie a Roddy McDowall haircut instead of one similar to Andie McDowell. However, it would seem that Rachel's attempt to sabotage Julie didn't work, as her hair didn't drastically change. Still, it's not as bad as Rachel's decision to reveal her feelings for Ross while he was still dating Julie in "The One Where Ross Finds Out." Though Rachel and Ross end up together due to her actions, it's certainly not a healthy way to start a relationship.

Rachel's repeated efforts to stop Ross' wedding

While most fans of the series remember Ross' awkward wedding vow blunder, Rachel's reaction to Ross getting married to Emily was way worse. For example, in "The One with the Invitation," Rachel decided not to attend Ross and Emily's wedding due to their history. Still, she pretended that the real reason was so she could stay and keep Phoebe company since she was heavily pregnant and couldn't fly. Rachel later changed her mind and decided she'd rather crash Ross' wedding and reveal her true feelings for him in hopes that he'd call things off with Emily.

Rachel's decision was pretty toxic, considering that at the time, Ross was clearly happy with his relationship and was literally about to get married. So not only did Rachel not consider what was best for Ross, but she also didn't think about his or Emily's feelings when she came up with her plan. Still, after hopping on a plane and rushing to London, Rachel ultimately changed her mind and realized that her plan to stop Ross from getting married was silly. Though things don't end up working out between Ross and Emily for other reasons, it definitely wasn't Rachel's place to try and sabotage yet another one of Ross' relationships just because she didn't want him to be with someone else.

The time Ross made a list of Rachel's flaws

Throughout the "Friends" series, Ross Geller made plenty of eyebrow-raising choices regarding his relationship with Rachel Green. Still, one of his worst moments that exhibited some toxic behavior was when he decided to make a list of pros and cons about Rachel. This awful decision happened in "The One with the List" after Ross discovered that Rachel had feelings for him. Unfortunately, at that point, Ross was still dating Julie and couldn't decide who he truly wanted to date. Likewise, with Ross being Ross, he followed Chandler's suggestion and made the dreadful pros and cons list about the two women.

Ross' list included plenty of hurtful remarks, so it's no surprise that when Rachel discovered the list, she was furious. "Kind of ditzy?" Rachel read off the paper. "Too into her looks? Spoiled?" Ross even called out what he viewed as a career flaw, calling Rachel "just a waitress." Though Ross tried to make amends for his mistake, fans of the series definitely took Rachel's side on this one. Ross' list was insanely awful and undoubtedly offensive. ScreenRant even referred to his choice to make the list as one of his most horrible decisions during his on-and-off relationship with Rachel.

The episode where Ross watched Rachel walking around nude

Throughout Ross and Rachel's longstanding relationship as both friends and lovers, there were plenty of instances that involved some serious misunderstandings. One of the most notable and somewhat disturbing was during "The One in Vegas: Part 1," when Ross spied on Rachel while she was walking around naked in her apartment. During the episode, Rachel decided to roam around her apartment in the buff while she had the place to herself. Unfortunately for her, Ross happened to notice her doing so from his window, and instead of respecting her privacy, he misinterpreted her behavior as a sexual invitation.

Rachel was unsurprisingly and understandably upset when she realized why he'd come over. "Oh, so you weren't trying to entice me just now with your, your nakedness?" Ross questioned her. Naturally, Rachel was shocked by the suggestion and made Ross feel completely ridiculous. He even attempted to deny his previous offer before leaving the apartment. 

Likewise, BuzzFeed noted that Ross' belief that Rachel was flirting with him and had invited him over for sex was pretty bad. The outlet reported one user's critical comment on the situation: "Ross sees her through the window and thinks her being naked was a flirty way of inviting him over for sex. It's repulsive."

Ross insisting on getting rid of Sandy

There's no question that throughout "Friends," Ross exhibited some pretty problematic behavior toward Rachel, his friends, and others. One particular instance that doesn't sit well with fans of the show happened during "The One with the Male Nanny." Ross' treatment of Sandy (the male nanny that Rachel loved and wanted to hire to watch their daughter, Emma) was pretty terrible. Not only did his actions show that Ross is somewhat sexist, but it also showed his disregard for his daughter's best interests. 

The Independent also reported that Ross' feelings toward Sandy were pretty cringy to watch. The outlet noted that after meeting Sandy, Ross took every opportunity he could to make fun of the nanny's sensitiveness, which no one but Ross seemed to have a problem with. Additionally, Ross' choice to fire Sandy (who was very well qualified for the job) crushed Rachel, who loved the male nanny and wanted him to care for their daughter. Getting rid of a qualified employee simply because they're sensitive definitely isn't a good way to get what you want from a partner. As stated by BuzzFeed, one commenter simply couldn't stand Ross' behavior during this episode. "You're really going to fire a perfect, loving, qualified nanny because he's a sensitive man?" they stated.

When Ross tried to prevent Rachel from moving to Paris

If you truly love someone, you'll want them to do what's in their best interest, even if it's not what you want. But when it comes to Ross and Rachel, it's clear that these two haven't always had each other's best interests at heart. In "The One Where Estelle Dies," Ross became upset and decided he didn't want Rachel to move to Paris. So, instead of understanding that Rachel wanted to further her career and experience new opportunities, Ross determined that she only wanted to leave for the pay bump. So, he went back to her former boss and attempted to bribe him into giving Rachel her old job back. It's not the kind of behavior you'd want from a healthy partner or friend.

Ross' plan to trick Rachel's old boss did work, initially. Still, according to Metro, those decisions almost didn't even happen. The write-up stated that an unearthed script for the final season revealed that Ross was originally going to move to Paris with Rachel. Originally titled "The One Where Jetlag Wins," the axed episode would have shown the pair exploring Paris together, which would have been the healthier resolution for this toxic couple.

Rachel giving up her dream job for Ross

In "The Last One," Ross made one final attempt to stop Rachel from leaving for Paris with the help of Phoebe, who took him to the airport so he could confess his love for her in hopes that she would choose to stay. Though Ross managed to catch up with Rachel before she left for good, his confession was too much for Rachel, and she apologized to him before leaving to board the plane. It likely would have been better if Rachel had stuck to her choice and gone to her dream job. However, it turned out that Ross' feelings for Rachel were ultimately enough to change her mind. She then arrived at his apartment, told him that she got off the plane, and the pair kissed.

While the duo's ending pleased some fans, plenty of others weren't too thrilled by Rachel's decision. According to an opinion piece by Metro, Rachel should have stayed on the plane and started a new life in Paris. "I'm still furious that Rachel abandoned her dream job for an absolute trashbag of a man," declared writer Emma Kelly. The author then continued to state her case and said that Ross' behavior throughout the series had strong signs of toxic masculinity. Likewise, Kelly noted that Ross always seemed to find issues with Rachel's career, starting with his actions when Rachel first started working at Bloomingdale's.

The episode where Ross requested his shirt back out of spite

Throughout the "Friends" series, Ross exhibited plenty of questionable behavior, and one moment that really highlighted his troublesome actions happened after his breakup with Rachel. In "The One with the Tiny T-Shirt," Ross got bitter after Rachel met up with him and gave him back a box of his things. "What are you doing? Are you trying to hurt me or something?" he asked after Rachel tried to present him with the box of his items. "No," Rachel told him. "Ross, it just seems that, you know, it's time we move on." While Rachel's request is understandably reasonable, considering the pair had broken up, Ross decided to get back at his ex for hurting his feelings.

Ross then began to demand back everything not included in the box, explicitly requesting his old T-shirt that Rachel liked to sleep in. "You know how much I love that T-shirt," Rachel told him, adding that he doesn't even wear the shirt. Ross continued to act petty toward Rachel, who rightfully calls out his actions. Showing off further toxic behavior, Ross replied by mocking her. When Rachel told Ross that his old shirt didn't even fit him anymore, he responded by throwing on the obviously too-small T-shirt and taking his box with him. After that display, Rachel should have probably realized that she was better off not dating Ross.

The argument about whether they were or weren't on a break

If there's one thing Ross and Rachel's relationship became known for over the course of the "Friends" series, it was the infamous argument: Were or weren't they on a break? Not only did the fight come up repeatedly after the pair split, but there were plenty of other instances during which Rachel and Ross rehashed this battle, which is definitely not healthy behavior. 

According to E News, the entire series cast said the pair were indeed on a break. Still, as noted by the outlet, the "were or weren't they" controversy wasn't the point. Regardless of their relationship status, it didn't change the fact that Ross slept with someone else almost immediately afterward — nor does it make his behavior any less horrible.

While debating this unhealthy couple's most well-known argument, Cosmo had three couples' therapists weigh in. First, Patrice N. Douglas, LMFT, owner of Empire Counseling and Consultation, said that when it comes to fights like these, if couples aren't clear on their intentions, arguing about semantics is pointless. Sam Talone, LCSW, psychotherapist, and couples therapist, agreed. "Healthy communication seems to be lacking in their relationship," Talone said. Finally, Yoon Kane, psychotherapist, LCSW, and founder and CEO of Mindful Psychotherapy, stated that neither Rachel nor Ross was right because neither of them fought fairly.

Ross asking Rachel out during the most vulnerable point of her life

The evidence that Ross Geller was a toxic partner for Rachel Green has been there since the first episode of "Friends" — literally. Toward the end of the premiere, when Ross and Rachel are sitting together on Monica's couch, Ross revealed that he'd had a huge crush on Rachel while the pair were growing up, to which she replied that she already knew. He then asked, "Do you think it would be okay if I asked you out sometime, maybe?" Naturally, Rachel agreed to the request. Still, though the way Ross addressed the question seemed innocent and respectful, his actions weren't reflective of someone who'd make a good partner.

Considering everything going on in Rachel's life at that moment, such as her running away from her wedding, getting cut off by her dad, and needing to move in with Monica, she was already in a very vulnerable place. When someone is experiencing so many significant life changes all at once, it isn't a good idea for them to also start a new relationship, and Ross should have known that. 

If you need further proof that this pair's relationship wasn't all that great, The Tab noted that Ross and Rachel's on-and-off relationship is truthfully the worst part of the show, and ended up dominating other storylines by pulling the other characters into their drama and toxicity.

When they made their friends choose between them

After Ross and Rachel's disastrous breakup in Season 3, the pair showed off some extremely toxic behavior toward one another and their friends. In "The One Without the Ski Trip," Ross and Rachel's split left all their friends feeling caught in the middle. But instead of trying to find a healthy situation that works for all of them, Ross and Rachel separately invited their buds to hang out, only furthering the pressure in a way that was toxic for everyone involved. For example, after Rachel invited the gang to go on a ski trip, the group ended up getting locked out of their car and stuck in the cold in the middle of nowhere.

To make things even worse, while the friends were away, Ross decided to go to his ex-wife's home for comfort, ruining Carol and Susan's special romantic dinner. Ross told his ex an edited version of what happened between him and Rachel to make himself sound better by making it seem like Rachel had cheated on him with Mark, not even mentioning that he'd slept with someone else. If that wasn't horrible enough, Ross also didn't immediately go to aid his friends when they called him for help. So Ross was not only petty about helping his friends, but he also lied about what happened between him and Rachel, dragged his ex into things, and ruined Carol's plans with Susan.

Ross planning out their future early in the relationship

If you've just started going out with someone, you'd probably find it pretty toxic if the person began to plan out your entire future together. This creep factor definitely applied to Ross after Rachel realized he'd started to plan out the pair's life after they'd just started dating. In "The One Where Old Yeller Dies," Rachel confronted Ross after he casually mentioned that Rachel would get used to babies when the pair started having children. "I kinda think that we'll have two babies," Ross told her, before revealing that he'd also thought about where they would live and what school they'd want their kids to attend.

"Ross, you've planned out the next 20 years of our lives," Rachel later said to him (at that point, they'd only been dating for six weeks). If that wasn't enough of a serious red flag, The Take stated that in this instance, Ross' questionable behavior is nothing more than a reflection of his wants. For example, at the beginning of the series, Ross is upset about his recent divorce. However, it isn't his ex-wife Carol that he specifically misses; he just wants a woman, any woman, to fill the void in his life. When Ross sees Rachel again, for the first time in years, he takes it as a sign of potential romance. Later, when they finally began dating, Ross created his idealized version of the pair in his head.