Monday Roundtable: The Real and Fictional Couples Who Inspired Our Very First Relationship Goals

Whether we saw them on screen or in real life, we took notice of these dynamic couples and their undeniable chemistry and love. They shared something special and showed us what it meant to care for each other and modeled for us what we could have some day. Here are the first couples we shipped and were our first #relationshipgoals.

What’s the first couple that made you feel hashtag relationship goals (irl or fictional)?

Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson

Alaina, Staff Writer

It started off so beautifully! Remember that episode of “Say Yes to the Dress??” And their adorable team rivalry! And they were black and in love with each other and it was beautiful and I was obsessed. And then it ended…..exactly the way you expect lesbian relationships to end — a mess. I loved watching all of it unfold though.

Carly and Robin

A.E. Osworth, Staff Writer

They’re a queer power couple that clearly loves each other hard yet they don’t meld into each other, thus retaining their own individual personalities and both have bombass careers and are also really pretty on the internet all the time and probably this is a really weird way for them to find out that I admire their relationship this much?

Crosby and Jasmine Braverman, Parenthood

Mey Rude, Trans Editor

I can literally think of two male characters in the history of media that I can relate to. One is Crosby Braverman from the NBC tv show Parenthood. The other is Héctor from Coco, but this isn’t about that. Crosby is a screw up, he makes lots of mistakes, he’s also cool and creative and ambitious. He wants to be impressive and loved, but he also is more than a little afraid of commitment and giving 100%. He’s the black sheep of his family. But he gets himself together for the woman and the children he loves. Crosby and Jasmine are one of the best examples of an interracial couple I’ve seen on television, and as a mixed race twenty-something, it really meant a ton to me to see this kind of love celebrated on TV. I love Jasmine, I love Crosby, I love their kids Jabbar and Aida. I want to have a beautiful family like that one day.

The Laurens

Raquel Breternitz, Staff Writer

This may seem late in life, but the clearest feeling of #relationshipgoals I’ve ever experienced happened during my first year of Design school in college. We were each paired up with a Senior on one of our first projects, ostensibly so they’d teach us the lay of the land. But my Senior Was Lauren D. (redacted for her privacy, AND so she doesn’t google herself and find this and I deeply embarrass myself)—one of the most badass, handsome soft butches I had ever seen in my life. Before I could develop any sort of crush, however, I also met her girlfriend at the time, Lauren G. (Yes, they actually had the same name and were dating, a phenomenon I’ve since observed several times since!) I don’t remember what Lauren G. was studying, but I do remember that she was gorgeous, had the best sense of style of anyone I’d met up until then, and was the frontwoman of a stupidly-cool band. For her part, Lauren D. was one of the funniest and most talented designers in her crew and did a lot of the design work for her girlfriend’s band. Together, they seemed like an unstoppable force of coolness and I dreamed of being even half as cool as they were. They also seemed to clearly love each other, and provided a model of what a healthy, badass, queer female relationship involving two highly individual and creative people could look like, something I’d never seen before and wanted desperately. When they inevitably broke up, I was, embarrassingly, probably an equally-devastated outside third party.

Han/Leia, Star Wars

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Staff Writer

I looked to fictional characters for inspiration and goals all the time in my youth, but I was pretty cynical about fictional relationships, which is something that is definitely attached to my struggles with my sexuality, but we won’t get into all that in a simple roundtable! My totally honest answer is probably basic, and I can’t BELIEVE I’m promoting a straight ship but, uhh, Han/Leia were pretty much the pinnacle of romance to me when I was 12ish. I justify this nowadays by explaining to everyone how they were both badass bisexuals. Also, Han dresses like a lesbian, and everyone knows it! I would be lying to you if I said anyone other than them…I used to scribble ”I love you”/“I know” in my diaries. (A close second, by the way, was Lupin/Tonks…I just love when couples are prepared to die together in the name of a resistance?)

Elizabeth Bennet/Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

Heather Hogan, Senior Editor

No, listen. The thing about Elizabeth Bennet is she wasn’t going to settle. Not for Mr. Collins with his weird potato simperings and not even for Fitzwilliam Darcy who owned half the Derbyshire. And Mr. Darcy wasn’t going to shirk his family and career obligations for something as fleeting and ephemeral as attraction. And they were both jerks about it. Him more so obviously. Okay but then, as they were forced to dance around each other, they started to understand that maybe the other person had been a little right about the things they’d said, even if those things had been said less-than-kindly, and they both had the wisdom to actually make themselves better as individuals because of the self-interrogation they caused in each other. When Darcy approached Elizabeth that second time after giving her as much of the actual world as he could, he promised to be silent on the subject forever if her feelings remained unchanged. He gave up even his own sense of entitlement for her! And of course her feelings had changed because she believed in his ability to learn and grow. She forgave him! I actually don’t even think Pride and Prejudice is the most romantic Jane Austen book — it’s Persuasion, fight me — but after I read it I knew I’d never be happy in a relationship unless I found someone who could sharpen and comfort me in equal measure.

Jenny and Marina :/, The L Word

Erin, Staff Writer

Let me put this into some perspective: The L Word came out the year I realized I was gay. With that discovery, I all of a sudden found myself in a community of seasoned gay women, and whether I was ready or not to engage with it didn’t matter because the proximity of it made it so I had to. I was also being pursued by this equally intense older woman (lol “woman” we were 21 and 19.) Okay? I was mirroring Jenny’s arc in real time, so Jenny and Marina’s season one non-relationship was probably more formative than I care to admit. Your girl was thirsty for some gay content, and I think their intensity and false intimacy spoke to my newness. Also, they were literally the only gay “couple” I knew of on TV besides Bette and Tina. SUE ME.

Spencer and Ashley, South of Nowhere

Valerie Anne, Staff Writer

While Willow and Tara was the first queer ship I shipped, I was so young and closeted while I was watching them, it never occured to me to want what they had, not really. I think the first time I saw a couple and thought, “That. That right there, that’s what I want,” was during Season 3, Episode 11 of South of Nowhere, which I had discovered late so it was fall 2009 when I watched it. It’s so small, the moment; it wasn’t the first time they kissed or the first time they fought and made up or the first morning after — though I loved those moments, too. It was a moment where Spencer was at the refrigerator, and Ashley came up behind her, brushed her hair aside and kissed her shoulder. It sent what felt like electricity through my entire body and while I had been bordering on sure since I was 12, and bordering on accepting it since I was 18, finally right there in my first real apartment as a 22 year old adultish human watching a show that aired in the US on TeenNick that I knew for sure that this was exactly what I wanted.

Idgie and Ruth, Fried Green Tomatoes

Molly Priddy, Staff Writer

What can I say? I was young, and my parents, who were pretty controlling about what media their daughters consumed, thought Fried Green Tomatoes was a good one. Thank gods, because the pulsating potential passion between Ruth and Idgie was palpable, even when I was a kid and didn’t understand why I needed them to be there for each other, needed them to end up together, needed them to protect each other. I knew then that one day I’d be someone’s bee charmer.

Alanna and Liam, Song of the Lioness

Laura M, Staff Writer

I think the first couple I ever shipped was Alanna the Lioness and Liam Ironarm, in Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet. Liam taught Alanna martial arts; in turn, Alanna expanded Liam’s worldview on things like magic and femininity. They were two strong people coming together to make each other even stronger. I liked that. They were also really direct with each other, which I found admirable.

There were valid reasons for their breakup, and I doubt I would still find their relationship as inspiring as an adult. As a pre-teen, though, Alanna and Liam were totally where it was at for me!

Mulder and Scully, The X-Files

Stef, Vapid Fluff Editor

I was deeply, deeply invested in the then-unresolved sexual tension between Mulder and Scully, a tension which has been completely ruined by everything that’s happened from the second X-Files movie onwards. These two knuckleheads had such wildly different ways of looking at the world, but loved each other fiercely for it – yet could never figure out how to verbalize it to one another. Did they even have to? They just knew, and 12-year-old Stef was deeply moved. Later, 12-year-old Stef would realize that while she was definitely deeply infatuated with David Duchovny, she wasn’t quite sure if she wanted to be Gillian Anderson or kiss her perfect face.

Anyway, this is probably why I prefer silently pining after people instead of having fulfilling human relationships.

Michelle & Barack Obama

Reneice, Staff Writer

The first couple I ever took notice of in a way that made me hope and pray that one day I’d have something like what they have was the Obamas. I feel like this doesn’t need explaining. They are everything. They are the picture next to the definitions of Black love and power couple in my dictionary. The unwavering support and care they have for each other was the first thing that drew me in. The next was the fact that they never lost the playfulness and enjoyment of each other in their relationship. In the hardest public positions to hold with stress raining on them for 8 years, they still managed to make their love for each other last and hold it at the center of all they did. I’m still amazed.

Cory/Topanga, Boy Meets World

Alexis, Staff Writer

You don’t know how much I love this question and I’m trying to be very calm and not bring up thirteen billion couples. A deep breath. Okay. They were my OTP before I knew what an OTP was. You know how your parents and grandparents have those soap operas that you’ve got to be quiet during or else you’ll get in trouble for making them miss their “stories”? That was Boy Meets World to me. No one could get between me and this show (this is also because I was in love with Topanga). When Topanga turned around in Feeny’s class and told Cory, “Give me your hand.” so she could do some strange magic, I was hooked. When Topanga kissed Cory when his hair was all messed up so he’d know he was loved because of who he was not because of how he looked? Cory making these epic monologues to declare his love to the homie?? WHEN MY GIRL CAME BACK FROM HER AUNT’S HOUSE TO BE WITH CORY AND SHOWED UP IN THE RAIN???? No one screamed louder than me and my sister. WHEN CORY PUT THAT LIPSTICK BACK OVER HIS FACE WHEN SHAWN’S DAD WAS DYING AND TOPANGA WAS LOSING HOPE AND HE HAD TO REMIND HER WHAT KIND OF AMAZING PERSON SHE WAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE? When Cory walked into the apartment and yelled, “I have seen the Promised Land!!!” because Topanga showed him her butt?? This is my all time favorite couple. They learned to communicate and were each other’s family (for real did Topanga have a family? Where are they? I need answers.) They were the strangest couple and would be the lighthouse to the other whenever they forgot who they were or what love they were worthy of. And they also lowkey introduced me to OT3 because Shawn’s love for both of them and their love for him was amazing. I’m doing a rewatch I love these damn kids.

The Babysitter’s Club

Vanessa, Community Editor

I grew up reading The Babysitter’s Club books and they gave me very unrealistic expectations for relationships — but not romantic relationships, friendship relationships. I just figured it was totally normal and entirely possible to have 5-10 best friends and go on wacky road trips and international adventures with them and fight but then make-up and run a small business together and always have delicious snacks. Uh except wait, actually, I thought this was an unrealistic expectation but then I realized I just described Autostraddle, so maybe it’s actually totally doable and The Babysitter’s Club was just preparing me well for my future life endeavors. In any case, the friendship between those wacky babysitters was definitely my very first, and arguably most important, #relationshipgoals.

Roberta/Junior, Now and Then

KaeLyn, Staff Writer

Christina Ricci and Devon Sawa in Now and Then (and to a lesser degree in Casper) were my actual middle school #relationshipgoals and also my first celesbian obsession. I wanted secret kisses outdoors on summer nights. I wanted a bad boy who secretly had a soft heart. I wanted to be the girl who kicked a boy’s ass in basketball and earned their damn-well-deserved-and-shouldn’t-have-had-to-earn-it respect. I’m realizing in this very moment that a lot of my actual relationship choices revolved around these themes, honestly. Secret kisses / summer night kisses: check. Bad bois with a good heart: check. Making respect sexy-as-hell: check. Wow, I think I just learned something about myself.

Jim/Pam, The Office

Riese, Editor-in-Chief

Most TV couples who get extended relationship arcs are heterosexual, so that’s the field I was working with when first sorting out my #relationshipgoals, and most heterosexual couples on TV and in movies pretty much hate each other. Except they don’t call it “hating each other” they call it “men and women are so different lol!” Jim and Pam’s relationship was never gendered, it just was. They were just two humans who found each other hilarious and delightful, who collected private jokes and secret nods and used those gathered gems of interpersonal connection to make it through soul-sucking, garishly-lit days in the office of a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I also loved, specifically, an episode when they were long-distance and all their phone convos that day just fell flat. One would make a joke the other couldn’t hear, or didn’t understand, stuff like that. The episode ends with them leaving each other voicemails simultaneously apologizing for being “off” that day and not connecting, and those messages contain the unspoken and so important element of: an off day is not the beginning of a decline, it’s just a down, and there’ll be another up. And there were! (honorable mention: Coach Taylor and Tami Taylor)

Levin and Kitty, Anna Karenina

Abeni, Staff Writer

OK, so this is so dumb and nerdy, but Anna Karenina is my favorite book? I don’t even know why. I just love getting lost in the 1,000 pages of often-incomprehensible story. It made no sense when I first read it at like age 14, and it still makes not that much sense now. Anyway, for some reason I always loved Levin in this novel. Looking back, Levin and Kitty’s romance is pretty problematic and silly — he’s twice her age and she’s a pretty one-dimensional character who only really seems to care about being a wife and mother? But honestly though there are like 40 main characters in this novel, and Levin is the only halfway-decent dude of the bunch. He works hard, attempts as best he can to actually apply his philosophical and political beliefs into his actual life, mostly respects his peasant workers as actual human beings unlike all of the other aristocrats in the book, and — most importantly — seems to really care about and want to do right by Kitty. All the other dudes are cheating and being assholes consistently and don’t give a shit about it, but Levin actually wants to be a good dude and treat his wife well.

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  1. Ruth & Idgie! Molly, I am completely with you on this. Fried Green Tomatoes came out when I was a mere 7 years old, but it was the first movie I can remember being obsessed with. My mom had read the book and she took me with her to see the movie. It made a huge impact on me and I was completely smitten with Mary Louise Parker (though I didn’t really understand it at that age). And recently my mom mentioned that I had wanted to BE Idgie after I saw the movie. Relationship goals indeed.

    • I recommended Fried Green Tomatoes to my parents when it was showing at the dollar cinema or something. They never went to movies and I don’t even remember why they were going this time or how I ended up being asked for a recommendation. Or even if I was asked or if I just volunteered the suggestion. Anyway, maybe it was a subconscious attempt to come out to my parents. They completely missed the subtext though. Haha.

      • The subtext is easy to miss! Luckily the book is more maintext than the film, but it’s still not blatant.

    • Me too for Ruth and Idgie. Though for me it wasn’t Mary Louise Parker, but Mary Louise Masterson, who was my root in Some Kind of Wonderful.

  2. Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing, thank you Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh for being so g-d charming.

    (Even as a child I found Hero and Claudio nauseating, don’t know what that says about me.)

    • Beatrice and Benedick all the way. Also that movie version is amazing and I love it and agree with you on the other pairings…

  3. Deanna Troi and William Riker! My parents and I would often eat dinner together in front of Star Trek TNG, and I just remember being fascinated by the long slow build up of tension and flirtation between them – the beginning of a lifelong addiction to will they/won’t they TV pairings (hetero and otherwise, here’s looking at you WayHaught).

    While I’d like to think my real life relationship goals have evolved beyond this trope, I still tend to indulge in long, drawn out, subtle flirtations while driving myself insane with desire, rather than being direct… but hey, following many months of tortured mutual pining, my boo and I have now been together for three years and are getting hitched, so I guess we get the happy Riker-Troi ending!

    • Deanna Troi was one of my first girl crushes. I didn’t even know that’s what that was, I just was way too invested in never missing the show and knew I was a little too interested in how low-cut her uniform was.

  4. Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune, they are cool, fashionable, and hot together (plus they’re super heroes, which is always relationship goals)

  5. I wanted everything BUT the relationship from Better Than Chocolate…the apartment, the friends, the queer club, the performance night, buddies who will beat up TERFs with me…

    I ended up as an Amethyst to a Pearl (minus the whole “human children are breakable?!”) thing, and I’ll take it.

    • I doubt the character you’re referring to was intended to be any kind of radical feminist.

      Your comment so casually holds up violence against women as some sort of goal (“buddies who will beat up TERFS with me”). Why? Violence against transwomen is largely committed by men. Obviously women face relentless violence throughout life. Contributing to that horror won’t stop male violence, it’ll shift the blame for transwomens’ pain onto women, over and over. That is cruel.

  6. Wow this is all so good.

    Riese, I didn’t even watch all or even most of the office, so how am I tearing up about Jim and Pam right now?? I love your description of how they just really like each other, and how rare that is for straight couples on tv.

    Alarmingly, probably my most-admired couple as a kid was Howl & Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle, which I recently reread, and hoo boy. Like, yes, they’re both super smart and cool, but it plays into so many “he’s such a womanizer, only she gets him, he only likes her because she’s not like other girls” tropes (I mean, in a smart and cool and well-done way because Diana Wynne Jones is a master). How did I think them shouting angrily at each other and her bossing him around and throwing his makeup/hair stuff away was like, the ultimate romance?? I’m going to give my past self a gentle pass and assume that I just sort of…didn’t like boys/men (because gay), so I thought it was really rad that you could have a relationship where you openly hated your bf/husband and he sort of grumpily adored you? I’m very glad that I grew up and got over this.

    • I know there’s some issues (are there any books that don’t have any?)…but I still love Diana Wynne Jones books with a passion.

      Frances Hardinge’s writing is probably the closest in reading feel to me atm.

      • I just finished “Fly by Night” and I loved the writing and story and everything about it EXCEPT I am so, so, so tired of fiction/low-tech-fantasy authors assuming that if their worlds are going to be believable, sexism and misogyny have to be present.

        My most generous interpretation is that these authors are trying to show their Plucky Strong Young Female Heroines overcoming problems in an attempt to show their assumed-female young readers that they too can persevere when others don’t believe in them. Laudable enough. But I remember being a young female reader of this sort of thing and that isn’t at all the message I got. It was more, “Even in a world where I the author make up all the rules, I cannot imagine that it would be anything other than an abomination for a girl to be taught to read, or that anyone would respect girls/women equally, or that any girl striving to prove herself would NOT have to deal with condescension/leering/every manifestation of patriarchy I can think of.”

        Hardinge wasn’t any worse in this respect than a lot of other authors, and better than many. But I’ve just had enough of that shit. Her writing was good enough that I did finish the book. But I’m not sure I’ll be buying any more.

        Now I’m gonna get myself all worked up and forego the career in academia I just spent way too long working for and become a writer of young adult lit so I can do it right, dammit. ;)

      • Yes! I definitely meant more shade towards my childhood self for being so into that pairing than towards Diana Wynne Jones, whom I still love unreservedly. I think there are definitely plenty of respectful and sweet and kind romances in her books too (iirc Christopher Chant and Millie just really liked one another and were v cute as husband and wife). But for some reason as a kid I was just sooo into Howl & Sophie, above all else.

        Jones also said at some point that she didn’t really get the appeal of Howl, I think, and was slightly alarmed by how many girls wrote to her saying he was “the ideal husband.” She was like, that is the opposite thing of what I meant to convey?? Not sure where I read this originally, but here’s a quote I was able to find: “And the procession of people, which was enormous already, has increased–doubled and tripled–of all the people who want to marry Howl. Now it seems to me that Howl would be one of the most dreadful husbands one could possibly imagine. But there are these thousands of girls who write and say “Is Howl real? I want to marry him.” All around the world. About the only place where they don’t seem to be wanting to marry him is India, I think. But everywhere else–Thailand, Taiwan, New Zealand, Spain, massive amounts from England and huge amounts from America too. It’s extraordinary.” (from

    • Diana Wynne Jones! I still love Howl even though I know it’s all a little questionable. But I think she writes stronger friendships than romances

      • Yes! So true. Gah, I know, even as I was thinking “this is so alarming that I thought this was THE MOST romantic,” I still couldn’t help loving him/the book so much. There’s also a lot of clever/scathing social criticism that I didn’t quite pick up on as a kid. And (as I quoted above), I think Diana herself was like, guys, no, stop idealizing Howl, he is a soft-hearted adorable monster.

    • I was also very invested into Howl and Sophie as a kid? But uh….looking back despite the heteronormative brainwashing making me think it was HOWL that I was invested in, it was really Sophie.

      • Yes!! I didn’t really care that he kept disappearing for long periods of time, I just wanted to read more about Sophie’s awesome adventures/wanted her to come into her own powerful witchcraft and blossom as a beautiful terrifying sorceress. Wow, can’t believe I fully missed that, I just def described a crush, huh.

  7. Please enjoy this slightly off-topic comment:

    Persuasion IS the most romantic Jane Austen book. Darcy would never say “you pierce my soul”! When he said “dearest, loveliest Elizabeth” it was the least believable line in the whole book (was it in the book or just the 1995 miniseries? Don’t get me started on the ending of the 2005 movie where I wanted to VOMIT at what they did with the ending but let’s not go there it only leads to fisticuffs)!

    • Can I vote for an Anne Elliot/Elizabeth Bennet femslash pairing? None of Austen’s men deserve them.

  8. Jim and Pam were definite relationship goals for me for a while. Maybe it was because at the core of it, they were friends and at the height of my Office phase I was kind of in love with my best friend… whoops…

    (somewhat related: would it be gay to buy your “bff” a teapot and fill it with cute little memories like Jim did for Pam? And like, maybe you went to at least 4 different stores because none of the teapots looked quite right and it had to be perfect? That’s like super platonic, right?)

  9. I friggin love this post! And it’s something I think about often. I think Jo and Blair from the Facts of Life were my first gal pal #goals because they would argue and fight and sometimes legitimately just hit each other in the face, but were always willing to fight for and stick up for one another.

  10. I am cry at this list, because I recently flew to close to the sun and then it went away. Jim and Pam is a great one, and for years gave me hope that maybe the friendship I had with this woman, my bff could turn into theirs, romantic. Riese made a great point about it not being really gendered, never really put it together that way.

  11. Willow and Oz! Oz was the perfect boyfriend, just so chill and understanding about absolutely everything. I always searched for a partner like Oz but wound up becoming more like him myself instead, because I’m of the belief that if we were all a little more like Oz the world would be a better place. So there.
    PS. I’m kinda scared to ask in case a thousand angry lesbians reach through the screen and strangle me to death but… Am I the only gay lady in the world who hated Tara???
    PPS. I even quite liked Kennedy so…come at me

    • Oh god THANK YOU. I infinitely preferred Willow’s relationship with Oz. Also Tara bugged the hell out of me.

      So…there’s at least two of us gay ladies who think that way…that doubles our chances of fighting back any angry hordes, right? ?

      • Tara also bugged the hell out of my wife, but then again her favorite characters were Faith and Gloria, so…

  12. Arisa (Uotani) and (Saki) Hana(jima) in Fruits Basket. They are so different from each other, and yet accept and complement each other fully.

    Also they were always canon in my head and I just mentally edited out the problematic straight parts.

  13. Hey Riese have you heard the gospel of This But Lesbian Jim (

  14. Willow and Tara. I remember writing a fan letter as a sophomore in high school to Amber Benson (Tara), telling her how my girlfriend and I went through a similar story to season 6 because we broke up for a bit and then got back together. This was two days before THATseason 6 episode so she probably thought I was nuts.

  15. Heather, I’m so glad you put Elizabeth & Darcy on here. You articulate the reasons I rate them so much better than I could.

    Also this -> “after I read it I knew I’d never be happy in a relationship unless I found someone who could sharpen and comfort me in equal measure.

  16. I have an important follow-up question for Vanessa: whereas Ann M. Martin is a confirmed woman who loves women, and whereas Mary Anne is the character she related to the most, who do you think Martin shipped with Mary Anne?

    I am tempted to say Mallory, who hated boys as much as gym, but maybe that’s too obvious.

  17. Also had a hard time thinking of any fictional couples that I admired and suddenly remembered that that’s part of why I continued with children’s fiction. Because I got so frustrated with all the relationships in adult books, and finding them all to be so stupid. I generally could never understand why most couples were together when they didn’t seem to communicate, inspire each other, or contribute to any kind of greater understanding. I know, very judgmental. Honestly, I still feel similar for most fiction. Which is why Jeanette Winterson is a fave, and why I loved Katherena Vermette’s “The Break, along with those few books that really delve into why people feel the way they do and how they relate to others, and how they may change.

    • I didn’t mean to sound like the crotchety aunty…! And I have really enjoyed reading everyone’s posts :)

  18. I feel like a such a dork for admitting this, but a fictional couple that I really admire are Aule and Yavanna from “The Silmarillion”. At first glance, Aule and Yavanna have little in common; heck, the book dedicates an entire chapter to a disagreement they have. But during this dispute, both Aule and Yavanna were motivated by the same thing: love for their respective creations. While Yavanna fears what the dwarves will do to her forests, and celebrates the creation of the Ents; at no point does she seek to destroy the dwarves or tell Aule that he was wrong to have created them. Aule and Yavanna taught me that I while I can and will fight with people I love; I can stand up for my own desires without crushing theirs, and that if I handle the situation calmly and maturely something good might come out of the whole thing. Both Aule and Yavanna act as mentors to the elves, and are pretty much the only Valar couple-with the possible exception of Manwe and Varda-in which both are considered equally powerful and important. Plus, from my perspective, both Aule and Yavanna seem like they would understand grief, regret, loss, and fear in a way most of the other Valar can’t.
    Sorry for dumping that essay on you. I’ll leave before the cool girls come and beat me up for my lunch money.

  19. Original Dan and Rosanne

    Morticia and Gomez

    The relationship goals they inspired

    1) Being a sovereign with a loyal vassal

    2) All that affection and playfulness

    I can only recall 2 solid memories of my parents being affectionate and playful with each other, the rest of it a Marie and Frank Barone-Seinfieldish mashup of loud acrimony.

    So Addams Family Values is important me and so is original Rosanne because it showed fighting and making up. Which is not something my parents did when I was growing up.

    Also I could on and on about what sublime really means, it means something that inspires fear and awe. Like a god or demon.

  20. “Anyway, this is probably why I prefer silently pining after people instead of having fulfilling human relationships.”


    Now I finally know who to blame.

  21. I don’t think I ever saw the relationship I wanted modelled either in media or in real life growing up. I would probably never have figured out what I wanted or needed if I hadn’t spent so much time ages 16-22 posting on and moderating a relationship and sex advice forum for young adults.

    Having grown up and finally stopped repressing my queerness, though, I’m finally seeing my kind of relationship for the first time. And it’s thanks to queer people queering the media. I’m finally seeing couples that lift each other up, couples who praise each other in public, couples who communicate, couples who are equals, couples without gender bullshit built into all of their interactions. It’s so refreshing!

  22. Seconding Gomez and Morticia Addams, but my very first relationship-crush (and sign of my bisexuality) was Dr.Ian Malcolm & Dr. Sarah Harding of Lost World: Jurassic Park. Not only were these two my roots, I also longed for someone to go on adventures with, someone to argue with, someone who would come to an island to save me from myself and end Up supporting me through the whole thing. Also Jeff Goldblum ?& Julianne Moore ?.
    Short time after that: Arwen & Aragorn, Amélie & Nino.
    My first queer relationshipgoals were and still are Rose&Rosie.

  23. Alanna and George were my first!! I really disliked Liam as a kid, I can’t remember why

    • Liam was a jerk, that’s why. (God, he was such a jerk. Like, as a kid I was like “yeah this guy is a jerk? Okay like I get you Alanna he’s a hot jerk but he’s a jerk.” As an adult I’m just like WOW this dude is THE WORST. Which…man, that’s saying something after how much of a jerk Jon was too.)

    • I’m with you Renee – George was always my favourite of all Alanna’s men, and I’m glad she ended up with him. Liam was okay, but he was arrogant and condescending to Alanna a lot of the time, and his problems with her magic was absolutely a dealbreaker for them.

    • I came to the comments to say that I couldn’t stand Liam so I’m glad someone beat me there haha! I read them when I was maybe 12 but really didn’t like him…how can he claim to love Alanna when he dislikes such a huge part of her (her magic?). I much prefer her with George.

  24. Luke & Lorelai from Gilmore Girls will always be my first and favourite #OTP. Christopher fans, you can fight me.

    Part of it is about how, when they broke up the first time, she called him sobbing because she needed her best friend and he was her best friend, and I want a relationship where I don’t just love the other person, I genuinely LIKE them. Part of it is also that one of the things Lorelai looked for most in a partner is someone who could “keep up”. She wanted a partner, an equal, someone on her level who wasn’t going to drag her down or ask her to be less of herself. And part of it was the other thing Lorelai was looking for – dependability. Regardless of where they were in their lives or relationship, Luke was always there for her, and more importantly, always there for her daughter. It was this combination of things that Lorelai only found in Luke, out of all the men she dated throughout the series, he was the only one who ticked every box. Luke Danes is my absolute favourite straight cis man on television, and as much as Lauren Graham is one of my longest and biggest celebrity crushes, Luke Danes is what I look for in a partner, but also what I strive to be like as a partner.

  25. Hmmmmm….I don’t know if I have a lot of couples that I view as relationship goals though some of them were formative things?

    Like Kel/Cleon wasn’t so much a relationship goal as reassurance that like yes, people could still think I was attractive and want to date me (and I had a lot of the same insecurities as Kel) but I wasn’t like “yep this is a relationship that I super want to model” it was…just a fairly low-key first relationship that wasn’t a forever relationship and that was FINE and good.

    I was very Invested in Rose/9th Doctor/Jack as OT3 because of the energy and spark they had together. (And I think Jack/9 was the first non-straight kiss I saw on TV so that was certainly part of it being formative there). But almost MORE formative was Martha’s pining after 10th Doctor and then just…making that choice to leave because staying wasn’t healthy for her (and she had a family that was suuuuuper traumatized that needed some help with that) and just….that wasn’t a dynamic that is really written about or given space without becoming a drama-ridden trainwreck but it was just a very good thing for you me to see someone leave for themselves.

    The only other thing that came close to being relationship goals (minus the Unfair Circumstances) was Daja/Rizu because okay yeah, at the time I was still very much thinking I was straight and thought that they were really great as a couple and the unfair circumstances were unfair but as now? Yeah, “adult woman who thought romance was kinda ehhhhh not all that great, until very beautiful woman romances her and then she realizes yeah no romance: pretty awesome, she was just romancing the Wrong People” is a very meaningful story.

    • Oh man, yes, Martha admitting her feelings and making the decision to leave was SO formative for me. I…didn’t realize you could do that? And at least to me she still seemed really strong and smart and great despite having an unrequited crush and thus having “failed” romantically, which is something you almost never see, especially for a woman. Usually liking someone who doesn’t like you back is either tragic/unfair (for a man) or tragic/incredibly embarrassing (for a woman).

      I really love Martha and hate when people dismiss her as being boring or lame. She did so much and knew herself so well!

  26. the hilarious part of this round table is i saw the headline and thought “huh i don’t rly know what i would say to that, i guess i probably didn’t participate in this one” and then BOOM, scrolled down and saw my name and my cop-out answer! but it’s true! I LOVE FRIENDSHIP NARRATIVES AND HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDSHIP #GOALS OKAY?! <3

  27. Mine always was Jack/Sam from Stargate SG-1. Like. Look. That show has some major white saviorism issues and is super nerdy and dated, but I love it. I loved that Jack respected Samanatha Carter as an equal on every level, that he was constantly talking about how much smarter she was than him, how Sam challenged Jack when he was being stubborn, how they could never get together because of military regulations and also THE FATE OF THE WORLD.
    I’m not entirely sure if I wanted to BE Samantha Carter or BE WITH Samantha Carter, but it was one or both of those things.
    I’m a giant nerd, okay?

  28. I was feeling quite dismayed when I first saw this post. No couples ever inspired me with relationship goals.

    I mean, my early role models were all terrible womanizers : Davy Jones of the Monkees, Captain James T. Kirk, Napoleon Solo. Ugh, WTF is all I can say to that now.

    But as I was falling asleep last night I suddenly realized that I do indeed have a relationship model, though it’s not coupledom :

    More Than Human, by Theodore Sturgeon, is my relationship goal. Basically it’s the story of how a group of 5 or 6 people come together to form a close-knit bond that is actually a new life form. I read this when I was very young and it struck a very deep chord within me, to me this was ideal.

    Sadly I’ve never been able to realize this.

    But I think that’s what still drives me, the urge to have real intimacy and trust with a group of others. The human equivalent of a basketfull of puppies cuddling up to sleep. Bliss.

  29. God Kitty and Levin – my 15 year old self who read Anna Karenina to seem smart feels so seen right now…

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