The Buffster never had it easy in love. But that's what happens when you date dead people.
Love is hard. Especially when you're a teenager chosen by fate to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness. Sunnydale wasn't exactly crawling with eligible men for Buffy Summers: half of the residents were dead, practically three-fifths of Buffy's classmates disappeared before graduation, the most decent man around was arguably the school librarian, and the only nearby bar was located on a Hellmouth. Still, Buffy managed to slay a few hearts during the show's seven season run.
This week, Sarah Michelle Gellar reminded us of the Buffster's romances with a Tweet that this January, Buffy Summers turned 30-years-old. To which her co-star David Boreanaz replied, "That must make Angel 280, right?" But, somehow, the 250-year age difference doesn't give me the wiggins quite like some of Buffy's other failed relationships. Here's a ranking of our favorite underbaked cookie's love interests—the good, the bad, and the Parker Abrams.
14. Parker Abrams (Adam Kaufman)
The hit-her-and-quit-her of the Buffyverse, Parker Abrams is universally despised. Parker is every college turd who sets you up with sensitive observations about the world, screws you hard in a dorm room, and never has the decency to call you back. We were glad when Cromag Buffy, under the influence of tainted beer, smacks him over the head with a branch. The thing about Parker, though, is that his behavior towards Buffy is probably the most believable and most human of all of her love interests. This could be the mistake we all made in college.
13. Tom Warner (Todd Babcock)
A Crestwood College student who lead the cult of Machida (basically a group of sewer lizard worshippers), Tom took high schooler Buffy to a frat party and drugged her in the hopes he could make her into a ritual sacrifice. This is why you don't go to frat parties with dead-eyed older men, folks.
12. Billy Fordham (Jason Behr)
A member of a cult that worshipped vampires (notice a pattern here?), Buffy's childhood crush from L.A. is sort of a reigning douchebag. He's one of the many, many characters who takes advantage of Buffy's trust throughout the series. He hands Buffy right over to Spike in exchange for becoming a soulless bloodsucker himself. Plus, he might be the only teenage boy to ever claim he wants to "die young and stay pretty." We can give him a pass only because he was also dying of terminal brain cancer. Still, by the end of his episode, Buffy has to stake her newly-desouled crush.
11. Riley Finn (Marc Blucas)
Invariably wearing a cable knit turtleneck, Riley Finn is the most milquetoast boyfriend to end all milquetoast boyfriends. If you set him up with any woman other than Buffy, he would have been just fine, but matched up with the strength and power of a slayer, he starts to get a grating inferiority complex. The minute you find out he's associated with the military operative the Initiative, and his Saltine personality is going to run all Season 4, you just want their relationship to end already. But it doesn't. Plus the dude started letting vampires suck his blood when Buffy wasn't giving him enough attention. Oh, I'm sorry, it's only just because her mother just tragically died and she was trying to save the world. Nothing major.
10. R.J. Brooks (Thad Luckinbill)
Thanks to one enchanted quarterback jacket, R.J. won the hearts (but, let's face it, mainly the loins) of all of our favorite Sunnydale ladies, including Buffy's sister. After being sent to counselor Buffy for cheating on his homework, Buffy pulls him into an empty classroom and seduces him while under a love spell. It's unclear whether or not R.J. knows about the power he holds over women with that varsity jacket, so he's not the worst of her flings. Fun fact: The jury is still out whether R.J. is actually the last man Buffy has sex with in the series.
9. Cameron Walker (Jeremy Garrett)
When swim team member Cameron first hit the screen, I was rooting for him. He was a 17-year-old waxing poetic about the ocean. When he tried to grope Buffy on the way to school and she consequently broke his nose, he then told the Principal (of all people) that she was a big old tease. By the end of the episode, he turns into a Gill Monster. Which might be the best comeuppance for a handsy teeenager I've ever heard of.
8. Ben Wilkinson (Charlie Weber)
Cute enough, but do we need to point out that he shared a body with a god from a Hell dimension? Professionals will also note that he's miraculously bad at his job as a medical physician. We're happy Buffy decided against pursuing anything other than hospital waiting room flirtation.
7. Eddie (Pedro Balmaceda)
A wandering freshman Buffy met on campus at UC Sunnydale. The two shared a brief flirtation before he was kidnapped and turned by vampires. Oh, what could have been.
6. Scott Hope (Fab Filippo)
It's sad to say Scott's most redeeming quality is that he uses the word "mosey." He's just your normal high school dude (with some violent, mutant friends) who soon came to realize courting Buffy, especially an "Oh no, I killed Angel" Buffy, is no picnic. After their break up, he spread rumors about Buffy being a lesbian. Years later, we find out Scott was gay. Projecting!
5. Owen Thurman (Christopher Wiehl)
Owen is notable in that he's the first kiss on the entire series for Buffy. He's just so nice. The man walked around carrying a copy of Emily Dickinson's poems, for crying out loud. He even went out with the Scoobies to save Giles from a vamp-ridden funeral home on his first date with Buffy. Owen's only fault was that he was too ready to join the battle with Buffy—and when you have no super strength, you'll wind up dead fast.
4. Angel (David Boreanaz)
I will be the first to say I swooned over Season 1 Angel. Dark, mysterious, cut, and particularly helpful with defeating the forces of darkness, he seemed perfect for the slayer. And there really is no Buffy without Angel. He may be the hallmark romantic interest of the entire series, the one guy Buffy could never really get over, but let's not try to pretend everything was all 5 x 5 between these two. The dude turned into Angelus after taking Buffy's virginity. As Angelus, he tormented the Scoobies and snapped the neck of the beloved Ms. Calendar. Buffy's love for Angel was like that of an addict's – she would excuse his worst behavior and keep going back for more. Buffy grew a lot when Angel finally left her, but for what it's worth, those crazy kids really did love each other. You don't just lose a soul over any old fling.
3. Principal Robin Wood (D.B. Woodside)
The progeny of a slayer himself, Principal Wood understood Buffy's whole tormented ethos pretty well for a normal high school principal. The man had a surprising, self-assured charm to him that was really stabilizing for a mid-apocalypse Buffy. Let's also take a moment to look at this man's body. Wood gives me major wood. If he hadn't had a personal vendetta against Spike and started to randomly hook up with Faith, he and Buffy could have had a bright future. You can trust a man who loves his mom.
2. Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon)
Don't yell at me. I know Buffy and Xander never had a proper relationship. No, they never dated, but the tension was there. The kindling for what could have been Buffy's most reliable, healthy relationship. Xander nursed a strong, loyal crush on Buffy in the early seasons, but he never got anywhere with her. Except when the entire female population of Sunnydale High was put under a love spell and Buffy was there, ready to straddle him in nothing but a raincoat. Both Buffy and Xander went on to other fulfilling relationships with Angel, Anya, and Spike, but the Xan man was the true beating heart of the whole production. But, as usual, Xander was overlooked.
1. Spike (James Marsters)
It's that glint in his eyes when he looks at Buffy, that devilish lilt in his voice as he offhandedly calls Buffy "love." It's that heart-wrenching, "No you don't, but thanks for saying it," after Buffy finally confesses her love for him. Spike was always so much more than just a Big Bad. He was easily the most compelling character on the show. While I had some real reservations (the potential rape scene is sickening and haunting) about naming Spike the #1 love interest of Buffy, I also know there could be no other. The entire Buffy series thrived off of moral ambiguity, and Spike and Buffy's relationship excelled in the gray area. If Buffy wanted a little monster in her man, she found it in him. Plus, Buffy and Spike's flavor of passionate, super strength sex is unparalleled. We'll take Spike, peroxide, drunkenness, kitten-gambling and all.