Romance is like surgery. You can review the protocols until you recite them in your sleep.
You can have all the right skills, and maybe you've performed the procedure hundreds of times before. It doesn't mean you'll succeed.
As the surgeons of Grey Sloan (past and present) can attest to, they lose as often (if not more) as they win.
The ghosts of dead patients and failed relationships haunt the hospital.
Even romances that survived for seasons and overcame just about every obstacle end in tragedy for Grey's Anatomy characters.
Despite those odds, Meredith Grey would advise it's better to be in the game than to never have played at all.
Pity the relationships that never got off the ground, despite the writers teasing they would happen.
Some could've been greater than the romances we received.
Meredith opening herself up to romance after Derek's death was no small accomplishment.
Martin Riggs and Andrew DeLuca were the most prominent of her suitors.
Both of those relationships were polarizing. However, there was a character who made the idea of Meredith falling in love again exciting.
His name was Nick Marsh.
As a fellow surgeon in need of surgery himself, Nick's chemistry with Meredith was instantaneous.
Their banter was funny. It was natural how quickly they opened up about the tragedies they experienced.
It was believable when Meredith said she felt something with him that she hadn't felt since Derek died.
Why the writers decided Nick should only appear on Grey's Anatomy Season 14 Episode 17 is baffling.
Tom seemed like a typical egotistical surgeon. The impression changed after he and April partnered up duriing game night.
April was out of control, but Tom's admiration of her and seeing them play charades on Grey's Anatomy Season 14 Episode 14 was adorable.
After hooking up, Tom revealed he had something in common with April -- he lost a child. It was a beautiful moment between the two.
The door for romance seemed open once April resolved her crisis of faith, but nothing came of it.
Instead, April's time on Grey's was capped off with a mostly offscreen romance with her ex.
Meanwhile, poor Tom was sucked into a tiresome love triangle with Teddy and Owen.
Both Tom and April deserved better, especially when they were so well suited to one another during their brief time together.
What to do about Carina? Her fling with Owen ended without any fanfare, and Arizona moved to New York.
Amelia was more than ready to fill the void. On Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 1, she suggested Carina join her in a threesome.
If only that darn pregnancy hadn’t gotten in the way.
It was a cheap way to treat both Amelia’s attraction to Carina and (yet another) pregnancy storyline.
Carina/Amelia may never be mentioned again, but the silver lining is the thoughtful Amelia/Link treatment.
George was in a low place on Grey's Anatomy Season 4. He was repeating his intern year, his marriage to Callie was disintegrating, and he and Izzie realized they had no chemistry.
The one bright spot was his friendship with Lexie.
Lexie developed a huge crush, but George was oblivious. Her unrequited love was finally spelled out to him, but it didn't matter.
Lexie abruptly moved out of their apartment and on to Sloan. She and George barely interacted afterwards, and Lexie/Sloan gained popularity.
You can't help but wonder what if Lexie/George hadn't been abrupty dropped.
If George had an ongoing romantic storyline, would he have missed his fatal encounter with the bus on Grey's Anatomy Season 5 Episode 24?
When Callie and Owen were revealed to be married on Grey's Anatomy Season 8 Episode 13, it made a surprising amount of sense.
In a lot of ways, Owen was the guy Callie thought she had found in George. Owen would have appreciated Callie wanting both career and family.
After Cristina left for Switzerland, Owen convinced Callie to partner up on a project for veterans on Grey's Anatomy Season 11 Episode 3.
It proved to be an emotional release for both of them since Callie was feeling the strain in her marriage.
When Callie broke down in tears about Arizona not wanting a second child, Owen was her rock.
If there was ever a time to seriously entertain the idea of Owen/Callie, that was it.
They could have been great together, but it seems more likely the show would wreck the idea soon after the initial hook up.
Although assigned to Addison's service as punishment, Alex began coming into his own as a doctor under her tutelage.
The increasing closeness between them led to an on-call room rendezvous.
It was hot, but Alex blew off the chance to be with Addison on Grey's Anatomy Season 3 Episode 21.
She left Seattle soon after for Private Practice. Alex/Addison never had another shot. Given how much more character growth he needed, it was probably for the best.
Grey's knows how to introduce a character.
Inevitably, the more time we spend with a character, the more pitiful and whiny they become, and we start wondering what happened to the badass we were initially introduced to.
Take DeLuca for example, yes he has come a long way since, but it's hard to forget the pitiful state he was in after Sam left.
Would you have believed he once had the charisma to walk into Grey Sloan and make everyone think he was an attending -- including Stephanie -- on Grey's Anatomy Season 11 Episode 23?
Stephanie being impressed and then furious over finding out DeLuca was only an intern seemed to hint there would be something more between them in the future.
Instead, DeLuca was paired up with Maggie. If they had gone with Stephanie/DeLuca, would it have worked out?
Probably not -- the writers seemed to prefer those two in short-term relationships.
Hopefully, Stephanie is having better luck offscreen, and we'll see if Merluca breaks the cycle for Andrew.
As happy as it was to see Bailey find love with someone as loyal and supportive as Ben, poor Eli got the short end of the stick.
If you don't remember, Eli was one of the few nurses on Grey's Anatomy who was more than extra.
He began flirting with Bailey, and she came around to the idea of them dating.
Things between them were good until Ben re-appeared, resulting in Bailey and Eli breaking up in Grey's Anatomy Season 8 Episode 5.
This made Bailey/Eli seem like a stalling exercise until Ben could be written back in.
If Ben hadn’t come back, Bailey/Eli probably wouldn’t have been much different from Ben/Bailey.
We didn’t get to see these Grey’s romances play out on the screen.
In some cases, it was the right choice, but for others, the wasted potential was infuriating.
Over to you, TV Fanatics!
Do you think these characters were romantically robbed?
What other couples do you think weren't given a fair shot
Hit the comments below.
Becca Newton is a staff writer for TV Fanatic.