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Why Raj's Love Life Bothers Big Bang Theory Fans

After 12 seasons spent searching for love, Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) is the only single person left in his friends group at the end of The Big Bang Theory. Fans were left brokenhearted when the hopeless romantic ended the series without finding someone to spend his life with, especially since he seemed to have met his perfect match back in season seven. 

As Redditor HarryXXV posted, via Express, horror movie fan and dermatologist Emily (Laura Spencer) has a strong connection with Raj that lasts four seasons before the show's writers decide to label her as manipulative. "They were a perfectly fine couple with little to no problems but suddenly broke them up by having Raj fall hopelessly in love with another girl who had little to no interest and only wanted to pick his brain for her script," HarryXXV wrote, before pointing out that Raj only ends things with Emily for good because Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) convince him that her Valentine's Day gift of a sextant in "The Application Deterioration" is an attempt to trick him into getting back together with her. The only problem is, prior to that scene, Emily never tried to force Raj into doing anything he wasn't comfortable doing. By retroactively painting her as a dishonest character, The Big Bang Theory did a disservice to fans.

By ditching Emily, the show found a way to continue having at least one member of the group free for wacky dating subplots as the rest of the characters settled into family life and long term relationships. It's understandable from a creative standpoint — Raj's string of failed relationships and one-off dates led to plenty of amusing subplots — but it's frustrating, because it meant sacrificing much of Raj's growth as a character.

Emily and Raj's The Big Bang Theory romance was built to last

Raj had quite a few girlfriends over the years, but none of his other relationships felt like they were built to last. The astrophysicist often falls for women who are unattainable (Bernadette, Penny) or who have even more issues to work through than he does (think season six's anxiety fueled Lucy). By contrast, Raj and Emily are evenly matched.

The duo meet via a dating app in season seven's "The Friendship Turbulence," and Emily quickly establishes that she's unafraid to challenge Raj. When she discovers that Raj is having Amy (Mayim Bialik) answer her messages for him, she lets him know she isn't interested in playing games. Her straightforward nature proves to be good for Raj as he settles into an adult relationship with a woman who he has just enough in common with to make them make sense (they're both bright people working in the science field), but different enough to keep things interesting (Emily's love of horror takes Raj out of his comfort zone on multiple occasions).

Just as importantly, Emily gets along well with Raj's friends. As Raj's longest lasting girlfriend, she gets invited over for dinners at Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon's (Jim Parsons) apartment, and bonds with Amy over crocheting and Chaucer. She and Penny don't hit it off, but their prickly relationship only adds to the storyline possibilities. Between her natural chemistry with Raj and the ease in which she fits into the gang, Emily has all of the makings of a permanent character ... until she's dumped by Raj at the beginning of season 10.

Why Emily and Raj's breakup was a major mistake

Neither The Big Bang Theory writers, nor Spencer, have opened up about why Emily was written out, but it certainly feels like the goal was to keep Raj's search for love going until the bitter end. Midway through the series, all of the main characters aside from Raj were in committed relationships. This meant the show could tell couple stories through Leonard and Penny, Amy and Sheldon, and Bernadette and Howard, who were all at different stages of their relationships.

However, aside from the secondary character Stuart, Raj was the only member of the group that could provide the writers with a way to tell stories about modern dating. Since many of the sitcom's plots were focused on romance, it's easy to see why the choice was made to split up Emily and Raj. But that still doesn't make it the right choice. More so than any other character on the show, Raj was enamored by the idea of finding someone to love. He's a rom-com loving softie with grand ideas about what happily ever after should look like. Emily balances him out with just enough cynicism and wit to make him focus on reality. They bond over everything from openly dating more than one person at a time to smashing an escape room together. 

These two characters were good for each other, and the fact that the writers had to force Emily to behave out of character in order to make their split happen only proves that they should have been an endgame couple.

Nayyar has made peace with Raj's sad Big Bang Theory ending

Although he came close to proposing to Anu (Rati Gupta) in season 12, Raj never entered into another relationship that was as committed and enduring as the one he shared with Emily. Even though many fans are still frustrated by the way his storyline ended up, Nayyar has made peace with Raj's ongoing status as a man looking for love. In a September 2020 interview with Metro, Nayyar said the ending of Raj's story is "beautiful." He explained, "I find it quite poignant that the one character that believed in true love so much was the one who didn't, in the end, find it. It's beautiful!"

Despite Nayyar's stance that there's beauty in Raj remaining single, it's hard not to think about the well-deserved happy ending he could have had with Emily, if only the writers hadn't come up with a convoluted reason for them to break up.