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Why Ted Mosby From How I Met Your Mother Was The Worst

How I Met Your Mother might be a story about love, but its main character is pretty toxic.

Over the course of nine seasons and more than 200 episodes, the critically acclaimed and unexpectedly clever CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother told the story of Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor), the heir apparent to Friends' Ross Geller as a sweet, dorky New Yorker perpetually unlucky in love ... but the entire show had a twist. Throughout the series, Ted's romantic sagas are narrated by an older version of himself — voiced, for some reason, by Bob Saget — as he tells his children the story of, well, how he meets their mother. Naturally, Ted and his eventual wife Tracy (a brilliantly cast Cristin Milioti) meet at the very end, but that's after Ted spends what feels like a lifetime living and dating in New York City.

You might think that Ted, who's literally telling the story from the future, is the romantic hero of How I Met Your Mother – and the show certainly positions him that way, chronicling his devotion to love and the over-the-top gestures he performs to get women to fall for him. In fact, at the end of the show, Ted gets one of the happiest endings, scoring both a perfect marriage and the original girl of his dreams. 

However, the truth is that Ted Mosby isn't as nice of a guy as he seems. Here's why Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother is actually the worst.

Ted Mosby doesn't know how to take "no" for an answer

Throughout pop culture history, audiences have been taught that if a romantic interest (usually a woman) demurs when asked out on a date, it just means the pursuer (usually a man) should try harder. Despite the fact that this is a clear misunderstanding of enthusiastic consent and creates an immediate power imbalance between the two would-be partners, Ted Mosby definitely takes that lesson to heart, as he shows time and time again.

As How I Met Your Mother opens, Ted — who just wants to settle down, get married, and have kids — is blown away when he meets Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), the girl of his dreams. However, there's a catch: Robin isn't immediately interested, and so Ted goes to insane lengths to try to get her to date him, including performing an absurd "rain dance" and throwing multiple parties in the hope that she'll show up. After Ted pressures her to the point of stalking and even breaking into her apartment with a full orchestra, Robin finally agrees to go out with Ted, who promptly tells her he loves her and scares her half to death.

Robin and Ted do get together but ultimately break up over wanting different things: Robin wants to focus on her career, and Ted wants a family and kids. However, Ted's non-consensual behavior isn't limited to Robin; he doesn't change his ways after splitting up with her. His actions are frequently framed as romantic — including the time when he pressures Dr. Stella Zinman, the dermatologist who removes his lower-back tattoo, into dating him ... despite the fact that she has a strict rule about not dating patients. 

They enter a relationship that was basically doomed from the start, and though they end up engaged, Stella leaves Ted at the altar before making a huge mistake by going through with marrying him.

Ted might be a "romantic," but he really needs to learn that "no means no."

Ted Mosby is a pretty awful boyfriend — and dad — to boot

Beyond his aggressive courting — which is summed up by his declaration as he's still pursuing Robin right before her wedding to his best friend, "When you love someone, you don't stop. Ever." — Ted is also pretty horrible to the women he dates. 

Ted dates lots of women throughout the show, and he treats them terribly — from the time he breaks up with a girl on two different birthdays to the time he cheats on his long-distance girlfriend with Robin to the night he goes on a blind date with a girl he's already dated but forgot about. (This is to say nothing of his habit of "over-correcting.") This is even used as a joke on the season 2 episode "How I Met Everyone Else," where Ted's overbearing date (played by Abigail Spencer) is only referred to in hindsight as "Blabla," since he's forgotten her name.

A lot of Ted's bad behavior is also evident in the way he not only holds his children hostage for what must be the longest and most meandering story in history, but also what he tells his kids in the first place. As a young, single New Yorker, Ted pulls off some pretty inappropriate hijinks, and it's extremely weird that he would even tell his kids about them, let alone that he would tell them a story that indicates that if you don't find a partner promptly, you're a failure.

How I Met Your Mother might be a sweeping romantic comedy, but its leading man leaves a lot to be desired, and when push comes to shove, Ted Mosby is pretty terrible.