The Heartbreaking Friends Theory That Will Change How You See Ross

As the gang grew up, making it through their twenties and into their thirties, the “Friends” characters began having kids. From Phoebe carrying triplets for her brother and his wife to Chandler and Monica adopting newborn twins (via Hello!), we saw a number of children on the show throughout its run, but the first of them all was Ben Geller.

Born near the end of the first season, Ben was Ross’s son with ex-wife Carol. While he often appeared alongside his father and sometimes the rest of the gang, he spent most of his time with her mother, Carol, and her wife, Susan. While he was a recurring character throughout most of the show’s run — most notably played by Cole Sprouse, who’d go on to star in “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and “Riverdale” (via IMDb) — he made his last appearance in Season 8, never to appear again — this meant that he never met his half-sister, Emma, who’s born at the end of the same season..

His disappearance was never mentioned by any of the other characters, leading fans to come up with their own theories as to where he went. One of those theories is pretty dark, and likely to change how you see some of the characters.

Ross's behavior got more erratic as the series continued

A Reddit user called D.F. Lovett took to the forum — and their own blog — to outline their theory that Ross lost custody of Ben, and that’s the reason why he disappears from the final two and a half seasons of “Friends”.

In the timeline of events, Ross starts acting more and more erratic. First, he is forced to take a “sabbatical” from his job at the museum due to his anger issues. Then when he finds a job at New York University, he starts dating  one of his students.In the same season, he asks a self-defense instructor for help with scaring female characters. The following season, he even tries to kiss his cousin. Throughout the series, D. F. Lovett notes he’s both condescending of Phoebe and Joey’s lifestyles, and expresses manipulative behavior towards Rachel.

Lovett muses whether Carol fought for full custody of Ben after tiring of Ross’s increasingly strange behavior (and casual homophobia, as Teen Vogue point out), or if Ross simply lost interest in his son after his dream woman, Rachel, became pregnant with his second child. Either way, Ross doesn’t come out of this too well. It’s true that Ross might still have seen Ben off-screen, we just don’t know. Perhaps it’s only fair that we give him the benefit of the doubt.

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