4. Spike (James Marsters)
I know that the greater Buffy community is pretty evenly split between Angel and Spike when it comes to who they feel Buffy was best with but for me Spike and Buffy as a couple was a shark jumping moment for the show. I always understood why Spike had fallen for Buffy. Spike had a history of being attracted to strong women who treated him like crap so it made sense that he would be crushing on Buffy hard. And I even understood the meaningless sex portion of their relationship when Buffy came back from the dead but was finding it hard to feel much of anything. That was a case of Buffy punishing herself by having sex with someone she considered to be awful at the time. But it was when the show started to venture into the area of Buffy reciprocating Spike’s feelings that they lost me.
Buffy eventually liking and respecting Spike and welcoming him into the Scooby Gang was great but having romantic feelings for him was a bad case of the folks in charge letting their fondness of an actor/character (in this case the awesome James Marsters/Spike) overshadow prior history and everything that made Buffy the character we all know and loved. Especially after the attempted rape scene which should have been the proverbial stake in the heart to any notions of Spike and Buffy as lovers. But nope showrunner Marti Noxon had a bug up her butt about that relationship so I had to suffer through it till the bitter end of the show. But on the list of Buffy’s leading men I only put Spike above Parker just because Spike is one of my favorite characters on the whole show. But as a leading man for Buffy, that was some hot garbage that never should have happened. Plus it all but erased Drusilla from Spike’s life and the show which was a crime in itself because Spike & Dru were perfection.