‘Gilmore Girls’: Who Was Really To Blame For Rory and Dean’s Affair?

Gilmore Girls fans largely agree that Rory Gilmore’s affair with Dean Forrester was one of the worst storylines of the entire series. Rory and Dean’s affair was only slightly less disliked than Lorelai Gilmore’s marriage to Christopher Hayden. Even though the affair storyline was almost universally hated, fans have spent countless hours debating who was actually at fault. So, was the affair all Dean’s fault, or did Rory play a hand in how things unfolded?

Dean clearly lied about the state of his marriage

Dean was often presented as the perfect first boyfriend, but as fans may remember, he was a pretty terrible husband. During his marriage to Lindsay, Dean turned into a pathological liar. He lied to Rory about the state of his marriage to get her into bed, and regularly lied to Lindsay about where he was so he could carry on seeing Rory. Dean even suggested that he and Lindsay both knew the marriage was over, which was obviously a huge lie. Lindsay seemed to have absolutely no clue that her marriage was in trouble. In fact, she was going out of her way to complete tasks that she thought would make Dean happy.

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So why did Dean lie? It’s possible that he didn’t actually think he was lying to Rory about his marriage. Dean wasn’t a great communicator. Fans noticed that pretty early on in his relationship with Rory. If you want to give Dean the benefit of the doubt, you can assume he truly felt the marriage was over, and believed Lindsay thought the same. His lies to Lindsay were a different story altogether. Clearly, Dean lied to Lindsay to cover his tracks. Presumably, he would have stayed with Lindsay, just to have someone, if things hadn’t worked out with Rory. Unfortunately for him, Lindsay found Rory’s letter and ended the relationship.

Rory played a part in Dean’s divorce

Dean did pursue Rory, but she was an active participant in the flirtation and eventual affair. Fans have a massive problem with the way Rory treated Lindsay both before she slept with Dean and after everyone found out about the affair. One Reddit user points out that Rory spent much of her time leading up to the affair speaking badly about Lindsay, even though Lindsay had never been anything but nice to her. After the affair was discovered, Rory never bothered to apologize to Lindsay, which would have been the mature thing to do.

Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore and Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore
Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore and Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore | Mitchell Haddad/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

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Lorelai pointed out how bad Rory’s behavior was as soon as she discovered Rory and Dean together, but even then, Rory refused to admit she had done anything wrong. Rory’s temper tantrum after Lorelai called her out on her behavior, and her subsequent trip to Europe did little to restore Rory’s reputation with fans. Unfortunately, Rory continued the same immature behavior in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

Dean was ultimately to blame for the demise of his marriage, though  

While Rory played a role in the downfall of Dean and Lindsay’s marriage, Dean is ultimately to blame for what happened. Rory wasn’t exactly pursuing Dean romantically when he came on to her, and she was too naive to realize Dean was lying about how things were going for him. Rory also, technically, owed Lindsay absolutely nothing. She was not the one who committed to being in a monogamous relationship with her, that was Dean.

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In the end, Dean and Lindsay should have never gotten married. It seems likely that, with or without the affair, Lindsay and Dean would have broken up. After all, they weren’t even married a year before Dean cheated, which doesn’t say much for Dean. That marriage was clearly in trouble before the ink on the marriage license was dry. Still, though, Dean is largely to blame for how things unfolded.