days couples mashup ej xander sarah eric nicole stefan gabi gwen sloan jpi
Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI (7)

At least, we really hope so!

We’ll admit we’ve been downright baffled by some of the choices the show has been making lately with its pairings.

There was so much excitement when Sarah finally came back — and eventually got her memories back — only for the two to marry in a fairly ho-hum ceremony and get shunted off to the backburner. They are back now, but they’ve been barreling towards a collision course of trouble as Xander digs himself deeper and deeper into a hole and turns to Gwen for help in keeping Sarah in the dark!

Then there’s Nicole and Eric. The show first teased his return way back in A Very Salem Christmas, which, while a fictional story, built the romantic anticipation of their reunion. Then Eric came back, the required triangle began between him, Nicole and Rafe, was expanded into a quadrangle — and blew up so horribly that we don’t think we’re alone in saying we don’t even want to see “Ericole” anymore.

Greg Vaughan, Arianne Zuker nicole eric jpi days

Stefan and Gabi? Well, there’s still hope for them seeing as how his brainwashing has to come out at some point, but we’d be lying if we said Stefan hasn’t been downright frustrating since his return from the dead.

The thing is none of this is new. The show’s been baffling us when it comes to couples for some time now. But we think we may have finally figured out what’s been up.

Because as annoyed as we are with “Ericole’s” treatment, we have to admit that we kind of like Sloan and Eric together. They’re fun, they’re flirty and while Sloan has given Eric license to let his sainthood slip a little — in a way that doesn’t involve violence — he’s given her a chance to be humanized as she understands and supports him.

Eric grins as he pulls Sloan through her apartment by the hand. Towels wrap around their otherwise naked bodies.

Then there’s EJ and Nicole. They are not a couple or even sleeping together just yet, but their reconnecting is actually reminding us how well the two fit together. Neither of them could ever be accused of being saints, but they get each other, darker sides and all. And when EJ threw himself over Nicole in the crumbling church (crumbling, to be fair, because of the war he decided to fight with Ava), it really drove the point home more than Rafe and Eric’s sulking over the fact that she was staying in the DiMera mansion because she was essentially homeless.

And when it comes to “Xarah,” we’ve noticed over on the message boards, even skeptics are admitting that they’re kind of liking Xander and Gwen more these days. Like Nicole and EJ, they seem to be more on the same wavelength — even when she’s punching him. Actually, make that especially when she’s punching him!

Surrounded by brick walls, Gwen punches Xander

In the daytime world, a happy couple is a boring couple, and boring couples don’t get screentime. By taking a sledgehammer to these pairings, Days of Our Lives has prepared us to welcome new couples with open arms and view older pairings that weren’t necessarily seen as supercouples in a new light.

More: Brandon Barash ties the knot!

If the show had just split these folks up without putting them through so much hell, we’d be a lot less willing to try these things out. Look what happened with Brady and Chloe. They got together, bored us, then were forced apart out of nowhere and we’re still scratching our heads over the insanity that is Brady and Kristen’s cohabitation.

Granted, this is cold comfort to fans of couples like “Xarah” and “Ericole,” but given time and patience, the show can still build them back up just as powerfully as they’ve torn them down. Now, though, should they not work out, or should an actor leave and force a pairing to split, the show’s been building backup options that won’t be dismissed out of hand.

Heck, that’s the problem we’re having with Sonny and Will. The show’s stuck since Will’s not able to come back full-time and now they’re very clearly trying to build up Sonny and Leo which we, quite frankly, aren’t ready for or willing to entertain.

At least, we’re hoping this has all been in the service of some master plan to build up multiple “true loves” for couples. Because otherwise, they’re just being downright cruel for no reason!

Days of Our Lives now exclusively airs on Peacock. To make sure you never miss an episode, subscribe to Peacock. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.

Check out our Days of Our Lives couples photo gallery for a full scorecard of the show’s pairings!