Huge Red Flags In Tom & Shiv’s Relationship In Succession

Collage of Shiv and Tom in HBO's Succession

Succession explores the highs and lows of the Roy family, the owners of the entertainment conglomerate Waystar RoyCo and one of the richest families in the world. While all these characters are greedy, power-hungry, and incapable of healthy and balanced relationships, Tom and Shiv have one of the most toxic dynamics in Succession.

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Throughout Succession, it’s obvious that Tom and Shiv aren’t a good match. There were huge red flags in their relationships right from the beginning of the HBO series. Now, both the characters are living the consequences of their lack of emotional responsibility.



10 Shiv’s Motivations To Have A Baby

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When Tom tells Shiv that he wants to have a baby, Shiv explains that she doesn’t. It’s already bad enough that they didn’t discuss their plans for the future, but it gets worse when Shiv finally decides she wants to have a baby after her mom tells her she would be a terrible mother.

Shiv’s reasoning for wanting to be a parent is a huge red flag. Shiv makes impulsive decisions, and while that might be fine in business, parenthood shouldn’t be an impulsive decision. What’s worse, she actually got pregnant, and she’s back in the middle of a toxic will-they-won’t-they dynamic with Tom.

9 Tom And Shiv’s Lack Of Communication

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Shiv and Tom talking in their bed in Season 4 of Succession

One of the biggest issues in Tom and Shiv’s relationship is their lack of communication. Shiv, for example, never lets Tom see her most vulnerable side. A lot of their relationship is performative, which means they can never truly be happy.

For Tom and Shiv to be in an intimate relationship, they would have to lower their guards, especially Shiv. However, Shiv has a hard time expressing her feelings because she’s scared of being hurt. Ironically, she’s being more honest with Tom now that they have separated. This kind of nuanced personality is what makes Shiv one of the best-written characters in Succession, but it dooms their relationship.

8 Tom Taking Divorce Advice From Logan

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Logan and Tom talking in Season 4 of Succession

In Succession Season 4, Tom and Shiv decide to get a divorce. However, when Shiv tries to hire her lawyer, she discovers that Tom already hired every successful lawyer in the city. This leaves Shiv with no one to represent her.

Shiv immediately realizes that this strategy came from her father. Tom asking for advice from his soon-to-be ex-father-in-law is a pretty big red flag, especially considering Logan’s complicated relationship with his children. The fact that Tom is capable of and willing to hurt Shiv like this speaks volumes about their relationship.

7 Tom Not Being Real With Shiv

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Shiv and Tom talking in her office in Succession Season 4 Episode 6

Throughout Succession, it becomes clear that Tom isn’t always himself around the Roys because he’s different around Greg. It seems as if the person Tom is with Greg is his real self, a facet he usually doesn’t show Shiv.

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The first time that Tom seems to be really honest with Shiv happens in Succession Season 4, Episode 6 when he tells Shiv that he cares deeply about money. Up until that point, Tom had pretended to be more emotional, instead of the ruthless character he really is. Tom not being open and honest with Shiv about his motivations and interests is a huge red flag.

6 Tom’s Proposal

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Tom proposing to Shiv in Succession

Tom’s iconic proposal occurs in the hospital when Logan is recovering from a stroke. Needless to say, the timing was terrible, which shows Tom’s complete lack of common sense. While his intentions were good, he made himself the center of attention in a moment of crisis for Shiv.

Scenes like this explain why Shiv can’t fully rely on Tom. Shiv needed someone to emotionally support her, but Tom just added more stuff to her plate, even though he thought it was a romantic gesture. While Tom is one of the most likable characters in Succession, he’s also selfish and self-centered.

5 Tom Tried Too Hard To Get On Logan’s Good Side

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Tom and Logan in front of a plane on Succession

Tom spends most of his energy trying to get on Logan’s good side. In his first scene in Succession, he’s concerned about finding Logan a good birthday present. Later, he offers to go to jail for Logan. He does all of this in the hopes of occupying a better position at Waystar RoyCo.

RELATED: 10 Ways Succession Is Different Without Logan

It must be hard for Shiv because she’s in a relationship with a man who’s constantly prioritizing her father. Shiv, who is also ruthless and ambitious, can understand it, but Tom prioritizing Logan led to a toxic dynamic. Ultimately, Tom’s determination to please Logan ended with Tom betraying Shiv.

4 Tom Couldn’t Tell Shiv How He Felt

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Tom attempting to embrace Shiv in the Succession Season 3 finale, after he betrayed her.

Shiv proposed the idea of an open marriage to Tom on their wedding night. Fans could tell that Tom wasn’t totally on board with this situation. Shiv and Tom weren’t on the same page, which was a huge red flag.

If Shiv didn’t feel comfortable with a monogamous relationship, she should have discussed this with Tom sooner. Shiv proposes the idea at the worst possible moment, and Tom accepted the deal even though he was uncomfortable. The fact that Tom couldn’t tell Shiv how he felt was a sign their relationship was heading to disaster.

3 Tom Betraying Shiv

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Collage of Logan, Kendall, Shiv, and Tom in Succession

In the Succession Season 3 finale, the Roy siblings discover Logan is conspiring to sell Waystar RoyCo while they’re at their mother’s wedding. Shiv makes the mistake of telling Tom about how they plan to stop their father before he can go through the sale.

However, when the Roy children meet up with Logan, there’s seemingly nothing they can do. Tom called Logan and warned him about his children, which gave Logan the time to make the necessary preparations. It’s obvious that Tom will throw anyone under the bus if it benefits him, even Shiv. Tom may justify himself by saying that his relationship with Shiv is already damaged, but this is a big red flag that indicates Shiv can’t trust Tom.

2 Tom Going To Jail

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Tom from Succession walking through a hallway with Shiv blurred in the background.

When Kendall betrays Logan, the Roy patriarch faces jail time for the crimes he committed in the leisure division of Waystar RoyCo. As such, Tom offers to take the fall. The fact that Tom is willing to go to jail and abandon his family to earn Logan’s favor is a red flag that makes it seem like he prioritizes Logan’s interests over Shiv’s.

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Even though Shiv begs Logan to not send Tom to jail, she’s very indifferent to Tom’s pain. When he expresses how scared he is about prison, she couldn’t care less. Tom did get himself in this situation, but the fact that Shiv can act so cold about it is a big red flag.

1 Shiv’s Infidelity

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Nate and Shiv in Succession

In the end, the biggest issue in Shiv and Tom’s relationship is Shiv’s lack of commitment. The two are in a monogamous marriage, but it becomes clear throughout Succession that Shiv can’t be emotionally intimate with her husband. This is what eventually destroys their relationship.

Before their wedding day, Shiv rekindles a relationship with her previous boyfriend, Nate Sofrelli. What makes this even worse is that Shiv clearly connects more with Nate than with Tom, which indicates that their marriage is doomed from the beginning.

NEXT: Succession: 10 Times Shiv Was Wrong For Tom


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