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Why are the The Bachelor and The Bachelorette contestants so young?

My work as a marriage and family therapist in Scottsdale, Arizona helps to  instill hope and change through the use of techniques including: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Parenting Skills Training, and Brief Solution focused therapy. I u...

Why it's time 'real people' get a chance for love on The Bachelor

The end of this season of The Bachelor is near, and 26-year-old Ben Higgins will choose his young bride. OK, if that is not weird enough in itself, this particular season seemed to feature some of the youngest contestants yet. Upon looking up the ages of the contestants, I see the final two women, Joelle, aka Jojo and Lauren B., are 24 and 25 years old. Do people this young really want to get married now, or is it for fame?

More: How 'The Bachelor' awards looks over personality

I think the show should take a look at this fact and consider that even older people can find love and marriage. You don't just have to be physically good looking and youthful for a fairy-tale romance, and the message that youth and looks are so valuable is not healthy to send to society. The Bachelor seems to be based on physical appearance and youthful age — coupled with the ability to be on camera for drama and entertainment — but it lacks meaning and diversity.

What is so wrong with having some real substance, with real people wanting to find love instead of pretty women in perfect makeup and sequined dresses hoping for a rose from an equally good looking young male? I don’t doubt twenty-somethings want to find relationships, but committed marriage to someone they've only known for a short period of time seems questionable.

So, when the next potential Bachelorette seems to be Caila Quinn, the third runner-up, who is 24, I wonder what's behind this trend of people so young wanting to find love on TV and get married. Their age and lack of experience in relationships seem less than ideal for content and meaning and more focused on appearance and entertainment.

More: How the media is promoting unhealthy body image expectations

I think it would be interesting to watch people who were actually diverse and different from these physically pretty young men and women looking for fame — I mean, love. But The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are wildly popular TV shows, no one can argue that.

Hopefully, at some point, the franchise will become more socially aware and feature men and women of all kinds of beautiful differences, from age to culture. As it stands, it is not relatable to most people because only a small group can identify with the contestants. The change from a focus on the physical to more important qualities needed in relationships would be great for all to see.

Anyone searching for love should remember you don’t have to look a certain way or be a certain age to find the fairy tale. Everyone is beautiful in their own way, and the superficial issues on TV don't translate to love success in reality. Diversity in age or race is just as pretty as what we see on this show. Experience in life and love goes a long way and is valuable to helping people understand themselves first before they find love.

Bachelor Ben is just 26, and Caila is 24. I wonder if they really know what they need in a relationship in order to be successful at it, since wisdom in time is not on their side. Love is not just experiencing a feeling. It is the ability to keep and nurture it so both people feel they can grow and learn together and maintain a connection.

I would venture to say the experience and wisdom that comes with age is something worth valuing. It will be interesting to see if whether really young contestants can find love and maintain healthy long-term committed marriages or, in the end, it was all just for fame? Let's hope it's the latter.

More: How Bachelor Ben uses 'love languages' to show his feelings

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