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How The Bachelor's Ben uses 'love languages' to show his feelings

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...

Ben is sending mixed signals with his physical and verbal affirmations

The Bachelor shows a speedy path to engagement and love. The show gives us a glimpse into how each contestant and Ben the Bachelor show love within limits, which is especially tricky because he dates numerous women at the same time and can't give too many hints about whom he'll pick at the end.

More: Awkward dating lessons learned from 'The Bachelor'

We go about the season watching his behavior and words in his interactions with the women. This week, Ben headed to Jamaica to find love — or we might say to find love twice.

Relationship expert Dr. Gary Chapman's The 5 Love Languages helps couples determine their love language in order to show love in the way their partner needs it. Chapman writes, "The languages are words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time and receiving gifts.” On The Bachelor, we can tell that quality time and words of affirmation are often the languages we see on camera, since the contestants are limited in contact with Ben. The one-on-one dates would be considered quality time, which the women covet.

The show speeds up the relationship process and skips from the beginning stages of dating right to engagement, which is why we do not see “acts of service or gift giving.” In a pairing that progresses on a more typical timeline, we see the couple do things to help each other out, like partnering to clean the home or fill up the car with gas. This type of reality show doesn't allow for the real process of relationships to grow, so it's difficult to show acts of service.

More: How 'The Bachelor' awards looks over personality

This relationship timeline doesn't allow much time for each couple to learn their love languages. Time is not on their side. Instead, the women have to determine what Ben feels for them by observing with whom he spends his (quality) time. In Jamaica, though, we see words of affirmation and physical touch.

On his second date with Lauren B., he compliments her, which would be considered words of affirmation, and she matches this statement with reciprocation. The Fantasy Suite card comes into play as physical touch. The Fantasy Suite gives the couple more private time, which allows for the physical connection to grow without the cameras rolling. We see Lauren B. telling Ben she is completely in love with him. He reciprocates that he feels he has known he is in love with her for a while. She tells him the same, and he again uses words of affirmation and confirms her feeling.

"Jojo" (date three) tells the camera “words of affirmation” are important to her. While we don't have any way to know if Jojo is aware of the Five Love Languages, she uses the terms in the book to express her relationship needs. She also tells Ben she wants to spend the future with him and that she loves him. He tells her he loves her, too. She could not believe that he used the same words of affirmation.

He feels a bit uneasy about using words of affirmation by saying “I love you” to two women and confusion ensues. He used the language of physical touch to a few women which complicates the message to the women. The two women feel more confident and “safe” as Jojo puts it. An interesting point to note is that Ben tells Jojo and Lauren B. that he loves them before the fantasy suite date. Make your own assumptions here on timing or just process of relationship development.

If you want to explore your own thoughts on The 5 Love Languages, check out Gary Chapman’s book and learn about yourself or your partner.

More: What 'The Bachelor' can teach us about feeling unlovable

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