The finale of The Bachelorette on ABC ended with more of the same, and it’s time for the series to try something different soon.
While the fancy dates, exotic locations, youthful contestants, lack of diversity, focus on looks and attraction, and emphasis on drama are not a true recipe for genuine romance to lead to marriage, it does make for great TV.
The Bachelorette this season appears to thrive on that fairy-tale theme more than ever, where the end results in a proposal with two well-dressed couples and one beautiful diamond ring. The whole process is about a proposal at the end and a couple riding off into the sunset — sometimes literally.
Real love can occur anywhere at any time, but I am wary that it can always be found in a reality dating show time and time again and how so many fall in love quickly or claim to be in love. Everyone seems to fall in love with the star of the show in a short amount of time. It makes me wonder if it’s the popularity of the main character that the suitors like or if it’s really the person. What if it was someone not already known to the media or public eye? Would the competition be as fierce for a person not popular on social media or surrounded by lots of hype before the show airs?
The wildly popular and entertaining show helps to craft these love stories by the setting and creation of drama. If a person can really find true love in 26 contestants chosen by a production staff, then that is quite an amazing feat. What about matchmakers who do this for a living or watch the show Married at First Sight, which uses experts to match couples up? On The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, it is more about the drama and looks while the other shows try to aim for more compatibility. But, the real life is really intriguing to watch.
In my view, it would be so much more interesting if things were not in nearly as perfect a setting. The romance feels contrived at times and the same season to season. Not all people speak in the romantic ways seen on this show or say “I love you” nearly as fast. Why not show a true romance that is actually filled with imperfect settings and boring locations and see if love blossoms in the ordinary way? I have always wondered what the show would be about if you take away all the amazing trips and the drama. Well, maybe just a love story, but it would certainly not be as shiny to watch. There is so much emphasis on the fancy dinners and fun group dates that the real meaning of relationship is not always found. They never get to do the regular things like going to work, getting coffee, talking in the park, calling each other on the phone and dealing with real-life issues. Instead, they are taken away from reality, and the contestants are in amazing settings away from their homes. The couples meet during an exciting time of high drama and competition, and by the time the show ends, they are off to a regular day without all the excitement and have to transition into a typical relationship. It’s a difficult time, especially considering they’re trying to form a genuine relationship while being engaged and being surrounded by wedding expectations from the media.
My best advice as a marriage and family therapist for the new couple is to accept where both people are at emotionally and try to get to know each other as you would in any relationship; communicate, spend time together, validate each other’s feelings and begin to build something real outside of the fantasy, and it could turn out for the better. Hopefully JoJo and Jordan are able to create a new relationship that suits them well and to grow together. Only time will tell if this develops.