What “The Bachelor” Can Tell Us About Our Own Relationships

September 20, 2022 – On Monday evening, as millions of viewers marvel at the whirlwind romance of “single” couples and their extravagant dates, glamorous dresses and fitted suits, a mental health expert will take notes on behavior relationship of candidates.

Diane Strachowski, EdD, a cognitive-behavioral psychologist and licensed couples therapist, uses media psychology to share take-outs and relationships from “Bachelor” episodes via her Instagram platform.

Fans of the franchise — also known as the “Bachelor Nation” — become invested in the relationship journeys of “Bachelor” couples, which can present valuable opportunities for self-reflection, according to Strachowski.

“I’m using the show as a catalyst to start conversations about ‘What’s a good coupling? What is a good relationship? What are the right determinations about what makes a relationship viable? says Strachowski, who dubbed herself the “Bachelor’s Psychologist.”

Even after two decades, the “Bachelorthe franchise gathers a minimum of 3 million viewers on a given episode. This summer, fans are reacting to two singles — Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia — in one season for the very first time.

The success rate for franchise couples is about 30% — of the 75 “Bachelor” couples, 24 are still together. The emotional and physiological implications of the competition component of the show can play a major role in the success and failure of the match.

“It’s cortisol, endorphins, dopamine and serotonin. It’s all these neurotransmitters, chemicals that we see in all relationships when we fall in love,” says Strachowski, who lives in Menlo Park, Calif., in the Bay Area. The show, however, amplifies these effects compared to “real life”, where couples often move at a slower pace.

“The dates themselves are filled with adrenaline: bungee jumping, helicopter rides. All of these experiences bond couples because your heart is racing and because it feels like excitement, it feels like love.

“Bachelor” stars often pledge to “follow their hearts” in their decision-making. But, it’s much more complex than that, says Strachowski.

“‘It has to be a decision of the head, the heart, the gut, not just who you’re attracted to,'” Strachowski says. “That’s why we see some of these couples breaking up. They haven’t had enough time to really go through a thorough decision-making process.

Boost the success rate of “single” couples

It’s critical for bachelor’s candidates and applicants to understand the difference between chemistry and compatibility, says Kelle Carver, marriage and family therapist and owner of The Honored Place Therapy in Kansas.

“They feel similar when you’re in the early stages. The chemistry feels like this person meets my every need and is perfect for me. Chemistry can also be when you come out of that mystery honeymoon phase, right? The dynamics of where you come from and your family system or past generations,” says Carver.

Compatibility is something much deeper, says Noreen Dupriest, owner of Simply Be Marriage and Family Psychotherapy, also in Kansas. True compatibility allows each partner to be sure of who they are, so focusing on similarities can also be a dating trap.

Sometimes the differences can actually work in a couple’s favor. Therapists model attachment styles, or how someone forms emotional connections with others. Although there are four styles, they highlight anxious attachment over avoidant attachment.

avoidant attachment: The person seems confident, but they have difficulty displaying or accepting their emotions

Anxious attachment: the person is emotionally more needy, fears that others do not want to be with him.

“The anxious attachment is, ‘I’m not enough or will they see me?’ They usually crave and are very compatible with someone with an avoidant attachment. This avoidant attachment fears abandonment so much that it can save that anxious attachment,” says Dupriest.

The Bachelor stars reflect on the True Love aftershow

The stars of the “Bachelor” franchise also shared their experiences in exclusive interviews with WebMD. Season 20 bachelor Ben Higgins said the compatibility issues came after the show and he quickly realized what he really needed in a partner.

“It changed for me where I wanted someone who had a heart for people, who was genuine and caring. Someone who would stand with people who feel the least of them no matter what. I knew if they felt that way about other people, they would feel that way about me,” he says.

Ashley Iaconetti-Haibon, who hosts the ‘Almost Famous Podcast’ alongside Higgins, says romantic sparks in her relationship with ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ cast member-turned-husband Jared Haibon came to a head after the two got to know each other. a little better.

“I think a lot of people think chemistry is something you feel right off the bat. In my relationship with my husband in “Bachelor in Paradise,” it was interesting because I knew there was compatibility. But my nerves got in the way of the chemistry,” says Iaconetti-Haibon, who also owns Audrey’s Coffee House and Lounge in Rhode Island.

Life after the show can get tough, and it often takes couples longer to say “I do,” Higgins says.

“I think it is [the show] a great way to meet someone who can potentially become your partner for life. I don’t know anyone who’s come off the show — even if he’s so confident at the time that he’s the person for him — and says, ‘Hey, let’s get married next week,'” says Higgins, author. of Alone in plain sight: in search of Link When you are seen but not known.

Things have changed a lot since the franchise began, and the “Bachelor” stars are often followed on social media thanks to the show. While it might raise some eyebrows about someone’s motivations for applying, The Bachelorette season six Ali Fedotowsky-Manno says the answer isn’t black and white — and it doesn’t have to be.

“At the end of the day, if someone is on the show and they don’t really like you, you will be able to detect it. If someone is on the show for fame and they fall in love with you , you will feel it too,” she says.

The fact that there have been a number of successful “Bachelor” franchise couples is remarkable in itself, according to Fedotowsky-Manno, who is also co-owner of 1to3 Life Hydration Accelerator, a low-calorie electrolyte drink mix.

“If you look at the statistics a little differently and think, out of all the men you’ve met in your life, that you’ve randomly met at a bar, how many did you end up dating and how many did you end up engaged to? ?” she says.

Higgins says that while his “Bachelor” journey didn’t end in true love, his experience ultimately led him to his wife, Jessica.

“How I found my wife after the show, watching, OK, that’s what I thought during the show when I had 30 people to know and work on the side to see if we could work. C was what I was looking for then. It didn’t work for me. What can I look for now? And I found it.

Be yourself shamelessly

Being authentic and presenting the truest version of yourself can save “single” relationships and “real” couples from turmoil down the line, Strachowski says.

“If I pretend to be the cool girl who doesn’t need anything, I’ll end up blinding my partner. I can only support this “pretend me” for so long. Ask for what you want and what you need. No excuses.”

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