I’ve been staunchly pro-Arie for his entire season. You’ve heard me go on (and on) about his use of adjectives about the women beyond “beautiful” and “amazing.” I love how little patience he has had for bullshit, particularly Krystal’s, and how his conversations feel like… well, conversations. Above all, I appreciate how he is clearly a self-assured, confident man while capable of self-deprecation and laughing at himself. It’s surprisingly difficult to find that balance between humility and confidence in people, and he really manages both.
Sadly, this was the week where Arie officially lost me. Last week he began to lose me—I was not cool with his casual professions of “falling” for four different women and to their families, no less—but this week, I’m struggling to understand the thought process of a lead who I have, up until this point, felt I saw eye-to-eye with. My issue is with the blatant leading on of multiple women. Believe me, I get the premise of this show and fully comprehend that the Bachelor has to, in a sense, lead multiple women on. That’s part and parcel with being the lead and it happens every season. But it’s one thing to enjoy one’s company, like them a lot and ultimately deceive them via the withholding of information (for example, clearly loving Woman A more and knowing you’ll be choosing her, but intentionally not disclosing such intel to Woman B), and an entirely different thing to instill them with the utmost confidence by telling them you love them only to, of course, have to send one of them home. Further, by Arie telling each woman he loves them, he gives them the false sensation of safety, like he’s breaking the rules to express this to them. That feeling of safety obviously makes them more likely to return that sentiment of “love” (which both Lauren and Becca did), which perhaps they wouldn’t have done had Arie not gone there first.
In my late twenties, I dated a guy who was a lot of what I was looking for, and who came on SUPER strong. He told me he loved me very early on and I felt a pressure to return the sentiment. In hindsight (which really is 20/20), a lot of him was smoke and mirrors and I really did not love him—I simply didn’t know him well enough to. But I told him I did because he’d told me he did, and I convinced myself those feelings were real. I let his pace speed up my process of becoming vulnerable and allowed him make me feel safe, though truthfully, the foundation for that level of trust wasn’t really there. Of course, when things began to crumble and I no longer recognized him, it hurt FAR worse than if he’d never said he loved me in the first place or if I’d never conceded and allowed myself to become emotionally invested and vulnerable. We would’ve just been another casual break-up story, rather than what felt—disproportionately so—like heartbreak. Mind is not over matter in these realms; although logically I could recognize this man wasn’t who I thought he was and therefore my feelings of “love” were nothing more than a mirage, it nonetheless hurt like heartbreak because I’d been lifted so high.
This is the problem with Arie professing love to more than one woman. On the surface, you can defend it and say he’s living in the moment, he’s really in love with both of them and he wants to express that to them because it feels good. But past that short-lived euphoria, it does SO much more harm than good. It opens a carefully guarded door to the women’s hearts that truly shouldn’t be opened unless it’s 100% safe to. It speeds up a process for them that might’ve otherwise—and understandably so—taken more time and security. Neither woman was expecting Arie to say he loved them. It’s been a longstanding Bachelor rule that the lead cannot express his true feelings so as to not spoil the dramatic ending. I totally see how producers very likely supported and even encouraged him to express his feelings of “love,” but he did not have to go there and should not have. One woman will be hurting far more than she should because of his carelessness.
My predictions for the finale…
Getting the final rose… Becca, 27: At this point, because Arie seems completely unclear as to which woman he wants, I have to resort to my trusty analysis and historical The Bachelor evidence. As you’ve heard me say here already, Becca’s airtime has checked the boxes to warrant a proposal next week. On Night One, we saw both her full limo exit and her 1-on-1 conversation with Arie. She received two 1-on-1s (including the very first one) and has gotten relatively consistent airtime throughout the season (though I still think it’s been on the patchy side and not worthy of a “winner”). As a couple, what I appreciate between Becca and Arie is the general ease and effortlessness. They seem to laugh and joke together, and though we haven’t seen much of it, they claim to be “weird” together (I put a lot of stock in relationships where both parties feel safe and comfortable enough to let their weird flags fly). My one concern was that Arie seems a little too confident in Becca—she asked him twice in last night’s episode if he had any questions or concerns for her and he just shrugged “no” both times—calling her his “safest” and “most comfortable” relationship there. I would normally call this a good thing, but seeing as how he seems super drawn to Lauren despite her inconsistent emotional state and the fact that their relationship is very two-steps-forward-one-step-back, I’m not sure Arie values this “safety” as much as he should. Nonetheless, I see Becca at the end of this, given her airtime pedigree.
Going home next week… Lauren, 25: Airtime-wise, I’m reminded of Becca Tilley from Chris Soules’ season. Like Lauren, we hardly saw a word between her and the Bachelor on Night One, from the limo exit to their conversation. She was a bonafide dark horse, and while the jury is still out as to whether or not Chris wanted Becca over his final pick, Whitney, she ultimately did not win. I’m getting similar vibes from Lauren. We were introduced to Lauren as nothing more than one of four Laurens (no intro video, limo exit or Night One conversation shown). It wasn’t until episode 3, when she and Arie shared their first kiss (used in a montage of Annaliese growing insecure), that we caught a glimpse of her, and we didn’t even get an ounce of conversation between them until episode 4. That is LATE. I think Arie is super attracted to Lauren and I do believe them when they say there’s an unspoken, natural connection that is hard to put into words. But nonetheless, as a viewer, I would still like for it to be attempted to be put into words. Because if we’re to just trust what we’re being told, which is that their connection is natural and that they love each other then, given what we’re shown, there’s really not much to differentiate this relationship from Becca’s. At least with Becca, we’re shown more lightness and laughter to balance out the heavy emotional moments, which is really what I’m lacking with Lauren and Arie as of now. It’s all the feels, all the time, but where’s the fun?
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