No, I will not accept this rose

Dried rose on background Vintage style

ABC’s hit reality television show—The Bachelorette—is currently in its 10th season. Coupled with the original hit show, The Bachelor—which has 18 seasons of its own—this series has been on television for 28 seasons. The premise of The Bachelorette is that 25 men compete for the affections of one woman. Each week, the one woman whittles the field of men down until, eventually, there is a marriage proposal at the end of the show. Every week millions of viewers tune in (demographics show that the viewership is mostly women) to watch as a woman’s fairytale dreams become a reality.

A couple of years ago, I watched an episode of this series. It was awful. There’s a reason why these people are single. While the premise of the television show is about helping two people find real love, you wouldn’t know it from the show. The bachelor or bachelorette frequently make-out or even hook up with multiple participants in the show—only to then break up with them on television. Because one person is essentially dating multiple people at the same time, the show lends itself to situations of jealousy, backstabbing and drama among contestants. In addition to being promiscuous with their bodies, the participants are emotionally unchaste—with one person leading many people to believe that he/she is in love with multiple people. Everything about the show speaks of romance in search of love, but none of the show’s contestants know the first thing about love.

But the couples on the show are not my biggest concern. My biggest concern is for the millions that tune in every week to watch the show. The romantic destinations and setups, the chance to watch two people grow in love with one another and the ability to root for favorites make the show must watch every week. For the hopeless romantic, reality shows like The Bachelorette can really suck you in. Television shows like The Bachelorette are successful ratings grabbers because people love a good love story.

But what makes the show dangerous is just that—we can get sucked into watching something that isn’t a love story.

Consider this: Of the show’s 28 seasons on television, only four couples are still together. The average relationship lasts only one month after the show airs on television. For all the talk about finding true love, the show has a terrible track record for matchmaking. Every season is filmed over the course of about 6 weeks. This means that contestants who get engaged at the end of a show have only known each other for a month and a half. During the month and half that the couple knows each other, their relationship is filled with drama, jealousy, promiscuity and confusion. This is not a recipe for love.

When we tune in to watch all of this unfold, we can delude ourselves into thinking that what we are watching is love. The trap is set and we get caught up in it. The problem is that the only thing that we can learn from watching failed relationships is how to have a failed relationship. If we regularly expose ourselves to a fake love story, we begin to expect similar unrealistic expectations in our own lives.

Love is about a mutual self-gift and willing the good of the other. When we get trapped into believing that shows like The Bachelorette are about love, we twist our own understanding of love into something that love is not. When it comes to the Bachelorette and other shows like it, sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is just tune out.

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Everett Fritz - headshot3Everett Fritz works in Catholic Youth Ministry and enjoys speaking on the topics of chastity, discipleship, and youth evangelization. He is the Content Development Coordinator for YDisciple at the Augustine Institute and holds an MA in Pastoral Theology with concentrations in Catechesis and Evangelization from the Augustine Institute. He also holds a BA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Everett resides in Denver with his wife Katrina and their three children. You can connect with him through Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catholiceverettfritz or Twitter: @Efritzfritz1

11 Comments

  1. Thanks for the article! I finally got out of the trap of watching this show last year, and I’ve felt much better about myself and what i spend my time doing since then. Despite the horrible track record of the show, the most recent couple to get married from it (Sean and Catherine) did wait until their wedding night to consummate their marriage (though neither were virgins), but that’s the only redeeming quality I saw in the three years I watched the show.

    By kiki | 2 years ago Reply
  2. My daughter and I have a totally different take on this show. Yes, watching this show is entertaining and part of our enjoyment is dreaming of the “Fairy Tale.” More importantly than that is the opportunity this show has given me to have an ongoing conversation with my oldest daughter about true love, how real relationships work and what is not a healthy positive relationship. The show’s content often gives me the opportunity to draw parallels in her Dad’s an I relationship and what is good and faithful. It is our guilty Monday night routine that has drawn us even closer as a Mother/Daughter.

    By Nancy | 2 years ago Reply
  3. Ahhh this could not b more accurate! Thanks for writing about this hot topic!

    By Hannah Pavalko | 2 years ago Reply
  4. There are a few things that I have a problem with your post.. First thing is that you are writing an article about the 28 seasons of a program that millions of people watch worldwide and people watch for different reasons. Some people watch because the men or women are attractive, some people watch for the drama, and then there are some that watch because of the behaviors that are acted upon the other members of the show. Don’t get me wrong, but I believe that these shows are worthless and not worth my time, but there are people who watch the show religiously. Instead of writing about a program, why don’t you write about love and how our culture has revolutionized how sex is portrayed now. You are not being effective on writing a blog on a television program. Use your masters and bachelors in theology to minister this.

    By Arthur | 2 years ago Reply
  5. Everett, the show is on ABC, not NBC. Agree totally. Have only watched a few times and felt both pity and disgust. Sad that these “contestants” obviously use this as a platform for future reality stardom and people still buy in.

    By Mike | 2 years ago Reply
  6. That is why I love what Juan Pablo did at the end of the program he gave Nikki a rose to get to know her better… You can’t know someone in 6 weeks to get engage and married that would be a real further breaking… I really admire Juan Pablo for breaking the rule of giving a Rose in stead of engagement ring to someone he didn’t know if was going to be hes true love.

    By Yudi | 2 years ago Reply
  7. I was wondering how I could explain this to my husband, and make it sound logical. Never knew the track record of successful relationships – very telling. Thanks for the help, we’ve pulled out of watching this show!

    By Katie C | 2 years ago Reply
  8. I couldn’t agree more with what you said and am glad you wrote about it, but honestly I got stuck on “emotionally unchaste”. You should check out this article: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2014/06/women-swiftly-running-out-of-things-that-arent-sexy.html particularly it addresses the mis-use, or overuse, of these type of phrases and how it can actually be harmful to women. A better substitute the author presents is referring to it as the virtue, or lack, of prudence.

    By Paul Spotts | 2 years ago Reply
  9. i dont watch this foolish show, is a waste of time but sad that many do.
    also sad that vulnerable people are deceived into thinking that this is
    what romance or love is all about for so long!

    By annie wong | 2 years ago Reply
  10. Thanks for reminding all of the importance of values.

    By Cynthia Brawley | 2 years ago Reply
  11. I could not agree more with this blog. I am guilty of watching the show, but it has been a while since I have watched it, and when I did, I never agreed with half of the things that went on. For a show that is meant for a person to find “the one” they hope to marry, their results are not very promising if only four couples are still together. My only hope is that everyone who watches this show knows that a love story written by God is far better than one can witness on a TV show.

    By Tanya | 2 years ago Reply

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