The Psychology of Love & The Bachelor
The Bachelor– a vapid time suck of a show, a completely fabricated situation, and apparently a great breeding ground for true love.
In an unprecedented move, this season’s Bachelor has professed love to the two remaining contestants which, for some skeptics, has led to questions about whether one could even call the feelings developed in such a concocted environment “love,” and what kind of disastrous emotional turmoil a situation like this is sure to cause.
According to Dr. Sesen Negash, professor at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant University and expert in couples, courtship, and sexuality, the set of The Bachelor creates an environment that is actually highly conducive to falling in love, at least for the bachelor in charge. It has to do with expectation, control, and vulnerability.
Expectation: The bachelor comes to the show expecting that he will find a partner, he has committed to the idea of finding someone before even meeting the contestants.
Control: Someone who has such (unnatural) levels of control in the courtship process will feel much more confident in the situation, allowing them to take far more risks.
Vulnerability: Apparently having 25 gorgeous women competing for your love will allow you to feel more comfortable with opening up and being more vulnerable.
It makes sense that a man living the good life in a Hollywood mansion surrounded by women and champagne would find it easy to commit to love, but life after the show certainly starts to look a little different.
“When you are in the courting process it is easier to feel like you love people— real life scenarios start to change that,” says Dr. Negash. “Once the show is over, the power dynamics change; and the record of how many of the show’s couples break up speaks for itself.”
So while it may be a legitimate and real love, it is unlikely to last outside of the ecosphere of the show’s set.
Then there is also the fallout of emotional distress after the contest winner actually watches the show and realizes that her relationship and connection with the bachelor may not have been as unique as she thought. Normal people don’t usually get a playback of their courtship process…thankfully.
To many, the show seems like an insane endeavor and calls to question what kind of woman would want to date a man who is simultaneously seeing 24 other women.
“I sometimes watch the show as a therapist and ask myself what in their past has led these people to agree to put themselves in this situation, and if they are actually prepared for the emotional turmoil they are about to experience,” says Dr. Negash. “They have therapists onsite; they should do a better job of screening these candidates to prepare them for what the world looks like after the show.”
So now you know— Guys: if you want to temporarily fall in love, just make 25 women compete for your affection. Gals: If you want to end up with deep emotional distress, audition for The Bachelor.
Cielo Villasenor is Alliant’s Communications Manager and will not be watching the bachelor finale, she prefers House Hunters.