There I sat last night, on the edge of my seat, tissue in hand, sniffling at the beautiful romantic words Brad said to Emily, professing his love. She was the "one," he told her. She was it. The one he has been looking for his entire life. And she loved him too! The music, the Neil Lane ring, the down on one knee, the amazing words of adoration and profession he said to her... Instantly my girl gene kicked in, I cried longingly, saying to myself, "I want a man to say that to me! See, it IS possible!" I've had this conversation with myself watching every Bachelor or Bachelorette proposal over the last 10 years it's been on. I turn off the TV sad that I don't have that, thinking that something is wrong with whatever relationship I may be in at the time because there are no sweeping professions of love and romance like that. I turn off the TV longing for that kind of love, for that happy ending, believing it is possible and that I should have it!
But let's be real... that happy ending is NOT real. Only two couples from all of the many many seasons of the show have actually even gotten married. Let's be real: The "falling in love, can't live without you, I want to marry you after knowing you for four weeks" feeling is all chemical. It's all adrenaline. Let's be real: We don't see what happens after the proposal. Let's be real: What's going on between the men and women on that show is complete codependency. How many times in one night can I hear, "She makes me happy. He makes me happy. She completes me. I know he won't leave me, etc." This is all placing the responsibility of your happiness in someone else's hands. No one can make you happy but you you. No one is responsible for your happiness but you!
These happy ending Bachelor proposals really screw up women. Because we think we should have that, and that it's possible and real, and that everything is roses after the proposal, and that we all live happily ever after... But that's not the case. It's not reality. I'm not saying we shouldn't have romance, we should!! But let's just be real about it. By having these expectations, we are just setting ourselves up to be disappointed and to get into unhealthy relationships based on adrenaline, chemicals, and neediness. They are what screw up women's chances of taking the time to build and develop a relationship based in reality, based in real "love," which is oftentimes not even expressed in words.
We can't really build a relationship with someone in such a short period of time. And while those words and that kind of romance are nice, they don't mean anything without action. The action of building a relationship, I think, is where the falling in love happens. That's where the romance is. It may not always be "exciting" and "passionate," but it is beautiful, because you are actually building something together, based on trust, based on acceptance, based on choice, and based on really getting to know each other. You are not basing your relationship on what you have projected the other one to be, which is what's going on on The Bachelor. You are not basing your relationship on neediness for each other, expecting the other to "complete you" and being hurt, angry, and resentful when he or she doesn't.
The media's display of true love and romance consists of "highs and lows" in a relationship, and therefore this is what we expect. We think that real love means there must be those dramatic, passionate highs and lows. But this will just ruin us. Highs and lows are not love! They are dependency. They are expecting and allowing another person to be responsible for our happiness. We are "high" when the other person is making us happy and fulfilling our expectations, and we are "low" when they are not.
After the proposal, there was an "After the Final Rose" special which showed Brad and Emily now. We got to see what happened after the "happily ever after," and I'm so glad we did! We got to see the truth. They have broken up and gotten back together. When the host asked why, she said it's because he has a temper. We didn't see that in their happy ending! When the host asked her why she loves him, she said, "Because I know he won't leave me." Um... that's not love, sweetheart. That's codependency. And it's reciprocal. With the amount of times Brad groped her and said, "I love you, babe," I could have gotten very drunk if I had been playing a drinking game.
Speaking of Brad, let's look at his issues. The first time he was on the show, he didn't pick anyone. He has said he was terrified of opening up. So after some therapy, he's back. And guess who he picks? The one woman who is terrified of opening up. The one woman who has her walls up. The one woman who is not really available emotionally. I mean, come on, am I the only one who saw this!? He had a lovely, open woman in Chantal who was emotionally healthy and available. But, no. He had to go for the challenge. The one who he could never really have. Because this is safe. If her heart is never really open to him, then he can never really get hurt. Make sense? Yet instead of realizing this, it manifests itself as butterflies, nerves, neediness, and huge fights (which they admitted to having on the "After the Final Rose" show). People think that butterflies are good... I beg to differ. I think they are your body's way of saying "run!" I think they are warning signs, telling you something is off. Telling you that you are expecting someone else to make you feel better, someone else to make you happy, instead of taking the responsibility to make yourself happy.
I don't mean to burst anyone's bubble here. Yes, romance and engagement rings and words of love and sweeping grand music are all wonderful. I want all those things! And we should all have those things if we want them. But let's just be realistic about it. Let's not be so quick to push away what we may have right in front of us because it's not what the media has shown us "true love" to be.
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