There’s nothing quite as romantic as falling in love as you travel all over the world experiencing new things together, but at some point, you need to make sure the love you find has a place to grow in your every day life. That’s exactly what Ben decided to try to find out this week on The Bachelor, as he took six wonderful women back to his hometown of Warsaw, Indiana, to get a taste of what life back home would be. At this point, his relationships with all the women are pretty serious and we all knew this week would be very, very intense.
It’s not longer a matter of whether Ben enjoys being around someone anymore. It’s gotten much more serious than that, and Ben needed to start making decisions about which of these women he could really see as his wife — and the women in turn, need to decide if they can see Ben as their husband.
The first date with Lauren (now the last remaining Lauren) was a big one for Ben. Baker Youth Club holds a big place in Ben’s heart. You could see how many of the people there had real relationships with him. It’s not often a man as young as Ben has had such an impact on his community, but somehow Mr. Higgins has really cemented a place in the soul of Warsaw, and let me tell you, that love was palpable. Everywhere we went we were greeted by some of the nicest well-wishers you could ever meet, but nowhere was it as clear as the basketball court where all the kids were just having the time of their lives. The Pacers were so generous with their time, and watching the kids play with Boomer was a bonding moment for Ben and Lauren.
It takes a village to make a rose ceremony happen
The previous week, Ben heard some complaints about Lauren and I know those concerns weighed heavily on his mind. I think it was very important for Lauren and Ben to clear the air, and it was nice to see Lauren finally fully let her guard down, and admit, at least to herself, that she had fallen in love with Ben. Knowing you’re in love makes this whole difficult experience much easier. That is, until you see him leave with JoJo the next day.
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The date with JoJo was a dream come true. I mean, come on, having Wrigley Field to yourself? That kind of thing barely even happens in dreams. A huge thank you is in order to the Cubs Organization for letting us use their amazing field for an amazing date. I know we use those words a lot but in this case, it is absolutely warranted. As you can see, it’s harder for JoJo to open up than some of the other women. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does slow down the progress in this very fast-paced environment. JoJo will need to keep pushing herself to open up if she really wants to have a future with Ben. I look forward to seeing how that goes in the coming weeks.
The group date in the week before hometowns is always the most emotional. It’s very hard to tell a group of women that you’re more confident you want to meet one of their families than the others. I felt bad for Ben, but he obviously felt ready to meet Amanda’s beautiful children and see if he could become a part of that family. Of course, I felt bad for Becca and Caila, who both are so open, but in this it’s hard to be mad at Ben for wanting to give Amanda the validation she so clearly needed and deserved.
And let’s talk about the carnival! Warsaw came out in a way none of us expected. There were over 1,000 people flooding the streets. Warsaw came together and welcomed our crew and all the hard-working people that made that day possible. I met hundreds of fans that night and I can’t remember ever having more fun. We enjoy traveling and seeing the world, but being able to be here in America’s heartland surrounded by people who support Ben and love the show? That was priceless. Thank you, Warsaw, Indiana!
None of us expected what happened on that last day in Warsaw. When Ben took Emily to his home to meet his parents we thought it would be a nice experience, but no one could have predicted it would have been so emotional. I think seeing Emily with his parents really made Ben think about the long term potential he had with her. He really enjoyed every moment with Emily, as did all of us, but he knew he wasn’t going to marry her and the minute he knew, he let her know. As hard as it is, I think everyone respects his decision to be bold and honest in his decision-making. Emily was sad to go, and Ben was sad to say goodbye.
Ben prepares to make his choice
That night, things got even harder. Ben knows you only get one shot at this and making a mistake could be forever life-altering. He made the best decision he could and unfortunately Becca went home. It was nice to see Becca open up as much as she did. Even though things didn’t work out, I’m proud of her for making the decision to try again and for showing her emotions proudly.
Now, we are down to four women: Amanda (and her daughters), JoJo, Caila, and Lauren will all take Ben home next week for some of the most tearful and dramatic hometown dates in history. I can’t wait for you to watch!
And finally, congratulations to Jade and Tanner Tolbert, our newest Bachelor couple. They found love in Paradise and I wish them a life of love ahead. I enjoyed officiating their wedding after watching their love blossom in Mexico. Now it’s time to get Shawn and Kaitlyn ready for their wedding. Maybe they should set a date? That would be great! No pressure.
Until then, Bachelor Nation, let’s talk @chrisbharrison — see you soon!
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.