Chris Soules and Whitney Bischoff are the latest “Bachelor” stars to call of their engagement. (Photo: AP Photo/RW/MediaPunch/IPX)
Fans of The Bachelor were sad to learn this weekend that the show’s latest couple, Chris Soules and Whitney Bischoff, have called off their engagement.
“Whitney Bischoff and Chris Soules have mutually and amicably decided to end their engagement,” the pair said in a joint announcement. Soules followed the announcement up with a tweet, thanking fans for their well wishes:
I can’t thank you all enough for the kind messages over the past few days. This has been really tough and your support means a lot to me.— Chris Soules (@souleschris)May 29, 2015
Given the show’s track record — and Soules practically begging runner-up Becca Tilley to commit to him before he proposed to Bischoff — the split isn’t a complete shock. Only five couples are still together from the 19 seasons of The Bachelor and 10 previous seasons of The Bachelorette, which is currently in its 11th season. Of those five couples, all are married. If history is any indication (and love was purely a numbers game), current Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe has about a 17 percent chance of meeting her future husband on the show.
Given that these couples are meeting on a reality show, most people expect that that they won’t last. But then there are the few who do. Is there something they know that the others don’t?
Catherine Giudici and Bachelor Sean Lowe got married in January 2014. (Photo: Corbis/Infusny-142)
“I think there are probably better ways to find a partner than going on a TV show,” Atlanta-based psychologist and relationship coach Jared DeFife, PhD, tells Yahoo Health. “At the same time, I think there’s something to be said about keeping your options open in the early stages of a relationship that can help you make a better choice in a partner.”
A lot of people become hooked on one person during the early phase of a relationship, and that can cause them to not practice adequate decision-making in pursuing a relationship, he says. But dating a few people at once — even on a reality show — allows you to take a more realistic look at warning signs that you might otherwise miss from dating one person at a time.
While plenty of people just go on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette for fame, the show presents an opportunity that can be effective, says Jane Greer, PhD, a New York-based relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. “You can experience a variety of different types of partners you may not have considered dating — from looks to personality,” she tells Yahoo Health.
But the fame element is exactly why most couples don’t work out on the show, says licensed clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, PhD, a professor of psychology at California State University, Los Angeles.
“Fame and commitment are completely opposite characteristics,” she tells Yahoo Health. “People who are concerned with fame and seeking validation are precisely the ones you do not want to get into a relationship with.”
Plus, there’s the fact that “you spend just a small amount of time with that person before getting engaged, which sounds nuts,” Bachelor Sean Lowe, who found love with Catherine Giudici on the show, told Us Weekly. “I still can’t believe that we got engaged at the end of that thing.”
“You leave the show, you get into the real world and find out like, 'Oh, crap! Being in a relationship isn’t always easy and it actually takes work,’” he added.
As of now, The Bachelorette has a better track record than “The Bachelor.” Three of the five married couples from the series (Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter, Ashley Hebert and JP Rosenbaum, and Desiree Hartsock and Chris Siegfried) became engaged on “The Bachelorette,” and it seems that more Bachelorette relationships that didn’t work out still lasted longer than many of those on The Bachelor. Bachelorette season six’s Ali Fedotowsky and Roberto Martinez, for example, were engaged for 18 months before splitting.
Bachelorette Ashley Hebert and her husband JP Rosenbaum. (Photo: Corbis/Demis Maryannakis)
Is there a link? Maybe, says Durvasula: “Men may choose characteristics in a woman that might be a little more superficial whereas a woman might choose along commitment-related parameters, like whether a man will be a good provider.” As a result, she says, women may make choices in this sort of situation that have a little more staying power.
But the real reason some couples actually work out after meeting on the show probably has more to do with compatibility and adaptability, says DeFife. “When couples go back to the real world, they have to navigate what is no longer a gauzy, romantic situation,” he says. “You have to build a relationship, know each other well, manage conflict, and really build a shared sense of meaning as a couple.”
Those who can band together and actually put in the work are probably the ones who are going to make it, he says — that, or they just have “dumb luck.”
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