Why Do I Keep Watching ‘The Bachelor’ Only to Be Disappointed Every Time? I Asked the Experts

Whether it’s The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise or all of the above, I’m a total sucker for trashy guilty pleasure TV shows. And every time ABC expands its popular dating franchise (for example, Listen to Your Heart and Bachelor in Quarantine), I’m faced with the same dilemma: Why do I feel obligated to watch when I know each season will only end in disappointment?

It’s not that I’m ashamed that I’ve watched all 24 seasons of The Bachelor, 15 seasons of The Bachelorette and six seasons of Bachelor in Paradise. (There’s also The Bachelor Winter Games and three seasons of Bachelor Pad, but who’s counting?) However, when I think about it in terms of hours spent watching Chris Harrison and co., it’s…alarming.

Sure, you might not be as obsessed as I am, but if you’ve ever watched an episode, you’ve probably experienced the draw that I’m talking about. You know, that desperate need to tune in every Monday night, knowing that each season will only end in disappointment. This regret stems from failed engagements and last-minute changes of heart that result in single Bachelor alums like Peter Weber. Regardless of the outcome, it almost always ends in disaster, and I’m very rarely satisfied with the result.

So, why do I continue watching The Bachelor when I know it’s only going to end with me throwing my microwave dinner at the TV?

The Bachelor series is a plunge into a world that is so unlike our own when it comes to dating and love that it’s essentially a fantasy,” Maddie Pasquariello (who has a master’s degree specializing in behavior change) told me. “People enjoy this kind of escape in the same way they enjoy traveling or video games.”

This is why The Bachelor is especially popular among working individuals, since there’s nothing more satisfying than “turning off” after a long day. “Busy professionals are looking for an excuse to take their mind off their work and personal issues,” says Dina Cataldo, a certified life coach who insists watching The Bachelor can help reduce stress.

bachelor rose ceremony
ABC/John Fleenor

These expert takes made me think about my own behavior, and it suddenly became clear: My obsession with The Bachelor franchise has nothing to do with the actual content. (No offense, Chris Harrison.) Instead, it’s the idea of being able to escape to a universe that is such a train wreck that it makes my own life look like a walk in the park—take Kelsey Weier (from Weber’s season of The Bachelor), who is now a viral meme after getting blasted in the face by a foamy bottle of Champagne. Oh, and don’t even get us started on Weber, who let his mom, Barb, attack his former fling, Madison Prewett, on national television.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that The Bachelor is its own genre: fantasy that masquerades as reality. It’s not a gloomy, real-life documentary (you could say something like 90 Day Fiancé is a little too real), but it’s also not a science fiction mind-boggler like Westworld. The Bachelor is exactly what my brain needs to turn off. If the show wasn’t disappointing, it would be an entirely different beast and probably not as relaxing to watch since I know the stakes are so low.

So while a part of me cares if Peter Weber winds up with Hannah Ann Sluss, that’s not really the point. Instead, these shows confirm what I need to be reminded of: Things could be worse. I could be with Juan Pablo Galavis.


Senior Editor

Greta Heggeness is a California-based editor at PureWow and has been writing about entertainment since 2015. She covers everything from awards shows to exclusive celebrity...