The somewhat inevitable has finally happened: "The Bachelor" Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell have broken up.
Yes, we're all half-ironically/half-seriously heartbroken over this, but all diehard fans knew that Ben and Lauren's relationship wasn't exactly the greatest. Lauren struggled with jealousy over JoJo, and Ben didn't express an interest in getting married any time soon, which really upset Lauren since he, um, proposed.
Also, the spinoff show based on their relationship ended with a question mark. A question mark.
So, Elite Daily spoke to Alessandra Conti, a high-profile matchmaker based in Beverly Hills, and Susan Trombetti, CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, about why Ben and Lauren were literally never destined for happily ever after in the first place.
Basically, if you didn't already, you should have seen this coming.
1. "The Bachelor" isn't real.
All right, let's start with the obvious: "The Bachelor" isn't real.
Now, PERSONALLY, I believe love can be born out of any circumstance, and "The Bachelor" is no exception (#sorryNOTATALLsorry).
However, the rational side of my brain knows that producers plan dates that involve a perfect combination of adrenaline and aggressive romance so as to trigger feelings of "love," much like a sixth grader mixes baking soda with liquid detergent in a paper mache volcano to produce an explosion at a science fair.
So the fact that Ben and Lauren were a match made on "The Bachelor" means they were "a farce, pretty much," Trombetti says.
She felt it was "obvious" that the two weren't ready for marriage. (Ben, in particular, openly wasn't.) But the producers rushed them, just to nail that "TV engagement."
"'The Bachelor' franchise is a show for ratings as we all know. We like to believe love is that easy to come by, but it isn't. ['The Bachelor'] doesn't spawn marriages made in heaven, but more romance in a utopian dating situation," she says.
2. Ben told JoJo he loved her.
It is totally unprecedented for any "Bachelor" to say "I love you" to two women. But as we all know, Ben broke that sacred unsaid rule.
Conti calls this "the detrimental mistake" and believes Lauren was "rightfully" justified in her struggle to get over it. "Beginning a relationship with a man being in love with two women is tough; having the whole world know about it is nearly impossible," she says.
Lauren even held onto her resentment during the "After the Final Rose" episode of JoJo's season, when she and Ben were asked to make an appearance. You see Lauren's anger very clearly in the premiere of "Happily Ever After?":
3. Fame destroyed them.
Conti believes Ben and Lauren's decision to do another reality show ("Happy Ever After?") was the "kiss of death." "Ben and Lauren as a couple were so new, they had not even technically been exclusive before they were engaged; he was also casually dating 25 other women," she says.
The strongest couples that I have seen have been couples who had forged their own identities independently of one another. When they merged, they had already experienced the growing pains that fame can bring, so they were much more resilient to the tabloids and scrutiny that any public couple faces.
Trombetti says Lauren and Ben did last longer than a lot of other "Bachelor" couples, but she agrees that fame definitely hurt them. "They seem like great people who really could have made it, but then the celebrity life under a microscope following their relationship everywhere intervenes on top of it," she says.
"As cliché as it sounds, fame does genuinely change everyone that it graces," Conti says.
4. Lauren quit her job for Ben.
Before "The Bachelor," Lauren was a flight attendant, which made her "attractive," says Conti. "She traveled the world, saw different countries and had a variety of experiences that she could share with Ben."
But once she got engaged, she stopped being a flight attendant and changed her whole life, not only to move to Colorado to live with Ben, but to revolve her world around him.
"Her image became dependent on her relationship with Ben," Conti says. "She was now an influencer, she could focus on social media and public appearances to make her money, but the problem with this is that her work became her love life."
Not all of Lauren's Instagram posts included a reference to Ben, but she definitely mentioned him in a lot of her posts, Conti says. "She needed to sprinkle anecdotes alluding to Ben."
5. Their social media posts about each other were dwindling.
If you look at both of their Instagrams, there aren't many recent pictures of the two of them as a couple, which is a warning sign to Trombetti. "They haven't posted on social media for a bit about each other," she says.
Lauren's last picture of her and Ben is from March 30 (with a random one of him in a group shot thrown in, with a caption "Family<3," on April 16 that he ISN'T EVEN TAGGED IN), and Ben's last picture of him and Lauren is from April 16 (with a solo shot of her holding a baby that he posted on April 25, just to keep us GUESSING).
Now, this is NOT to say that posting photos on Instagram is indicative of the success of a relationship for a regular person like you and me. But when the success of your relationship is your moneymaker, it's pretty telling when, all of a sudden, you just stop obsessing over each other on social media.
6. Their communication patterns sucked.
Everyone who watched "Happily Ever After?", including myself, knew something strange was going on between them, and Conti agrees.
Watching the series was painful because of their dynamic. Even when they simply were grocery shopping, Lauren would belittle Ben, telling him that he was embarrassing her when he got a little goofy in the store. If a couple cannot embrace different elements of each others personalities, it will inevitably cause resentment.
Honestly, the entire show was just scene after scene of Lauren acting really weirded out by anything Ben said and did. She hardly ever thought his antics were funny — and experts say sharing a sense of humor is the number one most important thing to a lasting relationship.
7. Ben was kind of boring.
"Ben seems a little vanilla. Tinder chicks would chew him up and spit him out," Trombetti says.
Yeah, Ben wasn't exactly known for being the most... interesting "Bachelor" out there. New York Magazine's Vulture nicknamed Ben "Oatmeal" and continued to call him that in each of their reviews. And people on Twitter constantly talked about how boring he was.
Poor Ben. So boring.
Who knows if Ben could even have dreamed up some of these romance-filled dates on his own, much less if he could have sustained this level of romance on the show? That in itself must make it hard to transition to a couple.
OK, this wasn't necessarily Ben's fault. Producers were choosing dates that NO "Bachelor" could have ever come up with. But, still. Ben's attempts at romance without ABC's help deeeeefinitely fell flat. Where's Chris Harrison when you ACTUALLY need him?
"Bachelor in Paradise," anyone?