"The Bachelor" has become a cultural obsession and an American phenomenon. I'm sure my future grandchildren's children will read all about it in digital history books when they're in some sort of robot-taught digital school.
You know why we love "The Bachelor" so fiercely? Because, babes, it's filling the empty voids.
We can work through our dating failures, our sick behavioral patterns, our self-sabotaging, love-obsessed, pathetic behavior in the safe haven of our studio apartments, carton of ice cream in hand, cat curled up on our knee, hair in an unflattering top knot and recklessly judge the contestants without having to actually put ourselves out there.
It fulfills our human desire to date, without us actually having to date. It's sort of like holding up a mirror, but rather than looking inside of it, we can point it to the dating mistakes of others and avoid gazing into our own reflections.
But last night, I was triggered during the finale of "Bachelor in Paradise" ("The Bachelor" spin-off). Nick Viall cut the chord with Jen Saviano, who he'd been dating on the show, and admitted "The scary part is feeling I'm incapable of saying 'I love you' to anyone." (Read the full recap here.)
What a cop-out, kittens. No one is incapable of saying "I love you."
We all have a trillion excuses as to why we're incapable of loving our partners back. "I'm not ready." "I'm emotionally scarred from my last relationship." "I was traumatized as a child."
The list goes on and on. And I've said them all.
I'm a former fuckgirl, and I don't fall easily. In fact, until recently, I authentically thought I was a major commitment-phobe with deep-seeded issues.
"What's wrong with you?! She is so perfect!" my mother would bark to me after I broke up with another "amazing-on-paper" girl.
"I don't know," I would lament like a sad puppy.
And I really thought I was the problem. I saw therapists. I saw tarot card readers and fortune tellers. I got B12 shots and went on god damn juice cleanses (trying to ~cleanse away~ the demon that made it impossible for me to love).
All that guarded horse shit washed away once I was in real love.
I went from not being able to feel love (let alone say it) to having to clasp my hand over my mouth to stop myself from screaming "I LOVE YOU" at the top of my eager lungs.
And I've seen it in my friends. I've seen it in the biggest fuckboys who were such reckless players, they claimed they could never be with just one person. I've even seen it with people who've rejected me. All of a sudden, these hot-to-trot, perpetual hookup enthusiasts become the most loyal monogamists.
There was once this girl I was super into, but she wasn't into me. I mean, in hindsight, I was probably into this woman because she was so disinterested in me.
Anyway, one night, over a glass of champagne, she told me, "I'm sorry, I'm just not ready to date." And I made myself feel better when I went home alone that night by saying she rejected me because she's just "not ready for love."
But all of these excuses are just noise, kittens. They aren't real excuses. Because exactly three weeks later, the bitch was deeply in love with someone else. A pretty blonde girl was splattered all across her Instagram.
Anyone who has ever been in real love will tell you it's a force greater than you, and it's so powerful that all of your walls will come tearing down, whether you're "ready" for it or not.
In fact, you might not be ready for love. You might screw it up because your heart is still damaged. But you're still going to feel it regardless. It might even scare you, but the magnitude of your love will always trump your fear of commitment.
It might even scare you, but the magnitude of your love will always trump your fear of commitment.
So, should poor Jen be sad that Nick just didn't love her? No. She should be happy. Ecstatic, even. She just avoided marrying a dude who will have an inevitable affair. Because, in the end, people who marry without being in love always have affairs.
And if she believes Nick when he says he wasn't "ready" to get engaged, she will still hold on. She will secretly hope that he will work through his shit and come running back to her.
But no amount of therapy can convince someone to be in love with you if they just aren't. Because Nick didn't love her. If he did, he'd be able to say it.
That should set Jen free. Life is too short to try and convince someone to love you. Love is difficult, even if both parties are equally in love. You need a baseline of fiery, real, unforced love if you want a successful relationship.
Otherwise, you will just end up in a sexless relationship, hoping you don't get caught screwing the pool boy without your distracted husband finding out.