The Bachelorette finale last night may have actually been the most dramatic one yet. No, seriously. There is no irony in that statement. It was really freaking dramatic. The mood of Bryan's proposal was completely darkened by Rachel and Peter's intense, passionate breakup, which frankly made for some of the most genuinely devastating TV the Bachelor franchise has given us thus far. So let's pick our eyelashes off the floor and discuss WTF happened with Peter.
For much of the show, Peter was torn over whether or not he was ready to get down on one knee. Last night, the pressure to make a decision came to a head: He realized that as much as he loved Rachel and saw her as his wife one day, Peter just wasn't ready to propose, and that was that. But this begs the question: Peter, do you know how marriage works? You need to propose first. This isn't Monopoly. You can't just pass over GO.
Several matchmakers I spoke to actually think Rachel would have picked Peter over Bryan if Peter was ready. Nora Dekeyser, Matchmaker at ThreeDayRule.com, even believes Rachel is "definitely" still hurt by the whole thing: "I think she said the line about Peter not being ready for this type of show business in a salty way, as if she was still pretty hurt by the decision he made, as well as to try to persuade America not to want him as the next Bachelor."
Susan Trombetti, CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, believes that Rachel's disappointment over Peter was evident when she was distracted on her date with Bryan. But she also believes a key reason Rachel didn't pick Peter was because of the failure of her five-year relationship, which did not end in a proposal like she wanted. "I think Rachel's past determined her future. She wasted her time, and she wasn't going to do it again," Trombetti says.
"For Rachel, commitment-phobic men are a trigger," agrees Alessandra Conti, Celebrity Matchmaker at Matchmakers In The City. "One of her vows coming into the season was that she was not going to fall into the trap of falling for the 'Peter Pan' again (pun intended)."
We all wanted to believe Peter when he talked about how much he loved Rachel, even though he wasn't ready to marry her. But it's entirely possible that he just didn't love her enough, says Dekeyser. "Peter most likely has felt stronger feelings for women in his past, that he was closer to proposing to, and realized as much as he cared about Rachel, she wasn't the one for him."
Peter isn't unreasonable for needing more than two months to figure that out. Although Rachel didn't want to waste her time with another guy who wasn't sure what he wanted, two months isn't five years. I've needed more than two months to figure out if I like a guy, let alone make him my husband 'til death do me part. "If you had a friend that dated a guy for two months and he was ready to propose, I would worry about the validity of their relationship," Dekeyser says.
In the real world, it's true that men in committed relationships will often say they love a woman and want to marry her, but are scared of taking the next step to propose, says Lori Salkin, SawYouAtSinai.com Senior Matchmaker and Dating Coach. "Truthfully, deep inside, these men are boys and are terrified and end up needing more time. But with more time, these relationships become beautiful engagements and marriages, because they are premised on two people who truly love each other and took their time to develop those feelings and be sure they are ready to take the next step so it lasts forever."
But this isn't the real world. This is television. And Peter did not have the luxury of more time. "Peter knew how the show works, and still decided to deny the natural progression," Dekeyser says. Dekeyser actually believes Peter knew how the show worked so well that he got "caught up in the competition and pressure of winning another person over."
"People hate rejection (especially when it is aired on national television), so Peter tried to make Rachel like him as much as he could. Then, when he started realizing he could possibly win the show, he began to freak out a bit."
Conti, on the other hand, believes their relationship was real. "There was a very real connection there that not even the most skilled producers can fabricate," she says. Trombetti, too, believes Peter was "sincere." "Ultimately this is fantasy, and Peter knows they need to live in the real world," she says. "He realized this was a serious decision not to be made with the pressure of the producers. You shouldn't make a decision with lifelong implications based on a reality show where you invested two months."
Unfortunately, that's what you must do when agree to be on The Bachelorette. Anything less than "Will you marry me?" is rejection. And never before has a Bachelorette contestant learned that as hard as Peter did last night.
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