by Stephanie Grossman, M.A.
Finally, after a 4-month hiatus, my (not so) guilty pleasure, The Bachelor, is back on the air! In a heavily produced environment, where female contestants are stripped of all electronic devices and reading materials, forced to think only of a sole love interest they don’t actually know, yet they are all competing for, unhealthy negative emotions run high. As the viewer, this provides the perfect type of dramatic entertainment, but for the contestants, distress is common. This wouldn’t have to be the case, though, if expectations were realistic and thoughts rational. If you examine this experience through an REBT lens, when contestants start exhibiting irrational beliefs, their emotional disturbance often leads them to engage in behaviors that cause them to gain a poor reputation, both in the eyes of the TV viewers, and of the Bachelor.
An example of this occurred in a recent episode, when one contestant began ruminating about the lack of time she had spent with the Bachelor. During a group date, she continued to wait her turn to try to get a few minutes to make a connection with the Bachelor, but by the end of the long night they still hadn’t spoken. She became angry, and as a result, she decided to “give up” on trying to talk to him, which of course did not lead her to her desired result. The next evening at the cocktail party, her last chance to connect with him before she might be sent home, her time with the Bachelor was interrupted by another contestant, who had not only spoken to him already that night, but also had an entire one-on-one date with him that week. Further, she already had a rose, which means she was guaranteed to stay another week! In Bachelor world, there is an unwritten rule that if you have a rose, you give what time remains to the women who don’t. As a result of this interruption, the contestant became very angry and lashed out at the woman who interrupted her. She believed that this other woman should not have interrupted her and that she deserved time with the Bachelor. Though it would have been polite to allow her this time, unfortunately, there is nowhere that it is actually written or guaranteed that she should have it. Instead of taking these more flexible attitudes, her unhelpful beliefs fueled her anger, resulted in an outburst, did not guarantee her a rose, and will likely have a negative impact on her chances of finding love on the show. If she were to recognize that there are no guarantees in Bachelor world, she may have been able to stand up for herself in an assertive manner, without disturbing herself, and maximized her chances of connecting with the Bachelor.