A tale as old as time. With the exception of Jason Mesnick and Arie Luyendyk Jr. — who married their runner-ups — Sean Lowe is the only male lead in the franchise’s history to walk down the aisle after finding love on The Bachelor. The Bachelorette, meanwhile, has helped create six (seemingly) long-lasting couples in a shorter period of time.
“Women are primed when we’re very young … We believe in fairy tales. We watched the Hallmark Channel, the romantic movies, you know, we’re already thinking about our weddings [at a young age],” Dr. Kristen Willeumier said on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast. “So, I think the Bachelorettes come on with a very clear purpose and intent. … And because there’s an extensive screening process that goes on to even be selected for the show, the men that they’re going to select for the women should be a really good match and should be ready to, you know, make that commitment. And, of course, we know not everybody can do that. But at least we’re seeing that commitment happen more on The Bachelorette.”
While the neuroscientist noted that the women leads may have more success on the series, it’s possible that they could be affected more by any social media backlash.
“Coming from a brain imaging world, women are more likely to struggle with anxiety and depression. So, women might have a harder time with it,” she told Us, noting that a contestant’s “psychological or psychiatric history” impacts how they handle social media hate.
“I think it takes a very special kind of person to be able to compete on one of these shows,” Willeumier explained. “You’re there, you have no access to media, your phone, connections with your friends. So, you’re in this little bubble — this isolated bubble — for these six weeks with people you don’t know. It’s a competition … you’ve got to entertain yourself. And No. 3, you’re there competing for one man or woman. And I think it takes a really special type of person to put themselves in that situation to handle that.”
Willeumier added that it’s likely contestants are falling in love from a “lust and chemistry perspective,” referring to the franchise as a “hyper-accelerated way of falling in love.”
She explained, “And I think that’s what attracts [viewers] to the show. We’re there rooting for love to prevail and to actually watch and see if these contestants can make it for the long haul.”