Love Lessons from the Bachelorette: This Can’t be Love?

By Dr. Bonnie Kennan, MFT


Come on, admit it. You watched it, I know you did.


This confession comes out in the privacy of my therapy office more than you can imagine: On Monday night you curled up in front of the TV, grateful to have survived another Monday, popcorn in hand, and watched the gut-wrenching saga of Des’ and her final choice between Chris and Drew. This followed a tear-soaked shocker the week before when Brooks (isn’t this a first in Bachelorette history?) left stunningly picturesque Antigua and a decimated Desiree because he wasn’t feeling it.


The viewers went mad with speculation: Would Brooks change his mind and come back? (He didn’t). Would Desiree go home? (She didn’t). And could she possibly turn one of the two also-rans into the Prince Charming that The Bachelor franchise promises? Well, yes, she did.


Now to the part that interests me, a couple’s therapist.


Could Desiree actually go from being utterly broken hearted and devastated one day by Brooks’ rejection to being in love and willing to say yes to Chris’ proposal the next? YES.


Those who were listening carefully heard Desiree repeatedly confess “I have never been loved by someone who loved me”. In psychological terms, Desiree has always been the pursuer in relationships. (The reasons for this could be found in a close look at her family of origin, but we will save it for another piece.) A “pursuer” is naturally drawn to a”distancer.”


A good pursuer and distancer can have the same fight about closeness and distance, or their preferred patterns of intimacy, over and over. While these two types are magnetically drawn to each other, it can be a long and difficult struggle. Had Brooks stuck around for the final rose ceremony, it would have likely gone the way of oh-so-many other disappointed singles who auditioned for the show for “all the right reasons.”


Now, the real question: I’m thinking the lyrics of the old Rogers & Hart song: “This can’t be love because I feel so well, no sighs, no sorrows, no highs…. ….. This can’t be love, I get no dizzy spells…..” Can Chris, the wordsmith poet, Dudley Do-Right, nice guy really catch the beautiful girl and create the real deal? YES.


So it is TV, and who knows what is real? But I’ll put my money on Desiree and Chris and this is why: She’s a smart lady and can use this national-TV heart-break wisely.


She will realize that either Brooks brought some integrity to this when he took himself out of the running, or he was doing what distancers do: Distance. Either way, it doesn’t matter. That is for him and his therapist, not his ex-girlfriend functioning as an unpaid social worker. Desiree is too smart to take on that role.


But mostly, she will learn this: Now is the time to stop knocking on walls of unavailable, distancing men and open your heart to the sweet gem of a man who is right before your eyes, promising to be there forever. Maybe he really will. Stay tuned…..