Stats Say Love on 'The Bachelor' Lacks Staying Power

After 40 seasons, including spinoff 'The Bachelorette,' only 8 couples stuck together
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2024 5:30 AM CDT
Stats Say Love on 'The Bachelor' Lacks Staying Power
This image released by ABC shows Gerry Turner, left, and Theresa Nist in a scene from the romance competition series "The Golden Bachelor."   (John Fleenor/ABC via AP)

Of the 40 couples joined by a final rose on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette series, not too many have gone on to live in marital bliss. Per the New York Times, only eight are still together, a paltry 20% success rate. And while a new spin on the franchise, The Golden Bachelor, promised to breathe life into the premise, the winning couple's subsequent marriage lasted only 100 days. "That breakup felt like the last straw in believing this franchise could foster lasting love," laments writer Shivani Gonzalez. Forbes reports that ratings have seen a nosedive as that very promise of true love seems more and more like a sham. With the exception of Season 23 in 2019, viewership has gone down steadily each year since 2017.

And even after a small rebound in the most recent offering (which ended in March), Season 28's finale was still the second-least watched of all time. "Unlike other popular reality dating shows, the franchise markets itself as a genuine chance to find love without any other incentives like cash prizes," Gonzalez writes. So what makes finding true love on a reality show that sells happily-ever-after so difficult? She spoke to past contestants, and their reasoning made a lot of sense:

  • Lack of choice: The show's format makes the main bachelor or bachelorette spoiled for choice, while the rest of the cast sets their sights on falling for one complete stranger, creating an imbalance. "When you're in that Bachelor bubble, all you do is focus on and be brainwashed toward that person," Tyler Cameron, a runner-up on The Bachelorette, told the Times.
  • A fairy-tale foundation: Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe cited the fantasy dates as a poor way to ground couples in the real world, saying "the relationship is so built up and put on a pedestal."
  • Post-show separation: Bachelorette Tayshia Adams told the Times that once filming wraps, the engaged couple can't be seen together in order for the finale to remain a secret. "It's not normal for people to get engaged and then be like, 'Bye, gotta go, I'll see you later. Oh, I don't even have your cellphone number yet,'" she said.
  • Life outside the bubble: Contestants on the show come from all over, so in the end, plain old logistics could spell doom. Someone most likely needs to upend their home and career to live with their future spouse, which Bristowe says can be "a recipe for a failed relationship."
(Contestants won't love this, either: Another GOP leader wants to end no-fault divorce.)

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