January 26, 2021
Finding True Love on "The Bachelor"
At long last, ‘The Bachelor’ is back on. And after watching last season’s lead, Peter Weber, struggle to make up his mind and flip-flop several times, fans are hopeful the next bachelor is actually “here for the right reasons.” But what are the right reasons? How many contestants actually find love while on the show? And does that love actually last?
Throughout the show's run, there has been plenty of heartache. We’ve seen former Bachelor couples that seemed unstoppable call off their engagements, sometimes only a few weeks after the show ends. Despite so few contestants actually finding love, the number of fans has actually increased year over year. The fantasy of finding “true love,” along with the show’s interesting twists, turns, and drama has kept fans eagerly tuning in each season.
To find out if it’s truly worth signing up for The Bachelor, our team took a look at the history and success rates of the show’s former couples. What we found may or may not change your thoughts on what it takes to be a contestant, but if you’re considering it, you’ll need to know everything about the show first.
ABC’s ‘The Bachelor’ first premiered in March 2002, with bachelor Alex Michel. At the time, it was an entirely new type of reality TV show. The Bachelor wasn’t afraid to show the “messy” parts of dating and was vastly different to earlier light-hearted dating shows like ‘The Newlywed Game’ and ‘The Dating Game.’
By the end of the first season, The Bachelor was among the most watched tv shows of the year and was the third most watched reality tv show behind American Idol and Survivor. The season finale may not have ended the way viewers wanted when Alex chose Amanda over fan-favorite Trista, but it still garnered 18 million viewers.
The Bachelor’s unique reality TV format would go on to inspire a host of spin-off shows including, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, and The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart. Because of the success of the first season and its spinoffs, there have been 25 seasons of the Bachelor and counting.
The show’s concept is fairly straightforward. One charming (and handsome) bachelor is introduced to 25+ beautiful female contestants, whom he will date and get to know throughout the show. During the six to nine weeks in which the couples date, the contestants live together at the Bachelor Mansion. To make things interesting, they are not permitted to leave the mansion on their own or have contact with the outside world. That means no phones or internet access.
Each week, the contestants go on a variety of group or individual dates with the bachelor to see if there is any chemistry. At the end of each episode, the bachelor chooses which contestants to advance and keep dating by giving them a symbolic rose. Those who do not receive a rose must go home immediately.
As the season progresses, the bachelor’s connection with some contestants grows deeper as their dates become more personal and frequent. Eventually, there comes a time when the bachelor must decide which contestant gets the final rose. More often than not, the rose is accompanied by a proposal where the two hope to live happily ever after. But as you’ll see from our research, they hardly ever do.
Contestants of the show must stay at the lavish resort known as the ‘Bachelor Mansion.’ During filming, they’re unable to leave these grounds or explore the city. They’re also prohibited from using their phones, internet, or television, or even reading magazines.
Season 17 contestant Leslie Hughes told The Daily Beast, "The only things I was allowed to keep were my journal and my Bible. We have nothing. We are completely cut off from the world. We have to talk to each other — we have nothing else to do." Contestants are also unable to see or talk to their families while on the show. Anything in the name of love, right?
While filming in exotic countries like St. Lucia, Peru, or Thailand, contestants are only allowed to leave their hotel rooms while on dates; sightseeing and excursions are not allowed. The same rules apply to the bachelor too. He isn’t permitted to have a phone, and it’s deemed a risk to let him wander.
Even after leaving the show, there are still several rules that must be followed. Contestants who are eliminated are required to see a psychiatrist to ensure they are not experiencing emotional distress. Contestants are also prohibited from discussing any events of the show for up to a year. This is of course to limit spoilers leaking prior to a new season.
There has been controversy over the years surrounding whether or not love on The Bachelor is real or fake for the cameras. Under real world circumstances, couples date without millions of viewers watching their relationship unfold. That time is spent getting to fully know one another and certainly not fighting with 25 other contestants for your partner’s attention.
This begs the question; how real can their love be? It turns out, very real, at least according to some past contestants. Our own research shows that 62.5% of bachelors end up eventually proposing to a contestant; however, only one engagement has turned into an actual marriage. Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici from The Bachelor Season 17 were married in 2014, and have three kids together.
We also discovered that after the show airs, the average relationship length is around nine months. It seems that even after the proposal, many couples are still trying to figure out who they are together.
If you still think the Bachelor is a good place to find love, the following are the requirements to join the cast.
First, you will have to make it through quite a few hurdles. There are the standard requirements: you must be 21 years old, a legal citizen of the United States or Canada, single for at least two months, and not be a convicted felon.
Contestants must also be willing to travel to exotic locations for weeks at a time and be physically fit enough for intense dates like skiing, skydiving, or roller skating. Because all contestants are required to commit to the show for nearly two months, they need to be financially stable enough to leave their job. For many people that means putting a career on hold or even quitting a job altogether. That’s a big risk for such a slim chance at finding ‘the one.’
Regardless of whether you find love on the show or not, there are many amazing experiences that can result from appearing on The Bachelor.
Some contestants are so popular they become social media influencers. The thousands of loyal fans they have attracted during their time on the show allow them to make serious money on Instagram. On this platform, they can easily make between $1,000 - $10,000 per social post. Annually, that means they can earn between $444,000 to $1.33 million a year, depending on their number of followers.
If you’re truly looking to find the love of your life, The Bachelor may not be the right choice. You have to sacrifice your job, possibly your sanity, and several weeks of your life for a very small chance of finding everlasting love. But if you’re looking to learn more about relationships, love, and possibly score a killer career as an influencer, it may just be worth a shot.