Should ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’ No Longer End in Engagement?

The premise of The Bachelor revolves around ending the season in an engagement. Though that doesn’t always happen, it’s somewhat of an unwritten expectation, which carried on into The Bachelorette and even Bachelor in Paradise. However, the contestants have a very short amount of time to get to know the lead, and it’s not shocking that many aren’t ready for an engagement after a few months. Should the franchise change its expectations? Some fans think so.

[Spoiler alert: The Bachelorette Season 19 spoilers ahead.]

Nate and Michelle get engaged in Mexico during The Bachelorette.
Nate Olukoya proposes to Michelle Young on ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 18 | Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images

‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’ don’t always end with a proposal

It’s worth noting that there is no contractual requirement for The Bachelor/Bachelorette to end in a proposal (or even an “I love you”), as Bustle points out. While this has long been the show’s expectation, several seasons have ended without an engagement.

For example, Matt James ended his season of The Bachelor by giving Rachel Kirkconnell the final rose, but he did not propose to her. The pair agreed to continue dating but held off on an engagement. Jenn Schefft is the only Bachelorette not to leave her season engaged.

Should ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’ put less pressure on an engagement?

There is a lot of pressure placed on the Bachelor, Bachelorette, and their contestants to end their season in engagement, and perhaps it’s time for that to change. Many fans have pointed out that expecting people to propose after knowing someone for only a couple of months is completely unrealistic. In fact, it’s behavior that would set off alarm bells in the real world.

Additionally, the pressure to propose has led to some pretty big fights and breakups in Bachelor Nation. The Bachelorette Season 19 is in the heat of this drama at the moment. In the most recent episode, Rachel Recchia and Aven Jones broke up because Aven wanted more time before an engagement. Gabby’s final contestant Erich is also expressing doubts about proposing.

Understandably, these accelerated relationship timelines stop some contestants in their tracks, but engagement is the show’s expectation. Perhaps that’s something that needs to change. “I think this is an outdated aspect of the show that needs to be reviewed and revised,” one fan on Reddit wrote.

“It’s a tired way of creating pointless drama. I see nothing wrong with not having an engagement at the end and two people who like each other happily dating. After all, engagement is just dating with a ring.”

Some fans like the expectation of a proposal

Most viewers admit that things move incredibly fast on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. However, some argue that ending the season in an engagement is the whole point of the show. “I personally like the engagement at the end. Nothing about the show is realistic anyway, so whatever. It makes it feel way more high stakes,” one fan wrote.

“The Bachelor. Definition: a man who is not yet married. Without the marriage aspect, it’s really just like any other tv show,” another Reddit user said. “I understand how unrealistic it is and how high the failure rate is, but the sheer audacity of getting engaged to someone you’ve known for mere weeks is what makes it television.”

The Bachelorette Season 19 airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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