They say that falling in love is easy — and that’s probably totally true when you’re not doing it in front of millions of viewers. The Bachelor is a social experiment that gives us a glimpse into one lucky couple’s happily ever after and as we approach the finale of Season 25, Matt James is one step closer to giving away his final rose.
While it’s obvious that Matt has chemistry with a number of contestants, is he allowed to share his real feelings with them? Can the Bachelor say “I love you”?
Can the Bachelor ever say "I love you"? Some have, whether they were supposed to or not.
While there is no official rule that prohibits the Bachelor from professing his love to a contestant, sources reveal that showrunners warn against dropping the “L Bomb” until the final episode for obvious reasons. After all, you wouldn’t want to end up like Season 22 Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr., who told not one but three women that he loved them.
Although it is suggested that Bachelors avoid saying “I love you,” former leading men came up with some creative ways to rebuttal their potential partner’s expression of love. Season 17’s Sean Lowe told The Hollywood Reporter, “When you can’t say ‘I love you,’ you have to come up with other things, and apparently the only thing I could come up with is, ‘I’m crazy about you.”
This unwritten rule, which most other Bachelors have adhered to, didn’t stop series veteran Brad Womack from expressing his feelings for Emily Maynard, who appeared on Season 15. Fans were surprised to see that after Emily told Brad those three special words, he said them back.
Although the couple later broke off their engagement, we think we can all agree that it was an adorable moment nonetheless. Brad told Emily, “I didn’t expect that. I’m falling in love with you too. I’m not going to sit here and listen to that and not say anything back. It makes me the happiest guy in the world to hear you say the same thing.”
Along with Arie and Brad, Ben Higgins of Season 20 also broke ABC’s unspoken regulation by dropping the L-bomb on both Lauren Bushnell and JoJo Fletcher — a mistake that the former Bachelor says he wasn’t aware of until after the show ended. He told E! News, “I don’t know of a rule book, maybe there is one, maybe fans out there are hiding … I keep hearing he broke all the rules.”
He added, “They say, ‘Do this how you think you should do this,’ and you don’t always know the best answer to questions and sometimes you do develop feelings you don’t expect. What I committed to was expressing those feelings, but no one ever said, ‘Don’t do that, don’t do this!'”
Needless to say, it’s probably not the best idea to profess your love to a woman before you’ve decided if you want to be with her or her current roommate, which is exactly what happened after Chris Soules told Kaitlyn Bristowe and Becca Tilley that he loved them but ultimately gave his final rose to Whitney Bischoff in Season 19.
Luckily, there are some gentlemen in this world like Juan Pablo Galavis, who, even after choosing his leading lady, could only manage to say, “I like you … a lot."
The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.