Tag Archives: the bachelor

Fear and Bonding in Los Angeles

13 May


Los Angeles- the center of celebrity living- is the backdrop for many reality TV dating shows.  Regardless of where a reality dating show is located, there tends to be some commonalities in the psychological processes that transpire.  One trick that reality dating shows often use to induce affection and bonding in their participants is creating a sense of fear.  I’ve seen this strategy used frequently on the Bachelor and Bachelorette television shows.  For example, in the last season of the Bachelor Jake and Vienna went bungee jumping on their first date.  When people experience a sense of fear or extreme excitement, their body starts pumping adrenalin and other catecholamines, as well as the stress hormone, Cortisol, through the body in massive quantities.  This pumping of catecholamines and stress hormones leads to romantic bonding.

Researchers have begun to find out exactly what happens in the body when people fall in love.  Endocrinologists have cited these very chemicals as being responsible for the creation of romantic love between two people during normal courtship.  If these chemicals are naturally produced during the normal period of romance between two people, imagine what happens when two people are put in a situation in which these chemicals are pumped into their bloodstream in exponential quantities.  Engaging in extremely exciting and fearful situations sets the stage for romantic love between two people, even if they might not normally fall for each other (as in Jake and Vienna, possibly?).  The Bachelor and Bachelorette television producers must be aware of this process because they seem to put their contestants into many fear-producing situations (the bungee jumping date is a common one).

This process that takes place in the human body to create a sense of bonding and romantic love also occurs in other situations in which people feel a sense of risk, excitement or fear.  For example, when two people feel they must hide their relationship from others (work, family, etc.) these chemicals are released at an increased rate.  Think about when people have affairs and hide their relationship from their partners- a similar process is occurring there, too.

Although fear can set the stage for an increased likelihood of romantic bonding between people, it does not ensure an ever-lasting relationship.  Another aspect of romantic love that researchers have found out is that it lasts, on average, a year.  So what does this all mean?  Although being involved in fearful situations may increase the natural bonding process between two people, it takes much, much more to make a relationship last.  So although Jake and Vienna got a boost in their initial romantic courtship, courtesy of the Bachelor producers, only time will tell if they have the other multitude of factors needed to make a long-lasting romantic relationship work.

“Nice Guy” Bachelor: Real TV or Real Life?

23 Feb


Jake Pavelka, the current Bachelor on the ABC series, has made comments about breaking the adage that “Nice guys finish last.” It appears that Jake is hoping that this reality show will be the platform that will enable him to overcome his difficulty in finding “the right one” and meet a woman that he can settle down with and marry. When Jake was a contestant on the Bachelorette with Jillian, he was turned down for being “too perfect.” My guess is “perfect” is code boring and dis-ingenuine. This season Jake still seems “too perfect.” But is he really?

Obviously something has gotten in the way of Jake finding love and settling down up to this point. On television Jake comes across as a “nice” guy with his big grin and conservative values. One may assume that he wants another smiling woman with similar conservative values. However, Jake continues to pick Vienna week after week as a woman he may want to marry. This seems in such contrast with what people would expect from him. Is this a reality show set up (as in producers encouraged him to keep her on for the drama) or is he really considering her as a potential mate?

So is Jake really the nice guy who finishes last, as he proclaims?  His niceness seems over-the-top and insincere. It’s not just his words that indicate this, but his facial expressions, too. He is always smiling.  Even when is talking about something painful. Jake seems to be someone who covers up his real emotions with a smile. He gives cheesy lines and is not congruent with how he’s really feeling. His intention may be to be a “nice guy,” but he’s trying so hard at it that he is likely stuffing down his true emotions.  He doesn’t want to risk showing any emotions that others may deem acceptable. If this is Jake’s pattern, then it makes sense why his past relationships haven’t worked. When people mask their true emotions and stuff their true feelings they often end up feeling resentful of their partner and the relationship falls apart. Also, this incongruence between the situation and his facial expression indicates to his partner that he is not genuine and people probably find it difficult to make a real connection with him.

How do you make a connection with someone who is not being true to their feelings? You end up connecting to the “fake” them, and not the real person. The lesson for Jake is that confrontation is not necessarily a bad thing. It is important to directly express to your partner your feelings- good and bad. And to be less concerned with appearances and more authentic with your true self. Only time will tell if Jake will reveal his true self, and if he will no longer be “the nice guy who finishes last.”