Full disclosure: I watch “The Bachelor”. Not because I love watching 23-year-olds cry over spilled champagne, but because it gives me something to discuss with my girlfriends during the week over group chat. A light, witty, question-laden discussion in which I can forget for a moment how my toddler took 20 minutes to put on his shirt by himself this morning and how frustrated I felt about it. That’s the reason, ladies, that I watch “The Bachelor”.
Actually, there’s one more reason - it’s my partner. As much as my husband would probably like to deny it, he wants to know as much as I do why Pilot Pete continues to offer certain women roses week after week, despite the many red flags that have us shouting at the screen. When he joins me on the couch halfway into an episode, asking questions and offering little quips about the contestants, I’m reminded that at the end of the day we’re not just teammates going through pros and cons lists for preschools - we’re friends.
When 99% of our conversations with our partners turn into logistical meetings about toddler birthday party invites, or when our little one last pooped, it can be really hard to get out of that routine. It becomes even harder when we add our own separate lives to the mix. Getting out of the house for a yoga class can help us feel fulfilled yet take us away from our families at the same time. It’s a super conflicting feeling, because as much as I want and need independence, I also crave that sense of belonging - that feeling that I’m with my people.
Which is why I really do enjoy watching “The Bachelor”. Because as strange as it sounds, that’s what Pilot Pete and his gaggle of 20-somethings are giving me each week - a sense that there’s someone in my life who wants to sit with me on the couch and share a moment together that’s not devoted to figuring out the intricacies of the 2-year-old mind, but rather a moment of light-hearted fun. And I use that moment to fuel me through hard moments later in the week when we don’t have a chance to connect. It may not sound like much, but having something silly to share with my husband outside of our love and affection for each other and our family has brought us together in a way that I’ve missed for a while now, and I’m so grateful for those moments shared on the couch.
Rachelle Aiello is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and founder of Pacific Parent Counseling who is passionate about helping couples through the transition to parenthood. She is the mom of a spunky 2-year-old and loves reading actual books in addition to watching lots of great TV to unwind.