On the Dec. 21 episode of The Bachelorette, Tayshia dealt with a double whammy in surprises when her front runner Brendan decided to go home before their Fantasy Suite date and former suitor Ben returned to profess his love after being sent home on the previous episode.
Despite winning the hearts of Bachelor Nation with his sweet earnestness and genuine affection for Tayshia, Ben displayed a real difficulty in expressing himself in a way the Bachelorette could understand. He frequently found himself at a loss for words, while his confessionals revealed he was practically overflowing with emotions. When he surprised Tayshia by appearing outside her room, he told her he loved her and understood her frustrations with his inability to express himself earlier. Overwhelmed, Tayshia asked for a moment alone as she retreated into her bedroom, asking an unseen producer what she was supposed to do. The episode ended with the producer saying, “It’s up to you,” which is all well and good, but not especially helpful.
I understand why Ben wanted to come back to speak with Tayshia — I was one of the people rooting for him during his original run on the show. The two of them had a strong connection, but that isn’t a good enough reason for Ben to ignore the fact that Tayshia bid him goodbye and went on with the rest of her relationships. He isn’t even the first person to do so this season; Bennett was the first suitor to make a return after being eliminated only a few episodes ago, and he gave a nearly identical spiel as Ben. He told Tayshia he felt something for her that he had never felt before and didn’t want to let their chance at a relationship go. For something that seems incredibly romantic in movies and books, in the reality of The Bachelorette, it’s a lot more frustrating than swoon-worthy.
When a Bachelorette (or a Bachelor) decides not to give someone a rose, their journey ends there. The lead (in this case, Tayshia) made the best decision for them, which meant ending their relationship with that suitor. There are other contestants whom the lead wants to pursue a relationship with, and that is their choice. When a contestant comes back after being eliminated, they’re disregarding that decision because they don’t like it. They’re essentially demanding that the lead either reject them again or cater to their feelings instead of accepting that the lead knows what they want for themself. When Ben came back and told Tayshia he loves her and wants a second chance, he was asking her to ignore the call she made after assessing where their relationship was, what she needed from him, and what he was able to give her. That isn’t fair to Tayshia, and it’s not fair to the men whom Tayshia kept on because she felt they were better suited as partners for her.
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