Jason, the Bachelor, and Dysfunctional Bonding

bachelor1So Jason had a change of heart, dumped the woman he picked, and begged Plan B to take him back. I am referring to the latest Bachelor, and — for all my fundamentalist friends, don’t take this post as an endorsement.

If you haven’t seen it, the Bachelor is presented with 25 beautiful women, and over time dates them, rates them, all but mates them and sends them packing. One by one, they bid tearful farewells. The harem grows smaller till the Bachelor, in this case a likeable, ultra-sensitive single dad named Jason, has winnowed the pen down to two.

The chosen ones compete for Jason’s affection, till, in an emotionally charged finale, he picks “the winner” who gets to marry him… but only after he shreds the heart of “the loser” who rides off in a limousine strategically devoid of Kleenex.

bachelor4The drama is addictive.  The pain is palpable.  The joy is real. The dysfunctional portrayal of love is positively corrupting. Hence, this post.

The Bachelor makes a fundamental error in its definition of love. Love, as described in Scripture, is the outflowing of self-giving respect from one person to another. It depends on the lover more than the beloved. Yes, romantic love adds in affection, and chemistry, and the X-factor or whatever you call it… but recognizes that those elements wax and wane over time.  Paul advises, “Love never fails.” Apparently Jason didn’t get the memo.

After proposing to Melissa and casting off Molly, the real dating began. Off camera, long distance, just two people “in love”. Jason realized he made a terrible mistake (as Molly predicted), and in a stunning TV reversal ditched Melissa that he might beg Molly to take him back.  “Maybe we can go out for coffee.”  This, to the woman who straddled him almost naked and slathered him with oil.

In one minute, months of goodwill evaporated as Jason displayed the emotional indecisiveness that unquestionably elicited shouts of, “See!  I told you so…” from his ex-wife.

What gives?  What happens on the Bachelor that creates such weird love?

The answer:  adulterated bonding.

Jason–along with every other Bachelor and Bachelorette–said, “I never expected to fall so deeply in love with two women.”

Ahem. When you rub and suck face and go to romantic spots and laugh and snuggle and… you will bond.  Bonding is not that magical, sorry to burst any bubbles here.  It is the predictable outcome of bonding behaviors.  The show’s format forces bonding behaviors between one man and multiple women. All the women bond with Jason.  Jason bonds with all the women… and the bonds only grow tighter as the show ratchets up the sexual tension.

When you adulterate wine, you dilute it with water.

When you adulterate love, you dilute it with multiple bonds.

In fact, these bonds can haunt you for a long time… for a lifetime.  That’s why Molly, before she got the news that Jason ditched his fiance, Melissa, said that she “hadn’t gotten over” Jason. For some apparently inexplicable reason, she couldn’t “wash that man right out of her hair.”

When I’ve counselled couples with a cheating spouse, I hear the same refrain… “We never meant this to happen… IT just happened…”  Beware of the nameless IT.  Attention people earth:  you are not the victim of IT or of any magical force beyond your control.  If you do bonding bahaviors. your soul, your spirit, your mind, your imagination will forge bonds.  Weave enough threads of affection, and soon you’ll have an untearable fabric.

That’s what the Bachelor creates with multiple partners. By design.

bachelor3And that, is the fundamental fallacy–the corrupting fallacy–about this show. God designed us to bond with one woman/man for a lifetime.  The feelings of affection come and go, but if you keep doing the actions that create a bond, you’ll weave a fabric that no one can rend asunder.

Maybe God knew what he was talking about when he said, “Don’t commit adultery” and applied it equally to body and mind.  Don’t water down your single bond. Don’t adulterate your affection.  Don’t dilute your love.

All you’ll get is more craziness than you can handle, a lifetime of needless drama, and a top-rated TV show.

Welcome to America’s race to the bottom.



12 thoughts on “Jason, the Bachelor, and Dysfunctional Bonding

  1. What sorts of things do you think cause bonding between a man and a woman? I mean the type of bond that makes it so you can’t just wash them right out of your hair…..

  2. Thanks so much for the review of “The Bachelor” which should be called “The Batch-a-lot,” according to your description of multiple bonding behaviors.

    Now I truly will NOT watch this show (which wasn’t of interest to me in the first place) because I’m not in a hurry to reach the “bottom” along with the rest of America. Thanks for the warning.

  3. I’ve watched the show a total of two or three times over the course of however many seasons it has been broadcast. It always bothers me deeply, something I can’t put into accurately descriptive words.

    You’ve worded this post very well. In addition to all of these things, I can’t wrap my mind around how those women would allow themselves to be treated as they are… you would think their ego would not allow them to ‘compete’ for a man who is taking every single one of them out, kissing them, and doing God knows what off camera.

    I really don’t get that show. It makes my stomach hurt.

  4. AMEN!!! Also, to deliberately devastate someone …on NATIONAL TELEVISION….by dumping them AFTER you’ve proposed to them is just so wrong..there aren’t even words!!! It is so incredibly selfish and cold!!!

    ABC & America calling that entertainment…just keeps reaching all time lows. “Race to the bottom” is a great definition of it!

  5. James… love “polygadating”. Right on.

    Wolfshowl… great question. The following behaviors cause a bond to form: intimate conversation, touching, sex, making out, shared intense experiences, even intimate shared prayer times… Basically, any time you do relational stuff with each other, that is not task oriented, you will build a bond. The more intense the activity, the faster the bond forms. That’s why old-fashioned people used to have chaperones on their dates… to keep us from forming bonds that will, in the end, break our hearts.
    Thanks for the question, and I hope that helps.

  6. Bill…

    Sad to say, I saw the season finale episode and the subsequent developments as you just described.

    My first thought was that this Jason was sociopathic (note, I did not say psychopathic), because he was able to control the way these woman both thought and felt by the precise choice of words at the right time. He did this with the perfect timing, glibness, and sincerity (and he incorporated the responses of the two women in his reasonings, which provided “feedback-loop” credibility). I wondered — in the back of my mind — whether or not Jason’s ulterior motive was not, in fact, brokering another episode (how many hundreds of thousands in revenue would that generate?) that would feed the reality TV demand for more kitsch drama. Deep down (and I have 20 years of criminal investigative experience) my hunch was that this guy was professional. These women could have been anyone, and he would have said the same lines… The sociopath is out for #1, and others are simply pawns in the game. No one dies in these chessgames of life; however, many people get hurt.

    You know what bothered me? (Let’s assume I am wrong for a moment about Jason being sociopathic.) If his relationship with Melissa turned out to be so shallow after six weeks, why would not Molly think that the same Jason would not be so flighty and be so shallow with her? In other words, notwithstanding he was “following his heart,” Melissa (first woman) indicated that he had lied to her, and this was without cause or reason. Why, then, would he not lie as well to Molly (if he was experiencing the same “love” feelings he had just had with Melissa)? My guess is that — like Melissa — he is going to “love” Molly, but he will not like her, and she will not like him (despite the declarations that they “love” one another)… which brings me to my last point.

    I find the “one flesh” bonding concept quite interesting. The pastor of Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, wrote a small book on this principle, “Coming to Grips with your Sexual Past” (Chicago: Moody, 1991). In this small text, Lutzer outlays how illicit bonding enslaves us to people, addictions, and lifestyles (by-products include guilt and shame)… Lutzer’s point was that illicit bonds disaffect our judgment with the results in terms of lost time, lost opportunity, health, finances, and worst of all, distruction within those legitimate relationships in life (family, spouse, children) and with our Lord…

    This is precisely why Jason can “love” Melissa, and yet not like her! The result is to “love” someone else, i.e., Molly… Let’s wish them well.


  7. May I be so bold as to predict that the pattern with Jason and his current newest infatuation will repeat itself. If these girls (notice he targets younger women) were to think about it they would understand that his character is ongoing and predictable.

    What bothers me most is that as a nation we keep watching and expecting a different result.

  8. Here’s a thought(not advocating this tv show’s way of doing things)…God instituted in His Own Eternal Torah… and a provision for polygamy…by his own standards…Torah is not to be changed…Yet men did… The provisions were for a man to be able to support more than one wife and take care of each family(different from modern day Mormon polygamy)…it even speaks of if you hate your first wife that the inheritance will still go to the firstborn…not to the child of the loved wife… and adultery in Torah… only a man sleeping with a married woman… again…Torah is not to be changed… Deutoronomy 13 and 18…The prophecy speaks of a day where many women will want to marry a man… Check it out…The OT is very interesting when you read it…There are also movements toward the return of polygamy… People seem unaware of so many things about God and what he instituted…. Remember the Patriarchs…they had many wives…Israel came from 4 of them.

    Justification(did somebody change Torah?)

  9. Regarding Solomon…The king was not supposed to take multiple wives… another thing in Torah.

  10. Justification:

    Thank you for mentioning the use of the Torah. But Torah also includes Genesis, which includes Adam and Eve being united in one flesh, which Jesus indicated is the ultimate model for marriage and relationships, thus being superior to what comes later in the Torah. God made provisions that were not always ideal, and the polygamy of the Patriarchs was a case-in-point.

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