Is The Bachelor Sending The Wrong Message For Women Dating?

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

When The Bachelor premiered in 2002 I was 37 years old, so I wasn’t young, but I was still in touch with the whole dating scene, as I had only been married for a year or so. My ex-husband and I looked forward to every episode, rushed to the TV to catch the beginning (remember, it was the pre-DVR era), and could barely wait to see how things panned out, and which girl would get that fairytale engagement and happy ending.


I stopped watching The Bachelor a couple years later, and believe it or not, 14 years later, I’m once again watching The Bachelor, (season 20), thanks to my kids. So, now I’m a 50 year-old divorced woman, divorce blogger, and Love Essentially columnist who is tuning in weekly to a show about dating, relationships and love with my impressionable pre-teen daughter. And, I have to say I am cringing. A lot. Why?


Because one of the most important things I am teaching my daughter (drilling it in her head, actually) is being completely counterbalanced every Monday night. What is it? The importance of self-esteem. Let me explain.


The Bachelor consists of several twenty-something girls—all very attractive and successful, but who come with the typical insecurities of girls their age. Then you have this one guy who is picture perfect—the high school quarterback who grew up in a quaint town with nice parents, went to college and now has a successful career. Not to mention he’s very good-looking, charming, sweet and adorable.


But as perfect as Ben appears, I find it shocking that all of these girls are in love with him. What I mean by that is, they all THINK they are in love with him. How is that possible? Why is it that the girls have to hope Ben chooses them? Because that’s what the producers of The Bachelor want them to do? Because the girls want to “win” and become famous? Or, has each girl convinced herself that she honestly loves Ben? I mean, Ben is a catch, but how is it possible that every girl has fallen for him? (which is the case in every season of That Bachelor) It isn’t. Which means, some of the girls (probably most of them) are settling. And by the way, this is no reflection on Ben. But every girl cannot possibly think he is her soul mate. It’s impossible. That’s why I feel like it’s a scripted show that although is very entertaining, is sending a bad message to women, which is “You’re lucky if he chooses you.” It’s messing with women’s self-esteem.


Just once, I’d like to see one of the girls say to Ben, “You know what? You’re a nice guy, you’re cute, you’re smart, you’re kind, but you’re not right for me.” In other words, dig deep to find their self-esteem, take a deep breath, hold their shoulders back and break up. I guarantee if one girl—just one girl had the guts to be true to herself and do this, she would be a huge hit with viewers. She would land her own show and become America’s sweetheart—America’s independent, confident beauty who had the guts to do the right thing. The honest thing.



When women are dating (no matter what age) they often have the same mentality as the girls on The Bachelor. What I mean by that is, they go on dates with this attitude that they hope the guy likes them. “I hope he thinks I’m pretty. I hope he thinks I’m smart. I hope he wants to go out with me again.” And like The Bachelor, “I hope he chooses me.”


Why aren’t these women thinking, “I hope I like him. I hope we click. I hope have a lot in common. I hope I want to kiss him at the end of the night.” In other words, people with higher self-esteem are more focused on whether or not there is a match—not whether or not they will meet the expectations of their dates.


Dating at any age isn’t easy. I get that. But if you go into your dates with better self-esteem, a couple things will happen. First, the men will pick up on it and find you so much more attractive. And secondly, I’m not saying you should play games or be dishonest and pretend you don’t have interest in your dates, but having the guts to be honest with yourself and allowing yourself to “settle for more” (in the words of Megyn Kelly) will lead you to the man who is truly right for you.


I’m not sure which girl will get the final rose on this season’s The Bachelor, but I will say, I hope whoever she is really loves Ben, and not just the idea of “winning” the show or the satisfaction of knowing he chose her. The latter is probably the reason most of The Bachelor couples have broken up shortly after the show ended. Because once the competition (not to mention the beach vacation) is over, the girls probably realize they aren’t in love. And why is that? Hopefully because they realize they compromised something: their self-esteem.


Want Financial Security After Divorce?


Buy novels by Jackie Pilossoph
Listen to the Divorced Girl Smiling podcast View the DGS trusted divorce professionals! Divorced Girl Smiling is now offering a private, no-cost, one-on-one phone consult

Sign up for the Divorced Girl Smiling newsletter to get articles on divorce and dating.

Sign up


    Divorced Girl Smiling welcome video
    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

    3 Responses to “Is The Bachelor Sending The Wrong Message For Women Dating?”

    1. Bernhard Busse

      How degrading this show is to women what do the parents of these women think watching this on tv that he can screw whoever he wants

    2. Colleen D. France

      This article highlights the potential pitfalls of dating shows like “The Bachelor” and their impact on real-world expectations. It’s a compelling reminder that authenticity, communication, and genuine connections are key in the dating world, especially for single parents who are navigating this journey with added responsibilities. An insightful read that encourages us to approach dating with a more grounded perspective.


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *