Hello hello hello and welcome to Bachelor fans, fans of Bridgerton and the Crown who were hoping Queen Victoria was just really into historical cosplay, and the Bachelor Nation therapist, who is EARNING their overtime.

If you’re new here:

We’re working to examine and call out our culture of relationships that we see under a microscope in the petri dish that is Bachelor Nation.  Check out our weekly Facebook Live video (catch up by watching old videos on our Youtube channel!) to hear all our thoughts and let us know what you’re thinking about this week! Don’t forget, you can always follow along with us on Twitter too! (@Safe_PassageDV)

If you’re wondering the theme of Matt’s Bachelor Season so far:

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Mean Girls

If you were hoping to hear us rant about Victoria…we don’t even know what to say. Actually, we know EXACTLY what to say, but it’s too much. We’ll start with this: love, success, happiness, and life are not and SHOULD NOT be a zero sum game. You don’t get ahead by putting others down. There is room for all of us.

Moving on to our main rant: manipulation and threats. When we think about threats that might be present in an abusive or unhealthy relationship, we might think about physical threats like “if you don’t do what I want, I’ll hurt you.” And those threats are, of course, frightening. But we often see other kinds of threats in relationships that we don’t think about being abusive or unhealthy. We saw a glimpse of this in Matt’s relationship with Sarah and we’ve seen this as a consistent trope throughout the many seasons of the Bachelor/Bachelorette. One contestant (in this case, Sarah) falls hard and fast for the lead and as they realize they are still just one of many relationships, they threaten to leave in order to get the validation they need from the Bachelor.

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Remember our last villain Victoria? She was a great example of this trope.

Now Sarah may not have done this intentionally (and she certainly faced more flack than was fair from the other women), but we can see this pattern in unhealthy relationships: threatening to leave or questioning the commitment of your partner in order to get the validation you need. In Bachelor World, that looks like telling the lead, “I’m just not sure I can do this anymore” and when the lead reassures you that they REALLY want you there, you feel more comfortable staying and building that relationship. Is that abusive? No, of course not. Can it be the starting point of normalizing the kind of manipulative behaviors that lead to isolation and coercive control? Absolutely.

If your partner is constantly questioning you, passive-aggressively seeking validation or threatening to harm the relationship or themselves to get what they want, it’s time to get out. You are not alone. You deserve a healthy relationship with open and honest communication, trust, and safety. You deserve a partner who will communicate their needs and meet your own without hurting you.

And if you can’t get your needs met without resorting to tricks and manipulation, catch yourself, question whether that relationship is working or worth saving, and see how you can invest in yourself to build toward a healthier future.

If Chris Harrison can find love, we all can.

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