The Bachelor franchise is one of my guilty pleasures. It’s gone done hill fast in the last few years, but there are seasons like Rachel Lindsay’s and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s that I REALLY enjoyed. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a love story.

A few months back when I was writing The Trouble with The Chase I couldn’t help thinking of this one relationship from The Bachelor because it reminded me of some toxic shit I’d experienced in the past. I’m talking about the relationship between Cassie & Colton.

Colton’s season was one that didn’t sit right with me. Watching it, all I saw was a girl who wanted to get away from the lead. She looked so happy when she finally told him that she was removing herself from the situation. I remember they showed a montage of her packing her bags and saying “I’m excited to go home and continue on with my life.” Meanwhile, Colton could not accept the fact that she broke up with him. He refused to accept her “no” and we saw it right there on our TV screens. So what does he do? He breaks up with all the remaining women (the bachelor is a polyamorous dating show that ends in a proposal so Christians can stomach it) and chases after Cassie.

She still tries to get away from him, but he assures her she has nothing to worry about because he quit the show for her and left everyone else behind. He also lets her know he doesn’t need the show to end in an engagement (she specifically said she wasn’t ready for that and wanted him to have it with someone else who was). He even says “I gave it all up for you” as if that should change her lack of desire for a relationship with him.

In the end he convinces her to stay with him without the traditional engagement the show ends in. That poor girl has been in a relationship with this man for 2 years.

Earlier this year (April) they broke up. Today we learn she’s filed a restraining order against him because after she was finally able to break up with him – and let’s be real, she’d been trying to break up with him from the inception of the relationship! But 2 years later after she finally got away from him he has been stalking her, showing up outside her apartment at 2 in the morning, sending her harrassing text messages, and creeping outside the home of her parents. Today we also learned that he had taped a tracking device to the bottom of her car.

I feel so bad for Cassie, and I know some of you may wonder why I’m making a whole post about a reality TV couple – it’s because I’m fucking triggered as fuck right now. I’m triggered! I’ve been in relationships where more than half the length of the relationship I spent trying to break up, trying to get away.

I’m so disgusted with the Bachelor franchise for showing this man’s persistence as “romantic” and “endearing.”

But maybe this will bring awareness to our flawed ideas of romance. Maybe young women and girls who watched this season and wished for a love story like this will see how this played out and finally understand that that’s no way to start a relationship. I’m not a religious person and I do not pray, but I do hope Cassie is being taken care of by her friends and family. I hope she’s able to feel safe again. And I hope these fucking misguided fans understand the seriousness of this situation and not victim blame her or brush this off as a joke.

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