Watching The Bachelor is like the emotional rollercoaster you know you don’t want to ride, but just can’t stop yourself lining up for.
There’s laughter, tears, the occasional vomit-inducing moment, and the element of facing your deepest, darkest fears (seriously Richie, those monkeys?!).
But week after week, we tune in, and whether you’re Team Nikki or Team Alex, last night’s events – and the backlash over Richie’s choice – is still probably a sore point.
But why do we care so much? At the end of the day, this is a TV show. We’re never going to meet these people. Be spoke to relationship expert and sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein on why we invest so much emotionally.
“I think as humans we’re fascinated by other human behavior. As women, this is also the idea of fantasy that lives on,” explains Nikki. “We’re all living in reality these days and most of us are facing the issue of work, Tinder, and dating men.”
“We love to tune in not just because of all the drama but because maybe there’s a part of us that would like that,” adds Nikki. “We would love a guy to choose us, take us on beautiful dates, even I was texting my boyfriend and saying ‘Babe, when are we going on a date?’”
Fair enough, we like a little distraction from our everyday life and Bachie provides that in spades. But shouldn’t we be shying away from what is essentially The Hunger Games in ball gowns?
Nikki explains that not only is there an element of voyeurism, women are competitive by nature. We can all identify with the relationships between the ladies in the house, and with Richie - and seeing it play out fascinates us.
“Who hasn’t ever dated a guy who’s been talking to or flirting with someone else, and we see them as an enemy and go stalking on Facebook? We identify with that because we understand,” says Nikki.
“We’re drawn to things where we can feel better than the people on the screen, too,” Nikki adds. “Think of The Biggest Loser – we watch because we’re fascinated by weight loss, and we like to think we’re better than those people.”
So what’s Nikki’s verdict when it comes to whether Richie and Alex will last?
“Alex is quite young - even though she’s a mum, she’s only 24,” says Nikki. “My concern is that going through a scenario like this puts a lot of pressure on a couple. It doesn’t matter how many times people say they’re not going to listen [to things in the media], or block it out, it finds a way to reach them. You can’t not think, ‘Oh, maybe they are right,’ or ‘Why do people hate me?’”
“I feel Alex is a very emotional person and putting your relationship out to the wolves like they have done isn’t the easiest situation. I’m sure they’re in love, but in terms of longevity, I feel like there could be an issue.”