Are After the Final Rose wedding bells in the air after yet another season of The Bachelor ended with a proposal?
Ben Higgins informed the Women Tell All crowd that he’s more in love than he ever imagined was possible and that he’d “marry her tomorrow” if he could, and Chris Harrison has made it clear he has every intention of holding the man of the hour to his word.
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It is obviously a ruse, but still, they’ve flown both families and Ben’s pastor to add to the illusion. Before there are any nuptials, though, we first must relive the tumultuous road to this plushy couch and the heartbreaking decision that left JoJo crushed and Lauren B. on cloud nine with a giant rock on her finger.
The First Joelle, the Angels Did Say
It was an ovary-punch and confusing rejection for the Texan, who felt duped after learning that Ben’s declaration of love was not singular in nature in what is exclusively a Bachelor problem. Try telling your wife or girlfriend that you professed your love to another woman who you then took to the fantasy suite, but it’s cool because you love her more. Go ahead, guys. I dare you. I’m sure she’ll be sympathetic.
Still, JoJo took it as well as could be hoped, even offering up a meek “I’m happy for you” before leaving Jamaica with a crushed soul. She wants a love she can trust, where a man telling her those three little words means he’s sticking around, or at least not immediately leaving to “love” someone else at the same time.
The only saving grace is that I would much prefer a season of JoJo as The Bachelorette over the potential of Lauren B., despite rumors that Caila is the next in line.
So how is JoJo doing now? How did Ben make his decision and does he still have feelings for both women? And will we have a newly married couple by the end of this hour? The live After the Final Rose show begins.
A Perfect Ten Ben
The now ex-Bachelor is first on the hot seat, and he’s exiting this process having learned a lot about himself and with someone to love and support him. And he can’t wait to show her off.
It didn’t turn out exactly as he’d hoped and watching it back makes his stomach churn, but at the end of the day he had to choose the one person he couldn’t see himself living without. And that was Lauren B.
The goodbye with JoJo was the toughest experience for him, and he doesn’t regret expressing his feelings because it’s what brought him to the present. He has immense respect for her, but it will be difficult to look at that gorgeous face again. He wants her to take comfort in the fact that all the feelings were real, but I don’t know if that makes it better.
They start things off with a hug, and damn, they would’ve had some beautiful children. They’re both nervous, and it was equally rough for JoJo to watch her heartbreak unfold. He assures her that the sentiments he expressed were nothing but sincere, and she admits that it helped seeing how broken up Ben was at sending her home.
She had soaring expectations based on all that he had said before she heard that gut-wrenching “but…” and in the days and weeks that followed, his parting words about love and best friends were all she could dwell on. Seeing the connection he had with Lauren, however, has helped her understand why she was the second choice.
He’ll always have feelings for her, and even if was for the best, he sadly recognized that a wonderful part of his life was gone forever when she drove away in that limo. But he’s moved on since then, so they’re more nostalgic feelings than current ones. Still, he’ll always want the best for her without exception.
Who is the Next Bachelorette?
JoJo returned from Jamaica focused on self-reflection and putting the pieces back together, and she’s gotten to a good place, spending time with her family and friends. Being able to see how things played out and learn more about Ben’s relationship with Lauren softened the blow, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t questions.
She mainly wants to know what the deciding factor was in choosing Lauren over her, and he responds that his goal was to stay open until he didn’t have to anymore. And while she’ll forever be one of the best parts of his past, he couldn’t picture life without Lauren.
She’ll always have a special place in her heart for Ben because he is responsible for so many feelings and for opening her eyes to so many things about life. And those are memories that she will treasure and never take for granted, but she’s moved on and is at peace.
And that’s a great sign, considering JoJo is the next Bachelorette! She’s fallen in love before, and America is now hoping she can do it again. Ben signals his approval by clapping those baseball mitts he calls hands together.
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Introducing the Happy Couple
For the first time together in public, it’s engaged couple Ben and soon-to-be Lauren H., which must be confusing for this season’s actual Lauren H. They’ve been seeing each other in secret since the show ended, but it’s a big night for both of them to no longer have to hide.
While Rick Schroeder or his doppelganger watches from the audience, Lauren opens up about how Ben handled the whole “I love two women” thing and her difficulty in overcoming it. The night of the proposal, he laid all the cards on the table so that she wouldn’t be surprised by anything that she saw.
She was scared up until the final moment, as she could never be sure she was the one until Ben dropped to his knee. It was either going to be the best day of her life or leave her in shambles, and luckily it worked out in her favor.
Will They or Won’t They?
After an extended preview of The Catch that I fast-forwarded through, it’s time to put Laurben on the spot. Benjamaura? These potential couple names are terrible. Anyway, Lauren is working on a move to Denver, and though their families have only talked, she’s sure they’ll be fast friends upon meeting in person.
Lauren also doesn’t want a long engagement, as she’s ready to be Mrs. Higgins and pop out some Higglets, but they also want to take some time to date in a normal space.
After a quick interlude of Jimmy Kimmel asking a list of questions — Where do babies come from? (“I don’t know.”). When you get married, will there be cake? (“Muffins.”) What happens in the fantasy suite? (Followed by lewd acts with naked Barbie dolls) — it’s time for Chris Harrison to seize the day.
He introduces the pastor and offers to marry them right here, right now, and after talking it over, they decide they want a big ceremony full of family and friends. And so even though the wedding is a no-go, Ben brings out both families to offer a proper proposal in front of everyone. How awesome would it be if she said no? Like when Nick or Charla didn’t share the money with their partners.
The ecstatic families hug it out and offer their well-wishes, with Ben’s dad dubbing the couple “perfect” and “meant to be,” while his mom stops short of saying, “I preferred JoJo.” Hey, at least they can all gather together in just a few weeks to watch her begin another quest for love as the 12th Bachelorette.
Ben takes his final few moments of relevance to thank Bachelor Nation for the past year of his life and for sharing the entire experience with him.
A Lifetime of Love and Happiness
What a journey this has been, from bronze medal-winning Buble Ben to The Bachelor and on to betrothed. Despite a strong early-favorite prediction record, this marks back-to-back seasons where my first choice has been the runner-up. But happy wife, happy life, I guess.
Sometimes, it works out for the best, though, because we’ll get at least three more months of JoJo in our lives plus a pair of half-brothers who are salivating at the chance to grill a few prospective Mr. Fletchers. Still, BenJoJomin is a much better couple name.
It’s no longer raining Ben, as the clouds have parted to signal the official wrap of The Bachelor season 20. And as always, I want to thank all the readers for taking the trek along with me, as you’re the only thing that makes the writing worthwhile. I appreciate every comment and thumbs up, and I hope to see you all back in 10 short weeks for more hijinks and nicknames.
Let’s get this hottie a husband!
The Bachelorette season 12 premieres Monday, May 23 at 8pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)