There’s nothing more personal than family. That goes double on “The Bachelorette,” where leads and contestants flaunt their happily married parents and close-knit clans as evidence that they’re great marriage material. But not everyone has that conventionally happy family, or even a very nurturing one, and that can feel perversely shameful, as contestant Dean Unglert showed on Monday night.
Unglert, who described his family dynamic as “dysfunctional” and “patriarchal,” appeared reluctant to open up about the reality of his home situation ― especially when his fellow suitors were openly talking about how eager they were to introduce Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay to their families. He admitted that he was nervous to tell her about “his awkward family dynamic” and potentially get a chilly reaction.
As he previously revealed on a one-on-one date with Lindsay, Unglert lost his mother to cancer when he was 15 years old. With hometown visits looming, he confessed that there was more to the painful story of his past: After his mother, the primary caretaker in the family, died, his father failed to pick up the slack, and their relationship suffered.
“On a show that treats having happily married, loving parents as a virtue, a contestant opening up about the reality of broken families and parental failures was startlingly honest.”
“He’s not a person that has any bearing on my emotional experience,” he added.
Fortunately, Lindsay appreciated his honesty and rewarded him with a rose. But more importantly, Unglert’s emotional admission gave viewers insight into the loneliness, hurt and even embarrassment that people with dysfunctional nuclear families experience. On a show that treats having happily married, loving parents as a virtue, a contestant opening up about the reality of broken families and parental failures was startlingly honest.
Plus, it looks like Unglert turned out pretty well ― a reminder that having a strained family relationship isn’t necessarily something to be embarrassed about.
For more on “The Bachelorette,” check out HuffPost’s Here To Make Friends podcast below:
Do people love “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” or do they love to hate these shows? It’s unclear. But here at “Here to Make Friends,” we both love and love to hate them — and we love to snarkily dissect each episode in vivid detail. Podcast edited by Nick Offenberg.