Let me start by saying: spoiler alert! If you haven't yet watched Fuller House (why not? It's all on Netflix...), you should probably do that first.
Was I the only one who felt that the grand finale wasn't so grand? After 13 nostalgic episodes, the season peaks with D.J. choosing between her old love and her new romance: Steve or Matt. Bummer for us, D.J. chooses...herself. Really?! Maybe it's because I do this for a living. I'm a dating coach and matchmaker, and I spend my days coaching D.J.s and Steves and Matts. And while I know it's a TV show, I've seen similar scenarios play out in real life and take it from me, D.J. could have used a good dating coach. Let's break it down.
D.J. starts with Matt: "I felt an immediate spark and when I look into your eyes, I feel alive and excited about our future." Matt's reply to D.J. matches her intensity of feeling, but also shows how immature the relationship is. He replies, "I know what we have is real and we're already great partners [referring to work] and I would love a chance to see where this journey would take us." His answer is true, but so empty. "What we have is real." OK, the feelings are real; they're also only six weeks old.
As for the direction of the relationship--it's a total unknown. "I'd love a chance to see where this journey would take us." Sweet, but come on--this lady has three kids! She's widowed, lives in her father's house with her sister, best friend and friend's daughter. Has Matt ever experienced family life? Does he have any idea what he's getting himself into? Not at all. What D.J. and Matt have is puppy love. Maybe there's the potential for something more, but can D.J. really risk taking a journey with someone right now? I've got five kids and can tell you, if I were in her shoes, I'd be looking for true love, not infatuation. A stable, trusted partner wins a smart heart.
Maybe D.J. agrees in part, because she doesn't choose Matt. For a minute, we're left wondering whether she'll choose Steve, as she says, "Reconnecting with you is like we were never apart. You may know me better than anyone. And when I look into your eyes I feel happy, safe, and loved." Cue the awwww.
D.J. has true feelings for Steve, feelings that haven't left her since she was a teenager. She feels understood by him. I don't know about you, but I think being understood is one of the greatest pleasures in the world. D.J. doesn't mention the "spark, alive and excited" feelings she has with Matt, but she once felt that about Steve too. So where did they go? That spark, that feeling of being alive and excited, grew and grew until it became a happy, safe and loved feeling.
How does Steve reply? He addresses her by her full name (showing how well he knows her), "Donna Jo, I've known it since high school and I'm even more sure of it now. We're soulmates, I couldn't even imagine my life without you." Speechless. I'm speechless. What a line! Steve might not be the most exciting guy, but he confidently said something pretty exciting.
Maybe D.J. could experience that same development of love with Matt. But she'd have to wait years for that feeling to grow and blossom into what she already has with Steve. Time is the secret ingredient to growing love. Who does D.J. love more? Without a doubt, Steve. If we were to base her decision on love then she would easily choose Steve...but she doesn't.
With a good dating coach by her side instead of Kimmy and Stephanie, D.J. would have told Matt that despite their potential, she couldn't risk finding out what could happen with him when she already had a love she knew was real. As it was, D.J. simply let the moment go with a laugh. Stephanie comments, "Well, that was the worst episode of the bachelorette I've seen." With a sigh of relief D.J. says, "I'm glad that it's over." And naive Stephanie replies with what could be the worst advice ever: "And now you're free to date Matt or Steve or whoever you want." The last thing D.J. (or any of us) needs is another man in the mix.
As unhelpful as Kimmy generally is, she was right about one thing: D.J. should have given Steve the rose and started the next season with a wedding and the love of her life. But since she didn't, what's wrong with choosing herself? Well, I don't think she did that either. She chose to deny her true feelings. She chose to chicken out and settle on indecision.
I've had clients in D.J.'s position, people choosing between a known, safe Steve or a new, exciting, full-of-possibility Matt. And all too often I get a call from a client who is dating a Steve but wants a Matt. If I'm unsuccessful in showing them that Steve is a wise decision, I end up getting the follow up call...which isn't pretty. Even the clients who find that exciting Matt usually regret passing up a Steve. They ask me why they didn't see Steve as the obvious choice and why they had to pass up Mr. Right to try out Mr. What-If. My heart breaks when it's too late to win back the Steve. (If this is at all familiar to you, I want to suggest the possibility of trying to rekindle the Steve relationship. As long as both parties are still single, it might not be too late.) TV romance can be a lot of fun. But in a relationship with long-term goals, real love beats potential every time.