This 'Bachelorette' Fight About What Engagement Means Is Too Real

Looks like someone forgot that "The Bachelorette" is supposed to end with a proposal.

Going into fantasy suite week on “The Bachelorette,” Rachel Lindsay had three handsome suitors to choose from ― but none more adored by fans than Peter Kraus. The 31-year-old silver fox from Wisconsin won over Bachelor Nation early with his sweet nature, indisputable good looks and easy connection with Lindsay. Her final rose seemed to be his for the taking. 

But during a rough fantasy suite date, Kraus looked ready to bow out of the race altogether, telling Lindsay that he didn’t expect to be ready to propose if she picked him at the end of the season. Instead, he said, he’d want to keep dating in a serious, committed way. Lindsay, who has repeatedly emphasized that she came on the show to find not a boyfriend, but a fiancé, countered that it was very important to her to get engaged.

“I didn’t come this far and put my life on hold ... to just have a boyfriend at the end of it,” she told him.

During the painfully awkward conversation that followed, the pair grappled with one of the central absurdities of the show: For most of us, engagement is the final step toward planning a marriage, but on the show it’s simply the first step in an exclusive, committed relationship. While most contestants and leads decide to buy in, Kraus still isn’t sure about that final step.

“My hopes in pursuing a relationship beyond this point is with the thought that that would lead to engagement,” he explained. For him, he told Lindsay, engagement means “we’re getting married, let’s just plan the time” ― and he only wants to do it once in his life. She disagreed, saying that it would just mean “cultivating a relationship and seeing what you have and if it can work outside of that.”

The most real, and difficult, part of this conflict came when the couple appeared to reach an impasse. “A relationship is about sacrifices,” she told him, pointing out that one or both of them would have to bend on this issue if she chose him at the end. Kraus responded that he didn’t want her to give up on what she believed, but, well, he didn’t want to either. “We talk about finding a common ground,” he responded, “I don’t know what that is, with something that’s so polar opposite.” Finally, the two were left staring silently at each other, unable to come up with a solution. Lindsay admitted in a side interview that she was “devastated” and unable to see a way forward for them.

There’s nothing more heartbreaking than an amazing couple mutually realizing they want different things and can’t resolve that ― and it’s a particularly real moment to crop up on “The Bachelorette.”

Some weren’t having his hesitation, however, including Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, who’s been engaged to her winner Shawn Booth for years and hasn’t yet planned a wedding:

Others thought Lindsay should be the one to compromise ― perhaps a function of Kraus’ wild popularity among the fandom.

Some more cynical members of Bachelor Nation had another theory as to Kraus’ motivations:

Say it ain’t so, bro! That said, if we were forced to watch a full season of that gap-toothed grin on “The Bachelor,” that would be fine. Nothing’s certain yet, however; the episode ended on a cliffhanger, with Kraus’ fate still up in the air. 

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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.

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