There have been 16 completed seasons of The Bachelor and eight of The Bachelorette.
Here’s the success rate:
The Bachelor: 2/16
The Bachelorette: 3/8
And that’s being kind to The Bachelor, since Jason Mesnick actually proposed to Melissa Rycroft, not Molly Malaney Mesnick. The only other success is the most recent couple, Ben Flajnik and Courtney Robertson. Meanwhile, The Bachelorette has Trista and Ryan Sutter (and their kids), Ashley Hebert on the path to marriage with JP Rosenbaum, and Emily Maynard looking a heckuva lot happier with Jef Holm than she did when engaged to Brad Womack after The Bachelor.
So, yeah if we were gambling girls, we'd put odds on The Bachelorette Season 9 couple lasting longer than The Bachelor Season 17 pair. Sorry, Sean Lowe Roberto Martinez Arie Luyendyk, Jr. Future Bachelor Guy!
Why is The Bachelorette success rate higher? Obviously, Harvard should do a full study, but here are some ideas.
1. Maybe men pick sex over sweetness
Freakonomics was curious about this topic and posed a similar question to their readers. Someone gave it enough thought to come up with this response:
"Well… If we agree that men are evolutionally predisposed to be more promiscuous than women, then a system in which male power and status are enhanced should lead to greater promiscuity by the men, thus bringing about the end of the relationships faster. Elevating the power of the women would, similarly, have the opposite effect. However the sample size is ridiculously small, so this is nothing more than conjecture."
We're all for elevating the power of women, and maybe there is something to the idea of promiscuous men wanting to continue the chase. But that would put all the blame for the splits on the men — and anyone who watched that Jake and Vienna breakup special knows there's usually fault on both sides. Do Bachelors just pick the wrong women? Sometimes they do tend to go for the sexy drama girls, but occasionally they do pick sweethearts. We were proud of Brad Womack for picking anyone on The Bachelor Season 15 and Emily seemed like the perfect Southern Sweetheart. And she was. Just not for him. All you have to do is compare her "After the Final Rose" special with Brad to the one she just had with Jef. Brad picked a beautiful woman on his season, but he never seemed to give practical thought to the fact that he picked a single mom. Plus, he was apparently texting his ex right up to the start of the show. Which is kind of a turnoff.
2. Maybe Bachelorettes just have good taste
As another poster on Freakonomics put it, "Women go more by long-term compatibility, men go more by mystery and attraction (which fade)…" The successful Bachelorettes have picked guys in line with viewer choices. Overall, our girls usually don't go for the "villains" and bad boys. Sometimes when things do go wrong — like with DeAnna Pappas and Jesse Csincsak and Jillian Harris and Ed Swiderski — you can sit back and think "Well, she picked the wrong guy." Other times, like with Ali Fedotowsky and Roberto Martinez, it's more of a lifestyle issue. But even when you scratch your head over a Bachelorette's decision, they never really pick a *bad* guy, just maybe not the most popular.
3. Maybe Bachelorette couples have more equal partnerships
There seems to be more compromising with The Bachelorette couples, perhaps because they are on more equal footing. Jef has plans to move to Emily's hometown of Charlotte, as opposed to Brad expecting his Chosen One to move to him. Roberto Martinez also moved cross country to be closer to Ali Fedotowsky, who was already in California. JP and Ashley just found a space together in New Jersey in the middle ground between their jobs. Trista Sutter did move to Colorado to be with Ryan, but he's compromised enough in the past few years by continuing to get involved in Bachelorette stuff when it's pretty clear he'd rather be doing marathons or other outdoor stuff. When the women are the ones doing the choosing, they are in a position to ask about things the guy can do to fit into her life, or create a new life together. The girls on The Bachelor are often so desperate to not be dumped, they’ll sell themselves like perfect pageant queens. But then when the competition is over, they stop deferring to the man and share their own opinions about how they want to live. Sometimes it’s a shock to the system for the Bachelor, who thought he met this “perfect” woman.
4. Maybe Bachelorettes want love and Bachelors want to have a good time (and money)
Usually the Bachelorettes truly appear to be ready for a serious relationship, whereas some of the Bachelors seem like they thought "I get to be paid six figures to date 25 women? Cool!" It's a fun adventure, a great way to finance and promote your own business, and something to brag about to your buddies. No one really expects you to get married and the public tends to be more critical of the women than the men, so the guys don’t need to weigh the decision to sign up as seriously as the women. But when "real life" settles in, some guys just want to go back to their normal lives, where there is no place for the woman they just met on TV who has her own life set up thousands of mile away. It's not practical and if you're not willing to compromise and uproot or just work on it, then it was just a romantic adventure that was never meant to last. The Bachelorettes tend to be good at weeding out the guys who are not ready to settle down, and since there are usually only a couple of guys really there for "the right reasons," those are often the ones they go for.
5. Maybe the success rate isn’t really that much better for Bachelorettes
To be fair, The Bachelor has had some "successful" couples who just happened to split after a long period of time together. Charlie O'Connell and Sarah Brice were together two years, then broke up and got back together for another two years. Byron Velvick and Mary Delgado were together for five years. Meanwhile, Bachelorette Jen Schefft is really no better than Brad 1.0. She essentially picked no one, just delayed the announcement until the “After the Final Rose” special. And Meredith Phillips picked handsome vagabond Ian McKee over the guy who would’ve given her more stability, Matthew Hickl. Usually our girls hold out for both passion and stability, but when a Bachelor or Bachelorette chooses purely on heart/passion and doesn’t consult the head upstairs, it doesn't work out.
If you’re a Bachelor/ette contestant and you really want to find love, either hook up with a fellow alumnus off the show — like Chris Lambton and Peyton Wright — or sign up for Bachelor Pad. For all its smarmy reputation, Bachelor Pad has a great success rate. BP1 produced one longtime couple — Kiptyn Locke and Tenley Molzahn are still together. BP2 produced one wedding — congrats again to Holly Durst and Blake Julian. And BP3 seems to be working out well so far for more than one couple. Maybe ABC should ditch The Bachelor completely and just let The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad trade off.