It’s Bachelor Finale again and Ben Higgins is proving to be one of the most unusual Bachelors “of all time.” On the last fantasy suite episode Ben told not one, but two of the final contestants, “I love you!” Despite breaking the Bachelor vow of silence, you sense that Ben can’t contain himself. Ben has boosted ABC ratings and is one of the most favorite Bachelors. But, why?
For starters, Ben is different from Chris Soules, Brad Womack, and certainly Juan Pablo. Ben is not your classic bad boy. Ben wears his heart on his sleeve and for those of you following my dog, cat, puppy series Ben is definitely a “puppy.” By puppy, I mean that Ben is cute but also a nervous type. He is not the classic cool, detached cat but rather an eager puppy who is highly expressive and shakes his tail. A telltale sign Ben is a puppy is his admittance to Kaitlyn (the last Bachelorette) that he fears he’s “unloveable.” Puppies may be adorable but have deep-seated fears and insecurities. But who doesn’t love a man who can be vulnerable, no less on national television? How refreshing!
It doesn’t hurt that Ben is tall, dark, and handsome, but his best feature is his sensitive personality. He pays close attention to women on his dates, is patient, and genuinely cares about their feelings. On the Women Tell All episode, not a single rejected women had an unkind word to say about Ben. Instead of the usual, “Why did you do me wrong? Why did you lead me on?” none of the women expressed feeling “played.” You can’t help but want Ben to find his happy ending. If there is a category for most tears shed on the Bachelor, he would win. Because Ben’s playing for real, he wins MVP. Even Chris Harrison appears to have a man crush on Ben.
Before I gush too much about Ben, a puppy’s sensitive nature can be a curse as well. Remember it was Ben who first noticed that Kaitlyn connected more with Shawn. Puppies are in love with love, are sensitive to rejection, and need a lot of reassurance. Puppies can idealize their partners because they think less of themselves and put their partners on a pedestal. Their low self-esteem creates a one-down position for them in relationships: desperate to be loved and seeking reassurance. You could hear this when Ben intimated he wasn’t “good enough for Lauren.”
If you’ve been paying attention to Ben’s body language you can see that the woman he chooses is the one he can’t keep his paws off of. I hope that Lauren is secure enough for the two of them to make Ben feel stable when the cameras are off.
My prediction is that two things will need to happen for Ben’s relationship to work out in the long-term. One, Lauren will need to forgive Ben for having also expressed his love to JoJo. This most probably was the producers’ solution for keeping fans watching. If you tell one woman you love her, you have to tell the second as well. Second, Ben will have to convince Lauren that she was always the front-runner and she will need to believe him.
The true test will be whether Lauren and Ben have compatible needs for closeness. Whether a couple has similar or competing needs is not usually obvious at the start. If Ben can make Lauren feel secure and Lauren can calm Ben down, together they can form a Secure Relationship. Over time puppies can become mature dogs with the right partner who accepts them. If Ben and Lauren can make it past the pitfalls of reality television, both being mature dogs, perhaps they can even make puppies of their own.
SECURE note: Ben Higgins is one of the most likable Bachelors because he is a puppy, unlike previous cats. I hope he can be in a secure relationship and find his happy ending