Toxic or true love? How to tell the difference


On the popular television show “The Bachelor,” the star of one of the seasons, Colton Underwood, jumped a fence to run after contestant Cassie Randolph. But he pursued her after she had already eliminated herself from the competition. 

The gesture was undoubtedly good for the show’s marketing department. It got tongues wagging. Since the season with Cassie and Colton ended, people are still talking about it. Critics, viewers, and fans of the show are still trying to decide if Underwood’s actions were a genuine expression of true love, or something more ominous. 

Is it true love or toxic behavior when a man goes after you even when you don’t want a relationship with him? Cultural expectations further muddy the waters. Should men pursue women, or is it a sign of controlling behavior? Is it better for women to “chase” a man? These aren’t always simple questions with equally simple answers.

There is no doubt about it, though. In certain situations, a man who keeps pursuing you after you’ve made it clear that you’re not interested is showing a clear disregard for your feelings. Behavior like this is a good indicator that he will display controlling behavior in the future. 

If he does not hear you when you make it crystal clear that you’re not that into him, his continued pursuit and actions are NOT romantic or loving. He is showing you that it’s all about him and what he wants, not what you want or don’t want. You don’t want to hitch your wagon to someone who is an emotional bulldozer. 

But on “The Bachelor,” that wasn’t the situation. Cassie Randolph eliminated herself because she wasn’t ready to get engaged, not necessarily because she wasn’t interested in Colton Underwood as a romantic partner. So it’s safe to say that Colton jumping the fence to go after Cassie was not a display of selfish behavior.  

If you haven’t watched The Bachelor, the purpose of the show is for the Bachelor to propose to someone at the end of the season. It’s a requirement that Cassie Randolph wasn’t ready for, but it appears Colton Underwood was. 

Cassie Randolph was probably showing good judgment by eliminating herself from the competition if she wasn’t ready for a serious commitment. Why wouldn’t a woman have concerns about making a huge commitment to a man who’s seeing other women, and might just as easily propose marriage to one of them? 

Our culture does an excellent job of confusing us when it comes to toxic myths about romance and good, old-fashioned common sense. People have expressed disdain at the idea of a “chase,” where a man pursues a woman and tries to convince her of his worthiness. 

Critics of this approach say that “the chase” implies an inherent passivity or confusion on the part of the woman, while the man must be assertive. But why are the critics so dismissive of a woman who wants to protect her heart from a man who may not be the right person for her?

There is nothing passive or confused about making sure a man loves you and is going to treat you well before you make a big commitment to him. And marriage isn’t just an emotional commitment. You’re also legally and financially tying yourself to that person. It’s crucial for your future happiness to know that the one you marry is compatible and a good person. 

But shows like “The Bachelor” make it appear reasonable to commit when a man doesn’t have to prove any sort of love or devotion. In fact, we’re beginning to expect women to chase men, which is often a huge disaster for women. It’s okay if it doesn’t work for most women to chase men. But it’s best to figure out what’s right for you as an individual, rather than blindly following trends, like “The Bachelor” TV show and other programs like it. 

It’s unfortunate when our cultural norms and ideas about relationships cause so much confusion. I also believe that this confusion around romance is why the modern dating scene just isn’t working for millions of women today. 

Just because other contestants on the show professed their love for Underwood, doesn’t mean he is required to have mutual feelings for any one of the contestants. Remember, “The Bachelor” is a show. It’s not real life. The script is arbitrarily constructed, and the methods in the program don’t work for real couples.

Most of the couples from The Bachelor have not gone on to have successful, long-lasting relationships. However, the couples from The Bachelorette show have had much greater success. Could it be because the show centers around the men qualifying themselves, or “chasing” the woman? I suggest that might be one of the keys to the longevity of these relationships. 

“The Bachelor” with Colton Underwood and Cassie Randolph has had a happy ending so far. Four months since the show ended, the couple is still together. 

Are you a fan of “The Bachelor?” What do you think about these types of shows, and did you find Underwood’s actions romantic or strange? Please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts. 

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