After what seemed to be a lifetime of waiting, fans finally know who the Season 13 Bachelorette's anonymous fiancé "Jerome" is. As it turns out, many weren't thrilled to find out that Rachel Lindsay gave her final rose to contestant Bryan Abasolo. But the backlash that the two have been receiving has been anything but deserved. Having Rachel and Bryan's entire courtship play out on national television invites a fair amount of critics. And while it's OK to have an opinion about their relationship, keep a few things in mind: Rachel doesn't owe us any particular outcome, an explanation for her decision, or any details about her choices going forward.
ABC's Bachelorette finale has been the talk of the town ever since it aired. For one, Rachel's public and emotional breakup with contestant Peter Kraus cast a dark cloud over viewers — both in the studio audience and at home. Social media consensus found Peter to be an absolute shoo-in for Rachel's heart. But disagreements about their stances on engagement and Peter's reluctance in to propose — although valid — ultimately sealed his fate. It was devastating to watch their romance crumble, especially since many fans thought Peter was the realest thing to hit the franchise since it began.
Fans wanted Peter to be the chosen one, but Rachel had other plans. She was more than clear about what she wanted — an engagement with someone who wants a family and kids right away. And though Peter insisted he'd be ready for that eventually, she was interested in having it all now, instead of later. Some may not understand her thought process, but it was Rachel's call to make. It's her life. It's her relationship. And if things go south with Bryan, it will be her broken heart that she has to heal.
While nobody else truly knows the ins and outs of the chemistry she shares with the Miami chiropractor, it didn't stop Bachelor Nation from voicing their disdain over the relationship. Fans on Twitter made it clear how they felt about Bryan from the very beginning — from being a smooth-talking player, to not being on the show for the right reasons. And unfortunately, they wasted no time projecting their fears of "ending up with the wrong one" onto her.
Rachel has had a lot on her plate over the past few months. And the Dallas attorney has been vocal about the many pressures she feels comes with being the first black Bachelorette throughout the season. She's had to address racist comments thrown her way from previous Bachelor contestants, while defending the validity of her journey to skeptical viewers.
And as if worrying about choosing the right winner wasn't a pain already, potential backlash that could come from not choosing a black contestant was a new kind of stress that others before her never had to endure. No matter what she did, everybody had an opinion. And that's been the case, even after the final episode aired.
It seems as though Rachel is forced to stay on the defense, when in actuality, the only person she should have to prove her love to is her fiancé — not the rest of America. As with any reality TV show commitment, Rachel is expected to share details and updates on her life. But seeing as Bryan wasn't necessarily a fan favorite, this could become a daunting task. She's had to practically shout that she's happy and confident in her decision-making during the Men Tell All and all over her press tour — even though she shouldn't have to.
As Rachel said during a recent press event, she knew what she was going to do, and who she was going to choose before the finale — Bryan. And when it comes to fans thinking that she somehow "settled" for the chiropractor, Rachel told reporters, "It baffles my mind. I don’t understand. Now if I picked Whaboom, I settled. That’s settling. This [me and Bryan] makes perfect sense."
At the end of the day, Rachel was looking for someone who wants the same things out of life as she does. As long as she stayed true to those aspirations, that's all that matters. And even if she somehow made the wrong choice, as so many fans believe, the last thing she owes any of us is an explanation.