The first episode of Bachelor In Paradise is ripe with possibility, and my favorite possibility of the night so far is the pairing of Dean and Kristina. Dean, who made it quite far on Rachel’s season of The Bachelorette, and Kristina, who appeared on Nick’s season of The Bachelor, hit it off immediately and didn’t look back. But their relationship is a little different — Dean and Kristina talked about real issues on Bachelor In Paradise.
If you’re familiar at all with these two from their other seasons, you know that they have one huge thing in common — really unstable family lives. Kristina was born in Russia and adopted from an orphanage at age eight to a family in Kentucky. Dean’s mother passed away when he was in his early teen years, and he claimed on The Bachelorette that his father was never able to fulfill his emotional needs like his mother did. It was a huge plot point on The Bachelorette, and it was probably the hardest moment to watch out of the whole series. Hell, it was one of the hardest moments to watch of the whole franchise for me.
On their Bachelor In Paradise date, Dean and Kristina talked about their histories, and I think they really bonded over it. Their date was a simple dinner, and it allowed them to have a deep conversation about how their formative years have shaped them. On a show where people often lead with the making out (hey, do you) and not necessarily with the actual foundations of relationship, it was really nice to see these two bonding over something real.
Relationships based on sex can work, and sometimes, they do, but if you can build a real foundation with a person first, the odds of long-term love are definitely there. Dean and Kristina are working on getting to know each other first, and I think that’s super important. They are attracted to each other (they had a nice first smooch), but taking it slow seems like it is the right thing for them. They’ll find they have a lot in common, and that will make their fledgling relationship even stronger.