The finale of Arie's season of The Bachelor was a real doozy — millions of Americans watched Arie Luyendyk, Jr. tell two women he loved them, propose to Becca, start living happily ever after, and then go back on it all to come crawling back to Lauren, the woman he decided that he loves more (or instead). Becca's getting the bulk of the sympathy right now (and she deserves it), but this situation isn't Lauren's fault, either. Lauren's appearance on The Bachelor: After The Final Rose showed that she, too, was just following her heart.
If the first night-and-a-half of the finale focused on Becca and the unimaginable heartbreak she experienced at the hands of Arie (it was quite brutal), the last parts shed a little bit of light on Lauren and how she was coping with it all. Of course, she's happy that Arie is in love with her, but to get back together with someone in this sort of way opens the doors to all kinds of controversy and public hatred. Lauren never said all that much when she was on The Bachelor — she once told her mother that she and Arie could basically communicate telepathically, so there was no need for silly things like words — but it was nice to hear Lauren profess, in her own words, why she was with Arie.
In a producer interview before the show, Lauren said, "When Arie first reached out, I was a little angry, honestly, because I thought he was only doing it to get closure for himself." This is a fair assessment, since, why would a man call you if he was engaged to someone else? But Lauren must have gotten over it, because as soon as she got on the couch with Arie, she was preaching love and forgiveness. "I’m just really excited to be here. I think Arie and I have been waiting for this moment for a long time," Lauren said. "We’re just excited to be a normal couple and to do normal couple things."
She and Arie both explained how they knew they were still in love with each other, and how they had to wait for him to break up with Becca ("I wanted to make sure we were both respectful of Becca," Lauren said, which, how was that whole display on The Bachelor finale respectful at all?) and she spoke about how proud she was of her man. "The one thing that is present right now to me is just his bravery and his honesty," Lauren told Chris Harrison. "I think that he did an amazing job at handling this whole thing. and he couldn’t have gone about it in a more respectful way, and I’m really proud of him." Then, Arie proposed to Lauren, and now they're engaged.
It's easy to be cynical about all of this, but Lauren did also get her heart broken by Arie — he was also just able to mend it for her. When Arie came to Lauren's parents' house in Virginia Beach, she told him how difficult it was to carry on after she didn't get that first proposal. She said:
"It was really difficult coming back and being heartbroken because I felt extremely alone. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. No one really understood what it was like. And the fact that I lost you on the day that you got engaged, it was really tough for me to accept that and just know that there was no chance of that ever changing. It was … crushing me. So, I was really hard for me to readjust."
Arie left her stranded, in a way, because she really couldn't explain it to anyone — she's bound by non-disclosure agreements, and who could understand what it's like to be heartbroken on The Bachelor except other people who have been heartbroken on The Bachelor? Lauren and Arie had their bumps in the road, but today, they're together and happier than ever. Let's hope it stays that way.