Why Raven Is 'The Bachelor's *Real* Winner

Rick Rowell/ABC

After Monday night's finale of The Bachelor, there's one thing Raven Gates does not need — and that's anyone's pity. Instead, Season 21's runner-up deserves a major round of applause. She may not have gotten an engagement ring, but Raven is still The Bachelor's true winner. While getting dumped on national TV is surely no one's idea of a fairytale ending, she held her head high throughout the entire process. Not only that, but Raven responded with an iconic "I know" when Nick Viall said he'd miss her.

Even though Nick was busy crying his eyes out, Raven kept her composure until she made it to the limo. Of course, I'm not saying expressing emotions is a bad thing, especially in as intense a situation as this one (I cry quite often myself, Viall-style). But it just showed what a put-together, classy human she is. Instead of begging this man to marry her, Raven knew she deserved better as soon as he admitted his heart wasn't in the same place. She didn't owe him any tears. Scratch that, he didn't deserve them.

Yes, she was a champ during the breakup, but if you were paying attention, Raven was a star throughout the entire season. Admittedly, this is my first time watching a Bachelor/ette season all the way through, but based on the equally in-awe reactions of Bachelor Nation vets, Raven's honesty about her sex life was unparalleled for this show. She shared, without batting an eye, that she'd never orgasmed before. She didn't feel any shame — as she shouldn't — and just was honest with her partner. I wanted to give her a high-five right then and there.

And that's the thing — she was genuine throughout this whole process. As fans watched Nick and Vanessa Grimaldi, his now-fiancée, butt heads over tense topics, Raven and Nick were going skating, gushing over their families, and having a good ol' time. Remember when they rode ATVs or ate orange slices at his sister's soccer game?

As Raven pointed out during After The Final Rose, she is not naive. And I don't know where exactly that implication came from, but she set the record straight by telling the audience she intentionally chose optimism as her approach. Why try to fall in love with someone by constantly arguing or questioning their intentions? Plus, it became apparent during Raven's hometown date that her life isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Yet somehow, despite obstacles, she still manages to smile and keep moving forward.

On top of that, Raven went into the final rose ceremony with an open heart. She didn't get out of the limo and say something like, "If Nick proposes, I don't know if I'll say yes." (Ahem, Vanessa... I get it, but at the same time, come on.) Instead, Raven was all in. She had fallen for this guy — on national TV, no less — and was willing to spend the rest of her life with him. As she said herself, it was an "easy love." And isn't that how romance should be?


Even fans on Twitter were rooting for Raven. The infographic above shows that Raven's breakup was the night's most tweeted moment, even higher than Vanessa's proposal. No shade intended; it just highlights how many members of Bach Nation were #TeamRaven. Oh, and the third most popular moment was Raven playing with the Husky puppies, because of course.

While Raven's story didn't end the way she (or fans like me) hoped, again, you shouldn't feel sorry for her. She got to play with the cutest puppies during her Finland date — and she made the announcement that she's heading to Bachelor In Paradise, so her story isn't done just yet. If anything, it's only getting started.

And if there's one thing Bachelor fans learned about Raven this season, it's that she's tenacious. Sure, she has a big heart. But she also once clobbered her ex with a high heel and compared her reflexes to a spider monkey. So basically, she's a fighter who knows how to stand up for herself. Something tells me, she'll be just fine. In fact, she'll be great.