In case you missed the drama-filled train wreck that was the live three-hour Bachelorette finale last night, Rachel Lindsay and Bryan Abasolo are engaged — but Rachel went through a brutal, emotional, and painful-to-watch breakup with Peter Kraus to get there. Although it was clear to anyone who watched Peter and Rachel's tearful breakup in Spain that the two were really in love with each other, they just couldn't compromise on one important detail: the proposal. While Rachel was dead-set on having the firm commitment of an engagement at the end of her journey, Peter wanted to wait to propose until he and Rachel had spent more time together as a couple, away from all the cameras. And TBH, I have to admit that I'm firmly on Peter's side in all this — a few months just isn't enough time to get to know someone well enough to propose.
"It’s not that [Peter] didn’t love Rachel or think that they could have a successful future together. It’s just that he wanted more time to feel secure in his feelings," Samantha Burns, Couples Counselor and Dating Coach at Love Successfully, tells Bustle. "Rather than being blindly swayed by the love potion of hormones, he was grounded. As Rachel said on the finale episode, the Bachelor dating process may not be suitable for Peter, since it moves at such a fast pace. Perhaps if they dated in real life over more time, a proposal would have naturally occurred."
The sweet, salt-and-pepper-haired Peter has been a fan favorite because of his levelheaded approach to his relationship with Rachel, while the smooth-talking Bryan has had trouble convincing Bachelor Nation that his intentions with Rachel are genuine. But even if you believe that Bryan and Rachel actually belong together, there's no denying that Peter has been by far one of the most rational, reasonable, and genuine Bachelorette contestants, possibly ever. Here's why.
Peter And Rachel Couldn't Compromise — And That's OK
During their emotional final talk, Peter and Rachel came to a stalemate in their relationship. They couldn't move forward in a way that satisfied both parties, so they decided to call it off altogether — a painful but mature decision.
"Ultimately the conflict between Rachel and Peter came down to a difference in what they believe the purpose of engagement is," Burns says. "Rachel believed it was the next step in commitment to their relationship, and would lead to exploring life together. She said she didn’t expect marriage next week or even next year. Peter, on the other hand, believed engagement was just as important as marriage, something he only wanted to do once if he was certain, without a doubt, that Rachel was The One."
As frustrating as it was to watch these two "give up" on their relationship, neither Peter nor Rachel was in the wrong; they just needed different things from each other. Peter needed more time, and Rachel needed the solid gesture of commitment in the form of a proposal — and it's totally OK that they both refused to back down. Rachel knew she wanted to be engaged at the end of her journey (and there's nothing wrong with that), but Peter's doubts and hesitations about a quick engagement are equally valid and totally understandable.
The Risks Of A Rushed Engagement
Although there are several examples of happy long-term Bachelor couples who got engaged at the show's end — Kaitlyn and Shawn, JoJo and Jordan, Carly and Evan — the short dating-to-engagement timeline hasn't worked in favor of many of the franchise's past couples. Just this year, we've witnessed the demise of Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell's relationship, as well as Josh Murray and Amanda Stanton's (who met on the last season of Bachelor in Paradise). So does getting engaged quickly really hurt your chances of romantic success?
The risk of getting engaged too quickly is that you may be unduly influenced by your body’s brain chemistry, rather than setting yourself up for long-term success as a couple.
"The risk of getting engaged too quickly is that you may be unduly influenced by your body’s brain chemistry, rather than setting yourself up for long-term success as a couple," Burns says. "During the early stages of falling in love, you can be blind to your partner’s flaws, and unable to make clear rational decisions. Some of these incompatibilities may not come out until you’re already married if you get hitched too soon."
Simply put, it can take years — not the mere months Bachelorette contestants are afforded — to get to know someone well enough to figure out if you can spend the rest of your life with them. It's easy for your hormones to get in the way of your rational mind when you're still in the coveted honeymoon period, so it makes sense to hold off on a proposal until you've had the time to truly get to know your partner.
How Long Should Couples Wait To Get Engaged?
When you think of the extravagant, romantic nature of all the Bachelorette dates, it's easy to imagine how these couples manage to fall for each other so quickly. Every day, your sole focus is cultivating your relationship with that person, all while you explore beautiful, scenic places together. Essentially, it's an extreme honeymoon period that is designed (by producers) to culminate in a swoon-worthy proposal. But whether you're on reality TV or not, getting engaged quickly is a risky move, and it's worth weighing the pros and cons before taking such a huge step with someone.
"Even the slightest risk of entering into a situation like this without truly knowing who your partner fully is not setting yourself, or your relationship, up for success," Kali Rogers, dating expert and founder of Blush Life Coaching, tells Bustle. "An engagement is something you enter when you have the utmost faith that you and your partner can withstand and endure any stress that comes your way. Once you are certain you have reached that point in your relationship, enter with great elation! But until then, enjoy dating and the stress-free nature of such."
Every couple is different, so there's no "correct" timeframe for engagement and marriage. All that matters is that you've stood by each other through different phases of life — both times of growth and times of setback — and come out stronger.
Why Peter's Stance Was Powerful
Ultimately, Peter's approach to his experience on The Bachelorette is worthy of respect and recognition. He was open with his emotions and clearly declared how serious he was about pursuing something with Rachel, even if he wasn't ready to get down on one knee. It's easy to get swept up in the fast-paced romance of the show, but Peter didn't stray from his stance that real, lasting relationships are built on a much firmer, time-tested foundation. Although it was unfortunate that he and Rachel didn't see eye-to-eye, it was a mature decision on their part to split up rather than forcing one another to sacrifice something that was important to them.
If this really is the person you’re meant to be with, then giving it some time in the grand scheme of life together isn’t a big deal.
"Love does not always conquer all," Burns says. "Choosing a life partner shouldn’t be done on just feelings or lust alone, but rather a thought-out, logical decision based on factors such as core values, compatibility, communication skills, and teamwork. If this really is the person you’re meant to be with, then giving it some time in the grand scheme of life together isn’t a big deal."
Although Peter and Rachel's different viewpoints on engagement led to their breakup, they should both be commended for standing firm in their beliefs, and not compromising when it comes to what they really need in a relationship. Peter's genuine, level-headed approach to romance surely bodes well for his romantic future — and of course, I wish the newly engaged Rachel and Bryan all the best going forward, too.