Last night’s finale of The Bachelorette was apparently the “most emotional show” Chris Harrison has ever seen during his life sentence as host of the Bachelor franchise. But, despite all the melodrama and enough tears shed to restore the quality of our plastic-ridden oceans, Becca Kufrin, the star of this 14th season, ended up all smiles (and bling) with the prince charming of her choosing: Garrett Yrigoyen.
But how charming is he really—and should his baggage be a dealbreaker? While Yrigoyen’s more traditional views of marriage might not be everyone’s cup of tea (anyone else not love that he arrived in a minivan on Night 1?), throughout the show, he generally comes across as earnest, kind, and seeking Becca’s heart For The Right Reasons in a…simple way. (Let’s just say, he’d definitely be a Hufflepuff.) But, almost immediately after the show’s May premiere, reports circulated about the 29-year-old medical sales rep’s decidedly uncharming social-media presence.
From his since-deleted Instagram account, Yrigoyen had “liked” offensive posts, alluding to him harboring transphobic, racist, and generally insensitive views (one post he liked claimed a student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was a “crisis actor”). Alas, he had already secured his place as a front-runner for winning the competition, and now, he and Kufrin have officially joined the ranks of everyone else who has made getting engaged this year’s hot summer trend. (They couldn’t have done it without you, Neil Lane!)
To be fair, once the controversy broke, Yrigoyen immediately apologized via a post from the new, PC Instagram account he created after deleting his former feed that was blemished by bigotry. “I am not perfect, and I will never be anywhere close, but now I will always be more informed and aware of what I am liking and supporting, not just on Instagram, but in life,” Yrigoyen writes. “My Instagram ‘likes’ were not a true reflection of me and my morals.” And, based on Kufrin’s recent comments on the matter, she’s standing by her man. “All I could ask for is somebody who owns up to what they’ve done and who apologizes and wants to grow. And that’s what he’s done,” she says, People reports.
“I do believe we are capable of change and growth, and giving someone the opportunity to demonstrate that might ultimately strengthen the bond between two partners.” —Alison Stone, LCSW
Some wary souls (ahem, me) might say Kufrin is kidding herself in believing Yrigoyen really, truly didn’t understand that his not-so-innocent double-taps were cosigning inflammatory views, but a licensed professional isn’t so quick to judge. Psychotherapist Alison Stone, LCSW, tells me that the most important prerequisite for choosing a partner is knowing yourself. Because if you know what your personal priorities and dealbreakers are, you’ll be able to more easily decide whether inevitable issues are benign or red (flashing) lights.
“Most of us have made mistakes or done things we aren’t proud of. I do believe we are capable of change and growth, and giving someone the opportunity to demonstrate that might ultimately strengthen the bond between two partners,” Stone says. “What is important is that we’re careful to distinguish between the types of mistakes people have made. What were the circumstances? How has the person demonstrated that they’ve learned from it since?”
So assuming Kufrin does in fact know herself well enough to be able to identify what she wants and doesn’t, Yrigoyen’s scandal of insensitivity may not mean their engagement is doomed. And if Stone is right, and he’s grown from his mistakes, the whole issue might beget the rare learning opportunity for members of Bachelor Nation: Sure, keep judging suitors by their Instagrams, but don’t be closed off to tales of redemption. Because, if not an opportunity to expound on fairy-tale-derived notions, what even is anything related to The Bachelor franchise?
Here are four steps to get exactly what you want out of your relationship. Plus, check out how to make sure you’re building real intimacy with your partner.
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