Charity Lawson’s time on The Bachelorette is coming to an end. While it’s still unclear whether she’ll leave with a ring on her finger (despite having an unprecedented three men to choose from in the finale), one thing is certain in Bachelor Nation: as one journey ends, another begins. One of Charity’s final three men — Aaron B., Dotun, and Joey — will likely be the next Bachelor, a position now reserved for the scorned contestants of previous seasons. And if Season 20 follows tradition, the casting will officially be announced during The Bachelorette finale aftershow, After the Final Rose, airing August 21. After that, all Dotun, Joey, or Aaron B. will need is 20 to 30 women to date.
Fans of Charity’s final men (or anyone who likes the idea of looking for love on TV) can now apply to be one of those women. The application itself is easy enough, despite its flawed ideals — requiring contestants to input their height and weight doesn’t exactly signal an accepting, body-diverse environment. But anyone who can get past that should read the eligibility fine print to make sure they are single enough for The Bachelor.
The eligibility requirements start by spelling it out clearly: “All applicants must be single.” Sure, makes complete sense, no further explanation needed, right? Wrong.
The application continues: “To qualify as ‘single,’ the applicant must not currently be involved in a committed intimate relationship, which includes: any marital relationship” — very clear, go on — “any co-habitation relationship involving physical intimacy” (no live-in partners who you’re having sex with, got it), “or a monogamous dating relationship more than two (2) months in duration.” Hold on now, what?
So, according to this application, if someone has been in a monogamous relationship for under than two months, they are officially single. In the real world, two months isn’t that long, and it’s possible that the relationship wouldn’t be serious enough to cause complications on the show. But it’s also the same amount of time that passes between the Bachelor/Bachelorette meeting their suitors and getting engaged to one of them. On Charity’s season, the first full “I love you” was dropped in week 7, which would be just under the two-month mark. It seems like The Bachelor is unbothered by potentially breaking the hearts of people back at home.
We’ve seen people in Bachelor Nation burned by undisclosed relationships before. The most egregious instance happened during Season 15 of The Bachelorette. Before the finale aired, it was revealed that contestant Jed Wyatt never actually broke up with his girlfriend before leaving to be on the show. He reportedly promised her that he was just going on the series to get a boost for his music career, but things got complicated when he ended up proposing to bachelorette Hannah Brown during the finale.
According to Wyatt’s girlfriend, they had been in a four-month relationship when he left for the show. Maybe that metric was used by producers to land on the seemingly arbitrary number mentioned in the current application — four months obviously indicates that a relationship is indeed serious and could cause trouble, but we guess two months don’t reflect the same level of commitment.
There is an obvious, only slightly less morally corrupt loophole for anyone currently in a relationship who wants their shot: dump the boyfriend or girlfriend first. The eligibility requirements don’t say how long you should be single before applying, and while it’s still a pretty dirtbag move, at least there’s no lying or infidelity involved.
Those who get cast on the show will inevitably be wrapped up in a whirlwind dating experience and see for themselves just how quickly deep feelings can develop in the world of The Bachelor. Unfortunately, that may mean ending up heartbroken and single again at the end of the series’s two-month process. Getting back out there in the real world, at least, doesn’t require an application — and if the Bachelor Nation timeline is more someone’s speed, there’s always Bachelor in Paradise.
The Bachelorette Season 20 finale airs August 21 at 8:00 PM ET on ABC. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.
Brianna Wellen is a TV Reporter at Primetimer who became obsessed with television when her parents let her stay up late to watch E.R.