If you let the numbers speak for themselves, it's pretty obvious that, in terms of creating long-lasting relationships, The Bachelorette has a more successful track record than The Bachelor. Only two of 23 Bachelors are still with their final rose picks, while six of 14 Bachelorettes are still with theirs (that's not including Bachelors Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Jason Mesnick, who both married their runner-ups after later changing their minds. But even so, the statistics are clear). According to psychologist Dr. Goali Saedi Bocci, Ph.D, that's no coincidence: there's a psychological explanation for why Bachelorettes are better at picking a long-term partner.
As Bocci explains, the reasoning hinges upon a number of gendered stereotypes, many of which have been perpetuated by the show itself. "Women are ultimately looking for their husbands. And with men, a lot of the time they end up choosing a girlfriend," she tells Bustle. "This show is based on a lot of traditional principles, and for a lot of these women, it's kind of, 'Here's my chance at finding the guy that I can marry.' Because traditionally, it’s the man who's going to do the asking. With a guy, it’s a little easier to say, 'Oh, I'll meet somebody else.'"
Ultimately, Bocci says, men "kind of have the upper hand" from a conventional perspective, which means that psychologically, "there's more at stake" for the women when choosing a winner. Case in point: in the history of The Bachelor and Bachelorette, a woman has never proposed to a man on the show.
Bocci also says that because of the societal pressure placed on women to have children, Bachelorettes might also think more seriously about not just who feels right in the moment, but who will make the best partner for them when starting a family. "There's also the idea of the biological clock," she continues. "They might be older. They might be thinking about their fertility. And men might just keep trading down for younger and younger [women]. For women, it doesn't work that way."
Finally, Bocci says that, at least initially, men tend to be more focused on physical attraction than other qualities, which could lead them to make an ill-informed decision. This is supported by psychological research, which, as reported by Real Simple, suggests "male brains tend to be attracted to things that are analytical (sports scores) and visual (Heidi Klum), while female brains focus more on nonverbal and verbal communication (a stimulating conversation)."
Adds Bocci: "I think women tend to stay focused on the task at hand, while men tend to get distracted, like here's this shiny, pretty thing ... It's stereotypical, but men tend to be more visual. Women tend to be more forgiving on the visual — they think about personality traits and who's going to be a good father to [their] children."
Of course, there are always exceptions; clearly, some Bachelors have found their wives on the show. But with all of that in mind, it makes sense why Bachelorettes have fared so much better than Bachelors: they're biologically wired to do so.
Additional reporting by Dana Getz.