Logan Levkoff, Ph.D., is a relationship and sexuality educator and author who appeared on Married at First Sight’s first three seasons. In this edition of The Confessional, she writes about Clare Crawley’s decision to choose Dale Moss on The Bachelorette, and how Blake Moynes’ response demonstrates a major issue people have in relationships.
I have an admission to make: I love reality television. As cringeworthy as some shows may get, I love them, not just as a voyeur. I love them as someone who teaches about sexuality and relationships.
There is a surplus of material to discuss and I am a firm believer that we should use any and all opportunities to create discourse about the issues that we feel passionate about. Obviously, you can imagine that there is a lot for me to work with. I love television that gives us the opportunity to hold a mirror up to our own lives for self-examination. It’s why I loved being a part of Married at First Sight years ago.
While I must confess that I don’t typically watch The Bachelorette in its entirety (a full season), I have been known to pop in and out for a few episodes—and yes, I have watched the last few episodes of Clare’s journey to find love.
I could write a doctoral dissertation on the super-feminist decision (yes, that is sarcasm you are reading) to swap out one woman (Clare) with another (Tayshia) as if women are all the same and you can easily replace one with another, but I will not do that today.
I could write another dissertation on the “I fell in love after seeing Dale’s Facebook” storyline.
I could also write about how a bachelorette could be making a wedding proposal instead of relying on a male suitor to get down on one knee (I’ve been married for 20 years and it all started because I asked him out rather than waiting for him to possibly call me).
What I will do today is focus my time on the moment in last night’s show that sent me into an intellectual tailspin.
Blake’s reaction to Clare’s decision
That moment: the discussion that The Bachlorette men have after Clare has told them that she has fallen in love with Dale.
Look, I understand why the men would be confused and angry. They’re shooting a show during a pandemic. They were excited about meeting Clare (and possibly falling in love with her rather than lust from afar). They were probably exhausted from a grueling production schedule. (I do know how that works.)
However, there was one man who made a statement that, to me, is unforgivable. His name is Blake Moynes.
I’m going to give you the full quote so that I make sure to get this right:
“When I found out it was her (Clare), I bought a book on dementia and Alzheimers to understand what she was going through with her mom. I fully dove in to make sure that I could potentially be that fairytale ending if I got there. Why did I invest so much and not get anything in return?”
(Breathe, Logan. Breathe.)
Uh, Blake? What were you expecting to get in return for learning about someone’s family situation? Kisses? Gropes? Sex? Love? That sure is a grotesque sense of entitlement that you’re expressing.
No one—not even a bachelorette on a television franchise—owes you anything. It’s that archaic, and quite frankly misogynistic, perspective that contributes to so many of our relationship and sexual challenges.
It’s why talking about consent is critical and so hard for so many people to do.
No one should have expectations about what they are going to “get” out of dating someone.
That said, here’s one thing you can feel good about: the only person you are entitled to be intimate with is yourself. Yes, masturbation. Your only guaranteed partner is your hand.
And by the way, this isn’t solely directed at Blake—I’m speaking to all people who believe that they are “owed” something for a perceived investment.
Let’s think about that “investment” shall we? Dude, you read a freaking book. It wasn’t an investment, it was a growth opportunity.
Some of you reading this may think that I’m overreacting. That’s okay, but I couldn’t let the moment pass. Too many people I know and teach and work with have been misled into believing that if someone puts time or energy or money into them (phone calls, texts, paying for dinner or drinks) then there has to be some sort of payback.
Let me be clear: no automatic paybacks needed. Ever. Partnerships are about respect, balance, kindness, reciprocity, and intimacy, not expectations or assumptions.
Anyone who believes otherwise is not worth your time.