By Bill Schacht, MS, LCSW
Monday night’s CBS episode of “The Bachelorette” highlighted lady-in-looking JoJo Fletcher’s day-long visits to the four remaining bachelors’ homes and families. Throughout this show’s process, JoJo has demonstrated poise and wisdom engaging the men in a non-threatening manner that illuminates their partner potential strengths and weaknesses.
One hometown visit stood out as unique from the other three. Bachelor Chase, prior to JoJo’s arrival, shared with the audience thoughts and feelings about being an adult child of a “very nasty” divorce. Chase reveals his angst that JoJo may experience having to meet his father and mother separately and the fact that he had not seen his father in four years as enough negative to make him appear the weakest link in relationship to his competitors for her love.
He also expresses this concern to both mom and dad in the episode.
True to form, JoJo, who doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to inquiring relevant thoughts, feelings, and circumstances when “dating” her options, comes directly at Chase asking him what caused his parents’ divorce and if the childhood scars of family separation may have left him knowing that he is emotionally guarded about the risks of entering into commitment and marriage.
Chase cannot hide this possibility and does his best to tell JoJo that being a child of a painful divorce has him more committed to being who he needs to be in a successful marriage.
And, the negative transforms into a significant positive for Chase as he credits JoJo’s visit as the influence in he and his father meeting and reconnecting after a 48-month separation.
At the end of JoJo’s visit, Chase communicates into the camera that he is pleased and proud that both of his parents emerged from divorce into joyful, healthy relationships with their new spouses and families.
JoJo ends the segment with notable consideration of Chase’s family People of Divorce status.
The viewing reminds us that being People of Divorce is a life-long endeavor. It also tells us that, as our children of divorce age and enter the dating and mating process, we must provide good support and guidance in helping them be present to and communicate their POD status and experience to potential partners – not as a matter of being or feeling flawed, rather as a matter of being wise and forthright!