The Real Reason Bachelor Contestants Seemingly Fall In Love So Hard And Fast

Whether you consider yourself an official citizen of Bachelor Nation or just a tourist, there's no denying that The Bachelor is one of the most intense reality shows around. The intensity is in no small part due to some very crafty editing and production, but it's also just lots of fun. There's drama, roses, the possibility of love, and a Neil Lane diamond ring waiting at the end of what feels like a very long road.

That being said, for anyone who watches the show, it can also be shocking to watch contestants fall in love so quickly. Filming for each season lasts "less than nine weeks or around two months," per Insider, and that's from first meeting to engagement. So yeah, the timeline is definitely sped up compared to a "normal" relationship, and it's something fans have definitely witnessed on Matt James' season of The Bachelor. From the comfort of our couches, it can seem like a huge surprise when contestants admit to falling in love when we feel like we're still figuring out who everyone is. 

To get a better understanding of why the contestants seem to fall in love so hard — and so fast – Nicki Swift spoke with Dr. Kristen Willeumier, who, in addition to being a neuroscientist is also the author of Biohack Your Brain. Keep scrolling to find out what she had to say about falling in love on one of the most dramatic reality shows ever.

What makes 'The Bachelor' so unique

Dr. Kristen Willeumier chatted with Nicki Swift about what really happens on a show like The Bachelor, especially during Matt James' season which is jam-packed with drama, intensity, a fair share of conflict, and declarations of love for Matt. (Have you seen him, though?! It does make sense.) 

First off, we asked Dr. Willeumier to explain why contestants fall in love so hard and so fast. "Falling in love is mediated by changes in the hormones that are released in the brain," she shared. "In the initial stages of love, the excitement and anticipation trigger the release of cortisol, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which helps to form early attachments. The excitatory neurotransmitter norepinephrine is associated with arousal, vigilance, and concentration."

While those hormones can all be positive, there's no doubt that it's also hard on contestants. In May 2020, former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe spoke to Us Weekly about the mental health challenges that came with being on the show. "I definitely struggled with depression during the show and while I was facing all that scrutiny," she said. Dr. Willeumier also explained that the close living quarters can take a toll on contestants as well, and actually contributes to the speed at which they fall in love.

Why the confined living situation on 'The Bachelor' creates such strong emotions

Neuroscientist and author Dr. Kristen Willeumier spoke with Nicki Swift about why contestants on The Bachelor fall in love so quickly. Surprisingly, the confined living situation and seclusion from the outside world actually plays a huge role, something that's come up many times for contestants on Matt James' season.

"The adrenaline-fueled dates drive the production of dopamine, which maintains the excitement around pursuing the Bachelor," Dr. Willeumier explained. "The competition for Matt's affection increases testosterone production, which can fuel aggressive behavior between the women. Close living quarters with an inability to connect to friends or family creates a unique and challenging social dynamic."

The intensity of the show combined with being cut off from the rest of the world creates "high-octane drama," according to Dr. Willeumier. This actually plays a large part in why contestants fall in love so quickly. "The drama and lust that come in the early stages of love are all derived from the rush of neurochemicals, including dopamine, cortisol, and adrenaline, which fuel the instant attraction."

While these intense hormones can contribute to feelings of love, they can also be overwhelming. Fans saw Sarah Trott show herself out early on in the season, per Variety, even after creating a strong connection with Matt. The proof is in the pudding: there's no doubt that a slot on The Bachelor leads to some mega emotions. Some emotions, like anxiety, are tough to deal with, but it seems like it's worth it for many contestants if there's a chance at love.