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How Old Do You Have to Be to Go on The Bachelor?

Consider This My Plea to Raise the Minimum Age of Bachelor Contestants to at LEAST 24

How Old Do You Have to Be to Go on The Bachelor?
Image Source: ABC

There's officially a bug going around Bachelor Nation, and it can't be cured with a Z-Pak. We're calling this the "she's not ready for a proposal" epidemic. During Colton Underwood's recent season of The Bachelor, many of the girls claimed that his first choice, Cassie Randolph, was not ready for a proposal, and, well, they turned out to be right.

Although Colton was dumped by Cassie in Portugal, the 27-year-old former football player continued to pursue 23-year-old Cassie, and eventually he finished the show with Cassie on his arm and no engagement ring in sight. The season ended without a proposal, and Colton and Cassie came to the "After the Final Rose" special simply as official boyfriend and girlfriend.

Is it a little insane to expect people to get engaged after such a short time together? Yes. Is that the basic premise of the show, in which the Bachelor frequently says he's looking for "his wife"? Also yes. The Bachelor leans heavily into the engagement narrative, so what went wrong this season? We think we might have the answer, and it could also explain why many Bachelor Nation couples don't last after all.

According to the official Bachelor casting website, "all applicants must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age at the time of application." Sorry, but the age when one is legally permitted to drink alcohol is also the age when one is legally permitted to compete to get engaged on a reality TV show? I was shocked to find out that the minimum age is 21 years old, and although it's pretty rare to have a 21-year-old contestant on the show, it's a rule that needs to be reconsidered.

I don't want to discredit couples who get engaged at a young age; it's just that usually, a proposal takes place after the young couple have been in a long-term relationship — not necessarily after being on a reality show for several weeks. Of course, "when you know, you know," and age doesn't necessarily reflect maturity. In fact, 22-year-old Bekah Martinez demonstrated plenty of maturity on Arie Luyendyk Jr.'s season of The Bachelor. As a general rule, though, ageing up contestants could increase the chances that more participants would be ready for marriage — and there are some facts to back that up.

As of January, the average age of people getting married in the US is between 25 and 30 years old, according to Insider. If that's the average age of marriage in the US, then a "reality" show like The Bachelor could better reflect that pattern by shifting its casting rule. Meanwhile, the shows' success stories point to the same idea.

Almost all of the seasons of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise have ended with engagements, but few of those relationships have stood the test of time. With three couples from The Bachelor still together, six couples from The Bachelorette going strong, and two couples from Bachelor in Paradise creating families of their own, we decided to look into the ages of each participant when they got engaged, and the results might not surprise you at all.

Of the couples who got engaged on the shows and are still together, the ages when they got engaged range from 24 (Molly Malaney, season 13 of The Bachelor) to 37 (Bryan Abasolo, season 13 of The Bachelorette). Ahead, see the Bachelor couples who have stood the test of time, plus their ages when they got engaged. And ABC, consider this our plea to raise the minimum age to at least 24 — the proof is there!

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