- Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic via Getty Images
- As many as 23 seasons in, “The Bachelor” still knows how to surprise us.
- We’ve rounded up some of the most controversial relationships in the show’s history – plus who we think they should have ended up with.
- For instance, Ben Flajnik probably would have been a better fit for runner-up Tenley Molzahn, not villainous winner Courtney Robertson.
These couples have gone down in the show’s history as the most controversial, or just plain confusing. And to help them out, we’ve picked the people who we think they should’ve gone for instead.
Keep scrolling to see who we chose.
Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi had an explosive break up on-air with Chris Harrison.
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Girardi was definitely a polarizing contestant during her time on Pavelka’s season of “The Bachelor,” and when Pavelka proposed, people were shocked.
The 23-year-old was called immature and “abrasive” by both fans and Pavelka’s family. The two only lasted a few months before sitting down for one of Bachelor Nation’s most uncomfortable interviews in history. The two screamed, insulted each other, and Girardi ended up walking off set.
It probably would have worked out much better for Jake and runner-up Tenley Molzahn.
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Viewers thought that Pavelka and Molzahn were a pretty good match, and so did their respective families. Plus, Molzahn was one of the genuinely sweetest women to ever appear on the show.
However, Molzahn is now happily married to her longtime boyfriend Taylor Leopold.
Dean Unglert and Danielle Lombard were the center of an ugly love triangle on “Bachelor in Paradise.”
- Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Unglert was beloved by Bachelor Nation … until he appeared on “Bachelor in Paradise” and broke our hearts. While he was in a semi-committed relationship with Kristina Schulman, Unglert pursued Lombard, and essentially led them both on to continue dating both women.
Schulman eventually left broken-hearted – and Lombard and Unglert continued to date. Fans were left angry at both of them for upsetting Schulman, who was loved by her fellow castmates and viewers alike.
Clearly, it would have been much easier for everyone involved if Dean had stayed with Kristina.
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In an alternate universe, Lombard never appeared in “Paradise” and Unglert and Schulman are living somewhere happily ever after.
Even though some might say that Schulman deserves better than Unglert’s flip-flopping ways, it’s impossible to know for sure what would have happened if things had gone just a tiny bit differently.
But hey, they’re both publicly still single, so maybe they’ll work it out.
Becca Koof’s eventual winner Garrett Yrigoyen caused a stir before the season even aired with some problematic Instagram posts.
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While these two seem genuinely happy together, many fans can’t get past Yrigoyen’s controversial Instagram activity.
Former “Bachelor” contestant Ashley Spivey uncovered his likes, which consisted of transphobic and misogynistic memes, and memes mocking the Parkland shooting survivors.
So, even though these two are content, Kufrin had another great option …
Fans would have been happy with Becca picking Blake Horstmann, who endeared himself to fans before the show even began airing.
Horstmann first appeared on the finale of Arie’s season of “The Bachelor,” when Chris Harrison surprised Kufrin with five contestants from her upcoming season of “The Bachelorette,” and became an immediate frontrunner.
He made it all the way to the final two, and many fans were firmly Team Blake. His emotional breakdown when Kufrin broke up with him only made Bachelor Nation obsess over him more.
Here’s hoping we see Horstmann find love in “Paradise” this summer.
Ben Flajnik ended up breaking up with winner Courtney Robertson after he saw her villainous behavior when the season aired.
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This was another case of the winner picking the season’s villain. “Bachelor” Flajnik seemed to be blissfully unaware of how unpleasant Robertson was to her fellow contestants, and even his family seemed to understand that she wasn’t the best fit for him.
The two eventually broke off their engagement when he saw how poorly she treated the other women on the season, and she wrote an aptly titled book “I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends.”
Runner-up Lindzi Cox probably would have been a better fit for Ben.
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Cox was a fan-favorite all season, mainly because she didn’t consistently put down the other women from her season. During the finale, Flajnik’s family was immediately sold on her, and were vocal about it.
Since Robertson and Flajnik broke up, we can’t help but think that he probably made the wrong decision.
Maybe it was because, according to Rachel Lindsay, most of her relationship with Bryan Abasolo wasn’t shown, but fans were not sold on the couple.
- Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for AHA
These two are in the midst of wedding planning, and many people have turned around on their relationship, but we invite you to step back in time, when it became apparent that Abasolo was going to be the winner of Lindsay’s season. Most likely, you were unimpressed.
Fans were decidedly not #TeamBryan, and thought he came off as disingenuous and rehearsed. Overall, it was a true source of contention in Bachelor Nation.
But what really made it so hard to root for Bryan and Rachel was the dreamy runner-up, Peter Kraus.
- Paula Lobo/ABC via Getty Images
Kraus was the object of fan obsession ever since he was the first man to step out of the limo. The two seemed to connect on their values, their sense of humor, and a shared love of their gap teeth.
But it became clear that Kraus was in no way prepared to get down on one knee at the end of the season, and Lindsay wasn’t willing to compromise. They had a devastating break up – she cried her eyelashes off – and hearts around the world broke.
Two years later and we’re still salty Kraus and Lindsay couldn’t work it out.
Ben Higgins professed his love to both of the final two contestants, but ended up choosing Lauren Bushnell.
- Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Higgins committed the cardinal sin of “The Bachelor:” He told both Bushnell and other finalist JoJo Fletcher that he loved them. Customarily, the lead waits until there’s just one person left to express their feelings, but Higgins was unable to hold it in, for either of them.
So, when Higgins picked Bushnell, people weren’t totally sold.
Even though JoJo has her happy ending now with Jordan Rodgers, we can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Ben had picked her.
- David Becker/Getty Images
Fletcher has gone down as one of the all-time great “Bachelorettes,” so we don’t really wish she was chosen, but for Higgins’ sake, it might have lasted longer than his relationship with Bushnell.
Jason Mesnick and Melissa Rycroft started out on a bad foot when Mesnick was inconsolable after his break up with runner-up Molly Malaney.
Before the fence jump, there was “pulling a Mesnick.” Mesnick was so upset after sending Malaney home that he ran to a railing, threw his arms over it, and broke down. It’s almost impossible to watch.
That’s why it was hard to believe that Mesnick was making the right decision by picking Rycroft. Turns out, it was hard for him to believe too …
In this case, Jason did end up with who we thought he should have — he famously dumped Melissa on TV so he could pursue Molly.
- Paul Hebert/ABC via Getty Images
In a rare instance of audience opinion and real feelings perfectly aligning, Mesnick also realized that he had made a mistake, and decided to end his relationship with Rycroft to begin dating Malaney.
Clearly, they were on to something – a decade later, the two are married with a daughter, Riley.
Andi Dorfman choosing Josh Murray, in hindsight, wasn’t a great decision on her part.
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During the season’s original airing, Murray was the fan-favorite. But bombshells revealed in Dorfman’s book, “It’s Not Okay,” and his treatment of his now-ex on social media have soured “Bachelorette” fans on him.
According to Dormfan, Murray’s actions while they were engaged were “controlling” and he “often behaved like an emotional abuser.”
As recently as 2019, Murray is still shading his ex. Four years after the break-up, Murray compared Dorfman to the devil in an Instagram post.
Even though Nick Viall didn’t win any fans with his appearance on “After the Final Rose,” he and Andi seemed suited for each other.
- Taylor Hill/Getty Images
Viall became something of a villain after he discussed his and Dorfman’s private business on national television. But, if she had picked him in the first place, he most likely wouldn’t have done that – plus, it would have saved him from heartbreak on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season, or on his own season of “The Bachelor.”
By the time Josh Murray reappeared on “Bachelor in Paradise,” fans were already wary of him spending time with Amanda Stanton.
- David Livingston/Getty Images
The entire third season of “Bachelor in Paradise” revolved around Stanton getting warned about Murray’s problematic behavior, including getting angry with her for going to sleep early, and generally encouraging her to ignore her friends.
The two ended up getting engaged, but had a particularly nasty and public break up not long after.
It would have been nice to see the single mom end up with someone much nicer, like Vinny Ventiera.
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Ventiera appeared on the same season as Stanton, but the two didn’t really interact much – which is a shame. Ventiera was clearly there for the right reasons, and got his heart broken by Izzy Goodkind around halfway through the season.
Both seem like genuinely sweet people, and wanted to find love on that beach in Mexico.
Sadly (for us), Stanton’s happily in a relationship. But who knows – maybe love is in their future.
- Read more:
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- 20 ‘Bachelor’ contestants who eliminated themselves
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