What can you learn from Matt James’ season of “The Bachelor”?

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By RichardLederman

Matt James’ Bachelor finale aired March 25th. Season 25 featured a theme that was very different from any other franchise. It focused on racism and fundamental relationship values. The season finale aired mid-March. James gave Rachael Kirkconnell his final rose, but their relationship ended soon after taping.

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The couple split up initially due to fundamental differences in their values. Kirkconnell confirmed that they have since reconciled, while James says that they are still working on their relationship. He told WSJ that they can have difficult conversations about the relationship and what he needs in a partner, especially if she isn’t Black. Magazine in May 2021. “It’s up to people who care about being allies, to do the work necessary to be truly antiracist. It’s unfair to make people incapable of learning and improve.

What was the Controversy?

Matt’s season of franchise revealed deeper questions about relationships and lessons from the franchise. Viewers were shocked to learn that Rachael had been a part of antebellum parties only a few years prior to her reality TV stint. In May 2020, James was chosen to be ABC’s first ever Black Bachelor. This was at the peak of racial tension in America. Kirkconnell’s participation alone put the couple in doubtable territory. It is linked to inborn values that the hurtful nature of such themed parties can be. James stated that Kirkconnell’s resurfaced photographs were problematic because she didn’t “understand” the issue. “I let her do the work that she has committed to.”

Although Rachael has since apologized and addressed the scandal, more controversy was sparked when Chris Harrison, the franchise host, defended Harrison as the finalist in February. James issued a statement saying that “this moment has sparked critical discussion and reporting, raised essential questions, and resulted into inspiring displays of solidarity by The Bachelor nation.” It has forced me to reevaluate my Bachelor experience, both for myself and for all the contestants of color, particularly the Black contestants, as well as for you, the viewers. My greatest hope is that this will be an inflection point that leads to real institutional change.

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What are Foundational Values?

The influence of geography, family, culture and friends, as well as education, is what shapes foundational values. It’s formed through years of relationship interaction and generally shaped by exposure. Your values can be a core part of who you and your partner are, regardless of external circumstances. Experts list respect, responsibility as well as loyalty, honesty and dependability among other important relationship values.

“Our family is our foundation and a guide for how we approach our relationships with each other as adults,” says Dr. Lewandowski. He’s the author of Stronger than You Think: The 10 Blind Spots That Undermine Your Relationship… and How to Get Past Them. We also choose our friends because we are a lot like them. Our beliefs and those of our friends and family are often similar to ours. We may be able, for short periods of time to suppress our beliefs. This becomes more difficult over time. Conflict can be caused by differences in foundational values.

Anita Kanti, a relationship coach and clinical psychologist, says that “our environment, where we were formally raised,” sets our core foundation.

How to prioritize Foundational Values with Your Partner

Many relationships don’t last more than a few months on reality TV. This allows couples to choose their priorities privately. No matter if you are married, single or engaged, your foundational values should be explored within yourself and in your relationship.

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Dr. Lewandowski says, “The values that you seek in a partner should mirror the ones you would look for in your best friend.” It should be someone you enjoy spending time with, trust and like. The person you choose cares about your well-being, shares many of the same interests as you, is fun and comfortable being you. Here are some ways to find common values with your partner.

Talk it out

Experts agree that communication is the key to success. Talking things out is the best way to solve problems. Dr. Lewandowski suggests asking about their opinions on the following: “Ask them what they think of marriage, children, parenting, money management, family obligations and expectations from a romantic partner.” It’s not easy because the number one taboo topic for relationships is, ironically and somewhat tragically, the relationship itself. People fear the’relationship talk’ as it could lead to information that can threaten the relationship. It’s a Catch-22.

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Find Your Alignment

After you have had a conversation, it is time to validate your priorities and see where you overlap. Kanti says that if your family is your highest priority, it will be important to validate this with your future or current partner. This will also need to include your dedication. To avoid unhappiness and miscommunications, it is important to prioritize your values in your life. It is important to be authentic and true to your values. This will determine what matters most to you.