Throughout The Bachelorette season 19, Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey made it very clear that they wanted to be engaged at the end of their journeys, and now, as their season concludes, they are explaining why they were so focused on the proposals. During their Fantasy Suites week, Gabby and Rachel both broke up with men who expressed that they were not ready to be engaged. Gabby had to end things with Johnny DePhillipo and Jason Alabaster, when each one confessed that they could not see themselves getting down on one knee, after knowing Gabby for only a few months. Even Erich Schwer, who did eventually propose to Gabby, shared some concerns about the fast timeline. However, Erich did pop the question to Gabby during the finale, and they are still engaged today.
Rachel said a difficult goodbye to Aven Jones, after he remarked that, although he was at a place in his life in which he felt ready to be engaged, he was unsure if he could see himself proposing in just a few days. However, Rachel’s final choice Tino Franco had no doubts about getting engaged. He proposed, and she said yes. Unfortunately, Rachel and Tino broke up, because he kissed another woman when they were having a rough patch in their relationship, after filming ended.
In an interview on the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast, hosted by former Bachelorettes Becca Kufrin and Michelle Young, Rachel and Gabby explained why getting engaged was so important, and what the word “engagement” meant to them. The women were heavily criticized by viewers, who felt that each woman only cared about receiving an engagement ring from one of the men. Fans thought that they did not necessarily care which man it was, as long as he proposed. However, Rachel explained that, even when they were on Clayton Echard’s season of The Bachelor, she and Gabby were very clear about what they were looking for. That carried over into their roles as Bachelorettes.
She continued, “We both want commitment. We’ve said that from day one. And, again, I feel like we’ve never wavered from just wanting someone who wanted to love us, and be with us, and stand next to us. And that’s all we ever asked for.” Rachel acknowledged the controversy about The Bachelorette format, but said that she and Gabby equated the word engagement with commitment, so it was not about the ring. They wanted partners that would stand by them, and put the work into their relationships, even after the show was over.
Gabby explained, “I don’t just want a ring. It’s a symbol of the commitment, and, for me, I’ve dated all of them. And I’ve never been in a point in my life where I’m ready to stay with all of them. But that’s what an engagement meant to me. It’s like someone who’s done the work in their life, who’s at a place in their life where they’re ready to commit to someone forever.” Gabby addressed the feedback from the audience members, who felt that she and Rachel fixated too much on engagements. She stated that it was not about receiving a ring, but finding someone who was ready to commit to them, and said that she and Rachel believed in the process.
Gabby shared that there truly would be “no stakes” if she went into the show thinking that she would “just get a boyfriend.” She joked that if she wanted a boyfriend, “I would’ve walked away with like four or five of them. But I just want one.” She said it wasn’t about materialism (i.e. the ring), or buzzwords, or click-bait for the show, but being ready to be engaged, and then married. Rachel remarked that, while the Neil Lane rings are beautiful, what they really wanted was for someone to stand next to them through these difficult times, and be supportive. She stated that if Tino said that he could not propose, but shared that he wanted to commit to her for the rest of their lives, that was all she was looking for.
Although The Bachelorette began as a show about people finding love and getting engaged, as the relationships began to fail following the show, the contestants were right to be concerned about proposals that were made after such a short period of time. The past six Bachelorettes (Becca, Hannah Brown, Clare Crawley, Tayshia Adams, Katie Thurston, and Michelle Young) have all ended their relationships since their seasons aired, and now Rachel’s name is added to that list. However, Gabby and Rachel’s explanation about how, to them, engagement meant future commitment does make sense. Hopefully, Erich can give Gabby the full support that she wants in her life, and Rachel can find someone new, who does the same for her.
Source: Bachelor Happy Hour