Here’s a fun question for you: when stepping out with a new squeeze, when do you roll out the detailed ten year plan for your relationship. Date two? Date four? Absolutely never because that is utterly insane?
Matt Agnew, Australia’s Bachelor (The), did not go for the last option. Or the second one.
His date with Helena in episode 12 literally consisted of driving to a field where there was a huge timeline, seemingly carved out of marble, where they were going to plan out what ten years together would look like.
And Helena, not unreasonably, got very flustered and then bailed on the date, begging a producer to get her out of there (the date, not the show) while Matt presumably sat there worried that they hadn’t adequately planned when to have “Travel And Adventure”.
And she was absolutely right to do so.
Let’s talk about this as a date choice.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the worst possible date in the entire history of dates, short of suggesting a late night dinner in a supermarket carpark followed by a dip in some warm abattoir runoff.
My wife and I have been together for several years, made two fresh human beings together, and have never, ever, ever had a conversation that contained the phrase “so, by year seven where do you see us being?”
Not only is that weirdly controlling behaviour, there’s nothing – literally nothing – that kills a relationship like taking it for granted, and blithely assuming that you’ll be together in seven years because that’s when you’ve decided to have Child #3 is a cool way to announce that you don’t know how life works. Or, for that matter, human fertility.
And while we’re on the subject, this was something which was sticking in my craw about the previous Bachelors giving advice of the flavour “if you pick the right person you can get a marriage! And kids!” like they are things you tick off a life-schedule.
No, they are not. No no no no no.
They’re not trophies you win and shelve. They’re points which change your life and spin it off in different directions. And having kids changes a relationship too, not least in that it puts some pretty hard limits on your “Travel And Adventure” plans.
(For one thing, you’re going to have MANY, MANY, MANY MORE BAGS. Jesus, just going to a shopping centre requires more luggage than solo me used to take for a week interstate.)
And yes, this is is a show where there is a ticking clock on people working out their compatibility and how well their futures align, but it’s also a show where people date and presumably show off their best selves.
And if your best self is informing someone you met a couple of weeks earlier that your marriage should fall no later than 2022, you need to get a better one.