No one likes to hear the words “I told you so,” especially in the wake of a painful breakup.
Even if the inevitability of the split was obvious to outsiders, it probably came as an unexpected blow to the newly-anointed exes, which means any gloating is insensitive at best and cruel at worst.
But Michelle Young and Clayton Echard are in a unique situaton.
In their case, millions of people saw the breakup coming, not because of any perceived weak spots in the relationship, but because the whole world knew that Clayton had been cast as the next Bachelor.
For obvious reasons, franchise producers tried to keep that news under wraps, but word got out, thanks to spoiler master Reality Steve.
And since one can’t become the new Bachelor without first becoming single, it was widely assumed that Michelle would eventually kick Clayton to the curb.
So it didn’t come as much of a surprise when Michelle declined to offer Clayton a rose on this week’s episode.
With the Hometown Round just one week away, Young chose Echard for a one-on-one date in order to see “if [she was] able to get where [she needed] to get in order to meet his family.”
Clayton began developing “stronger feelings” for Michelle on the date, which makes her decision to send him packing that much sadder.
“For me, tonight put into perspective that I want to settle down and have a family and all these things,” he told Michelle.
“The last five years of my life, everything I did, I was trying to make sure people were impressed by and that I was good enough. I was chasing after things that I thought would bring me happiness,” Echard continued.
“I’ve been single for so long, I forgot how much I wanted a future with somebody. Now I’m able to stop worrying and stop comparing myself to others and just be me.”
Echard’s goals for the future might make him an ideal Bachelor.
But for reasons that were beyond either of their control, he simply wasn’t the right man for Michelle.
And so, knowing how important it is for Clayton to find the right woman and build a future together, she freed him up to do exactly that.
“It’s been awesome to spend more time with Clayton,” she said in a confessional segment.
“There are these romantic moments between us, but one of the hardest parts of this journey is the fact that there are eight wonderful men here, so even though Clayton is this really great guy, I have to make difficult decisions.”
It’s the most bittersweet breakup in franchise history, as Clayton has a bright future ahead of him as the new face of the franchise.
Will he find love among the 30 single women who will soon by vying for his heart?
Only time will tell.
But in the meantime, we already know who wins Michelle Young’s final rose!
And based on early reports about her new relationship, the Minnesota school teacher has no regrets about the choices she made on her long and winding path toward true love!