Our long national love affair has ended.
After many weeks of emotional turmoil, Ben Higgins has chosen his bride-to-be, and now we finally know who he's so very happily engaged to.
Some big congratulations are in order to...Lauren Bushnell!
Of course, the road to the 25 year-old flight attendant's big moment was bumpy and beyond emotional, fraught with too many "I love yous" to too many people who were not her. That particular speedbump played a big part in tonight's finale when JoJo learned that Ben was in love with both her and Lauren.
The night started off with JoJo and Lauren meeting Ben's parents in Jamaica, and both women made a great impression. Lauren went first, and she set the bar so impossibly high that they were just sure JoJo couldn't match it...until they met her.
While Ben's mom did say she would choose JoJo, overall both of Ben's parents seemed just as confused as Ben was. You could see the confusion-based sleep deprivation in his eyes and in the shadows under his eyes and in the way he couldn't really do a lot more than rest his head on Lauren's chest and stare off into the distance during their date.
"I'm looking for clarity. I'm looking for answers. I'm looking for something," Ben said to illustrate his pain.
During his date with JoJo, Ben couldn't do much more than continue to tell us how JoJo lets him be himself, which worries us. Who is he when he's with any other person? Who will he be for the rest of his life with Lauren B if only JoJo lets him be himself? Is Ben now stuck in a constant identity crisis?
Both Lauren and JoJo picked up on Ben's internal struggle, but it was JoJo who actually got it out of him that he had also told Lauren B. that he loved her. Something about the fact that this convo took place just off camera on the hotel bathroom floor made it even more dramatic than it would have already been.
JoJo was understandably crushed, but glad to know the truth. Up next, it was time for Ben to choose the ring, and it kinda seemed like he didn't totally choose who he was marrying until after he picked out the ring. Thanks, Neil Lane!
He still claimed to be feeling emotionally torn as he watched his reject get out of the helicopter, and we were definitely feeling emotionally torn as Jojo stepped out onto the grass.
She gave him her little speech, but it was too late. While he really did love JoJo, he claimed he just couldn't live without Lauren, and we kinda pretended we couldn't hear him reject her, because it's our least favorite part of the entire season. It was something along the lines of "this was really hard, and I wish we could just take fun helicopter rides for the rest of our lives, but we can't."
"I found love with you, but I found it with somebody else more," he actually said, and we cringed harder than we've ever cringed before. Bad move, Ben. Bad move.
"I'm happy for you," she said politely as she got in the limo. We'll miss you, JoJo. We love you.
By the time Ben was calling Lauren's dad to ask him for his blessing, we were in desperate need of some happiness. Luckily, that was all that was left of the evening (at least until After the Final Rose, but we'll talk about that later). The phone call was cute, but Ben's little "woo hoo!" after the phone call was even cuter.
Once she finally got out of the helicopter, Lauren was all about making those Grey's Anatomy references.
"You're my person," she told Ben.
"I wanna wake up every morning and kiss you on the face," Ben told Lauren. Have you ever heard anything so romantic?!
Obviously, Lauren said yes to Ben's proposal without ever knowing that Ben was also deeply in love with JoJo, to the point where he didn't decide which woman he was proposing to until the very last minute. All we can hope is that she found that out before she watched it unfold on TV, because otherwise that would have been dreadfully awkward.
Congrats to Ben, congrats to Lauren, and a big congratulations to all of the Laurens of the world. After years of trying our luck on The Bachelor, we finally won, and it feels great.