Exactly how single does one have to be to audition for a spot on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette?
It’s a question that’s come up quite a lot in recent years, when cast members (usually men; let’s face it) are found to have embarked on the courtship process despite having partners waiting for them at home.
Sometimes the aspiring two-timers are rooted out and sent home early.
But all too often they make it through to the end, thus putting their new romantic interest in a very awkward position.
Such was the case with Eric Schwer, who got engaged to Gabby Windey on last night’s The Bachelorette season finale.
After the 29-year-old real estate analyst (somewhat reluctantly) popped the question to Gabby, host Jesse Palmer confronted Eric with some texts he had sent to a woman named Amanda Kaylor.
The texts made it sound as tough Eric wanted Amanda to wait for him as he went on The Bachelorette, assuring Kaylor that he only auditioned for the show because he was “stuck in [his] career path.”
“You just expected me to continue dating you while you go on a reality show to ‘find love,’” she wrote to him.
“It isn’t real, but you’re right. I am sorry I really didn’t think this all through. … I didn’t realize the implications,” Erich replied.
“I am sorry I thought we could get on the same page about this. I really didn’t mean for this to hurt you.”
During last night’s After the Final Rose segment, Erich admitted that he handled the situation “poorly” — which is quite an understatement.
“I led her on and I want to own that. No hard feelings toward this girl at all. I understand her actions. … I didn’t want to have a hard conversation,” Schwer explained.
“But I’ve learned a lot from it. I want to own that 100 percent. I do not have any hard feelings for this girl. It’s a mistake I made on my part,” he added.
“I was using the show as an excuse to not confront her about our relationship. I didn’t see a future but we were having fun. … I love [Gabby] with all my heart. 100 percent real. I never expected it. I want this to be forever.”
After initially telling Gabby that he would prefer to date for a while longer before getting engaged, Eric eventually came around and decided to put a Neil Lane ring on it.
“You literally make me feel like I’m the only person in the world. And I will fight every day for the rest of my life to keep that feeling. I love you, Gabby Windey,” he told his bride-to-be.
“You are amazing. You are the most amazing person I’ve ever met. It’s you and me until the wheels fall off. I’m head over heels in love with you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
Sadly, the girlfriend back home scandal was not the first controversy involving Eric this season.
Earlier this month, photos of Schwer wearing blackface emerged on social media, prompting a swift apology from Gabby’s fiance.
“What I thought at the time was a representation of my love for Jimi Hendrix, was nothing but ignorance,” he wrote on Instagram.
“I was naïve to the hurtful implications of my actions to the Black community and those closest to me, and will forever regret my offensive and damaging behavior,” Eric continued.
“I am deeply ashamed by my actions and understand that my apology is only the first step in taking accountability.”
We guess entering a marriage with someone means loving them in spite of their mistakes — but Gabby probably wishes Eric had fewer errors in his recent past.