The Bachelorette: Why Ben Smith’s exit was both awkward and emotional

The Bachelorette is known to push people out of their comfort zones, whether that means stripping down to their underwear for a scandalous game of dodgeball or having super serious conversations meant to acquaint contestants with the Bachelorette on a deep, emotional level. It’s safe to say Season 16 of the popular reality series has done that and then some, with contestants and the show’s leading ladies experiencing an unprecedented, history-making season.

As Tayshia Adams’ group of suitors dwindled, she encouraged them to open up to her in deeper ways and even asked them to share their most personal thoughts and feelings. For example, Ivan Hall and Tayshia had a meaningful conversation about how the Black Lives Matter movement in America affected them and contestant Riley Christian revealed he had his name changed to distance himself from his father. Ben Smith had a hard time opening up completely to Tayshia throughout the season because he did not want to burden her, but after some encouragement, he divulged to Tayshia that in the past, he had attempted suicide. 

Fans were happy to see Ben make it into the final four and introduce Tayshia to his family, and the date seemingly went super well — until the end, that is. Much to the dismay of fans, Tayshia decided to send the Army veteran home and the exit was, in the words of Bennett Jordan, bizarre. Keep reading to find out why Ben Smith’s exit was both awkward and emotional.

Tayshia Adams admitted she was worried about Ben Smith

Ben Smith was eliminated on the Dec. 15, 2020, episode of The Bachelorette after planning a hometown-inspired date for Tayshia Adams and introducing her to his close family friend and sister. The first part of the date had the couple rollerblading through a recreated version of Venice, Calif. at the La Quinta Resort, taking health shots and visiting a gift shop at the Venice Beach Boardwalk as they laughed and smiled all day.

However, things got a little more serious at night when Tayshia spoke to Ben’s family, and admitted she was worried about the walls he still seemed to have around him. Ben’s sister Madeline told Tayshia that he’s simply quiet, but he is full of love. “… [H]e’s not hiding anything. It’s just, the wall hasn’t broken down yet,” she said (via Entertainment Tonight). “He really is very sensitive.” Meanwhile, Ben was busy telling his family friend Antonia all the things he adored about Tayshia, which led him to making a huge realization: that he loved her. “You love her. It’s not even a question,” Antonia told Ben, adding that he needed to tell her.

However, Ben was too nervous to admit his strong feelings for Tayshia, and they kissed each other good night after a fairly quiet conversation. Right away, Ben regretted not saying anything to her. “In true Ben fashion, I just blew it. I’m in love with her, and I should have told her,” he said. He was right.

Tayshia Adams begged Ben Smith to open up

After Tayshia Adams gave her three roses away, she asked to walk Ben Smith out to give them a chance at getting closure. Unfortunately, his words, or lack thereof, were quite disappointing to Tayshia and awkward for viewers to watch. Tayshia let Ben know she was nervous that they weren’t on the same page. Hoping for a response, she begged Ben not to “shut down” on her.

Clearly stunned, Ben had a difficult time finding the words to say, which, of course, was Tayshia’s main issue with him. “I would have liked it to go another way, but it is what it is. I’ll be alright,” he said (via Entertainment Tonight) shortly before saying goodbye. Tayshia was frustrated with the whole situation and broke into tears after Ben said his last goodbye, saying she couldn’t keep using her energy to pull things out of him. “I’m not asking for this grand gesture, but the fact he couldn’t give me one ounce of emotion was extremely disappointing.”

In the car, Ben still struggled to say anything, but finally expressed that he saw Tayshia being his wife and mother of his children. “Maybe she loved me, and she thought I didn’t love her back,” Ben debated to himself (via ET), adding that if that was the truth, he blew it. Not everyone can easily express their emotions, and the show definitely pushed Ben to do that. Unfortunately for him, it was too little, too late.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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