Was this season’s The Bachelor a very public display of love bombing by a sociopath?

Editor’s note: Joyce M. Short is the author of a just released book, “Carnal Abuse by Deceit.” The book chronicles her life with a predator, the subsequent aftermath and her road to recovery. It also provides advice for victims and their supporters, and discusses the issues surrounding criminalization of rape-by-fraud.

Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis

By Joyce M. Short

Sure, we all know it’s just a reality show. And millions tune in each week to second-guess the decisions, get amused by the fireworks between the young hopefuls, and watch the romantic hook-ups as each bachelor winds his way through the candy-store of 27 beautiful, eager, women. But this season, something seemed very different.

Enter, Juan Pablo Galavis, a Venezuelan, 32-year-old, former pro soccer player, with a 5-year-old daughter. He’s charismatic, witty, sexy, ruggedly handsome, and fun-loving, with a self proclaimed intent to find a permanent mate, who he frequently refers to as a “good mother” for his little daughter. Needless to say, the contestants were immediately charmed.

Each episode contains opportunities to get to know Juan Pablo either in individual dates or in group events, and if he does not select you for a rose at the end of the broadcast, you’re immediately dismissed and sent home.

Sparks flying

Although there is no specific mandate that the bachelor must engage each girl physically, Juan Pablo did everything possible to make the sparks fly from the instant he took them out. The girls do not get to see the physical contact he has with other girls, unless he callously engages one in front of the others. So for the most part, what happens on their dates is private. When he grabs their hands, hugs them and kisses their foreheads as they’re leaving the front door, it signals that he thinks they’re special. And as all of us know here on Lovefraud, it gets their oxytocin levels spinning into motion. Oxytocin is the “love chemical” that creates trust between two people.

Not much of in-depth background discussion or exchange of values happens on Juan Pablo’s dates. They’re mostly about “will the girl trust” him and “will she be a good mother” for his daughter. He asks very little about what they deeply feel or their goals for the future. When girls become uncomfortable with the shallowness of their connection, he strokes their cheek with the back of his hand and tells them that they’re cute. They melt into his arms for another round of passionate embracing. He is practiced at the art of keeping wolves at bay with physical seduction.


It was interesting to see the internal tug-of-war that raged between the clear headedness of thought and power of emotional chemistry for two of the young ladies. Sharlene was a classically trained singer who sensed that there was something missing, but couldn’t put her finger on what it was. Andi confronted him after spending a night in which he spoke continuously about himself and his goals, with very little concern for her interests. He thought the evening went well. She, however, was totally turned off. When her complaints could not be dismissed by his typical stroking, appeasing, passion-raising behavior, he simply resigned himself to her walking away with no sense of loss. His mantra, “Ees okay,” came to take on a new significance. It seemed rather to politely hide an underlying sense of, “I really don’t give a damn.”

For both girls, even though they had determined that he was not right for them, the emotional chemistry he’d stirred up, kept them off balance and wondering whether they were doing the right thing. Although they left, they still reeled from an intense sense of loss, love-chemistry’s lingering effects.

Last two standing

Two girls were the last ones standing. Clare had been clearly smitten and sexually forward with him. While he invited her advances, he later admonished her, keeping her drawn to him in a bizarre push-pull scenario hinged around “honesty” and concern for his little girl. When she declared her need for clarity, he strung her along, planting images of family and permanence in her heart, only to reject her a few short hours later. He never expressed that he had any doubts or that he simply had not made up his mind ”¦ words that could have given her an honest clarity. Doing so would have put her decision to remain on an equal and credible footing, so he made sure not to risk it. He stole her right to self-determination.

There was zero sense on his part that what he’d done was selfish and heartless. And when she unleashed her displeasure at the end, his only comment was, “I’m sure glad I didn’t pick her.”

Nicki Ferrell and Juan Pablo Galavis

Nicki Ferrell and Juan Pablo Galavis.

Nikki Ferrell was the last girl standing. Although he’d made a point of how he needed to protect his daughter to Clare, when their date conflicted with his daughter’s dance recital, he resorted to expedience and brought Nikki along. Her sense of trust in him was highly elevated by that event. She could imagine herself as part of his family. Even though his family vehemently waved red flags in her face, speaking about his temper, being “difficult” and raising additional concerns, she blithely tossed off all their cautions. She’d been bitten by the love bug, was romantically intoxicated, and no real-world insights could dispel her concepts of him.

Even though he failed to commit to her, or even tell her he loved her at the end, she still clung to the hope that it would work out. And it will, as long as she’s compliant and does not expect a commitment. This is a man who did not marry the mother of his child. The producers should have conducted deeper investigation into his background and character before exposing the girls to him.

I see the hope in Nikki’s acquiescence in so many of us here on Lovefraud. The power of oxytocin and love chemistry can keep our eyes averted from the obvious signs we miss along the way. Juan Pablo clearly demonstrated artful seduction without substance, a self-centered concept of relationships that he hid with claims about his daughter and “honesty,” and demonstrated so aptly how sociopaths get away with their romantic misrepresentations. He used rational justifications to mask his lack of caring and toy with their emotions.

If you watch the feedback from the public on the news services and blogs, you’ll see a very mixed understanding of the events from this season. As Lovefraud participants, it’s easy to spot who approaches the discussions with more or less affective empathy. Sometimes, in listening to what people say about the circumstances going on around them, they are telling us all we need to know about who they are.

For more information on this season of The Bachelor, read:

RECAP: The Bachelor Watch: Juan Pablo makes his pick and it’s okay?, on Time.com.


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18 Comments on "Was this season’s The Bachelor a very public display of love bombing by a sociopath?"

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I saw a picture of these two at a wedding or something recently, and the picture was very telling. She had her eyes closed, and was leaning slightly into him while giving him a chaste kiss. He barely touched lips with her, and his eyes were open and looking somewhere else. She seemed so into him, and he seemed so into…something else.

IIRC, this was also the guy who made homophobic comments during the show that offended a lot of people, in particular a contestant whose father is gay.

Dude’s a pig, pure and simple, and a lot of entertainment media seems to have called him on it. Pity any woman who hooks up with him.

On a completely off-topic note, I just read that the notorious Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church died last night. His son Nate, who escaped the hate group at age 18, labeled Fred a sociopath.

I don’t watch the show very often but, I did watch the last one. I saw way too many similarities and frankly he came off as a cat toying with his mice, to me. He seemed to be having way too much fun and seemed to be on the verge of smirking sometimes. Really seemed to “love” himself. Almost seemed like he felt entitled to do what he did. Yuck. Lucky for all the ladies that he moved on.

Yup…. it was all about him!

In particular, his behavior toward Clare was exactly like a cat toying with a mouse. He created a push-pull way of dealing with her that appeared to be rooted in control. One minute he jumped in with both feet and participated in her advances, and in the next, he admonished her. In the midst of a private moment, he said something so offensive, she wouldn’t even repeat it on air. When she tried to speak about it to him, he lied about their future together to keep her attached to him.

And many of the other girls were given tasks to prove their trust in him like bunjie jumping off the side of a bridge and wading through ominous, tight, cave-like passages with no idea where they lead.

It was a great sampling of the behaviors that sociopaths use to create bonding. The tests and the games were there, but his genuine caring about the girls as individuals was nowhere to be found.

Even more interesting than the show itself, was watching the reactions among those who publicly responded on the news services. It was disheartening to see how little the public grasps about the motivations and devious means used by sociopaths.


I didn’t watch this season but heard about his ploys through the media. When reading your article, Joyce, I am disgusted and recognize my Socio in his actions. It’s amazing how these heartless, emotionless sickos can manipulate and mesmerize their targets. This girl is blinded to what is so obvious to others.

It helps me see how they use triangulation, isolation and lies to capture your thoughts and desires so that they can achieve their goal of control and conquering. It angers me that I KNOW the signs yet I still fall for them. My cheating husband asked me to lunch yesterday and I WENT, expecting him to say SOMETHING that would change our situation. Really, he just wanted to flare my “love chemicals” and get me back in his control. I fell for it in the moment, but as soon as I walked away, all the stories and advice that I have read here poured back into my mind and I resisted the emotions that wanted to take control. As I drove away, I called my attorney to start the process of escaping. I’m stronger. NC starts today. Thank you LoveFraud, all the contributors and all of you who share, encourage and advise. You are making a difference! Once person at a time.

Hoping to Heal – I am so glad that you are taking the first step towards getting away. Stay strong. Once he realizes you are really leaving, he will up the ante – probably going back and forth between crying and threatening to get you back.

Please feel free to come to Lovefraud any time you need support to stay away from him.


You were my first inspiration that I can do this. Your story encouraged me, but more than that, your dedication to the recovery of others is so uplifting and something I greatly admire.

I want to be, No, I will be a LoveFraud success story. I would not be at this point without all of the support I have found here. You guys Rock!!

Dear Hoping_

I sincerely hope that no children are involved in your separation. Coming to terms with a sociopath when kids are involved makes the road to independence exponentially more difficult.

As we try to extricate ourselves, it’s not unusual to succumb to wishful thinking. But keeping your distance is the best way to enable your emotional chemistry to detach and return to balance.

Wishing you a swift journey through the courts and onto a new and fulfilling life.


Thank you, Joyce! Your work here has helped so much. I truly feel that God led me here.

Juan Pablo made me wanna puke in my mouth. He has the signs of a sociopath/psychopath all over him like a huge red flag. From what he prolly said to Clare in the helicopter which makes me think he dropped his mask and wanted it said in private to explaining to Nikki at the last rose ceremony where he told her he liked her and wasn’t ready to marry her. All the signs are there along with his word salad foolery speak. Totally disgusted me watching him. It’s sad to me that people can see men like him and not one freaking soul would just step up and call it what it is. And we wonder why not enough awareness is not being put out there to expose these heinous people, yet they’re on prim time reality shows all day every day. Sick of this!!

Society’s awareness is pretty apparent in the disparity of response on the media. It’s interesting to see who “gets it” and who does not, and the rationales they use to justify his behavior.

We need more direct and focused enlightenment on this issue!


I watched the bachelor this season and was feeling off about Juan Pablo’s treatment of these women. Now that I see this article, I’m having a ahhhh moment. Yes, now it all makes sense. My spath left for good on Feb 9 2012. It has been over two years now and I’m still healing. I am getting therapy, so I don’t fall for another sociopath or any other anti personality disorder guy. It has been a struggle… I admit. I still get mad at myself and still wonder what is wrong with me, that I haven’t attracted a ” normal ” man. My last relationship was tainted with similar behaviors of Juan Pablo. Charming, witty… Push pull kinda of love. It’s torture. I’m now working through it with therapy. I found a new therapist that believes me when I say I was duped by a sociopath, unlike my last therapist that told me ” you shouldn’t label people” I was so mad I wasted time and money with her, but I did get explore what happened to me in childhood that may have set me up to be the perfect victim of a sociopath.
To all of you who are struggling, it does get better. I feel romantically over my ex, though I know I will never be the same. I realize now I still have so much more reprogramming ( if you will) I watched the whole season of the bachelor, knew something was off, but didn’t concluded that Juan Pablo is a sociopath…. It is clear to me now, after reading this article. Apparently, I still have work to do to heal and never let become a victim again. It has been a long time since I posted, but I check in on articles regularly and read the feedback. This site has helped me so much since 2011. Thank you again, Donna!

The whole concept of this show is sociopathic. What do you expect? I cannot imagine anyone being on this show who is not a psychopath and I would never watch it. The premise is set the girls up to compete for a man. Disgusting!

I did not watch the show live, only saw clips on entertainment news. I’m glad I did not watch it. Everything, without exception, that Juan did to these girls was done to me by my ex SP. I really wish someone could have warned these girls. Galavis is a full fledged SP and I will bet he scores extremely high in the Hare Psychopathy scale. If his current carreer doesn’t work out, he can make a comfy living scamming women the rest of his life. He is already a pro. And at a young age. Sps don’t need much practice, it comes natural to them. The show pruducers were taken in by his charm, just as the girls were. This guy is dangerous. Expect to hear more about him in the future.


The principle characteristic sociopaths look for is empathy and a moral compass that includes a sense of commitment to loved ones. So don’t be so hard on yourself. Largely, you were targeted because you’re a decent person.

Finding your way out of the relationship can be mired with obstacles from the past, but falling in their trap could happen to anyone with a heart.

Wishing you speed and peace in your recovery.


Thank you, Joyce. I appreciate your kind words and your encouragement.

Wow, I can see that happening. He is going to jump from one woman to another the rest of his life. Getting what he can and moving on.
Funny he says he wants to live a quiet private life with Nikki… He wants to isolate her so he will have complet control over her. She will think that is because he just loves her so much.. Poor kid, she does not see what is coming. Well, I hope she finds Love Fraud, like the rest of us.

Psychopathic loser.

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