Why Danielle Lombard Did Nothing Wrong On Bachelor In Paradise

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
As of last night, Bachelor In Paradise viewers have watched seven episodes of drama between former Bachelorette sweetheart Dean Unglert and Bachelor alum Kristina Schulman. When the pair first met, they went on a perfect season-starting date, bonded over their difficult childhoods, and eventually spent the BIP hiatus together, with Dean following Kristina home to Kentucky. Since the Paradise cast returned from their investigation-forced break, we’ve watched the couple’s romance fall apart in front of our eyes, as Dean backed away from a "serious" relationship in favor of his increasingly lusty interest in Paradise newcomer Danielle Lombard. Monday’s "Week 4, Part 1" finally gave us a Dean-Kristina breakup, which was much-needed, especially since Twitter was filled to the brim with He’s Just Not That Into You jokes. What we didn’t need from the split was Kristina’s post-breakup arguments, which devolved into bizarre, slut-shaming tirades. Readers, Danielle Lombard did nothing wrong.
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To understand why Kristina is so upset with co-star Danielle, we have to go back to last week’s "Week 3, Part 2." Dean and Kristina "stayed the night together," and it’s implied they had sex after the rose ceremony. Hours later, Dean asked Kristina to be “patient” with him and his divergent feelings, which he recognized was an "unfair" request. Dean apparently believes "patient" is actually a code word for "be okay with me making out with Danielle in the pool, about 3 feet away from you."
Much to everyone's chagrin, this is what Dean did later that night, in full view of Kristina, forcing her to cry for about the thirteenth time that day. While Kristina sobbed next to an uncomfortable Robby Hayes, Dean cradled Danielle in the pool and told her she’s "the type of person" he could "fall in love with." He went so far as to assure Danielle, "Every single time I talk to you, it’s like, I know what I want." Of course Danielle thinks she should pursue a relationship with Dean — he’s telling her that’s exactly what he wants. Plus, he conveniently manages to avoid bringing up the name "Kristina" during these heart-to-hearts.
It’s easy to see why Kristina is so angry with Dean, his bad behavior, and their subsequent breakup. What doesn’t make sense is how she drags Danielle during conversations with both Dean and Raven Gates. While Dean is attempting to end the relationship, Kristina attacks Danielle, calling her "Not even a woman, a girl," and criticizing her for "straddling" someone in the ocean and kissing Jack Stone.
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Later, Kristina pulls Raven to the side to ask her "what happened" between Dean and Danielle, since Raven was in the pool. Raven correctly explains no matter what she says, it won’t change how Kristina so-rightly feels. Kristina counters, "D-Lo fucked me in every way," adding, "I can put just as much blame [on her] … She disrespect[ed] me by being in the pool. Knowing I was sitting right there and doing that." Kristina continues lambasting the so-called"disrespectful" Danielle, saying, "She’s pursuing [Dean] right back. She’s clinging to him too! I do not for one bit think she’s innocent."
Yet, Danielle doesn’t have to be "innocent" in this. Danielle doesn’t have to be anything in this. In fact, Kristina has no right to question her co-star’s behavior at all. Kristina, Dean, and Danielle all agreed to go on Bachelor In Paradise, a dating competition series masquerading as a journey towards true love. But, contestants go home every week, people are competing for a set number of available roses, and producers purposefully toss in new additions to spark romantic explosions. Every single person on the BIP beach knows this. It’s why not-a-serial-killer Jack Stone has spent the past few episodes brooding over the many, many dates Christen Whitney was going on.
The merry-go-round nature of people’s dating habits on the series are purposefully messy, and, as everyone repeatedly says, “anything goes” when it comes to securing your desired match. Danielle is free to straddle anyone she wants beachside, or kiss Jack Stone as much as her heart desires. She’s a woman, not a girl, with free sexual will. When it comes to specifically Dean, Danielle is simply playing the game, and exploring things with a man she — and countless other Paradise women — are interested in. Danielle isn't being malicious or disrespectful, she's simply trying to get hers, which we should all respect. Raven tries to get this point across, telling Kristina “of course” Danielle is pursuing Dean since he’s "not in a committed relationship." Dean's repeated requests for Kristina to give him "space" proves this.
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Obviously, the real villain here is everyone’s former favorite Bachelorette contestant, a one Mister Dean Unglert. Dean is the one who (it's hinted) slept with Kristina, made rude, inconsiderate demands, and then was canoodling in the pool with another woman "10 hours later." On top of all of that, Dean can’t even come to terms with how hurtful his behavior is, repeatedly giving terrible non-apologies by saying platitudes like, "I just don’t want you to hate me." As newly-minted Paradise sage Raven tells Kristina, Dean is “the person you trusted with your heart, your emotions, your body, everything.” He’s the one who took that responsibility and basically drowned it in the Paradise pool after a game of chicken. Dean is the one who couldn’t even admit he was “going to explore other relationships,” effectively lying with his silly request for “patience.” He's clearly the only person at fault here for breaking Kristina’s heart on national television.
Danielle, on the other hand, is simply trying to find a nice guy after having to deal with Nick Viall and his sweaters.
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