'Bachelorette' Michelle Young May Be Rekindling an Old Flame, But Does That Mean You Should, Too?

Michelle Young is exploring a burgeoning romance with a blast from her past, Joe Coleman — but before you give a previous relationship another try, this is what you should know.

Photo: Courtesy of ABC / Disney General Entertainment Content

It's only Michelle Young's second week of being The Bachelorette, and her season is already overflowing with romance and drama. And while Tuesday night's episode was chock full of LOL-worthy moments — including a Bachelorette-inspired version of the game show, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader — Michelle also explored some emerging relationships with a few suitors, including a blast from her past, contestant Joe Coleman. (

For background: Bachelor Nation was introduced to Joe last week, along with the 29 other suitors vying for her affection. But upon locking eyes, Michelle realized she knew Joe from somewhere else. As it turns out, Michelle and Joe connected about basketball and had messaged one another on Instagram before he ghosted her. He ultimately apologized and survived Week 1's elimination.

This week, however, Joe was invited to take part in a group date with other contestants: a 5-on-5 basketball game, with the winning team joining Michelle for an evening cocktail date. Although Joe was on the losing team, he received a "Most Valuable Player-esque" prize for his performance on the court and was invited to the afterparty with Michelle as a result. While the pair's past connection raised some eyebrows amongst the contestants (spoiler alert: Michelle confronted that drama head-on), the situation between Joe and this season's Bachelorette raises an interesting question: If someone from your past crosses your path again, is it wise to give a relationship another whirl? Or is it best to, in Michelle's case, put time and energy into getting to know new people? (

Why It May Be Worth It

While there is a lot that goes into making a relationship work (such as trust, communication, etc.), a big factor is timing. There are so many incredible humans on the planet that folks could potentially develop relationships with — 7.9 billion people to be exact, according to Worldometer, which estimates the global population — but if both parties aren't totally aligned on their desires at the same time (for instance, settling down), it probably won't work out. Timing, in a sense, is everything (a bit of an exaggeration, but you see what I'm saying).

Keep in mind though, in Michelle and Joe's case, that the two were simply exchanging messages on social media and that they weren't in a full-blown relationship. Michelle re-connecting with a former flame that was never quite explored is one thing. When it comes to real-life relations, especially if you're pondering whether or not to give an ex one more try, think about the timing and where you both stand today in terms of what you're looking for and hoping for in the future. If aligned, it could be a possible green light.(See: A Relationship Therapist's Take On Getting Back with an Ex)

Looking back at The Bachelorette, Michelle and Joe's paths crossed a few years back when both were intertwined in Minnesota's basketball world. And while Joe "ghosted" Michelle on Instagram, he told her that he stopped replying due to mental health issues. Now that Joe is on the show, his and Michelle's relationship appears to be growing rapidly, and their connection seems undeniable. So, what is it about a few years that makes such a difference, and is it worth it? (

I have to argue that it is worth trying if both parties want to unless, of course, there were unhealthy and dangerous elements to the relationship, such as abuse. But in the case of "your lives simply were aligned at the same time," this could be a chance to hit the reset button. For example, think about your 20s: the amount of growth, self-realization, and interests or hobbies you have, and your sexual preferences and even identity are likely to change. Meeting someone when you are 23 versus when you are 27 could create a very different relationship dynamic solely based on who you are during that time period. Perhaps when Joe first met Michelle, he didn't see her like "that" (i.e. as a potential partner). Now he's presented with a new opportunity of getting to know her in this unique setting and it's possibly shifted his perspective. Whatever the case may be with Joe, he and Michelle are vibing in the here and now.

The overall takeaway is timing is important. The situation unfolding between Michelle and Joe could be one of those times in which both parties are ready for more and want to explore. And (I think I can speak collectively for Bachelor Nation), it's going to be exciting to watch where their relationship goes.

On the flip side, however, there are times when reconnecting may not be the best idea. So, how do you know when it is or isn't in your favor to do so?

In Michelle's case, however, she really has no reason not to give Joe a shot. Given she's been interested in him before, and by this point, they seem to have a lot of things in common. She hasn't heard anything fishy about him (yet!), and he is widely known in the Minnesota basketball community (which she happens to love).

But let's say there wasn't an immediate interest or excitement from Michelle upon reuniting with Joe. Or perhaps nuggets from his past unsettled her. Maybe then she would reconsider giving him another shot. Strictly speaking about The Bachelorette, it may be wise to pass mainly due to the 20 other gentlemen who want to get to know Michelle. You see, the limited time she has on this show is critical, and if she's feeling apprehensive right off the bat, she should keep that in mind. But — as viewers have seen so far — she didn't seem to have apprehensions with Joe, so it's probably best for her to honor those feelings of curiosity. (

Now, let's turn the perspective to everyday life. When and when isn't the right time for you to potentially rekindle an old flame? This is tricky because people are complex, relationships are complex, and circumstances can vary. So, how do you know when is and isn't a time to give a past relationship another try? Here are the questions you need to ask yourself:

If there's anything Bachelor Nation has learned about Michelle so far, it's that she seems to know herself very well and she handles relationships with care, intentionality, authenticity, and loads of communication. There's no doubt that she wouldn't keep Joe around if she wasn't truly interested (let's not forget how quickly she got rid of Ryan last week). And, let's be real; there is absolutely no denying the connection between the pair. (

As circumstantial as it may be, it seems to be working out well for Michelle's situation. And I, much like the rest of Bachelor Nation, am eager to see where they go.

Rachel Wright, M.A., L.M.FT., (she/her) is a licensed psychotherapist, sex educator and relationship expert based in New York City. She's an experienced speaker, group facilitator, and writer. She's worked with thousands of humans worldwide to help them scream less and screw more.

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