How 'Bachelorette' Michelle Young Navigated Broken Trust Early In a Relationship

Jamie Skaar's relationship with Michelle came to a crashing halt on Week 3 of The Bachelorette when his web of words caught up with him.

Photo: Courtesy of ABC

Another week, another round of drama from The Bachelorette. And no, not from Michelle Young, the star herself, but rather from some of the contestants.

Picking up where last Tuesday's episode left off, some of the contestants engaged in childish behavior — here's looking at you, Peter, and your decision to drop another gentlemen's jacket in the pool on purpose — while others continued to put Michelle and their budding relationship first (spoiler alert: Joe Coleman is still in the competition). But in the case of Jamie Skaar, his relationship with Michelle reached a dead end when she opted to send him home before the rose ceremony even began.

To recap the episode: A major topic of discussion was the fact that Michelle and Joe allegedly connected prior to coming on the show. Jamie, who was said to be "bothered" by it, pulled Michelle aside to talk about it one-on-one. During their chat, Jamie said he didn't really care, but that other folks (i.e. the other contestants) did, and were talking about it in the house and questioning her character. "I think given that this entire journey is about authenticity and about trust and that that's the standard that's been set, I think that there's people out there that are questioning that," he said to Michelle on last Tuesday's episode.

But later, Michelle found out that, in reality, no one was actually questioning her character or discussing the rumor — it was all Jamie, and he was lying to her. Michelle later escorted Jamie outside, away from the other suitors, to make it clear that the trust they had built was "was completely broken."

"I'm very hurt by you right now," she said on Tuesday's episode. "I don't trust you at this moment, and I have to be done with it, and so I do think it's best that I walk you out tonight."

While Bachelor Nation is well-aware that Michelle is not taking any B.S. this season, the recent situation with Jamie has raised some critical questions about trust overall. How do you know when you can or can't trust someone while building or in a relationship? When is it the right time to turn away if trust is broken early on? And, how do you distinguish trust being damaged and your expectations just not being met? Let's dive in.

Broken Trust

Before Jamie's turn as a reality TV villain, he and Michelle enjoyed a one-on-one date together in last week's episode. "A life with Jamie would be adventurous, vulnerable, romantic, and compassionate," said Michelle of their date at the time, which also included a nighttime serenade under the stars. Given that the two spent a good chunk of time together, including an intimate rock climb, it's understandable that Michelle could have felt blindsided by Jamie's later behavior and perhaps asked herself the question, "Who is this guy, really?" (

Obviously, The Bachelorette is a television show, but what about similar situations that could potentially arise in everyday life? How do you know when you should stop putting your trust in someone?The quick answer: When you realize they're lying, then ask them about it, and they continue to lie. None of us are perfect, and we have all lied, consciously or not. Lying doesn't make someone a bad person. But lying about your lying to cover up the deception to get someone to like you… well, that's not great behavior.

In Jamie's situation, he never "owned up" or genuinely apologized for the pain his actions caused — he only acknowledged them when he was "caught" by the other men, and then Michelle. Lying has consequences, and Jamie's actions had consequences. If you don't call out lying for what it is, then in a sense, you are potentially enabling that behavior to keep happening in the future. It's possible to recognize Jamie's humanity (the reasoning behind his behavior) and still hold him accountable for his actions. (

The Types of Lying

When it comes to the art of lying, there are a few differences between a white lie and a deal-breaker lie, as well as what you might want to do about them. (

Compulsive lying: This occurs when someone essentially lies out of habit and may not even know they are doing it. For instance, if someone tells you they love salmon and you overhear this individual telling another they don't like it, your immediate reaction may be: "WTF?" In this instance, this person could be lying to people please without even realizing it.

White lies: A white lie is often told to protect or avoid hurting someone's feelings. For example, if someone tells a white lie about their dating history, it could be because they aren't ready to talk about a traumatic event, either generally or from a past relationship. However, there's the possibility the truth will eventually come out when that person feels safe enough to share.

Big deal-breaker lies: When it comes to deal-breaker lies, this occurs when someone lies to another so that the party consents to something without all of the information available to them. While much can come to mind in terms of big deal-breaker lies (such as cheating, lying about sexually transmitted infection (STI) status, or finances), the ultimate takeaway is that someone is being manipulated by another and it's not okay.

Circling back to Tuesday's episode of The Bachelorette, Jamie's lie likely belongs under "deal-breaker," as the lie was intended to hurt other relationships to make himself look better. The lies did indeed hurt someone, he was not acting with pure intentions, and he lied about his lie when confronted about it. These kinds of big lies intended to cause hurt should probably always be deal-breakers.

Looking at Jamie and Michelle's relationship up until this point, they essentially built their foundation on quicksand because of the tangled web that he weaved. How can you have a successful relationship without solid ground? Michelle has made it clear from the start: she's looking for an open, honest, and vulnerable partner. And even if Jamie is potentially struggling with something internally (whether with insecurities or being vulnerable) the result is that he now seems like someone who cannot be trusted. (

How to Respond If You Encounter Lies In a Relationship

This brings us to a couple of essential points on what to look out for in the early days of a relationship:

  • Active Listening: This is when you listen empathetically by asking questions, making sure you understand exactly what the other person is trying to express. With this, you aren't constantly thinking of your next response. Active listening is being very present and fixed on who you are talking to. Active listening is a massive part of the communication equation in any relationship. When talking to your partner(s), especially if you're speaking in a vulnerable manner, you likely want to feel heard and seen. If you're just starting a relationship with someone and begin to have some of those deep conversations, be mindful about how they listen and react during the conversation. This can indicate how they might react in other tense moments. Generally, how someone reacts in the smaller moments can be almost a foreshadowing of how someone handles bigger or harder issues — in Michelle's situation, Jamie's defensiveness was probably a red flag since she prioritizes honesty and vulnerability.
  • Ownership: If someone did lie to you or break your trust and then took ownership for their actions, this could lead to an opportunity for intimacy. If it happens continuously, it's probably best to evaluate the situation and let them go for your well-being. But if someone is showing ownership for their actions, however, this could potentially be considered a redeeming quality.
  • Honesty: Along with ownership comes honesty, and that is what most folks look for in relationships. Given the high stakes of the show, The Bachelor franchise tends to put people in the most vulnerable positions of feeling jealous, insecure, and threatened. These feelings can potentially cause people to do things such as, ahem, spread fake news. In reality, however, the best move for Jamie would have been to admit (firstly, to himself) that maybe he was feeling insecure that other men were also in a relationship with "his" girl.

Jealously isn't always bad, but it can manifest itself in the ugliest ways unless brought to light. This can be done through something as simple as honesty. Imagine if Jamie's situation went the complete opposite way.During their next time together, he could have admitted that he felt vulnerable and insecure about something his friend had told him before the show. Michelle would have then had an opportunity to comfort, affirm, and break down Jamie's feelings with him. It all breaks down to this — and it's a tough pill to swallow: Whichever actions feel easier than being honest will probably lead to worse consequences (in Jamie's case, hurting Michelle and scoring him a one-way ticket off the show). In real life, you don't want to break your partner's trust, and thus risk your entire relationship — even though it can feel easier than being genuinely honest and vulnerable in the moment.

In short, if someone lies big to hurt you at the beginning of a relationship, it's probably best to end the relationship then and there (props to you, Michelle). It sounds like a horrible idea to build a house on quicksand, right? Well, it's also a terrible idea to start a relationship with someone who isn't being truthful during the so-called honeymoon phase. Not only is trust one of the most critical parts of any relationship, but so is feeling safe. Based on Tuesday's episode, it's safe to say that Michelle didn't feel like her heart would be safe with Jamie, and she made the best call for herself to move forward without him.

Rachel Wright, M.A., L.M.F.T., (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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