Every Bachelor Who Didn't Propose on His Season — and Why

The Bachelor traditionally ends with the contestant down on one knee, but not for these eight men, who decided to choose their own happily ever endings

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01 of 10

Alex Michel, Season 1

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The debut season of The Bachelor ended without a ring. Instead, Michel asked his winner Amanda Marsh to move to California with him so they could date longer before heading down the aisle. However, the two broke up shortly after the show.

"I thought I was falling in love," Michel told PEOPLE. "Looking back, it's not reality."

02 of 10

Bob Guiney, Season 4

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This Bachelor got his winner Estella Gardinier a ring but asked her to wear it on her right hand "as a promise" for the future. Unfortunately, their future was short-lived. The two split shortly after the show and Gardinier later admitted that Guiney's attempt to re-launch his music career had put him on a different path — one that she could never follow.

03 of 10

Jesse Palmer, Season 5

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Instead of popping the question, Palmer took things down a notch and asked winner Jessica Bowlin to be his girlfriend. The cautious Bachelor still had wonderful things to say about the new lady in his life, though.

"This whole thing to me is like a dream," Palmer told Bowlin during his season's moment of truth, "but I don't want to wake up tomorrow morning if I can't wake up with you."

Sadly, the two called it quits just one month after the show's finale.

04 of 10

Charlie O'Connell, Season 7

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The most down-to-earth Bachelor went the promise ring route when he chose Sarah Brice as his season's winner. The two actually dated on-and-off for five years until officially entering splitsville in 2010.

05 of 10

Travis Lane Stork, Season 8

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Stork offered winner Sarah Stone a ring on a necklace to show his commitment to continue dating her after the show. But as reality relationships go, the two parted ways before the finale aired on television.

06 of 10

Lorenzo Borghese, Season 9

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This Bachelor also went the alternative ring route and gave his season's winner Jennifer Wilson a family ring that his mother designed. However, the relationship did not last very long and Borghese later revealed why.

"I felt a lot of pressure to fall in love and find that happy ending," he told PEOPLE. "I was forcing myself to have feelings that I didn't have."

07 of 10

Brad Womack, Season 11

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Womack got a lot of hate for his decision to reject both of his final two suitors, DeAnna Pappas and Jenni Croft, his first time on The Bachelor. The shocking move branded him a "commitment-phobe," but years after his season aired, Womack wanted America to know that he had changed.

During his second stint on The Bachelor, Womack committed and proposed to Emily Maynard on season 15. Although the couple broke up even before their entire season aired, they got back together after the finale but then officially split for good in 2011.

08 of 10

Juan Pablo Galavis, Season 18

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The former soccer player threw a few red flags during his season. First, he chose Nikki Ferrell to be his girlfriend, not fiancée, during the finale and second, he refused to tell her that he loved her both during the finale and at the After The Final Rose taping.

The ex-couple had a nasty split and a source close to the couple told PEOPLE, "It's definitely over. It can't be saved and they're not even speaking anymore."

09 of 10

Colton Underwood, Season 23

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After Cassie Randolph walked away toward the end of Underwood's season, he decided she was the one for him, and let the remaining two contestants go before trying to win her back. It worked, but because of the unique nature of the situation, he didn't end up proposing on the finale or After the Final Rose.

"I think that's why we're still here today, because we took it at our own pace," Randolph told PEOPLE. "We didn't want to rush something that was going to be forever."

Underwood agreed, adding that Randolph "will, one day" have a ring on her finger. "I have so much love and respect for her, and I have no doubts about how she feels about me now. Our story might not be like anyone else's on The Bachelor. But I wouldn't change anything about it."

10 of 10

Matt James, Season 24

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Before any of the controversy surrounding finalist Rachael Kirkconnell's past racist behavior came to light, James had decided he wasn't ready to propose, despite picking a ring with jeweler Neil Lane.

"I've seen what rushing into a proposal, a marriage can do in my family and it's ugly and it's not something I want for you or for us," he said, referencing his mom's experiences with his dad. "And that's why I can't propose to you today."

Matt explained that he still wanted to be with Rachael. "When I think about the life I want to live, I think about living that life with you," he said. "And I want to leave here with you. And I want to commit to you and to every day moving on, what we started here. And the truth is that I love you."

"I do see you as my wife," he continued. "I see you as the mother of my kids."

In the weeks following filming, however, the pair split, after previous posts of hers resurfaced online, including photos of her dressed in Native American attire as costume and attending an antebellum plantation-themed ball. She has since apologized.

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