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The Bachelor: Matt James ‘not going to be dating’ after Rachael Kirkconnel split

Matt James breaking it off with this season's winner Rachael Kirkconnel.
Matt James breaking it off with this season’s winner Rachael Kirkconnel. Pic credit: ABC

The Bachelor’s Matt James ensured that he will not be on the dating scene any time soon.

James was a guest on the Bill Simmons Podcast, where he opened up about his time on the show and his breakup with Rachael Kirkconnell after her controversies made him question everything.

Matt James dishes on his Bachelor journey

Unlike most people who are chosen to become The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Matt James had no idea what he was getting into when he agreed to be the first black Bachelor in the franchise’s history.

“I think a lot of it was how naive I was going into it,” James admitted. “I had never been on another dating show, I had never been on TV before, so I was very green.”

Former host Chris Harrison once said that James did not even know what a rose ceremony was.

The Bachelor Season 25's cast.
The Bachelor Season 25’s cast. Pic credit: ABC

Matt then revealed that he did not do much dating before becoming The Bachelor.

“I lived in New York for almost four years and I can count on one hand the amount of dates I’ve been on,” he stated.

Before going on the show, James had a successful career as a real estate agent. He blamed the “rat race,” that often describes New York City, for his lack of free time to date.

James wanted true love

But after fellow Bachelor Nation member Tyler Cameron’s mother nominated Matt to be the next Bachelor, James truly wanted to find a genuine love connection on the show. And he thought that he had found that in Rachael Kirkconnell, who ended up winning the season.

James tells Simmons that he really saw him and Kirkconnell going the distance. He described the period after the show wrapped as an extended honeymoon phase where their relationship was able to flourish.

Of course, everything changed when photos resurfaced of Rachael attending a plantation-themed party in 2018.

Matt shared that he found out about the photos the same way the rest of the world did; on social media.

“You don’t want to believe some random TikTok that someone put together,” Matt added. But when Rachael called him herself, James had a difficult time grasping the situation, especially since everything was in the public eye.

James heartbroken during his conversation with Rachael during After the Final Rose.
James heartbroken during his conversation with Rachael during After the Final Rose. Pic credit: ABC

James then described “the emotional labor of having to explain” exactly why the plantation photos were racist to the rest of the world. He noted that it is not black people’s job to do these explanations, and oftentimes it is traumatic.

“The tough thing is having to explain to America why those pictures are problematic to me,” he said. “You hear people harping on forgiveness and I forgave her when she told me. But that doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed and that I don’t want her to do better.”

When Simmons asked if there was any possibility that James and Kirkconnell could reconnect in the future, Matt was hesitant.

“I don’t think that anyone is irredeemable. And I think that for Rachael, there is a lot that we didn’t discuss that you know we probably should have talked about…” he considered. “I had to take a step back and let her pursue that.”

Matt James: no more dating, for a while at least

Although his mental health has been tricky, Matt is just happy to be away from the cameras. He has been detoxing from his phone and social media and even recently deleted his Instagram feed.

“Being back up in New York and being around friends and family; it’s put me in the right spirit,” he beamed.

“In the meantime, I’m working on myself. I’m not going to be dating,” he said. “I’m just solely focused on getting back into that meaningful work in the community, and centering myself around projects that are going to elevate all the work that I’ve been working on doing in the city, and special interest things that I appreciate outside of reality television.” 

James does not regret going on the show because he accomplished what he set out to do; having the chance to meet dozens of beautiful, interesting women and ultimately finding a relationship that had the potential to go all the way.

Bill, who is a good friend of Matt’s, reckoned that James’s exposure on The Bachelor will open up a lot of doors for him.

“I don’t think you’re gonna have a lot of trouble finding somebody else. Now, you’re a super busy guy, but I think there will be more suitors for you. I’m not really worried about you dying alone.” Simmons ensured.

The Bachelor is currently on hiatus on ABC.

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