It was Hometown Week on The Bachelor, and while Ben Higgins put up with intense questioning from the fathers of his four remaining suitors, he decided that he wasn’t ready to be a stepfather himself, sending single mom Amanda home after meeting her two young daughters.
“I saw you with your daughters this week, and I was more impressed with you than I ever could have imagined,” Ben told Amanda following the rose ceremony. “You’re one of the most genuine, authentic and caring people that I know, and I really do wish nothing but great things for you.”
The two spent quality time together in Amanda’s hometown of Laguna Beach, California, where Ben met her daughters, Kinsley and Charlie, as well as her protective parents.
“He seems like he’d be a great dad,” her mom observed. “But is he ready to be an instant dad?”
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While Ben and Amanda had an obvious connection, the Bachelor was candid with her parents, assuring that he wasn’t going to “step in” to the lives of their daughter and granddaughters unless he was certain about the relationship. Ultimately, he decided that his heart wasn’t in it like it was with remaining bachelorettes, JoJo, Caila and Lauren B.
Amanda, who said earlier in the episode that she was ready to say yes to Ben’s proposal and would be “completely crushed” if she was sent home, kept her composure during their goodbyes, but grew emotional in the car as she left Ben behind.
“I’m just shocked, I’m at a loss for words,” she said. “I think I was definitely falling in love with him. I wouldn’t have introduced him to my kids if I wasn’t falling for him.”
After an emotional week, Ben shed even more tears at Amanda’s departure, growing overwhelmed as he shared his final thoughts.
“I would like her to know that I care a lot,” he told the cameras. “And it means a lot that she trusted me enough to let me be with her kids…”
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Next week, Ben and the three remaining women will head to Jamaica, where the Bachelor will finally determine who wins his heart for good, but the hometown visits proved he has a long way to go towards winning over the family members of his prospective loves. He faced up well to the grilling from Caila and Lauren B.’s families, but JoJo’s older brothers really put on the pressure.
“I’d love to say that this guy is that terrific, but I just genuinely can’t say that,” said one brother, a former Ready for Love contestant named Matt, upon the Bachelor’s visit to Dallas, Texas.
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“Ben, you brainwash these girls way too much,” JoJo’s other brother, also named Ben, warned, leaving the Bachelor “slightly unsettled” about the relationship. “To see my sister like that after two [one-on-one] dates...as a brother, I’m like, ‘This guy is not as invested as she is.’”
“At this point I really don’t know,” Bachelor Ben admitted to the protective pair. “But I know that JoJo and I will be having some really good conversations and really tough conversations.”
Who do you think is the Bachelor frontrunner after tonight’s hometown dates? Share your thoughts on Twitter at @etnow!
WATCH: 'Bachelor' Ben Higgins' Spends an Emotional Day With Amanda’s Young Daughters