By Rick Bentley
He’s already got a child.
There will be two unmarried men making the big decision in the 13th edition of the ABC competition show “The Bachelor,” beginning Monday at 8 p.m.
First, there is Jason Mesnick. You might remember him from his marriage rejection on “The Bachelorette.” Deanna Pappas said no at the end of that competition.
Now, it’s Mesnick’s turn. He’s the one who will reduce a field of 25 potential spouses while television cameras roll.
Then there is Mesnick’s 3-year-old son Tyler. This is the first edition of “The Bachelor” to feature a single dad. That means Mesnick will be looking for a wife AND a stepmother. Three of the women from which he will choose are single moms.
Tyler does not get that much TV time. But he was always on Mesnick’s mind as he filtered through the contestants.
“I just knew that there was no way that I could truly fall in love with somebody unless they saw my son. I would never, ever, introduce somebody to my son that I, in my heart, knew that wouldn’t be great to him already,” Mesnick says in a telephone interview.
His concerns for Tyler started when he considered auditioning for “The Bachelorette.” Mesnick talked to a therapist and a pediatrician before he agreed to be on the competition series. He wanted to make sure his participation would not have a negative effect on his son.
They told Mesnick the experience would have more of an impact on him because of the time he would be away from Tyler. That’s why Mesnick made sure that during the filming of “The Bachelor” he was allowed to visit with his son on a regular basis.
Mesnick entered the competition with the advantage of having been through the process. He says the biggest lesson he learned was that the selection of a spouse requires more than a physical attraction.
“What I also learned through that experience is that the person I need to be with has to have been through some kind of their own experience in life to know that they’re ready for a family. Because I’ve already got a family,” Mesnick says. “So I was looking for somebody that not only had all the qualities that Deanna had but also I learned that they had to have been through dating in a long-term relationship. Or experience with kids. Or they’ve got that party scene out of their system.
“I love to do those type of things. But half the time I’m Dad at home with Ty.”
He obviously found what he was looking for with one of the bachelorettes. Although details of what happened during the process remain a secret, Mesnick is engaged.