When Matt James broke up with Rachael Kirkconnell after presenting her with his final rose during the most recent Bachelor finale, most viewers seemed to support his decision to end the relationship.
They reasoned that Rachael had a lot to figure about herself and the society she lives in, to put it as mildly as we can.
In any case, whatever you think of her, now is not a good time for her to embark on a new relationship … or is it?
Bachelor Nation also addressed the elephant in the room:
Many expressed the belief that Rachael might be unprepared to enter a high-profile relationship with a Black man, as she seemed to have a poor understanding of what it means to be Black in America.
So you can expect a very mixed reaction to the news that James is currently "pursuing" a relationship with Kirkconnell.
"I’ve seen Rachael a handful of times," James told People magazine this week, addressing reports that the two are giving this yet another shot.
"I’m not pursuing any relationships right now outside of that. I said I was going to focus on my relationship with her and that means focusing on it."
James’ comments will likely come as a surprise to many members of Bachelor Nation.
After all, this is the same guy who refused to even hug Rachael goodbye during his After the Final Rose special.
So what changed?
Did Kirkconnell make good on her promise to educate herself about the ongoing problem of systemic racism in America?
We hope that she has, and she seemed sincere in her desire to do so.
But we can’t tell you definitively, as Matt opted not to speak about the matter during his recent conversation with People.
"That’s something you could talk to her about," James said.
"A lot of what I’m focused on right now is the work that I’m doing in the community and with the [marathon] training."
Yes, Matt is a busy man these days, what with training for a marathon and trying to win Rachael back at the same time.
With those two goals at the center of his life, it comes as no surprise that Matt will not be appearing on the upcoming season of Bachelor In Paradise.
"There’s a negative chance I’ll be on Paradise," James told the magazine.
He also spoke for his best friend Tyler Cameron, adding:
"There is a negative chance Tyler’s on there as well."
"I think we’re good on that."
Yeah, appearing on the horniest Bachelor spin-off of them all probably wouldn’t be conducive to Matt’s efforts to win back his ex.
As for how the public will react to Matt’s reveal?
Well, that’s anyone’s guess.
Generally, fans root for the couples who met on the show to last for the long haul, as that’s kind of the reason for the show.
But to say things are different in the case of Matt and Rachael would be putting it very mildly.
Photos of Rachael attending a plantation-themed party in 2018 sparked immediate backlash during James’ season.
This, coupled with her tepid response to the outcry, made her arguably the most unpopular contestant in the history of The Bachelor.
Then Chris Harrison weighed in and tried to defend her, he came across as tone deaf at best, and racially insensitive at worst.
It was an unmitigated disaster that defined the season.
When Matt gave Rachael his final rose, which of course is how the season ended, viewers demanded that she take accountability for her actions.
To her credit, Rachael has seemed sincere in her subsequent attempts to make things right.
Nevertheless, for good reason, Matt decided that the relationship was not worth pursuing at the time.
Only the two of them know what changed in the meantime, but it’s clear that Matt and Rachael have their work cut out for them.
The path forward will not be a smooth one.