A tough conversation. Bachelor contestant Abigail Heringer is really thinking about her future with Matt James — and that means having hard discussions about how her hearing disability could affect them down the line.
“I haven’t felt like this for somebody in such a short amount of time, so I really want to open up to him,” the 25-year-old explains in a confessional interview in Entertainment Tonight’s sneak peek of the Monday, February 1, episode. “But it’s scary to open the door to being vulnerable and possibly rejected.”
The Oregon native, who is the first deaf person to compete on the show, then heads over to James, 29, to talk to him about what a future for them could look like.
“I think there’s just something about you, I’m super excited. I literally get the biggest smile on my face when I’m around you,” she says to the real estate broker. “But I’m also going to be as open with you, obviously, through this process. You want a wife and you want a family and you know I want those things too. But if I were to have a family, there’s a really strong possibility that my kids would be deaf.”
She continues, “My birth dad did walk out on my mom and my sister right after we got our cochlear implants [as kids]. When you have what should have been one of the most important people in your life walk out, it’s hard not to feel like, ‘If I fully open up myself to somebody, are they going to do the same thing?’”
Before the clip ends, James asks Heringer, “Can I tell you something?”
During the season 25 premiere on January 4, Heringer immediately opened up to James about her disability when they chatted at the cocktail party. Her honesty helped to earn her the first impression rose.
“I felt like you were everything that I am asking of these women tonight,” he said before handing over the coveted item. “Knowing that you’re a fighter, I thought it was only appropriate that I ask you something. Abigail, will accept this rose?”
The day after the premiere aired, the client financial manager explained why she chose to be candid with James about her disability right off the bat.
“I knew going into it that night that I wanted to talk about it, just because it’s something I normally don’t really say on a first date — even though it’s a huge part of who I am — with it being a hidden disability and you can’t see my cochlear implant when I’m wearing my hair down,” she explained on the “Bachelor Happy Hour” podcast on January 5. “It’s kind of just a scary thing to bring up with somebody when you’re on a first date because you really don’t know how they’re going to take it.”
Heringer then admitted to being “in uncomfortable situations” while dating people in the past who were unaware of her health condition. “One time I went to Topgolf and it’s really loud there and I was missing half the things that he was saying,” she recalled. “And I still couldn’t bring myself to tell him, like, ‘Hey, this is my situation.’”
The reality star continued, “It’s just something that I’ve been insecure about in the past. And when you’re trying to be attractive to a guy, airing out insecurities is not always the first thing that you want to do.”
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
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