It may seem like The Bachelor and proposals go hand-in-hand, but that's not always the case. Over the course of 22 seasons, eight of the Bachelors declined to get down on one knee in the finale. So if Colton doesn't propose on The Bachelor (that empty Neil Lane ring box in the promo is telling), he would be far from the first.
It has gotten increasingly more popular for the show to end in a proposal since its inception. Out of the first 11 seasons, seven of the Bachelors didn't pop the question. But from Season 12-22, only one of the Bachelors has bucked tradition and not handed out an engagement ring. If Colton were to skip a proposal, he'd join the other men as the ninth Bachelor in 23 seasons to do so. Here's who else didn't get down on one knee.
Alex Michel — Season 1
The very first season of The Bachelor ended without a proposal. ABC News reported Alex instead asked Amanda Marsh, his winner, to move to California with him. "I think we have even further that we can go before we walk down the aisle together," Alex told her. "I want to make sure that we feel the same way about each other outside of the fantasy world of mansions and limousines." They broke up a few months later.
Bob Guiney — Season 4
Jesse Palmer — Season 5
Instead of a ring, Jesse gave his winner, Jessica Bowlin, a one-way ticket to be with him in New York. "Chase all your dreams, but do it with me," he told her when he presented the ticket. He added that he just felt they needed to get to know each other a little better before they took the next step. Jessica agreed, but the pair ended up splitting a few weeks after the finale episode aired.
Charlie O'Connell — Season 7
Travis Lane Stork — Season 8
Lorenzo Borghese — Season 9
The certified prince couldn't commit to marriage when picking Jennifer Wilson as his winner, so instead he gave her a "family ring" that his mom helped design. "Jen, I do love you, I love everything about you [but] at this moment I can't ask you to marry me," he told her before inviting her to come live with him in New York. They ended things a couple of months later.
Brad Womack — Season 11
Brad infamously rejected both DeAnna Pappas and Jenni Croft on finale night, leaving the show as single as he came.
DeAnna told ABC News that she was so upset by Brad's choice. "I was devastated, I was crushed, I was heartbroken," she said. "I still kind of held onto something hoping that he would come to his senses and realize that he had made a mistake. And then once we filmed the After the Final Rose, that's when the anger set in. Because he didn't want me."She later went on to be the Bachelorette and Jesse Csincsak proposed to her. But they broke up a few months later, per ABC News.
People magazine reported that Brad later told Ellen DeGeneres that he just couldn't get there at the time. "I definitely have or had commitment issues,” he said. “I thought that I was as open as I was supposed to be, and clearly I wasn’t. I walked away and wound up all alone and left two girls standing there.”
Juan Pablo Galavis — Season 18
The most recent Bachelor to refuse to propose was former soccer player Juan Pablo. Instead he picked Nikki Ferrell to be his girlfriend to date after the show. "I don’t feel there’s a need to propose to somebody if I don’t feel 100 percent," he later told People magazine. "I didn’t know Nikki. I want to know more, a lot more.”
The Bachelor odds aren't great in any scenario. Only three couples have gotten married, and, in two of those cases, the Bachelor changed his mind after the show and married the runner-up. But if Colton doesn't propose and instead asks his winner to just get to know him by dating him after the show, there's one thing he should consider: None of the Bachelors who didn't propose are still with their season's winners today.