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Even the most infrequent viewers of The Bachelor remember the shocking moment when, on After The Final Rose, Bachelor Jason Mesnick told Melissa Rycroft, his fiancé and the woman to whom he had proposed and given an engagement ring on the show minutes prior, that he was in love with runner-up Molly Malaney. Rycroft was already America's favorite contestant, and to see her dumped on live TV made viewers empathize with her even more.
Four years later, Rycroft is not only so over Mesnick, she's married to the love of her life, Tye Strickland, and the two just announced that they're having a baby boy! The couple, who got married in Mexico in December 2009, are already parents to two-year-old Ava. We've admired Rycroft's personal and professional success since appearing on the ABC reality show, and marveled at how the former Bachelor contestant turned heartbreak into love. Her ability to sail on so skillfully post-public humiliation is no doubt admirable, and useful for any lovelorn girl (or guy!) out there. For everyone who's had a bad breakup, here are a few secrets to learn from Rycroft about finding a second chance at love:
1. Get back to work!
Thanks to her perky demeanor, giant smile, and history as a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, Rycroft was picked to compete on Dancing With the Stars a month after The Bachelor's season ended. Throwing herself into a grueling dance regimen, getting a rush of endorphins, and putting on a happy face for the camera did her a lot of good post-breakup. She finished third, but had gained so much momentum from her fun-filled screen time that the job offers came rushing in soon after. They say the best revenge is living well, and Rycroft definitely found some pretty sweet revenge.
2. Lean on old friends
Rycroft brought Mesnick to meet her best friends during her hometown visit (her parents and brother didn't want to appear on camera), and their close-knit group acted a lot like family. When Rycroft returned home to Texas brokenhearted, those friends rallied around her—and brought her closer to Strickland, an ex-boyfriend with whom she'd broken up right before going on the reality dating show. "It was the worst breakup of my life," Rycroft said of their split. "We broke up six months before I ended up going on The Bachelor, and I never really got over it. I couldn't move to that place where I was okay and could move on with my life. I constantly dwelled on it." Clearly, the silver lining to her very gray cloud was going back to her old way of life and picking up where she left off—she and Strickland got engaged three months after the fateful After the Final Rose! With so much love surrounding her, we're not surprised at how quickly she put Mesnick in her rear view mirror.
3. Take the high road
Rycroft wrote a memoir titled My Reality in which she described "the Bachelor bubble, behind-the-scenes secrets, and stories from her life. Though she said producers make contestants cry on purpose and that it's impossible to find true love on the show, her honest accounts have not a trace of bitterness. In fact, she says she tries not to say bad things about the popular ABC franchise at all. "I did get my start there," she said when the book came out. She also revealed that she hadn't seen or spoken to Mesnick since After the Final Rose. With the closure (or lack thereof) he gave her, we're not surprised. She must be a believer in the "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy, and for good reason.
We're so happy that Rycroft and Strickland are about to have another bundle of joy! Mesnick's rejection was the best thing to happen to her—any gal can take a cue from the reality star and find a happy ever after.