Joseph Duggar, Carlin Bates Courtship: Couple Photographed Together Again As ‘Bringing Up Bates’ Romance Is Teased

Joseph Duggar and Carlin Bates have been photographed spending time together again! The Duggar and Bates families still haven’t confirmed that the teens are courting, but Carlin’s mom did recently tease that Bringing Up Bates viewers may get to see a new romance blossom during this season of the Bates family’s UPtv series.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, 20-year-old Joseph Duggar and 17-year-old Carlin Bates first set tongues wagging by sitting suspiciously close to each other in a video that was taken by Joseph’s cousin Amy. The blurry video showed a few different members of the Bates family spending Christmas with the Duggars, and it also appeared to show Carlin wearing Joseph’s baseball hat. Stealing a boy’s hat could definitely be seen as a flirtatious move. Amy later deleted the video, and there’s a chance that she was asked to do so because it showed evidence of a relationship that the Duggars and Bateses don’t want anyone to know about yet.

Now there’s also evidence that Joseph Duggar and Carlin Bates spent New Year’s Day together. Joseph can be seen standing right behind Carlin in an Instagram photo that was shared by Joe Donaldson, a friend of the Duggars. According to Donaldson, the picture was taken at his furniture store on January 1.

Joseph Duggar Courtship Rumors
Joseph Duggar and Carlin Bates spend more time together on New Year’s Day (Image via Joe Donaldson/Instagram)

“Love this group of friends! And It’s been great having the Bates family here to hangout with us for New Years!” he captioned the photo above. “Not only did they stop by to see me at work… but brought me a sweet tea!… True friends… For realz!”

Unfortunately for fans of the Duggar and Bates families, it’s always hard to tell whether or not a Bates and a Duggar are courting – the families are close friends who spend a lot of time together, so it’s not unusual to see Bates kids and Duggar kids (like Jinger and Lawson) mingling in social media photos and videos. The Duggars have strict courtship rules about how much physical contact their kids can have with their boyfriends or girlfriends, so if a Bates and a Duggar are courting, fans won’t see them holding hands or kissing in any photos. As Today reports, Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald didn’t hold hands until they got engaged, and they didn’t share their first kiss until they got married. The most fans can hope to see is a stealthy side hug – as People points out, this much physical contact is permitted.

The photo and video of Joseph Duggar and Tori Bates together aren’t the only pieces of evidence that hint at a possible courtship. During a recent interview with the International Business Times, Carlin’s mother, Kelly Jo, teased that Bringing Up Bates viewers may learn about a new romance during the upcoming season of the UPtv reality series.

“With four married children and five other single children that will be 18 years or older, that leaves a whole lot of opportunity for change – whether by new romances, growing families, or other adventures!” Kelly Jo said.

Joseph Duggar’s decision to become the first member of his family to enroll in a brick-and-mortar college could also be evidence of his interest in a Bates girl. According to Bustle, Joseph started attending Crown College of the Bible in Tennessee early last year. Carlin’s older sister Tori also goes to school at Crown, so there’s been a lot of speculation that Joseph is pursuing a relationship with her. However, it’s possible that he actually made the move to Tennessee to be closer to Carlin – the Bates family lives about 20 minutes away from Crown College.

Joseph Duggar Hangs With Bates
Joseph Duggar hangs out with Carlin’s younger brother Jeb during a visit with the Bates family (Image via Bates Family Instagram)

So if Joseph Duggar and Carlin Bates are courting, why all the secrecy? It’s possible that the Bateses are waiting to announce the relationship on their reality series, or maybe Joseph Duggar’s parents are simply being cautious because they jumped the gun too soon last year by announcing the courtship of 18-year-old Josiah Duggar and 17-year-old Marjorie Jackson. The teens called off their courtship a few weeks after they filmed an announcement video guest-starring Josiah Duggar’s scandal-plagued older brother Josh, and they had to endure the pain and embarrassment of having their breakup turned into a tabloid story. There was speculation that Josh Duggar’s sexual molestation scandal caused the split, and Radar Online accused Josiah of being “bitter” after he deleted photos of Marjorie from his Instagram page.

In order to protect Joseph and Carlin from going through something similar if they also break up, perhaps the teens’ parents are keeping their courtship under wraps until it gets really serious. Even though girls and boys enter into courtships with the goal of getting married, Jim Bob Duggar has said that only half of courtships end in marriage. This means there’s a good chance that Joseph and Carlin will end things without ever confirming that they were actually courting.

Do you think Joseph Duggar and Carlin Bates will make a courtship announcement in the near future?

[Images via Duggar Family Instagram, Bates Family Instagram]