Back in the day, the Duggar family was always having other big families over after meeting at conferences and bonding over their broods of children. One of those families was the Bates, and they used to appear on 19 Kids and Counting allllll the time. And then one day they pretty much just disappeared. You might’ve been able to catch glimpses of them here and there in the crowd during the family’s wedding specials, but gone were the days of family visits and shared vacations. So what happened exactly? We took a look back at the families and their friendships in this week’s episode of Dishin’ on the Duggars. Listen in to the full episode above, and check out the highlights below. 

Are the Duggars and Bates still tight?

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❤️🙌🏽👭✌🏽️😇 #bestfriends4life

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Yep, the families are still friends, and a bunch of the family members showed up at Josie Bates‘ wedding for a makeshift reunion — including Josh Duggar and his wife Anna. It seems like not everyone was invited, though. The families seem to have kept their distances for a while, whether that was because they were on competing networks once the Bates family landed their own show, Bringing Up Bates, or because of the Duggar family’s scandals. After all, it seems like Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard didn’t make the list — and some of the Bateses had unfollowed the controversial star on Twitter in the past. 

Does Jana Duggar have a secret romance with one of the Bates boys?

In the past, rumors have swirled about when and who Jana Duggar was courting. And two of the main suspects have been Lawson Bates and Nathan Bates. Much as we’d love to see a Duggar-Bates wedding — as would pretty much any fan of either famous family — nothing has officially happened here just yet. And we’re not totally sure anything will. Lawson may be tight with Jana’s sister-in-law Anna, but we don’t know that that’ll give him an in with the famously single star. 

Are the Bates more modern than the Duggars?

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Adventuring with my favorite 🖤

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With slightly better fashion and more lax courting rules, the Bates seem like they’re the cooler version of the conservative Christian fam. But does front-hugging before you’re married actually make you modern, or does it just make you a smidge more relatable to the average viewer? What really sets the Bates apart, though, is their relationship with IBLP, ATI and Bill Gothard — or, for some of them, their lack of a relationship. Now, we’re just hoping taking a step back becomes something of a trend and the Duggars follow in their footsteps for once.

To get the answers to all your other questions about the Duggars and the Bates, subscribe here and listen to the entire Dishin’ on the Duggars episode above.

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