He was devastated twice on The Bachelorette and had a summer fling on Bachelor in Paradise, and now Nick Viall is looking to find a love that lasts as The Bachelor‘s latest leading man. Read his exclusive blog for PEOPLE every week and follow him at Twitter, @viallnicholas28!
The first night was such a blur, but waking up the next day I couldn’t have been more excited to get to know these women in a more casual setting. So, how appropriate would a wedding photo shoot be for our first date, right? I was secretly hoping Alexis would show up in a new oceanic themed costume, a squid/lobster perhaps? When really we all know it would be a lobster.
I was pinching myself at how wild it felt to be starting this journey as The Bachelor, and when I thought about the 22 women I’d be going into this first week with, I felt lucky. I remembered how excited I was to be in their shoes on Andi‘s season, but group dates can be pretty awkward at times! I wanted to do something fun to break the ice and encourage the women to be themselves.
Hats off to all the ladies for owning each of their looks. I thought it was pretty cool that all the woman rallied behind Brittany because that leaf bottom was a hard number to pull off. I just wish Franco hadn’t chosen the cacti garden for this ensemble. I would also like to announce after a successful shoot with Alexis, I am now qualified to deliver children at a moment’s notice. In contrast to some of the more humorous looks, my time with Taylor was pretty special, and I felt like we had a really good connection during our shoot. As much as I loved Franco and the energy he brought to the shoot, it took me a minute to get used to the intimacy needed for each shoot. Lucky for me, all of these women made it so fun and really kept me in the moment. And who knows, maybe one of these looks will be the pictures for our wedding invites.
The biggest surprise of the day came when Corinne decided to take it up a notch — by taking her top off! I was totally shocked. If anyone from Janet Jackson’s camp is reading this, no disrespect, but I was not ready for that!
I love how assertive and bold Corinne is, I just never wanted to intentionally make the other women uncomfortable. After such a fun day, I was really looking forward to spending more one-on-one time with the women going into the afterparty. A handful of women continued to be assertive with their time, and none more than Corinne. I appreciated her focusing on our relationship above everything else.
Listen, I’ve been through this enough seasons to know that, at the time, she was probably ruffling feathers. I know the value of group date roses — they validate the person you give it to and add pressure to the people you don’t. I didn’t want the target that was probably forming on her back to intimidate her to just be herself, and so that is why I wanted to give Corinne the rose.
I also thought about the other women and how they might take it. And to be honest, sometimes you learn a lot more about a person when things aren’t going as expected. I was ready to answer any questions that might arise after my decision. But before I decided to give Corinne the rose, I had some really great conversations with the other women. I feel like it was this date that connected Raven and myself. I appreciate how she was so honest and open about her dating past — something we could connect on. She’s clearly someone who can talk about more meaningful things off the bat, which is very sexy to me.
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I couldn’t have been happier to have Danielle M. on the first one-on-one of the season. I wanted to bring a woman who I felt a strong connection with on the first night, but also who was a bit of a mystery. Danielle was an easy choice.
Landing the helicopter onto the yacht was crazy surreal. We both joked about how it went from The Bachelor to James Bond pretty quickly. Too bad I wasn’t as cool as James Bond because the second we landed on the moving yacht, I had to lay down for five minutes due to motion sickness. But lucky for me, I had my favorite nurse beside me to hold my hand.
Once I felt back to normal — on (somewhat) solid ground — we had a great time. We talked about growing up in Wisconsin and more about her job as a neonatal nurse. Moving onto dinner that night I wanted to learn more about her past. It was heartbreaking to hear about Danielle’s ex fiancée. She has gone through something that I couldn’t even imagine. It puts a lot of things into perspective and in that moment, I knew just how much of a strong and resilient woman she is. On a day-to-day basis she works with these infants who are fragile and need the best care in the world. Danielle has also dealt with tragic heartbreak, but here she is standing strong.
Giving the rose to Danielle was the easiest choice I made that week. Saying goodnight that evening, I didn’t want our date to end and felt excited about what kind of future we could have.
Okay, so now we need to talk about Liz. Going into the last date of the week I was nervous. Very nervous.
I hadn’t talked with Liz since that first night when she surprised me by getting out of the limo. We left our conversation open, but I had so many questions left. Liz didn’t give me a solid answer on why she was here. While I was eager to continue our conversation, it was an even bigger priority for me to make sure I gave the other five women as much attention.
The concept of The Museum of Broken Relationships is a little crazy, but I think everyone — including myself — found it interesting. I thought, if these girls have a dating history half as crazy as mine, they get it.
I wasn’t too nervous when preparing to hit the stage for the breakup performances. But once the other couples started to break up before us, I couldn’t stop thinking about Liz. All the other women had a good time with this (it was light, it was fun) — even Josephine’s slap didn’t sting as hard as Liz getting on that stage.
I couldn’t believe Liz used our history as the material for the breakup in front of everyone. I was confused by her intentions and disappointed. I couldn’t imagine she thought that was the best approach to communicating. I wondered then, Did she tell any of the women already? Was she deliberately just trying to insight drama with me? I didn’t feel like her performance was beneficial to start up the private conversation we needed to finish, and so I went into the after party with even more questions.
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Going into the after party I wanted to be able to spend some time with the other woman before diving into my conversation with Liz.
Sitting down with Kristina, I feel like we were able to get to know a lot more about each other. You don’t see it, but we even snuck into the photo booth for some cute pics that evening. Jaimi opened up about dating women, and we also talked a lot about her hometown of New Orleans. That evening, Jaimi was someone who was sexy, carefree and easy to talk to. She really helped calm the nerves that I had built up that day.
Speaking with Christen, I appreciated her honesty off the bat. I’m sure telling me she knew about Liz couldn’t have been easy, but this is the kind of candor I’m looking for in a partner. I will admit I was concerned that Liz might have told the rest of the women. It was eating me up inside that I was keeping this past from everyone, but, at the same time, I knew I owed it to Liz to speak with her first, before I shared the truth of our relationship openly. I’ve made that mistake in the past.
Once I sat down with Liz, it was my goal to give her the benefit of the doubt and hear her out. I didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but I knew I needed to ask her pointed questions about her being here and how she handled the situation thus far.
I thought back to when I decided to come back on Kaitlyn’s season — I had decided to take that risk to come back on, because I felt strongly for her. I built a relationship with a Kaitlyn and then it suddenly ended once she was asked to be The Bachelorette. I knew if I decided to come back on it would raise questions. Not only from Kaitlyn and the other men, but also Bachelor nation. However, I knew my reasons and I came in prepared to answer any questions that came my way. I was confident in my intentions, so when I was pressed I was able to answer those questions. I kind of expected the same of Liz. I respected the fact that she was willing to take a chance, even though we hadn’t spoken in months. But as our conversation continued, I wasn’t able to get a real answer as to why she was here or what changed after our first encounter at the wedding. After talking with her at length, I thought it was best for both of us that we say goodbye.
Despite whatever connection we had in the past, the current relationship became too complicated too fast. I just didn’t see us building a strong connection, and I had 21 other women I was excited about getting to know. I’m not big on throwing out the phrase “right reasons” in Bachelor world. I feel like it’s used too often just because someone is going about a situation in a different way than you. People tend to fear what they don’t understand and in a pressure-filled environment with all sorts of personalities, it is very easy to cast unfair accusations. Saying goodbye to Liz felt like the right decision for me — and honestly, for both of us. I have respect and admiration for Liz and I really hope the best for her.
I’m someone who likes to acknowledge the obvious and not feel like we must do or say things because it’s what we’re supposed to do. There is no denying that when you show up to be on The Bachelor, you are filming a TV show. When I decided to come on Andi’s season, I came for the experience. I thought, “Wow, this could be fun.” I told myself to keep an open mind about the possibility of falling in love, and then I did. That’s all I expected from the women, too — just an open mind. This is an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone, but the key is to be honest with who you’re dating and with yourself. Everything else will fall into place how it should.
Next week you’ll see me navigate how to share the truth without hurting anyone. I truly felt sick not knowing what kind of damage my relationship with Liz would leave. I know saying goodbye to Liz was the best choice, but she had left a shadow that would haunt me if I wasn’t honest with everyone. Christen knew about our past, but who else? I couldn’t continue to date these women if I wasn’t upfront with them about why I said goodbye to Liz and also clear the air about any questions they would have. I was terrified the women would think I was intentionally keeping something from them, but to be honest about the past Liz and I share, I would have to be honest about some intimate details that I didn’t feel comfortable sharing.
I have made the mistake of saying too much in public with Andi. I didn’t want to go down that road again. However, Liz had already started telling people. If these women didn’t hear the truth and facts from me, I didn’t want them thinking I was hiding something.
This was a wild week, but I have to say that next week gets crazier. I went into this role wanting to carve my own path, and I continue to do just that. This season, expect more tears, surprising break ups and jaw-dropping revelations. Things are just heating up.
Thanks for reading,
The Bachelor airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.