He stepped-up his romantic game during the hometown date, but The Bachelorette‘s Ashley Hebert still wasn’t feeling a "spark" for Ames Brown, a New York City-based portfolio manager, world traveler and all-around Renaissance man. After being crushed for several weeks, Ames, 31, spoke with reporters about his feelings for Ashley, what he learned about himself and whether he’s moving on.
In hindsight, still believe you were falling in love?
I was getting very close to her. I felt feelings of love under the magnolia tree and in the day leading up to the elevator ride and in the elevator of course. Seeing my family love her as much as I did was pretty compelling for me.
Do you regret participating given your family’s involvement and how attached you got?
I had a wonderful time dating her. It was very painful in the weeks following our breakup or whatever that’s called. But it is better to have loved and lost in this context.
Did you take away insight into what you want from a partner?
I learned on the show that there really isn’t a list of attributes. It’s more the feeling you get when spending time with a person. Our emotions and our bodies are good judges. I want the feeling that I’m in love, not a checklist.
She wrote about her lack of a spark on her PEOPLE.com blog.
Yeah, that was rough … I was really sad and thought we had a lot of potential. My hope was that she would become a permanent part of my life.
Yet you left with a smile on your face.
That was some sort of emotional guard. I didn’t want to put her on the spot or make something difficult more difficult. I wanted to exit as gracefully as possible. But that was an awful, awful week. I got out of the limo and interview and threw up.
Were you expecting to be let go that night?
I’m very embarrassed to say that was the only rose ceremony where I thought it was almost a sure thing. I felt so excited about our future. … I wasn’t expecting to go home because I thought we were a good match.
Which remaining suitor seems best for her?
They all seem to have good connections. I’m jealous of them all. She has good taste. It’s down to a good bunch of people. I wouldn’t feel safe betting at this point. I wish her the best.
Have you moved on or are you still available?
Well I think I’ll get electrocuted if I answer that. I think we’re supposed to watch Bachelor Pad.