brightcove.createExperiences(); After JoJo Fletcher won viewers’ hearts as a fan favorite on Ben Higgins‘ season of The Bachelor, she’s now on her own journey to love on The Bachelorette. She is blogging exclusively about each and every rose ceremony for PEOPLE – check back each week and follow her on Twitter at @Joellefletcher!
We are BACK! That was a long two weeks! Fortunately we get to kick off this week in the beautiful countryside of Argentina. Coming into this week I knew that things were going to be a little more difficult given the fact that I made the decision to not send anyone home at the last rose ceremony. While I’m sure many of you had mixed emotions about that, it was important for me to have this week with all of those guys in order to get some clarity.
Starting off my dates for the week was my first one-on-one with Alex. We had spent a good amount of time together on our two-on-one date back in Pennsylvania, but that was also under the cloud of Chad. This was very different. Just me and Alex for the entire day. And I knew going into this date that there was a lot to talk about. Watching it back, I now better understand how he was feeling after that last rose ceremony. He was hurt and confused, and I don’t blame him – that night was a confusing night for me too.
One thing that really stood out to me was hearing Alex say that this date was not only a time for him to see if he could fall in love with me, but also to see if “I could fall in love with him as well.” I respect him a lot for saying that because it’s true. I’ve said this before and I will say it again, this is a two-way street.
Taking that long car ride out to the countryside with Alex was a good chance for us to spend some quality time together. We thumb-warred, rapped, ate Pringles, randomly pointed at weird objects but most importantly really enjoyed just hanging out together in a setting that felt more normal and realistic.
As we arrived to the Estancia, we were both overwhelmed by how beautiful this place was and to see two real-life Gauchos waiting to greet us! I don’t know about y’all, but seeing Alex suit up in his gaucho gear had me dying laughing! But he was such a good sport and I personally think he pulled that beret off pretty darn well. (Side note: Not sure if y’all saw me completely fail at trying to get on that horse but it was pretty embarrassing for a Texas girl!)
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As our date continued on, I felt myself really enjoying being around Alex. No surprise there – he and I had always had fun together. We laughed and joked, and also shared such a sweet moment lying down with that horse. It was the most connected I had felt with him. However, I also knew in the back of my mind that something still didn’t feel 100 percent. Going into dinner, I knew where my heart was. I knew something was off and I was struggling with that. Hearing Alex open up to me and tell me he was falling in love with me should have been such an amazing moment, but instead it filled me with sadness. I knew in that moment that a romantic relationship wasn’t in our future. As hard as it was to send Alex home that night, I knew it was the right thing to do.
After a tough goodbye with Alex, I couldn’t wait to spend the day with Jordan. My last conversation with Jordan had felt strained because it was mostly focused on the “Jordan-James Great Poker Debacle of 2016” and I knew it was starting to come off as though I was constantly questioning him. After that week I really wanted to let Jordan know that even though we had these tough conversations, it didn’t mean I was going to run from trying to explore our relationship further.
Taking a private jet to a winery in Mendoza and picking our grapes to attempt to make our own wine (a.k.a grape juice) was so fun. It was our very own I Love Lucy moment. It was the perfect day, but I was looking forward to dinner so we could really sit down and talk. Everything Jordan shared with me at dinner really opened my eyes up to the man that he is. Hearing him talk about his experiences, living in the shadow of his brother and the pain of not having Aaron in his life really hit home with me. That was the first time I saw this incredibly vulnerable and honest side to Jordan. He opened up about issues that aren’t the easiest to talk about and it meant a lot to know he trusted me enough to share these things. Hearing him tell me he was in love with me for the first time was the perfect ending to what I would say was the best day we had shared together.
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Robby, James and Chase were the three guys on my only group date this week, and I had planned an unbelievable date that had us camping in the majestic Argentinian countryside. Mother Nature, unfortunately, had other ideas. So, I decided to do a little staycation! I booked a big suite back in Buenos Aires and decided to set up camp indoors. I mean greasy food, games, Robby stripping down? This was a hilarious and fun day for all of us. I honestly ended up LOVING this date. If only we could have been in pajamas!
All of my conversations with these guys were great, and there were moments when I thought the rose was headed to each guy. But my conversation with Robby stood out above the others; he was just so expressive with his feelings and his emotions. I just felt so confident in Robby’s feelings for me, and that’s really why I chose to give him the rose to meet his family. Despite being a little worried about the ex-girlfriend situation (more on that next week!), his attempt to ease my concerns proved he was in this for me and I chose to trust in him and believe him.
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Last but not least, I had my date with Luke. It had been too long since our last one-on-one date, and I had really missed spending some quality time with him. Knowing that Luke is a Texas boy at heart and his love for horses, I saved this date just for him. The best part of this date for me was getting to see Luke in his element. You should just see him around those horses. He is so calm and so loving with them. It’s almost magical to watch.
Getting to sit down and talk to Luke about his life and family really started to help me picture what my life with him would be like and that excited me. It was so meaningful to hear him tell me that despite the chaos around us, our connection felt more real to him than anything else. Luke has a way of easing my fears, and at this point I began to realize that he was a calming force for me.
I knew Luke was someone I felt strongly about. I really just wanted to get to the rose ceremony because after that day there were no more questions for me. I didn’t need a dinner to know that I was headed back to Texas to meet Luke’s family.
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I realized at this point that having a cocktail party would only make my decisions harder, and at the end of the day wouldn’t change the feelings I was already having. I had spent time with all of these guys this week, and by the end I knew what I had to do. Saying goodbye to James was one of the most difficult goodbyes I have ever had to make. He has a heart of gold, and it broke my heart to be the person to ever cause him an ounce of sadness. My relationship with James was honest, respectful and very special to me but, unlike my other remaining relationships, we were missing that spark and I had to face that.
Next week I’m headed to meet the families of the four men I care so much about. We all know how my own hometown visit went last season (disaster!), and I would be lying if I said there wasn’t some drama this time around. Tune in to check it out!
The Bachelorette airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.