“I don’t think I’ve ever talked about how hurtful that was,” Bushnell says of the finale, when she watched Higgins profess his love to Fletcher.
Bushnell was given Higgins’ final rose on the season 20 finale of The Bachelor when he got down on one knee and proposed to her over Fletcher.
“I always try to be really strong because I wanted to move forward from it,” she admits. “But because I wanted to move forward from it, I don’t think I ever really opened up about how hard that was just in terms of, like, I wanted to make that decision to get engaged one time in my life and I felt like I wasn’t told everything that had happened.”
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“I know that JoJo was told what had happened. I almost felt a little bit betrayed,” Bushnell continues. “That was really hard, but we moved forward from that.”
- For more from Bushnell, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
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But it only seemed to get worse for 27-year-old Bushnell when her season of The Bachelor aired. Sadly, the couple called it quits last month after a year together.
“When The Bachelor aired, reliving that months later wasn’t ideal either,” says Bushnell. “I was still like, ‘We’re going to move forward from this,’ but then the press, that’s what everybody wanted to talk about. I’ve never shared with anyone, except for Ben, how hurtful that situation was and how hard it is to continually talk about it over and over again when you’re trying to start a life with someone.”
“Looking back, I wish I could be like, ‘That’s why it didn’t work out,’ but I think it was just a very abnormal situation and one that unfortunately,” she explained. “I mean we tried.”
The Bachelorette airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.
—With BRITTANY KING