Bachelor in Paradise: Kendall Long Tells Ex Joe Amabile She 'Never Stopped Loving' Him
This post contains spoilers from Bachelor in Paradise season 7, episode 8.
So on Tuesday's episode, Kendall, 29, made one last attempt at reconnecting with Grocery Store Joe, 35. "I still feel like you're my best friend," she told him, adding that it was "just hard" for her to see him with another woman.
"Are you not over us?" Joe asked, to which Kendall confessed, "I never stopped loving you." Then she asked Joe why he came on the show.
"To be honest, the reason I came out here was 'cause … I knew it was over between us," Joe said. "And if I didn't feel that I wouldn't have came. I was also kind of under the impression that you felt the same way. You were a big part of my life and I'm always going to care about you. I'm still always here for you."
They hugged, but Kendall ultimately decided to leave Paradise. "This has been, like, really torturous," she said.
Guest host Lil Jon told the remaining cast that he planned to "turn this place upside down" by bringing in some new singles. Then he welcomed in Ed Waisbrot and Demar Jackson from Katie Thurston's season of The Bachelorette, who both arrived with date cards.
Demar, 27, pulled Maurissa Gunn to talk — which worried Riley Christian — but ultimately asked Chelsea Vaughn on the date. Ed, 37, picked Natasha Parker. For their double date, the women painted shirtless photos of the men.
"I could not be happier right now," Natasha, 33, said of her time with Ed. "Finally."
Meanwhile, Kenny Braasch and Mari Pepin received a date card of their own and spent it eating tacos — off one another. Mari, 25, placed the soft taco shells on 40-year-old Kenny's bare chest and dressed them with chicken and avocado before eating them. "Kenny is a great platter," Mari said in an on-camera interview. "I like what I'm working with."
Then came Kenny's turn to build his meal on a naked Mari. "Mari is the hottest plate I've ever seen," he told the cameras.
Mari said the date brought them "a new level of intimacy." Kenny was on the same page and felt confident moving forward with their relationship outside of Paradise as the show wound down. "It doesn't scare me to talk about stuff that obviously [is] right around the corner," he told Mari.
He then shared with Mari, "I am falling in love with you."
"That's funny, because I'm falling in love with you, too," Mari replied.
But Maurissa, 25, needed more from Riley, 31, before she could feel good about their future together. They talked, and Riley admitted that while she was chatting with Demar earlier, he felt a pang of jealousy.
"I thought I could handle it but as you were talking, I realized, nah, I really hope whatever the conversation is, I hope she lets him know I'm the guy," Riley said. "And that's just the way it is. I think I knew that from the first day that we went on the date."
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Riley said his own family's complicated past caused him to pull back from fully opening up to Maurissa.
"As bad as I want a family of my own, my family situation has never been too great," the lawyer explained. "I think that's one of the things that's at the top that scares me. You know, my parents got divorced when I was super young and I remember the way my dad treated my mom. It wasn't good and I remember how essentially he kept me and my brother away from my mom and stuff like that. It kind of shook me up."
He continued, "It scares me to know that even though he did everything in his power, he doesn't have a relationship with his children."
Riley said he and his father had since reconnected and that he did feel open to love. "Just know that I do care about you a lot, and I have been in love before and I can feel myself going that way," he told Maurissa.
Hearing that "is what I needed," Maurissa said, telling Riley, "It's hard for me, very hard, but I know that I am falling in love with you."
A STORM HITS PARADISE
Before the remaining couples could figure out where their relationships stood and singles could determine where they'd be getting a rose from, producers let the cast know that a dangerous tropical storm would be heading their way and they needed to evacuate.
"I'm worried Paradise is over," Joe said.
The storm passed and everyone returned to the beach, so Tia Booth proceeded to figure out who she should offer her rose to. James Bonsall had given her his rose previously and made a sweet gesture to keep getting to know her: He painted a Manhattan skyline to represent where he comes from and a stoplight to signify the single stoplight town where Tia grew up. But Tia, 29, also went on a date with newcomer Blake Monar and felt an immediate connection with him. However, Tia thought that after their date, Blake, 32, didn't make an effort.
"I want to be pursued," Tia told Blake. "I want to be chosen."
Blake insisted, "There's nothing more I want out of this than leaving with you."
Tia did not feel not convinced and informed Blake that her decision would come down to who put in the most effort to get to know her. "You know it's a choice between you and someone else and you can't even try?" she reiterated in an on-camera interview.
Tia and Blake's conversion ended without a path forward for either of them.
Aaron Clancy felt solid in his relationship with Chelsea, 29, but then with Kendall gone, Ivan Hall tried to shoot his shot with the model. "At the end of the day, you're dope," Ivan, 29, told Chelsea. "I'm definitely interested."
Aaron, 26, watched Chelsea and Ivan kiss and could not hold back his anger. "He's a desperate little bitch boy," Aaron told the cameras.
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Aaron tried to call Ivan over to talk on the sand, but Ivan would not comply. Aaron claimed Ivan previously told him he'd never come for another man's woman. "You lied to my f---ing face," Aaron shouted.
As the two men got in each other's faces, Ivan asked, "What do you want to do about it?"
The standoff will continue next week.
Bachelor in Paradise airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.