'Bachelor in Paradise' 's Nick Viall Breaks Down His Rivalry with Josh Murray

Nick Viall admits he was worried about people's perceptions going into Bachelor in Paradise

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Things between former competitors Nick Viall and Josh Murray definitely exploded on Bachelor in Paradise, but soon-to-be Bachelor Viall tells PEOPLE that was never his intention.

In fact, Viall – who will start his quest for love as the 21st Bachelor next year – says that he always considered his relationship with Murray “cordial.”

“Josh and I are very different,” explains Viall, 35. “I think people don’t realize that on Andi’s season, most of the season we were actually pretty close while filming.”

Viall was the runner-up to Murray on Andi Dorfman‘s season of The Bachelorette in 2014. Murray and Dorfman got engaged during the season finale but later split in January 2015.

RELATED VIDEO: Everything Nick Viall Has Said About Finding – and Keeping – Love in the Spotlight

While Viall says he and Murray, now 32, lost touch immediately after the show wrapped, the star said that later run-ins were anything but weird.

“Since Andi and Josh broke up we actually ran into each other three different times at various events,” he says. “We were more than cordial, got along and so when I heard that Josh might be coming, I was kind of indifferent about it.”

Things devolved quickly when the duo hit Mexico, though, sparring over Murray’s relationship with soon-to-be fiancée, Amanda Stanton. Further, Viall was quick to discuss Murray’s less-than-positive portrayal in Dorfman’s tell-all book, It’s Not Okay.

Viall tells PEOPLE he was concerned about his perception due to his relationship with Murray, explaining, “I wanted to avoid” feeding the faux-feud.

“I think there was this perception that Josh and I had this big rivalry,” Viall says.

Murray has moved on with Stanton, though, and Viall will hopefully find a happier ever after of his own on The Bachelor.

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