The Bachelor: Matt James Confronts His Dad, Makes 'Hardest Decision' During Fantasy Suite Week
This post contains spoilers from Monday's episode of The Bachelor.
"I still have a lot of fear about what commitment looks like based on him and my mom's relationship," Matt confessed in an on-camera interview during Monday's episode of The Bachelor. "That's not something I want to carry with me. Harboring that negativity in my life hasn't progressed any of my relationships. It's hindered my growth. For me to move forward, I have to address those demons in my life."
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So Matt's dad Manny paid a visit to Nemacolin Resort in Pennsylvania for a chat. "I need to know where your head was at so I don't make those same mistakes going forward," Matt told his father, who walked out on Matt, his brother and mother.
"I'm going to take some of that blame of me not showing up as a father figure, much as it's supposed to be, but do you know what I went through? Do you want me to tell you the real deal?" Manny responded before revealing, "I came home one day, your mom was gone."
Matt said he didn't blame his mom for leaving amid his father's infidelity. "No one is perfect, son," Manny countered. "Look around you at this world — who is perfect? I'm not perfect. You're not perfect yourself. We make mistakes in our life. We're going to fall. It's how you get up."
Manny also admitted, "It wasn't a good thing that I was cheating. I'm not proud of it."
And he ultimately apologized to Matt. "I'm sorry I hurt you, son," Manny said. "I had to get to this point … Whatever I can do to make it better, I'll work on it. I want you to be happy for the rest of your life and I want you to have a relationship that's healthy and not like what I went through. Plus, I know I don't like this. And I don't like it that you're far away from me."
Matt told Manny he wants his dad in his future. "I want you to be part of any relationship I'm in going forward," Matt said, adding, "I forgive you. I'm not holding grudges."
In an on-camera interview, Matt deemed the conversation with his dad "a great starting point." "I'm not him and I don't have to make the mistakes that he made," he reflected. "We're different humans."
MICHELLE'S FANTASY SUITE
For the first date of the week, Matt brought Michelle to the Nemacolin spa for a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch spa day. That entailed dipping their feet in oatmeal, giving one another massages with melted butter and bathing in a liquid Michelle and Matt suspected was milk.
"I really feel like Matt is my person," Michelle told the cameras. "We can be sitting in a milk bath covered in butter and it feels comfortable. It feels like home."
After the spa date, Matt said to the cameras he felt like his and Michelle's connection "took off." At dinner, he opened up to Michelle about insecurities that stemmed from his parents' marriage.
"When I thought about my mom and dad's relationship, I think about distrust, unfaithfulness, lack of communication. And it's something I wanted to talk to him about and I had that opportunity," Matt said. "I just asked him about his actions — you know, he hurt my mom. My point was to let him know that in spite of all those things, here I am. I'm ready to make a decision and I'm not going to be you. I want to be the man he wasn't."
Michelle felt relieved to hear that. "I do look at you as my person and as the person I want to spend the rest of my life with," she told Matt.
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When Matt presented her with the opportunity to forgo their individual rooms for one together, she enthusiastically accepted, telling the cameras she had "no question" about her future with Matt. Once they settled into the Fantasy Suite and popped champagne, Michelle told Matt, "I love you." They kissed and proceeded to spend the night with one another.
In the morning, Matt hugged Michelle from behind and they gazed out the window. "I could get used to mornings like this," Michelle said to Matt.
Matt said in an on-camera interview that it wasn't hard "to see a life with" Michelle. "She could be my wife," he said.
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BRI'S FANTASY SUITE
"What's the most amount of time you've spent in the woods?" Matt asked Bri when they convened for their date.
Bri said her time at Nemacolin probably qualified as her longest stretch of time in the woods, and Matt informed her that they'd be heading deep into nature with some sleeping bags to pitch a tent. "I'm not letting her in on the secret that I've never been camping in the woods," Matt said in an on-camera interview.
Bri also admitted, "I am the least outdoorsy person." But that didn't change how she felt about the man taking her camping. "If Matt got down on one knee tonight, I would 1,000 percent say 'yes,'" she told the cameras.
Matt revealed that they wouldn't actually be sleeping in the tent, so they headed to dinner, where Bri took the opportunity to ask Matt how he felt about getting engaged soon.
"There's things in my life that have held me back from not commitment, but just worrying about what that would look like," he began. "Like what does marriage, what does engagement, what does that long-term commitment look like? And one of those things that I just needed to address to get over the hump was the relationship with my dad."
"And so, we had a conversation we probably should've had a long time ago. And it got a little bit intense, because I'm letting him know how I feel," Matt continued. "And how him not being ready for marriage affected myself, my brother, my mom and really my dating relationship, my relationship with women. And the point of that conversation was to remind myself that that's not who I am. I'm my own my man."
Being raised by a single mom, Bri could relate. "I've always wondered how my relationship with him would manifest in my relationships down the line," she told Matt of her dad.
But that didn't stop her from feeling confident in her relationship with Matt. "I still feel 100 percent ready for an engagement after this," she said. "And what I'm feeling is that I really am so in love with you, because it means the world to me that you can understand me. And it really just goes to show why I love you and the things that I love about you."
To the cameras, Matt called Bri's admission of love "a great feeling." "She's someone I can see myself spending the rest of my life with, and I know now what that commitment means," he said.
They went on to spend the evening together and that time confirmed Bri's feelings for Matt. "Last night just reaffirms that I'm in love with you," she told him.
"We connect on the deepest of levels," Matt said in an on-camera interview. "It's what I've been looking for and what I came here for. I can see a life with Bri after this."
RACHAEL'S FANTASY SUITE
Rachael had a hard time knowing Michelle and Bri might be getting intimate with Matt throughout the week, and by the time her date rolled around, she couldn't shake her insecurities. "I'm just really worried his feelings have changed," she told the cameras.
Matt could tell during their pottery date that Rachael had something on her mind.
"This week was unbearable for me," she told him. "You know I picture you as my future husband — I know you know that — and when I picture you as that person for me, and then knowing that you're spending time, really intimate time, with other people, I really didn't think I would get through this week, honestly. It was the lowest that I felt."
The North Carolina native reassured Rachael of the process and reminded her about the strong feelings he realized after he watched her crash on their skydiving date. "There's no easy way to go about these next two weeks, but it's necessary so that at the end of this you can have 100 percent assurance in where I'm at with you and us," he said.
That made Rachael feel a lot better. "I'm completely in love with you," she told Matt.
While discussing their future later on in the day, Matt told Rachael about his conversation with his dad and said that it gave him "clarity." "The big conclusion for me at the end of that conversation was I'm nothing like my dad," he said.
Rachael replied, "If you had a ring in your pocket right now and pulled it out, I'd say 'yes.'"
Matt felt strongly about Rachel, too. "I'm falling for Rachael," he divulged in an on-camera interview.
At the end of the week, it came time for Matt to make what he called "the hardest decision."
"I didn't think that it was possible to have these strong feelings for multiple people, but here were are, my final rose ceremony," he said to the three remaining women. "And I've just got to continue to follow my heart. This was the hardest decision I had to make."
Matt gave his first rose to Michelle, and the second one to Rachael. Then he apologized to Bri before walking her out.
"Not that I was looking for some justification for this, but there wasn't something that came up this week. And that's what makes it so hard," he told her. "It would've been easy if I could point to one thing and say that that's why. It's just a feeling that you have when you're with somebody and it's nothing to do with you and who you are, how incredible you are. It had everything to do with where my heart's leading."
Through tears, Bri expressed her disappointment. "It is hard to think about not being able to see you again, but that's just how this goes," she told Matt. "You are going to be moving onto someone else and I think that's what makes it harder."
Bri reflected more on the breakup in the car ride out. "It's hard because what I thought we had was special," she said. "It couldn't have been all for nothing."
The Bachelor season finale airs next Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, followed by the After the Final Rose special, hosted by Emmanuel Acho, at 10 p.m. ET.