"I loved two different people," Hannah Brown tells PEOPLE
It’s been five weeks since The Bachelorette‘s Hannah Brown broke up with fiancé Jed Wyatt after she discovered he’d been lying to her about a past relationship — and now, Brown is opening up about her ill-fated decision to choose Wyatt over frontrunner Tyler Cameron.
“I loved two different people,” Brown, 24, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “And I was getting engaged to one and breaking up with the other all on the same day. I was trying to make a choice, but you can’t shut off emotions. I wanted to be 100 percent sure, but I don’t think I ever was.”
Brown says her feelings for Cameron, 26, were powerful, but complicated.
“I was immediately attracted to Tyler, but I didn’t take it seriously at first,” she says. “I was so scared to get hurt by him. And I didn’t know if he was really ready for [marriage]. Then I started to slowly break down. And [by] the Fantasy Suites, it wrecked me. I felt like I did a disservice because I hadn’t allowed myself that time to be ready to be engaged to Tyler.”
Continues Brown: “He was the scary choice, and Jed was more familiar. In that moment, [choosing Jed] felt like the safest, best decision I could make.”
However, even after making the choice, Brown says she was still uncertain.
“There was a second that I questioned [my decision],” she says of her mindset during the proposal. “But I felt like my heart was broken in four pieces, and Jed had the biggest piece.”
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Ultimately, her relationship with Wyatt imploded just five weeks after the engagement, when Brown learned that he had a girlfriend when he went on the show.
Now, Brown says she’s focused on “repairing her heart” — but remains hopeful for the future.
For his part, Cameron says that despite the breakup, he holds no ill will towards his ex. “I will always love and care for that girl,” he tells PEOPLE. “And I will always be her biggest fan and biggest supporter.”
- For more from Bachelorette Hannah Brown, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
When it comes to reconciling in the future, both Cameron and Brown are on the same page — to take it day by day.
Says Cameron: “I cherish Hannah and value her and our friendship so much, but I don’t think it’s healthy for us to jump into anything right away. I think we need to be friends and see where life takes us. Whatever happens, happens.”
Says Brown: “Tyler will always have a place in my heart no matter what our relationship looks like. The feelings I developed for him were real and they don’t shut off instantly. And it’s hard to say [yet] what the future holds with him, or anyone else.”
Despite their desire to take things slow, both Brown and Cameron were full of giggles when they came face-to-face for the first time post-breakup during the live portion of the season finale Tuesday night.
“I want somebody to be bold and I’m bold and I make bold moves so you’re an incredible guy and I’m a single girl,” Brown said with a huge grin. “So… I don’t know. I thought maybe we could go for a drink and just hang out?”
“Just tell me when,” Cameron responded. “I’m there.”