"I was in love with Peter," Hannah Brown tells PEOPLE

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From night one, the connection between The Bachelorette’s Hannah Brown and fan-favorite Peter Weber only seemed to grow stronger.

But on Monday’s penultimate episode, Brown, 24, ended things with the charming pilot, leaving her final two as Tyler Cameron and Jed Wyatt. It was a decision she didn’t make lightly.

“I was in love with Peter,” Brown tells PEOPLE. “I was pulled into different directions every other day. But I had to make a decision. I felt like my heart was broken.”

For Brown, getting to the point of admitting the strong feelings she had for her final four (Luke Parker went home last week) was a struggle in and of itself.

“All the drama [amongst the men] put up barriers for me,” explains Brown. “I really did care for these guys, but were [my feelings] strong enough? It was confusing. I was not where I wanted to be.”

HANNAH BROWN, PETER
Credit: John Fleenor/ ABC
HANNAH BROWN, PETER
Credit: John Fleenor/ ABC

Ultimately, Brown allowed herself to be vulnerable, and then the feelings for her final suitors got stronger, quickly.

“I had fallen in love with Peter,” she says. “I know it sounds crazy. And [my feelings] really affected me emotionally.”

THE BACHELORETTE - Hannah Brown caught the eye of Colton Underwood early on during the 23rd season of "The Bachelor," showing him, and all of America, what Alabama Hannah is made of - a fun country girl who is unapologetically herself. After being sent home unexpectedly, Hannah took the time to reflect on her breakup, gaining a powerful understanding of her desire to be deeply and fiercely loved. Now, with a newfound sense of self and a little southern charm, she is more ready than ever to find her true love on the milestone 15th season of "The Bachelorette." (ABC/Ed Herrera) PETER
Credit: Ed Herrera/ABC

Now, though they didn’t end up together, Brown says she’ll always have special memories of Weber — and of their shared experience.

“What I’ll miss most about Peter is his genuine love for me,” she says. “The time we had together was real.”

The second part of The Bachelorette finale airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.