Kaitlyn Bristowe is the Bachelorette! She charmed her way into the hearts of the Bachelor Nation – and nearly the Bachelor himself, Chris Soules, on season 19 of The Bachelor. Now Kaitlyn has begun her own journey to love.
I wonder how many times I can try and explain how hard this journey is to go through and for people to understand, but IT’S HARD! It is difficult having this many relationships at once and even more challenging when you have to watch people you care for struggling though the journey.
Of all the guys, the one having the most difficulty was Shawn, and I totally understood. I don’t think you ever go into this experience thinking you’re going to feel feelings this deep. You want to, and you hope it happens, but you don’t necessarily think it will. So how can you prepare yourself? I believe that’s what Shawn’s struggles were. He didn’t expect to feel all the things he was feeling. It’s so hard to care about someone and try and let your brain access those feelings in an average relationship. Now imagine adding in that you are trying to accept the person you care about has other relationships happening. It was only human for him to be upset.
It’s not possible to date all these different men without upsetting anyone. When Shawn asked me point-blank if I was in love with him, I was surprised. Again I found myself sitting there asking was it fair to say yes? Was it unfair to say yes? I could understand his perspective – it wouldn’t have made sense for me to be in love and having intimate relationships with other people when I cared for him. Yet that’s what was happening.
I am imperfect. I was confused. I knew I was falling in love with Shawn. I was falling for a couple people. And, if I am honest (which clearly I am), I was scared of Shawn. I was worried he wouldn’t be able to get through the hardest part of the journey and he would leave. I NEED a strong man, not physically (although it doesn’t hurt) but emotionally. I was questioning my decisions and having a tough time understanding my actions and my feelings.
It was difficult to have that conversation with Shawn and have to switch gears to a two-on-one date the next morning. Two-on-one dates present challenges as is, so it was difficult to have to put my focus into two of my other relationships when I felt one was suffering.
Did I mention two-on-one dates are SUUUUUUUPER uncomfortable for everyone? Being in a JJ and Joe sandwich on the boat ride to the island was uncomfortable, although they made the best of it. Now don’t get me wrong – it was nowhere near as uncomfortable as the Badlands date with Ashley I. and Kelsey on Chris Soules’ season … but it was still awkward.
I would also like everyone to keep in mind that I had never seen the JJ that the guys in the house saw. So, at that point, I was still thinking he was a good guy. My crush on him started night one because he made a punny joke, and we connected. But I also think we all watched that crush fizzle a little since that first night. When he told me that he cheated on his wife, I felt a bit sick. That is my biggest fear in a relationship – that and falling out of love. It was brave of him to tell me that, and I do believe he learned a valuable life lesson. Having a family, putting them through that and losing so much, I can imagine it being an eye-opener. It was hard for me to understand his choices, but I respected his honesty. I think I was looking for that connection again with JJ, but it was lost.
Joe, on the other hand, always made me laugh and was also a sensitive sweet guy! He’s definitely that old southern gentleman who has manners and a sense of humor. YES PLEASE! The only thing that I was looking for was Joe’s wall to come down and to hear how he actually felt, which happened, and it meant so much to me. I knew in that moment I had to say goodbye to JJ and get him back to his daughter. I needed more time with Joe.
I’m a big fan of love languages, and one of mine is quality time. I needed that with Joe in order to find out exactly where my feelings were with him. Going back and spending more time with him was ideal and worth it. He is something special. I learned more of who he was and where he came from. Learning those things made it easy for me to give him that rose.
When I got back to my room, it hit me what a long and emotional day it had been for me. I was so tired. Going back to the hotel, I really couldn’t wait to get into my sweats and just shut off for the night. I wanted to finish up my interview and go to bed and just process everything that was happening. But Shawn had other plans. When Shawn interrupted my interview, I didn’t know what to think. I was preparing myself for the worst. I thought he was coming up to tell me he was leaving, which I feared. I thought maybe Nick had said something to him. I didn’t want him to hear about what had happened between Nick and me from anyone else but me, and I just wanted the timing to be right for me to tell him myself.
Despite my exhaustion, knowing he was there to further explain why he was having such a hard time was almost a relief. To be honest, I was happy he wanted to justify it. He had every right. He was there because I had said one thing and showed him another, and he had questions.
To give you some further insight, one night after the rose ceremony, I had snuck down to just say hi to some of the guys – not to be promiscuous but just to say hello. A few of them had mentioned how it would be nice to just chill and say hey once in a while without cameras (we all know I don’t tend to follow rules) so I thought, “Why not?” not thinking of the long term or how it could alter anything. I just wanted it to be a quick, fun gesture, and it turned into me telling Shawn I thought he could be the one. So unfair to him, unfair to myself and unfair to the other guys. But Shawn was someone I felt so strongly about, and I just didn’t want him to give up on me. So I REALLY reassured him.
Again, I challenge anyone to date this many guys and not make mistakes. This was one I made, and it only set him up to get more upset when it came to my other relationships. This is why I understood where Shawn was coming from when being upset.
With everything that had happened since getting to Ireland, I was EXTREMELY nervous for the rose ceremony. I knew I had ruffled feathers, gone too far and confused people. That doesn’t make for a seamless rose ceremony. That’s almost an oxymoron.
Ben H. had something weighing heavily on him, Nick was seeing how shaken up I was, Shawn could tell I had felt what I said to him was a mistake …. It was all just very overwhelming.
The room knew I was feeling off, and Ben Z. was the first to take me away to talk. He is a very calm and comforting person so I knew he was the perfect person to take me out of the room. It was nice to sit there and talk with him. Going into the night, I really didn’t know whom I was sending home, and I wanted it to be there with Ben Z. But I just didn’t feel like we were moving forward. He was always nice and sweet, and he’s so handsome, but our relationship had stalled. Again, I really wanted it to be there, who doesn’t love Ben Z.? We all do, I just didn’t see him as my husband. That’s all. I’m sure 99 percent of women out there will!
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In my time with Ben H., I learned he was affected by my actions with Shawn. He didn’t know what was said, but he knew that something had changed. He had felt a shift in the room after I had reassured Shawn. Luckily for me, Ben H. is a very understanding, compassionate, forgiving person, and he could tell that my heart was still open. He understood that I knew I had made a mistake. I felt lucky in that moment to have someone in my life like Ben H., who cared about me.
When Nick pulled me aside, I wanted to just reiterate to him that our moment was private. I guess that’s when I started thinking about what he had said to Andi on After the Final Rose. I was worried history would repeat itself. My fear was he would tell the guys what happened. It wasn’t that I wanted it to be a secret, it’s that those were my relationships, each moving at different speeds. And if anyone was to find out, I wanted it to come from me. I thought it was only fair.
I think Nick was slightly offended that I thought he would possibly jeopardize our relationship like that. He got visually upset, and it showed me his intentions were good. He shed a couple tears, and it made me realize that he was feeling the right feelings.
When I sat down with Shawn, he apologized for having a difficult time. I took responsibility as well. I was sorry, too. That was the first time Shawn and I had sat down together without kissing and only talking. I felt a pit in my stomach about that night. I think a step back was the right decision for our relationship – not in a negative way, but in order for us to get back to the Kaitlyn and Shawn we wanted to be. We had a very raw and real relationship and, for us, that was a bump in the road.
When the rose ceremony time came, I was so ready for the night to be over. It had been such an emotional roller coaster for me. Unfortunately, Tanner and I just moved at the pace of molasses in January. Okay, wow, did I just say that? I remember my fifth grade teacher saying that, and I haven’t heard it since. But I feel like that applies here. Haha.
I like Tanner. He is a funny character and a good dude. He’s just not the dude for me! Saying goodbye to Ben Z. was crappy, I don’t know how else to put it. I didn’t want to see him leave, and I knew he didn’t see it coming, but at the same time I didn’t really either. But, like I said, compared to my other relationships, we weren’t moving forward. I will say this: I would set him up with any one of my best friends or family because Ben Z. is a stand-up guy. I wish nothing but the best for him.
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The next morning I was ready to leave everything in Dublin behind and move forward. What better way to do that than a ROADTRIP?!?!?!?! Time to see Ireland’s beautiful countryside.
I wanted to make a date out of the road trip so I asked Jared to come along! Jared is definitely someone I would want beside me on a road trip. He is fun, laidback, hilarious and so cute. I knew he was someone I could have comfortable silence with if that happened, but he was someone I could banter with as well. Just not someone I could switch out with for driving. Jared … LEARN HOW TO DRIVE STICK!!!! Wait maybe I should take my own advice. I hit a couple curbs. In my defense, I was driving on the other side of the road and switching gears with my left hand! YOU TRY IT JUDGEY McGEE’S!!!! Jared was actually pretty proud of me. He himself said he couldn’t have done it.
It was unreal to stop at the Blarney stone and kiss it for good luck. I wonder how many lips have touched that stone … kind of gross … but who gets to do that? WE DO! It was kind of a rush being up there leaning over that ledge. It gave me the gift of gab! (That’s what kissing it brings – not that I need it. I don’t stop talking.) So, after a long day of driving and laughing, it was nice to end it at my castle. Yeah, “my castle,” I just said that. When you can road trip with someone for hours and still want to kiss them at the end of it, I would say that’s a good sign.
Hearing someone knock at my door always gives me a panic attack. Like, “What now, who’s leaving, who is going to be upset with me, what did I do now?!” Seeing Chris Harrison on the other side of that door was a relief because it wasn’t any of those things. But when Chris Harrison shows up at your door … you know there’s something serious going on.
Chris had a great point when he arrived: I kept changing and breaking the rules, so we might as well keep it going and change things up even more.
Meeting someone’s family is a really special thing. I was worried about bringing four families into this and then having to say goodbye. I wanted to try and make this as real as possible, so spending as much time with these guys before meeting their families felt like the right thing to do. It also made me think about how serious I have to be about each guy. It had been fun with some of these men, but it couldn’t be about fun dates anymore. It was time to really focus on the guys I could see my future with. I knew I had to say some tough goodbyes, as soon as I knew they weren’t the right guy for me.
Has anyone ever stood outside their castle in Ireland, with a handsome guy, waiting for their helicopter to pick them up to fly to the Cliffs of Mohr? Oh, you haven’t??? I suggest it. What an unbelievable experience.
I have to say this: Cupcake, if you are reading this, we had some really great moments together, and this was up there for us. I was really happy to share that moment with you. I could see how much you took it all in, and I was happy to enjoy that with you. Flying over the countryside was absolutely breathtaking. I was in awe the whole time. We were SOOO SO SO SOOO lucky to have had the weather we had there.
We landed and had a beautiful romantic picnic on the cliffs. It was in that moment that I took a step back and wasn’t sure where my heart was with Chris. I knew Chris was exactly what I was looking for, and I knew I liked him. He told me about his family and where he came from, and he is ridiculously good-looking. He’s a gentleman … I could go on and on…. But, at the end of it, I just didn’t see him as my forever, and I promised myself I would lead anyone on.
It would have been so easy to finish my date with Chris, fly back and go to sleep happy. But that wouldn’t have been right. It was HARD to leave him and say goodbye. I questioned why I was doing that and what was wrong with me. But my heart told me that was the right thing to do. And, as we all know, sometimes the right thing is never the easiest. Watching him cry broke my heart. That was a tough day. I also knew in that moment that nothing about this journey would be getting any easier …. You’ll see next week as provides it’s own set of challenges and difficult choices. Until then …
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The Bachelorette airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.