Rachel Lindsay and Bryan Abasolo Reveal How They Survived the 'Difficult' Early Stage of Their Relationship

The former Bachelorette opens up in a new interview about how she and Abasolo worked through the "difficult" times in their relationship

Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay and Bryan Abasolo were thrust into the spotlight after their engagement aired on ABC’s hit reality show, and the couple admits in a new interview their relationship hasn’t been totally smooth sailing.

“It was difficult in the beginning,” Lindsay, 32, tells Dean Unglert — who vied for her love on her season of the show — on a new episode of his podcast Help! I Suck at Dating (listen to the full interview here) previewed exclusively with PEOPLE.

“Believe it or not, [I’m] actually very private normally with my relationships, and so … to be attacked on social media and just sometimes in the media, it was really hard individually and just together as a couple,” she says.

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While it wasn’t easy to face rumors and criticism, she and Abasolo, 37, kept their relationship strong by “just being honest with one another about how it affected us,” she says. “For us, it was like, if we can get through this — which was a lot in the beginning — we can get through anything.”

Abasolo added that their ability to come out stronger is a “tribute” to the couple’s “maturity level.”

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“Just us knowing each other so well and knowing exactly what we want … not everybody is gonna like you 100 percent of the time,” he told Unglert. “You might think you do everything perfect, and somebody’s still going to have a problem with it.”

Over the past few months, the couple have worked on their communication with each other. “If we see something out there that’s negative or bashing us in any way, we’ll talk about it,” says Abasolo. “I just think it takes two people that have that level of respect for each other to not let those types of things affect you.”

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