"For any type of relationship for us to have, it has to start as friends — and if it ends there, it ends as friends," she says

By Aurelie Corinthios
August 01, 2019 02:57 PM

Hannah Brown is still looking for the one.

On the season finale of The Bachelorette this week, the 24-year-old Alabama native got engaged to her final pick Jed Wyatt — only to break things off five weeks later when she found out he had lied about having a girlfriend when he went on the show.

Reflecting on her journey in a heartfelt Instagram post after a jam-packed press day on Wednesday, Brown thanked fans for their support.

“Wow. Today was long and trying but I want to say thank you to all of the outlets who allowed me a platform to tell my story,” she captioned a photo of herself and her runner-up, Tyler Cameron. “The past few months have definitely been the hardest yet most fulfilling of my life. I opened my heart to love, and shared that experience with millions. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs and as painful as it has been at times, I wouldn’t change it one bit.”

“Did I make choices that hurt my heart? Absolutely. Have I become stronger through that hurt? You bet,” she continued. “I realized how strong of a woman I am, and how resilient I can be. My love story might not have been the one I would have initially written for myself; however, falling more in love with the woman I am at the end of this journey is something I’ll always look back on fondly. This is not my ending; it’s just my beginning.”

RELATED: Hannah Brown on Why She Chose Jed Wyatt — and Isn’t Ruling Out a Reconciliation with Tyler Cameron

She also gave fans on update on where things stands with Cameron after she boldly asked him out during the live After the Final Rose conclusion to the season on Tuesday, much to fans’ delight.

“And to your burning questions: Yes, the drink is happening. No, you’re not invited,” she wrote. “I’m really appreciative that Tyler has always had my back and supported me through all my decisions. He constantly encourages me to lean into the strong woman that I am. He’s a really good man, and I’m going to be his biggest fan in whatever makes him the happiest. Roll tide.”

RELATED: The One Thing Bachelorette Hannah Brown Won’t Miss About Runner-Up Tyler Cameron

John Fleenor/ ABC

In an interview on SiriusXM’s The Jenny McCarthy Show, Brown elaborated on her situation with Cameron, revealing the dynamics are perhaps more complicated than fans realize.

“We probably need to have a few conversations, for sure, so I don’t really want to rush that,” she said. “But I look forward to seeing Tyler and hanging out and catching up on what’s been going on.”

“This drink is to just see where we’re at and be friends and catch up because ultimately, we cannot get back to where we were,” she continued. “That would really hurt everyone. Last time we were together, he was going to propose to me. I hurt him and that hurt me and I’ve been hurt through this, so for any type of relationship for us to have, it has to start as friends. And if it ends there, it ends as friends, and I want to be supportive of him. I admire him and that is where we need to start off.”

RELATED: Tyler Cameron Says Hannah Brown Made Him ‘a Better Man’ in Open Letter to Bachelorette Star

And if Cameron, 26, isn’t interested in picking things up romantically, Brown understands.

“If he has a girlfriend or wants to pursue somebody, that is for him to figure out what makes him happy,” she says. “I’m going to support that.”

Speaking to PEOPLE in this week’s cover story, Brown said Cameron “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,” she admitted. “And it’s hard to say [yet] what the future holds with him, or anyone else.”

When it comes to potentially reconciling in the future, both Cameron and Brown are on the same page — to take it day by day.

“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,” he told PEOPLE. “I think we need to be friends and see where life takes us. Whatever happens, happens.”

“I will always love and care for that girl,” he added. “And I will always be her biggest fan and biggest supporter.”

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