Jason Oppenheim Calls Chrishell Stause Split His 'Most Difficult' Ever: 'I Still Love Her'

The real estate pro is "not looking forward to" rewatching the downfall of his relationship with his Selling Sunset costar in season 5, he tells PEOPLE exclusively

Chrishell Stause and Jason Oppenheim
Jason Oppenheim, Chrishell Stause. Photo: Chrishell Stause/Instagram

Chrishell Stause and Jason Oppenheim's romance came to an end in late 2021, but the Selling Sunset costars are now having to relive their relationship with the debut of the Netflix hit's fifth season.

The former pair's love is the focus of the latest crop of episodes, which debuted April 22 on the streaming platform.

Oppenheim, 45, has been dreading rewatching happier times with his ex, who announced their split in December five months after going public with their relationship. "I'm pretty anxious about it," he exclusively tells PEOPLE. "I think it's going to be sad and I'm not looking forward to that at all."

Stause, 40, previously told PEOPLE the two remain good friends in the wake of their breakup, but the real estate mogul wasn't sure he even wanted to watch the new season, which documents the downfall.

"It's almost like if you got a divorce and had to watch your wedding video," he says. "Why would you want to do that? This has not been an easy breakup for me at all — my most difficult for sure — and I'm still processing. So to have to go through this when I'm already having a difficult time is not something I'm looking forward to."

Chrishell and Jason Oppenheim
Chrishell Stause, Jason Oppenheim.

As the show puts an additional spotlight on the highs and lows of their relationship, inviting further speculation from fans of the hit reality series, Oppenheim is focused on ignoring any outside noise.

Listen below to an interview with Selling Sunset's Davina Potratz on our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

"I care about the process that she's going through and her happiness, and I care about how I'm processing this and my happiness, and that's kind of my bubble," he explains, adding that he's always done his best to ignore the public's perception of his personal life.

"I'm not someone who reads comments or articles; I don't think much about what other people think. I care about the people that I love and how they're going to process it," he adds.

Stause has openly discussed her desire to have children, and the exes explained in statements at the time of their breakup that they weren't on the same page when it came to starting a family.

This confrontation also comes up in season 5, and Oppenheim reveals it hasn't gotten any easier in the months since the split.

"I've had very few serious relationships and, in many ways, this was the most serious," he says, noting that his feelings for his former girlfriend haven't disappeared. "It felt real and deep and loving. I still love her, obviously, so it has definitely been an extremely difficult process for me."

"I know it's been months and I honestly hoped and expected it would be easier by now, but it's not," he adds. "It's very difficult stuff."

While their romance was short-lived, Oppenheim muses that the lengthy after effects have more to do with "the depth" of their feelings rather than the amount of time spent together. "If you're with someone who is a best friend, then I think it's a larger loss," he confesses. "I can say with confidence that I will always have a tremendous respect and love for her."

Jason Oppenheim
Jason Oppenheim/Instagram

The founder of the high-end real estate brokerage The Oppenheim Group is currently focused on protecting his work after witnessing an attempted robbery in the parking lot of the West Hollywood, Calif. office where Selling Sunset is set on March 18.

He shares that he is now taking "several precautions" since the harrowing incident, which saw a man being held at gunpoint. "[I'm] personally arming myself, I make sure not to wear jewelry or watches, and I'm removing the Oppenheim Group plates from my car so I don't make myself more of a target."

Oppenheim says he is "far more cognizant" of his surroundings now and has had discussions with both the office's landlords and with show production to increase security on site. "We've significantly upgraded our camera and security system, and I'm just trying to express to the people that I'm close with and the people that I work with that you need to take it seriously."

As his business continues to grow, including a large Orange County, Calif. office, so too do his roster of real estate agents.

Season 5 of Selling Sunset introduces newcomer Chelsea Lazkani, who Oppenheim calls an "amazing" addition to the often-drama-filled team. "She's exceeded my expectations already — even off-camera now, she's pulling in a massive listing," he gushes about his latest hire. "We get a lot of those inquiries all the time, but I kind of like to have an organic fit: someone that I feel is going to not only work well with me and be successful, but also gel with the ladies — at least most of them."

Chelsea Lazkani
Nino Munoz/Netflix

Lazkani starts as an ally to star Christine Quinn, whose feud with the rest of the cast has been a major plot point of the series. But the latest addition to the Oppenheim Group refused to let previous dramas cloud her judgement of the the other agents.

"Just because someone I'm friends with has beef with someone else doesn't mean I have beef with them," she exclusively tells PEOPLE. "Your beef isn't my beef, and I just don't really care."

The British-Nigerian reality star says she came into the group with a "blank slate" in hopes of forming her own individual relationships, regardless of existing cliques and tensions. "There may be little power plays here and there, but if you come in and show people that you are not one to be played with, then that will set the tone and they're going to respect you," she adds. "If you don't, then you'll get played, and I'm not going to be played with."

Season 5 of Selling Sunset is now available to stream on Netflix.

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