Nate & Jen: 'Amazing Race' Almost Cost Us Our Relationship

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Photo: Robert Voets/CBS

In what might be one of the most intense, nail-biting episodes of the Amazing Race to date, three teams (the 4th, leaders Ron and Christina, had a substantial lead) went neck-and-neck through the crowded streets of Taipei, Taiwan, battling it out to see who would win a position in the final three and a chance to at the $1 million prize. Nathan, 24, and Jennifer, 23, dating students from Southern California, with minutes between them and the other racers, made a hair-trigger decision that would cost them. Rather than take a cab (like the other racers), the two opted to take the subway and then a bus to the Road Block in Youth Park. The move, which eventually sealed their fate in the race, also nearly cost them their relationship.

PEOPLE reached the volatile couple to inquire about how close to the bottom three really were near at the end and if their love was strong enough to withstand such an intense emotional breakdown?

It wasn’t clear how far behind you were. Did you really lose because you opted to take the subway and then a bus rather than a cab?Nate: We were actually only within 10 minutes from Nick and Don and it took about 45 minutes for us to go from the subway to the bus to Youth Park. We realized that the taxi was only a 20 to 25-minute cab ride, so it would have actually been a huge difference.

What happened at the end of the race? You seemed like you wanted to yell at each other but also hug each other. Nate: Jen and I invested everything in this race. We gave it our all. We had nothing to lose and that’s the way that we looked at it. When it was all over it was Jen’s birthday and we were one leg away from the finals and we were tired and all of it was coming to an end. It was so emotional and it was such a great experience. And our relationship — we didn’t know where we were at. I didn’t know if I lost the race and lost Jen too.

Are you two still together? Nate: When we got back, we had so many things to think about. We spent some time apart, but now we actually are back together. The race was such a great learning experience for us. Now we can go back and look at the episodes and watch them. We’ve learned so much about how to treat each other and respect each other and communicate.

What was it like to see yourselves go through that on TV?Jen: It was strange and really hard, especially for me personally being the girl — you don’t normally see a girl be as loud-mouthed as I was. They showed me being really mean to Nate so it’s hard to see that. Nate’s a wonderful guy and he’s an amazing person, so I really am now trying to be aware of the way that I talk to him.

So, something positive came out of this?Jen: Yes! Nate: We didn’t win the million dollars and that is a bummer. But we got to travel. We made it 10 out of the 11 legs and we really did accomplish a lot. And we did it all together so we won in our minds already. Jen: One of our goals going into it is to go to every country. I want to be able to see 11 different countries with Nate. And we accomplished that and it feels good.

What do you think of the remaining teams?Jen: We’re rooting for Nick and Don!

What’s next for you guys?Jen: We’re actually communicating with the other racers. There are other parts of this world that are less fortunate than we are here in Southern California. We want to give them a little tiny slice of the things that we have. Nate: We definitely want to travel more and see more of the world, learn more about ourselves. We’re definitely not looking to get 9 to 5 jobs anytime soon. –Jed DrebenRobert Voets/CBS

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