Nikki Bella just wants to move on.
“We’re both at the point that we just don’t want to be talked about at all together anymore,” she says. “We don’t want our breakup to define us or interfere with our work. And that was happening for a while.”
She even says that she “can’t say his name, legally, anymore,” and the article’s author writes that Bella “shares a knowing smile with [her twin sister] Brie that makes me unsure whether it’s an inside joke or if she’s serious.”
Much of Bella and Cena’s split played out on the E! reality show Total Bellas over the summer. Bella says having millions tune in each week to watch their breakup — and give opinions on it — made her value her privacy more than ever.
“Going through all that, I don’t ever want to do it again,” she says. “It scares me to ever have another public relationship.”
But she says it isn’t just about dealing with heartbreak in front of the world. Bella doesn’t want to only be known as the woman who broke up with Cena: She wants to be recognized for her talent as a pro-wrestler and businesswoman.
“I don’t want my relationship to define who I am, as a woman,” she explains. “And to take away all the hard work that I’ve ever done in my career. I think for a man, it’s different. I feel like, if anything, the woman gets blamed for what happens, for taking away from what they do. But I get all my work taken away because of that. I don’t know, I feel like sometimes there’s a double standard and I really have felt that. And it’s been really, really hard.”
After ending their engagement in April just three weeks before their May 5 wedding date, PEOPLE confirmed in June that Bella and Cena had reconciled. Sources previously told PEOPLE that her decision to call it quits was due to their differing stances on marriage and having kids.
However, Total Bellas viewers saw Bella break off her engagement to Cena for the second time. (They reconciled and broke up yet again off-camera.)
“When everyone was saying what I was going through was fake for ratings and all that,” Bella says, “and when you’re really going through it, it’s like, you’re just, in my heartache you’re literally just knifing it and just churning it.”
Bella is now seeing a life coach and focusing on finding her own happiness outside of a relationship.
RELATED VIDEO: Brie Bella on How Sister Nikki Has Changed Since Calling Off Engagement to John Cena: ‘She’s Really Strong’
“I lost for so many years,” she says. “That was all my fault. I’m the one who forgot about me. I have realized now to truly have a happy life, you have to give yourself so much love first and work on you in any way you can.”
In July, Bella confirmed that the pair had parted ways for the second time in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE.
“After I called off the engagement, we tried to work on our relationship to get back to where it was, and in order to move forward with our wedding. After much time and soul-searching alone and together, we have decided to officially part ways,” Bella said.
“I had a beautiful and loving 6-year relationship with a wonderful man,” she said. “I have the utmost respect for John, but I know this is what’s best for me.”
“Nikki is not even thinking about dating right now,” the source said. “She’s been so busy working and spending time with her friends and family, it’s not a priority. That being said, if the right guy were to come around, she’s not opposed to it.”