Clayton Echard Has Susie Evans' 'Respect' Thanks to a 'Beautiful' Note That Gave Her Hope They Can Be Friends

The Bachelor alum tells PEOPLE her ex "reached out [with a] beautiful message thanking me for how wonderful the relationship was for him"

Clayton Echard Sent Susie Evans a 'Beautiful' Note
Photo: Craig Sjodin via Getty

The Bachelor's Clayton Echard and Susie Evans are speaking again.

Evans told PEOPLE the exes, both 29, began communicating again after Echard sent her a "beautiful message."

For a while, the pair had committed to to maintain some distance. "We kind of agreed that it would be best for him to not be in communication [with me]," Evans explained Thursday evening at Stephen Lovegrove's First Noelle Ball at Los Angeles's Mayan Theatre.

"I really respected that," she continued. "And then, like about a month ago, he reached out [with a] beautiful message thanking me for how wonderful the relationship was for him, how good of a place he's in now. And so it was really nice."

Clayton Echard and Susie Evans
Clayton Echard Instagram

In fact, Evans heard from her ex just this week: "Like, three days ago, he was like, 'Honestly, I think I can be friends with you. I respect you so much. And I think you're so wonderful.' So he basically communicated, 'I can be friends. We don't have to be like radio silence.' And we had a really good conversation, catching up."

She's even open to helping Clayton with his next venture writing a book. "He asked me to read through it and give him notes, so that was really nice," she told PEOPLE. "From the start, I was like, 'I'm cool with whatever, however this works.' I want to respect how you feel, and how you need to heal with this."

RELATED VIDEO: Clayton Echard Calls His Season of The Bachelor a 'Train Wreck': I'm 'Embarrassed and Disgusted'

The couple announced their breakup in a joint Instagram statement in September.

They wrote, in part, "Although this last year together has brought us so much joy and so many laughs, there has also been a significant amount of pain. We know no healthy relationship comes without its struggles, but we've realized that we were not prepared for the external forces that hindered our ability to not only heal as individuals but also as a couple."

The decision to end their relationship came after Echard and Evans, who'd been living together for less than a year, announced they planned to pursue a long-distance relationship.

The two had an immediate connection when they met on The Bachelor, but Echard surprisingly sent Evans home when she expressed discomfort that he'd been intimate with multiple women on the show.

During the finale episode, though, Echard decided not to give his final rose to either of his remaining two women, Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia. Instead, he offered Evans the chance to try again. She initially said no, but the pair revealed their relationship status on After the Final Rose.

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As for her dating life now, Evans told PEOPLE on Thursday that she's "definitely been exploring options."

She shared, "I met a really nice guy recently and I'm having this kind of struggle of like, 'Do I want to jump back into a relationship or do I just want to be single and really focus on myself and my career?' But it's a really nice guy, so it's like, 'What do I do?' And you don't want to be that person that's like, 'I don't know what I want.' It's like, I want it all, but at the same time, I love being single. Just to have time to focus on myself, so I don't know."

Updated by Topher Gauk-Roger
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