'The Bachelorette' 's Rachel Lindsay on Accepting Love Again After Nick Viall's Painful Rejection in Finland

"There was nothing in my mind to make me think that I wasn't going to get a rose," Rachel Lindsay tells PEOPLE

Although Rachel Lindsay is about to embark on her own journey to find love as the new Bachelorette, watching Nick Viall break up with her on Monday’s episode of The Bachelor wasn’t easy.

“It’s been months since that happened, so it’s very much so been out of sight, out of mind. But to watch it, it took me right back there — to all of those emotions, all those feelings,” Lindsay told PEOPLE at the Women Tell All taping in February. “It was very hard and sad for me to watch because it took so much for me to get there. Then I got there, and I felt that he reciprocated [my feelings]. He was saying what I was saying too. There was nothing in my mind to make me think that I wasn’t going to get a rose.”

Michael Yada/ABC

During the Fantasy Suites episode, Viall told Lindsay that he was “100 percent” falling for her, only to send her packing during the rose ceremony in Finland.

“To not get that rose, it really was devastating,” she added. “I really was heartbroken over it. I tried to keep it in, but sitting there talking with him, all the emotions came out. It just brought me back to that place. I said it in the car, I’m so tired of hearing how great I am but for some reason it just doesn’t work out. I feel like I know a lot of women can relate to that. To hear how great you are but then nobody wants to seal the deal.”

Though things didn’t work out with the pair, Lindsay said it’s for the best.

“I’m a person who has always said, ‘I have no regrets,’ ” she said. “This experience has been amazing for me. I wouldn’t have gotten the full experience if I hadn’t opened myself up to him. I would’ve gone home early. I said, ‘I’m already here taking a risk being on the show, so why not go all in? Why not react to exactly how I’m feeling?’ How I was feeling in the moment is that I was really falling in love with Nick and so I was going to express that. As hard as it was for me, I eventually got there. It’s hard to watch and to remember that let down, but I don’t regret it because it taught me so much about myself. ”

As Lindsay prepares to meet her suitors, there’s one outstanding style question when it comes to the first night of her season: dress or tuxedo for arrival night?

“I’m so not traditional,” she said. “I prefer to not wear a dress and wear a tuxedo. But I’m going to have to wear a dress. It’s traditional. But if I wore a tuxedo, no shirt underneath, just sexy and classy — if you see me in a typical dress, know I’m wearing that tux in spirit.”

The Bachelorette premieres May 22 on ABC.

Related Articles