"My initial thought, after I had gotten cut, was I wish I'd gone home fifth," the 27-year-old sales consultant told reporters during a Thursday media conference call. "But, now that I'm a little bit more removed from it, my family actually looks at it as an experience themselves."
"They were actually very glad it happened and it was a unique opportunity for them. Obviously, my feelings were involved and theirs were too, but I don't think I would have it any other way. I think now that I've had some time, everybody's okay with it, they're all glad it happened, and I think it was just part of the process. So, I don't regret making it that far."
"To be honest with you, I actually was less worried about [my last] Rose Ceremony than I was the previous one. I actually thought Ali and I were in a pretty good place and I had truthfully thought that I would have continued on," he told reporters.
DeWindt said part of his Rose Ceremony comfort had come from a belief that his hometown date with Fedotowsky had gone well.
"I actually thought the hometown date went very well, to be honest with you," DeWindt said. "Obviously, my dad's basement and the taxidermy thing threw a lot of people off. But as far as how she interacted with my family, I thought that had gone really well. I thought that we had gotten closer together, definitely."
In addition, DeWindt dismissed suggestions that Fedotowsky's look at his Midwest lifestyle had played a significant role in her decision to not make him one of her Final 3 suitors.
"She'd actually expressed to me previously that she didn't see herself living in that part of the country. I mean, that I had already known, leading up to that point," said DeWindt, adding that he had told Fedotowsky he would be willing to relocate elsewhere.
"I just think our relationship wasn't as strong as the other guys that are left and I think that was the ultimate deciding factor. I think if she truthfully had strong enough feelings for me, I don't think it would have mattered where I live. But I don't think it would have been her first choice... I'll be the first to admit that."
According to DeWindt, he began to sense Fedotowsky's feelings weren't as strong as his during the pair's one-on-one date in Portugal.
"It didn't go very well at all, especially during the day, she was like on another planet. Her mind was just elsewhere," he told reporters. "And I -- it was very easy to sense, and I didn't know where that had come from. So, I figured at the point something had shifted."
DeWindt said he felt that Fedotowsky had the strongest connection with Neuschaefer, who he had considered his chief rival for The Bachelorette star's heart.
"In the back of my mind, I'd always thought it was Frank who I thought would be best [for her]," he told reporters. "I thought that Frank was probably going to be the guy, you know, if it wasn't me, that's what I thought."
"I think that stems from Frank having the first date. I think that [he was] quite confident with his relationship with Ali from the get-go... just by observing how she was with him early on, even in group settings that just gave me the impression that there was a lot there."
DeWindt's said he eventually came to believe that Fedotowsky was looking for a "quirky" and "neurotic" guy.
"I know Frank pretty well because we obviously lived together. And I think that you know Frank is probably the definition of quirky, and, you know, he's a bit neurotic in a great way... And I think that, you know, that those were qualities that Ali was looking for," he told reporters.
"Frank would be the most quirky, and kind of, maybe a little off the beaten path out of everybody and... it seemed to be that that's what Ali was looking for... I think she doesn't want the safe bet. And I feel like maybe Chris and Roberto, they're more of the safe bet and Frank, not so much."
However DeWindt's ideas about who Fedotowsky picked as her final pick changed once he learned that -- as viewers will see on Monday night's The Bachelorette broadcast -- Neuschaefer decided he still had feelings for former girlfriend Nicole Caruso and decided to leave the show after the Final 4 Rose Ceremony.
"Obviously, I've seen the previews like everybody else, so that has changed my mind on that," he said.
But DeWindt said he doesn't feel the Neuschaefer's decision robbed him of his own chance to end up with Fedotowsky.
"I went home fourth, so the likelihood of me ending up with Ali probably isn't that great, obviously she liked three guys, you know, more than she liked me," he told reporters.
Nor does he hold any ill will against Neuschaefer.
"It would have been nice to have the opportunity to go to Tahiti and see if our relationship could have gotten stronger -- especially now that I know Frank obviously clearly has feelings for somebody else, according to the previews -- so, it was a little frustrating, but I understand. Frank was probably doing what he felt was best for himself so, I have a hard time, you know, really holding it against him," DeWindt said.
"Frank is one of my better -- best friend in the house. I get along with Frank really well."
DeWindt said Neuschaefer had mentioned his former girlfriend to his fellow bachelors during the show's production but had not revealed the extent of his lingering feelings for her.
"I didn't know the extent of obviously Frank's situation. I knew that, obviously, he had an ex-girlfriend. I didn't know a whole lot about it. I just knew that, obviously, it's someone in his past," he said. "Frank had mentioned an ex-girlfriend [with the guys, as we were in the house] but I didn't know to what extent his feelings were."
"I didn't know what he was really thinking, obviously, because I wasn't expecting, you know, what he apparently does. But I was aware, I think of Nicole, just not aware of the details."
With Neuschaefer out of the picture, DeWindt said he had no idea whether Fedotowsky would have picked either Lambton or Martinez.
"I can't even tell you, I really can't say who's more compatible with her," he said. "I really think that both, you know, they're both stand-up guys. So, it'd be a sheer guess on my part."
"I did not see any manipulation. It was, like I said, it was you know, it was the first day it was like, 'Hey, if you like wearing long sleeve T-shirts, wear your crappy long sleeve T-shirt. Be you. Do your thing. Don't dress or act any other way that you think you should, just be yourself and have fun with this,'" he told reporters.
"And that's exactly what they had said. They had never asked me to do or say or be manipulated in any way."
Instead, DeWindt praised the show's producers and crew and said he was grateful for the opportunities The Bachelorette provided.
"I am supportive of, you know, like, the producers and everybody else -- everybody's so great and they really let you be you. They don't ask you to do or to be anybody you're not," he said.
"And I'm just thankful to have the opportunities I did to travel and the dates set up were just -- I mean, I'm very lucky. And to be able to form a relationship with Ali while I'm doing that, I just I don't feel like I'm in any place to complain."
In addition, DeWindt also dismissed a recent Us Weekly report which speculated Fedotowsky may have previously known Martinez because he played in a collegiate baseball summer league near her hometown in 2002.
"It doesn't sound like they knew each other as far as I know. I didn't hear anything," he said. "One of the things Roberto had said to me right away was, you know, 'I didn't watch The Bachelor, I didn't watch the Ali season. I didn't want to know anything about her. I wanted to come into the show, you know, forming my own opinions,' and not watching her from another perspective."
Although he didn't find love, DeWindt said he had few regrets about the participating in the show.
"No major regrets. The only thing that I guess I wished I had done differently was, you know, you forget about the cameras being around, but I was little more maybe inhibited," he said.
"I was, maybe, a little more safe. My personality might be a little more out there than portrayed just because I was conscious of what I said and did. I think I could have been maybe a little bit more of my quirky kind of, you know, outgoing self. But, as far as doing the show -- no, I've got no regrets."
DeWindt also said he still believes the show's format can work.
"Obviously the dates are out of the ordinary and it sets, you know, you up very well to be in these romantic settings and these elaborate places. But I can say that Ali and I developed a real relationship," he said. "So, I do believe that you can actually build a real relationship out of the show."
While he said he didn't do the show with the intention of launching an entertainment career and has since returned to work, DeWindt did admit he'd consider serving as the next The Bachelor star if asked.
"I would definitely entertain the thought of being the next Bachelor. I obviously, it's a lot to get into, obviously a great opportunity as well," he said. "But I would definitely have to consider it, but, you know there's a lot of appeal there obviously, having that opportunity, so it would be considered."
(Photo credit ABC)
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