"I won't lie, I was definitely scared to be the first woman Eric could fall in love with -- even if his family thinks the change is positive," Rachel wrote in her People blog after Eric's Baltimore hometown date which aired on the latest The Bachelorette episode.
"When Eric walked me out at the end of night and dropped the word 'love' in three different sentiments when saying goodbye, he had used so many qualifiers that I didn't really know if he was in love with me or if just had love for me. Those are two very different things."
Since Eric didn't flat out say, "I love you," after Rachel met his family, her mind started to wander.
"I remember thinking, 'Maybe since Eric's never said it to a woman before he doesn't know how or maybe he's just not there yet with me.' It still felt great to hear, but was something I would need clarity on eventually," Rachel explained.
But when the date began in Baltimore, Rachel was excited to see the family and neighborhood that challenged Eric to become "the motivated man he is today."
"From some of our earlier conversations, Eric had been forthright about the difficulties he faced growing up in a neighborhood plagued by poverty and crime. While he's not the first black man I've dated from this kind of background, Eric is the first man I've dated that has drawn so much motivation from overcoming the pitfalls that come with that setting," Rachel explained.
When Eric took Rachel to the basketball court in his hometown, she noticed that locals -- who hadn't seen him for years -- greet him with "profound respect." She also got to meet his cousin Ralph, who clearly admired Eric as well.
"After chatting with his cousin Ralph, it was clear Eric was somewhat of a legend in the neighborhood. Someone who the locals looked up to -- someone who made it! Later, which you guys didn't see, he took me to his former grade school," Rachel revealed.
"I got to watch him interact with the young boys' basketball team and his old coach. I saw Eric at his best, most passionate self, helping and motivating the next generation. It was these moments and the day we had that made me appreciate and gain so much more respect for Eric. "
Rachel loved Eric's seemingly endless supply of energy, but she said it ran in his family.
"I was aware that Eric's father was not in picture much during his childhood and that he had issues with his mother's tough love approach to raising him. Yet seeing Eric and his family laugh, cry and smile around the dinner table with such warmth was a nod to how strong and beautiful a family unit Eric comes from," Rachel wrote.
"What really shocked me was how much of changed man Eric seemed to be in the eyes of his relatives. I knew Eric had never brought a woman home to meet his family or been in love for that matter. I knew he had relaxed and found his rhythm with me since the beginning of our relationship. But I had no idea I had this kind of effect on him."