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Raven Gates: Nick Viall broke my heart, but I could never be mad at 'The Bachelor' star for following his gut

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/15/2017 

Raven Gates was jilted by The Bachelor star Nick Viall when he selected Vanessa Grimaldi and proposed marriage to her instead at the conclusion of his televised search to find love.

During The Bachelor's Season 21 finale Monday night on ABC, Nick proved the fourth time is the charm and got down on one knee to ask Vanessa's hand in marriage. The 29-year-old special education teacher from Montreal, Quebec, Canada couldn't have been more thrilled to accept Nick's proposal in Rovaniemi, Finland.

But with Nick's decision came heartbreak for the runner-up, Raven, a 25-year-old clothing boutique owner from Arkansas. Nick can definitely relate to Raven since he finished as the runner-up twice before on both Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe's seasons of The Bachelorette.

During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Raven talked about Nick's final choice that crushed her heart. Below is a portion of what she had to say.

After seeing your reaction last night when Nick was kind of going through saying he wasn't in love with you, people are really fascinated by your response. And you said that you were stoic in that moment because you were trying to process what he was saying. So what was going through your mind in that moment and how were you processing it? 

Raven Gates: I think when I realized what he was saying, I was just trying to accept what he was saying. And I don't know. It's very hard for me to express. I was still in heartbreak in those words that were coming out of his mouth and just knew from that point on that I had to start healing.

And so the first thing I had to do was just accept what he said. And so, I think just listening and having myself just accept it was actually a part of my healing process and it started right there in front of him as he's breaking my heart.

So as my heart was breaking, and he sees it, I was actually at the same time, picking [the pieces] up off the ground. So I don't know. I accept I was so stoic just because I was just internalizing it and saying how it's going to move forward from that moment. 

And how did you move forward? 

Raven Gates: Well, I just -- I never questioned myself and my relationship, and I knew there was nothing I could say to him to change his mind. And so, I just really accepted it.

And you know, going home and getting back in my same routine and surrounding myself with friends and family, that always helps. And time helps. I know everyone says, "Time heals all wounds," and that's very true, time always helps. So I think all of those things are back. 

During your After the Final Rose appearance, you were so mature and put together, and there were no hurt feelings between you and Nick. But I was wondering, how long did it take for you to get over the breakup? 

Raven Gates: You know, I have so much respect for Nick, and I'm so impressed by the man that he is. I don't think I could ever be mad at him for making a decision when he's just following his heart and his gut.

And the worst thing that he could do, and I told him this, is to choose me and him not be all into me, and not 100 percent for me. So I think I just have so much respect for him that all of this has been very easy for me. 

During the finale, you seemed very confident that Nick was going to propose to you. So I was wondering in what moment did you realize that he wasn't choosing you during that final Rose Ceremony? 

Raven Gates: Yes, I just think it was when he started to talk. I mean, he was saying wonderful things about me, but he was starting to cry... I could read his facial expressions.  And so, actually while I was telling him how I felt, I said [to myself], "Raven, he's wearing his emotions on his sleeve." So I could kind of tell by his face, like, "Things are not looking good for me." 

But I had to say what I needed to say. And when he was speaking back to me, it kind of just solidified what I was thinking. And even though he was saying favorable things I was getting the jest of it before he even said I wasn't the one. 

Which girl/girls became your closest friends on The Bachelor and will continue to be in your life?  

Raven Gates: If I told you, it would be half of the cast. I'd be afraid to leave someone out. But obviously Rachel Lindsay and I have a really special relationship. But yeah, if I [name more], I'd be afraid to leave one out.  

If someone could have told you that this is how everything would've played out on The Bachelor with Nick, would you still have done the show anyway? 

Raven Gates: Oh yes, absolutely. I think a heartbreak, even though it hurts, can be worth it. And I have nothing but great and wonderful memories associated to the experience, and to Nick himself -- except that when he broke up with me. (Laughs)

But he's a wonderful person, and I would have always wondered "what if?" And so, that's one thing that I can't do in love, is leave a "what-if?" lingering. Even though someone would have said I'd get my heart broken, I still would have done it because it was worth it.

To read what Raven Gates had to tell Reality TV World during the conference call with reporters, click here.

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