"Des admitted that she loved him and then she dropped an incredible emotional bomb on him when she said she was conflicted because she didn't want to share her heart with anyone else. Des was gutted, and so was Brooks. I know everybody will have an opinion about what happened, but after looking back, I don't really think Brooks ever misled Des," Harrison wrote in his Entertainment Weekly blog.
Forester walked out on Hartsock and decided to quit the show at the very beginning of his one-on-one date in Antigua. Forester determined he wasn't madly in love with Hartsock, and although his feelings for her were strong, he acknowledged they weren't where they needed to be at this point in the season to consider asking her hand in marriage.
"I don't think Brooks is a bad guy and I truly believe his intentions for being on this show were true... He seemed to really struggle all the way through this," Harrison explained.
"Maybe he could've come to this final realization earlier, but the fact is, it just never seemed to be there. And when you look at Des' relationship with [Drew Kenney] and [Chris Siegfried] and how they talk to her and treat her, there really is no comparison. They both know exactly how they feel and have easily been able to convey that to Des."
Harrison noticed Forester has a really tough time matching words to his emotions, which actually made the break-up conversation more confusing and difficult for Hartsock.
"One thing about Brooks is that he has a very hard time articulating his feelings. I don't know if this is a common thing for him, or if he knew it was just going to be so hard that he wanted to avoid it, but either way he struggles with expressing himself. He was like that with me and he was definitely like that with Des," the host wrote.
"It was quite some time into their talk before Des really knew that he was breaking up with her and leaving the show. I really think at first she may have even thought he was about to finally say he loves her. I don't know if I'd be any better in such a horrible situation, but I know he had a really tough time with this."
While it was obvious Forester struggled to sort out his feelings, Harrison suggested their lengthy conversation in Antigua and the suitor's talk with his family beforehand did nothing but solidify how he already felt.
"After seeing the talk with his family, which I didn't see until much later, I realized he knew going in what he wanted to do. He wanted to love her so badly, but he knew before he went in to talk to his family that it just wasn't there. He just needed his family to tell him exactly what he already knew. He had to tell Des he wasn't in love with her; he had to break her heart," Harrison explained.
"He really wanted to be in love with Des so much I think he almost forced himself into doing something he would have later regretted."
Harrison, however, didn't feel like Forester's change of heart came out of left field.
"All along there have been red flags regarding how he feels about Des. I'm glad we showed the conversation about them trying to come up with terms to describe where they are in their relationship. At the same time Brooks said he was jogging, Des said she was running to the finish line," the host began.
"First of all, when you love somebody at this age you don't need conjured up 'adjectives' (or in this case verbs) to describe your feelings. When you love somebody at this point in your life, you say it like Chris and Drew have done. And if you look at Brooks' body language and his eyes as Des says she's running, it really says it all. His look screamed out, 'What the?' Oh really?'"
Added Harrison, "I've asked Des several times along the way if she was concerned about the fact that Brooks never really expressed his feelings. Because she was so in love with him, or so she thought, she either couldn't see these warning signs, or was 'running' so fast that she blew right past them. I guess we all believe what we want to believe. At no time, however, did I think it would come to this."
(Photo credit ABC)
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