"My relationship with Brooks was always secure and confident when we were together, but I never knew what was going through his mind when we were apart. That should have been a red flag, but sometimes love is blind," Hartsock wrote in her People blog.
"I never wanted to believe that maybe this experience was more than just hard for Brooks, and that he potentially wasn't on the same page as me regarding our relationship. From our dates, notes passed and words spoken, he led me to believe that he was on board and wanted this to work out. I had such strong feelings for him that I couldn't imagine not reaching the full potential of a proposal."
Hartsock said the turn of events with Forester that aired during last night's broadcast caught her completely off-guard.
"I was surprised watching the episode and seeing the conversations Brooks had with his mother and sister and with Chris Harrison, expressing his doubts and feelings. He never expressed those concerns with me until it was too late. I was completely blindsided and heartbroken by his exit," she said.
"It's hard enough to go through a difficult breakup once, so you can imagine how uncomfortable it is to relive it. When he first greeted me on that beach, I knew that something was wrong and I was shocked to learn exactly how he felt. It was so different from how he felt during his hometown date (or what he had expressed to me)... I didn't know what to do and I seriously considered going home and calling it all quits."
While Hartsock was "heartbroken by Brooks leaving and uncertain of what the future held," she wanted to see her journey through and ultimately respected Forester for not leading her on.
"I am relieved now that he was honest about his feelings and that he was brave enough to address them before taking the relationship further. I wish Brooks could have felt more comfortable coming to me sooner but it was better that it happened in Antigua and not down the road," Hartsock explained, teasing next week's finale.
"Could [I] get past this heartbreak to love either one of them as much as they both deserved? And would we ever get the opportunity to explore that? I promised myself from the beginning that I was here for love and not just to go through the motions. I had to remind myself that if I wasn't feeling enough for the guys, I wouldn't stay."
(Photo credit ABC)
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