Lydia McLaughlin has announced she's leaving The Real Housewives of Orange County after only one season.

"It's bittersweet," McLaughlin told Us Weekly.

"I compare it to breaking up with a boyfriend you know you're not going to end up with -- it's hard, but overall you know you're doing the right thing."

McLaughlin won't be returning for the series' ninth season although she just joined the cast for Season 8. However, the reality TV star insisted there's "no epic story" or feud behind her decision to leave the show.

In fact, McLaughlin told Us that producers offered her a spot back on The Real Housewives of Orange County, and while she "was really flattered," she instead wants to take the publicity she gained from the show and utilize it elsewhere.

"I never wanted to make a career out of being a housewife. That's never really been a dream of mine," said McLaughlin, a mother of four-year-old Stirling and two-year-old Maverick. "I want to build my brand outside of the Housewives -- I've always been really honest with the producers about that. I knew that while I was filming it that I probably wasn't going to be doing it again."

McLaughlin, 32, owns Beverly Hills Lifestyle magazine with her husband Doug, 33, and spoke of her own reality series that would follow their company behind the scenes.

"I definitely have plans to continue to sparkle fairy dust and be a light! I want to develop our own reality show about our magazine and all the glitz and glamour involved with publishing it," McLaughlin told the magazine, adding that she's exiting The Real Housewives of Orange County with her head held high.

"I definitely don't have any regrets. I got to be kind of a different voice -- I think that my fans love the love and positivity that I brought."

McLaughlin admitted she's not sure whether she'll watch future episodes of the series unfold on television.

"I feel like because I did have such a great experience with it, I would be sad to watch it," she explained. "It'd be like seeing your ex-boyfriend with a new girl! I'm really grateful for the opportunity!"

McLaughlin's departure basically only leaves three cast members left to return to The Real Housewives of Orange County -- Vicki Gunvalson, Tamra Barney and Heather Dubrow -- as Alexis Bellino and Gretchen Rossi were reportedly fired from the Bravo series.

"I still see Alexis and Gretchen," McLaughlin told Us when asked whom she's kept in touch with from the show. "Ironically they're not on the show anymore!"
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Rossi joined The Real Housewives of Orange County for its fourth season, while Bellino became a cast member of the show for Season 5.