"At the end, it was not tough for me. Going through it, I felt Bryan was perfect for me," Rachel told People of making her final decision between Bryan and runner-up Peter Kraus.
"Obviously nobody's perfect -- but perfect for me. I still was running away from it. So, there were times when I thought, 'Okay, maybe it's not him, maybe it's someone else.' I can't say that the whole way through I was like, 'Yes, it's definitely Bryan,' but I can definitely say that in the back of my mind, I really thought it was [him]."
Rachel then explained why she had kept her guard up while dating Bryan, a 37-year-old chiropractor from Miami, FL, on the show.
"I really was scared of Bryan. I really, really was, and I really tried to fight it... I was at this crossroads. I run to the situation that's more difficult for me; it's more of a challenge that I can fix. I'm a fixer," Rachel admitted.
Rachel's romance with Peter was on the rocks before she let him go because he wasn't ready to propose to The Bachelorette star when she had made it clear she didn't want to leave the process with just a boyfriend. Rachel didn't understand why Peter didn't want the same things if he loved her.
"I run away from the guy who is every single thing that I want because I just think that I don't deserve it," Rachel confessed. "And for the first time, I stopped running away from it, and I was like, 'Why can't you have what you want?' And that was Bryan."
Rachel said that Bryan is absolutely everything she could want in a fiance and future husband.
"If I had a list, he would check off every single thing on it, and it was just surreal to me that this man was here on my season for me, like, I never thought that somebody like Bryan would be a part of my season," Rachel gushed.
"So he was always 'the one,' like in the back of my mind, but I kept fighting it. I kept denying it. It was like no, Rachel, you can't get every single thing that you want. You just can't, but I don't know, maybe you can."
Bryan was a frontrunner from the start of The Bachelorette competition -- and even received Rachel's First Impression Rose -- but he told People, "Trust me, she put me through the ringer the entire season."
"I saw the potential in him," Rachel noted. "I just wanted to make sure that it was real because my family was like, 'He's so charming.' I was like, 'Well, so am I.' I needed to make sure that he is the person he says he is."
"We're going to be together, and I'm going to wake up next to this woman for the rest of my life," Bryan said. "That's something that I'm going to cherish. We can't focus on anything that anybody else says on the outside. Our life is our life."
"Love is love for us," Rachel added. "For us, we have to be strong for each other if this is going to work."