"I was pumped heading into the group date with Raven, Corinne and Kristina. I felt like all three of these relationships were heading in the right direction. Kristina and I were just coming off a great one on one in St. Thomas; Raven and I had an epic one on one in Wisconsin, and Corinne and I always seemed to have steady progress," Viall wrote in his People blog.
"Having this be the last group date ever, I decided to plan something crazy and hoped that the women would all be bold enough to test the waters with me. I mean who swims with sharks without a freakin' cage?! (Well, other than [Alexis Waters] of course, sharks are her ancestry after all.)"
Viall confessed exploring the ocean on this date was "one of the most terrifying things" he's ever done in his life.
"Seriously, I was trying to put on a good face with the women, but I was truly terrified. It was such a rush to see the sharks swimming around us. We were all pretty scared but after getting settled I think for all of us this became such an amazing, memorable experience. Given the tension going into the date and knowing what was on the line, I was happy with how much fun we all had," Viall explained.
That night, Viall needed to have some deep and difficult conversations with the ladies.
"There was a lot at stake. I'd be giving out my first rose that would bring me to someone's hometown to meet their family. Having introduced both [Andi Dorfman] and [Kaitlyn Bristowe] to my family, I knew just how important all four of the roses would be this week," Viall said.
"Meeting someone's family can affect a relationship so drastically. Usually for the best, but you never know. I needed to think about which relationships were ready for such a big step. And it all started with this group date."
When reflecting on the day as a whole, Gates stood out in Viall's mind as the bachelorette he felt truly confident in.
"I felt so good about each conversation I had, but there was only one woman that I was totally ready for such a big step with. And that was Raven," Viall admitted. "My relationship with Raven was easily one of the strongest and had been for some time. Ever since our first date, our connection grew stronger and stronger."
Viall and Gates' first date together was in Wisconsin, where the sweet Arkansas boutique owner with a feisty side got to meet the Bachelor's parents and youngest sister Bella.
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"I knew I wanted to meet her family. She spoke so fondly about her parents and brother, and opened up about her father's battle with cancer. When she described the closeness of her family, I couldn't help but see myself wanting to be a part of it," Viall wrote in his blog.
"Giving that rose to Raven meant moving our relationship forward and envisioning what could be the start of a life together. Finishing our night dancing under the stars to Adam Friedman [on the beach] was the perfect end to a date -- and an awesome start to big things to come."