'The Bachelor' alum Clayton Echard: My dating life is "complicated," I've been rejected a few times
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/08/2023
The Bachelor alum Clayton Echard has revealed that his dating life after Susie Evans is "complicated" and he's having trouble finding a woman who accepts what he needs in life right now.
Clayton and Susie announced their split in September 2022 after just over six months of dating, and then the Season 26 The Bachelor star was spotted sitting next to a blonde journalist, Sara Cardona, at a University of Kentucky basketball game in Lexington in early February.
"That was a date," Clayton confirmed to Us Weekly during the February 27 episode of its "Here for the Right Reasons" podcast.
Clayton and Sara sparked dating rumors when photos of them on Rupp Arena's jumbotron circulated on social media. They also posted pictures from their time at the game on Instagram Stories.
"I just remember kind of laughing about it and telling her, 'I'm sorry. I didn't expect to be put on the jumbotron. I didn't think this attention was going to come,'" Clayton recalled.
"Thankfully, she's someone who spends a lot of time in front of a camera. It's her job. So she understood and was like, 'Hey, I get it.' But it still was a lot."
Clayton noted how his outing with Sara was his "first experience" of a date being "captured by the public" and talked about.
"And then I'm like, 'Okay, so my dating life is a public spectacle now. Even though I'm off the show, we're still having these discussions, but that's just what comes from it,'" he said.
In terms of his dating life, Clayton explained how he's "super open" to exploring but also not in a rush to get into something serious.
Clayton said he's looking for a woman who is "mindful" and "self-aware" but a massive pet peeve for him is someone with "willful ignorance" who doesn't want to learn or better herself.
"As far as what they look like, I don't care. I had a type at one point prior to the show... I still like someone who's athletic and likes to work out... but I realized the emphasis on the physical aspect of things is not as important as what's internal to that person," Clayton explained.
Clayton therefore confirmed he's just "super open" and "having conversations" with women left and right.
FOLLOW REALITY TV WORLD ON THE ALL-NEW GOOGLE NEWS!
Reality TV World is now available on the all-new Google News app and website. Click here to visit our Google News page, and then click FOLLOW to add us as a news source!
"You never know who's going to spark that fire, like, 'There's something about that person and I want to go on another date with them,'" Clayton said, adding, "You never know when that one person -- that maybe you wouldn't have given a chance to prior -- might end up being The One for you."
The former medical sales representative and football player from Missouri noted, "But with that being said, my dating life is complicated."
Clayton noted how he's trying to do "all these other things" besides trying to find a girlfriend.
"I probably am not giving it enough effort and I've met some incredible women, but I'm so focused on myself right now and building something that I'm not giving as much time and energy to somebody," Clayton admitted.
"So either they're going to understand that and they're going to give me my space and allow me to build right now, or they're going to say, 'Hey, he just can't give me what I need right now, I'm not interested.'"
Clayton therefore confessed, "I probably have lost a few people to that, but I have to do with what's best for me first."
Clayton's date with Sara came only a few days after he hung out with one of hisThe Bachelor exes, Rachel Recchia, and got people talking about the status of their relationship.
Clayton then shared with Us how he and Rachel had discussed the possibility of getting back together but they both ultimately determined their history was too rocky -- and they have too much baggage fromThe Bachelor-- to revisit a relationship.
Clayton devastated Rachel, a flight instructor, when he broke up with her on The Bachelor in order to pursue a future with Susie. Clayton had decided to break up with Rachel and his other Final 3 bachelorette, Gabby, at the same exact time.
Susie broke up with Clayton at the Final Rose Ceremony, saying she didn't think he was her "person," but they reunited after filming ended and fell in love. Clayton even moved to Virginia Beach to make a relationship with Susie work.
After Clayton and Susie announced their split in September 2022, Clayton relocated to Arizona and Susie just recently moved to Los Angeles, CA.
Clayton has been working as a social-media influencer and motivational speaker about body dysmorphia, a mental-health issue he has personally struggled with, since then.
"My life is good; I'm doing what I want, I'm making an impact, and good things are happening," Clayton said on the "Bachelor Happy Hour" podcast in December.
"I learned so much and I have zero regrets. I love everything that's happened in my life, because I am the person that I am because of the good and the bad. And I found good through all the bad."
Susie recently created a blog titled "Susie Was Like," and in a December blog post, Susie revealed that she and Clayton had split, in part, due to the fact they're not compatible.
"I think it was ultimately, like, expectations of what do you want in a partner? What do you want from yourself? And all of those kinds of things. And we just weren't really aligned on those things," Susie shared.
Clayton and Susie also said they broke up because neither person felt stable or fully emotionally supported in the relationship due to their insecurities and outside pressure from Bachelor Nation to be a perfect couple.
Clayton shared how it felt nearly impossible to pour into his relationship with Susie when he didn't even know what he wanted out of life and where his future was headed.
The couple also confirmed how dealing with backlash from Bachelor Nation -- including death threats sent to Clayton -- was a big factor in why they had issues and ultimately parted ways.
"I was trying to figure out what my next step was [and] I started questioning who I was because of all the negativity," Clayton said.
"I started to believe some of what was being said about me," he continued. "And I now look back at it and realize, like, I couldn't be that stable, secure man that I needed to be to really be able to give my all in a relationship."
Clayton said he felt the need to rehab his image and please others, all the while trying to get over death threats and handle problems in his relationship, such as wrongly being accused of cheating on Susie.
The pair recently became friends again, but Susie suggested she wanted to "shade" Clayton after his recent hangout session with Rachel.