"He did send me a really nice message, like, I don't know, a month ago -- and it brought me to tears," Susie, 29, told Us Weekly on its "Here for the Right Reasons" podcast.
"It was just really nice for him to say like, 'I'm so grateful for everything that you did for me in our relationship, and I've been able to reflect and I'm just truly grateful for the friendship that we had at the end of the day.'"
"It was really, really nice to hear from him, but we didn't, like, catch up on the phone and we don't text or anything like that," Susie shared.
"But that was really meaningful and definitely heartfelt, and I could tell that he had, like, thought about it and so that meant a lot."
Susie was apparently surprised Clayton had decided to touch base with her because they "don't [talk]" anymore, although she had been "very open-minded" about the possibility of staying friends.
"I pretty much told Clayton and I was like, 'I'm comfortable with however this is gonna work for both of us. I respect you and I love you and I don't want to do anything that's gonna be harmful for you -- whether that's staying in touch or not staying in touch,'" Susie shared.
"Because I felt like, ultimately, we both knew that we were not compatible and I think, for him, he was able to express to me that he didn't think it was going to be good to stay in touch. So we don't really keep in touch."
Susie and Clayton broke up on The Bachelor's Season 26 finale, but they ended up reconciling in the real world. By the time After the Final Rose aired in March, Clayton and Susie were full-on dating and in love.
In a new blog posting on Susie's new "Susie Was Like" blog, she wrote, "There is so much more good that has come from this breakup, for both myself and Clayton. I think ultimately we are both on our way to finding happiness within ourselves and our passions."
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"I know for a fact that we both are rooting each other on from afar. Just because something wasn't forever, it doesn't mean it wasn't wonderful," she noted, adding how the breakup has helped her to communicate her expectations and understand herself more.
Susie insisted she's really "done the work" after her Clayton breakup, adding, "And I am still in the process of working through a lot of it."
Susie admitted that towards the end of her relationship with the former medical sales representative and football player, she was "in a pretty low place."
"The people around me could see that my sparkle had dulled and I was far from thriving. Sure, I had joyous moments often, but deep down I was struggling and felt misaligned with the best version of me," Susie shared.
Susie admitted she and Clayton were not "a natural fit" and she actually Googled, "Can you love someone and not be compatible?"
"That's one of the big conclusions that I've come to. And I even think that was one of the things I struggled with in our relationship... I just kept having this feeling like, 'I don't think at the root of who we are and our expectations and relationships, I don't know that we are compatible,'" Susie explained to Us.
"I struggled with feeling, like, it came natural -- and certainly not every relationship's going to be natural or easy -- but 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 said she believes a person should "vet" a potential partner before falling in love.
"When you fall in love with somebody, it doesn't matter if you're compatible, you have love for them and you care about them and then making the decision to break up becomes even more complicated," Susie said.
"Because you're like, 'I love you and I don't wanna let go of you, but this is not good for us anymore.'"
Susie is apparently writing her new blog as a form of "self-expression" and a way to build an online community.
"I actually love social media, like, I love consuming it. It's been fun being able to create it and engage with people," Susie gushed.
"Finding a way to transform that into a blog seems like a really great way to just build on that community and get to know people better... It's gonna be a place where women -- and really whoever -- can get together and support each other and cheer each other on, share tips. Even if it's silly things like sharing the Black Friday sales."
Susie recalled of her post-Thanksgiving social-media content, "I was like, 'Everyone comment below, I want to see where you're shopping!' It's just a fun place to kind of swap information and support each other."
The Bachelor fans began to suspect there was trouble in paradise between Clayton and Susie in August, when Clayton revealed on an episode of Amanda Hirsch's "Not Skinny But Not Fat" podcast that the couple had decided to stop living together and planned to move to different states.
Clayton -- who had moved to Virginia Beach to be with Susie after The Bachelor -- chose Scottsdale, AZ, as his new home, and Susie relocated to Los Angeles, CA.
"It's really hard because when we first broke up... my first initial feeling was, like, I felt abandoned -- that was my first feeling," Clayton admitted in a joint appearance with Susie on the "Off the Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe" podcast in early October.
"I was like, 'We're just going to end this.' I was upset. I didn't even want to look in her direction because I was like: If I look at you, the hurt is gonna tear me apart."
Clayton and Susie explained how 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 Bachelor-Nation backlash 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.
He added, "I started to believe some of what was being said about me. 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 claimed he had received death threats and felt the need to rehab his image and please others, all the while trying to handle problems in his relationship, such as wrongly being accused of cheating on Susie.
When Susie and Clayton announced their breakup in a September 23 statement, they wrote, "We stand in support of each other and hope to see the other go on to find happiness and healing. Although Claysie is no more, we hope that our communities can support us individually as we move forward with love and respect for each other."
And out of respect for each other, Susie and Clayton chose to keep some of their problems to themselves.
"There are things private to us that we will probably never talk about... and I think that's healthy and protects our mental health and what we have struggled with... We want to respect each other's boundaries," Susie said on "Off the Vine."
On The Bachelor's 26th season, Susie quit before her overnight Fantasy Suite date with Clayton, only to return to the show at the Final Rose Ceremony to reject his final rose.
Susie was upset Clayton had expressed his love to -- and slept with -- two other women, Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia, and Susie was convinced during the show that Clayton wasn't her person and they weren't meant to be.
However, Susie reached out to Clayton post-filming seeking some answers, and the pair reconciled. They later put on a united front during the live March taping of After the Final Rose.