"I did [feel blindsided]. I definitely could reflect on where my feelings were at in that moment, and they were feeling off. But I wasn't thinking that that was going to be something that overtook our relationship," Kat toldUs Weekly at The Bachelor: The Women Tell All taping in late February.
On The Bachelor's latest Season 27 episode that aired Monday night on ABC, Zach ousted Kat, a 26-year-old registered nurse from Tampa, FL, at the Rose Ceremony in Budapest, Hungary preceding hometown dates.
Kat demanded to know why Zach was sending her home, and Zach explained while they had "the best and strongest connection" for a while, their dynamic changed in the past couple of weeks and he no longer felt confident in their future together.
Zach, for instance, sensed a disconnect or something off with Kat during the witchcraft group date in Estonia.
"I tried in any way I could to make sense of [what had changed between us], but I wouldn't ever lie to you," Zach told Kat after denying her a rose, adding, "It was nothing you did... The feeling in my stomach, that's me -- and it's not you."
Kat explained to Us that while she and Zach "had one hard week," she didn't think that was going to break them.
"We also had five good weeks," Kat acknowledged. "So I thought that was going to be something to show my family that like, 'Yeah, sometimes we're not perfect. Sometimes we struggle. But he's wanting to love them through that.'"
Kat admitted, "I was hoping that was going to be him. Unfortunately, it wasn't. But it's okay."
Kat suggested that her departure was particularly difficult because she had believed Zach was her person, the man she's been searching for.
"I think that he showed me characteristics that I would definitely pursue even outside of here, like, his goofiness and his presence was something I, like, really was so drawn to," Kat disclosed.
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"And even up until the point that we left, I was like, 'What? You're supposed to be my husband.'"
The blonde beauty recalled, "I mean, I never didn't feel those feelings. Even when I was wanting to give up because it was hard, I was like, 'Nope, this is my person at the end of this.' I would never give up on it."
But Kat has had time to heal since filming, and so she said "it's okay" that her relationship with Zach didn't work out.
"I just need a man to love me through all layers and be present in every moment," Kat said of what she wants from her future husband.
"And I want to have, like, the fun and silly goofy times but also have the hard and serious times, and just do life with me without any regret."
Zach, for his part, told the magazine that he had a "strong relationship" with Kat "very early on," but his feelings for his Final 4 bachelorettes -- Ariel Frenkel, Charity Lawson, Gabi Elnicki and Kaity Biggar -- grew stronger during his time in Estonia and Budapest.
"It never, like, fell off by any means. Nothing ever happened that was wrong, but the other relationships that were growing were just being stronger and stronger and I couldn't deny those," Zach explained.
"[But] you can kind of see I don't take the goodbyes well because the feelings just don't evaporate once you make that decision."
Zach said letting Kat go was "a very tough decision," clarifying that "there was nothing she did wrong or anything like that."
When Kat left the show, Zach bawled his eyes out and received comfort from The Bachelor host Jesse Palmer.
Zach said he never expected his relationship with Kat to end so soon. In fact, during his week in The Bahamas, Zach told Jesse that he was certain he'd be meeting Kat's family weeks from that point.
Kat lamented in her final words, "This hurts... I gave this man my entire heart, and I never thought I'd be saying goodbye to him. Every time I put myself out there, this sh-t happens, and it's so exhausting and painful. I'm so sick of feeling that way. It's not fair. It's just not fair."
Kat said she just hoped to find her person, who would want and love her, because that's what she deserves.
The Bachelor will now be heading into Zach's hometown dates with Ariel, Charity, Gabi and Kaity on the next episode airing Monday, March 13 at 8PM ET/PT on ABC. The Women Tell All special will air the following night on Tuesday, March 14.