Zach rejected the 25-year-old rodeo racer from Stillwater, OK, and denied her a rose during the dinner portion of their solo date in Budapest, Hungary, and she immediately broke down into tears at the table.
"In the moment, yes, I did truly feel blindsided," Brooklyn toldUs Weekly at The Bachelor: The Women Tell All taping in late February.
"However, you know, having time to reflect after that, I do feel like I got the closure I needed, and I respect him for it truly. While I did feel blindsided in the moment, I respect his decision."
Prior to her unexpected ouster, Brooklyn had told the cameras that she could see herself "falling in love" and "spending the rest of my life" with Zach.
The blonde beauty felt "pretty confident" in their relationship and the possibility of having a future together, and she said she hadn't felt that way in a long time.
"When you have feelings that strong, they don't ever go away," Brooklyn said, suggesting she may not be over their relationship yet.
"He's a great guy, but, you know, if anyone ever has any doubts about me, that's not someone I truly want to be with."
Brooklyn added, "So, I don't still think he could be The One, but I do still have feelings of mutual respect for him."
Brooklyn even admitted that she'd like her future partner to have similar qualities as Zach.
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"I would definitely say I am looking for someone that is emotionally intelligent. Zach is very able to speak on how he felt. I like that," Brooklyn shared.
"But also, someone who is able to have those hard conversations and is able to receive them but also have them himself. I really admired how he was very intentional and knew exactly what he wanted."
Brooklyn also said she appreciated how Zach "didn't settle or lead anyone on," and so she's "looking for that" in a man as well.
Zach, for his part, told Us that he didn't take goodbyes well because feelings he had for bachelorettes didn't "evaporate" over night once an elimination-decision was made.
During Brooklyn and Zach's date in Budapest, Brooklyn gushed about how her family is so special to her and her grandfather, her "hero" who "means the world" to her, had stepped into her life once her father stepped out and left.
Brooklyn expressed to Zach how introducing a boyfriend to her family would be a huge deal, especially since she had been in a long-term toxic relationship in which her ex-boyfriend had abused her mentally and physically. Brooklyn even recalled on the show how the man had once hit her and knocked her unconscious.
"Them seeing me so hurt in the past, I told myself I didn't want to bring someone back into their lives until I knew it was someone I truly saw a future with," Brooklyn shared with Zach.
"And I truly think I'm at the point where I do see a future with you, so I am ready to introduce you to my family. I'm ready to take that next step and find that love, and I can't do that until someone sees how important my family is to me -- because it's big."
Zach really internalized Brooklyn's words and realized that he needed to reciprocate her feelings -- and confidence in their romance -- to justify meeting her beloved mother and grandparents in a hometown visit.
When Zach took a moment away from Brooklyn to think and reflect, he came to the conclusion, "If I'm not feeling confident and if I'm not feeling sure, who am I to be in that house?"
Zach therefore gently let Brooklyn down and broke up with her. He explained how there had been "a block" for him that he couldn't figure out, "something that just [hadn't] clicked" for him with Brooklyn.
Zach said he didn't want to force things with Brooklyn or mislead her in any way, and so he determined it wouldn't be fair to her to meet her family when he wasn't feeling fully confident that they could have a future together.
"You do deserve a love that I can't give you," Zach confessed. "I know it's hard."
Brooklyn started to cry and said she respected how Zach was able to be upfront and honest with her. Zach then walked Brooklyn out and the couple hugged each other goodbye.
"Every moment of this has been great, and it felt so good to feel so strongly about someone so great," Brooklyn told the Bachelor.
In her final words, Brooklyn said she was ready to find love again, which was a relief for the bachelorette considering she had feared after leaving her abusive relationship that she'd never feel that way about a man ever again.
"So coming in here and being able to feel those feelings again is refreshing, and hearing Zach say, 'You deserve a love I can't give you,' he does think I'm special and that I deserve a special love," Brooklyn cried. "But it doesn't make it easier right now."