The Bachelor bachelorette Nicki Sterling, a 26-year-old dental hygienist from Hurst, TX, was eliminated by Bachelor Ben Flajnik when he narrowed his love search to two women during Monday night's broadcast of the ABC reality dating series' sixteenth season.

During a Thursday conference call with reporters, Nicki talked to Reality TV World about her The Bachelor experience and broken heart -- including how surprised she really was when Ben eliminated her, whether she thought her love for Ben was everlasting, what her family's reaction was when she got home and whether they changed their opinion of him while watching the season unfold, what major point she disagreed with host Chris Harrison about when it came to her and Ben's relationship, and whether she has even gotten over The Bachelor star yet.

Below is our interview with Nicki. Check back with Reality TV World on Monday for the rest of Nicki's conference call.

Click here to read our interview with Kacie Boguskie, who returned to the show in search of some answers and closure during Monday night's broadcast after Ben had eliminated her the week prior.  

Reality TV World: You seemed very surprised about your elimination, but did you somewhat see it coming beforehand at all? And if you didn't think it was going to be you going home, who did you think Ben was going to deny that last rose to?

Nicki Sterling: I was very surprised. I, just as Ben put it, each time we spent together, I felt greater and greater and more confident and more confident. So, I definitely was shocked. It's hard to say who I saw going home. I just did not think it would be me and given that situation, you feel as though what you have with him is greater than anybody else.

So, for me, it was really a toss-up. I didn't think it would be me and I had no idea how his time with [Courtney Robertson] was versus [Lindzi Cox], and in the back of my mind, my hope was that it would have been Courtney. But you know, going into those things, I didn't look at it as, "Okay, who do I have a better chance of staying then?"

So I still feel good about myself and my time with him, and so, that was the reason why I was shocked. It wasn't more so that somebody was staying over me. It was just that I didn't see it coming. I was blindsided.

Reality TV World: It seemed like Ben really hit it off with your family during your hometown date. What was your family's reaction when you got home? Were they disappointed you and Ben didn't work out, and if so, have they maintained that same mindset while watching this season unfold or has their opinion of him changed since they've got to observe his relationships with the other women?

Nicki Sterling: When I got home, their biggest fear was that I was very hurt and going through a heart break and wouldn't be able to get back up on my feet. I think that they weren't angry at all, you know?

They were just worried. They're concerned parents and once they saw me kind of transition back into working and doing what I love and getting back on my feet, then they look at it as a learning experience for me and a good life experience.

They would've loved for it to work out. They really, really enjoyed the time and the conversations they spent with him. They wouldn't have given their blessing if they didn't think so, just as I do. From them watching it, they feel as though Ben is being fooled. There's a lot of stuff he's not seeing by Courtney or he's not seeing about Courtney.
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And you know, I think because my feelings were so great for him, they do not want to express bad thoughts about him if they have them. Because you know, that was somebody I loved -- I fell in love with -- and they respect that and they didn't change their feelings about the guy. They just see that he's getting fooled, like I said before.

Reality TV World: This week, Chris Harrison said he believed Ben eliminated you because your relationship with him didn't seem as mature as the others he was building and that you'd probably notice that while watching the season play out. Do you agree with Chris? Is it accurate to say that maybe your connection with Ben wasn't on a very mature level yet?

Nicki Sterling: Honestly, I love Chris, but I don't agree with that. I felt our connection -- our relationship was really mature. We talked about really important things. He had a good grasp of my past. I think they're showing a lot of my playful side, which I'm happy with, but that was only part of it.

We had a lot of really intense conversations. But as far as my relationship being mature, I think it definitely was. I wasn't one to sit there and beg him for reassurance. I was confident in the person I was and if he and I were supposed to work out, it would based on me being myself.

And I tried to maintain that attitude the whole time and I tried to make the moments [I had] with him very meaningful yet playful at the same time. Those are two things that I feel are very important in a relationship.

Reality TV World: Ben said in his blog that he wanted to tell you all of the wonderful things he loved about you before he let you step into the limo but didn't because he was afraid it would've hurt you even more. What are your thoughts on that? Would you have liked to hear the things he had to say in order to receive more closure and understand how he felt for you, or do you think that would've just made leaving even more difficult and heart-wrenching for you?

Nicki Sterling: Honestly, it was difficult and heart-wrenching either way. At that point, you're taking in the words he's saying whether you're really grasping them and whether you can remember them once you get in the limo. That's a whole other story, you know what I mean?

Your mind is racing, you're trying to get a hold of everything, so I hate to say it, but I wouldn't have even remembered if he gave me more nice things. I don't feel as though it would have made a difference in getting closure from him.

He made it clear as to why he made the decision he did. For me, I'm very comfortable and confident with who I am as a person. I know I can offer somebody really great things and it wouldn't make a difference if he was to tell me really nice things.

It's not that I needed to hear them to be okay with leaving and be okay with myself as a woman and what I had to offer him. And so, that's sweet of him to say that he had more nice things to say but he just didn't get them out, but whether it would have hurt more or made it better, I'd say I'm indifferent on that, you know?

On one hand, yes if he had a lot of nice things to say then why did he let me go? But then two seconds later, he's saying it all boiled down to him having stronger feelings for two other people. So, I'm on the fence about that. I don't think that either way would have made a difference. I heard what I needed to hear to get closure and to move on and I guess that's all that's really important.

Reality TV World: There has been a report that things are already over between Ben and the bachelorette he picked at the end. If that's true, what's your reaction to that and would that surprise you?

Nicki Sterling: I feel as though I think it would depend on who was chosen. I think that if Courtney was chosen, then I'm not surprised at all. I don't see how Ben would be able to watch the season and not be extremely upset with her and disappointed. Essentially, I think he's seeing a different person than he got to know.

Now if he picked Lindzi and it's already over, yeah, I'd be a little surprised to hear that. I think that from watching Lindzi onscreen, I feel that she was there for him and was very open and honest with him. And if he picked her, I would see it lasting and being really real.

Reality TV World: If Ben ended up choosing you in the end, looking back on everything, do you think your relationship would have lasted or would you have broken things off?

Nicki Sterling: It's hard to say because I'm such a firm believer in "everything happens for a reason," but if I had to answer that, I think that if he did pick me, then we'd definitely still be together. I think that -- I don't think Ben would have done the show if he wasn't genuinely looking for somebody to start his life with.

And for me, I wouldn't have stayed in that position and been in that environment for as long as I was if I didn't truly believe and want the same things.

So I think having both people be open and honest about what they want and where they want things to go and if things line up as far as lifestyle and where to go from that position, then there's no reason why they wouldn't be together. I think we definitely would be if he had chosen me, but then again, he made his decision and he now has to -- I just hope he's okay. 

Reality TV World: How did you end up on The Bachelor? Did you apply or did someone nominate you, and was it also your first time applying for the show?

Nicki Sterling: It was my first time applying for the show. I honestly was watching [Ashley Hebert]'s season of The Bachelorette and had it DVR'd, so I was fast-forwarding through commercials. However, I got hung up on one that was showing they were having a casting in Dallas that following weekend. I think it was a Tuesday and the casting was the following Saturday.

And I just paused and the thought kind of went in my head and I was like, "Oh wow, that's not far from me. Maybe I should do it." And then I just kind of pushed it aside, "No, that's silly." And then I got to thinking about it and talked to some friends, and I said, "You know what? I'm going to go audition." And at that point, we didn't know who the Bachelor would be.

I was hoping it would be Ben, so I went through the process. Before we started filming, we found out it was him. So, it was kind of random. I auditioned at the casting with my mom and it was the first time I did it, but yeah.

So, it's not something that I've been dying to do since I was a little girl, and it's not something that I said I would never do. So, it just happened where I was in a good place in my life and felt that I could really offer him something, and so I went with it.

Reality TV World: In your final words, you said you thought you were ready to be a wife, but then after your break up with Ben, you said it would take awhile to feel that way again. Have you moved on since the show or are you still in the process of getting over Ben and what happened? Are you still single or are you dating anyone now? 

Nicki Sterling: I'm still in the process of completely getting over everything. I'm definitely single. The idea of dating has not even crossed my mind since I left Switzerland. It's been a good time for me. I've been working, I've been hanging out with friends, I've been focusing on myself -- really trying to get back to that strong, confident place I was at before I left for the show.

And I'm getting pretty close to being back in that position, which I can in a sense, contribute to just focusing on myself and not having anybody else around saying whatever. And so, it's just the last thing on my mind.

It's hard to really fall for somebody that doesn't fall for you back and it's kind of a hard pill to swallow. It's going to take me awhile, I think, to be able to put myself out there 100% percent like I did on the show. But you know, I'm hoping it will happen at some point. I'm just not in a hurry for it.

Check back with Reality TV World on Monday for the rest of Nicki's interview.