Jason Mesnick followed up ABC's Monday night broadcast of the finale of his The Bachelor season with a late night appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in which he defended his decision to choose Melissa Rycroft over Molly Malaney but later decide to dump her for a second chance with Molly.

"It was my real life, and people can question that or doubt that, but they're real feelings and I, on that last day, was falling in love with two girls," Mesnick told Kimmel of the indecision he felt before the show's Final Rose Ceremony in which he had to choose either Rycroft or Malaney. He added later that he had chosen Rycroft over Malaney initially because she had been exactly what he thought he was looking for in a wife.

"Everything I was ever looking for at that time in my life was Melissa," he said. "I had this preconceived notion, and on that very last day that's exactly what I wanted."

However, Mesnick reiterated his The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special comments that problems began once he and Rycroft left the reality dating series' confines and began continuing their relationship in the real world. By the time of the special -- which was filmed six weeks after the show's finale was filmed in New Zealand last fall -- Mesnick said that he had spent enough time with Rycroft to know that she wasn't the one for him.

"I was able to spend a lot of time with Melissa. We had secret rendezvous, we spent the whole Christmas time together, and what really happened is the chemistry was completely different, the relationship was completely different," Mesnick told Kimmel. "The openness and how we reacted and related to each other and the conversations that were so great on the show were completely different. How was I supposed to lead somebody on or keep it going it if really wasn't there?"

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Mesnick told Kimmel he would never say anything negative about Rycroft and added that he wasn't proud of his decision to break-off their engagement and hurt her.

"If I could go back and take that pain away from her... I would take it away form her because I regret hurting her," he told Kimmel

As for the couple's actual breakup, Mesnick attempted to dispell the idea that he had blindsided Rycroft with his decision on the After the Final Rose special, telling Kimmel that they were already not a couple by the time she appeared on stage with him.

"She knew before we walked out for that After the [Final] Rose -- before what everybody saw --  we were not together," Mesnick said.

"She knew that the question was 'Are you really even gonna wear your ring because we're not together?' So I know it might seem when you see stuff that it looked like we were [still together], but she knew exactly what was going on."

Mesnick also said that, while he had not enjoyed it, he had ended his relationship with Rycroft on television instead of in private because of prior agreements that he would live out his relationship in the public eye.
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"We could not see each other before that, so we had to have conversations over the phone and... we had the only real live conversation we could have because my relationship, good and bad, was agreed by everybody, [would] be in front of the cameras," Mesnick told Kimmel. "So I had to do it in front of everybody, and I hated that."

"If I could've done it in person with her one-on-one of course that's the right thing to do. But my relationship was agreed by everybody who was involved to be in front of everybody," he added.

Mesnick also maintained that he never cheated on Rycroft and added that he felt the two would become friends "at some point," eliciting some chuckles from both Kimmel and the studio audience.

"You and Melissa, Israel and Iraq," Kimmel quipped.

Mesnick also said that he and Malaney were still together, "very happy," and haven't discussed getting engaged.

"There is no talk about that right now," Mesnick said with a smile. "We are taking it at our own pace."

As for any potential backlash he may receive from fans for his decision to dump Rycroft, Mesnick said he was ready to face criticism but maintained that they would just be criticizing the way he honestly went about his own personal life.

"If people can blame me for living my life, that's the way I have to face it. I mean I lived my honest true life and I developed feelings for two different girls," he said.

He added that while his ending to The Bachelor had been somewhat messy, that it had just been an example of "real life," and said that he knew as well as anyone that real life was not always easy.

"The engagement was one thing, but if people expect me to go through with an engagement and not be in love with somebody... I mean everybody knows in the real world that engagements do end, as hard as it has to be. I've been through a marriage and that ended. And as hurtful as that was, [that's] real life."

(Photo credit ABC/Matt Klitscher)