"I love you so much!" Sean told his new fiancee after asking her hand in marriage.
Both Sean and Catherine were extremely emotional as they embraced and kissed repeatedly.
"Oh my gosh this is -- oh my gosh. Is this for real?!" Catherine questioned.
"I love you so much. I really do, and I'm going to tell you every day. I promise you that," Sean said.
Catherine asked the Bachelor if he could feel her heart beating so rapidly.
"Are you prepared to spend the rest of your life with me?!" Sean asked with excitement.
"Yes!" Catherine replied with glee.
Sean then offered Catherine his final rose and she accepted without a moment of hesitation. She told her man she was so grateful to have met him and he was her best friend and Prince Charming. Sean then acknowledged it was the best day of his life.
Sean chose Catherine, a 26-year-old graphic designer from Seattle, WA, over runner-up Lindsay Yenter, a 24-year-old substitute teacher from Fort Leonard Wood, MO.
"I know this feeling. I felt it a hundred times. I feel like an idiot once again. I fell in love and they don't want a future with you. I fell for it thinking that he's going to propose and then just break up with me?! Just dangle everything that I've ever wanted in front of my face and then take it away. Yes, please. Do that, because that's exactly what I've always wanted," Lindsay said after facing a heart-wrenching rejection.
"It's so unfair, it's so unfair. Why did he do this to me? Why? I just did not want to be hurt this way. This is sad. This is really sad. This is like really sad. In like a sick twisted place in my head, I'm happy for them. I was really in love with him because I never loved anyone like that. I just want to grow old with somebody and have a family. I thought I had it and now somebody else does. I don't want to be alone."
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Monday night's seventeenth-season finale broadcast began with Sean expressing his biggest fear -- that he'd fall in love with two women at the end of his journey and be unsure of whom to pick. However, Sean was hopeful his family could make that decision for him by providing clarity.
The Bachelor then met up with his parents, sister, brother-in-law, and niece and nephew. Sean's mother Sherry said if there was going to be a proposal at the conclusion of the process, he would already know which way he was going. Sean said, "Logically, you would think that" but insisted he had very strong feelings for both of women.
Catherine met Sean's family first and admitted she was "a ball of nerves" because she wanted to make a great first impression. Catherine told his family her feelings for Sean were beyond comprehension and he had taught her so many things about herself. While Sherry was looking to see if there was passion between them, Catherine opened up and told Sean's mother she was falling in love with Sean and knew they'd have a future together.
Catherine explained how great of a person Sean was and that she'd never be willing to let him go. Sherry said she was pleased and a little relieved to hear the news, believing Catherine was ultimately "genuine" and "a wonderful girl." Sherry wished they could spend more time with each other before Sean had to make his big decision but she could envision Catherine being in the end with her son.
Catherine then talked to Sean's father Jay and admitted she was consumed by Sean and didn't think there could be anything she wouldn't love about him. Catherine noted she knew she was in love because she was her complete self around him and wanted to give herself to him entirely.
Jay told the bachelorette if Sean was to pick her, he'd love her like his own daughter and he'd be her biggest fan. Catherine said it was a dream for her to hear that and potentially become a member of Sean's family.
The next day, Sean told the cameras, "I am in love with Lindsay" and said he could see her being his wife. When Lindsay met Sean's family, they laughed about how she had worn a wedding dress the very first night. Lindsay was desperate to show Sean's family how right she was for him, and she announced Sean was everything she was looking for and more. She told Sherry that love and marriage are all about prayer and communication and discovering where two people could meet in the middle of those two things. Sherry seemed impressed with Lindsay's grasp on the concept of compromising.
Lindsay then jokingly asked Jay for Sean's hand in marriage. Jay thought Lindsay was as beautiful in the inside as she was on the outside and said he would love her if she became Sean's partner for life. Lindsay told Sherry their relationship was real and normal and their first date felt like the fifth because they just got along so naturally. Lindsay said they could be both goofy and serious, and Sherry appreciated the fact their lives and values seemed to align. Lindsay, feeling welcomed into the family, broke down into tears and gave Sherry a big hug.
That night, Sean admitted Lindsay was a perfect fit for him and made him feel love, which he said was incredible. Sean acknowledged it was also "humbling" to have those feelings returned. He explained that Lindsay was the piece that was missing in his life for so long, but he was also falling in love with Catherine too -- both of whom he could envision being happily married to.
When Sean sought his family out for advice afterwards, Jay told him it'd be "a win win" either way because both girls would fit right into the family and made a lasting impression. It scared Sherry, however, because she didn't want the pressure of proposing on television to get to Sean. She said he didn't have to propose and shouldn't feel the need to, especially if he was still torn between both women by the end of the journey. Sherry understood where Sean was coming from but told him that she took things "very seriously."
"[Proposing has] got to be something you're so excited to do and just feel like in your heart it's the absolute right thing to do, or yeah, you don't need to be proposing to either one of them," Sherry said.
"Yeah -- and I'm taking in what you say, but you've seen 20 minutes," Sean said.
Sherry told her son that he had their support. She then started to cry and said it was just such a huge decision and she wanted him to be positive of the choice he'd be making. Sean promised her that he wouldn't pop the question unless he was completely positive in his selection, and Sherry reiterated the fact she just wanted Sean to have a wonderful experience. Sean acknowledged his mother had his best interests at heart and he had a life-changing decision to make -- one that his family couldn't and didn't decide for him.
Despite his struggle to choose between Catherine and Lindsay, Sean said he truly believed his wife was there, so his last two dates with the women would be extremely important.
Lindsay's date was first. Lindsay felt confident in what they had and wanted to show Sean how much she wanted to be with him. Lindsay said it was a big deal to have his family's approval. They floated on a riverboat and reflected on the times they had together. Sean then told the cameras a life with Lindsay would be fun and never dull, while Lindsay felt they were in love but also had a best friendship.
Afterwards, Lindsay told Sean she loved him and had never meant it so much in her life. She was overwhelmed and excited to have what she always dreamt of. That night, Lindsay believed it was the biggest night of her life because she was either going to leave with everything she wanted and more or absolutely nothing. Lindsay told Sean he had everything she ever wanted in a husband and a relationship with a husband, suggesting things could only get better between them.
Although Lindsay admitted to her man that she was really nervous about losing him, she felt reassured in his kiss. The couple then wrote wishes on lanterns -- love, happiness and family -- and Lindsay was convinced sending them off in the sky would make them come true. Sean said it felt comfortable and right with the bachelorette, who was so thoughtful and loving. Sean admitted that in that moment, he thought Lindsay was the one for him.
"I feel like this moment has been 24 years in the making, but of course it's scary thinking about losing it," Lindsay said.
The next day, Sean said he had fallen in love with Lindsay but he was thinking about Catherine all day and had also fallen in love with her. Sean was hoping to find "a sign." Sean and Catherine then took an elephant ride and she was ecstatic about the opportunity. The couple observed beautiful views together, and Catherine called it the best day of her life. She said she had to let Sean know she could envision the two of them growing old together, however, because she was aware she had been pretty calm with him. Catherine just had trouble opening up when those feelings couldn't be immediately reciprocated.
Catherine said she always wanted to fall deeply in love and therefore got very emotional when things would end badly. She was apparently nervous because so much was on the line, however, she told Sean she was completely comfortable with him and meeting his family blew her mind. Sean attempted to assure her that she was constantly on his mind and he often pictured them together down the road.
Catherine then admitted to the cameras she couldn't see things going down any other way than accepting Sean's proposal. Sean realized it took a lot for Catherine to let somebody in and be so vulnerable, so it clearly melted his heart. The only thing holding Sean back from spending forever with Catherine was knowing Lindsay was still in the picture.
"I'm feeling the pressure now that I will break someone's heart and it's killing me," Sean said.
Before Sean walked out of the room, Catherine whispered, "Sean, I love you." Sean then bluntly -- and a little brutally -- replied, "Thank you for the day."
"I was hoping to see a glimmer of, 'I want to be with you forever.' And -- nothing. I feel like something is coming down on me. Like this is pain. This is painful," Catherine explained to cameras. "This is one of the most horrible goodbyes I've ever had. I feel like sh-t to be honest. I want something more than that. Like I can't always give 100% percent, not that he doesn't, but I can't get anything out of him!"
"I need something from you, please. I don't even know anymore. I want him to reciprocate his feelings for me so I know why I've given him so much. Because if it doesn't happen, I can't justify that... I can't predict what's going to happen and it's scary because I don't want to land by myself again... He has to be crazy about both of us at this point... Am I going to be able to be with this man for the rest of my life? I don't know."
Catherine then broke down into tears and followed Sean out. Sean hugged her and tried to comfort her.
The following day, Sean thought about his future while in his hotel in Pa Sak Tong, Chaing Rai. Sean said he made up his mind because he woke up and realized there was one woman he couldn't stand to live without. Sean then met up with Neil Lane and picked out an engagement ring.
"I feel so good to be where I am right now. I feel a feeling I never felt before and I do feel prepared to love in a way that I've never loved. At this moment, I feel full of joy and happiness. I'm so thankful that I decided to take the leap of faith and put myself through this because it paid off. I'm about to dedicate my life to this wonderful woman and I can't wait to start our lives together. This is more emotional than I've been -- ever," Sean told the cameras in tears.
Lindsay said she couldn't put into words how much she loved Sean and her whole life was going to change once Sean could show her how he felt, while Catherine wanted to be excited but was extremely overwhelmed with fear. Sean couldn't comprehend the gravity of the situation he was about to deal with, breaking the heart of one of the ladies he cared so deeply for. The Bachelor noted it was going to be one of the most difficult moments of his entire life.
"I have no reason to give her, and to see the hurt in her eyes, I don't want to see that. I didn't plan on this. I didn't know it was going to be this tough to say goodbye. I'm dreading seeing that look on her face," said an emotional Sean.
Before meeting Sean, Lindsay explained it was going to be the best day of her life because she was going to get engaged. She was calm and confident, expressing how she had become a strong, independent woman who fell in love with the man she always wanted to fall in love with. She said her heart would be shattered if she didn't end up with him.
However, after complimenting her in more ways than one, Sean let Lindsay go and she was shocked.
"Lindsay this is the toughest thing I've ever had to do. I want to give you my heart so bad, but my heart's leading me somewhere else. And as of yesterday, I didn't know what I was doing. I've been so confused and I've been searching for clarity and praying for clarity and I think I've finally gotten it. I have to say goodbye to you, and it's by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do, because I know how incredible you are and I love you. That's the hardest part. I love you. I know I do. I'm sorry," Sean told her.
"Okay, it's okay. Please, just don't. It's okay, it's okay," Lindsay replied in tears.
Sean tried to continue speaking but Lindsay kept asking him to "stop." She then questioned, "Is it me?" Sean promised her it wasn't and said he couldn't think of one quality she possessed that he didn't want in a wife. Sean was bawling and said he was "so sorry."
"I'm going to go, because this is just really, really painful and this is my nightmare. I really didn't see this coming. I'm happy for you. I'm happy that you found love, but I honestly can't imagine my life without you and that's something I'm going to have to figure out," Lindsay told Sean.
The Bachelor then hugged her and walked her out. He reminded Lindsay how much she meant to him and how he felt blessed to have gotten to know her. Before departing, Lindsay wished him luck.
It then became Catherine's turn to approach Sean and receive either the most wonderful or heartbreaking news. While she was on her way, host Chris Harrison handed Sean one final note from Catherine -- but this time, it was a true, serious love letter. Catherine wrote that she couldn't picture being anything but his wife and all she wanted to do was move to Dallas and become a member of his family and make one of their own. She said he'd have her heart forever.
Catherine then walked up to an anxious Sean in her gold dress and took his hands in hers.
"This has been such a crazy journey... I knew from the very beginning that you were someone I wanted to be around. I just had no idea that my feelings were going to turn into what they've turned into. You never cease to amaze me. You never do. I think the world of you, and I miss you. Every time we have to say goodbye, I miss you. I don't want to have to say goodbye anymore. Catherine, I want to spend the rest of my life telling you that I love you and making you feel like the most special, beautiful woman in the world. Catherine, will you marry me?" Sean asked as he got down on one knee.
"Yes! Oh my God!" an overwhelmed Catherine said in disbelief.
After a brief exchange and joyful tears, the pair went off into the sunset together, riding on an elephant.
"How cool is this?!" Catherine yelled. "This is the coolest thing of my life!"
DuringThe Bachelor: After the Final Rose special, Sean told Chris that he couldn't wait to be with the love of his life in public and begin their lives together. He said she's the light of his life and he's so blessed to have found the woman for him.
When Lindsay came out, she wanted answers. Lindsay told Sean that she was happy for him but confused because she thought they both wanted the same things. Lindsay asked what was missing, and Sean said he didn't have an answer except for the fact he didn't want to say goodbye to Catherine again and was in love with her. Lindsay admitted she wished they had ended up together but the journey at least made her realize what she wanted and helped her grow as a person. She did have a really tough time with the breakup but acknowledged that she confided in family and faith for comfort.
Later on, Catherine joined Sean on the stage and the two were clearly overjoyed and infatuated with one another. Catherine announced she loved Sean with all her heart and Sean told Chris that their love had grown stronger every day since the show filmed. The couple then revealed they hadn't set a date yet for their wedding but they definitely wanted to get married on television for ABC.
Catherine said she didn't want a waiting period before their wedding and Sean agreed. Sean said the wedding was "all about the woman" although he'd be okay with exchanging vows at city hall. Catherine also has her bags packed to move and Sean assured her they were in it together.