'Bachelor' Clayton Echard and Susie Evans Break Down the Reasons for Their Split in Joint Interview

Susie Evans and Clayton Echard
ABC/Craig Sjodin

The 'Bachelor' couple called it quits last month.

Clayton Echard and Susie Evans are revealing why they called it quits. On the latest episode of Kaitlyn Bristowe's Off the Vine podcast, the Bachelor-alums shared the reasons behind their split in an emotional joint interview.

The pair announced their breakup last month, following a tumultuous relationship in which Susie rejected Clayton after his Fantasy Suite actions, before rekindling their romance post-show. As such, the romance was met with lots of criticism on social media, which came at an already uncertain time for Clayton.

"I wasn’t really sure of what my next step was going to be once the show ended. I had uprooted myself, I had sold my place. I was like, 'OK, I can go wherever.' But as far as what I ended up doing -- Am I going to go back to corporate America? Am I going to chase my passions? -- there were all these unknowns," he explained. "And I think it put me in a place of instability."

"Plus, with the backlash from the show, it became very overwhelming, very quickly," Clayton continued. "And so, what I think ended up happening is I was trying to figure out what my next step was. I started questioning who I was because of all the negativity. I started to believe some of what was being said about me." 

Looking back, Clayton said, "I couldn’t be that stable, secure man that I needed to be to really be able to give my all in a relationship."

"So much of what I was struggling with was self-identity... I feel that a lot of the pain I was experiencing made it very challenging for me to just be myself and I think that's where a lot of strain was caused in our relationship," he admitted. "I was telling Susie, 'Once I get past these things... then I'll be able to love you, but just give me three more months.' I just couldn't heal in the time that I thought was going to heal... We both saw each other hurting and there was so much love. I was like, 'I want to fight so hard for this relationship, but I feel like the more I fight, the more I tear her down.'"

Clayton's speech left Susie in tears.

"I’m so emotional over here," she admitted. "... We just talked for two hours [on the phone] and we were fine. I wasn’t crying or anything. But I think just hearing that, I think a lot of it was just self-identity and I think that he was looking for stability."

"There were times where I didn’t provide that as well, because I just wasn’t sure. I was like, 'I can’t wait three months,'" Susie continued. "... I think that’s really hard in a relationship too, when I’m on the other hand like, 'Well, I need security.'"

The breakup itself came at a time when Clayton and Susie's relationship had recaptured hearts online, something that rubbed salt in the wound of the split. "We saw the tides turning, but I think the damage was done already," Clayton said.

"We've overcome so much. There was so much pain and so much hatred toward both of us, individually and then together... I do feel like... the tides are just now starting to turn and we're taking the steps we need as people to do better in our own personal lives and do what's right for us," Susie agreed. "I think we were both somewhat fearful of the backlash [if we broke up]... Ultimately, we just want everyone to know that we want everyone to support both of us."

Though fans were reinvested in Clayton and Susie's relationship at the time of their split, the breakup wasn't exactly unexpected. The month before making the breakup public, Clayton revealed that he and Susie were planning to give a long-distance relationship a try.

That whole thing, Clayton said now, was "a misunderstanding and miscommunication," something he and Susie only realized in their pre-podcast phone call.

As the pair tried to decide where they were going to live, Clayton was also weighing career options -- stable corporate America, or his new passion, speaking about mental health. When the pair landed on Phoenix as the place they'd move together, Clayton also said he was going back to a corporate job. He soon changed his mind, though, and Susie took that mean that they'd both be traveling and working on their own careers, not making the move to Phoenix.

"When the decision wasn't to be in corporate anymore and it was to be in this kind of limbo... I was like, 'It doesn't really make sense for me to pick up and move my life to Phoenix without knowing what this is really going to look like if there's no promise of that stability that I've been hoping,'" Susie explained.

For Clayton, though, he'd realized that he couldn't "give up on this dream and this passion of mine."

"How do I find enough stability mentally that I can provide for Susie, but also I don't want to take away from me chasing after my passion," he remembered questioning.

Miscommunication wasn't a one-off issue in their relationship.

"We usually find a way, at some time or another, to figure out what each of us is trying to say, but it takes us, like, three hours. We were just talking about like, 'What if he had been able to get to these points in 20 minutes?'" Clayton said. "It's sad. It's, like, aw man, this sucks... I wish I could be a better communicator."

Over time, the social media backlash, the job uncertainty, the potential move and more proved to be too much for the pair to handle.

"If you took any of these things and isolated them, I think we would've gotten through it with flying colors," Clayton said, "but it was just one thing after the next."

Now, Clayton said, they're taking things "day-by-day" and not ruling out a potential reconciliation in the future.

"There's still a lot of pain that came from the entire situation itself that I think we can both say we're kind of far off from healing from right now," Clayton said. "We need more time... The damage is still too fresh."

While Susie feels like she and Clayton could be friends in the meantime, Clayton is unsure if he'd be able to handle the communication, because, when he did so with a different ex, "those feelings didn't fade until we cut it completely off."

"I don't want to be crushed and hold on to hope and then all of the sudden be like, 'No, this isn't going to work'... Then it just destroys you a second time," he said. "... Every time she calls I get excited... but every time I get off the phone and even talking now, I'm like, 'Maybe this could work'... I don't know where that balance is... Time will be the only thing that will tell."