The 'Bachelorette' pair called it quits when Aven said he wasn't ready to pop the question.
Aven Jones wasn't ready to end his romance with Rachel Recchia. Following part one of The Bachelorette's two-part season finale, the sales executive appeared on the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast and shared how the pilot made him feel like she was giving up on their relationship.
In the episode, the pair called it quits when Aven revealed that he wouldn't be ready to propose at the end of the season, though he told her "wanted to continue our relationship and move forward."
"I definitely had a moment there when we were conversating that, because of the engagement aspect, she was kind of just quitting on us, she was giving up on us a little bit," he said. [She was] not really giving us a chance to [say], 'Let's take a day and think about it. Can we move forward from this? Can we grow from this? Is this something that we could do together?'"
Despite his feelings on the subject, Aven said he does "understand where she was coming from" in her want to get engaged.
"It's not like she wasn't saying it from the beginning. It's not like she had just said it. She was saying it from day one, that [an engagement] was something that she wanted from this," he said. "I should've taken more accountability, more focus on that when it came to communicating where I was at."
While Aven may not have been ready to pop the question at the time, he was "fully confident that if we had continued on the trajectory that we were on away from the show, in the real world... that we would've gotten to that point."
"I had no doubt in my mind. We were on such a good path. Everything that we were doing together we kept growing and growing, learning more about each other. It felt very natural," he said. "... I felt like we could've gotten to that point. That's something that I was trying to stress to her... Because I didn't want an engagement at that specific time she might have felt like I was giving up on her, but that wasn't the case."
The most controversial aspect of the pair's split was that Aven expressed that he wasn't ready to propose to Rachel's family and friends first, instead of telling the pilot herself. Aven counts both that, and the fact that he told Rachel that he had been "caught up" in the process, as two of his regrets from the show.
"I think, in that moment, that was probably not the first choice of words I should've gone with, but what I was trying to explain to her was that we were going through all of these different dates, and we were having all these conversations," he said. "Things were just progressing with us. Me feeling like we were ready together to go forward with an engagement, I felt maybe that was coming from a place of being caught up in everything."
"When I had adequate time to sit there, evaluate where I was at, evaluate where our relationship was at... I had some new emotions and new thoughts and new thoughts that came to how I was feeling," Aven added. "... I wasn't going to drag her into a proposal that I wasn't 100 percent invested in at that time. I didn't think that was fair to her."
Though that became a deal breaker for Rachel, she did admit on camera that she had seen a future with Aven, something the sales executive said was "tough to hear."
"The ways things between us, it's always the 'what if?' What if did this? What if I said that? Hearing her say that was a little bit of validation knowing that maybe if I went at things a different way we would've left together, we would've been in a relationship right now, which is tough to hear," he admitted. "... That was definitely difficult to hear, that at one point she saw us as the finish, and she was thinking about moving forward outside of all of this."
The pair discussed all of this during the live portion of the season finale, where Rachel told Aven, "I appreciate your honesty and you don't have to apologize... I really just wish you nothing but the best."
After Aven had that conversation with Rachel and taped his Bachelor Happy Hour appearance, he took to Instagram to write a message to the pilot directly.
"These last couple of days have been very difficult, preparing to watch back our final moments together," he wrote. "I am forever thankful for you. Your ability to make me feel so special through everything. Your true grace and beauty from the beginning. Your willingness to open your heart up to me and give me a chance."
"Words cannot express how much you have meant to me. From Sofi to Belgium. Amsterdam to Mexico. Meeting your amazing family and friends to meeting my family as well. I have learned things from you, from us, that I will take with me moving forward to grow into a better person," Aven added. "It's easy to look back on everything and say maybe if I said this or would have done that, things would be different but everything happens for a reason and I truly believe that."
Aven concluded, "I am just grateful I was able to be a part of your life. And I hope that life brings you nothing but eternal happiness and love."