We’ve arrived at the finish line, Bachelor Nation. On Monday’s two-hour season finale, Rachel Lindsay finally got what she’s desired for so long: an engagement — and one sparkly rock on that finger.
Of course, it wasn’t without a few (painful) bumps in the road — namely in the form of her runner-up, with whom she parted ways in one of the most heartbreaking scenes in franchise history.
SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t seen Monday’s season finale of The Bachelorette, heads up that the outcome will be revealed in this article.
FANTASY SUITE DATE WITH PETER
Picking up where we left off, the finale opened midway through the evening portion of Rachel and Peter’s overnight date, where the two were deep in discussion over the fact that Peter — despite caring for her deeply — wasn’t ready to propose, while Rachel wasn’t willing to leave without an engagement.
“This is what I want,” she explained. “I want a proposal, I want marriage … I’m putting all of this out there, and he’s telling me he can’t give it to me. It’s hard because I’ve done this before — I had a five-year relationship that I thought was moving towards marriage that never left the girlfriend-boyfriend stage. How do I know that it’ll leave that girlfriend-boyfriend stage with Peter if I agree to just date him?”
But she wasn’t ready to give up just yet, and decided to offer him the Fantasy Suite card so the two could spent an evening together — alone.
“Peter and I are both falling in love with each other, so I feel like there has to be a way to fix this,” she said. “There has to be a way to make this right. I don’t question his feelings for me by any means — I just feel like he’s fighting it and I know that I need to see this through.”
“To have this private time, this extended time, is everything for us,” she added. “Because right now, I don’t know where we go from here. How do you have such deep feelings for someone and then just walk away because you can’t work it out?”
The next morning, the two woke up wrapped in each other’s arms — but Rachel’s anxiety lingered on. She knew that the two were still on “opposite ends of the spectrum” when it came to a potential engagement.
“I just never thought I’d be in a situation where I could pick somebody who doesn’t want to propose to me,” she said. “It’s been a heavy week, and it’s not over yet.”
FANTASY SUITE DATE WITH BRYAN
Up next, it was time for Rachel’s last overnight date — this time with Bryan. The two spent the day exploring the region of Rioja on horseback, but Rachel’s situation with Peter was clearly still affecting her mood, leaving her visibly distracted and quiet at times.
That evening, Bryan addressed the awkwardness with Rachel, gently noting that she seemed a little “off.” Though she felt bad that her relationship with Peter had affected her date with Bryan, she was glad that he was able to pick up on her energy. She apologized, told him her mood had nothing to do with him, and offered him the Fantasy Suite card.
“It is very comforting and reassuring to know exactly where Bryan stands — how he feels about me, about us, and where he wants to go with us,” she admitted. “I feel like our relationship is just moving forward in a really good way.”
By the next morning, things were right back on track with these two — and, according to Bryan, the “chemistry” was “hotter than ever.” (Translation: “We had sex.”)
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FINAL ROSE CEREMONY
The final rose ceremony was weighing heavily on Rachel. Not only did she have a big decision to make by sending either Bryan, Peter or Eric home, but it was also the rose ceremony where she was sent home on Nick Viall‘s season.
“Coming into this week, I really was hoping to gain a lot of clarity,” she told her final three men. “But if I’m honest with myself, I’m more confused than ever. The only thing I know to do is be true to what I want for myself at the end of this.”
“I want a proposal,” she said, looking directly at Peter. “I didn’t come here to date, I didn’t come here to have a boyfriend. I came here to cultivate a relationship that’s moving towards the common goal of marriage.”
The first rose, unsurprisingly, went to Bryan — and ultimately, even though he wasn’t quite where he needed to be emotionally, Rachel’s feelings for Peter were simply stronger than her feelings for Eric, and she opted to send Eric home. The two bid each other farewell, with Eric remaining as respectful and kind as ever.
“Eric and I get each other in such a different way than any of the other men that have been here,” she said. “And it’s so evident in him saying goodbye: no bitterness, no hate, no regrets — and that’s why Eric is such an amazing and beautiful person.”
FINAL DATE WITH BRYAN
Finally, the time had come for Rachel’s very last dates with her two finalists. Up first was Bryan — who, unlike Peter, was ready to propose like, yesterday. After a hot air balloon ride at dawn, the two spent the evening hanging out in Bryan’s hotel room, where he gifted her with an adorable homemade Spanish dictionary.
“I can’t even envision , but I would be devastated,” he told her. “I would be the most heartbroken I’ve been in my life if I lost you. I just love you.”
But Rachel, on the other hand, still hadn’t made up her mind.
“Every moment that I spend with Bryan reminds me of how strong our relationship is,” she said. “But one of my biggest fears is that at the end of this I’m going to make the wrong decision. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet.”
FINAL DATE WITH PETER
Going into her last day with Peter, Rachel was petrified — and so was he.
“I know that I want to pursue a relationship with Rachel,” he said. “I am falling in love with her, but I just need to know if it’s true love and lifelong love. Is she the one? I don’t know that yet. All I know is I’m not ready to say goodbye.”
The two spent the day exploring a quiet, stunning monastery, where they yet again found themselves deeply engrossed in a conversation about their situation. While Peter continued to insist that he wasn’t ready for an engagement, he was also pretty clear that he saw a future with Rachel — and one filled with football games, days at the farmer’s market and couple’s wine and painting nights.
With less than 24 hours until she had to hand out the very last rose, the pressure was on — and Rachel was growing increasingly frustrated.
“It’s so sad and it’s so hard,” she reflected after their day together. “It’s messing with me, all the ‘future’ talk. It’s like I’m forcing something to happen and you just don’t want me in that way.”
“But then I get confused when you start telling me how we’re going to spend our lives together,” she added. “Peter isn’t somebody who just says something just to be saying it, so I’m just so confused as to how you can see forever with me but you can’t do the step that you have to do to get to forever. I don’t get it.”
“I don’t know what I thought I was going to gain going into today,” she admitted. “It’s almost like I keep wishing for something that’s not there when it comes to Peter. I keep looking for clarity, and I’m just not getting it.”
That night, Rachel showed up at Peter’s hotel room for their final sit-down.
“I am in love with you,” he told her. “That became very clear to me today. But these feelings are so recent. They’ve been growing to this point all throughout, but I don’t feel that I am ready to ask you to marry me tomorrow. But I don’t want to stop being with you.”
Rachel circled back to her earlier frustrations, taking issue with the fact that Peter was so against proposing, but yet continued to “fantasize” their future together with talks of dogs and family vacations.
“I don’t want to repeat what I’ve done in every single relationship,” she said. “ don’t propose and I agree to just date you and be committed to you, what guarantee do I have that it’s ever going to leave that stage? Because my past is showing me that it won’t.”
“I want someone who wants what I want,” she said. “I want someone who wants to move towards marriage. And my fear is you don’t have that same level of commitment.”
Peter apologized for how long it was taking him to get there emotionally, but at the end of the day, he couldn’t help the person that he is at his core — and he’s just not someone who’s able to “act on impulse” and propose until he’s completely and wholeheartedly ready.
“I feel like just now realizing the feelings that I have for you is not enough for me to say that I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” he said. “But I know that I want to try. Hard. Like, really hard. But it’s too new to say that I’m going to give away one thing I hold so special and dear to my heart, that I’ll never get back.”
“Do you know for a fact right here right now that I’m the man that you want to spend the rest of your life with?” he asked her.
Rachel insisted she couldn’t answer that, and as the conversation got more and more intense, the two began to cry. Finally, at a loss for words, Rachel asked him where they went from here.
“We’re not breaking up,” said Peter. “Do you want to give tomorrow a chance?”
“What’s going to change overnight?” she said. “Even if it did, I wouldn’t even feel confident. I feel like if it changes in the morning, you would completely out of fear.”
Clearly emotional, Peter said he would be willing to make that sacrifice if he had to.
“I’m going against what I believe to show you that I care about you so much that I will not lose you,” he told her, voice cracking. “I know what I’m saying, I know 100 percent what I’m saying, and it kills me.”
“Then don’t,” she responded. “And that is so hard for me to say. But don’t. If you don’t want to, don’t do it.”
Wiping away tears, Rachel told him she didn’t want him to feel pressured into a proposal, only to resent her later on.
“I hope I’m a mature enough person to not look at it in that way,” he said. “But I’m also a very emotional person, so I can’t make a promise.”
“I feel like you don’t know what you want to do,” she said. “I want somebody who knows what they want to do.”
“Great, then go find someone to have a mediocre life with,” he responded. “Because I will give you an amazing life and an amazing relationship.”
“But you don’t even know what you want to do, Peter,” she repeated.
“Tomorrow,” he corrected her. “I don’t know what I want to do tomorrow. That is one day that means the rest of my life.”
But they could talk in circles for so long, and finally, at long last, Rachel and Peter were forced to come to the painful realization that ultimately, neither one was fully willing to compromise for the other.
“I can’t do tomorrow and you tell me you just want to be my boyfriend,” she told him.
After a heavy silence, Peter sighed: “Then I can do nothing but wish you the very best,” he told her, adding: “I think we are both going to regret this decision. If you change your mind, you know where you can find me.”
With that, they said their final goodbyes — but not without exchanging “I love you’s” between passionate, tear-soaked kisses.
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The morning after, Rachel was still reeling from her breakup with Peter.
“I don’t regret the decision that I made, but some of the questions he asked me last night resonated with me,” she admitted. “I got where he was coming from. And that thought process made me question if I’m rushing into this with Bryan. It’s not questioning Bryan or his feelings with me — it’s just, am I rushing it? He could be the person, but do I need more time. I have so many feelings right now.”
“Bryan is such a good person and a good man, and that’s why I’ve been falling in love with him,” she added. “I just wonder if it’s too much of a turnaround from last night, to be in the right headspace for today. I don’t know if I’m ready for this.”
But ready or not, the time came — and Bryan pulled up to the bottom of a cliff in the Spanish countryside, with Rachel awaiting at the top.
“Rachel, when I first stepped out of that limo, I knew I was in the ride of my life,” he told her. “When we first kissed, it was literally like a chemistry bomb had just exploded. I just knew that first night, 100 percent certainty in my heart, that it was going to be something special. You are everything I could ever want in a woman, a wife, the mother of my children. I am completely head-over-heels, totally, absolutely in love with you. I just hope you feel the same.”
Though she admitted that her heart had “never been more confused” than in the last week, Rachel had finally come to her decision: Her heart belonged to Bryan.
“I was trying to find cracks in what seemed like the perfect foundation,” she told him. “I really, really had to do some soul-searching, deeper than I ever have before, to find the courage to challenge myself. But this love has been so mature, it’s tested me in ways that I couldn’t have even imagined.”
“I always said that I would know that the person that I’m supposed to be with is someone that I could never imagine my life without, so right here, in this moment, standing with you, I see my forever and I see my future,” she said. “I just want to tell you that I love and I’m in love with you, and I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else.”
For more on Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay’s engagement to Bryan Abasolo, including their thoughts on their big debut and plan for the future, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
The two embraced, and Bryan got down on one knee and proposed. Squealing with joy, she said yes, and he slid the ring on her finger — and she handed him her very last rose.
Watch People Cover Story – Bachelorette Finale: Rachel Lindsay, available now, on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the PEN app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device.
“This is the happiest day of my life,” she gushed as Bryan swept her up in his arms, covering her with kisses.
“I dreamed of this moment,” he said. “I envisioned an engagement, and I could have never imagined it happening like this. I’m so happy. I love you. Now we start the rest of our lives!”