Rachel Lindsay had a precise checklist in mind. As she began her journey for love as ABC’s Bachelorette, the insurance attorney insisted her future partner be “confident, very self-aware, direct, honest and a man who knows where he’s going,” she revealed during a May interview. “I love ambition.”
Most importantly, he would want to begin their future today. “I’m ready to start a family,” admitted the Dallas-based 31-year-old. “I’m ready to get married. I want someone who’s on the same page as me.”
She got even more than she bargained for. Seven weeks into the reality dating series, Lindsay has fallen for three potential grooms: smooth-talking chiropractor Bryan Abasolo, 37; charismatic personal trainer Peter Kraus, 31; and upbeat motivational speaker Eric Bigger, 29. “I connected with each guy and that made this so hard,” Lindsay now exclusively tells Us Weekly. “Honestly, I wanted to quit and run away rather than proceed.”
In the beginning, Lindsay didn’t sweat her goodbyes. She swiftly sent packing two-timer DeMario Jackson, trouble-starter Lee Garrett and more than two dozen other men. But, after meeting her guys’ families, letting go became more difficult — and dramatic. “By then, Rachel knew her husband was in this group of guys,” reveals a show source. “She couldn’t imagine any of them not being part of her life.”
Her remaining three appealed to her in different ways. Though she admitted Kraus “holds back when vocalizing his feelings,” the Wisconsin native always kept her craving more. “The chemistry is there,” she explained on the show, adding that “Peter has been able to not only keep my interest but also makes me miss him.”
On the other hand, Abasolo has no qualms professing his love. (He promised her a fairy-tale ending!) “I’ve never had a guy treat me the way that Bryan does,” she told his mom on their Miami hometown date. “It just makes me want to be better.”
And then there is Bigger, whose positive energy is contagious. “Eric is always fun,” gushed Lindsay on the Monday, July 17, episode. “He’s truly that person that seizes the day.”
When the time came to dole out her final rose, she had to just trust her gut. “Rachel realized she had to be selfish in her decisions to get what she wants in the end,” explains the insider. “But it’s still devastating to her.”
To get through the pain, she reminded herself that the outcome would make the difficult process worth it. “I was like, ‘the greater the risk, the greater the reward,’ ” she recalls to Us. “I knew what I wanted and I couldn’t quit.”
Indeed, sticking it out earned her a Neil Lane sparkler and a devoted fiancé. (To avoid spoiling the end, Us is not revealing the winner’s name.) “I am so excited I found The One,” Lindsay gushes to Us. “He’s so amazing!”
And the best is yet to come for the pair, who have been secretly meeting up while the show still airs. “We cannot wait to walk down the street hand in hand,” she says. “I just want to be in public and do simple things like grab a cup of coffee together!”
The Bachelorette airs Mondays on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!