This post contains spoilers from Monday's episode of The Bachelorette.
Coming off of the high of last week's hometown visits, Tayshia Adams felt ready for Fantasy Suite dates with her final three men on Monday night's episode of The Bachelorette. Before she met up with Brendan, Ivan or Zac, former Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher paid Tayshia another visit to talk through the crucial week ahead. And during their conversation, Tayshia admitted that she could "absolutely" see herself falling for more than one person at that point.
IVAN’S FANTASY SUITE
With that, Tayshia embarked on her first Fantasy Suite date, with Ivan. To kick things off, the two attempted to set a world record for the longest coldest kiss by smooching in ice baths. (Evan Bass and Carly Waddell set the record for the longest hottest kiss, which entailed eating a habanero pepper while locking lips, on Bachelor in Paradise in 2016.)
Host Chris Harrison explained to the couple that "once you start, you cannot separate," and Tayshia and Ivan submerged themselves in the 40-degree water. But the heat between them overcame the cold temperature and Tayshia and Ivan actually surpassed the record, kissing for a total of six minutes and 35 seconds in the ice baths.
They went to dinner after warming up, at which point the aeronautical engineer professed his love.
"I know I told you I had feelings for you and I like you, I really like you, whatever else I've said," Ivan told Tayshia. "But I probably started falling in love with you a couple of weeks ago, honestly. And it's more than that at this point. I can really see this all working out and I just love looking in your eyes and being able to stare at you. I could do that all day. Tayshia, I am undoubtedly falling in love with you right now. I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner."
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Tayshia responded to Ivan by confessing, "I definitely have been falling for you, too."
Then she offered him the Fantasy Suite date card and he accepted enthusiastically. "One hundred percent yes," Ivan said when asked if he wanted to spend the night with Tayshia. "I really do want to use tonight to just be able to talk more and have some good, uninterrupted time between the two of us and make it a special night."
Tayshia and Ivan proceeded to their Airstream trailer suite and she admitted to the cameras, "I do see myself with Ivan at the end of this."
The next morning, Ivan declared that the night "couldn't have gone better." "I'm honestly feeling on top of the world," he said in an on-camera interview. "We were outside on the little bench there in front of the Airstream until the sun was literally rising. We stayed up all night talking about stuff."
And he added that he'd have "no problem proposing" to Tayshia at the end of the show.
ZAC’S FANTASY SUITE
After Ivan came back and told Zac and Brendan about the "great" night he had with Tayshia, Zac ventured out on his own Fantasy Suite date. He and Tayshia would be creating a work of art with their love by painting all over each other and rolling around on a canvas.
"I've never been happier in my entire life," Zac said during the date.
Once they cleaned up, Tayshia and Zac sat down for dinner, and Tayshia used the time as an opportunity to raise a concern with the addiction specialist.
"I was actually talking to your mom and you told her that you didn't want kids," Tayshia said, referring to their conversation during hometowns. "But I told you I wanted five kids and you'd been on board."
Zac said he'd had a change of heart since coming on the show. "Early on, I was telling myself a lie for a little while there — that I just wanted to be the cool uncle, I didn't want to have kids and that I just wanted to be single," he said. "It was the easy thing to say because love is hard … and what I realized coming here and putting every other area of my life on hold is that I do want to be a dad. And I do want to have kids, and I know that I'll be a good dad, and that I'll be a good husband, and that I deserve all those things."
The New Jersey native also shared with Tayshia, "I know that I love you."
"I love you, too," she replied, adding, "I don’'t think I've ever felt this way before."
Zac and Tayshia chose to forgo their individual rooms and spent the evening with one another. "I'm living in a dream," he told Tayshia as they entered their suite.
In the morning, Zac told the cameras, "The last 20 hours of my life have been unbelievable. There was definitely moments of passion and kissing and closeness."
With two successful Fantasy Suite dates under her belt, Tayshia realized she'd soon have a tough decision to make. "As much as I care for Zac, I do have feelings for Ivan and Brendan as well," she said in an on-camera interview. "Brendan's had my heart since day one, so it's been hard to navigate that fact that you can love more than one person at one time. I can see myself ending up with honestly any of these men."
BRENDAN’S FANTASY SUITE
In an on-camera interview, Tayshia called Brendan her "first real connection" on the show and felt he possessed "husband material." "I love everything about him," she said.
So for their date, Tayshia took Brendan to meet with Bachelor jeweler Neil Lane to try on a few pieces. Tayshia marveled over diamond bracelets and earrings and even tried on wedding bands. Then it came time for Brendan to check out the wedding bands for men.
"Am I ready to give Tayshia the commitment of forever? I don't know," Brendan wondered to the cameras.
Tayshia sensed a "weird feeling" coming from Brendan, and after their meeting with Neil, the commercial roofer opened up.
"I'm not going to lie, this has been a challenging past couple of days and past few weeks for me," Brendan shared. "When I came here, I thought I was ready and I knew I was ready in my own mind and I even expressed that to you. But knowing you're ready because you want something so bad and I want a wife and — I'm sorry."
"I want the wife and kids and a family more than anything on the face of this earth," he continued. "But then [I've been] coming to the realization that there's a big part of me that's still broken, there's a big part of me that still needs time to heal. There's a big part of me that needs time to grow."
Brendan said that while he wanted to give Tayshia his "whole heart," he didn't feel whole at the moment.
"It really breaks my heart, because you deserve a man that is complete," he said. "You deserve a man who is healed from his past and unfortunately, right now, I'm not that man. So I'm so sorry."
Tayshia understood. "Maybe a younger version of me would've been really pissed off at you, but at the same time, I know what you've gone through because we've both been there before," she told Brendan, referring to their previous failed marriages. "And as much as I would love to be with you at the end of all of this, if you're not ready, that's not something I'm going to push you to do. I've already fought for someone to try and love me once, I'm not going to do it again."
Tayshia walked him out and once Brendan pulled away, she broke down in tears. "I really thought I was going to end up with Brendan," she told the cameras.
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Before the rose ceremony, Tayshia received a visit from another former Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay. Tayshia filled Rachel in on where she stood with the remaining men, as well as the ones she had eliminated.
"I liked Ben," Tayshia said. "I mean, aside from the fact that he was just really hot, he was really sweet and he cared a lot. But Ben was in the military for 10 years and I feel like it made him kind of hardened towards showing any emotion. But once I finally got him to start opening up, he was an open book. And it was amazing. But saying goodbye to him, he kind of didn't really give me any emotion."
Still, "I know there was something there," Tayshia said.
And just like that, Ben turned up again at Chris's door, asking for another chance to speak with Tayshia and share how he felt.
"I honestly don't even know if I'm asking to be back in her life, I just feel the need to express myself," Ben told Chris. "I'm in love with her. I'm in love with Tayshia and I need to tell her."
He explained that he had avoided saying it during their breakup because "I didn't feel it was appropriate," but realized Tayshia might love him, too. "I think that might be a real possibility," he said. "I'd love to be able to just resolve that really weird breakup that happened."
So Ben headed to Tayshia's room and asked to come in so they could talk.
"The way that that ended, I was so completely caught off-guard," he began. "I just like, didn't even know what to do or say and I'm sorry for that. I know that was just horrible and for like, two days after, all I've been saying is, 'How f—ing horrible. What the f— just happened?'"
"I didn't even see that coming. And the feelings that I've had for you I've been describing this entire time," he continued. "I just didn't know what it was, but I'm in love with you. I have been in love with you."
Ben told Tayshia he knew he "blew it" by not telling her before the rose ceremony, but said he was "terrified" of the new feeling.
"But I am in love with you," he insisted. "Like, the life we could have together, the thought of that, it keeps me awake at night and I'm not sure what to do right now. I'm not sure what I'm asking for. I don't even know what I'm doing. I couldn't leave. But I just had to tell you. I see a life with you."
Tayshia started to cry. "I'm not alright," she told the military vet. Tayshia explained she needed a minute and walked away.
"What do I do with that?" she wondered aloud. But we'll have to wait until Tuesday night's finale to find out what she did end up doing about Ben's unexpected return.
The Bachelorette season finale airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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