'The Bachelor': Zach Leaves Gabi 'Blindsided' After They Break His No Sex Rule
Zach Shallcross' time in the Fantasy Suite didn't go as planned. On Monday night's episode of The Bachelor, the tech executive traveled to Thailand with his final three women, with the intention that he would not have sex with any of them in the Fantasy Suite.
"This is the only thing that feels right and comfortable for me. It can really muddy the situation," Zach explained to host Jesse Palmer. "... It's going to be really damn hard, but I want my partner to be sure in us as well and not to worry about that I'm doing that right before an engagement... It's not how I imagine a healthy engagement should start."
With that, Zach set off for his first date of the week, which saw him explore a night market with Ariel. Sparks were flying throughout the evening, and reached a peak when Ariel told Zach that she's falling in love with him. They were doused during dinner, though, when Zach explained that sex would be "off the table" overnight.
"For me, it's inevitable. I feel a physical connection to you. That's there. That's no joke," he said. "But I think loving one person at the end of this and sharing that intimate moment should be saved for that moment of engagement and when you have that one person."
Ariel told Zach she understood his decision, but admitted being "a little disappointed" to the cameras. Zach questioned his own choices as he and Ariel explored their suite together, but the pair managed to stick to Zach's rules when the cameras left.
Gabi's date came next, as she and Zach spent the day on a private island together. Gabi's insecurities got the best of her, though, and she confessed to Zach that she was feeling second best, before telling the cameras that this week made her feel "stupid and foolish" and "disgusting and ugly." Zach was able to quell her fears, and the pair set off for their dinner feeling better than ever.
At the evening portion of their date, Zach once again explained his decision to abstain from sex.
"I think in this experience it can cause more issues and problems than help. I think what feels right to me is approaching this entire week not having sex with Fantasy Suites," he said. "I know it's not conventional, but I want this to work and to me it's probably the healthiest way to go about it 'cause an engagement is literally like a week away."
Gabi admitted that she didn't think she'd get engaged to someone she hadn't had sex with, but promised Zach, "I won't try to seduce you."
The morning after, Gabi gushed to the camera about their "cuddle sesh," but Zach was more forthcoming about what went down.
"The whole night was a very passionate night for Gabi and I and it was very special," he said, "but my whole perspective on how I thought the week was gonna go changed because something really special happened between us in the Fantasy Suite and now I feel like I'm holding in a secret."
Zach told Jesse what happened, explaining his and Gabi's night together, "It was very special. It was important. It was what we both wanted and needed for the relationship."
While Zach said he didn't feel guilt about his "act of love, not lust" with Gabi, he did feel "terrible" because he went against his word to the other women. With that, Zach made the decision to come clean with Ariel and Kaity about his night with Gabi.
"I have zero regrets [about] what I shared with Gabi. That was special. We needed that. That was perfect for us," he said. "But I think everyone needs to be at least aware of what actually happened this week, because I don't want there to ever be any secrets or to feel like I'm telling one person one thing but doing another with someone else."
Zach decided to tell Gabi about his decision first and paid a visit to her hotel room before his date with Kaity.
"I just want you to be fully aware. When I walked away, I was really in my head and nervous about the declaration I went into the week [with] about the intimacy and just how it changed and how it evolved with you," he said. "You made me feel so special. I wouldn't be able to go about this week having secrets and telling someone one thing and doing another. I just want to be fully transparent with everyone involved about the whole [thing]."
Gabi told Zach that she didn't feel that way "at all," before telling the cameras that she was "a little bit blindsided" by Zach's visit. Zach tried to leave things on a good note telling Gabi, " I am definitely falling in love with you."
"I can see a future with you. You're f**king special and I'm falling in love with you," he said. "You're someone that would be awesome to go through life with too."
Zach then set off for his date with Kaity. After taking a rainy canoe ride, Zach told Kaity what he had intended for the week and how that had changed.
"I went into this week kind of setting a parameter that I wanted to not have sex and physical intimacy be involved. I shared that with the other women going into the week. A lot has changed and evolved," he admitted. "I would never lie to you. I've always asked for honesty from the beginning and I will always give you that. I have been intimate this week. It was a decision between us that made sense to further a relationship."
Kaity took the news relatively well, telling Zach, "I knew going into this that that is something that could potentially happen. It sucks, obviously, to think about it."
"I just figured that was the case, but you just telling me and confirming," she said through tears. "I get that you wanted to tell me and you're saying that because you respect me, but honestly, I could've went without hearing that."
While she told Zach that he didn't need to apologize, she told the cameras she was "crushed" by the development. The daytime portion of their date ended with Kaity feeling "very distant" and Zach questioning if their relationship was over.
Kaity wondered that herself, but did show up for the nighttime portion of their date. There, Zach apologized again and explained that he "can't hold a secret," something Kaity said she wouldn't want him to do.
"This is something I feel like we can get through, we can keep moving forward. It was a setback, but I feel so confident in you and I," Kaity told Zach. "I feel really good about where we are. It is all worth it, sitting here, next to you... All smiles from here."
With that, the pair set off for the Fantasy Suite without any further conversation about sex.
The rose ceremony came next, and Gabi was uncertain if she'd accept an invitation into the next week.
"In a way, it feels like he's cleared his conscience at the expense of my heart," she said in a confessional. "I can't deny the fact that I am feeling blindsided by it and my trust was broken. I don't know. I don't know if I want this rose right now."
Zach was worried he "f**ked it up for good" with all of the women, and expressed as much in his pre-ceremony speech to them.
"I came into this week setting parameters on myself. Parameters on ways to find love or how I think I can navigate finding love and that was the biggest mistake I could've done," he said. "This week at times I've felt like a failure. I've caused pain and I've made mistakes and I'm so sorry for that. This decision has been weighing on me. It shatters my heart knowing that I have to send one of you women home."
Zach went on to award roses to Kaity and Gabi, sending Ariel home. As he walked Ariel out, Zach praised her for "how you opened your heart to me" and the pair amicably parted ways.
As for Gabi, even with the rose in her hand, she questioned if she was going to be able to move forward with Zach.
"I thought I would be in a much different state of mind. I thought I'd be a lot happier. Right now I feel like I am wearing a big A on my chest. It's a very uncomfortable feeling and he's only making eye contact with Kaity when I feel like I've just kind of been put through the wringer here," she told the cameras. "I have questions running through my mind that I need answered before I can confidently move forward with an engagement."
The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC. Stay up to date on all the drama with ET's coverage of Zach Shallcross' journey for love.
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