updated 08/06/2013 AT 7:30 PM ET
•originally published 08/06/2013 AT 12:50 PM ET
Former Bachelor contestant Desiree Hartsock is calling the shots and handing out the roses as the current star of The Bachelorette. The bridal stylist will blog all season long on PEOPLE.com about her dates, the guys and the difficult decisions she must make. You can also follow Desiree on Twitter.
I want to start by thanking everyone who watched my journey to find love this season on The Bachelorette. It is a challenging and emotional position to be in so I can’t express how grateful I am for the love and support from my family, friends and viewers. I appreciate the encouraging words from many and the understanding that love can be unpredictable.
My relationship with Drew flourished in affection and through in-depth conversation. I enjoyed seeing the compassion and love he had in his heart and the sincerity that showed through his eyes. After our last date in Antigua, I felt like our relationship didn’t move forward and I started to question if we were right for each other. He has so many qualities I was looking for in a partner but I had to put qualities aside and see if I could really picture our future together.
It was extremely difficult for me to say goodbye to Drew because I cared deeply for him and never wanted to hurt him. I knew the decision I had to make in order to put my focus on Chris.
True and Lasting Love
I was given a rare and beautiful opportunity to find true and lasting love – and I found it with Chris. Our time in Antigua was so incredible. The moments we shared will last a lifetime. That last date was something truly special. When he handed me that journal and expressed again how he felt, I never felt so loved and I knew I wanted to love him the way he deserved for eternity. It gave me so much hope to realize what was in front of me all along – the love he show through it all.
To have Chris meet my family was one of the happiest days of my life. I knew that they would take a liking to him right away and was excited to have everyone’s approval, including my brother’s. I didn’t just introduce my family to Chris – I introduced them to the man of my dreams and the man I would become engaged to.
The proposal from Chris will be one of the most defining moments of my life. I was nervous to tell him everything I needed to say but if I wanted our relationship to last, I would have to start with honesty. He looked so nervous walking towards me and at the same time incredibly dashing, so right away I wanted to scream, “YES! I will marry you!” But, of course, he would have to ask me first. I wasn’t sure what he was going to say but once I told him everything and he kissed me, I knew that he wouldn’t let that get in the way of what we had.
As Chris got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, I had no doubts in my mind that I wanted to marry this man. Saying yes and telling him I loved him for the first time was so surreal and a feeling I could never duplicate. I was overcome with joy and happiness. The ring is the most stunning thing I have ever seen but the meaning behind it is even more beautiful.
I could go on for days telling you all of the great things about Chris but I’m pretty sure you already saw all of those things while watching. He had my attention that first night with his quirky down-on-one-knee entrance and from there our relationship began to blossom naturally and effortlessly. We connected immediately once we had time alone and each time after that. That is the great thing about Chris throughout this experience; he stayed completely confident and never let his feelings waver.
I didn’t see the beauty of those qualities right away but now I know that Chris is a man who will never give up when the times get hard or ever want to see me hurt. He is man that will stay loyal and true throughout the struggles of life and always be the first to hold my hand. I wish for everyone to find this kind of love. It’s not infatuation that lasts but having a friendship and foundation that will foresee the tests of time.
Now we only have time on our side. I feel so blessed to have him in my life and can’t wait for the rest of our lives together.
For anyone who has been hurt – hold on to hope and don’t let that stop you from loving again. And for those who have found love, don’t ever take it for granted. That is what I have learned and the only advice I would like to pass on.
Thank you again for watching this season of The Bachelorette and for reading my blog!