updated 03/15/2014 AT 10:30 PM ET
•originally published 03/15/2014 AT 10:00 AM ET
Juan Pablo Galavis, former pro soccer player, single father and star of this season’s The Bachelor, blogged for PEOPLE.com each week about the ladies, the dates and the difficult decisions he faced. You can follow Juan Pablo on Twitter on Twitter and on Instagram @JuanPaGalavis.
My bachelor adventure comes to an end, but now I’m thrilled and so grateful that real life – and the real journey of Nikki, me and our life together – really begins.
As my experience ended, I finally sat down for a second to analyze how everything started and how everything ended. I decided to take the chance to be The Bachelor, even though it was something that I had never thought I would do because I had never seen the show before. I had only watched 20 minutes of one and I thought, “This is so cheesy,” but I decided to give it a shot on The Bachelorette.
My experience on The Bachelorette was great. I met great guys, enjoyed filming, met a nice woman, but in week six I was sent home because Des was not feeling it with me. Was it the end of the world? No. I knew I could have gone home any time or maybe be the one chosen.
When I was announced as The Bachelor, Chris Harrison said, “In the history of this show, no guy has made a greater impact with less screen time.” Have you thought about why people apparently liked me at the time? Why I didn’t have that much screen time? Well, so you guys understand a little bit more, it is because of my honesty and that I don’t like drama at all – something that viewers appreciated from the little they saw of me on The Bachelorette.
I believe my direct approach and honesty unfortunately ended up hurting some of the women and that was never my intention. I have always cared deeply about the women and have stayed true to myself and wanted to be respectful of them and not waste their time. I believe I have a different style than others who have been on this show.
The way I was treated before filming was spectacular. Everything seemed to be so nice and beautiful. I remember my first meeting with some of the top four Bachelor executives and how excited they were, saying, “That’s exactly what I want, you to be you.” Filming was great – but I did wear my boxing gloves. Nothing in this situation was going to make me change who I was, what I wanted and what I said, unless some words were misused or misunderstood (me and “my little package” is a great example), which happened a lot during two months of filming. To that I say, “Thanks” to my producer for correcting me and Google translating so many words for me so the interviews look good.
The end result is not what anyone expected or wanted, because the show has the proposal as the perfect ending. As you saw on Monday night, what is real and the respect for a father is more important to me than making a perfect TV show.
I’m glad I was able to keep in touch with Kim, a cancer patient who is a huge fan of the show and who I was in touch on a regular basis. She encouraged me, [saying] that if I didn’t want to propose, I didn’t have to. Kim and I kept the secret of what I was going to do. At the end, I did what I wanted and thought it was better for me and my family.
After I gave mi catira (my blondie) the final rose, I felt a sense of relief and joy, because our four months of being together in secret was starting. As I told her dad, that was going to be the big test. If we could make it through that, we were heading on the right track.
Then the show aired and the hours of filming (a wild guess – over 1000), talking, crying, laughing, smiling, swimming, dancing, eating, running, posing, playing soccer, OGOing, shooting, my family, concerts, bungee jumping, karaoke, learning about different cultures, attending a Little League game, helping charities, cocktail parties, more talking, etc. were reduced to what is called The Bachelor.
A 20-hour show, it is impressively done by a huge group of people that sacrifice a lot. They leave families, girlfriends, parents and friends, miss birthdays, etc. Wow, I only can say thank you to those who made it happen.
Those 20 hours and your comments on social media are what made me reflect on writing this blog, my last one as The Bachelor. Some people don’t like me, hate me and wish me the worst. There are some that still see me as the guy before Vietnam, that cares about his daughter, that cares about other people (especially the 27 women who took the time to meet me), jokes around a lot, is sarcastic, likes to dance, drama-free, who wants a family and is very honest – like I said before, maybe too honest for this reality show – and it’s okay.
One of the things that hurt me the most was seeing my family and friends suffering with how I was being portrayed and misjudged in the media, because they are the ones that know Juan Pablo, the guy who is not The Bachelor. To them, I just want to say thank you for always being there for me and covering my back when needed.
Even though my adventure wasn’t always easy, I want to thank my main producers who really got to know me. It’s impossible to hold the tears in my eyes right now – I want to thank you for always being there for me during filming. I had the pleasure of getting to know you and you were the ones that protected me at some point, got to know how I think, my beliefs, what I want and who I am. Without you, my fight while filming would have been humongous.
And to my stylists, I want to thank you for always making me look and feel good with my outfits and especially for your words towards me after the gay misunderstanding. They were priceless and I will never forget them. To my ABC executive for being supportive even during a hard situation, I’m glad I can trust you.
I know you guys suffered with me watching the show, but like everything else in life, the show must go on. You have a job to do and you will always have a friend here that you can count on.
Even though it’s hard to believe, I have great memories out of all of this – I learned many things and it made me stronger than before. Now, it’s time to say goodbye to all of you that are reading and writing to me constantly and I have to confess that I will miss you a lot. Until today, you will get to read about The Bachelor Juan Pablo and from now on you will get to see more of the real Juan Pablo.
At the end of the day, all I want to be is happy and I found what I signed up for: I found mi catira. She’s the woman from After the Final Rose that you saw as my girlfriend. Nikki has been that way to me for a few months already.
I will always be thankful for the opportunity, but if you asked me to do it again, I would definitely say, “HELLLLL NOOOOO” jejejejeje.
Thanks for reading and writing.
Juan Pablo Galavis