In a season full of love triangles and rose ceremony shake-ups, Tyler Norris and Rachel Recchia’s Bachelorette romance was a sweet, simple antidote to the chaos. For starters, Tyler was always clear about his feelings for Rachel — he even sent her a DM while watching Clayton Echard’s Bachelor season, he revealed on Click Bait. “I said hey, if things don’t work out with Clayton, and you ever end up as the Bachelorette, sign me up,” he recalled. “Because I would love to, you know, pursue you.”
And once he ended up on the show, he managed to express his desire for Rachel without making Gabby Windey feel awful about herself. As you may remember, he was one of the first men to tell Gabby he was there for Rachel — but she praised him for being “genuine” and “respectful” in how he handled the delicate situation.
But during Tyler and Rachel’s hometown date on the Aug. 22 Bachelorette episode, Rachel realized their connection wasn’t quite strong enough to continue a relationship — and ultimately sent home the New Jersey business owner before she could even meet his family. She did meet many of his friends, though — which proved to be a bit overwhelming. “I realized, my relationship with him is a little bit farther behind than I would have liked to feel at this point ... I have other connections that are stronger,” Rachel said in a voiceover, before taking a moment away from Tyler to process things.
“Even just meeting his friends, I’m like, oh my god, oh my god,” she continued. “I feel like I’m gonna throw up. I’m freaking out.”
When the pair reconvened on a bench, Rachel was finally able to get her feelings out — resulting in a tearful conversation, on both sides. “I just want you to know that I’ve never met anyone like you, who just loves so openly. And who just isn’t afraid of anything, of being hurt,” she said. “I just feel like we’ve had the most incredible day, but I’m still feeling like, not 100% confident. And I don’t know if I’m ready to meet your family when I still have this bit of reservation, and I don’t know where it’s coming from. I just feel like there is something missing, and I don’t know if it’s time.”
Tyler handled the breakup in the sweetest possible way, though. “It’s tough, but being with you, you make it easy ... the fact that you were able to let me love again, like, that means so much to me,” he said. “And listen — and I really do mean this, because I know you feel the same way — like, that love that’s forever is real. It’s 100% real. And I believe in it every single day. And just looking at you, I know you’re gonna have that.” (No, you’re crying.)