After JoJo Fletcher won viewers’ hearts as a fan favorite on Ben Higgins’ season of The Bachelor, she’s now on her own journey to love on The Bachelorette. She is blogging exclusively about each and every rose ceremony for PEOPLE – check back each week and follow her on Twitter at @Joellefletcher!
I was looking forward to spending more time with Chase and really peeling back his layers. We hadn’t had a chance to really connect in our relationship yet, especially since he didn’t get a date the week before, but I could tell from my limited time with him that he was funny and romantic. Pretty solid combo. Oh, and he’s not too bad to look at either!
Now, I thought a hot yoga date would be fun — and hot, of course. I had no idea, however, that it would be THAT HOT. And I’m not talking about anything other than the temperature. When we walked in the yoga studio, the place was absolutely steaming. And anyone who knows me will tell you that I don’t do so well in the heat. Cold? No problem. Heat. We have a problem. Yes, I’m from Dallas and I love it there. But that doesn’t mean I handle the heat well!
Intimacy is a huge part of any relationship, and I thought this would be a good date to just jump in and see if Chase and I could be intimate without feeling too weird around each other. It worked. But it was a little rough getting there. I’ve never heard of an “anger-gasm.” Is that just a yoga thing? I kind of like the expression. Anyway, acting out an “anger-gasm” was definitely the strangest thing I have ever done on a first date.
Just when things started to get too weird and the heat started to get to me, everything turned around. It was really because of Chase. We’re dripping with sweat and our faces and bodies are intertwined, and it could have gotten so, so awkward. But it didn’t. It was intimate and beautiful. I really did feel connected to Chase in that moment.
That connection continued into my dinner with Chase and I began to finally get a true sense of who he is. I appreciated on so many levels his willingness to open up and I felt blessed he would be this vulnerable me. And anytime you can cap a date with a private performance by Charles Kelley, well, that’s a great first date.
I was on such a high after that date with Chase, and I was so excited for the group date. But boy, it sure didn’t turn out the way I imagined it would. First, let me say a few things about the date itself. I’d heard about these performances where people get up and tell intimate stories about their past. Seemed like a great place for a date. But I must admit, when we sat down I immediately knew I was going to get more than I bargained for.
Josie Rosen, the host, was unbelievable and so, so helpful putting this all together. But she and her friends are definitely a little more rated R. I’m more… well… PG-13. Still, I did my best to just roll with it. If I’m going to find my husband at the end of this, there are going to be times when I need to push myself out of my comfort zone. And this was definitely way out of my comfort zone. And by the way, I even got up there myself for a few quick seconds. I was terrible! The guys were so much better. They really went for it. Vinny was hilarious. Wells was amazing. Alex was too. Okay, they all were! Thank you, guys!
So, it’s time to talk about Chad. He was clearly upset by what Evan said up there on stage. I guess I should have put it all together, but I guess I didn’t realize that everything Evan was saying was about Chad. Maybe I should have realized it, but I just didn’t. There was too much going on, too many relationships being juggled in the moment. So when Chad stepped up there, he was angry. And now, watching it back, I understand why. But that doesn’t excuse what happened when they left the stage. Watching it back now, it scares me. I had no idea what was happening back stage with the guys. I do know that violence is never the answer. Putting your hands on someone else is never the way to resolve conflict. And boy was that some conflict.
Going into the after party, I just tried to focus on each individual relationship. Talking to Jordan was sensitive and sweet, and it helped me remember why I gave him the First Impression Rose that first night. Alex, as always, was a shining light, someone who seemingly always makes me feel better, no matter how stressful things get. Grant made me laugh, as he often does. Wells and I really had a lot of fun that evening. We walked around the vintage store pretending to pick pieces out for our future home — and even getting into a motorcycle and sidecar! I really love the creative side to Wells. He’s unlike anyone I’ve ever dated, and I really like that about him.
As the night went on, however, I could tell that the mood was a little heavy. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shake it. After speaking with Chad, I was SO confused. I mean, obviously Chad can be intimidating, but maybe there was truth to what he was saying? At this point, I hadn’t seen what the other men had been experiencing except for the little scuffle in the seats of the theater. I appreciated Evan’s honesty, but was also disheartened when he gave me an ultimatum. I’m not great with ultimatums. Is anyone?
I truly felt like I needed more time with both Evan and Chad. But before I moved forward with anything, I wanted to make sure Evan felt comfortable remaining in this journey alongside Chad. After speaking with him a second time, he decided to stick it out, and I couldn’t have been happier with his choice. Evan, a father, gave up so much to do this and to come meet me. That’s sacrifice. I decided to give him the rose to prove to him just how invested I was in seeing where our relationship could go.
Never in a million years did I expect what happened next. Seeing that side of Chad after I handed Evan the rose was really upsetting. And, to be honest, I was really questioning Chad and his motives. I knew I would have a lot to think about before going into the rose ceremony, but I was also excited I had at least one more date before having to confront Chad again… and I knew James T. would be the perfect man to take my mind off the drama.
My date with James T. was exactly what I needed. James is just so authentic, and his energy is contagious. That was the exact energy I needed to be around after everything that happened. Of course I knew James was a sweetheart, but I knew there was more to James than just that. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous we would be dancing because I am – if you can’t tell – a terrible dancer, but I knew with James I would be able to just let loose and have fun.
Meeting Jean Veloz, our dance instructor, was so special. She is a swing-dancing legend and just the most darling woman I’ve ever met. To get to take a lesson from a legend like Jean was such an honor. And the love that she and her dance partner-turned-husband had was inspiring. It left me hoping I could find that too and maybe with James.
Coming out of the Culver Hotel to find all those amazing swing dancers was the most surreal feeling. It felt like we were in the middle of some classic Hollywood film; it was truly magical. And being there with James was nothing short of fun. I can’t express to you what a wonderful time I had with him during our day.
Going into the evening, I was really focused on seeing if there was a deeper connection between the two of us. There was no doubt the friendship was there, but I needed to be sure there was a romantic connection. What better backdrop for figuring that out than that beautiful L.A. skyline. And I have to say, I was really surprised by James that night. While he shared his story with me about growing up and feeling bullied, I needed James to know he was selling himself short. He really is the total package and in that moment I found myself so attracted to him. As he serenaded me, I felt like my heart could burst.
Waking up the next morning, I was dreading the cocktail party. The last time I had a large group of guys together, it didn’t go so well. I hoped that changing things up and having a pool party would go a long way in lifting the mood. Plus, I wanted to get back some of the time I felt like I lost with the guys during our group date because of the distraction of the drama with Chad. But once again, the issues with Chad took center stage. How crazy do things with Chad get? Pretty crazy. Tune in [Tuesday] night to see what happens!
ABC is airing a special episode of The Bachelorette on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET and will return to its normal schedule, Mondays at 8 p.m. ET, next week.