Though Blake Horstmann was left heartbroken during The Bachelorette‘s three-hour finale on Monday night, he doesn’t regret a single thing when it comes to his journey of finding love with Becca Kufrin.
“I will never apologize for loving as hard as I do,” Horstmann, 28, told reporters during a press conference call on Tuesday. “I will never apologize for how much I loved Becca. It was emotional. I had that very first connection with Becca and so it was a hard journey for me because I had to watch… the woman I love fall in love with another man. That was difficult. I didn’t want to hide that. I didn’t want to try and put on a fake smile. That’s not who I am. I spoke on my anxiety and my worries and I definitely don’t regret anything.”
And with heartbreak comes lessons learned.
“One of the biggest things I got out of this whole experience and my relationship with Becca was the way she encouraged me to be open and honest and transparent,” he said. “I’m definitely taking that to my next relationship. I want a relationship where we’ll both be in tune with our honesty and our feelings.”
On Monday’s episode, Garrett Yrigoyen got down on one knee and proposed to Kufrin, the love of his life, with an 18-carat gold sparkler.
“I’ve been waiting to say it for the right person,” she told Yrigoyen. “I’ve been holding back because I wanted to be 1000 percent certain. Garrett, I love you. I love you so much.”
- For more on Becca and Garrett, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday
“Garrett is one of the only people [with whom] right away, I felt 100 percent me,” Kufrin, 28, tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue, on stands Friday. “The best way I can describe it is if you have a puzzle and it’s two pieces that match correctly and it just clicks into place.”
Adds Yrigoyen, 29: “I knew I loved Becca so much that I didn’t want her to not be a part of my life.”