By his own admission, Dean Unglert has a lot to learn about love.
In a sneak preview from the premiere episode of his iHeartRadio podcast, Help! I Suck at Dating, the 26-year-old reality star looks back at his love triangle with Danielle Lombard and Kristina Schulman on ABC's Bachelor in Paradise and explores how his hang-ups affected them.
"Publicly speaking, Paradise was just the worst experience of my life," he says, adding that he needs to work on his "communication" skills. "Maybe I'm a little too critical at times; you give me an inch and I take a mile with certain things. Maybe I get into my own head and I self-sabotage. I read too much into things...If there weren't any problems, I'd be married by now."
When he first arrived in Mexico, Unglert says, "I wasn't really interested in anyone else. Kristina and I seemed to hit it off. I told myself going into it, if I found someone I liked I would stick with that person and just ensure that it was her and I the entire time." After production temporarily shut down for 10 days, due an investigation related to DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios, Unglert came back with a new "perspective" about the show. "I wasn't really sure about my feelings anymore. It kind of comes back to that self-sabotage, where maybe something is going well and you don't necessarily...I don't know. Why do people self-sabotage? Let's figure that out first," he says. "I think people self-sabotage maybe because they get scared of the potential of what it could be. It's unfamiliar. Maybe—especially in that situation—to be so connected to someone, you risk a lot more...When you get married to someone, or when you fall in love with someone, their actions and their words influence you a lot more than they would otherwise."
Contrary to what some of his Bachelor Nation co-stars have said, Unglert says he's not "afraid" to commit to a single woman. "In the realm of commitment, I think I'm a realist. I don't want to have to sacrifice certain parts of my happiness for someone else. I think when the right person comes along, there won't have to be any sacrifice," he says. "You just complement each other to the point where you don't necessarily have to argue, to fight, to step on each other's toes."
Unglert would often get into "petty little arguments" with Schulman. "She cared a lot. She was very invested very quickly. I maybe took a step back and she didn't necessarily like that very much," he says, explaining that meaningful love is "something that should happen organically."
When Lombard set her sights on Unglert, he wasn't sure what to do. "I thought by being honest to both of them the entire step of the way, that was enough for them. Even after talking to my ex-girlfriend—my girlfriend before going on The Bachelorette—we had a postmortem and talked about why maybe it didn't work between us and how it all started between us, and how she sees similar characteristic in what I did on Paradise to the beginning of our relationship," he says. "It's just eye-opening to watch it play back. In everyone's own minds, they can do no wrong. But then when you watch it from a third party perspective—i.e. a video camera on the television—you see what you're doing wrong instead of just living it through your own eyes."
Admittedly, Unglert was "very emotional" on Bachelor in Paradise.
Unglert decides to phone Schulman, who was "caught off guard" by his call.
"I would love for you to tell me why and what I do that's so sucky at dating," he says.
"This is a bad question—but a good one! The list is endless! No, I'm kidding," the 24-year-old reality star tells her ex-boyfriend. "Can we start with communication? Are we serious about it?"
"Yeah, get serious," Unglert says. "Get to the bottom of it."
"What I've noticed with you—I'm sure the rest of America has, too—is that you have this wall up and you're always joking and you're smiling, but as soon as someone gets past that wall... Like, you have a lot to say. You have a lot going on. Between you and me, I think I noticed that early on—fairly early on—especially in Paradise, when you're constantly talking feelings. I think you didn't have any other choice except to talk then; you're better at communication, because I think you're a little more open to me and everyone else," she says. "I think that's a huge thing."
Unglert agrees with her to a point. "Don't you think it's more fun to have a dating relationship where all you do is laugh and smile the whole time, instead of talking about feelings?" he asks.
"Of course. You can have all of those things, but how does the relationship get stronger or deeper without talking feelings?" Schulman asks. "It's supposed to be all fun and flirting and laughing in the beginning, but eventually, I think it has to move into some kind of feelings." As for what went wrong, she says, "We were in Paradise and I think there wasn't really much time for all that flirtation and laughter...but maybe it's just me putting pressure on [our situation]."
Schulman admits it's "really weird" to tell Unglert "how terrible" he is at dating. "I was that person interested in dating you, and now telling you how bad you are, it's kind of weird. But another thing, I guess, is you tend to like sugarcoat things and not say exactly how you feel. You try to find a roundabout way. But sometimes it's best to just say it. It might hurt. I know I've told you this multiple times. It's going to sting in the moment. It's better than finding out later."
Unglert agreed that it's tough for him to deal with "honesty that hurts someone."
Trying to lighten the mood, he asks, "Am I a good kisser?" Schulman laughs and says, "Uh, yes."
"Yeah?" he asks. "That's all?"
"Yes. Well...I feel weird talking about this," Schulman says. "But, no, you're a good kisser."
As if the interview weren't "sufficiently awkward" enough at this point, Unglert asks Schulman how she'll think of him two decades from now. "I think I will always think you're a nice guy," she tells him, "because I think you have a good heart and you are kind…maybe not in dating, but I think that also comes with age and maturing and still learning about what is it that you want."
"But I'm older than you are!" Unglert teases. "And I'm considerably more mature than you are!"
"Oh, my gosh. That is not the truth!" Schulman says with a hearty laugh. "But anyway, twenty years from now, I will look back and I'll be like, 'That was a good guy. That was a good lesson.'"
"A good lesson?" Unglert asks.
"I mean, I learned a lot from trying to date you," Schulman says.
"Well, what was the lesson?" Unglert asks. "I've learned a lot of lessons just watching everything back [on Bachelor in Paradise]. It's not easy for us to watch ourselves on TV or anything like that. We're obviously doing it very publicly and everyone's able to watch us and have their own opinion about it. I know what I've learned and I'm continuing to work on that, and I appreciate you being there to help work on it with me. What do you think needs work?"
"Well, this is your podcast," Schulman fires back. "So, what did you learn?"
"Come on, I'm curious," Unglert replies. "We haven't really talked about that."
"With the conversations we've had, I probably came off aggressive a few times, but I'm learning to be a little more sensitive," Schulman says, adding that she needs to let others speak more often. "I get carried away with trying to get my point across, when I need to hear theirs, too..."
As the conversation comes to a close, Unglert apologizes for "kind of blindsiding" Schulman with his phone call, adding, "I appreciate you taking the time to talk about our dating foibles."
Says Schulman, "It's only as awkward as you make it."
"I'm making it awkward," Unglert says. "It's sufficiently awkward right now."
Given how awkward his love life is now, would he ever look for love on TV again?
"I think I would go back to Paradise. With this newfound perspective, I can handle things. Obviously, it's a work in progress, but I think it can only get better from here. As crappy of an experience as it was, I definitely leant a lot of insight and [it was a] growing opportunity for me, so it'd be interesting to see it displayed again for the world to see. I have a little more insight into the way people are affected by what you say and what you'd do, instead of just the real world application," Unglert tells his listeners. "I'd have to consider it, but I'd probably go back."
Help! I Suck at Dating With Dean Unglert premieres Sept. 25 on iHeartRadio.