A day after the world saw him experience a second round of heartbreak with Tayshia Adams on her finale of The Bachelorette, Ben Smith is sharing his thoughts with another famous Bachelor Nation runner-up.
Ben was a guest on Nick Viall's The Viall Files podcast on Wednesday, Dec. 23, where he discussed watching himself on the finale and finding out for the first time while viewing the episode on TV that Tayshia had gotten engaged to Zac Clark.
"It's tough to see yourself go through something like that," the Army vet explained. "But I'm so happy for the way it ended up. I'm so happy for Tayshia, I'm so happy for Zac. Zac and I were close throughout the entire experience. ... You can see that they're happy together. The fact that they're still together, that's incredible in and of itself."
Ben said that although the outcome wasn't what he initially hoped for, he is still incredibly grateful for what the show did for him. As viewers recall, he had several incredibly emotional moments with Tayshia, which included him opening up about his past struggles with eating disorders and his previous suicide attempts.
"I have this peace around the whole experience, and holy cow, I came out of that with so much growth and so much experience," he said. "And I'm a newer, better, more complete version of myself, and so I'm incredibly thankful and happy. And I just have this peace about the whole experience."
Ben was sent home after the hometown visits after he was hesitant to express his love for Tayshia, but he famously returned and was given a second chance to make things work before she ultimately cut him in the finale. As he looked back on his time, the West Point grad could see that his connection to the Bachelorette was not as strong as Zac's.
"I was in the camp of being like, There's no f--king way that any other dude is having the same experience that I am having," he admitted. "But watching it back now, I see, Oh, my god, Ben, dude. Like, your relationship was one thing, and it was playful and fun, and I can see that connection that we had, but it's pretty evident that there was a deeper bond and a deeper connection, ultimately, with Zac. You can see their chemistry, you can see the way they play off of each other."
Ben, who told Nick that it has been over a year since he has been on a date outside of the show, said that he had reservations about returning due to concerns of having to get over her previously rejecting him. But given how powerful his feelings were, Ben knew he had to take his shot, especially given that she had helped him in his own personal journey.
"I came in trying to meet a girl, trying to learn something about myself and maybe restore my faith in humanity, and I got all those things, which is nuts to me," he continued. "The reason I fell in love with her was the way that she made me feel. She held space for me. She created a space for me to be open and vulnerable. And it was safe, and it was secure, and she didn't run, and she didn't chastise me, and she didn't do anything other than just receive me. And for that I'm grateful, and I'm incredibly thankful for the experience."