Everything I've Learned About Love (So Far)
Rachel Lindsay

Rachel Lindsay Gets Real About Her Love Story

“We don’t allow other people’s opinions to define what we have.”

Elite Daily/Mallory Holcomb

It’s hard to imagine a Bachelor universe — or any pop culture universe — without Rachel Lindsay. Not only was she a no-nonsense Bachelorette who famously told one contestant “I’m really going to need you to get the f*ck out,” but the 37-year-old also has one of the franchise’s few (and most beloved) success stories. In 2019, Lindsay married Bryan Abasolo, the winner of her season — but their relationship is only one part of her legacy.

Lindsay’s reality TV career led to her becoming a correspondent for ExtraTV, a podcast co-host on Higher Learning, and a two-time author. With all of these accomplishments, it’s safe to say she’s become a notable figure in the zeitgeist. But what if she just... wasn’t? What if she never took that risk of going on The Bachelor, never became the next lead, and never met her husband?

Lindsay’s not so sure — that’s why she wrote Real Love, a romance novel about the what-ifs. In it, the protagonist Maya says no to going on Real Love, a reality dating show, nominating her friend for the position instead. However, as she watches her friend take a risk and fall in love, Maya begins to question her choice and the life plan she’s committed herself to. “I always think about that girl who almost said no to an opportunity that changed her entire life. So I wanted to revisit that,” Lindsay tells Elite Daily. “What if I had stayed in that relationship that wasn’t going anywhere? What if I had stayed in the career that wasn’t fulfilling me? What if I continued to live a life in a box and did what pleased everyone rather than what I really wanted to do?”

Here, Lindsay opens up about her novel, her relationship with Bryan, and how she blocks out the online rumor mill.

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Elite Daily: Congratulations on Real Love. As an author of a romance and women’s fiction novel, do you consider yourself a hopeless romantic?

Rachel Lindsay: Pre-Bachelor, no. After going on The Bachelor, yes. After being the Bachelorette, even more so. I think we all are. You just have to be put in the right situation with the right person to bring that out of you.

ED: To this day, there’s still public interest in (and rumors about) your relationship with Bryan. How does that investment make you feel?

RL: I feel nothing, to be honest. That’s me protecting myself in all of this. I was pretty private before coming on the show, and that’s been a challenge since. What I loved about being in the Bachelor world is that people only knew me and Bryan in that Bachelor bubble. They didn’t know my personal life: where we live, how we live, what we drive, and who we hang out with. I love keeping that safe.

For Bryan and me, we’ve made a conscious decision to give you something but not everything. The more you give, the more it opens it up for people to have an opinion. But on the other end, because we don’t give as much, whenever there’s any sort of rumor, people are quick to assume it’s about us. But my relationship is not defined by the social media activity. Forgive us for living in reality and not on social media.

That’s why I say I don’t feel anything. If you’re rooting for us, great. If you’re not, cool. We don’t allow other people’s opinions to define what we have.

ED: What’s the most meaningful lesson you’ve learned from your relationship with Bryan?

RL: Patience, compromise, and sacrifice. Both Bryan and I were older when we entered the Bachelor world. I was beginning my 30s. He was in his late 30s. That can make you very set in your ways. When you find that person and blend your lives together, it takes work on both of your parts. He moved to Dallas for me. I moved to Miami for him. We both made the conscious decision to move to L.A. for each other and our future.

ED: What’s one underrated thing you love about him?

RL: A lot of people see Bryan as more reserved because he’s quiet. But when he gets going, he’s really goofy. I think he gets nervous about sharing that side with people, and I’m always encouraging him to do it more.

ED: What’s your best advice for staying connected to your partner?

RL: I am such a big proponent of encouraging open lines of communication. Both of us are believers in individual therapy and couples therapy. We did it before. We’ve done it during our marriage. I know that sounds alarming to people. But if I do therapy to help myself, why would I wait until something goes bad for couples therapy? At the end of the day, it helps us understand each other.

Real love is grounded in truth.

ED: Is there anything specific you’ve learned in therapy that you think everyone should know?

RL: We all can be a bit of know-it-alls. Thinking, like, “I know me. I know how I function.” But when you’re saying it to a third party who has no judgment or bias, you really do learn a lot about yourself. I have been humbled through therapy.

ED: What is a fear you used to have about dating or relationships that you’ve overcome since meeting Bryan?

RL: I always thought that I would get bored with one person. I have such an insatiable appetite for everything. With Bryan, I haven’t even really thought about that. It’s not boring with the right person.

ED: What’s one misconception people might have about your love life?

RL: That I wear the pants in the relationship. We both wear them. They’re unisex.

ED: What does love mean to you?

RL: When we grow up, there’s this fantasy of what love really is, which can be dangerous. The older you get, you realize that love is a lot of different things. Real love is grounded in truth. It’s loyalty, honesty, patience, sacrifice, and listening to each other. Often, love is the right time and the right person. And it’s work.

Those things aren’t all sexy, but it’s still love because you’re doing it with the right person. You’re creating something beautiful together.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.