Nicole Lopez-Alvar and Clay Harbor went through plenty of ups and downs as a couple during their time on Bachelor in Paradise. Between Nicole's dates with other guys (remember Christian Estrada?) and Clay's ex showing up at the resort, there were a lot of obstacles in their way. But despite it all, it seemed like the couple were finally in a solid place by the final week in Paradise. So what happened? Why do Nicole and Clay break up on Bachelor in Paradise? Things got pretty complicated between them.
Right from their very first date, Clay's previous relationship with Angela Amezcua cast a shadow over everything. As Clay and Nicole were getting ready to go out together, Angela's friend Annaliese Puccini told Clay she thought it was too soon for him to be dating, since he and Angela only broke up a couple months prior to the start of Bachelor in Paradise. Clay said told her he was ready to move on and went on the date; however, when Angela joined the Paradise cast later in the season, he didn't seem so sure.
When Angela arrived in Paradise, Clay said he still "really cared about her" and admitted it was hard to have to watch her date other people. Nicole had an even harder time with Angela on the beach, so it was clear Angela's addition to the resort put a wedge between Nicole and Clay.
It came out during the show that Clay never said "I love you" to Angela during their eight-month long relationship, and it seems like saying those little three words are a bit of an issue for Clay, since he also had trouble saying them to Nicole as well.
Thinking about the future, Nicole told Clay she needed to know that they're serious about each other if they were going to move forward with their long-distance relationship, since Clay lives in Chicago and Nicole lives in Miami. During a moment together, she told him she was falling for him and she asked if Clay felt the same way. He responded by saying he thought he was falling for her, but he just couldn't say that he was in love yet. That made Nicole "nervous" and unsure about her future with Clay.
"I just need answers. That's the only way I'm going to feel confident about moving forward with Clay," Nicole said.
During the final group rose ceremony of the season, Clay gave Nicole his rose. They both said that they were hopeful about their future together. "If we do this, it's gonna be us, and we're gonna be good," Clay said.
Clay and Nicole progressed to the Fantasy Suites, but during the date, Clay revealed he still had reservations, saying he didn't know how he could ask Nicole to uproot her life if he wasn't entirely sure about his feelings. Nicole responded that if Clay did move, it would be her decision entirely. But still, Clay was confused.
"I'm not 100% ready for a proposal. I'm not 100% ready to move in together. I think there's more to explore," Clay said.
Nicole was pretty hurt by Clay's admission, saying he gave her no indication of these feelings before. "Now that the end is here and you're faced with a decision, you're backing out," Nicole said.
Clay and Nicole decided not to spend the night together so they could take some space to figure things out. The next day, they met at the beach, and Nicole said that she was anxious because she didn't know what was going to happen.
Nicole read Clay a beautiful speech about her love for him, but the romance came to a grinding halt when Clay told her he wasn't in love with her... yet. Clay said he thought he was falling in love with her and he wanted time to take it slow, saying he didn't want to get engaged but wanted to leave the beach as a couple. However, Nicole said, "You know or you don't ... I have to do what's best for me right now. I can't tell people we're together, knowing you don't love me back." And with that, she left without him.
Nicole seemed pretty heartbroken over everything, while Clay halfheartedly made a joke about going to the pub for a drink rather than talk about his feelings. At least now Bachelor Nation doesn't need to deal with the Clay-Nicole-Angela love triangle anymore.