Michelle Young‘s journey for love will end in emotional fashion. As the second half of her season of The Bachelorette gets underway, the 28-year-old teacher opened up to ET’s Lauren Zima about the preview that shows her crying at what appears to be her final rose ceremony.
“It’s going to be emotional. It’s going to be really, really emotional,” Michelle told ET of the moment, which was first teased at the conclusion of Tuesday’s episode. “There’s clarity and confusion.”
There’s still a long way to go until that moment, though. At this point in the season, Michelle is down to her final eight men, and feeling hopeful about love being in her future.
“This is like this halfway point where I could actually truly feel myself growing some strong feelings for these men,” she told ET. “It’s so crazy to think that you met them not that long ago… It was this point in the season where I was like, ‘OK. I could see that this may work.'”
While Michelle’s confidence in the process grew, it wasn’t without hard or emotional moments.
“I typically don’t normally allow people to see me cry,” she said. “… I feel like America has seen me cry more than my friends have seen me cry. And they’re going to see me shed more tears.”
“It wasn’t this dramatic thing,” Michelle continued, “it’s just that if you are all in, and you’re doing it correctly, and you’re invested, there are going to be tears. There has to be. I allowed myself to let go and feel all the feels.”
A lot of those feelings came to the surface when Michelle and her suitors left Palm Springs, California, and traveled to her hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“When you’re able to go to someone’s hometown, you learn so much about them from the experiences that they’ve had,” Michelle explained. “For me, it was actually being able to actually show the men and see how they fit in those pieces of your life [rather] than just talking about it.”
“When we were in the middle of the desert, you’re getting to know them and you talk about all these different things, and you talk about where you come from, and how you grew up and your experiences,” she continued. “But being in Minnesota, I was finally able to show them that, and that’s when I really realized how much I was invested.”
Fellow Minnesotan Joe landed the first one-on-one in their shared state, and Michelle told ET that her feelings for him “definitely skyrocketed” during their date.
“Joe, up until this point was very quiet, was very reserved,” Michelle said. “I wanted him to go on that date because I felt like Minnesota was this comfort zone for him, and so I would be able to kind of truly learn. [I figured that] it was just a little bit easier to be vulnerable when you’re at home, and you’re around family… Joe is somebody that really stood out to me.”
Living in the same state, Michelle noted, would make for a “smooth transition” post-Bachelorette.
“That would be no transition,” she quipped. “I felt like we’re kind of like living these parallel lives. It would just be combining them a bit more.”
She also had a one-on-one with Nayte, who earned her friends’ approval during an afternoon on the lake.
“That’s not something that’s easy to do, because they’ve seen me go through difficult relationships, they’ve seen me go through breakups, and they are going to always be 100 percent honest,” Michelle said. “They asked him the hard questions, they really did.”
Afterward, she said, she had “very strong feelings” for the sales executive.
“One of the strongest feelings,” she said. “In that group of men at that time, being able to see how somebody would fit into your friend group is important.”
As her feelings for Joe, Nayte, and others continue to soar, Michelle will have to make some tough decisions about who to send home.
“I would rather be the person being heartbroken than break someone else’s heart,” she told ET. “I have a really hard time with being the heartbreaker, and in this position, you have to be the heartbreaker.”
Overall, Michelle said, she was confident in all the decisions she made throughout her whole journey.
“Getting it right, I think for me, is just listening to my gut, because that’s something that I didn’t necessarily always do in past relationships,” she said. “… It’s just listening to my gut with whatever that’s telling me, even if it’s not what I want to hear or feel.”
“I don’t regret any of the decisions I made,” she added. “I learned a lot along the way… I feel like I gave it everything that I could. I stayed true to who I was. I don’t have regrets. I’m trying to embrace it as we go…I didn’t wish away the pain. I didn’t wish away the good feelings.”
Now, Michelle told ET that she’s happy, though she wouldn’t reveal her relationship status.
“I’m happy with just everything that I was able to get from this,” she said. “That’s what I wanted at the end of everything, and I have that right now!”