Getting proper closure. Ariel Frenkel reunited with Zach Shallcross during the live finale of The Bachelor on Monday, March 27 — and didn’t hold back when it came to her feelings about fantasy suites.
Ariel, 28, first told Jesse Palmer that she was “really hurt” to learn Zach, 26, had sex with Gabi Elnicki. after telling the New Yorker that he planned not to sleep with her, Kaity Biggar or Gabi. When Zach joined her on stage, Ariel noted it was “really difficult” to be “left in the dark” in Thailand.
“It was really difficult to see that you weren’t honest with me. I committed to being in an open relationship — that’s what it is, that’s what I want to call it,” she said. “And when the parameters of an open relationship change, I should be the first to know. I should have not been left in the dark, standing up there in Thailand at the rose ceremony when you had ample time to tell me about everything before I left. So, I just really want to know why the other women were given grace and honesty — and that is something you really pride yourself on — and why I wasn’t given that same respect?”
Zach said he has a lot of regrets about how he handled that week. “I was going through a lot mentally and I didn’t know the right way to handle everything,” he said. “You’re right. I should have told you — probably first. … There’s no excuse for it.”
While she appreciated his apology, Ariel accused Zach of taking away her “agency” in the relationship.
“You took away my agency and you took away my ability to even have a conversation. If you had waited, you would have found out that I was on the same page as you,” she added. “And I think by putting sex off the table, you made the entire week about sex, and it didn’t need to be like that.”
Fans will recall Ariel was eliminated by Zach at the rose ceremony during the March 20 episode of the ABC show after she had the first overnight date.
“What feels right to me is not to explore sexual connections with three different women before falling in love,” he explained before their date. “When sex is involved, it can cause so many additional hurdles and real feelings are at stake. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s difficult because I have a physical connection with [Ariel, Kaity and Gabi].”
Following their date, Zach confirmed that he and Ariel did not sleep together.
“My relationship with Ariel is so much stronger and I have so much more clarity. This was a very important night for us,” he said in a confessional. “I came into this week not wanting to involve sex and with Ariel, it was more difficult than I could have ever imagined. But we both agreed on it and it was very important to just have conversations and not have sex involved. I think it was the right decision.”
During his subsequent date with Gabi, however, Zach broke his own rule.
“It was very special, it was important and it was what we both wanted and needed for the relationship,” Zach told the audience. “I feel terrible because, obviously, I’ve gone against my word and I have fears with how Kaity would feel, how would Ariel feel. I have a guilt about the whole week now.”
While Kaity was informed during the third overnight date about what happened, Ariel went home without learning Zach had sex with Gabi.
“This was easily the hardest thing I’ve had to do,” Zach told Ariel after she didn’t receive a rose. “And I want you to know that I appreciate you more than you know. And you are one of the most interesting, intriguing, beautiful, respectful, mature, intelligent women I’ve ever met and I’m blessed to know you.”
After thanking Zach for “making it easy” for her to open up, Ariel admitted it “hurt a lot” to say goodbye to the lead. “I’m hurt because I know, like, how great of a person he is,” she said in the limo. “And I know that I felt this way for the first time in a while for a reason. It’s like that future and that life that you envision is just, like, gone in a cloud, in a way.”
The Bachelor finale continues live on ABC until 11 p.m. ET.