Sadly, the third time wasn’t the charm for Bachelor fan favorite Amanda Stanton on this summer’s Bachelor in Paradise. Although Ben Higgins and Josh Murray weren’t the right fit for the mom of two, Stanton went into this season’s BiP cautiously optimistic that the right guy would be there for her—not fame.
As the show progressed, Stanton took her time warming up to Bachelorette runner-up Robby Hayes (from JoJo Fletcher‘s season); she eventually fell for the social media influencer, only to (spoiler!) end things with him in next week’s finale. The story doesn’t end there, though: After a lot of convincing from Hayes—and soul-searching on her part—Stanton decided to see if things could work in the real world after the show was done. The verdict? They didn’t.
Now Stanton is speaking out about what went wrong, why Robby may not be who he says he is, and why she’s ready to give up on the Bachelor franchise for good.
When you and Robby reunited on the Bachelor in Paradise finale, which was taped last week, it seemed like he had a tough time coming to terms with his role in why things didn’t work out.
Amanda Stanton: Yeah, I feel like it’s hard for him to own up on camera because what a lot of people care about is how they look on camera. So whether they’re doing these things in real life off-camera, they don’t care. They just want to make sure they look good on camera.
You said Robby got swept up in the fame aspect and being this influencer—but to be honest, that’s what the show has become in a lot of ways, at least after the fact. Was that ever a concern for you going into this?
Amanda: I think everybody handles things differently. For me, my kids have always kept me grounded, and I’ve always wanted the same things. With the show, at the end of the day, I want to get married, I want to give Kins and Charlie a brother or sister, and I want a normal life. I want to cook dinner at home every night.
I think there are some people who go on the show and get a taste of whatever you want to call it—fame, or whatever it is—and they like it and chase that and love the attention. It’s something I actually talked about with Robby after the show. I said, “I just feel like you really love the attention.” He told me, “Yeah, I do.” He responds to all of his girl fans on Instagram, and that was another thing. I was like, am I asking for too much? I mean, if I have a boyfriend, I don’t want him responding to all these girls. So there were a lot of things that I was like, “You’re not really doing anything wrong, but you’re not ready for a relationship, especially with somebody like me, who is looking for something different.”
In the Bachelor world, relationships with each other never truly end once the show is done filming. You guys are always together for personal appearances, events, etc. How do you think things will be with Robby after this?
Amanda: I have no problem seeing Robby around. He’s a good friend. Maybe he’s good for someone to date, but not for me. I don’t mind seeing him. I know we’re doing a charity event together [soon], so maybe that might be awkward. I don’t know how he feels about me. I was just honest on the finale, and I did my best. I didn’t want to call him out or make him look bad. I didn’t go out there and call him a fuck boy, but I also don’t want to let someone get away with trying to be completely different on TV and making me look bad. So, it was the truth.
You two actually tried to date after Paradise finished filming.
Amanda: Yeah, we did.
Did he meet your kids?
Amanda: No. I introduced the girls to Josh, and that didn’t end up working out, so it’s something that I’m very protective of them about. I will say, even with Josh, the reason I introduced them to Josh was because I really did feel like he was ready. He was really good with my kids. If I have one good thing to say about Josh, that’s what it would be. With Robby, I just never saw that. Even if it was too soon now, it’s something I wanted to be able to see in the future or work toward. But the more I talked to Robby and the more we hung out, the less and less I could see that happening.
Do you see yourself falling in love with someone from the Bachelor world or has that ship sailed?
Amanda: Definitely not someone in the Bachelor franchise. I can’t say for sure, because you never know, but for the most part I think I’m moving on from that. I want a normal relationship, I want to live a normal life, and I’m so thankful for all the opportunities the franchise has given me.
But is it hard to go back to normal life after all of this?
Amanda: Sometimes. It is. Your life definitely changes after you go on the show. The show isn’t going to last forever, there are new groups of people all the time, and I think that’s what gets so tough for people. But for me, I’ve always wanted the same thing. My kids have kept me grounded, so it’s been pretty easy for me. My life is definitely different, but it’s been easy for me to stay on track.
Will this be it in terms of the Bachelor world for you, or is there possibly Winter Games in your future or Paradise next year?
Amanda: No more. This is my last time.
How sure are you of that?
Amanda: I’m positive. I was pretty over it even like a little during the season. At times I was like, “Uh…”
I could tell. By the way, I have to know: The opening credits with you being chased by a pizza to poke fun at Josh was hysterical. Did you have to be convinced of that or were you on board from the beginning?
Amanda: They proposed it, and I was like, “Let’s do it.” It was harmless and funny, so we just went for it.
Have you heard from Josh since it started airing?
Amanda: I haven’t, no. Haven’t talked to him in a while.
Probably for the best.
Amanda: Yeah, I think so.
The Bachelor in Paradise finale airs Monday, September 11 on ABC.