desiree hartsock brooks forester breakupThe Bachelorette finale really was an adrenaline-pumping ride -- due in great part to the eleventh-hour departure of Brooks Forester, who Desiree Hartsock admitted to being in love with weeks before she jetted off to the fantasy suites and final roses in Antigua. When the man Reality Steve was CERTAIN would win Desiree's heart actually self-eliminated, Bachelor Nation was left stunned, and we're still trying to pick up the pieces! Thankfully, Brooks's most recent ex, Erin Reese, spoke with the National Enquirer to shed some light on the situation ...

The 28-year-old model -- who worked with Brooks on a wedding-themed photo shoot, just like Des, ouch! -- shared, "I broke Brooks’s heart, and he’s never forgiven me. I dated him for nearly two years, and about 18 months ago we called it quits." A family insider says Brooks was so torn up over the split, because Erin cheated on him.

The source elaborates, "Brooks loved Erin very much. They were talk­ing seriously about getting married, but then he found out that Erin was cheating on him. Brooks broke up with her and never looked back." Ouch.

It's mind-boggling then to understand why he would launch himself into a reality TV show competition for love, in which he wittingly agreed to stand by as Des kissed and snuggled with 24 other men. A source close to Brooks admits that he "knew what he was signing up for with The Bachelorette. But at the same time, when he saw Desiree kissing other guys week after week, it was disgusting to him." What a mess!

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We may want to make Brooks out to be the villain for various reasons, but it's really hard to, especially knowing this bit about his last breakup. He probably was convinced he was ready to find love again.

It can happen to the best of us. It could be several months, even a year or more, post-breakup, and just as you're about to start a new relationship, you realize you're not ready. Or you're having trouble trusting and committing again. Obviously, those are emotional issues anyone serious about having a long-term relationship would want to work through ...

But it seems like Brooks just wasn't there yet -- for Des or possibly for anyone. Even more reason I can't blame him for walking away. (And it didn't hurt that he totally made me giggle by slamming Chris Siegfried's HORRENDOUS poetry! Haa!)

Does this make you more or less sympathetic to Brooks? Have you ever tried to make a new relationship work too soon after a split?

 

Image via ABC