Warning: Spoilers ahead.
The final episode, which aired on 9 November, was full of ups and downs as some couples said “I do,” while others were left at the altar. One couple that didn’t live happily ever after was Nancy Rodriguez and Bartise Bowden. The 27-year-old senior analyst rejected the 32-year-old speech pathologist in front of all their friends and family, which led to a major blowout between Bowden and Rodriguez’s brother, Steve. Bowden told Rodriguez that their connection wasn’t ready for the real world, but it was Rodriguez who ultimately decided to end their relationship for good.
Following the episode, Rodriguez revealed that she felt “blindsided” by Bowden the moment he said “no” to marrying her. Speaking to PEOPLE, the real estate investor said she hopes the former couple can become friends in the future, and shared whether she has any regrets about her Love Is Blind journey.
“Right after the wedding, we took time apart,” she explained. “I think for me, you saw me, I was like, ‘It’s black and white. You said no. I’m out.’ I had to do that to protect myself, because at that point I was so blindsided that I needed to process, how did this happen?”
Looking back, she realises where their relationship went south. “Rewatching it, it was like, ‘Oh, that’s how it happened,’” she said.
While Rodriguez hopes that can be friends with her former fiancé, it may take some growing up from Bowden to get to that point: “I would hope that Bartise and I could be friends at some point and later on in life, maybe in his 30s, we can be friends. But I don’t see the benefit of us being friends at this point.”
The third season of Love Is Blind was a whirlwind of drama after five couples left the pods engaged. Alexa Alfia and Brennon Lemieux were the first couple to get engaged in the pods, followed by Nancy Rodriguez and Bartise Bowden, Raven Ross and SK Alagbada, Zanab Jaffrey and Cole Barnett, and Matt Bolton and Colleen Reed.
Although Bartise Bowden was initially attracted to pilates instructor Raven Ross in the pods, he decided to propose to Nancy Rodriguez based on their strong emotional connection. But when Bowden met Ross in-person during the pre-honeymoon retreat to Malibu, he told his fiancée that he was still attracted to his former pods fling.
After they left the post-pods retreat, Bowden and Rodriguez had some disagreements on how they would build their lives together leading up to their wedding day. Bowden had reservations that Rodriguez was still financially connected to her ex-boyfriend, and the two also had conflicting views on abortion.
When it came time to say “I do” during the season three finale, Rodriguez seemed ready to spend the rest of her life with Bowden. But the senior analyst shocked both his fiancée and their wedding guests when he said they weren’t ready to get married.
The moment led to a heated exchange between Bowden and Nancy’s mother and brother, Steve, outside the wedding venue. Rodriguez’s mother repeatedly interrupted her daughter’s conversation with Bowden. At one point, her mother even called Bowden “stupid” and said, “This man is not ready for you, he’s not ready for you who you are... cause you’re too much for him.”
Rodriguez’s younger brother, Steve, was skeptical of Bowden from the start. During the episode, he was seen telling his mother that he “didn’t want to be right” about Bowden’s true intentions towards his sister.
Following the dramatic wedding episode, Rodriguez admitted to PEOPLE that she had to suppress her own angry emotions, in order to calm the escalating situation between Bowden and her family.
“My brother and Bartise were about the same age, so my brother got it,” she said. “And when [Bartise] said no, I had to shut down my feelings and I even said to Bartise, ‘It’s okay.’ Those were my first words when we got outside. So my mom and my brother fought the fight that I couldn’t fight in that moment.”
Reflecting on her Love Is Blind experience, Rodriguez maintained that she has no regrets about her journey. Although, if she were to ever get engaged in the pods again, it would be to someone a little bit older.
“I think for me, the person I did the experience with was the person that I was supposed to be with and I wouldn’t have changed that,” she said. “So would I do this all over again? Absolutely. Would I do it with a 25-year-old? No, thank you.”
All 12 episodes of Love Is Blind season three are currently streaming on Netflix.