Rachel Leviss Now Realizes Her Connection with Tom Sandoval Was Like a 'Frog in Boiling Water' — 'Not Love'

The 'Vanderpump Rules' alum reflects on the "manipulation tactics" from her last two relationships: "I fell in love with one narcissistic a--hole and ... into the hands of another narcissistic a--hole"

<p>Santiago Felipe/Getty, River Callaway/Variety via Getty</p> Rachel "Raquel" Leviss and Tom Sandoval

Santiago Felipe/Getty, River Callaway/Variety via Getty

Rachel "Raquel" Leviss and Tom Sandoval

Rachel “Raquel” Leviss is confident her relationship with Tom Sandoval was “not love.”

In the latest episode of her Rachel Goes Rogue podcast, the Vanderpump Rules alum explained what made her realize the polarizing affair wasn’t the real deal.

Speaking with Married at First Sight expert Pastor Cal about “love bombing,” she addressed Sandoval’s comment on last week's episode of VPR that he's “still very much in love with Raquel.”

While considering the kind of “manipulation tactics” some romantic partners — and cult leaders — use to forge bonds, the 29-year-old former pageant queen said: “It’s interesting that you say that its origin [of love bombing] came from cults and religious institutions because people joining churches or cults are trying to find a place of belonging, of acceptance. Gradually, over time, it becomes a control tactic. It’s almost like that phrase ‘a frog in boiling water’ where it won’t jump out of boiling water even though it’s going to kill them, because it’s so gradual.”

Connecting that thought to her previous relationships — both with Sandoval, 41, and with her ex-fiancé James Kennedy — Leviss concluded: “I feel like it’s a similar manipulation tactic. At first, you just think this person is so in love with you, they adore you and they’re giving you all this attention." But eventually, she said, the relationships became about "control" and left her in a spot where she felt she had no one to rely on but her partner — something she called an "odd pattern" that's played out more than once in her life.

Related: When Rachel Leviss Realized Tom Sandoval Was 'James 2.0' — and Why Vanderpump Rules Is 'All He Has'

<p>Getty Images</p> Rachel "Raquel" Leviss

Getty Images

Rachel "Raquel" Leviss

She admitted of both exes: “I fell in love with one narcissistic a--hole, and after that relationship ended after five years of being in that relationship, I fell into the hands of another narcissistic a--hole,” she said. “I feel like I maybe missed out on some precious time learning these lessons the hard way.”

And from the top of the episode, Leviss stated clearly that she could only draw one conclusion about her seven-month affair with Sandoval: “Our connection was not love.”

Reflecting on her time spent with Sandoval and Kennedy, 32, she acknowledged, "I know for me personally, I stayed in unhealthy relationships for far too long. ... I feel like I maybe missed out on some precious time learning these lessons the hard way."

Related: Tom Sandoval Vows Never to 'Cheat in That Way Again' After World-Rocking Affair — but Clarifies 'I Love Hard'

Todd Williamson/Bravo, Phillip Faraone/Getty James Kennedy and Tom Sandoval
Todd Williamson/Bravo, Phillip Faraone/Getty James Kennedy and Tom Sandoval

In early March 2023, Sandoval's then-girlfriend of nine years Ariana Madix discovered that he and Leviss had been having a secret relationship behind her back. She immediately broke up with him, and the betrayal spiraled into an international scandal that is still playing out in season 11.

A few weeks after Leviss and Sandoval apologized to Madix, 38, they were forced to reckon with their choices during the brutal season 10 reunion filming.

Though Sandoval and Leviss claimed they were still in love at that time, Madix was having none of it. She called her ex “diabolical, demented, disgusting” and “subhuman” before telling Leviss, "F--- yourself with a cheese grater. F--- you. You f---ing suck. You're disgusting, and I wish nothing but the worst f---ing sh-- that could ever happen to a person on you."

Leviss did not return to film VPR season 11 and has since cut off all contact with Sandoval — a move, she confirmed on her latest podcast episode, that she had decided to take at the recommendation of her therapist.

getty (2) Rachel "Raquel" Leviss and Ariana Madix
getty (2) Rachel "Raquel" Leviss and Ariana Madix

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Vanderpump Rules airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo and can be streamed in full on Peacock.

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