Episode 1 (M&G):
My conversation with Emily went really well. "A coal miner's daughter." A stunningly beautiful woman with a Southern accent that's thicker than mine – the first impression was incredible.
Episode 2 (Ali & Roberto):
I laughed out loud when I watched Emily say, "I don't really care where he gets his coffee." Speaking of Emily, what was I thinking during that conversation? "You make me lose words." My God, I was a stuttering idiot. Those are the moments when I watch myself and grimace.
I chose to give a rose to Emily because of the advice they gave me.
Episode 3 (winery date):
Then, Emily told me about her tragic past as well as her 5-year-old daughter.
My date with Emily was emotional, to say the least. In hindsight, maybe I should have been more insightful where she was concerned. I remember thinking something was wrong even before we got on the plane. Our conversation at the winery was almost awkward. I should have known that something was bothering her or that she wanted to tell me something important. While watching, I realized she was deflecting every single question I asked about her personal life. Let me also say this: Never in a million years would I have asked her to fly with me on a private jet if I had known about her fear of flying.
I'm so thankful that Emily decided to open up on the latter part of our date. Hearing everything she told me made my head swim. I can't fathom losing someone like that. She obviously loved the man very much and it's hard for me to comprehend the tragedy. On a positive note, I was overwhelmed with joy when I heard Emily has a daughter. I felt like she and I made a breakthrough that night – one I had been anxiously awaiting.
Episode 4 (pre-RC picnic):
There was a lot of talk about Emily during the cocktail after I arranged an impromptu picnic for her. Please let me explain: She had revealed quite a bit about her life to me, both past and present, during our date at the vineyard. I can only imagine what it took for her to tell me everything she did. I didn't have a single chance to talk to her after that because she didn't receive a date of any type the following week. I wanted to just say, "Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your life with me." In hindsight (and especially after watching the reactions from some of the other girls that didn't go on a date that same week), I realize it may have been a little unfair of me to do that. I didn't think about how the other women may have felt and I'm truly sorry. Again, it wasn't until I saw the conversations that occurred while I was with Emily that I realized I made a small mistake. I don't regret the picnic, but I do regret not doing something for the other girls that went dateless that week as well. It makes me feel like some sort of "criminal" for robbing those ladies of that!
Episode 5 (Las Vegas):
Now on to the date that everyone seems to be talking about ... the NASCAR date. I want to be very clear: I had absolutely no idea the extent of Ricky's (Emily's ex-fiancé) involvement with NASCAR. I never – not for anything in this world – would have taken Emily to the racetrack in Las Vegas if I had known. It was only in the middle of the actual date that I found out everything about Emily's past.
On a positive note, I was very proud of Emily for driving the car instead of shutting down. It showed an immense amount of strength and courage on her part. I know it was an emotional experience for her and I tried my best to comfort her while not overstepping my boundaries. It actually seemed like something Emily needed to do to be able to move forward and try to find love again, so I'm actually glad everything happened as it did (although that may seem selfish on my part).
Trying to comfort Emily as much as I did obviously caused some drama during the final part of the group date. I empathize with the women because I know time is limited, but I also wish everyone would have been more understanding. In no way did I feel sorry for Emily (because I think she's moved on). I simply wanted to be there for her in a time of need. I would have done the exact same thing for any of the women that were there on the date. I will say, however, that no matter what the circumstances were, I was able to let Emily know that I was beginning to develop strong feelings for her. And that's why I gave her the rose.
Episode 6 (Costa Rica):
No comments about women. Only comment about himself: It was a week full of clarity, so to speak.
Episode 7 (Anguilla – Sandy Island date):
I was looking forward to my date with Emily so much! By that time, I had developed immense feelings for Em. For some reason, though, I always clammed up around her and acted like a shy school kid, so I had to use this date to tell her how I was feeling. Our date was one of the most romantic dates I've ever been on! Who can say that they've had the chance to take a date to a deserted island? The date was perfect and could not have ended any better. After I left Emily that night I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders because our relationship had reached a place I so badly wanted it to go.
Episode 8 (HTD):
Last but definitely not least, I was humbled and honored to get the chance to meet Emily's daughter, Little Ricki. It took a while to get her to open up to me but once she did, my heart melted by just being around that little girl.
One last thing ... I want to explain why I didn't kiss Emily while sitting on her couch. It's no secret that I'm brand new to a lot of this. I've never dated a woman with a daughter before so I don't know proper etiquette in that situation. All I know is this, I wanted to kiss Emily every second I was around her, but my very first concern was showing her daughter respect (as well as Emily). I realize it makes me look like a weird and awkward guy around Emily, but that's anything but the case. Again, my first concern was her daughter.