Throughout the second season of The Bachelorette, one man confused us more than any other: Courtney Dober. He's beautiful to look at and seems like a really nice guy — but man, he sent Georgia some incredibly mixed messages. He was eliminated in tonight's episode — the third last episode — so we sat down with him earlier to find out why it all went down the way it did.
POPSUGAR Australia: How did you feel about leaving at the time?
Courtney: Well, I was obviously very disappointed. Georgia and I had built a very unique relationship and I had very strong feelings for her, and vice versa. It kind of sucked to come to the end that it did in the way that it did. I think Georgia and I felt that we could very easily be in a relationship and in the real world see where it goes — I said that to her multiple times, I wish that I met her in the real world and not the confines of the show. Obviously there are stages that you've got to be at. The last conversation that we had on home towns day — there were a lot of conversations actually, there was a running joke in the house that I was always having the deepest and most emotional conversations in comparison to the other boys.
Courtney: Not that you saw much of that! It sort of got to the point where Georgia needed — and this is completely understandable — she needed people to be 100 percent certain of whether or not they could fall in love with her by the end of the show. And I was always very honest and I stayed true to myself. I never wanted to say or do anything that wasn't me, I didn't want to lie to her and say things for the entertainment factor or because it was a television show — I honestly could not give a shit about that. I was there to build an honest and real relationship with someone and I told her that I was very, very much in like with her. That I could see myself being in a relationship with her. And she said to me, "Look, I know that I will be up there at the end and be able to tell the person that I am in love with them, that I do love them." And I couldn't promise her that. I didn't want to lie and say, "Yeah, I can do that as well!" I said to her, "I could [fall in love with her]. It's very possible. Something could flick and I could go, 'Holy shit! This is the woman I love and I want to spend the rest of my life with'." But at the time I couldn't tell her that I was in love with her, and I couldn't promise her that. It kind of sucks because I was like, "F*ck, I wish this was the real world and we could build an organic relationship, and move through the levels and fall in love in real time." It was pretty hard.
PS: Wow, I don't know where to start with my questions now! So you weren't in love with her.
Courtney: No, no, I definitely wasn't in love with her at that stage. But she's someone who I felt feelings for faster than I felt for anyone else, ever. And I told her that! I could see myself potentially falling in love with her, but for me it was about time. I wanted to be in a relationship with her, I wanted to move through those levels with her. I discovered a lot about myself; I am one of those people who needs more time to fall in love. Unfortunately it was time that killed me.
PS: I can get what you're saying . . . Things go a lot slower in the real world. When I think about saying, "I love you," to someone after three months, it sounds pretty full-on. It would be pretty hard to do that, especially on TV.
Courtney: Yeah! And I mean, I'd had three dates with Georgia, including home towns. As I said, I'd never felt feelings for someone that fast in my life. And yes, it is dating on speed and unfortunately there are other great dudes and they're all competing for her heart. You don't really know where you stand. And it is hard to put yourself completely out there and say, "Holy shit, yes I do love you," and then get shut down. That would be the worst thing in the world! I was always going to be honest with her. Look, if I did fall in love with her in that short amount of time, then happy days. I would have told her that, and then if I wasn't meant to be with her at the end, it would have hurt a shit load more. I just had to be honest with her.
PS: Yep, and that's great. This all makes a lot of sense to me because when she asked you to tell her how you were feeling last week, you kissed her instead of answering. That to me seemed like you didn't want to answer. I thought to myself, "He's not into her."
Courtney: It's very interesting to see how they play it back because, to be honest, when Georgia and I had conversations, I did most of the talking. The way it comes back [in the episodes], she talks and talks and talks and I'm sitting there like a bloody stunned mullet. What about my responses! Because it went back and forward, she'd speak, I'd speak, she'd speak, I'd speak . . . She was asking me questions for ages about my feelings and stuff, and it's kind of disappointing that you don't see any of that. But then again, I think that would paint me in a different light. At the end of the day, it's a television show, it's entertainment. It kinda sucks watching it back because I'm like, "Well, f*ck, I know how I felt at that stage. I know what I said." And it's not shown, and then you cop it on social media, people saying, "You don't even like her, you're not there for the right reasons, she should send you home, what does Georgia see in you . . . " Like, come on.
PS: I think everyone's trying so desperately to guess who wins — we read into everything! Did you have a defining moment when you realised you'd have to tell her you weren't in love with her?
Courtney: Um, I was very, very open and honest from our second single date. The first date for me, I was taking it as a real life, real situation — at the end, you're in a real relationship. It's not a TV show anymore, you're in a real relationship. The first date was trying to figure out if we were compatible or not, and if I actually liked this girl, and vice versa. I didn't go into it thinking, "She's the one and I have to fall in love with her because she's the Bachelorette!" It was like, well, I don't have to fall in love with you. It's a very individual journey. I very much liked her, and I copped it because I didn't kiss her on the first date. But I felt like it wasn't the right time, and it was a little bit daunting with 15 other people in the room! The second date for me was a chance to explore that deeper emotional connection and, unfortunately you didn't see it, but I expressed a lot of feelings towards her and we kissed. It was fantastic. And then post-that, at the rose ceremonies and the cocktail parties, we had some incredibly deep conversations. She knew the whole time; I was very open and honest about my feelings and the level they were at, right up until home towns — actually right up until I left. We had some extremely deep conversations — none of which you saw. Georgia would vouch for me!
PS: So were her feelings hurt, or was she just glad you were honest?
Courtney: I think both of our feelings were very much hurt because it was the realisation that the TV show, the environment we were in, the bubble, had won. It had ultimately defeated the relationship, which sucked. It really did suck! I told her multiple times that I wished I'd met her on the outside and she was very open in saying, "This is not the outside. This is how we've met and this is the way we've got to deal with this. This is the level I need you to be at, and if you're not there then . . . We need to call this." And unfortunately I wasn't at that level.
PS: If you were in the real world, is she someone you'd be with?
Courtney: 100 percent. 100 percent. And she's someone I definitely would love to have explored the possibilities of a relationship with, and the possibilities of love in the real world, with.
PS: It reminds me a bit of Olena from The Bachelor — the structure of the show just didn't work for her.
Courtney: Yeah, and you don't know that when you're going into it. I didn't know how much time or how little time we spent with her. I didn't know that I was someone who takes a bit of extra time to fall in love. I suppose at the end of the day I just had to be honest and stay true to myself, which I did.
PS: That's all anyone can ask, I suppose! The three guys who now remain — do you think they're in love with her?
Courtney: I don't know, you'll have to ask them! [Laughs] I definitely think Matty J, obviously we don't see what he says to Georgia but I remember him in the house saying, "Oh shit, I think I'm in pretty deep here." He didn't tell us word for word what he said [to Georgia], he just said he was feeling some pretty strong emotions — and we all were! We all were feeling strong feelings for Georgia, I suppose we just all just articulated it in a bunch of different ways. Matty J was just very open about telling her that he was basically in love!
PS: The bromance thing was so funny and I'm sure you've had a lot of questions about it. That time Georgia got offended because you gave up time with her — was any of that intentional, was it just you trying to be a mate? What was it all about?
Courtney: No. I think it came down to Ryan and Tommy being my roommates and my bunk buddies. It was the fact that we'd all put ourselves out there. We'd all gone into this journey with the hope of falling in love with this girl. I'd come off the back of two incredible days and a shit load of time with Georgia. Knowing that we had a strong, real connection, and then coming to bed at night and hearing the boys saying, "Oh, this is shit — am I ever going to get a conversation with this girl? Am I ever going to spend time with her, for her to realise who I am before I go home?" To hear the concern from them . . . about whether or not they'd put themselves out there, they've gone on this show, they've quit jobs and all this crap to try and fall in love, and then to not have the chance to have a conversation with the girl, that would be the worst. I would hate to go home off the back of that! Feeling like I'd spent some pretty quality time with Georgia, I felt like I sort of needed to look out for my brothers.