It’s been a few months since Georgia turned you down. How have you been?
It’s been pretty tough, from when filming wrapped until now I’ve had to just bottle everything up. The only time I’ve been able to be honest and open has been with my mum and my sister. You don’t really want to just give everything away, even though you’re upset. I had to just kind of shrug my shoulders and say, well, maybe I did end up with Georgia. Maybe I didn’t. And as the series progressed, everyone thought I did win it. That’s the hardest part, having it constantly brought up in conversation. Then you watch it on TV, you have Georgia in magazines and the press, and it’s always in your face.
What were your coping mechanisms?
I guess I’ve been fortunate I’m back at work. I’ve been at work for three weeks now. That’s been a really nice distraction from the show, to immerse myself in work and pretend like it’s never happened. But my sister has been pretty good, too—she’s the person that I have been venting to the most. I feel a bit sorry that I’ve been putting her through this so much.
Can you talk a bit about living in the so-called Bachelorette bubble? Watching it back, or at least reflecting on it, do you feel you really were in love? Do you regret anything you said or did?
That was something I was really conscious of. I’ve had holiday romances before. I’ve been in love before. I think I’m pretty intuitive to the difference of those two emotions. I constantly reassessed my feelings for Georgia, and made sure to try and not get carried away with them. Even now, my feelings haven’t really changed. At all. So they couldn’t have been more genuine.
Nikki told us she knew the minute she saw Richie before their final conversation that she knew she wasn’t the one. What about you?
Yeah, I knew. [sighs] I think you can kind of sense… by the end of the three-month period, I’d gotten to know Georgia really well. You can tell when someone’s happy or upset, as soon as you see them. She was giving off the vibe she wasn’t comfortable standing there. Looking into her eyes, I could tell something’s up. Then she started talking and saying those amazing things, so I thought maybe I’d missed something. But hearing it was Lee? That hit me hard.
Why do you think Georgia ultimately decided not to go with you?
I don’t want to get too caught up in dissecting it, as hard as it is not to. I can ask where I went wrong, or what I could have done differently. But it just came down to that connection they had. You can’t put it down to one particular thing, as much as I would like to see if I could change it. But I guess she just loves him and not me.
Can we talk about your sister? Are you comfortable with how hard she pushed Georgia on the kid front?
[Laughs] When she brought up kids, and watching that back on TV, I was like… oohhh, don’t do that. But you’ve only got a very short amount of time to make a judgment on someone. Ideally those kinds of questions come much later. Unfortunately, with that hometown visit, you have to rush through those hard-hitting questions straight up. I’m actually glad she asked those questions because it allowed her to make a fair call and judgment on Georgia. And she actually did like her, I should add.
Would you be the next Bachelor?
It’s a question a few people have asked, and the best analogy I can give is that I feel I’ve just crossed the finish line of a marathon. And I’m absolutely exhausted, and someone has walked up to me and asked if I want to do it again. And my initial reaction is: definitely not, no way. But that might change in a few months’ time once I’ve recovered and gotten over it all. So right now, no. In a few months’ time? Maybe.
Are you ready to date again?
Definitely not right now. No! I am not wanting to search for anything new. I’m just going to enjoy the company of friends and family for now.
And not telling half-truths to everybody. That has to take a bit of a toll.
Yeah, I can remember being in the office and the phone would go off, and everybody would be going, “Oh, that’s Georgia. That’s Georgia! It’s Georgia, isn’t it?” And you just want to be like: “It’s NOT GEORGIA! I didn’t end up with her, all right?!”
So many of the guys from this season had nothing but praise for you. But what was yours and Lee’s relationship like?
I got along with him really well. He’s a kind, considerate, fun guy to hang around with. Not once did we have any confrontation in the house—at all. We’d cook each other dinner every other night. I really enjoyed his company. But I was closest to Clancy and Jake. Lee was in the mix but he’s not someone I’ll speak to every day going forward.
Have you had a chance to talk to Georgia, or will you now that the series has finished and she’s coping with her mum’s illness?
I haven’t been sure how to tackle that. Of course I want to message her, to ask her how she’s doing and to let her know what an amazing job she did during the series, that everyone fell in love with her. I want to reassure her that I don’t have any hard feelings toward her. But I think to send that right now would maybe be inappropriate. I did send a message to Lee, letting him know he had my best wishes and that he deserved it, that I wish him nothing but happiness.
What did this experience teach you about yourself?
I didn’t realise how much I wear my heart on my sleeve. Even to the point where, I remember there were times I was waiting for that first single date and the guys would come back from theirs, saying things were great. They’d had kisses. And instantly, people would ask, “Matty, are you okay? What’s wrong?” And I thought I had a pretty good poker face! When I was happy or sad, everybody instantly knew. I didn’t realise it was that obvious.
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