• Motto

The Bachelorette‘s Andi Dorfman Talks Fantasy Suite Slut-Shaming and Having ‘No Regrets’

7 minute read

Andi Dorfman has been through two major break ups in the public eye: First, she dumped Juan Pablo Galavis when she was a contestant on The Bachelor. Then, when she was ABC’s Bachelorette and gave her final rose to contestant Josh Murray, she called off the wedding eight months into the couple’s engagement.

The reality star has a new “anti-self-help” book, It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Never After. Motto spoke with the reality star about the book, breakups and all things Bachelorette.

Motto: What do you hope people will take away from reading your book?
Dorfman: They’re not alone in going through a breakup. We’ve all either been there, done it or we’re close to going through a breakup. I want people to feel empowered that they’ve not only survived a breakup, but that it’s all right to talk about it, too. I always hear about romance and love and relationships, and we’re so scared to talk about the negatives, about when it doesn’t work out. It’s not all for nothing, it’s not all a failure, and you can be empowered. Life goes on after a breakup.

Are you still mad at Juan Pablo?
I’m definitely not. I think that the title reflects a little humor in it—you’ve got to laugh a little bit about the “It’s not O.K.” thing, but I’m definitely not mad at Juan Pablo anymore.

In your book, you wrote really honestly about some of the things that Josh Murray said to you—and they were pretty difficult to read. How did your relationship get to that bad place?
They were difficult to read, and they were difficult to write. In hindsight, the relationship started to really take a turn after the live After the Final Rose special. Slowly that relationship just started to crumble, like a lot of relationships. It’s kind of hard to pinpoint exactly when it started to go downhill, but as you can see in the book, there’s a clear path to its demise.

What advice would you give other women who are in a relationship with someone who isn’t treating them with respect?
The best advice is to get out, but I understand, having been through it, that it’s not that easy. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize when you’re in a relationship that is unhealthy for you. You never think that it’ll happen to you, you never think that you’re the type of person that will (A) put up with that kind of stuff and (B) be in that situation to begin with. I think the first step is as soon as you start recognizing that there is that feeling of disrespect, go with your gut and walk away from it.

Soon after you and Josh broke up, you said that ending that relationship was the biggest failure of your life. Why did you say that?
I felt in that moment that it was a huge failure. I’d had a relationship that millions of viewers had seen and had supported and rooted for, and for it to not work out when I was so sure that it would, that made it feel like a failure.

Read more: Why Healthy, Successful Women Can Still “Need” Men

Do you still think it’s true?
I think labeling it as a failure can be a little harsh. As I said in the book, there are so many people that have failed at certain things in life. I think ultimately it’s only a failure if you don’t learn anything, if you don’t move on from from it, if you don’t gain some insight. I have gained so much insight from my time on the show, from the relationships, and from the breakup. So I don’t categorize it as a failure anymore. I think you learn more from your failures than your successes.

What do you wish you had known before you went on The Bachelor?
I came into this show so naïve, but then maybe that feeling of the unknown was what made me be authentic and share. I also wish I would have packed more than two suitcases like everyone else did!

Did you ever regret your decision to leave your job as a lawyer to go on the show?
I don’t. People ask me that all the time, and I have to remind them that I have a law degree that I worked really hard for, and it’s mine for life. I can go back to it whenever I want. I got one of the most incredible experiences of my life by going on the show and doing the things and seeing the places meeting the people and falling in love, which I did on the show, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that had I not left my job. It allowed me to go off the beaten path a little bit. I don’t think everyone gets that opportunity, so I have no regrets about it.

Read more: Is It A Date? How To Tell

After having been on both sides of the show, do you think it’s actually possible to find love on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette?
I do because I did find love. Was it a love that ultimately worked out? No. But I’ll never deny the fact that, in that moment, when I got engaged, I was madly in love. I won’t ever deny those feelings. I think that you can meet someone in the rarest of circumstances, whether it’s at a bar, at a coffee shop, I mean, walking down 7th Avenue in New York City. So I do think that you can absolutely find love. I think there’s been successful relationships that have kind of proven that on reality television.

Read more: How I Finally Learned to Love My Body

When Nick Viall appeared on After the Final Rose, he inadvertently made slut-shaming a national conversation. What do you think still needs to be said on that topic?
I think the fact that we even call it slut-shaming gives you an idea. We’re still calling women sluts! I think that shed a lot of light on the fact that there is still this inequality with the men and the women. I said in the book that any man in that situation [in the Fantasy Suites] is probably having sex with all three women and yet they get a pat on the back and the woman gets called a slut. I think it shows that we’re still not at that equality yet. There’s a lot of ways that women have kind of risen up and become equal and you know superior to men in a lot of ways, but that’s one area where we’re still in the deficit still.

What advice do you have for JoJo Fletcher on this season of The Bachelorette?
The biggest thing I would tell her is to try and stop and enjoy some of the great moments. It really is a fun, once-in-a-lifetime experience. You’ll never do it again, you never see the places in the ways that you’re seeing them ever again and it’s really easy to get caught up in the drama and the emotions and the exhaustion that goes along with it. Try to have moments of fun and peace and know that it’s going to go by really quickly and you’ll never get it back again.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com