Kristin Cavallari Loved Jay Cutler 'Just As Much' While Broken Up

Kristin Cavallari Engaged (Again) to Jay Cutler - and Never Stopped Loving Him
Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler on Oct. 4
Charlie Luciano/Startraks

12/08/2011 AT 12:30 PM EST

After calling off her engagement earlier this year, Kristin Cavallari is finally ready for her happily ever after with Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.

"Sometimes, in order for things to get better, they have to end – even if it's momentarily," she tells PEOPLE at the opening of Rebecca Taylor Boutique in Los Angeles. "And that was the case with us."

As far as Cavallari, 24, is concerned, the love between her and Cutler was always there, and the reason for the split is something that she and Cutler, 28, who's been sidelined this football season with a thumb injury, have worked through.

"No one really knows what happened between the two of us, and we want to keep it that way," she says. "We broke up, and we were still talking during that whole time."

Even while separated, the passion never left the relationship.

"We didn't break up because of love lost," Cavallari tells PEOPLE. "We loved each other just as much as we always did when we weren't together."
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