02/18/2012 at 09:00 AM EST
Emily O'Brien may have looked smitten on her dates with The Bachelor
Ben Flajnik, but now that all the roses have been handed out, she's singing a different tune.
O'Brien, 27, now says that Flajnik is "not the type of guy" she'd want to take home to meet her parents.
The Chapel Hill, N.C., Ph.D. student told reporters how she came to that conclusion – and why she thinks Courtney Robertson may be the one.Were you expecting to be eliminated?
I wasn't totally shocked. When Ben pulled Courtney
aside, it was a last glimmer of hope. Maybe he was finally listening. But I knew Rachel and I were going. I wasn't feeling a whole lot from him. He was going through the motions. His heart and mind were somewhere else. I was upset to leave, but it was probably a blessing in disguise.
I wasn't the right girl for him, and he wasn't right for me. We connected very well on an intellectual and friend level, but his romantic chemistry is off the charts with other girls. I really liked Ben, and we had great times together, but he was sold on someone else.
Were you really falling in love, or simply caught up in the moment?
I'm fairly competitive. It's hard to disentangle that when you're in the moment. I was on track to fall in love with Ben, although I wasn't in love when I left. I saw things in him that I really liked. But because you're in beautiful locations, the dates are perfect and you're with this great guy who's completely focused on you and wanting to find love, it's hard to know how much of it's environment and how much is really going on in your heart.
Were you happy, then, to be eliminated before hometowns?
I'm completely relieved it didn't get to that point. Knowing what I know now, it would have been a huge mistake to bring him home and involve [my family].
Sounds like you're thankful not to be the last woman standing.
My respect for him has gone down since the show aired. I've had people say that I dodged a locomotive with a nuclear bomb strapped to it. I'm not sure I would put it that way, but we were not meant to be together. I started to feel that a little towards the end, but it has been completely confirmed watching the season.
Had you gotten the final rose, how would you feel after seeing the show?
Several things have upset and disappointed [me], and I would have hard time watching what transpired. It would have taken time to build up trust again. If that would have been a deal breaker, I don't know.
Like the skinny-dipping?
I understand the motivation to do that with a guy you like. It sounded fun. We all probably would have liked to do it. I understand he's very attracted to Courtney and wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. I just wish he would have been a little more respectful of us. If you make that choice to be intimate with one, you've got your mind on that instead of developing connections with everybody. After, it wasn't a level playing field and it clouded Ben's judgment.
Do you regret talking to Ben so early about Courtney?
I could have handled it better, more tactfully. But it came from a genuine feeling of concern, and he asked for openness and honesty several times. That's the only reason I talked. The fun, relaxed side disappeared pretty quickly after our conversation. A negative element became part of our relationship. He started to see me as antagonistic to what he wanted. The other women were smart to stay away from it. That conversation should have been a red flag to me. It showed me two things: He didn't respect my opinion, and he was already far gone for this girl. I wish he'd responded differently. Telling me to be careful felt like a threat. Probably should have walked [then].
Do you think the warnings are being heard?
It didn't make a difference what we thought. He marches to the beat of his own drum, so I'm not sure anyone could have said something to detract. We kept going on about how perceptive he was and [how] he'd see these things eventually, but we didn't understood the extent to which he was attracted to her. I'm not sure he was totally thinking about things clearly.
Thoughts on the public outrage over Courtney?
Courtney's not a nice person, no matter how you slice it, but she's still a human being. It's got to be difficult to hear what people are saying. I don't think she deserves that. I would encourage her to take this as a lesson. If you want people to like you, you have to be nice, polite and respectful, and you can't say mean and spiteful things.
The rumors all point to him picking Courtney. Who should win?
There are some really great girls there. Honestly, I won't be happy if Ben ends up with Nikki, Lindzi or Kacie. They deserve someone more on their level and more grounded. Ben and Courtney are certainly what each other is looking for. They could make each other very happy though I'm not completely certain Ben was ready for long-term commitment. It wouldn't be all that surprising if he wasn't [engaged].
Do you think she likes him?
Hard to know. When I watch, she doesn't seem all that interested in him or what he's saying It just seems like she's trying to get him to like her. She'd say things like, "If you didn't give me a one-on-one date, I was going to leave." If you are head over heels and emotionally invested, you don't threaten and demand.