"It was horrible," Maynard tells PEOPLE exclusively of the aftermath following the breakup of her second made-on-television relationship. "I felt like there was something wrong with me if I couldn't make it work – again."
As a single mom, (her ex Ricky Hendrick died tragically before their daughter Ricki was born), Maynard signed on for The Bachelor hoping to find true love.
"I thought nothing in my life has been normal," she says. "Maybe this is the way I'm supposed to find my husband."
"The feelings that I had for Brad were very real," says Maynard. "But I don't know if I was in love with him."
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The pair grew very close, but Maynard was determined not to make the same mistake twice. "I told Jef, 'I don't want to get engaged.' I told all the producers. I didn't want to put myself back in that same situation and get engaged twice on national television and have it not work out."
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Again, Maynard tried to salvage a fledgling relationship off the show, but the pair split within three months. "I wanted it to work, but I knew in my heart it wasn't going to."
After their very public breakup, Maynard was inundated by the media. Salacious tabloid stories alleging cheating and other accusations were eating away at her.
"I felt like I couldn't trust anybody," says Maynard of that time in her life. "I stayed home, I lost weight, I cut off my hair, I was doing anything to make myself feel better. It was very lonely. I felt totally isolated."
Eventually, the dust settled and Maynard moved on, marrying Tyler Johnson in 2014. The pair welcomed son Jennings last July.
"Of course I have regrets," says Maynard, looking back. "But I don't regret doing the show. It showed me what I want and what I don't want. Honestly, it was a blessing in my life."