"He really did touch a special place in my heart and showed me what I didn't have. I know one quality that I really, really am looking for -- that's the kind of quality that Gerry had," Martin said after she was sent home on Thursday's episode.
While Bachelor Nation fans may have lost some faith in Golden Bachelor Gerry Turner after contestant Faith Martin was shockingly eliminated, Faith believes their split was for the best.
During Thursday's episode of The Golden Bachelor, Gerry, 72, sent Faith, 60, home, choosing to continue on with Leslie Fhima and Theresa Nist. Faith was considered a frontrunner in the show as she received Gerry's First Impression Rose.
In an interview with PEOPLE following the episode, Faith, a high school teacher, opened up about her journey on the show and her relationship with Gerry. And despite her heartbreaking elimination, she only had positive things to say about Gerry, admitting that she would like to still have her ex in her life, even if it's platonically.
"There's lingering feelings," she shared. "I truly love the guy. It felt so good to just be in his arms. I would love to have him in my life somehow, but I also think that's a big bite to ask for. I seriously could be friends with whoever he ends up with, and feel like I could love him appropriately in a non-romantic sense."
Looking back, Faith said her split from Gerry "was the best decision."
"I trust the wisdom in Gerry, that he's looking for specifics in his life that will work for him," she told PEOPLE. "I can respect that. But he really did touch a special place in my heart and showed me what I didn't have. I know one quality that I really, really am looking for -- that's the kind of quality that Gerry had."
Meanwhile, Faith admitted that she felt a breakup was possibly looming after her hometown date with Gerry.
“The last scene where I was standing there waiting and the car drove away, I remember having this feeling like, Oh, my God. What if this is the last time I see him?" she recalled. "Certainly I had in my brain the very real possibility that it may not work out. I remember feeling it right then. I cried when he drove off."
As for why she believes Gerry pulled the plug on their romance, Faith said their different lifestyles and because they live far from one another may have played a part. (Faith lives in Washington, while Gerry resides in Indiana.)
"He never brought that up, but I had felt that that might've been," Faith told PEOPLE. "I remember that night thinking, 'Oh, should I have done that?' But, I wouldn't have been being honest had I not said that. He needed to know that because I'm just not the type of person that can see my kids a couple of times a year."
"The other part of it is, I love to camp and hike and backpack and be on my horses," added Faith, who said she prefers to spend time "outside more than in."
"I'd never played pickleball before," she said. "I mean, there's a million reasons that he might've gone, 'Ah. This isn't really a great fit,' even though we had a strong connection. As hard as it is for me to take, I feel like it was the best decision that he put me out when he did."
The Golden Bachelor airs Thursdays at 8 pm ET on ABC.