He found love on The Bachelor with Alex Nation, and the road ahead promised nothing but romance and adventure for Richie Strahan, 32, and his chosen girl. He couldn’t imagine a future without her and he never dreamed that within months it would be over. The happy-go-lucky surfer has remained silent as Alex and Maegan Luxa openly flaunt their new love, but now talking only to New Idea Richie is finally ready to reveal what happened and what his future now holds.
Can you describe the hurt you felt on learning that your relationship with Alex was all over?
The months leading up to it were the most difficult, crazy and confusing times I’ve been put through. Having something wonderful dissolve the way it did was heartbreaking, but at the same time, there was a lot of relief that the emotional roller-coaster was finally over.
Did you fall in love?
Of course I did – that’s the whole point of the show. I went on The Bachelor with an open heart and mind, thinking it would be a great chance to meet a beautiful woman.
You sold your [Perth] house to move to Melbourne. Were there any other sacrifices you made for your relationship?
I was making a lot of sacrifices, but that’s what you do when you’re trying to make a relationship work. I was travelling back and forward to Melbourne a lot, which was exhausting.
Can we ask, why did you break up?
Tough question. I guess the brightest spark can fizzle fast. We made some bad choices back in June and our relationship really struggled to recover for months after. It didn’t matter how much effort I put into it – sometimes these things are destined to fail.
You seemed to ‘disappear off the map’ after the split. Did you need time out?
My life has changed so dramatically these past three years [since he appeared on The Bachelor], that I felt I needed time to process everything. I was going through a range of emotions and I didn’t feel like engaging with everyone. I needed space from what I was dealing with and wanted to work on myself. So I surrounded myself with my family and friends, and found peace getting back to my passions, like surfing, fishing and dirt bike riding.
You are passionate about causes supporting men’s mental health. Has yours been tested these past few months?
Most definitely – you can’t imagine the craziness I’ve been dealing with. I’m so thankful for having the people I have in my life, and the support from my family and friends has been remarkable and so heart-warming. In that respect, I’m a lucky guy. My sister is my sounding board and she’s been fantastic to bounce my thoughts off.
In terms of low points in your life, was the demise of this relationship about the lowest you’ve been?
No, I wouldn’t say the lowest. Relationships don’t work out all the time and that’s OK. If it’s not meant to be then maybe that’s a blessing in disguise. I’m a positive person and there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I’m fine now and doing really well.
Is there a message you have for Alex, now that she’s settled in a new relationship?
I just hope that she’s really happy.
Are you open to love again?
Of course! I’ve never not been open to love and have always worn my heart on my sleeve. I’m sure the right girl is out there somewhere.
Do you regret going on the show?
No, not at all. I’m so grateful that I was given that opportunity. I mean, what an experience! What a wild ride! I still laugh with my friends about what happened while filming. It’s something I will always look back on and smile.
Would you ever consider going on a television matchmaking show again?
I don’t know – probably not. I haven’t had much luck, so maybe I’ll try and meet someone a different way. The Bachelor was a lot of fun but I think I’ve done enough dating shows for now.
We hear you’re interested in a change of career. Tell us more.
I’ve worked really hard to be in the position I’m in, working ad hoc as a non-destructive testing technician in the resource industry. This gives me time to pursue other passions. I’ve written a short film, and next year I’d like to get it off the ground. It would be great to enter it in a festival like Tropfest, though I don’t know whether I want to be behind or in front of the camera. It’s a bit ‘out there’, like Quentin Tarantino meets Guy Ritchie. I’ve also really enjoyed the experiences I’ve had in radio, and am open to opportunities there. Who knows, my life is so much like a soap opera that I could end up on a soapy!
For the full interview see this weeks issue of New Idea - out now!