This story was originally published after Managing Editor Kim Peiffer watched her ex-boyfriend, Nick Viall, compete for love on not one, but two seasons of The Bachelorette. Now, Nick V. is back for more heart-wrenching reality TV competition as he attempts to find love (again) on this season of Bachelor In Paradise. Will he find love? Only time (and lots of magaritas) will tell. But in the meantime, here's a look back at Peiffer and Viall's summer romance. 

The Bachelorette
Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC Via Getty Images

It’s quite a rare occurrence to be able to say that you’ve dated a contestant on ABC’s wildly popular reality series, The Bachelorette. It becomes even more rare to be able to say that you have an ex that has made it to the final rose ceremony.

And the odds dwindle down to practically nothing when your ex somehow makes it back on for a second season of The Bachelorette, once again ending up in the final two.

But apparently I beat the odds, because I dated Nick V.

I met Nick Viall (aka “the Violator,” as we liked to call him) one summer after freshman year of college, through my college roommate and longtime friend who had a borderline stalker-status crush on one of his best friends. We had hung out a few times through mutual acquaintances, and spent one evening in particular at a bar talking into the wee hours over what I imagine was probably very cheap Wisconsin beer. He was so cute and so sweet—a classic Wisconsin boy. I was definitely into him.

The next day, he called my roommate at work (she was employed at Abercrombie & Fitch at the time, for a true #throwback moment) to ask her for my phone number. "I hope I didn’t get you in trouble by calling you at work," he said quietly into the phone. "But I like your friend Kim and was wondering if I could have her phone number."

And so our summer romance began. We spent evenings going out in downtown Milwaukee, double dating with my friend and her crush, and having a blast. He was a true gentleman. He would pick up the phone and call to ask me on proper dates, take me to dinner, buy me roses (the irony of roses, I know). It was never anything serious, just a fun summer romance. Then, as the summer ended, so did the relationship (as most summer flings tend to do). I headed back to college, with fond memories and the confidence that Nick V. and I were definitely not meant to be (back then, I was far from ready for a serious relationship).

Fast forward to last summer, many years later, when I found out that one of my former flames was going to be a contestant on The Bachelorette. My roommate (who is sadly no longer my roommate, but still one of my dearest friends) called to drop the bomb. After I removed my jaw from the floor, we burst out laughing together. And ever since then, it’s been quite a journey (cue the Bachelorette speak here).

Last season, as I watched him woo Andi Dorfman and make his way to the top, I experienced three months straight of severe déjà vu, as I remembered all of those little details about him that (a) stole my heart, (b) that annoyed me to no end, and (c) ultimately ended in our breaking up.

When Nick took Andi back home to meet his family, and visited many of the local haunts our mutual friends love, the #flashbacks continued, much to the dismay of my current roommate—my boyfriend of over 2 years—who has watched every single episode right along with me from our couch, and whom I think enjoys the show explicitly more than myself or any other 20-to-30-something girl ever possibly could. It’s actually kind of creepy.

As if last summer wasn’t entertaining enough, news surfaced that Nick V., who went home broken hearted after being dumped by Dorfman in the final rose ceremony last time, would make a comeback this summer, and it was like an early birthday present.

Who doesn’t want to watch someone you know, let alone dated, putting it all out there (and he certainly did) on national television? Who doesn’t sort of love all the texts, phone calls, and emails pouring in from family, friends, and even your boyfriend’s family (awkward, but true) making jokes and comments about each episode and how much Nick V. entertained them. Who doesn’t sort of love watching it all unfold on TV while sitting next to your current boyfriend?

While Nick V. and I certainly were not a match made in heaven, I wish him all the best tonight on the final episode of The Bachelorette. And, in true #Bachelorette speak, I have no regrets.

Kim Peiffer is InStyle's Managing Editor. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.