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Many fans of The Bachelorette Season 18 have been on the edge of their seats waiting to find out whether Michelle Young picks Nayte Olukoya or Brandon Jones. The two contestants have been frontrunners throughout the season, and the ABC reality series finally delivered some solid answers. So did Michelle end up with Brandon or Nayte? Here’s our Bachelorette finale recap.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers about Michelle Young, Nayte Olukoya, and Brandon Jones in The Bachelorette Season 18 finale on Dec. 21, 2021.]

Michelle Young learns if she wants to be with Brandon Jones or Nayte Olukoya in ‘The Bachelorette’ finale

Michelle Young stands together with her final two picks Nayte Olukoya and Brandon Jones before ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 18 finale in 2021
Nayte Olukoya, Michelle Young, and Brandon Jones in ‘The Bachelorette’ 2021 | ABC/Craig Sjodin

Things got complicated for Brandon, Nayte, and Michelle in The Bachelorette Season 18 finale. To kick off the week, the final two men met Michelle’s sister, Angela, and her parents, LaVonne and Ephraim. And yes, there’s a clear favorite. 

Brandon seemed to fit right into the family. Ephraim says the contestant reminds him of himself, and LaVonne even hopes that it’s Brandon in the end. Meanwhile, Michelle’s parents aren’t sure about Nayte and whether he’s actually all-in. Then LaVonne tells Michelle that she doesn’t think that Nayte is ready to get engaged

In the end, it seems like Michelle’s family trusts her judgement. But the bachelorette also starts questioning her future with Nayte. Then the show heads into the final two dates, and things get even more complicated. 

Michelle Young goes on her final dates with Nayte Olukoya and Brandon Jones

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First up is Brandon, and he gets to take Michelle out on the water. The two have fun together, as always. Then at the end of the night, the bachelorette says she’s in love with Brandon, and he truly believes he’s going to marry her. But it’s not over yet.

During the second date, Nayte and Michelle meet up with a shaman, and there seems to be some disconnect. But when the two open up to each other later, Nayte admits he’s terrified of losing Michelle, and he says he wants to end up with her. 

This is exactly what the bachelorette needs to hear, and she hints that she wants to leave the show with Nayte. However, Brandon drops off a sweet letter, reminding Bachelor Nation fans – and Michelle – that there’s still another contestant.

Why did Michelle Young break up with Brandon Jones in ‘The Bachelorette’ finale?

As The Bachelorette finale continues, Michelle admits that she fell in love with Brandon and his vulnerability. However, it becomes clear that she wants to be with Nayte, suggesting that she would be “devastated to lose” him. 

Meanwhile, Brandon heads toward the final rose ceremony, confident that he’s going to propose to Michelle with a Neil Lane engagement ring. And yes, it’s painful to watch knowing what’s about to happen. Brandon says he doesn’t want to spend another second without Michelle, and then the bachelorette has to cut the cord..

“I have truly never met somebody like you, and I meant what I said,” Michelle says. “But I promised myself that I could continue to follow my heart. It’s not that I don’t love you because I do. It’s just that my heart is pushing me in a different direction.”

Brandon being Brandon says that being with Michelle has been “worth every second,” and he doesn’t regret anything. The two have a heartbreaking goodbye on the beach, and the contestant cries while he tells the bachelorette her happiness is worth more than his. Then Brandon takes a sad, lonely walk up the beach, and he tells producers how he really feels.

“I gave everything that I had,” he says through tears. “I’m just so broken.”

Michelle Young and Nayte Olukoya get engaged in ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 18 finale

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It’s clear that breaking up with Brandon broke Michelle’s heart in The Bachelorette finale. But it’s also obvious that the teacher from Minnesota thinks her person is Nayte. 

“I know that my heart belongs with Nayte. He’s my person, and my heart, I followed it the whole time,” Michelle tells producers.

Meanwhile, Nayte reveals that he feels the exact same way. He says his heart and mind are finally in sync for the first time, and he lets Michelle know exactly what he’s thinking. Nayte also acknowledges the bachelorette’s fears about feeling unseen, and he says that he’s “completely prepared” to make Michelle feel like she’s “always chosen first” and seen. Then Michelle gushes over her final pick.

“I have never felt love like this before, and I love you with my entire heart,” she says. “At the end, I wanted to stand in front of my soulmate, and he is definitely standing right in front of me.”

Then Nayte says he doesn’t want to let Michelle go, and he gets down on one knee. 

“I am absolutely crazy about you. Michelle Anne Young, will you marry me?” he says. 

Then Michelle replies, “Yes, of course.”

With one happy ending down, Bachelor Nation fans are hoping another engagement is on the way. So stay tuned. Clayton Echard’s season of The Bachelor is coming out on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.