“The Golden Bachelor”'s Ellen Reveals Her 'Old Boyfriends' Reached Out After Seeing Her on the Show (Exclusive)

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Ellen Goltzer tells PEOPLE that the recognition from being part of 'The Golden Bachelor' has been "a surreal experience"

<p>Disney/John Fleenor</p> Ellen Goltzer and Gerry Turner on

Disney/John Fleenor

Ellen Goltzer and Gerry Turner on 'The Golden Bachelor'

The Golden Bachelor’s Ellen Goltzer admits that she has heard from some former beaus after appearing on national television.

The 71-year-old retired teacher tells PEOPLE that “old boyfriends from college and high school” have been “reaching out” after seeing her on the ABC dating series.

“It's almost a surreal experience. People use that word a lot, but it really is,” she says. “It's almost like an out-of-body experience where you don't think he's watching me, but I don't think that's really me.”

“And then when people will come up to me and say something like, 'Oh, I know you’ or people are reaching out from elementary school. I went to Forester School with her. It's crazy," she adds.

<p>Disney/John Fleenor</p> Gerry Turner and Ellen Goltzer on 'The Golden Bachelor'

Disney/John Fleenor

Gerry Turner and Ellen Goltzer on 'The Golden Bachelor'

Related: Golden Bachelor: 3 Women Admit They're Falling in Love While Gerry Feels 'a Heavy Weight' Before Hometowns

The pickleball captain says her past loves simply reached out to say “congrats.”

When asked what she told her boyfriends, she teases, “I think I would've said, what's up? Maybe it might've been different, but they lost their chance.”

Goltzer’s journey on The Golden Bachelor came to an abrupt end on Thursday when she did not receive a rose from Gerry Turner after she declared that she was “falling head over heels in love.”

<p>Disney/John Fleenor</p> Susan, Sandra, Theresa, Ellen, Leslie and Faith on 'The Golden Bachelor'

Disney/John Fleenor

Susan, Sandra, Theresa, Ellen, Leslie and Faith on 'The Golden Bachelor'

Related: The Golden Bachelor's Joan Hopes for Another 'Chance at Love' but Feels 'Lucky' for Support After Sudden Exit

The Florida native now tells PEOPLE that she was “weak in the knees when I heard that he called Theresa's name and I was surprised.”

“I had doubts about his feelings because I know he was torn between a few girls, but not enough to feel I wasn't getting one rose,” she explains. “There was three people. So I just anticipated being one of those people and when I wasn't, I was a little shocked.”

During her time on the show, Goltzer was forthright about her feelings about Turner. She explains, “The people that know me will say, 'Wow, I saw a side of her that I never really saw before,' but my ability to be honest and forthright and share things with him. I think he was a little surprised and I surprised myself [with] the ability to do that.”

<p>ABC/John Fleenor</p> Gerry Turner and Ellen Goltzer on 'The Golden Bachelor'

ABC/John Fleenor

Gerry Turner and Ellen Goltzer on 'The Golden Bachelor'

Related: Golden Bachelor Gerry Turner Says Red Flags Aren't Always a Bad Thing: 'Trying to Stay Open-Minded' (Exclusive)

“I'm not usually that verbal as far as emotions. I think that's why I was persuaded to go and apply because people in my life that love me knew that there was something missing in my life even though I had a full life,” she explains. “I didn't expect to be that way. I didn't expect to be that emotional. I didn't expect to be so comfortable with the filming.”

She says ultimately the show brought her out of her “comfort zone,” adding, “I was able to just let loose, but I let loose a little bit too much. But I guess it was good for me to be able to do that because it showed me that I was capable of being emotional again and looking for love again. It really did. I was shocked.”

After the show aired on Friday, Goltzer also shared a heartfelt message on Instagram, noting that she is not giving up on love.

“Saying goodbye to Gerry was not an easy thing to do. I was falling in love and I hadn’t felt those kinds of feelings for a guy in years,” she wrote alongside a picture of her and Turner. “This experience taught me so much, and I am so thankful to everyone at @goldenbachabc !!!”

“I have a new lease on love, I know I can fall in love again, and like my best friend Roberta said— never say never!!! I’m so ready to find my forever person, I wasn’t ready for so long, but I’m so ready now! 💛🌹”

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The Golden Bachelor airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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