Shannon Beador 'Blindsided' as Boyfriend John Janssen Ends Their Romance, 3½ Years Into Dating

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Shannon Storms Beador is opening up after her boyfriend of three and a half years, John Janssen, ended their relationship over a month ago.

The Real Housewives of Orange County star, 58, exclusively tells PEOPLE about the final days of her romance, saying she "was blindsided by the breakup."

Janssen, 59, pulled the plug on their pairing in late November, a week after filming wrapped on season 17 of the hit Bravo series, on which Beador has been a full-time cast member for the past nine seasons.

"All I can do is repeat in my head what he said to me while we were filming," Beador shares, when asked to look back at what led to the split. "We were in a great place. But seven days later, when the cameras were down, it was a completely different story. He told me he was done with the relationship. And to hear what he said to me then was absolutely devastating."

"I've never loved anyone more in my life," Beador says, of Janssen. "I was hopeful this was the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I wanted it to work out. I've never loved anyone like I've loved John. But clearly, he didn't feel the same way."

Shannon Storms Beador, John Janssen
Shannon Storms Beador, John Janssen

Todd Williamson/Bravo via Getty Images Shannon Storms Beador and John Janssen

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Reached for comment, Janssen tells PEOPLE that the breakup was a "super hard" decision for him to make.

"I've been in pain over it," he says. "It's sad because I love Shannon very much. I have loved her more deeply than any woman in my life. She's one of a kind; so funny and generous and full of life and adventurous. We have a connection that's unlike anything I've ever had. And I know that for as long as I live, I'll never meet anyone like her again. But that doesn't mean we're right for each other for the rest of our lives."

Shannon Beador
Shannon Beador

Astrid Stawiarz/Bravo/NBCU/Getty Shannon Storms Beador and John Janssen

Janssen went on to explain once he came to the conclusion the relationship wasn't forever, he knew it was time to end things. "It doesn't make sense to be together if you don't believe in it," the businessman says. He just didn't want Beador to suffer the humiliation of doing that on camera.

"The last thing I wanted to do is hurt Shannon, but I do think I did the right thing for the both of us," Janssen tells PEOPLE. "We're two people who love each other very much, but love is not always enough. And while I know Shannon sees it as I've said things to her I never meant, I hope she'll be able to see that there's no bad person here. It's two really good people who couldn't make it work."

RELATED: Shannon Beador Addresses Relationship Concerns with Boyfriend John Janssen on RHOC

Beador and Janssen met in 2019 through mutual friends. They went public with their romance to PEOPLE that July.

They saw one another twice after their split, at two separate University of Southern California games on Nov. 26 and Dec. 3. (The two studied at the famed institution at the same time, though they didn't know each other.)

"I was hopeful we could find a way forward," Beador tells PEOPLE. "But being around one another only made it harder for both of us."

They haven't seen each other since, and are no longer following one another on social media.

"The holidays were very, very difficult," Beador says. "I couldn't believe he wasn't here, and there would be days I would just cry myself to sleep. But it's a new year, and I'm ready for a fresh start."

Shannon Beador
Shannon Beador

Shannon Beador/ Instagram John Janssen and Shannon Storms Beador

RELATED: RHOC's Shannon Beador Says She Doesn't "Need to Rush" to Wed Boyfriend John Janssen: "We're Happy"

She recalls how she went to the Golden Door health and wellness retreat in Escondido, California, back in 2016, while at a crossroads in her marriage to ex-husband David Beador. The two wound up divorcing a year later, after 17 years wed.

Now, the mother of three daughters — who shares Sophie, 21, plus twins Stella and Adeline, 18, with David, 58 — says she plans on returning to the destination later this month for another visit.

"Being at the Golden Door the first time gave me clarity in my relationship and helped me find the strength to move forward on a path of independence," she recalls. "I have no doubt that returning will once again provide me with the perspective and healing to start this next chapter from a place of peace."

WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Episode 19050 -- Pictured: Shannon Beador -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Episode 19050 -- Pictured: Shannon Beador -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Shannon Storms Beador

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As for Janssen? "I think the world of Shannon," he tells PEOPLE. "I just want the best for her. She deserves that."

Season 17 of The Real Housewives of Orange County is expected to premiere late this year on Bravo.