Coming into Temptation Island as a single, Payton Burgess didn't plan on tempering her connection with any of the men in the villa, even though they technically had girlfriends. What she didn't expect was how difficult navigating that complicated dynamic would be for her emotionally, especially when it came to Casey Starchak. Ahead of Thursday's all-new episode of the USA Network's hit reality show, Burgess opened up to PopCulture.com about how she felt he "disrespected" her with a "misleading connection" from the start.
Before coming in as a single, Payton was "a little hesitant" at the prospect of trying to find love in a villa full of men who have girlfriends. "But then I was like, they chose to come here just like I did," she told PopCulture.com. "You have to have a slightly open mind if you choose to go [to Temptation Island] at all. ... You wouldn't go there if you didn't have some kind of underlying issue."
So when she first laid eyes on Casey and his girlfriend Ashley Howland, she was sold right away by "his look and the way he carries himself."
"As soon as I saw him, I was like target number one," she admitted.
Casey was clearly feeling some kind of connection too, Payton claims, with the two talking about everything and anything for hours on end, interspersed with conflicting comments about his dedication to Ashley.
"I think what was so hurtful for me was he was so wishy washy," Payton explained of confronting Casey for being an "a—hole" in asking another single on a date in front of her. "It was a lot of misleading connection, to be honest."
"I think some people thought I was overreacting, but I'm just an emotional and sensitive person, and I felt disrespected," she continued. "I don't think he ever truly listened to Ashley, because he never was really listening to me."
"To be honest I was not expecting him to come out and talk to me or even apologize to me at all," she recalled. "It just kind of made me feel like maybe he wasn't as bad as I thought he was. ...There are good qualities about this guy, but you have to dig so deep to find them."
As for any potential continuation of her relationship with David Benavidez after she and fellow single Samantha Hoffman hooked up with him during a alcohol-fueled wild night, Payton said the two managed to go back to their casual acquaintance after the night left him filled with guilt.
"Very drunk would be a very good explanation for all that," she joked of the reason behind the hot and heavy evening.
As for the people criticizing her online for getting in bed with David and Sam, the reality personality had a simple message: "I really don't care."
"You don't know me in real life," she continued. "You don't know me at all. So for you to say hurtful comments on the internet just makes you look bad."
Temptation Island airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on USA.
Photo credit: USA