These days, Peter Weber and Kelley Flanagan are in love and planning to take some major steps in their relationship.
But to say the odds were against these two in the beginning would be a massive understatement.
Not only did Peter send Kelley packing before the hometown round (yes, she finished in a discouraging fifth place for the season), he got engaged to Hannah Ann Sluss shortly thereafter.
Then he made an effort to date Madison Prewett, and it was only after that relationsip fizzled that he decided to give Kelley a try.
That’s not exactly the kind of love story couples look forward to telling their future grandkids.
But to his credit, Peter is aware that he put Kelley through hell with his indecisive nonsense.
“Everything I put Kelley through… I’m still working to make it up to her for not picking her,” Peter told Entertainment Tonight’s Lauren Zima in a recent interview.
“And I’m never going to stop.”
Now, for the first time, the couple is telling the story of exactly how they found their way back to one another.
Kelley says she’s not suited to reality TV and found the whole experience unpleasant (except for the parts where she got to know Peter, of course).
He offered to come visit her in Chicago after his other relationships went kaput, and she initially declined.
It was only after the two met at a gathering of friends in LA that they re-opened the lines of communication.
It seems Flanagan’s father had recently been diagnosed with cancer — he’s since recovered — and Weber wanted to be there for her as a friend.
Kelley was still hurt by getting dumped on national TV, but she believed Peter was sincere in his desire to get to know her better.
“I was like, ‘You know what? I gotta stop caring about that so much,'” she told ET.
“‘Yes, please come out … come see me,'” she recalled
“Trust is a huge thing, but if you just hear each other out, it’s a lot easier,” Kelley added.
“We’ve sat down and talked everything through, and it makes a lot more sense if you’re on our end than the public’s.”
As for Peter, he says he was blinded by the spotlight of fame, and he can now see that Kelley was always the one for him.
“With Kelley, it literally sounds so cliché — I can just be myself. She truly gets me,” Weber told ET.
“She’s my biggest fan and she supports me and she’s always there for me. I know I have my partner in crime forever.”
He added that he’s “never had this confidence from a relationship before.”
“I’ve grown a lot but I’m not saying it’s all on me either … she is, I truly believe, the perfect person for me,” Weber said.
“And I feel so blessed to have this have worked out.”
From there, Peter recalled the first time he revealed the extent of his affection for Kelley.
“Wanna know how I told her I loved her for the first time?” he said.
“Neil Lane wasn’t there — I know — but I got her this little gumball machine ring,” Weber continued.
“We were having a pool day, and I [sat her on the couch]… I told her I wanted her to remember this day from this gumball machine ring is the day that I told you that I loved you.”
“There’s always something about Peter that I knew I just was madly in love. I just knew we’d get along,” Kelley chimed in.
Peter noted that his mother very much approves of Flanagan.
In fact, she’s such a fan of Peter’s girlfriend that she refuses to watch the Bachelor episode in which Peter sends her packing.
“People like to say, ‘Oh, she wasn’t your first choice. And I know for Kelley, it has been tough to see,” Peter said of the couple’s rocky beginning.
“But listen, at the end of the day, this is a reality TV dating show. This is not real life, normal life, so it’s not the same.”
He noted that few people “end up marrying the very first boyfriend or girlfriend they ever had.”
“It’s not their technical first choice,” he pointed out.
“So, we’ve just done a good job of reassuring each other and just explaining why I did things, and owning up to my faults and just being a better person moving forward.”
As for the what the future holds for these two, it seems that Kelley is planning to take a break from practicing law so that she and Peter can move to New York City and try to carve out careers as … professional famous people, or something.
“I’m super excited to take this next step with Kell and move to New York and to see what adventures await,”
Asked whether or not there are wedding bells in their near future, the couple demurred.
“We’re not on a reality show anymore, we can take our time,” Flanagan says.
“We don’t need to rush anything. We want to make sure each other is in the right headspace, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re happy and we’re living life.”
Their path to happiness may have been a long and winding one, but hey — a couple who met on a reality show actually found love!
You certainly don’t see that every day!