"He'd pace around my apartment and be like, 'I can't do it anymore! I have to touch you!' We have three years to make up for," says Iaconetti

By Melody Chiu
July 12, 2018 01:00 PM
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Going from friends to lovers can be a tricky transition, but it’s been smooth sailing for newly engaged Bachelor in Paradise alums Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon.

“It was amazing to see how natural the romance and the sensuality of our relationship came,” the entertainment host, 30, tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue. Adds Haibon, 29: “It just felt right. It’s so crazy now thinking about a time where we didn’t touch. That seems so abnormal.”

Over their nearly three-year friendship, Haibon often visited Iaconetti in L.A. and even stayed with her, but they always kept their hands to themselves.

Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon
Ari Michelson

“I thought he thought I was pretty but just wasn’t attracted to me in that sexual way,” says Iaconetti about seemingly being in the friend zone. “Apparently he was but he hid it really well.”

For all the details on Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon’s plans for the future, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Explains the Help! I Suck at Dating podcast co-host: “If you’re on a diet, you just don’t tease yourself with junk food right in front of you. Then as soon as you kind of open that chocolate bar up, you eat 72,000 of them because you can’t get enough.”

After Iaconetti — whose virginity became an ongoing story line in her stints on the Bachelor franchises — and Haibon began dating this March, they’ve been showing off plenty of PDA.

“As soon as mid-March came, I was all over you,” says Haibon. Recalls Iaconetti: “He’d pace around my apartment and he’d be like, ‘I can’t do it anymore! I have to touch you!’ We have three years of not touching to make up for.”

Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon
Ari Michelson

One of Haibon’s favorite things about Iaconetti is how “cuddly” she is. “It might sound dumb, but physical touch is very important to me,” he says. “I need someone who’s okay with me smothering them.”

RELATED VIDEO: Bachelor in Paradise’s Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon Are Engaged

Luckily, Iaconetti can’t get enough of her future husband. Says the reality star: “He’s a smotherer. Not many people could take it as much as I do, but I love it!”

Bachelor in Paradise returns Aug. 7 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.