"We're still dating and getting to know each other and falling more and more in love every day" the former Bachelor tells PEOPLE
Speaking to PEOPLE at the “Lose Your Vegenity” event with MorningStar Farms in New York City on Wednesday, the former Bachelor said he and his girlfriend felt “a lot of pressure” from the public to rush into things after they bucked franchise tradition by deciding to give their relationship a chance without getting engaged during the season 23 finale.
“It affected both us and our families,” Underwood, 27, told PEOPLE. “We sort of got ahead of it, and got on the same page by being like, ‘This is where we’re at. This is where we’re going to say we’re at,’ and not really just going along with what the franchise and what the expectations from the media and from the fans are.”
But the reality stars understand the continued interest in their relationship (and pending engagement). “Everybody’s sort of been on this ride with us and this journey with this. We want them to sort of come along and stay up with us, stay up-to-date,” the former NFL player said. “They’re invested and we appreciate it. The fans have been amazing.”
“I couldn’t be happier with where [Randolph and I] are at right now,” Underwood added. “We’re still dating and getting to know each other, and falling more and more in love every day. It’s been good. The further away we get from the end of the show, the more realistic our lives sort of go back to being. We really get to spend more quality time with each other.”
On Underwood’s season of The Bachelor (which aired from January-March), frontrunner Randolph, 23, shocked fans when she was unable to commit to an engagement and left the show before their Fantasy Suite date — but he fought to get her back after breaking up with the remaining contestants because he knew she was the one for him.
“I thought I made the right decision in leaving,” Randolph previously told PEOPLE. “But Colton fought for me. And he has shown me what a healthy relationship looks like.”
“Colton never put pressure on me,” she continued. “I think that’s why we’re still here today, because we took it at our own pace. We didn’t want to rush something that was going to be forever.”
Randolph and Underwood left the show as a couple — and though there was no proposal, both have made it clear that that’s the plan moving forward.
“She doesn’t have a ring on her finger yet,” Underwood told PEOPLE. “But she will, one day.”
Randolph moved to Los Angeles from her hometown of Huntington Beach following The Bachelor finale. Although she’s much closer to the former NFL player (who relocated from Denver earlier this year), the two have yet to move in together.
Underwood admits, “It’s been talked about,” but says “we don’t really want to force anything.”
“We just want to let it naturally happen,” he adds. “There’s a few steps that we still have left in our relationship to get there.”