“As bad as the breakup was, it might have actually made our relationship even better,” he tells PEOPLE
After Kevin Wendt and Astrid Loch’s shocking split on Bachelor in Paradise, fans were thrilled to learn that the couple had reunited when the couple opened up about their rekindled romance on the show’s finale.
Now, Wendt says they’re planning for the future.
“As bad as the breakup was, it might have actually made our relationship even better,” he tells PEOPLE. “I feel a lot less pressure and I’m excited about our future together. Everything seems lighter.”
The couple, who are currently on a romantic trip to Bali, are exclusively dating — and talking about moving in together.
“Astrid is definitely falling in love with Toronto,” Wendt says. “That would be the place where we would live together. And we’re not going to just date for fun. I’m 34, she’s 28. We’re at the no BS stage.”
When it comes to their shocking breakup on the beach, Wendt says he never questioned his connection with Loch, only how fast things were moving.
“I had insecurities about the process,” he explains. “It was less on Astrid and more on my own baggage. I heard the word ‘fantasy suite’ and I thought, next step is you’re talking to Neil Lane and you’re on a beach deciding whether to propose.”
Continues Wendt, who got engaged on his season of The Bachelorette Canada and started dating Ashley Iaconetti on The Bachelor Winter Games: “I just got anxiety. I remember my chest feeling so heavy. I freaked out. I just wanted to go home, and the only way to go home was to leave on my own. I was really disappointed in myself, but I didn’t want to deal with the pressure of the fantasy suite. I didn’t even know what Astrid’s mom looked like! I didn’t even know if her sister would like me. And because of my experiences from prior shows, I knew I wasn’t going to get engaged again on TV.”
After he broke things off, “I instantly missed her,” he says. “I was so used to spending 23 hours a day with her. I was depressed. So, I didn’t know if it was the right decision, but I wanted to give it another shot.”
RELATED VIDEO: Grocery Store Joe Reveals He Would’ve Accepted Bachelor Gig If Things Didn’t Work Out in Paradise
Within a few weeks the exes were “talking and texting and getting our groove back,” says Wendt. “Then I flew to North Carolina and the sparks were still there. It was fantastic, right back to normal.”
Wendt says he’s apologized “ever since the split,” and that Loch was more than willing to forgive him. “We’ve always had each other’s backs,” he says. “When she was leaving Mexico she ran into [contestant] John [Graham] and the first thing she asked was, ‘Is Kevin okay?’”
Now, Wendt says the past is behind them and the future is looking bright.
“I met someone who was on my level,” he says. “It’s so easy with Astrid. And I just love that.”