"I successfully slid into her Dm’s a few months ago. I took a risk and I am glad I did," Ben Higgins said

By Natalie Stone
February 20, 2019 06:34 PM

Bachelor Nation, meet Ben Higgins‘ new girlfriend!

One month after The Bachelor alum revealed on his podcast that he was dating someone new, Higgins, 29, made his relationship with Jessica Clarke Instagram official.

“I’ve been selfishly keeping this girl to myself for too long! Hey friends meet @jessclarke_! I successfully slid into her Dm’s a few months ago. I took a risk and I am glad I did,” Higgins captioned a photo of himself and Clarke, which was captured in Honduras, on Wednesday.

“She is someone special, and I look forward to where life is going to take us,” the Generous Coffee co-founder continued. “Stay tuned for the journey. In addition, this picture was taken this week in Honduras. I got to spend some time with an incredible group of people from all over the USA on a @generous_coffee_ adventure. Life is good!”

Jessica Clarke and Ben Higgins

RELATED: The Bachelor‘s Ben Higgins Is Fulfilling His ‘Childhood Dream’ of Opening a Restaurant

Shortly after, Clarke, 23, also introduced her followers to her “secret boyfriend.”

“My secret boyfriend, Ben!” she captioned two Instagram photos of the couple. “He has one of the biggest hearts and kindest spirits, I got to share Honduras with him this past week and I’m excited for many more adventures!”

Clarke is an avid runner and competed on the University of Mississippi’s (Ole Miss) women’s track and field and cross-country team.

According to her athlete bio, Clarke “stayed in a special needs orphanage in China for 10 days.”

She graduated from Ole Miss in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in integrated marketing and communications, according to her LinkedIn, and currently works at Valet Energy in Nashville.

Last month, on the Jan. 14 episode of The Ben and Ashley I. Almost Famous podcast, host and season 20 Bachelor star Higgins casually revealed the news that he was dating someone.

“I was just telling someone the other day, I’ve started dating again,” he said. “This is big news, right? I am dating.”

When current leading man Colton Underwood, 26, asked if he was on a dating app, Higgins clarified that he’s seeing one person in particular.

“I’m actually dating one person that we’ll talk about in a couple of weeks on the podcast,” he said. “I’m excited about it.”

Reflecting on the budding relationship, Higgins pointed out some similarities with his experience on the show in 2016. (He ended up engaged to finalist Lauren Bushnell, but the couple called it quits in May 2017.)

RELATED: The Bachelor‘s Lauren Bushnell Reflects on Ben Higgins Split: ‘It Just Came Down to Compatibility’

“Here’s the thing … The Bachelor is a really great thing because it forces you to have conversations and right now, the girl that I’m talking to is long-distance,” Higgins said. “So we FaceTime a lot, and it feels very similar because we don’t get time together. It’s very intentional. It’s very focused. And if we’re going to spend any time with each other, it’s going to be in conversation.”

“She’s like, the best, purest person I know, so a lot of those conversations are about our lives,” he added.

Speaking to PEOPLE last year after a brief stint on The Bachelor Winter Games, Higgins admitted his split from Bushnell — who is now dating country star Chris Lane — was incredibly hard.

Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell
Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock

“I was in a committed relationship for so long that I accepted these boundaries in my life for commitment — like for example, you can’t be alone with another woman or you’re not going to text with another woman,” he said. “I set those up and they were in my life for 18 months and doing that again felt almost still like I was doing something wrong. So I had to get over that mentally. I don’t know why that was a block.”

Higgins also told reporters during a conference call ahead of his appearance on the Bachelor spinoff that his relationship with Bushnell “did affect the way I interacted with women [on the show] and it does that in real life.”

“Coming off of a breakup, it’s smart to take time to process through things but also to make sure you do know what you’re looking for,” he said. “I knew that what I was looking for was somebody very similar to what I had before and just a partner, somebody who was patient and kind and willing to go out there and tackle the world side-by-side.”

The Bachelor airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.

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