Matt James Says He's 'Pursuing' a Relationship with Ex Rachael Kirkconnell: I'm 'Focusing on It'
"I said I was going to focus on my relationship with her and that means focusing on it," the former Bachelor tells PEOPLE
Although the reality star, 29, revealed on After the Final Rose last month that he and his final rose recipient Rachael Kirkconnell broke up after past racially insensitive photos of her surfaced, the two have since been spotted together in Los Angeles and New York City.
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"I've seen Rachael a handful of times," James confirmed to PEOPLE while discussing his partnership with Dick's Sporting Goods for May's National Runners' Month. "I'm not pursuing any relationships right now outside of that. I said I was going to focus on my relationship with her and that means focusing on it."
As for whether James, who's currently training for a marathon, feels Kirkconnell, 24, has been doing the work she promised in regard to educating herself about racism, "that's something you could talk to her about," the former Bachelor said. "A lot of what I'm focused on right now is the work that I'm doing in the community and with the [marathon] training."
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The North Carolina native squashed any possibility that he — or BFF Tyler Cameron — might turn up on the upcoming season of Bachelor in Paradise.
"There's a negative chance I'll be on Paradise," James said. "There is a negative chance Tyler's on there as well. I think we're good on that."
Kirkconnell apologized in February for the photos of her at an antebellum-themed party in college in 2018 and promised to "continue to learn how to be antiracist."
James said on After the Final Rose that he wanted "to take a step back and allow her to put in that work."
Listen below to the episode of our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on what Matt James said about his relationship with Rachael Kirkconnell.
"The work and reconciliation that needs to be done is work that I can't do for you," he told Kirkconnell. "And I know that you're capable of doing it."
Now, James hopes to continue to be a voice in his community.
"Just being at the center of meaningful conversations, that's what I'm looking to do," James told PEOPLE. "I really enjoyed the conversations I had over the past few months and I think it'd be a lot of fun to be a voice on important issues. That's where I see my future and where I'm pursuing opportunities."