November 02, 2017 11:54 AM

Meghan McCain kicked off Thursday’s episode of The View by confirming the happy news of her engagement and spilling how she and man decided take their relationship to the next level.

The 33-year-old political pundit, who first confirmed reports to PEOPLE Wednesday night that she was a bride-to-be, explained that she and her fiancé Ben Domenech, publisher of online magazine The Federalist and a CBS contributor for Face the Nation, have been engaged for some time but were hoping to keep the news (and their nuptials) under wraps.

“You may have read something about me on the Internet last night. I’m engaged!” Meghan said. “We’ve been together for years. We’ve been engaged for awhile and it’s a secret. I was hoping to get married and people wouldn’t find out, but people talk sometimes.”

“I love him very much, I’m very happy,” she continued.

Meghan — whose father, Sen. John McCain, is battling glioblastoma, an aggressive stage 4 brain cancer — said the proposal happened during a very dark time in her life.

“Everybody keeps asking me, ‘How’d you get engaged?’ We were at Mayo Clinic, and my father had his scan, and we got engaged because we decided to sort of celebrate life and celebrate being alive,” she said. “It’s not the most romantic story, but he is my partner.”

Meghan also explained her reluctance to show off her ring.

“I do have a ring. I’ve been single for so long and I never thought I’d get married,” Meghan said. “I want all the single girls to know I don’t consider this an achievement. It’s just part of my life right now.”

She then passed on some news of encouragement for those women who haven’t yet found their partner.  “Wait for people who love strong women,” she said. “The men who love strong independent women, they’re out there. Don’t settle for less.”

The groom-to-be revealed his identity on Twitter on Wednesday night.

Domenech retweeted a story about the engagement, writing, “Love you bae. @MeghanMcCain.”

He followed it up with a second retweet by a follower, who wrote, “I finally don’t fear spilling the beans about @MeghanMcCain and @bdomenechin public.”

Last week, Meghan — who has made numerous references to her mystery boyfriend on social media, including a photo of a home-cooked meal he prepared for her — spoke about him on the ABC morning show with her father by her side.

Asked if he approves of his daughter’s then-boyfriend, John couldn’t help but tease his daughter a little bit — prompting laughter from the co-hosts and the crowd.

“He’s a jerk” John joked, as Meghan buried her face in her hands and cried that her beau is “going to kill me!”

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“Actually, he’s a very fine man,” the 81-year-old senator continued. “I’m very proud and very happy that they’re so happy together. … He’s still got a lot to learn!”

Meghan was then asked if her mystery man was “scared” to meet her father, due to his accomplishments as a decorated pilot, war hero and six-term senator. “Well, this one works in politics and has for a long time so he wasn’t as intimidated,” Meghan replied.

“Frankly, he’s a little more conservative than I am,” her father noted.

“He’s so conservative,” Meghan agreed. “It’s interesting that I dated so many liberals that you didn’t like and I ultimately seem to have landed with the most conservative guy in the history of the world.”

The View airs weekdays (11 a.m. ET) on ABC.

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