Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino Calls Fiancée Lauren Pesce His 'Best Friend' and 'Better Half'

"She makes me a better person," the Jersey Shore star recently told PEOPLE

Wedding bells are in Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino‘s future.

The Jersey Shore star announced his engagement to his girlfriend Lauren Pesce on Thursday — but the two have been serious about each other for a long time.

“My girlfriend is my college sweetheart — we met each other when she was probably 19 and I was 22 years old,” Sorrentino, 35, told PEOPLE prior to the season premiere of Jersey Shore Family Vacation earlier this month.

“We met in community college in math class,” he explained. “We went out together for about four years, and then once Jersey Shore started we decided to take a break throughout seasons 1-6. Once it was over, we eventually reconnected and have been together ever since, for over four years now.”

Though he hadn’t yet proposed at the time, Sorrentino said Pesce was definitely “the one.”

“She’s my best friend, my better half,” he said. “She makes me a better person. I’m so excited that she’s in my life.”

Sorrentino is currently awaiting his June 20 sentencing after pleading guilty to tax evasion in a New Jersey federal court in January. Though he’s facing up to five years in prison, he’s maintained a positive outlook and is hoping for the best.

RELATED VIDEO: Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino Says Tax Evasion Sentencing Will Bring ‘Closure, Finally’

On Thursday’s episode of the MTV reboot, he opened up about wanting to propose to Pesce, even with the possibility of jail time looming in the near future — especially because she’s the one who helped him get sober. (The New Jersey native is almost 30 months clean after battling a prescription painkiller addiction.)

“That really meant a lot to me,” he told his roommates. “In any particular time, she could have been like, ‘You know what? I don’t need to stay here and help him fix himself. I’m going to find somebody that’s already a finished product.’ ”

“And then the court situation came — that was extremely hard,” he continued. “She stuck by the whole time. She just made me a better person.”

“She whipped you into shape,” said Pauly “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio, 37.

“She definitely did,” Sorrentino said. “I don’t know about the timing, but she’s the one, and I want to propose to her. We’ve known each other for over 10 years. She stuck by me through everything. She’s awesome. I don’t know when I’m going to do it because of this whole court situation. There’s a possibility that I could go away — but I don’t know if I want to wait anymore, to be honest with you.”

Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, 32, pointed out that perhaps having “a wedding and a wife to come home to” would help Sorrentino get through jail time.

“I do like that — but we’re not banking on me coming out of anywhere!” Sorrentino said.

“Conjugal visits!” DelVecchio joked.

“Yup, smuggle out some sperm,” said Sorrentino with a laugh. “I want a little Situation, immediately.”

Jersey Shore Family Vacation airs Thursdays (8 p.m. ET) on MTV.

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