"For me personally, it was a pretty big step to want to call her my girlfriend," said the former Bachelor

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Nick Viall is continuing to open up about girlfriend Natalie Joy

During an appearance on Dear Media's Not Skinny But Not Fat podcast, the former Bachelor, 40, was asked if he could see himself marrying Joy. 

"I wouldn't be in a relationship with her if I didn't think it was possible, you know?" he replied. "She's the first person I've called my girlfriend, minus TV, in a long, long time." 

The reality star said that as he's gotten older, he's become "more particular" and "more mindful" about what he's looking for in a romantic partner, making his pairing with Joy all the more special. 

"For me personally, it was a pretty big step to want to call her my girlfriend," he said. "So I would say that that's a good sign."

Natalie Joy and Nick Viall attend the 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards: UNSCRIPTED
Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/2021 MTV Movie and TV Awards/Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS

Viall first appeared on Andi Dorfman's season of The Bachelorette in 2014 and returned for Kaitlyn Bristowe's season in 2015. He was the runner-up both times.

After a stint on Bachelor in Paradise, Viall was named the next Bachelor in 2017. His season ended with him getting engaged to Vanessa Grimaldi; the two called it quits five months later.

Recently, he has become more open about his relationship with Joy, posting with her frequently on his social media. The couple dated quietly for several months before going Instagram official in January. "She's great for him," a source told PEOPLE at the time.

In May, the couple made their red carpet debut at the 2021 MTV Movie and TV Awards: Unscripted.

Earlier during the Not Skinny But Not Fat episode, he addressed why he hasn't dated anyone from the Bachelor franchise since his split from Grimaldi, 33.

"After Vanessa and I broke up, I just made a conscious decision to not in any way, shape or form, romantically or otherwise, be involved with anyone from Bachelor Nation," he said. 

"Some people would hang out and be like, 'Oh, I think we should get together,' and I'm like 'Listen, you seem great, but like, I literally don't date anyone in Bachelor Nation,'" he continued. "If I met someone who I legitimately thought that we could legitimately date, then I would have reconsidered, but I wasn't going to like, have some sort of hookup or just go on a casual date or anything like that."