'The Proposal' 's Mike Crowe and Monica Villalobos Open Up About Getting Engaged in Under an Hour

It was a blink and you missed it courtship, but Mike Crowe and Monica Villalobos are still going strong after getting engaged on ABC's new show The Proposal two months ago

It was a blink and you missed it courtship, but Mike Crowe and Monica Villalobos are still going strong after getting engaged on ABC’s new show The Proposal two months ago.

“We kind of started at the end of the relationship and we’re working backwards,” Crowe, who proposed less than an hour after meeting Villalobos, tells PEOPLE. “We’re just starting to get to know each other, but it’s 100 percent real. I never thought I’d find someone like Monica.”

The Proposal, a new series created by the masterminds behind the Bachelor franchise, premiered Monday. The premise of the show is that a bachelor or bachelorette is hidden from view while being introduced to 10 people potential partners, who are eliminated each round until just one match is left. The final two meet and “present a romantic proposal of their choice.”

For Crowe, that meant getting down on one knee. But while he was quick to ask Villalobos for her hand in marriage, the pair are not rushing into anything else just yet.

“The proposal is a promise to give it a shot,” says Crowe. “It’s a promise to go out on some dates and give it a chance at love. And it’s still working out! Maybe we’ll look at a wedding down the road. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Byron Cohen/ABC

For now, the couple is long distance – he’s in Bakersfield, California, she’s a few hours driving distance away in Anaheim, California – but they are committed to making it work. “We FaceTime every night and we see each other at least once a week,” says Villalobos. “It’s crazy that it all worked out like it did.”

When he first laid eyes on her during filming, “I had an instant attraction,” says Crowe. “As soon as she came down the stairs I knew, that’s the girl.

Villalobos was also instantly attracted, she says: “I was really impressed when I saw him. He’s so my type. And I’m not really a PDA girl but our first kiss was perfect. Mike is a really good kisser!”

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After the show finished filming, the twosome went out for dinner, where they shared pizza and beer and despite being engaged, had to get to know even the most basic facts about each other.

“I was surprised by how much we have in common,” says Villalobos. “We like the same kind of music, we love our dogs. We have a lot to talk about.”

The Proposal/Twitter

Crowe and Villalobos reveal that each had initial reservations about doing the show, but ultimately gave it a shot in hopes that they would find a lasting connection.

“The guys I was dating weren’t really working out, and I hate dating apps,” says Villalobos. “I saw The Proposal on a Facebook group and I thought I’d try something unconventional.”

Says Crowe: “There was a little doubt going into it. But I’d say it worked out in the end because I got to meet this beautiful girl.”

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As for the criticism of the show that began pouring in once the premiere episode aired on Monday night (some viewers called the show “sexist” and “creepy”), Villalobos weighs in.

“I know the viewers may be skeptical about the whole premise,” she says. “I know I was. But when you’re actually in it, the emotions are so real. I’m really happy that I did something crazy and I got to meet someone as well. And I never felt objectified in any way.”

After all, “I got into this hoping to find love, she says. “And it’s really exciting that it seems to be happening!”

The Proposal airs Mondays (10 p.m. ET) on ABC.

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