“They each have commitments and work projects so they can’t spend 24/7 together,” a source tells Us Weekly of the former Bachelor, 29, and the graphic designer, 24. “They make time for each other and go on trips when they can, but still talk every day when they’re not together.”
The pair decided to give their romance another shot in April after they were spotted hanging out a few times following their public split. The ABC Food Tours founder confirmed later that month that he was “going to focus” on his relationship with the Georgia native. In a separate profile of James published soon after, Kirkconnell confirmed that the couple had reconciled.
“Rachael is still head over heels in love with Matt,” the insider explains. “She might not be as vocal as he is but cares about him and really wants a future with him. They are just soaking up every moment when they are together and want to go steady for a bit before taking the next steps.”
The duo met on season 25 of The Bachelor, which filmed last year and aired from January to March. The North Carolina native chose Kirkconnell as his winner in the season finale and they agreed to date before getting engaged, but during the After the Final Rose special, they revealed that they broke up after filming ended because of Kirkconnell’s past racially insensitive actions.
At the time, the Bachelor winner referred to James as “the love of my life,” but he was unwilling to pursue a relationship until she had learned why her past behavior was problematic.
“I think the best way to put it is that we can have critical conversations about being in this relationship and what I need in a partner — especially if that woman isn’t Black — to understand what comes with me and my life and being Black,” he told WSJ. Magazine in an interview published May 5. “It’s on people who care about being allies to do the work to be truly antiracist. And I think it’s unfair to leave people without the ability to unlearn and be better.”
Since then, the former NFL player has been vocal about how things are going between the duo now that they’re back together, saying that Kirkconnell gave him an “ultimatum” about their relationship that he needed to hear.
“She was like, ‘If you’re going to make this work, let’s do it. But, if you’re not going to make it work, I’m going to let you do your own thing,'” he said during an episode of the “Pomp” podcast on Tuesday, May 25.
Kirkconnell, meanwhile, has “been more private about her relationship” because of the controversy from earlier this year, but she’s still thrilled that they’re giving it another go.
“She isn’t doing all these interviews like Matt because she’s been under a lot of scrutiny, so she’s letting him talk and she’s being more reserved,” the source adds. “They are both happy together and that’s what counts the most.”
With reporting by Diana Cooper