Here’s How Matt And Rachael Actually Got Back Together, According To Him
I guess Find My Friends is the ultimate wingman??
The Bachelor has a looong history of “most dramatic finales ever,” and every new season seems to top the one that came before. Although Matt James’ finale may no longer have that title (shoutout to Clayton Echard), the controversy surrounding him and his final pick, Rachael Kirkconnell, is still one of the biggest in Bachelor Nation history. ICYMI, while the season was airing, Kirkconnell’s past of racially insensitive behavior — including her attendance at an Antebellum-themed party — came to light. By “After The Final Rose,” the once happy couple looked tense and uncomfortable around each other. In spite of their challenges, James and Kirkconnell eventually got back together, and we finally know how it happened.
In an excerpt from First Impressions, James’ debut book, coming out May 3, he gave a BTS look at his breakup and reunion with Kirkconnell. According to the piece, published by Cosmopolitan on March 23, when James first saw the photo of Kirkconnell at the Antebellum party, the gravity of the situation didn’t hit him right away. “Days passed before I had a moment to consider what the revelation meant to me personally or what, if anything, it should mean about my relationship with the woman I loved,” he wrote. “Looking at the picture of Rachael, I wondered where I would have fit at that party. Then I answered my own question: I wouldn’t have.”
Their first meeting after that revelation was “unfamiliar” and “uneasy.” But they were able to have an open conversation. “She leaned forward and dove in... She didn’t offer her ignorance as an excuse. Just a fact—she paired it with the facts of her remorse and regret. Tears streamed down both our faces. She apologized for the pain I felt. I forgave her,” James wrote.
Still, he “knew [they] needed to step away from each other for a time.” Following that conversation, they didn’t speak for a couple of weeks. But before “AFTR,” which was filmed on March 5, Kirkconnell reached out, and they started speaking daily again.
That said, their awkward on-stage conversation wasn’t due to a lack of feeling. It was more for the audience than anyone else. “We spoke in cold, curt sentences. But when the cameras shut off, we strode hand in hand back to the greenroom,” James explained. (I feel slightly duped?)
But then, things got messy again. According to James, though he and Kirkconnell were back on the right track, he didn’t cut off all of his connections with other women right away... and when Kirkconnell found out, it didn’t go so well. She told him, “I know we’re not together right now, but I thought we were building toward something. You need to decide if that is what you want or not. I won’t be just another girl you’re talking to.” And things between them ended again.
So how’d they get to where they are now? Two weeks later, James was in Atlanta, Georgia and got a very important notification: “Working out in the hotel gym the morning before the fight, I received a pinging notification on my phone: ‘Rachael Kirkconnell is now sharing her location with you.’”
James continued, “I was confused. We hadn’t spoken in two long weeks. I checked her pin. She was two blocks away” — Kirkconnell is from Georgia — “Was this some kind of cryptic message? I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to see her. I rushed over to her red dot on the map and FaceTimed her when I arrived.”
Kirkconnell wasn’t trying to send him a vague message though. “She had just unblocked my contact, which triggered the location sharing to return automatically—a crazy coincidence that felt fated,” James explained.
And although she didn’t want to speak to him at first, they eventually agreed to meet and talk things out. “We met in the parking garage in her car, far from the public eye,” he wrote. “We talked for four hours in that car about all of the issues that had kept us apart—her mistakes, my mistakes, insecurities, family drama, public perception, and everything else under the sun.” Though things weren’t perfectly settled, they decided to give their romance another go.
James and Kirkconnell made their relationship IG-Official on May 27, 2021 and have been together ever since. And yes, this is your sign to turn on your Find My Friends notifications.