Advice For Nick & Vanessa's Post-'Bachelor' Life

by Carly Waddell and Evan Bass
Kenny Suleimanagich/Bustle

Over the course of Nick Viall's season ofThe Bachelor, Bachelor in Paradise couple Carly Waddell and Evan Bass contributed weekly articles to Bustle about their friend's journey to find love. Read their take on Nick and Vanessa's engagement below:

Welp, the season is over and it sure has been a fun ride. It’s been a blast writing this column. Thanks to Bustle for giving us this opportunity. Let’s talk about Monday, though, because we have some advice for Nick and Vanessa, the newly engaged Bachelor couple.

To start, WE ARE SO EXCITED FOR OUR FRIEND NICK and just happy that he found love. It was a fantastic finale with all of the fun moments you could want. St. Nick, puppies, and a beautiful backdrop led to a gorgeous episode and beautiful engagement. Raven was strong in her exit and, although it was sad to watch, I can’t wait to see her on Paradise, because I truly believe she wants love. Good luck, Raven.

On After The Final Rose, Rachel was introduced to a handful of underwhelming dudes. Honestly, I’m super excited to live tweet The Bachelorette as viciously as I was once tweeted about. Even with this small sample of guys, I can tell it’s going to be a fun ride.

As an engaged couple, Nick and Vanessa’s relationship pace seems to continue the themes we saw on the show — but, you know what? It also feels quite real. People long for some sappy BS happy ending, so of course the world immediately started slinging arrows. But, in all reality, I appreciate the fact they acknowledged they have a long way to go. I think they have hard decisions and some tough times ahead, but Nick’s used to this. With his guidance and her openness, I think this is a couple that could go the distance. I’ve tweeted a lot of snarky things this season, but I am very proud of Nick for what he’s brought to the table. He knew he was going to catch some flak, but he’s handled it like a boss and I just genuinely want him to be happy.

With that said here are a few things that will be key to Nick and Vanessa making it to the altar:

1. Carly Says... Location, Location, Location

It's no secret that Evan and I lived in the same city (Nashville) which, at first, was one of the things that bonded us the most. We actually lived seven minutes away from each other! We lucked out.

I'm not saying that people have to live with each other. Since Evan has kids, we decided that when Evan has his kids, which is 2/4 weeks a month, we wouldn’t live together during the time Evan has the boys. We think moving in too fast could be a shock to their system. And, just like it takes time to get to know someone, it's respectful to do the same for the boys. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s definitely beneficial.

It's wonderful because since we have given our family relationship time, now we are ALL excited about the idea of living together! My favorite sentence that his son Liam says (besides "Carly is the best stepmom ever") is "Hey, Carly, when we all live together..." and that always ends with me smiling from ear to ear. I can't wait for that. I'm ready to help pack school lunches :)

But, living in the same city for us was key. These engagements happen FAST and, as much as you love each other and have gotten to know each other, there is A LOT TO LEARN! We didn't even know how to text each other in the real world (and were really bad at figuring out what was "too much" or "not enough"). I forgot to even get Evan's phone number before he left to fly home from Mexico a few hours before me.

But, the best way to get to know someone is to know their life, the inner workings of their everyday. Also to go on dates, and to date in the REAL WORLD where there are no helicopters or midnight fireworks.

Jade moved to Kansas City a few months after getting engaged. I remember her learning how to live with Tanner, and we would laugh at how different boys and girls are — all of the "he likes toilet paper rolls facing out and I like them in" convos that I now repeat to her about Evan. (Sorry, Evan. Girls talk.)

But, that's the way to do it. If you want to make it work, someone has to make the leap. Unless you're gonna get married and live in two separate places (which, you're not), a marriage is about compromise. Somebody has got to give, and then the other person will bend at some point later. From the sound of it, Vanessa is going to move to LA, so it's a great sign that they’ve figured that one big thing out.

2. Evan Says... Don't Take The Media Attention Seriously

It’s tempting for Bachelor(ette) contestants to drink our own Kool-Aid. Inevitably with Bachelor success comes more attention. Instagram and Twitter numbers are sky-rocketing and fans are throwing adoration at you incessantly with phrases like, “Favorite couple of all time” and “You are my life goals” etc. Mix that with magazine covers, interviews, the world asking for pictures, and it’s easy to feel like you’re a star. On one level, that’s definitely true, but, on another level, you did very little except subject yourself to a “journey” for love and “be yourself” on camera. No special skills, no talent, just being on a show… or four.

As reality TV people, we have to remember that the reason fans like us is because we're just us, and we are quickly replaced by the next round of contestants and engagements. There is nothing about this Bachelor universe that lasts... except love and friendships (and sometimes not even the love). Very few people remember contestants from 10 seasons ago... shoot, even two seasons ago. There was one time when I was out downtown in Nashville (Bachelor Nation capital of the world) with a couple of guys that had been on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season. My Bachelorette episodes were airing and I was mobbed by fans asking for pictures. No one even recognized the other guys until I pointed out who they were. That was my first lesson with the “recency effect.” People remember the latest and most current people, and, because of the constant revolutions of The Bachelor world, you are inevitably thrown out like yesterday’s newspaper.

The most important thing to focus on is falling more and more in love and letting the appearances and praise be a fun little side piece. I love that about Carly. Yeah, she advertises stuff on Instagram and is constantly bombarded by different opportunities, but she always always puts our relationship first. Nick and Vanessa will be on the next level of that. The tabloids are sure to find every crack, and anything and everything will be scrutinized. But, if they value the relationship beyond the exposure, it will last. After the finale, there will be a slew of people questioning them and, although they don’t deserve it — it comes with the territory and NONE OF IT MATTERS. Their connection will be the thing that sustains them when the highly addictive drug of being on TV starts to wane. I will be forever grateful to the folks at The Bachelor for introducing me to Carly and giving me a second chance on Paradise, but, at the end of the day, it’s about love (using The Sandlot voice) for-e-ver.

3. Communication

It’s no big secret that all relational success depends on how well two people communicate with each other, but, with The Bachelor, it becomes even more paramount. Nick and Vanessa fell in love on camera with everything (except one Fantasy Suite night) public for the world to see. Most people find someone at a bar, or online, or through a friend and have ample time to share intimate personal moments. Not so with the newly crowned prince and princess of Bachelor Land. They have to figure out how to stay close while Nick is on Dancing With The Stars and while Vanessa is moving her life to the US. And, like Carly said before, they even have to learn how to text. For the record, I am in a recovery plan for “bad texting” and Carly has given me the space to grow. It’s important for me to show her my love by communicating better.

Kenny Suleimanagich/Bustle

So, essentially Bachelor couples have to learn a communication dance that is different than the normal flow. I don’t question that the couples who have since split had true love, but the incredible space that is The Bachelor is more like a test tube that simply creates an environment for love. Once it is introduced into the open world, you have to nurture it and realize that the love will change and grow into something more beautiful. Nick and Vanessa’s strength is in their openness, and they will have to learn to accept each other no matter how they feel or even if they disagree. The absolute key to watering this love is over-communication.

I remember a big key for me was realizing that I should say more, be more open, and really try to get out of my normal informational delivery methods. Carly and I have had really hard conversations that we sometimes even have to pause and revisit later because they are so intense. I told Carly my deepest fears, insecurities, and concerns, and, after every one of those conversations, we grow stronger. But our openness and constantly giving our relationship the safe space to communicate without fear of shame or embarrassment has been our greatest success.

4. Carly Also Says...

Sex. Have as much as possible.

And, so I say to all The Bachelor couples of the future (including our friend Nick and our future double date partner Vanessa), good luck! We believe in you. We are doing it, and you can do it too.