By Erika Hymowitz Vujnovich

America fell in love with Tenley Molzahn and Kiptyn Locke when they each competed on The Bachelor (season 14) and The Bachelorette (Season 5).  Their mission?  To find a love of their own.  However, it wasn’t meant to be at the time, and both ended up runner-ups on their respective seasons, forced to jump back into the dating pool.

Fast forward to last August as they took another chance at love on The Bachelor spin-off, Bachelor Pad, where 19 unforgettable contestants from past seasons lived together under one roof to compete for a grand prize of $250,000.

Despite losing the competition, Tenley and Kiptyn embraced their stint on the show and literally danced their way to the final four, finding themselves moving in a “Locke” step towards a true relationship – with each other.

Even before their appearance on Bachelor Pad, the two developed a solid friendship based on their tremendous respect for one another.  They were there for each other during their days of public heartbreak, and that support set the stage for what ultimately came to be.

Cupid’s Pulse had the wonderful opportunity of exclusively interviewing Tenley and Kiptyn, and asked them a handful of questions based on their dating experience on and off the show. The key lessons they learned in their quest to find love are here for Cupid’s Pulse readers to embrace and take to heart:

1. Did being on a reality dating show change your perceptions/expectations about dating?

Tenley: Being on The Bachelor really helped me regain confidence and trust in dating.  I put myself in a very unique position dating a man that was dating several other women; I really had to let go and not think so much and just enjoy my time with him.  Because of that, I really do believe that I’m different now in my relationship.
Kiptyn: Big picture – it really didn’t change much.  The one thing the ol’ super speed-dating factor of The Bachelor did do was teach me to reflect, process and communicate things sooner.

2. What has your dating experience been like since The Bachelor/ette and Bachelor Pad ended?

Tenley: Well, I came out of Bachelor Pad with my special someone, so it’s changed in the best way!  I have someone in my life that I may have not met had I not been through the experience of the show.  I also love that we have both been through very similar experiences.  I think that is something that the two of us share that would be hard for anyone else dating either of us to understand.
Kiptyn: Since Bachelor Pad I’ve only dated one woman, Tenley.  We went from being friends to romantic, to now a strong combination of the two, and it’s all good.  It’s been an adventure and we’ve grown together a lot.

3. Based on your personal experience as a Bachelor/Bachelorette contestant, do you believe that love can be found on reality TV?

Tenley: I believe it’s possible. But my own relationship with Kiptyn was built on a friendship at first. Our relationship began because we were put in a setting where our chemistry couldn’t be denied anymore, but I know that our friendship away from cameras gave us a great foundation.
Kiptyn: Answering honestly, I do think you can find love on TV, but it helps a ton to have a real world foundation in place first.

4. What piece of dating advice can you give to our single visitors?

Tenley: Be yourself when dating. Never try to mold yourself into someone else just for the person you’re dating. I always think of Runaway Bride – know who you are; you want to be with someone who has fallen for you, because you are who you are!
Kiptyn: There’s nothing wrong with being single and there’s no rush to get into a relationship.  When you look for someone, don’t look for who is good “on paper”; look for who makes you feel the best – it’s about compatibility.

There certainly is no rush. Take the time to understand yourself and what you’re ultimately looking for in a relationship. There’s nothing better to base a relationship on than friendship, and that friend of yours, who you never thought of in that special way, might be the one. Just like Tenley and Kiptyn, you may find love when you least expect it!

Visit us tomorrow for a preview of the season finale of ABC’s The Bachelor!