“It started off good,” the former college athlete, 32, tells Us Weekly exclusively about the end of his romance with Dennis, 30, before explaining that they hit a speed bump when he realized that she wasn’t being honest with him. “She wasn’t telling me what she was going through. She was telling me she was going through like court cases and stuff where her kids and custody battles [were involved] … She wasn’t telling me about her relationships [with the cast].” Dennis shares Kensie, 8, and Saint, 6, with former costar Thomas Ravenel.
Ravanell continues: “I was just coming in blind, helping her. And then it kind of just all fell on me. And when I would express my feelings to her, [her reaction] was more like, ‘Oh, you’re a grown-ass man. You should be able to handle it.’”
The South Carolina native adds that he was naive about the impact being on a reality show would have on their relationship. “I was like, maybe this will bring us together,” he tells Us. “Because I’ve never been on a show before. And she’s telling me, ‘It’s gonna break us up.’ I was like, ‘Nah, nah, we’re gonna grow closer.’ [But] it broke us apart.”
While the duo was rumored to have split due to her kids, Ravenell reveals that the “breaking point” came when he began feeling unappreciated by his then-girlfriend. “I didn’t feel like whatever I had to do mattered too much to her because of what all she was going through,” he explains. “She didn’t have the head space to really think about what the hell I was going through, and I can’t really fault her for that, but I mean … it just came to a point where we just had to just break it off.”
He continues “Every time we would film, it’d just be an argument. … It was getting petty. So we were just like, ‘You know what? We should just break this off.”
While Ravenell and the reality TV personality are no longer on speaking terms, he doesn’t hold any grudges. “It’s for the best, but I am sad because I’ve been through a lot with her. So I always wish her the best. I’m always gonna love her, just from a distance,” he says, adding that he hopes she “and the kids do well.”
After everything he and Dennis went through, Ravenell is only interested in sharing any of his future relationships on reality TV on one condition. “I would, if I was married,” he adds. “I feel like [with] reality shows and the producers, if you’re not married, then any little thing they’ll try to [break you up]. But if you’re married then … you have such a strong bond. I don’t think the producers or any of that would actually come after that.”
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi