Romance redo? Love Is Blind‘s Kelly Chase and Kenny Barnes didn’t tie the knot during season 1, but they talked about continuing their connection off camera.

“We did kind of have conversations about dating,” Kelly exclusively told Us Weekly at The Modern Wife’s What She Said panel at the W Hollywood in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 24. “Like, while we were filming … [we said], like, ‘Hey, if we say no at the altar, like, we’re respectful of each other’s decisions,’ kind of thing.”

The health coach said she and Kenny agreed that they were both “liking each other” enough to consider staying together even if they didn’t get married during the season finale. “It was like, ‘If it doesn’t work out, then we’ll just continue dating,’” she recalled. “We just had this understanding about it.”

However, the duo ultimately didn’t end up being on the same page. “We had the wedding and then the next day we had our, like, last interview and … he met me kind of, like, in the parking lot and he was like, ‘I know we talked about this, but, like, I’m not emotionally available,’” Kelly claimed. “[He said], ‘I don’t think I could give anyone a relationship right now and I just need to get back to normal life,’ and all of that. And I was like, ‘Huh?’ Like, I thought we had an agreement. We had, like, a plan and I just felt very rejected.”

Love Is Blind Kelly Chase and Kenny Barnes Had Conversations About Dating After Season

Kelly Chase and Kenny Barnes
Courtesy of Kelly Chase/Instagram; Courtesy of Kenny Barnes/Instagram

Kelly clarified that she and Kenny, who got engaged to fiancée Alexandra Garrison in August 2020, have been in touch since their breakup. “[I have] total respect for him,” the former Netflix star said of her ex. “I feel like where I was at — and now just, like, through all the healing work that I’ve done and everything — I’m very aware that I think he was just more actually self-aware than I was at the time. He knew what he needed to do to, like, get himself back to where he needed to be and get his life going again and all of that.”

The “Chase Life” podcast host told Us that she wrote Kenny a letter in the wake of their split. “Not, like, professing my love, but being like, ‘I don’t understand,’ you know. I was, like, ‘[I’m] not in love with you, but I was loving the man I was getting to know. And I really do wanna try dating.’”

While her former fiancé has moved on, Kelly said she isn’t “currently” exclusive with anyone. “I’m still, like, going on dates and just really trying to, you know, attract the right person for me,” she explained.

Viewers met Kelly and Kenny during the first season of Love Is Blind, which debuted in 2020. The pair got engaged in the pods, but in a shocking twist, Kelly said “I don’t” at the altar. Though she didn’t get her happily ever after, the Georgia native doesn’t have many regrets from the reality show.

“The only thing that I would change [is that] I feel like I was a little bit more reserved [than others],” she told Us on Thursday. “Not to say I was being fake or anything like that, but I was being very intentional, which obviously we should be, especially when we, like, could be marrying someone. But maybe I was, like, playing myself too safe in some ways.”

Kelly said she felt like “the world didn’t get to see” all sides of her personality on camera. However, she doesn’t agree with season 2’s Abhishek “Shake” Chatterjee, who alleged that the cast are treated like puppets by producers.

“I think production can manipulate things or exaggerate care or whatever, but, like, I never felt that I was at their expense,” she explained. “But granted, I wasn’t — my character wasn’t exaggerated as much as some other people.”

With her reality TV days behind her, Kelly is looking forward to being an advocate for women, which brought her to the What She Said panel. “I think there’s just so much to be said about, like, how everything is just so connected — like our relationships, business, career. And having such, like, a holistic view on all of that is a part of who I am,” she told Us, adding that she’s a survivor of sexual, physical and verbal assault. “It is something I am working on to get more comfortable talking about. … I feel like so many women have been through something like that … [and] I just feel like I can help a lot more women claim their power back too.”

With reporting by Diana Cooper

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