Ali & Roberto: Why We're Slowing Down
updated 11/08/2010 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 11/08/2010 AT 01:00 AM EST
That news should come as a relief to nervous Bachelorette fans, who had feared the worst after Ali, 26, and her insurance-salesman fiance, 27, announced last month that they were "slowing down" their plans for the spring wedding she had giddily discussed less than two months earlier. "We're waiting a little bit," Ali tells PEOPLE of their decision to ease out of planning mode. "We really want to make sure we're doing this right."
While the sudden change of plans set off widespread speculation of a rift, Ali says it was just the result of a simple reality check. "I had no idea how much would be involved in planning a spring wedding," she says, insisting that the event will still happen-eventually. "It's not a question of, 'Should we be getting married?' We're excited about it." Agrees Roberto: "We're happy and there's no rush."
For the pair, who found love on TV, regaining a sense of "normalcy" has been a priority. "We haven't even gotten our families together to celebrate our engagement," Ali laments. Adds Roberto: "It's really important for us that our families have a good comfort level. We want them to get to know each other first."
In fact the duo admit that they still have a lot to learn about one another. "Before, we were in love without knowing the ins and outs of each other," says Ali. Now that they're cohabitating, "we definitely have arguments," says Ali, "but we always make up afterwards and realize how much we love the other person."
Their living arrangements have been the biggest source of stress so far. Roberto, who left his job in Tampa to move to San Diego with his fiancee, "is acclimating better than I am," admits Ali, who now works as a correspondent at San Diego's FOX affiliate station. She's not thrilled with their modest two-bedroom apartment in an "industrial" area of the city, and commitments in L.A. have her traveling back and forth frequently while Roberto focuses on getting his new State Farm Insurance branch ready for a Dec. 1 opening. Still, she understands her future husband's reasons for choosing San Diego over L.A.: "It is better for us to keep our lives normal," she concedes.
One thing that hasn't tripped them up has been transitioning from the glamorous jet-set lifestyle they experienced on the Bachelorette to evenings in with Thai takeout and TiVo. "When we were traveling on the show, I was waiting for the normal nights," says Roberto. Since then, says Ali, "we'd rather stay home."
For now, they'll choose happily nesting over planning too far ahead. "I can't sit here and tell you that things are going to turn out a certain way," Ali confesses. "All I know is that we love each other and we're going to do what it takes to make it work. We have faith in what we have."