Dancing with the Stars: Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy Kiss Goodbye

11/29/2012 AT 02:05 PM EST



Dancing with the Stars finalists Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy's intense chemistry was buzzed-about all season long.

Now, following their third-place finish in the season 15 finale, they're in for a big adjustment – but not before some final friendly kisses.

"I've spent every day with him for the past three and a half months for 12 hours a day," Kelly Monaco told PEOPLE. "It's going to be super strange not having him around."



Dancing with the Stars: Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy Kiss Goodbye| Dancing With the Stars, Kelly Monaco

Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy in New York City on Nov. 28

Splash News Online

Chmerkovskiy – who joined the show alongside his brother Maksim on season 13 when he danced with Elisabetta Canalis (they placed 11th) and then with Sherri Shepherd for season 14 (they placed 10th) – has something to take away from this competition.

"It made me proud that I'm relevant," he said of his performance with Monaco in the finale. "I became relevant on the show this season because of her. That really meant a lot to me."

And with that, Chmerkovskiy planted several pecks on his partner: "I give her a kiss goodbye ... hello ... see you later," he said between smooches.

"See you in a couple hours," Monaco teased.

She wasn't joking: The pair were spotted arm in arm while out in New York City on Wednesday.

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