Season 2 couple Roxanne Kaiser and Antonio Mattei, who seemed to be on different pages about marriage from the start, open up to PEOPLE about their surprising engagement and their future plans
Warning: this post contains spoilers from The Ultimatum's season 2 finale and reunion.
Roxanne Kaiser and Antonio Mattei are getting candid about their engagement.
After Antonio issued an ultimatum, the couple got engaged during the season 2 finale of The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On. Fans were likely surprised by the revelation as Antonio, 30, and Roxanne, 31, appeared to be on different pages from the start. Roxanne was also adamant that she did not believe in marriage.
During the reunion, the two admitted things weren't perfect as Roxanne opened up about struggling with the next step in their relationship. She confirmed she does not wear her engagement ring (and even took it off the day after Antonio proposed), is avoiding wedding planning and does not view marrying Antonio as "top of mind right now for me."
Antonio, on the other hand, still appeared ready to start their future — and disheartened by his fiancée's response to their engagement, which he said felt like Roxanne's "lack of pride in me."
Now, the two are opening up to PEOPLE about the nerve-wracking engagement — and why Roxanne said yes after everything. For his part, Antonio admits he did not know what Roxanne would say when he dropped down to one knee.
"I like to make the analogy, it's like when you're driving and there's a police officer behind you, even though you didn't do anything wrong, you have no idea what's about to happen," he explains. "That's pretty much what I was going through. So I was pleasantly surprised that she said yes, but I don't know what happened. I got in there and I was like, 'I think she might say no.'"
Roxanne also believes it was more of a spur-of-the-moment decision.
"I think it was the process in itself," she says of wanting to say yes to Antonio's proposal. "I don't think it was something in particular, because I always say it was that gut feeling right in that moment when he asked, because I did not know what I was going to say at all. He thought I was going to say no, I thought I was going to say no."
"And I think it was the whole process of making us sit there and think about the person we came there with and did we want to spend our lives with them? Do we want to be with that person forever?" she adds.
Though she decided Antonio was her person, that hasn't made planning their future any easier.
"I'm not planning a wedding. I am moving very slow," she explains. "I'm not doing well with that part. It's going to happen. We have family who obviously are very excited for us to be married and have kids. I just need some time."
"Even wearing the ring, saying 'fiancé,' planning the wedding, is a lot for me. It just wasn't top of mind when I went on the show and I'm learning for it to be an important thing in my life and put Antonio first right now," she notes. "I think of his needs first now. It's just an adjustment and I'm happy to do it, it just takes time. Everything takes time, that's all."
One of the biggest conflict points that arose between the two during their time on the show was whether Antonio was "challenging" enough for driven businesswoman Roxanne. The observation was made by Roxanne's trial marriage partner, Alex Chapman, who felt she needed someone who could challenge her intellectually and on a professional level, and Antonio wasn't doing that.
Antonio says hearing those comments "hurt because that is my biggest insecurity."
"As everyone knows, Roxanne is just this crazy, business-minded, successful entrepreneur who owns her own business, has a badass job, graduated from an incredibly difficult school to graduate from. I mean, she's just been winning her whole life," he says. "And so for me to come into the picture and not have that pedigree or track record, it is a little daunting. It's a little intimidating, and so it's been definitely my biggest insecurity in our relationship."
"Then having everybody talk about it... the conversations that everyone was having [in their trial marriages] were basically painting their partners in the worst light possible, so that was the story that everyone got to hear about me," he continues.
Though it was difficult for Antonio to hear, he says it also provided him with a necessary motivation.
"I'm not even close to the person that I was when I was on that show to who I am today," he shares. "A big part of the fire that was lit for me was hearing everybody say all that, and I finally had that internal dialogue like, 'All right, it's time to get my act together and not make any more excuses.' So that's exactly what I did."
Roxanne echoes that, telling PEOPLE: "He is challenging in so many different ways ... And he's changed. Since the show, he owns his own business now. He's getting up before me in the morning. He's writing emails when I'm going to sleep and I'm like, 'This is weird. Get off your phone.' He used to tell me to get off my phone when I was writing emails, and now he's doing it and it's freaking awesome. I never thought that would happen."
Asked whether they think they'd be engaged today without the show, both Roxanne and Antonio answer with a resounding no. "No way," says Roxanne. "I just never thought it would happen for me."
Adds Antonio: "No, I don't think so. I think it forced us to work through everything... And then, of course, doing it all on camera made it extra hard."
Despite their final on-camera moment being a tense one, Antonio and Roxanne say they're stronger than ever today.
"Life is so good, I couldn't be happier," Antonio shares. "I've never been more sure that I'm on the right path in my whole life. I'm so happy in my relationship. Roxanne's a phenomenal partner. We truly bring the best out of each other and I've never been more confident about anything before."
"Oh my god, I'm so happy. No regrets. I never would've been where I am now. Our families are closer. Antonio and I are closer. It's been awesome," adds Roxanne, before she quips, "I just need to find a dress and do some stuff that you do when you're engaged, I guess."
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Season 2 of The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On is now streaming in full on Netflix.
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