Bachelor winner Merel about Thomas: ‘We have no official relationship’

It must have been a relief when the reunion came online. What’s the first thing you and Thomas did?
‘First I said we would go out on the terrace all day, but unfortunately life goes on. I had to study that day and Thomas had to work. In the evening we did go out for dinner and he surprised me with a hotel stay. So for the first time out in the open in Amsterdam it felt a bit like a first date again.’

Also read: This month in &C: Chantal and Thomas van der Vlugt chat about libido

You have now been able to look back on everything, including Thomas’ dates with others. Didn’t that make you a little jealous?
‘No, because in the Netherlands the person you are dating could also be dating others, but you can’t see it. And in the end, after all those dates, he chose me. I just like that he built connections, took it so seriously and had fun with others, because then that was a well-considered choice.’

How are you and the other girls now?
‘There is a club that I see almost every week and with whom I have really become friends. Those are Indigo, Isabella, Anna Noëlle, Ascha and Karen. I also speak to other girls, like Inge, regularly. And the Bachelor WhatsApp group is definitely still there!’

And between you and Maureen? You guys were able to talk it all out in Mexico, right?
‘Yes, the morning after the final. That night itself, we were both told by the production that we didn’t want to see each other. I immediately went to a hotel with Thomas, while Maureen was having a drink with the crew. I really wanted to say hello to both her and the crew because I had bonded with them too, but I couldn’t. I almost cried before I got into the car, and of course I was also very happy that I was going to a hotel with Thomas.’

And since then you and Thomas have had to keep everything a secret. Didn’t that put a strain on your relationship?
‘It didn’t necessarily give you any pressure, but you are constantly on. You have to pay attention to everything. But it also ensures that your communication has to be very good. We had to discuss everything with each other, because you can’t talk about it with anyone else.’

Who knew you were still together?
‘My best friend Britt and my father, and my roommates also found out at some point because I was away so much. Furthermore, we have kept our mouths shut, also against the girls from De Bachelor. They had found out who were in the final via the WhatsApp group with all the numbers. They knew, of course, that there would be a rose ceremony every two days, and then kept track of when the messages reached everyone, i.e. when the phones were back on. Very clever, but Maureen and I still tried hard not to say anything.’

And you’ve never lost your mind?
‘No, not once. Bizarre huh? At one point, friends sent something about that I would have been caught because I would have the name Thomas with a heart in my phone and we would have a relationship, but that was not right at all. Thomas was like James in my phone. So then I said, first, I wouldn’t be that stupid, and second, we’re not in a relationship at all. I wasn’t lying either, because we’re not in a relationship.’

New?
‘New. We’re dating exclusively, of course, but we’ve only been together for so long. First in Mexico and then secretly in the Netherlands. That is not comparable to real life, which is why we have decided to build it up slowly. He hasn’t met my family yet, so I want to do that well and pleasantly and not in a hurry. My friends are insisting on a meeting, so he has to get ready for that.’

Also Read: Bachelor Chat With Maureen: Was There Sex On The 24-Hour Date?

Thomas also tells this in &C’s ‘Oh oh libido’, that he finds it difficult to go one hundred percent for someone right away. So do you have that too?
‘Very. In any case, I don’t allow people in easily, which is probably because I lost my mother at a young age. Then you are more careful with entering into relationships. Before that, I hadn’t been in a serious relationship for almost seven years. Now when I go for it with someone I want to be sure. You can never be completely sure, but the most important thing is to keep choosing each other consciously. We are on the right track.’

The interview with Chantal Janzen and Thomas van der Vlugt can be found in &C’s June issue ‘Oh oh libido’, which is now in the shops. You can also order that number here.