Why Ben Higgins and Fiancée Jessica Clarke Are Staying Long Distance Until Their Fall 2021 Wedding (Exclusive)

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Ben Higgins and Jessica Clarke are saving a few firsts until after they've tied the knot. The couple got engaged in March, but are waiting to move in together until they get married... even if that's not until fall 2021. 

"It's going to be a year long distance," Higgins said in an interview with ET's Lauren Zima on Monday. "It's really tough." 

Clarke is starting school in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, to become an esthetician, while Higgins' life and work is in Denver, Colorado. The pair has been long distance since the start of their relationship in 2018. 

"It's a choice we made at the beginning to try to do this in the healthiest of ways. A year of long distance sounds daunting when you don't add in the fact that most weeks we're going to still be together somewhere ... we're not just FaceTiming for a year. But we want to do this in the healthiest way possible," Higgins said. "We've made that commitment. We're going to try to stick to that." 

Higgins and Clarke are also waiting to have sex -- and share a bed -- until marriage. The former Bachelor made that reveal during a recent appearance on Nick Viall's podcast. Clarke didn't know he would share that aspect of their relationship ahead of time, but "she's pretty good" with Higgins being open about their romance. "I mean, it's something we're not ashamed of," Higgins reasoned. 

"And it's not even just, like, a faith-based decision. Jess and I both are firm believers in Jesus, but this was her dream. It's a standard she held for so long," he added. "Obviously I haven't fully made that decision, but I want to respect that she has. And even if we maybe disagree on it, I want to support my love, and so I'm doing it and she's doing it and it's going well." 

However, Higgins also noted that he and Clarke made these commitments for their relationship before the coronavirus pandemic existed, and pushed their wedding date to the end of 2021. "We made that commitment long before we thought we'd have a year-and-a-half engagement," he said with a laugh. "So, we're still sticking to it, I wanna be clear right now. But we could use some support."