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The couple sparked engagement rumors over the weekend after Bristowe kept her left hand in her pocket while taking photos. But the Bachelor Nation stars cleared up any speculation during an interview on PeopleTV’s Reality Check, saying the conspicuous pose was simply a fashion choice.
“I did comment on my Instagram,” Bristowe, 34, said after fans flooded the post with questions about their relationship status. “I said, ‘Look, if I’m wearing a cute dress with pockets, I’m going to have my hands in them for a photo.’ “
“Not hiding anything!” she added while holding up her ring-less left hand.
Fans weren’t the only ones fooled by the post. Tartick, 30, said some of his closest friends fell for the rumors.
“Funny thing is, I had friends of mine calling me like, ‘What is going on? How could I find out through Instagram and not through you?'” Tartick said. “Not only did she get some people out there, she got some of my best friends as well.”
Though they’re not engaged, Bristowe and Tartick are happier than ever. Tartick recently shared a heartfelt Instagram dedicated to his girlfriend, thanking Bristowe for everything she’s brought to his life.
“If I only knew a year ago what I know now, I’d tell myself…there’s nothing better than a restart,” the former Bachelorette contestant wrote alongside a photo of the happy couple with their dog, Ramen.
“That closing one chapter and starting a new one only brings the light at the end of the tunnel that much closer to a reality,” he continued. “It’s remarkable what changes life can bring to you, if you’re willing to make changes in your life.”
Bristowe, who was the star of The Bachelorette‘s 11th season in 2015, went public with her relationship with Tartick in January, two months after she announced her split from fiancé Shawn Booth. (Tartick, a fellow franchise alum, made it to the final three on Becca Kufrin‘s season of The Bachelorette last year.)
In May, the couple revealed they were taking their relationship to the next step by moving in together in Nashville with their rescue pup.
“We’re at the next step in our relationship where we want to grow even more and we can’t do that long distance,” Bristowe said on her Off the Vine podcast. “Cheers to new roommates! I can’t wait to see what things you do that drive me nuts.”
Speaking to PEOPLE earlier this year, Bristowe explained that her relationship with Tartick came as a surprise, but the two quickly formed a bond.
“My relationship with Jason was definitely not something I expected,” she said. “When I met him, dating anyone wasn’t even on my radar, especially dating anyone in Bachelor world, but something in my mind was rooting for him. And I thought, ‘Whoever dates him is a lucky girl.’ “