'The Bachelorette': A Timeline of Clare Crawley and Dale Moss' Relationship
By Meredith B. Kile
On the season 16 premiere of The Bachelorette, Clare Crawley welcomed 31 new suitors -- but had an immediate connection with one in particular.
The 39-year-old hairstylist was instantly smitten with Dale Moss, a 32-year-old former NFL player, stunning host Chris Harrison with her remarks after Dale's limo entrance: "I definitely feel like I just met my husband."
"That feeling that I've never felt before... just standing in front of a man, connecting on that level, and it being electric between each other - I've never felt that instantly like that before," Clare shared with ET ahead of the Bachelorette premiere, recalling her first encounter with Dale on the show.
"I had never felt it before, and I never even knew what to expect with those feelings. When you have not experienced it or felt it, you don't know if it exists, but when you feel it, you know exactly what that feeling is."
The pair's instant connection was obvious to everyone -- including the rest of her suitors -- as Clare and Dale took every available opportunity to be together. "I like him," she admits to camera at one point, unapologetically. "That's what this is all about."
Just four episodes later (and less than two weeks, in real time) Clare and Dale got engaged. Read on for an episode-by-episode breakdown of their intimate interactions and how they found their happy ending.
Week 4 - An Ending and a Beginning
Making Her Call
After her refusal to award a group date rose leaves some suitors frustrated, Clare and Chris Harrison sit down for an unexpected chat, where the Bachelorette admits her feelings for Dale have left her with tunnel vision.
"It feels like I've known him forever," she explains. "It's that intangible chemistry that you just can't make up and you can't replace."
She denies again that the two had any contact prior to their time on the show, but says that has reinforced their connection even further. "I just spent years knowing what I don't want and it's given me so much clarity coming into this -- especially in quarantine, [having that time] to focus in on what I do want," she adds.
She says that Dale is her match, that he meets the emotional level she's looking for, and is "everything I want out of a relationship, out of life… I've waited so long for this."
When Chris Harrison asks what she wants to do moving forward, there's only one answer she can give him: "I want to spend as much time with him as I possible can. I want to be able to let him know how I feel, and see if it's something that he's feeling as well."
Three Big Words
In an unprecedented move, Chris Harrison tells the other men that the night's cocktail party and rose ceremony have been called off, and pulls Dale aside to let him know privately that Clare has requested a one-on-one date with him instead.
On their date, the pair waste no time admitting their feelings to each other. They share the stories of how their parents met -- both of their dads hitchhiked to see their moms after meeting! -- and how they respectively coped after the death of Dale's mother and Clare's father.
Clare says she's been "praying for a man that has those qualities like my dad had...really strong but really compassionate...The second you walked into my life, you have been nothing but that."
"Every time I wake up, I think about you. When I go to bed at night, I think about you," she continues. "I can't put into words how you make me feel. It's insane…. All I know is that I'm falling in love with you."
Dale says he fell for Clare the moment he saw her: "I hadn't felt these emotions in years."
"When we met, I felt love," he adds."I'm falling in love with you through this process, I'm not afraid to say that at all. My heart is open and I'm not going to fight that."
Clare is elated. "To everyone who told me to settle, and that the man that I'm looking for is not out there? I'm having dinner with him right now."
"There's not a doubt in my mind that this is my person," she adds, as they spend a romantic night together.
The Next Step
The next morning, there's another chat with Chris Harrison, who is ready to keep this thing moving at a breakneck pace.
And so is Clare. When asked if she's ready for a proposal from Dale, she answers, "Of course I want that! That's the dumbest question you've ever asked me!"
The pair meet in the courtyard for their big moment, with Dale in a suit and Clare in a stunning white gown. "Literally from the moment he stepped out of that limo, I knew it was him," Clare tells the camera just before Dale pops the question.
"From the moment I knew you were coming, I was so excited to meet you," Clare begins, beaming. "Then when you got here, it was like, electricity for me, because I knew that I had just met my husband.... You made me feel like everything that I've ever been through, it was all worth it because I've got you right now. And most importantly, you've shown me that you'd never run away and never leave me. And I've never, ever had a man that would stay. And you continue to show up for me. And I promise you, I want to show up for you each and every single day. You make me so happy."
"It's wild, right? That we're here right now," Dale says with a chuckle. "But I've said this before, from the moment I stepped out of the limo, this was special, and I know you and I, we both felt it immediately, and there was absolutely no denying it. You made it so clear and apparent at every phase of this that you believed in us, you believed in you and I, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that you would go to the end of the world for me. I've never had that. And I'm so grateful for that."
"And you talked about strength and compassion and how you saw that in me, similar to your father, and that meant everything. I want to be here for you. I want to be strong. I want you to feel protected. And I want nothing more than to keep moving forward, to be there for you each and every day," he continues. "And I thought a lot about my mother and what she would think about you, and she would absolutely love you. And all she's ever wanted for me is someone that just loves me unconditionally, and who would be there for me no matter what. I know that I have that."
The pair share "I love yous" once again, before Dale gets down on bended knee.
"I'm so appreciative for you, and the best is yet to come. I'm not going anywhere, and I want to make you happy and be there for you each and every day. So, with that being said, I'm going to do it," he says. "Clare, will you marry me?"
"Yes!" she replies, leaning in for a kiss.
Thrilled with her answer, Dale moves to get up, only to be stopped by Clare. "Hold on! Put that ring on my finger!" she says of the Neil Lane sparkler. "I've waited a lot of years for this."
While celebrating after Dale's proposal, Clare says again that she "saw this coming." "I knew it!" she boasts.
"I accepted it," Dale agrees.
It's Not Over Yet!
After the whirlwind that was Clare and Dale, there's still plenty left that fans want to know. A promo for next week shows the pair sitting down with Chris Harrison for an "After the Final Rose"-type interview where they'll tell all about their quickie Bachelorette romance, what comes next, and answer again as to whether or not they had contact before the season began.
Week 3 - It's a Wrap
Knight in Shining Armor
After Clare's upsetting confrontation with Yosef, Dale instantly appears at her side, offering a hug and a shoulder to cry on.
"You don't deserve that," he insists. "He's lying, everyone's lying if they say they don't want to spend time with you."
As for Yosef's comments that all the men were there to "appease" Clare, Dale says that's the farthest thing from the truth -- but adds that he's there to "please" her.
"Hard things are inevitable in life. Mean, crappy people are inevitable in life," Clare says to the camera. "Literally, all I've ever wanted is a man like Dale, who will come over and protect me and make sure that I'm OK and not have to go through it alone."
More Time Together
"I just want so much more time with you," Clare tells Dale before they part for the night.
"We'll figure it out," he promises.
To camera, she raves even more: "Dale is everything that I'm looking for, everything that I want and can't put words with. Things you can't explain… I can't believe, it's not even the second rose ceremony yet, and I'm so falling in love with Dale."
When she sits down with Chris Harrison, Clare admits that she "can't help" her feelings for Dale. "He's so amazing, she gushes."
And of course, he gets the first rose of the second rose ceremony.
Shortest Season Ever?
The next morning, Clare meets with former Bachelorette DeAnna Stagliano, where she can't help but rave about her connection with Dale and share that she is somehow now in possession of his ripped pants from last week?
"This might be the shortest season ever!" Clare laughs as the two SNIFF THE PANTS.
For his part, Dale is feeling the connection too. "I don't want to sound overly confident or arrogant, but when I get quality time with her, it's a wrap," he tells the camera.
On their group date that night, Dale sweeps Clare away first, and they head straight to her room to make out on her bed -- for nearly an hour, according to the other suitors.
In fact, in behind-the scenes-footage, Clare is seen asking producers if they can "hurry the rest along" before giving Dale the group date rose.
Later, during an awkward one-on-one date with Zach J., she admits to the camera, "I just wish I could see Dale."
Turning Up the Heat
Clare's feelings for Dale are so evident to the other men at this point, that they make a point to bring it up during the group date roast, which only serves to upset the Bachelorette.
"Hate on! Hate on! You can't hate on love though," she says to camera of the guys' "hostile" teasing. "I like [Dale]. That's what this is all about. Are you new here?"
After the roast, Clare grills the men on their jokes about Dale and then declines to hand out a rose for the date -- which means Dale is the only one to get a date rose this episode.
And then, an even more telling moment. Behind the scenes, Clare says to a producer, "I really don't think I could sit there and go, 'You dished on my fiancé so hard. Like, I can't be doing that. It doesn't feel right.'"
Week 2 - Love Languages
Dale on the Brain
The morning after the first rose ceremony, Clare can't stop talking about Dale, who says he was "excited" to receive the first impression rose. He won't have to wait long, because Clare makes sure he's on the first group date just so she can see him again ASAP.
The group date is about love languages, and the men start with words of affirmation for Clare. "Behind their words was sincerity. I'm SO excited to hear from Dale," she tells the camera.
Clare has no chill as Dale talks about how committed he is to giving her everything he has, "physically, emotionally." "I don't care who is watching," Dale says. "I'm here."
She even tears up, revealing it's been a long time since she's heard kind things from men. "I'm just not used to it, so it feels good," she explains.
Next up is gifts, and Dale literally rips his pants running to fetch his present for Clare. It's dog perfume, which is a bit of a head-scratcher, but he certainly makes up for it on the next part of the date -- Physical Touch -- where he wants to show Clare his "strong presence."
"Oh, I know this smell," she whispers, running her hands over his body.
After an awkward moment on the group date where Clare has to practically beg the men to talk with her, Dale steps up, saying he'll NEVER restrict how he feels in front of the other men. "I've been on cloud nine."
He steals her away for a conversation, where Clare admits that he scares her -- but in a good way, because her feelings are so strong. "I totally have feelings for you," she says.
"I totally feel the same way, I'm not going to lie," Dale replies. "Hell yeah, there's no denying it, and I'm not going to shy away from it."
He tells the camera that he wants Clare to know that she doesn't have to "waste" time with anyone else. (However, the date rose ultimately goes to Riley.)
More Physical Touch
After a one-on-on and another group date with other men, Clare makes sure to reconnect with "first and foremost, Dale." They pair steal away to chat, where Clare tells Dale she wants to know it all.
"When I needed someone the most, I felt like I was left high and dry," he says of his past relationships.
Clare remembers how lonely she felt in quarantine, especially with everything she went through with her mom. Dales tells her that he prayed for them. (So, he was checking up on her during quarantine, too?)
"I just want somebody to like, little bit take the weight of the world off my shoulders," Clare says.
"Everything that has gone on has made everything harder... I'm not going to rush or push you," Dale replies.
Clare later tells the camera, "When Dale stepped out of the limo, I felt like I met my husband... Ever since, I have seen such a deeper, more intimate side of Dale. I still can't put words to it."
She has a treat for Dale, taking him over to a moody corner of the resort, blindfolding him and showering him with "physical touch." "Thank you for being so good to me," she whispers.
"It will only get better," he promises, as Clare says it's "magical."
"These are my dreams coming true," she raves.
Week 1 - The First Impression Rose
Their First Meeting
Clare is smitten with Dale from the moment he steps out of the limo and has a mega-watt smile throughout their entire interaction.
"I knew it," she says when Dale steps away to head inside, taking deep breaths. "I definitely feel like I just met my husband. Oh my god. I'm shaking."
Chris reappears to check on her. "Every other guy I felt confident with, but with Dale, everything else went dark around me... did I sound OK? Did I say anything at all?" she asks him. "I felt everything I haven't felt ever."
Chris says this is the first time this has ever happened, and Clare doubles down on her feelings. "I just know. I'm 39!"
Getting to Know You
Clare later tells her gathered group of suitors that she knows her husband is in the room with her -- hint, hint -- and wastes no time sitting down with Dale for an intimate chat.
She tells him how hard it's been to be separated from her mom amid the pandemic. Dale sympathizes, explaining that his sister has underlying health issues. But he's been excited to meet her.
"When you were announced as Bachelorette, I was watching on TV," he tells Clare, who is hanging on his every word. Dale was awed by her confidence, and she is LOVING IT.
"There's those butterflies, the nervousness, but that's just because I like him. I know what I'm looking for, and I'm big on energy and vibes," she explains. It seems Dale has those in SPADES.
First Impression Rose
Clare may have given her first kiss to Blake Moynes, but let's be real -- there's only one man who was getting her first impression rose.
"I feel like as much as we talked, I want more of that," Clare tells Dale, giving him the first impression rose, before they share their first kiss.
"Don't be nervous," she whispers as they start full-on making out.
"Even though it was in one night, we connected in so many different levels," Dale gushes. "I would love to sit and talk with her for a couple more hours. We'd probably fall asleep to... yeah... Clare's on my mind."
The Bachelorette airs Tuesdays at 8pm PT/ET on ABC.