'Temptation Island' Single Ben Dishes on His Connection With Ashley H. and His Real Feelings About Her Boyfriend Casey (Exclusive)

As he and Ashley Howland explored the first days of their romantic relationship, Temptation Island single Ben Knobloch had one major piece of advice leading up to her seeing boyfriend Casey Starchak for the first time in a month — whether or not you leave with me, don't leave with Casey. Ahead of Thursday's all-new episode of the USA Network reality show, Ben opened up to PopCulture.com about his opinion on Casey, as well as his deep connection with Ashley.

Agreeing to appear on Temptation Island for the "super unique" opportunity of being on TV, Ben didn't have a problem with his role as a single being to find connections with the women who technically still were part of a couple.

"[A man who would bring his girlfriend on Temptation Island] isn't really somebody who I would mind going after his girl," Ben admitted. "Because he's either not committed or he's here for the wrong reasons."

Seeing Ashley for the first time, Ben thought she was "absolutely gorgeous," which was only compounded with how "really cool" her personality is. Ashley was clearly drawn to Ben and fellow single Deac Conti as well, and the trio quickly became friends as she worked through feelings about her boyfriend Casey, whom she feared was getting too close to the singles on his side of the island.

"Obviously it's a little awkward getting to know all to these girls, because they're distracted thinking about their boyfriends," Ben confessed to PopCulture. "The sexual attraction was there, but Deac and I both let her know from the beginning that we want her to leave happier."

The more he learned about Ashley and Casey's "screaming matches" during which his romantic rival allegedly said "stuff to her I would never say to a woman," the less Ben thought of Casey personally.

"Right now I have those conceptions [about Casey], and I don't see them changing," Ben said.

When Casey told another single that he would be just as happy being single as he would be with Ashley in a clip shown to her at a recent bonfire, she felt like their relationship was as good as over.

"I figured if I was gonna make a move I better do it now," Ben said of his and Ashley's game-changing kiss, which solidified them as a couple in the villa. Heading into the final dates and bonfire, however, Ben was admittedly still nervous as to her final decision.

"Obviously [Ashley going back to Casey] is always a shadow in the back of my mind," he explained. "She's had so much growth — she'd taken three steps forward and going back to Casey would be four steps back."

He felt so strongly that he advised Ashley that whether she chose to leave the island with him or by herself, "Just do not go home with Casey, because you'll be throwing away your growth."

Needless to say, Temptation Island fans won't want to miss the last few episodes of the season as the couples head towards their final bonfire reunion.

As Ben teased, "It's gonna be juicy."


Temptation Island airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on USA.

Photo credit: USA