Following Monday evening’s Bachelorette finale, Higgins and Bachelor Nation alum Ashley Iaconetti broke down Rachel Lindsay‘s engagement to Bryan Abasolo on their podcast — The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast — with alum Eric Bigger. But what Higgins didn’t expect was having the tables turned on him during the interview.
“Let’s talk about the real question here. Ben, would you ever be the Bachelor again?” Iaconetti asked Higgins, who was taken by surprise, on Tuesday.
“I’m sweating. That’s a good question. And it’s one that I don’t want to answer politically correct here, so I’m going to be as honest as I can be,” said Higgins, 29.
“At this point in my life, I am not ready to be the next Bachelor, I will say that. It just doesn’t feel right. For whatever reason, it doesn’t feel like a time in my life that I would be the best man possible for the women that would come on this season,” Higgins admitted. “And you know, honestly, when you’re fresh out of a relationship, I just feel like that’d be almost disrespectful, too, right? It would be really hard for me to imagine — if I were to watch my ex go and be the Bachelorette and it’s all over TV, it’d be hard for me.”
“So at this point in my life, I don’t think it’s the wise thing to do,” he explained. “So I will not be your Bachelor for this next season.”
Audiences watched Higgins find romance on season 20 of The Bachelor when he met, fell in love with and proposed to Lauren Bushnell. But after more than a yearlong relationship, the couple called it quits in May, revealing to PEOPLE in an exclusive statement, “It is with heavy hearts that we announce our decision to go our separate ways. We feel fortunate for the time we had together, and will remain friends with much love and respect for one another. We wish nothing but the best for each other, and ask for your support and understanding at this time.”
Following the split, Higgins shared on his podcast about why he and Bushnell parted ways.
“I think, mutually, Lauren and I saw that life was getting more difficult,” Higgins said of their last few months. “I would say the joy that we felt toward our relationship at the beginning was — for some reason — slipping away, and we were both working very hard to bring that joy back. And it just never seemed to get there. So it was a long time coming, but it wasn’t necessarily like we dragged it out.”
Of the final days of their relationship, Higgins added that “there was no real saving or redemption to be done.”
“At the end of the day, there was a lot of hurt and pain. It was a rocky road from the start. It just didn’t feel right anymore,” Bushnell, 27, told PEOPLE.
“I think Ben said this at some point, but there just wasn’t that joy that should be there and that was there at the beginning,” said the Sparkle in Her Eye style and travel blog founder. “It just slowly faded until the point it just wasn’t there anymore. I don’t why, but it just wasn’t. At that point, we were at a crossroads. We needed to make a decision.”