When we last left off The Bachelor, Arie Luyendyk, Jr. is deciding between Lauren Burnham and Becca Kufrin to be his intended. Arie told both women that he loves them, which can only lead to heartbreak for the unfortunate lady who doesn't receive that final rose. It's a miserable situation for everyone involved, but in these cases, it's best to get advice from someone who's been there before. Hello, Ben Higgins.
Higgins was season 20's Bachelor, and also fell in love with two contestants, Lauren Bushnell and JoJo Fletcher. While he ultimately chose Bushnell to be his fianceé, they broke up in May 2017. It's safe to say he knows a little bit about heartbreak. Higgins tells E! News that whoever Arie chooses will face a press onslaught of having to explain away her second-choice feelings, something that Bushnell went through. "We were so happy. I'm not kidding you, Lauren and I had something that was so good," he remembers. "We did this whole press tour and after it we were in the car driving home and I think we both were not talking to each other and we felt empty. Lauren was always really good at explaining where the pain was coming from where I couldn't, and she goes, 'Ben, this is literally the happiest moments of my life and all I've talked about for 24 hours is the fact that you told two people you love them and if you still love JoJo or not and that's affected me.'"
He also has some sage advice for Arie, who is poised to become the supervillain of Bachelor Nation. "If I got one second to tell Arie 'This is what you gotta do': you gotta offer a ton of grace to both parties. Just a tone of grace and ton of forgiveness." Grace and forgiveness might be the only thing that saves Arie from the backlash he will undoubtedly receive. Higgins also indicates that he has some sympathy for Arie's situation: "I get how you can be in situation where you're like, 'I have the strongest feelings I've ever had for two people and I need to tell them that'. I get that you can think it's the right decision to do it and as humans it's OK to make the wrong decision."
Ultimately, Higgins reminds us that even though this is a show, these are real people with real lives. "What we forget as fans, especially towards the end, it becomes a very real experience," he said. "I think that's why we still watch it and why people still love it, because we know how real it is in those last few week." The Bachelor finale airs in two parts this Monday and Tuesday, March 5 and 6 on ABC. Let's see if Arie listens to Higgins' wise words.