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Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. Called Off Engagement With the Show’s Winner to Date His Runner-Up (Exclusive)

As he embarked on his proverbial journey for love on The Bachelor, Arie Luyendyk Jr. understood the great responsibility of, er, dating 29 women on national television.

‘The Bachelor’ Season 22: Meet Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s Bachelorettes!

“There’s a huge weight being the Bachelor and making the right choices and not regretting those choices,” the race car driver mused to host Chris Harrison on the Women Tell All special. “And I think that is something that I struggled with, being logical. But, then again, it’s like, you do have to follow  your heart.”

If only he’d listened more closely. “If I could rewind time and redo things as the Bachelor, I would, honestly,” he continued. “I know people always say, ‘No regrets.’ But I have regrets.”

Arie Luyendyk Jr. Paul Hebert via Getty Images

Beginning with the end. The 36-year-old — who uttered those three little words to both finalists — proposed to one woman on the season 22 finale of ABC’s love hunt, only to break up with her weeks later. But the sudden split wasn’t his biggest snub. Within days, the onetime playboy hopped a plane to profess his love to his runner-up. (To avoid spoiling the outcome, Us is not revealing if he chose bubbly publicist Becca Kufrin, 27, or reserved tech salesperson Lauren Burnham, 25.)

“Arie had a change of heart,” a show insider explains in the new issue of Us Weekly. “He began to think he’d picked the safer option.”

Now, his heartbreaking betrayal will lead to, yes, the most dramatic conclusion ever. As Luyendyk confessed to Us, “The finale is going to be very interesting for fans to watch. It’s been an experience I’ll remember forever. It’s going to be fun for me to watch back.”

Becca on The Bachelor
Becca on The Bachelor ABC

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Last November, he didn’t foresee any thorns in his future. In Peru with Kufrin and Burnham, Luyendyk “really felt ready for marriage,” explains a second source. When it came time to get down on bended knee with a Neil Lane designed sparkler, everything went as planned, says the source: “Arie proposed and she said yes. They were superhappy.”

For roughly two months. After spending alone time in South America, they met up stateside a few times, says the insider. But as the series’ January 1 premiere crept closer, Luyendyk started to doubt his happy ending. “He had second thoughts,” explains the show insider. “He realized who he really wanted to be with and really loved. He just couldn’t stop thinking about the other woman.”

Lauren B. on The Bachelor
Lauren B. on The Bachelor ABC

Those apprehensions became all-consuming. By early January, Luyendyk — dubbed “the kissing bandit” after his 2012 stint on The Bachelorette — once again met up with his winner. But this time it was to end their short-lived union. “Arie didn’t handle the situation well,” notes the insider. “He wasn’t sympathetic or even very nice.” His callous behavior floored his onetime fiancée: “She was in shock.”

As was the other woman. Post-split, he flew to the runner-up’s hometown to explain himself — with ABC’s cameras in tow. “He begged her to take him back,” reveals the show insider. “And she did.”

Bachelor Us Weekly Covers

Now in a relationship with his runner-up, the real estate agent is taking things slowly. Reveals another insider,“They don’t want to jump into anything.”

UW1118 cover

For more on Luyendyk’s shocking betrayal, pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now!

The Bachelor finale airs on Monday, March 5 on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.

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