Peter Kraus is “overcome with emotion” after learning his Bachelor journey is over before it even began.
Early Thursday, Good Morning America announced that Arie Luyendyk Jr. will be the season 22 Bachelor, sending shockwaves through Bachelor fans who hoped that season 13 Bachelorette runner-up Kraus would be ABC’s next leading man.
Hours after the reveal, Kraus broke his silence on Instagram where he thanked Rachel Lindsay and the network for the opportunity of a “lifetime” — and also shared the important lesson he learned from the process.
“#tbt to the most incredible journey of this life time that has now officially come to an end today. As I sit here writing this, I struggle to hold back the tears as I am overcome with emotion one last time. First and foremost.. @therachlindsay , there are so very many things that I’ve wished I could say to you since the day we parted ways in Spain, but for everyone’s sake, I’ll keep it short… You gave me a chance and all that I can say is thank you,” he began the heartfelt post. “I have a heart filled with love for you now and always and wish you nothing but the best in your life and love ahead.”
“ABC, you saw something in me, but something held me back. You treated me with such love and kindness and showed me glimpses of a life I never once dreamed that I could have. I will be forever humbled and grateful and will always look back at these last 6 months with an ear to ear smile, knowing that this has truly been a very special life indeed,” he continued.
Kraus, 31, added: “Upon leaving the @bacheloretteabc I was asked, ‘what did you learn, about yourself during this process?’ And at the time I naively said ‘nothing that I can think of.’ Now… looking back… I realize I learned one of the single greatest teachings of my life.”
“When you let uncertainty or fear guide your decisions, you risk missing out on what could potentially be the greatest opportunity of a life time,” he wrote, and concluded, “So live dangerously, live without the fear of the unknown, and continue to live and love with a heart that is truly open to anything. #thankyou #lovealways.”
On The Bachelorette, Kraus resisted the ABC reality show’s tradition of proposing to the leading lady during the finale. After a final heart-wrenching conversation with Lindsay in which he acknowledged that asking her to marry him would be a compromise of his core values, they decided to part ways before the final rose ceremony.
Following his appearance on The Bachelorette, Kraus thought he would be cast for the role of Bachelor “up until early this week,” a source close to the situation told PEOPLE
“Peter got an indication yesterday that a new Bachelor was going to be announced and that it wasn’t him,” the source said of the Wisconsin native, who runs a personal training company in Madison, Wisconsin. “But he had no idea who it was or that it was specifically Arie.”
Kraus essentially turned down the opportunity a few weeks ago “because he was conflicted,” the source said.
“He was questioning everything: doing it, not doing it,” the source explained. “It wasn’t about him not falling in love or proposing at the end. He’s a very deep, emotional, thoughtful person who doesn’t do anything rash. It’s a big deal to be the Bachelor, and he didn’t want to let anyone down, from production to the fans of the show.”
WATCH: ‘The Bachelor:’ Arie Luyendyk Jr. Will Be Season 22’s Leading Man
The source added that Kraus is “disappointed” but remaining optimistic.
“He has no bad feelings towards production and everyone hopes something could happen in the future,” said the source.
Luyendyk Jr.’s season of The Bachelor premieres on ABC in 2018.