Chris Soules is the Bachelor! After a bittersweet exit from Andi Dorfman’s season of The Bachelorette, the farmer from Arlington, Iowa, is searching for love once again on ABC’s hit franchise. Chris, 33, will be blogging for PEOPLE.com every week about the women, the dates and the difficult decisions he’ll make on his journey to love. So check back each week, and follow Chris on Twitter.
I don’t really even know where to start with this one.
I had no clue what was happening with Kelsey when she was having her “episode.” It wasn’t until someone told me that Kelsey was asking for me that I had any inkling something bad was going on. When I saw her sitting on the floor, I was so worried. I felt terrible that something I said had made her panic. I didn’t realize that telling the other girls about our chat would have that kind of effect on her. The only reason I said anything was because I was feeling emotional, and I felt it was only fair for them to know where my head was. I also didn’t cancel the party just because of that. I canceled the party because I knew who I was going to say goodbye to, and not only did I not want to waste anyone’s time, but I also just couldn’t pretend. I couldn’t look those women in the face at the cocktail party and act like I was still making up my mind.
There’s been a lot said about Kelsey this week. And I know a lot of you are questioning why I kept her around in Santa Fe. What you have to understand is, to me Kelsey seemed like a kind, sweet person with a very sad past. I didn’t feel like I was being manipulated to feel sorry for her, and I was glad when she opened up to me about her past. I will admit, though, that her fainting spell did feel a little off. It’s hard to explain, but the timing did seem strange. However, that wasn’t enough of a reason for me to say goodbye to her that night.
Saying goodbye to Samantha and Mackenzie that night definitely wasn’t easy, especially after such a tough week. Unfortunately, I just never really connected with Samantha, and, as far as Mackenzie goes, there’s a bit of a story to that. I never really knew how old any of the girls were. Let’s face it: It’s not polite to ask a woman’s age. But the week before in L.A., Mackenzie had shown me part of her diary from when she was younger, and the problem was, the dates she was in middle school were the same dates I was in college. I still didn’t feel polite asking her age and decided I would give myself a little more time to get to know her because of how much I liked her early on. Unfortunately, our connection did not grow, and that combined with our age difference was enough for me to say goodbye.
I couldn’t wait to go to Deadwood. I’d always imagined what it would have been like to live in the age of Wild Bill and Calamity Jane, and walking the streets of that town really took me back in time. I also couldn’t wait to finally go on a one on one date with Becca. Even though we hadn’t spent much time together up until that point, I knew we had a strong connection. Spending the day on horseback with Becca was fun and easy. What you didn’t get to see was that, during our date, Becca’s horse went rogue and galloped down a hill past mine. Her horse ran into my leg and nearly knocked me off! After getting my horse under control and double-checking my drawers to make sure I hadn’t soiled them (thankfully all was good), I raced up to Becca to help her and make sure she was okay. When I finally caught up, I couldn’t believe how calm she was. That, my friends, is one strong woman.
Later that night, I was happy to get more time with Becca. I know I’ve been called out for kissing a lot of women, but, I swear to you, if we hadn’t kissed that night, it would have been fine. Although, I’m not going to complain that we did. That kiss solidified everything I already knew. Our connection was real, and it was strong. Now, at this point watching, Becca has told you all that she’s a virgin. But keep in mind that’s not something she had told me. You’ll have to keep watching for a while to see how that unfolds!
The next day was maybe the date I was most excited for the entire season. I knew Big & Rich were coming to help me out, and I couldn’t wait to introduce them to the girls. Seeing their reaction was priceless; they completely freaked out. It was so awesome. Country music is near and dear to my heart, and I thought it would be so fun to have the girls put their feelings into words and perform a country song, especially with the help of my boys Big & Rich. I didn’t know Jade was struggling so much, but I’m happy she felt good pushing herself out of her comfort zone. I do feel bad about how cozy Britt and I were in front of Jade and some of the other girls. Yes, I’m an idiot. But dating multiple women at once is not easy! It’s not like I had a lot of practice with this kind of thing before I was the Bachelor. Regardless, I should have been more aware of who could see me when I was with her, and I should have been more conscious of not letting my feelings and impulses take over. All I can say is that I am glad I will never have to go on a group date ever again. Those things are awkward.
Either way, that afternoon was incredible. I knew some of the girls were very nervous, so I took one for the team and went up first. As all of America got to see and hear, I am not a singer. I farm s—. I knew my singing was horrendous, but being able to look in the girls’ eyes and feel their looks of encouragement made it much more bearable for me. As for Big & Rich, the girls, and the rest of America, I am sorry you had to hear that.
Seeing those girls up on that stage, that was another story. Britt’s singing brought actual tears to my eyes. I felt her words. Kaitlyn’s rap was incredible. Megan’s song was absolutely beautiful (that girl can sing). Whitney couldn’t have been cuter. Carly took my breath away, and I was so proud of Jade for getting up there and singing her heart out. I really listened to her words and was so relieved to hear she was “taking a gamble on love.” Overall, all the girls surprised me with their talent, and I was overwhelmed. It was seriously one of the best days of my life.
Later that night, I was really torn. I knew I was going to bring one of the girls to the Big & Rich concert, but I wasn’t sure who. I decided I was just going to go with my gut, choose when it felt right and spend the night getting to know the girls better. Hearing Jade say she could picture a future with me in Iowa made me so happy. I’ve always been insecure about where I’m from, and the lifestyle I would provide to my future wife because – let’s face it – I live on a farm, it’s not glamorous. So when Jade said she was already starting to picture that, it really gave me a hope I didn’t have until that point. Anyway, I had the concert lurking in the back of my mind, and when I sat down with Britt, it just felt right to take her. I really didn’t want the other girls to know about it because I didn’t want to make them feel bad, so we slipped out.
Standing on stage with Big & Rich is definitely one of the highlights of my life. I will never forget the cheers of the crowd and the overwhelming feeling of support I felt from complete strangers. Giving Britt the rose up there was such a special moment for both of us. And hearing some of my favorite musicians of all time change the words to their hugest song just for me was just crazy. That song will forever be “Save a Horse, Ride a Farm Boy” to me.
Heading back to the after party was – how do I say it? – awkward. I felt like the girls’ eyes were lasers, tearing me up. Listen, I know what it feels like not to receive a rose on a group date. It sucks. But I didn’t expect the girls to react the way they did. I really didn’t know what to say, and, at that point, it was clear that there was truly nothing I could do to make them feel better, so I just thought it was best for me to say goodnight. I had no idea Britt would tell them all about the concert. I thought that was something we could have kept between the two of us to soften the blow on the girls. Either way, she told them, and hearing Carly say she felt invisible and seeing Kaitlyn and Whitney in tears broke my heart. I really didn’t mean to cause anyone pain that night. At that point, I didn’t think anything could get worse that week. Clearly, I was wrong.
The two-on-one date is just a fact of Bachelor life. I was not particularly excited for it. In fact, I dreaded it. But it’s just part of this whole deal. I thought long and hard about who to take on this date, and I wanted it to be girls I was still unsure about so I’d be forced into making a decision. After all the drama with Kelsey the week before, I wanted to see if there was actually a connection there, and, while I was incredibly attracted to Ashley, I needed to know if we had more than just chemistry.
That helicopter ride into the Badlands was probably the most uncomfortable ride I have experienced in my entire life. You’d think I would have been excited just to be in a helicopter, but I could actually physically feel the tension between those girls. I felt like me sitting in between them was the only thing keeping the girls from strangling each other. What some of you might not know is that the ride was two hours. TWO HOURS. And it was hot in there! Do you know how long two hours is when you’re stuck in a hot chopper with two women who really really, really don’t like each other?
I didn’t know how to handle the situation because I felt like if I even looked at one of the girls longer than the other, crazy jealousy would ensue, and this two-on-one date would turn into a dramatic wrestling match between two women, resulting in a chopper crash in the Badlands with me in it. Therefore, I spent the majority of the time not looking at, or touching, either of the girls in order to ensure the safety of all who were aboard this steamy chopper full of hate. I know most every man in America thinks he would love to be the Bachelor. Well, I got news for all of you Bachelor hopefuls out there: It ain’t easy.
Now, I know some people think it’s some sort of rule on The Bachelor not to tell the Bachelor about what is going on in the house, but it’s something I thought was important to know. When I was on Andi Dorfman‘s season, I really wish that I had told her the truth about some of the guys. I think she had a right to know. I think it’s important to know how the people you’re dating act in social situations, and what it’s like to live with them. So I appreciated Ashley telling me the truth.
Now, the reason I spoke to Kelsey about what Ashley said is because I felt that she deserved the opportunity to defend herself, and I wanted to hear her out. Honestly, there was just something about the way Kelsey was talking that made me feel like she was being insincere. Her responses seemed almost calculated, and I felt the same weird way I’d felt when she was having her panic attack in New Mexico.
Now, with regard to Ashley, getting to spend more time with her that day answered the questions I had about our future. I want to reiterate that it had NOTHING to do with her telling me about Kelsey, but I do feel she was just not ready for the kind of commitment I’m ready for. Also, like I said to her, I just couldn’t imagine her being happy in my world. Now, when she threw out Britt’s name and asked if I thought she was ready for life on the farm, that completely caught me off guard. It definitely planted seeds that came back to haunt me the next week, but you’ll have to see that for yourself.
I didn’t end things with Kelsey because of what Ashley told me. It certainly reinforced what I was already feeling, but I had mixed emotions seeing the girls’ reaction to Kelsey’s bag being taken away. On the one hand, it made me feel like I made the right decision in sending her home. On the other hand, I felt bad because I’m sure seeing the girls’ reactions will hurt Kelsey. And while I know she isn’t my wife, and I still do question some of the things she said and did, I really do wish her the best. That woman has been through a lot.
All I can say is, even though that day was extremely hard, the helicopter ride home was much less uncomfortable than the one on the way there.
Next week, things get even more intense – if that’s even possible. First, there’s still a rose ceremony. Who else, if anybody, did I say goodbye to? On Sunday night, not only do I sit down with Chris Harrison to reveal a few secrets and answer some tough questions, but I also take the girls home to Iowa, which was probably the biggest turning point for me in the entire journey. And on Monday, I go to the remaining four girls’ hometowns. Whose families will I meet? Will they accept me? Will I fit in? And how do I react to one woman’s scandalous past??? Yes, some of you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who don’t, stay tuned ….
Thanks for reading,