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 every week, and follow Chris on Twitter.
Getting ready for the rose ceremony in Deadwood was tough because I was pretty sure I knew who I was going to send home, but I did want to spend more time with the girls to confirm my feelings. I was relieved when Megan boldly asked me how I felt for her, and she was right – our relationship was lacking progression.
My first date on this journey was with her, and it was incredible and something I’ll never forget. I really wanted it to work out with Megan, but our connection wasn’t developing as fast as the other girls. Megan is an incredible woman, and if we had been under other circumstances and I hadn’t been dating six other girls, I’m certain things could have worked out. That’s why it was so, so hard to see her go. That goodbye hit me harder than any had until that point, and you obviously saw that.
After that, I knew I couldn’t see anyone else go, so that’s why I asked Chris Harrison to cancel the rose ceremony. I knew I had strong feelings for the remaining six girls, and, knowing we were going to Iowa next, I wanted to bring all of them.
Before I talk about the dates, I want to talk about Iowa for second. By now, all of you know how much I love the place. It’s home. It’s where my heart is. It’s everything to me. One of the best moments in my life was telling the girls we were heading to Iowa! I’m not going to lie, part of me was a little nervous that the girls might not be thrilled that we were heading to Iowa because, well, let’s face it, Iowa is not necessarily as glamorous as some typical locales frequented by past Bachelors.
To my surprise, the girls went crazy; they all seemed genuinely excited! Carly’s reaction was priceless. When she ran into my arms, I thought she was going to knock me over! I was a happy man.
I was so excited to be back in Iowa that I had to go a little rogue. One night in Des Moines, I snuck out of the hotel with some of the crew, put on a hat and hoodie so I’d be incognito and hit the town. We ended up singing karaoke in an empty bar – Piano Man was probably the peak of the night. Yes, you all may have guessed, my singing was horrible as usual, but we finished the night demolishing an amazing crab rangoon pizza at Fong’s, of course. It was pretty epic, and I think we made it through the whole night without one person spotting me! Okay, back to the show.
I knew my first date in Iowa would be a big one. I wanted to choose someone to bring to Arlington who I could really see my future with, and Jade was that person. I also knew I needed more time with Jade to see if she could break out of her shell. Jade and I always had a strong connection, but she’d been so soft-spoken – almost quiet, (which I admired – that I also wanted to see her be able to throw back and have a good time. It’s important for me to be able to get a little wild with the girl I’m dating.
Bringing Jade to Arlington was huge for me. I’ve said before that I’ve always been a bit insecure about my hometown. It’s small. Really small. But it’s where I live, it’s the place I love and it’s where I want to raise a family. So, needless to say, I was a bit worried about how Jade would react. I was excited to bring Jade into my home, though. It’s a great place, but, as she mentioned, it’s definitely in need of a woman’s touch. And I was proud to show her my land. I’ve worked very hard to get to the place I am and looking over all that land with her by my side felt good. It’s too bad she didn’t want me to name a cow after her, though.
Showing Jade around “downtown” Arlington made me realize how much the place has changed since I was a kid. I’d never say it was a bustling metropolis, but you could at least get a drink and groceries there in the past. But like I said to Jade, the farming industry has changed so much that there just aren’t as many jobs anymore, and people have had to leave small towns to find jobs in other larger cities. It makes me sad to see how empty the place is, but regardless of how small Arlington is, it’s still a great place to raise a family, and that’s what’s important to me at this stage in my life. My community may not have a large population, but it’s the quality of the people that makes it special.
There’s really only one thing to do on Friday nights in Arlington, so it made sense for me to take Jade back to my alma mater. Everyone in the area spends Friday night’s cheering on my old football team, the Starmont Stars. My parents often go to the games, so I knew I’d have the chance to introduce Jade to them, which was awesome. It made me very proud to be at my old high school, seeing the community come out to support Starmont Football. It reminded me of my old playing days and it was great to able to share that with Jade. You could just feel what a great, tightly knit community it is – yet another reason why I love this place.
When Jade told me about being a bit of a rebel in high school, I have to be honest, I was a bit relieved. Of course I love that she is sweet and can be shy, but I also want to be with someone who has a little sass and spunk, someone who can break out of her shell. I definitely saw that side of her when we kissed on the football field, with my entire community cheering us on from the stands. That was definitely a high school fantasy-come-true. I also felt like a real badass reenacting Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club.
The next day, I couldn’t wait to show Whitney around Des Moines. Now, Des Moines is not Arlington. It’s obviously very different, but it’s a place I spend a lot of time. A lot of my friends live there, and I often go there for farming conventions. It really does have it all. It’s a great city with natural beauty, cool people and a lot going on. One morning that week I woke up and went running along the river and up to the Capitol building. I stopped for a couple minutes there to admire the view. Stunning. What a city.
As for the date, I knew Whitney was the perfect girl to take because we’d spent a lot of time talking about Iowa – or, as she calls it, “Eye-wah” – and we hadn’t had a one-on-one since we crashed that wedding. Taking photos of our love story around Des Moines was so fun, and the whole day just felt so normal. What Whitney didn’t know was that I’d met with a local graffiti artist earlier that day and planned to send him our best photo for him to paint on a wall. I could barely keep that secret all day, but I knew seeing her reaction would be worth the wait!
So, even though Des Moines is technically considered a big city for Iowa, it still feels like a small town. As soon as word got out that I was on a date in the city, people tried to figure out where we’d be spending the evening. I was shocked and overwhelmed seeing how many people came out just to catch a glimpse of us. But hey, that’s Iowa fans for you! #iowaproud
Anyway, I was looking forward to our evening because I had two surprises up my sleeve. I’d asked three of my best buddies to come meet Whit, because I really wanted to see how she would interact with some of my closest friends. Man, it was great to see those guys! The truth is, I wish I had been able to invite all my best friends (sorry, guys, you know who you are!), but I didn’t want Whitney to be too overwhelmed! Either way, my friends LOVED her. They were really grilling her, and asking tough questions, and that girl handled it like a pro. She really amazed me with her poise and her honesty. That woman knocked it out of the park.
Anyway, I had to kick my friends off the date so Whit and I could spend more quality time together. It was bittersweet to see them go, but I heard they enjoyed the rest of their evening out on the town. When it was just us, Whitney really opened up to me about her family and her difficult past. I would have never guessed that she had faced such adversity in her life because of how strong she is. Truthfully, I struggled not to cry but I wanted to be strong for her and hearing her talk so fondly of her mother made me realize where she got her strength. That night Whitney and I really took our relationship to another level. Being able to show Whitney the mural and see the look on her face was incredible. It was the perfect ending to the perfect day.
Watching the conversation between Jade and Carly now is strange. At that point, I had no indication that Jade had any sort of secret past, but now it makes sense that she started to unveil her “rebellious side” to me on our Arlington date. All I can say is you’ll just have to keep watching to see how – and if – she finally tells me. (Hint: That may or may not happen in tomorrow’s episode.)
Honestly, I wasn’t that excited for the group date. I was at a point in my relationships where I didn’t want to go on group dates anymore, but six one-on-ones just wasn’t realistic. I wanted to keep the day part of the date lighthearted, so I took the girls ice skating, mostly because I knew I would suck. It just seemed like a fun, easy way to have a good time under weird circumstances. When Britt told me about the girls taking a road trip to Arlington I was obviously surprised, but also happy they took the initiative to see my hometown. Hearing Britt talk about Arlington was even more surprising. For a girl who lives in L.A., she sure seemed overly enthusiastic about my small town life. I mean, I know Arlington is great because I was raised there, but I would totally understand someone initially being skeptical of it. So it was a bit weird to me to see how eager she was, but I had no reason not to believe her.
Hearing what Carly had to say really caught me off guard, especially because of the things Britt said to me just minutes before. Truthfully, I was shocked and I knew I needed to talk to Britt. How could someone change her mind so drastically, so quickly? I needed to get to the bottom of this.
Later that night, I decided to talk to Britt right away. I couldn’t go through the whole evening with Carly’s words on my mind. I totally understand that some of the girls may have been caught off guard seeing my hometown, but the most important part was that all of them were completely honest with me. I just decided the best thing to do was to discuss this with Britt. Hearing her say she never said those things about Arlington just confused me. Someone was obviously not telling me the truth, and it hurt to know that one of these girls was lying. The entire situation was concerning. Other than what Carly had said, I had no reason not to believe Britt. However, her extremely over-the-top reaction from earlier was still on my mind. How could she be that excited about Arlington? Was Britt, like Kaitlyn said, molding herself to be who she thought I wanted her to be? Anyway, I couldn’t spend my whole night talking to Britt so I moved on. #redflags
Now, I know Kaitlyn was upset that she didn’t get a one-on-one date that week, because we hadn’t had one since our Costco/Kimmel date, but I just knew from all the short times we’d spent together in between that this girl was special and that we had a very real connection. It was hard for me to hear that she felt like she was playing catch-up because I felt our relationship was far beyond many of the others. As hard as it was to see Kaitlyn worried, I was happy to see that she actually had a vulnerable side, and it made me realize just how serious she was taking everything. I wanted to reinforce what I was telling her, and the rose was the best way to do so. Little did I know where it would lead.
Britt’s reaction to me giving Kaitlyn the rose confused and hurt me, considering the fact she not only received a rose on the last group date, I gave her the rose on a stage with Big & Rich during their concert; something that all of the other girls would have loved to experience. The police sirens going off in the background during that conversation felt like some sort of omen.
The whole thing was weird. I couldn’t even understand what was happening, and I felt really bad for the other girls, especially Carly who hadn’t received a rose either. Her behavior then seemed so contrary to everything I’d seen of her until that point. It was like she’d done a complete 180. Was she putting on a show this whole time? I couldn’t believe she was trying to have that conversation with me in front of two girls I was also in relationships with and acting as if she was the only one there. I certainly did not think it was respectful for us to continue that conversation in front of Kaitlyn and Carly, so I had to walk away. I left feeling shocked and confused. It was a side to Britt I’d never seen, and in complete contrast to the girl I spoke to on the bridge earlier in the day.
Things definitely come to a head tomorrow, so you’ll have to tune in to find out what happens. Also tomorrow, I head to the remaining four women’s hometowns. How will I react to Jade’s scandalous past? Will Becca tell me her secret? And whose family doesn’t give me their blessing? It’s all happening tomorrow night!
Thanks so much for reading,