So, what happened?
A source close to the situation tells PEOPLE that Kraus himself was under the impression he would be cast for the role “up until early this week.”
“Peter got an indication yesterday that a new Bachelor was going to be announced and that it wasn’t him,” the source says of the 31-year-old 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 says.
“He was questioning everything: doing it, not doing it,” the source explains. “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.”
On The Bachelorette, Kraus fiercely 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.
But the source says Kraus’ hesitation to sign on as the Bachelor wasn’t about whether he would have to get engaged at the end.
“He genuinely fell in love on The Bachelorette, so he knows this process works,” the source says. “His reservations weren’t about proposing or not proposing. Then [producers] came back to entice him and eased his concerns, and he was open to it. But suddenly over the last few days, it all went quiet.”
“It was another Luke [Pell] situation where the guy thought it was looking good, but at the last minute production changed their minds,” the source adds.
The source says that Kraus is “disappointed” but remaining optimistic.
“He has no bad feelings towards production and everyone hopes something could happen in the future.”
A separate source confirms that Kraus was “pretty much a go as the new Bachelor at one point.”
“He had been in talks, met with producers, gone over contracts,” that source says. “The show’s team knew many of the fans were hoping it would be him. But producers were annoyed that he refused to commit on The Bachelorette, and they need a happy ending. No one wants a Brad Womack part two.”
“Everyone is pleased with the final outcome,” the source adds. “They’re feeling really positive with Arie as the choice and that there will be a happy ending. In the end with Peter, it was too little too late.”
FROM PEN: Why Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay Didn’t Choose Peter Kraus
As for Luyendyk Jr.?
“I’m not concerned what people think,” he told PEOPLE exclusively.. “I’m just focused on the outcome. I want to find my person and will do whatever it takes!”
“I just want to find that spark with somebody,” he added. “I want to someone to share my life with. I feel like it’s my time. I’m going into this with an open heart.”
Luyendyk Jr.’s season of The Bachelor premieres on ABC in 2018.