Bachelor Nation, we have our next leading man: Arie Luyendyk Jr.!
When asked what his dad, a Dutch former auto racing driver himself, thinks of his new quest for love, Luyendyk Jr. admitted that he hadn’t broken the news to his parents yet.
“Well, he’s finding out right now!” he said with a laugh. “Hey Dad, Mom.”
“I kind of kept things really under wraps because I didn’t know how this would turn out,” he explained. “It’s been such a quick turn of events, and my family doesn’t know, so now they know. They know along with you guys!”
“I was a little skeptical, just because we’ve been in talks for a few years about doing it,” he said. “I kind of went in with an open mind and an open heart, and it just kind of hit me right now that I’m here.”
“We’ve kept in touch over the last few years, but this just fit perfectly,” he added. “The timing of this really fit for me. I’ll be 36 in a few weeks, so for me, it’s time. All my friends around me have kids and have grown up, so I feel like I’m the last one to really take that step.”
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In an exclusive interview, Luyendyk Jr. told PEOPLE the whole thing is “pretty surreal.”
“It doesn’t really feel real yet, but I’m taking it step by step,” he said. “I’m not nervous. Now that I’ve had some time and distance away from it, it feels like the feeling I had before I went into it the first time. I think sometimes when you’re on The Bachelorette and you jump right into being the Bachelor, for me it would’ve been too soon. This feels more natural. I’m not concerned what people think. 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 continued. “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 in 2018.