WARNING: This post contains Bachelor spoilers.
Arie Luyendyk Jr. is ready to leave his Bachelor days behind.
After breaking off his engagement with Becca Kufrin on Monday evening’s dramatic season 22 Bachelor finale, the former race car drive proposed to runner-up Lauren Burnham on Tuesday’s After the Final Rose special — and she said yes!
In the final minutes of their sit-down interview with host Chris Harrison, Luyendyk Jr. got down on one knee and asked the 26-year-old sales executive to spend forever with him.
“I’ve made some bad decisions but the best decision was running back to you,” he said. “I can’t imagine a life without you. … I truly believe you are my soulmate. I’m ready to face this life with you, and all that comes with it. The good, and the bad. I love you so much. I wanted to do this in front everyone because I want to show you that I should have done this a long time ago. Lauren Elizabeth Burnham, will you marry me?”
Luyendyk Jr.’s proposal to Burnham follows his shocking split from Kufrin, 27.
During his last rose ceremony in Peru, Luyendyk Jr. ended things with Burnham and proposed to Kufrin. But upon returning home to the U.S., Luyendyk Jr. still had feelings for Burnham — and decided to break up with Kufrin (in unedited footage that aired on national TV) during a couple’s weekend away to Los Angeles.
“There’s been a lot of guilt and a lot of shame,” Luyendyk Jr., 36, tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue, on stands Friday. “I know it must have been extremely difficult for Becca. But I only had one foot in that relationship, and that wasn’t fair to her.”
So why did he pop the question in Peru if he felt so conflicted about his final choice?
“I didn’t want to let anyone down. But I needed more time to make that decision. I made a huge mistake,” he says. “I went with my head, and I shut down those feelings for Lauren. The relationship with Becca was great, but my heart wasn’t with her.”
Confused about his emotions, Luyendyk Jr. sought the advice of people who’d been in his position before.
“Immediately after the proposal, I just had this hole in my heart. I tried to concentrate on my relationship with Becca, and I really made a push to make it work.But I wasn’t getting over Lauren,” he says. “I leaned on former Bachelors and Bachelorettes, like Rachel [Lindsay], JoJo [Fletcher], Sean [Lowe], and asked them, ‘Is this normal?’ Everyone was like, ‘Yes, give it some time.’ I was very open with Becca about how I was feeling. It must not have been easy for her. But I knew that it was more than just missing someone. I had to take this risk.”
Though Kufrin says she doesn’t regret the experience, in retrospect, she wishes her former beau hadn’t popped the question to her.
“I wish he hadn’t proposed. At that point I loved him and I wanted to be with him. Even if on that last day, he said, ‘I’m still uncertain, this is a big move, I don’t want to get down on one knee unless I’m 1000 percent sure, but I still want to be with you,’ I would have been fine with that. I would have been like, ‘I love you, I still want to be with you.’ I even asked him a couple times if he felt like he was certain like that was the right move at that point and every time he said, ‘I’m happy with the decision and I feel confident in us,’ ” Kufrin says. “From what he was telling me and from even that grand gesture, I thought nobody would do that unless they did feel 100 percent confident.”
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Despite her heartbreak over the situation, Kufrin has no “ill will towards” Burnham and only wants the best for Luyendyk Jr.
“At the end of the day, we both just fell in love with the same guy and she can’t help that. The only person that I can fault in this is Arie and the way he handled it,” says Kufrin.
She adds: “I’m still going to feel a sense of compassion for him because I did love him but at this point, I want him to be happy, I want to be done and not have to worry about them anymore.”