"Even though it didn't work out with us on The Bachelorette, that relationship still meant a lot to us," says Peter Weber of ex Hannah Brown.

Peter Weber may have been the one calling the shots as the new Bachelor, but he was in for a shock when his ex Hannah Brown showed up during filming.

“I was very very surprised,” Weber, who was second runner-up on Brown’s season of The Bachelorette, tells PEOPLE. “I truly was not expecting that.”

Despite their breakup, some feelings remained.

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“Even though it didn’t work out with us on The Bachelorette, that relationship still meant a lot to us,” says the commercial pilot, 28. “You are going to see just how much it meant to us when you see the episode. All of the emotions resurfaced. They’re just real emotions that come out between two people that at one point cared about each other a lot.”

Credit: John Fleenor/ABC

Getting over Brown after she ended things with him was difficult, admits Weber.

“I was definitely blindsided,” he says. “I was really invested in that relationship with Hannah and definitely saw it going further than it ended up going. But at the end of the day, she made her decision. She followed her heart and I had to come to peace with that.”

Peter Weber
Credit: Jonny Marlow
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Ultimately, “time does heal all wounds,” says Weber. “And I’m someone who doesn’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with me. I want someone who wants me just as badly as I want them.”

Despite everything, Weber is grateful for his Bachelorette journey.

“Looking back, I’m thankful for how everything worked out,” he says. “I definitely learned a lot about myself. And I definitely became stronger. I’ve always been a believer that everything happens for a reason.”

The Bachelor premieres Monday, January 6 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.