I'll admit that I was more attached to Ben Higgins when he was the cute and cuddly suitor on Kaitlyn Bristowe's Bachelorette season than when he was Bachelor. However, during his departure from Bachelor Winter Games, I caught a glimpse of that earnest, intriguing Ben who stole my heart when The Bachelorette esssentially relocated to Ireland for the whole season. Knowing that he wasn't ready to form a serious relationship, Ben withdrew himself from Winter Games, but after his emotional goodbye, fans are curious: Will Ben Higgins be the Bachelor next year?
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight recently, Ben, now 29, addressed whether or not he would ever star on The Bachelor again to find love. He emerged from his 2016 season engaged to Lauren B. the First (aka Bushnell), but the two called it quits last year. While Lauren has been very public with her brand new relationship, Ben revealed on Winter Games that, while he was over her, he was still emotionally invested in Lauren and struggled with the idea of finding someone new.
Seeing as he experienced one of the more solid post-Bachelor relationships before the breakup, Ben definitely seems to thrive within the show's format. But when it comes to being in charge of those roses again, he has mixed thoughts, telling ET:
I didn't realize a lot of people were pulling for that. I can't ever say never, but I can say that I was really happy with [how] my season of The Bachelor was done, and I thought I was moving on and I thought life was gonna get a lot simpler. It seems really tiring and daunting and exhausting to me right now. So I just know [it] might be hard.
It seems that if a second round as Bachelor were to ever happen for Ben, it would be a bit further down the line. As crazy (or as icky) as the idea of a Bachelor repeating the gig may seem, it wouldn't be the first time the franchise has done it. In 2007, Season 11 Bachelor Brad Womack, who didn't appear on The Bachelorette beforehand, became the first lead to reject both of his final two women.
The news went as viral as it could in a pre-social media age, with many viewers hating Brad for putting these women through that kind of humiliation. In 2011, the show brought Brad back for Season 15, determined to help him redeem himself by finding love.
Luckily, the second time around went far more smoothly for Brad. In a season that included future Bachelorette Ashley Hebert and the original queen of Bachelor spinoffs, Michelle Money, Brad ultimately proposed to single mom Emily Maynard.
However, in a cycle proving that even the most ancient Bachelor seasons can become relevant again, they soon broke up, and Emily became the Bachelorette, thus bringing current Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. into our lives. Feeling more confident in her relationship with Jef Holm, Emily sent Arie home before the proposal stage, and he returned home to pine over her for five years before becoming the Bachelor. The circle of life, right?
Also, who else misses Arie's dark hair?
While Ben does come across as more genuine than, say, Nick Viall, who relied on the franchise way too much for love, I wouldn't be upset if he chose to never return to The Bachelor. For now, he clearly needs more time to heal from his breakup before committing to something serious.
Ben told ET that he is currently dating casually, which is already a decent sign that he's slowly on the way to feeling better.
I am in a great place and I was even leaving this show. I'm doing just fine. I am dating... but I'm not good at it. I have this like, block up still, where I'm unable to think [about] taking that next step, and so I just have a really good time spending a lot of money on dinner.
Well, Ben, if you ever want to cut down on that dinner budget, there's always the free meals on a Bachelor one-on-one.
The Bachelor Winter Games returns on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.