The bandit is back. Five years after getting his heart broken on Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette, finalist and new Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. will officially fill the all-important role come January 1. While much has changed since 2012, the level of drama and romance on ABC’s smash franchise will remain the same—as Luyendyk teased in a call with The Knot and other reporters on Thursday, December 14.
“The journey was great,” Luyendyk says. “I found love… I found love with two people.” However, that was all he was able to share about the surprising element. “To see the ending, you’ll have to tune in,” he concluded.
His experience mirrors the journey of season 20 lead Ben Higgins, who fell in love with his two finalists, JoJo Fletcher and Lauren Bushnell. However, Luyendyk at age 36 says he’s experienced his fair share of relationships—and he knew what he was looking for going into the franchise, at least emotionally speaking.
“I don’t have a type,” he adds. “It was really interesting to get to know the cast. I can converse with anyone. It was getting to know all these different personalities that first night.”
By the end of the first night at the Mansion, the number drops from 29 contestants to 21 women. “My game plan was not to lead with chemistry. I think as a man it’s easy to do that,” he says. “Also, for me, I tried to envision how that person would fit into my regular life and whether I would fit into their life.”
For someone who was ready to propose to Maynard back in 2012, Luyendyk wanted to lead with his heart and his head. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in the romance and the experience,” he says. “With the beautiful women sitting across from you… I try not to lead with chemistry.”
The new season of The Bachelor premieres January 1, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.