ETonline's Lauren Zima spoke with The Bachelor star Ben Higgins at the filming of The Bachelor at 20: A Celebration of Love, where he defended eliminated Bachelor contestant Olivia Caridi for the aggressive way she pursued him that some viewers found off-putting.
"You are in a relationship, right? If I am offering a rose on that first evening, that's kind of saying, 'Yeah, let's start this relationship,'" Ben said, explaining the experience of being on the show. "No matter how it looks or how long it lasts, on that first night, we're starting something and I think the best word to describe it is a 'relationship.'"
Despite her own early predictions of becoming Mrs. Ben Higgins, Olivia was left crying all by herself on a stormy island as Higgins sped off on a boat in her dramatic elimination this week.
After the episode aired, Olivia thanked her supporters in an Instagram post, saying, "I am eternally grateful."
The Bachelor at 20: A Celebration of Love, airing Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC, will be the biggest gathering of alumni in Bachelor history and will also feature the wedding of Bachelor in Paradise veterans Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert.
Ben might not have anything special planned for Valentine's Day (he told ET he'll probably watch the episode), but he had plenty of former contestants to keep him company during the event, including Chris Soules, who was with repeat contestant Becca Tilley.
"We have talked about it. We can laugh about that kind of stuff," Ben said, denying that things ever got too awkward. "If you're going to date multiple people sometimes in the same friend group, that's fine as long as that search is authentic."
Chris also had glowing things to say about his successor.
"Ben is a great guy," he told ET. "It's been great to be a part of his journey and sort of share what I can to help him through that."
Watch the video below to hear Ben Higgins reveal the dating lessons he's learned from his time on The Bachelor.