The 29-year-old reality star was spotted at a Bryan Adams concert in Los Angeles, California, on Saturday night with Ashley Iaconetti, who was a contestant on Chris Soules' season of The Bachelor and also appeared on Bachelor in Paradise. On Monday's episode of On Air With Ryan Seacrest, Higgins explained that he's not rebounding with Iaconetti but rather working with her.
"[Ashley and I] started planning this podcast months ago way before any of this [separation news] happened," Higgins told Seacrest, noting that their podcast premieres on Tuesday and will be "Bachelor and Bachelorette-focused."
As for whether he's ready to start dating again, Higgins replied, "I'm not anywhere close to that and I don't think [Lauren] is either. I would say that whenever that happens, I don't think either of us will find it easy. But I get it, that's life."
Higgins also gave reasons as to why he and Bushnell called off their engagement. "I think there's a lot of pressure coming on this show. I've told any Bachelor/Bachelorette that came after me, just try to stay yourself but it's really difficult," he explained. "You have a lot of people looking over your shoulder. There's a ton of criticism and judgement, no matter what you do -- good or bad -- or if you have the most pure heart or not. People are going to take it the wrong way."
He added, "Honestly, Lauren and I both agreed it does pull on you a lot and it isn't exactly healthy for a foundation for a relationship."
Higgins further insisted that when he proposed to Bushnell on The Bachelor, he never thought they would break up. "I don't want to speak for Lauren on any of this, but I think both of us for so long thought this was the right thing and thought this was going to be something," he said. "[We're] extremely lucky we met on this crazy show that brought us together. [We thought] we'd be spending life together, so yeah, it did come as a shock."
"You don't plan on ever breaking up, that's not why you enter a relationship," he continued. "Unfortunately that's what happened."
Higgins said he is now trying to move on with his podcast and other endeavors, but confessed to Seacrest that it's "not easy."
"I don't know how to do this well," he confessed. "This isn't the happiest time of my life, but Lauren and I both agreed you just got to continue to move forward. That's the only option."
Higgins also talked about whether he'll be returning the engagement ring he gave to Bushnell, which was provided by the ABC show. "Probably soon, I don't know when or how," he said. "They give you this ring, but obviously if you don't make it, it makes sense that you have to give it back."
After publicly calling off their engagement last week, a source close to Higgins and Bushnell told ET that the breakup "was coming for a little bit, noting that the two "weren’t seeing eye-to-eye on too many things and were arguing about everything lately."