"I couldn't come up with an excuse to not be here. This franchise has been really good to me," Higgins confessed. "Even through some of the difficulties and things that haven't worked out, it's still been good for me. It's helped me find love. It's helped me fall in love. It's helped me know what true love feels like."
"I am ready to find love again. It takes a while. It's not an easy process. It's still one that I'm sure has its shakiness, and I probably haven't thought through that process or dealt with all the emotions to fall back in love, but I am ready," he continued. "I'm excited for it. I feel more ready today than I did two years ago."
Higgins and Bushnell were together for a year and a half before calling it quits last May, and according to the former Bachelor, he didn't know that he and Bushnell weren't going to last forever until "it ended."
"Yeah, [it was surprising]. We have great examples, just in life, of people that have really tried hard, and two people that really want to love each other and they just can't. So that is surprising," he confessed, adding that it's "been difficult" to start dating again.
"It took me a long time to kind of even start to flirt or text or call or follow up with somebody that I met, that I had interest in," he explained. "Getting from the mindset of being in a committed relationship, one that you believe is going to be a forever thing, and then that relationship ends and moving into being single again, that transition was weird for me. For months, I felt like I was doing something wrong."
Months later, Higgins said he has "a little bit more confidence [and] a little bit more humility."
Ben Higgins Says 'The Bachelor' Gives You a Big Head (Exclusive)
"I realized I have a ton of weaknesses that I need to work on... When you're the Bachelor, surprisingly your head can get really big, and you get pumped up and you lose yourself at times, so in life now, I've taken a step back and I'm able to see who I am a little better," he shared, revealing that he "closed off" his insecurities on the show. "With this, I'm going into it with a different mindset."
This time around, Higgins is looking for someone who has his back -- and with more than 10 countries represented on Winter Games, that might be a foreigner.
"I can find myself falling in love with a foreigner, that's not even a question. The bigger question is, logistically, how does that work out?" he said. "I'm looking for somebody... that will love me through those weakness and insecurities I was talking about, somebody that I can love through their weaknesses and insecurities. I'm looking for not just a friend, but a romantic partner to adventure through life with."
And while Higgins can't wait to find his next relationship, he's not expecting to get down on one knee. "I don't see myself getting engaged through this... Engagement is a very big deal to me," he candidly revealed -- though with just weeks on Winter Games compared to months on The Bachelor, it's understandable. "That would not be a wise decision. If you see me at the end of Winter Games down on one knee, either you'll know, 'Wow, that is really true, true, true love, or Ben's lost his mind."
Winter Games premieres on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC, and will air Thursday, Feb. 15 and Tuesday, Feb. 20, before the finale on Thursday, Feb. 22.