While addressing his ex’s engagement, Higgins said he was “thrilled” that Bushnell, 29, found the man of her dreams but hopes that the celebratory event will officially “close a chapter” between the former pair and unlink them for good.
“My life will always be tied at some level to Lauren and Lauren’s to mine, that’s just part of it when you’re engaged for a period of time or when you have a serious relationship at any point in your life,” Higgins began. “You have a piece of them with you.”
“There’s two ways to leave relationships: you leave them angry and resentful, or you leave them knowing it was for the best and the world and life will offer you great things afterward,” he continued. “That’s how Lauren and I left the relationship.”
Though Higgins acknowledged that their breakup “wasn’t easy” and “broke his heart,” he explained that the former pair left the relationship with no hard feelings, noting that he “still cares about her and wants what’s best for her.”
“Ultimately, we left that relationship — both of us — I think, saying, ‘I hope life brings you a ton of joy; I don’t want you upset and alone forever. I hope you find a partner as soon as possible. I hope everything that you want in this world that is healthy and good is given to you,'” he shared. “And that’s exactly how I feel.”
Higgins then went on to express his congratulations to Bushnell on behalf of him and his new girlfriend Jessica Clarke, before leaving listeners with a final wish of not having his life so closely associated to his ex’s.
“Lauren, congratulations. We’re thrilled for you,” he said. “You found a man that you love without any pressure and… I could not be more excited for you…”
“I hope for Lauren and myself, is that my life isn’t as closely tied to Lauren anymore. I hope that this separates us,” he continued. “I think that it’s great… Lauren has found an amazing man to spend her life with and we’re gonna move on and it’s good for all.”
Added Higgins: “I hope this is a chapter being closed completely because I don’t know Lauren anymore and my life isn’t tied to her.”
In May 2017, after meeting and falling in love on The Bachelor, Higgins and Bushnell called off their engagement, saying in a statement at the time that “we wish nothing but the best for each other.”
Following his split from Bushnell, Higgins said, “I’m sad. I’m a little confused, a little lost, but I’m doing all right.”
A year later, Bushnell opened up about why she and Higgins broke up during an interview with Reality Steve. “I honestly don’t think there was one main reason,” she said in June 2018. “I don’t necessarily think at the end of the day we were the most compatible.”
“It wasn’t this bad blood situation or blow-up fight — it’s nothing I can really pinpoint,” she continued. “It just came down to compatibility.”
On Sunday, Lane popped the question to Bushnell in the backyard of her family’s Oregon home, PEOPLE confirmed exclusively.
While opening up about the engagement, Bushnell also revealed what she had learned about love since appearing on The Bachelor in 2016 and how her relationship with Lane is different than her time with Higgins.
“I have learned that you first have to know exactly who you are and love yourself first. I also learned that you can’t force things or take it into your own hands to fit your own imagined timeline,” she told PEOPLE. “The right one happens so naturally, and effortlessly, and often at the most unexpected time.”
“This relationship feels totally different,” Bushnell added. “Not to say I’m not thankful for past experiences because they all prepared me for this moment and shaped who I am today. I have grown tremendously and I don’t have a single doubt in my mind that I’ll spend the rest of my life with Chris.”