'The Bachelor' Arie Luyendyk Jr. 'Prepared for Backlash' After Finale

Prepare yourself for one drama-filled finale, Bachelor Nation.

We won't spoil specific plot points of the shocking end of the season, but it's fair to say that after the two-hour finale specials on Monday and Tuesday, Arie Luyendyk Jr. will not be the most popular man in America, especially with all the ominous teasing from the franchise that something big is about to happen.

But Luyendyk is prepared for whatever may come, he tells PEOPLE, despite lashing out at his own show over his edit on social media Monday.

“I know people are going to be hard on [me],” Arie told the publication. “I made a mistake. And I’m prepared for the backlash. But all I can say is I had to follow my heart.”

On his two finalists, 27-year-old publicist Becca Kufrin and 26-year-old sales executive Lauren Burnham, 26, the 36-year-old race car driver said they’re “very different.” While Becca is “outgoing,” Burnham is unsurprisingly more “reserved.”

“They’re both great in their own individual ways,” he added.

Although the finale has yet to air, one former contestant, Caroline Lunny, has already taken Arie to task on Sunday's Women Tell All special.

“This whole time, you’ve said that you are here because you are trying to find a wife,” she said during the special. “I know what you did, and I don’t know how you could do that. I just really don’t understand. But I really hope you found what you’re looking for.”

“I needed to say what I said. When somebody burns somebody you love, you want to have that moment where you get the last word in,” Caroline later told PEOPLE. “I don’t think Arie knows what he wants. I hope he can move past the glitz of being the Bachelor and take it seriously.”

Contestant Bekah Martinez has also been critical of Arie's alleged readiness for marriage, telling Entertainment Tonight Tuesday that she at 23 is more ready to walk down the aisle than Arie at 36.

"No, [I don't think he's ready]," she replied when asked about Arie's readiness for a wife. "I think I'm more ready for marriage than Arie is, quite honestly. I don't think Arie knows what he wants, and I don't think he's serious about being with one person for the rest of his life."

"I think Arie has a conflict between how he wants to present himself, and what kind of woman he thinks he should be with, and what kind of woman he knows he should be with, and then what he really wants," Bekah said. "I mean, you don't just change dating patterns you had for years and years at the drop of a hat because you're on a TV show — that just doesn't change overnight."

But Arie stands but what he did, whatever it may be.

“[My decision] might not be the most popular,” he admits. “But for me it’s so worth it.”


The Bachelor finale airs Monday, March 5 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo credit: ABC