Fresh off his split from Lauren Bushnell, former "Bachelor" star Ben Higgins is opening up about the demise of the made-for-TV romance, saying the "joy" was just no longer there.

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"I would say the joy that we felt toward our relationship at the beginning was — for some reason — slipping away," he said in an upcoming podcast with fellow cohost and former "Bachelor" contestant Ashley Iaconetti, according to E! News. "And we were both working very hard to bring that joy back. And it just never seemed to get there. So it was a long time coming but it wasn't necessarily like we dragged it out."

He added, "It's hard to say goodbye to somebody that you spent so much time with and it's hard to say goodbye to somebody that you really did believe was the one for you."

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Ben and Lauren met on season 20 of "The Bachelor." Ben proposed to Lauren on the season finale with a $100,000 ring (that she must now return to ABC). In February, it was reported that the duo had hit a roadblock in the relationship and friends began thinking the end was near.

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce our decision to go our separate ways," they said in a statement on May 15. "We feel fortunate for the time we had together, and will remain friends with much love and respect for one another. We wish nothing but the best for each other, and ask for your support and understanding at this time."


On the podcast, Ben said the split was "for the best."

"Just to be as politically correct as possible and to also be as truthful as possible, Lauren will always be one of my best friends," he said. "It's [a relationship] where I learned a lot about myself; I think she learned a lot about herself. Obviously, she knows me better than anybody else that has gone through this experience, and really probably anybody else in the world. It's tough."