The Bachelor alum Ben Higgins has made it known he's "frustrated" by his ex-fiancee Lauren Bushnell's recent comments that essentially trivialized and devalued their relationship.

Ben and Lauren got engaged on The Bachelor's Season 20 finale, which aired in March 2016 on ABC, but they called off their engagement and split in May 2017.

Ben and Lauren are now happily married to other people, Jessica Clarke and Chris Lane, respectively.


During a recent appearance on Shawn Booth's "In the Booth" podcast, Lauren admitted her time on The Bachelor was "traumatizing" and a bit of a "roller coaster."

She also told Shawn, The Bachelorette's Season 11 winner, that her feelings for Ben weren't as intense as  the love that Shawn had for Kaitlyn Bristowe, mainly due to the fact Lauren was so young at the time.

"Then she should've gone home! She should've gone home!" Ben shouted on the August 14 episode of his "The Ben & Ashley I: Almost Famous Podcast," which he co-hosts with Ashley Iaconetti.

He added with a laugh, "Make it easy on me. Break up with me and leave me standing in Jamaica all alone at the podium, just being like, 'Son of a gun, I am unlovable!'"

Although Ben and Lauren have been broken up for more than six years, Ben apparently doesn't appreciate it when Lauren belittles or makes light of the relationship they had on and off TV.

"That show was really real for me. I will say the only point of this that upsets me at all -- not upsets me angrily, but just, like, would make me frustrated -- would be that [The Bachelor] was a real experience for me," Ben explained.

Ashley pointed out to Ben that Lauren definitely downplayed their romance on Shawn's podcast.

"I invested, personally, a lot of effort into trying to figure out if it was the path that was going to help me find my partner or not," Ben said, clarifying how he took his stint on The Bachelor very seriously.

"I had a lot of incredible women on that show and a lot of incredible people. And if she was feeling this way, I wish she would have, maybe, made that more apparent during the process. But maybe she didn't know; maybe it was going too fast and there were just too many variables and she couldn't figure that out."
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Ben said it's "fine" either way and he's glad "it worked out" for the both of them in the long run.

"But I think discounting that season of life is not fair to either of us, because it was a meaningful season of life. It was something that impacted us both greatly," Ben shared of the former couple's time on The Bachelor.

"And what it did for me -- and what I believe it probably did for her -- you know, I cared about Lauren a lot [and] still care about her. I want to see her thrive in life. I have nothing but good... memories of our time together. I don't have a lot of bad memories."

Ben said he looks back on that "season of life" fondly and says to himself, "I'm glad we tried it and we learned about it."


But Ben admitted, "Were we right for each other? Heck no! I'm right with Jess and she's right with Chris. I'm glad it played out the way it did. I just hope... we're not pushing that season aside, because what it did do, was help me see, 'Hey, this is what I'm looking for in a partner and what I think I need in a partner.'"

Ben said he found those things in his wife and the same thing probably happened with Lauren and Chris.

"I think the language they're using around the show is just kind of saying, 'Hey, it wasn't for me,' or whatever. Well, you both ended up with the person at the end, so maybe it was for you," Ben reasoned.

"Maybe it wasn't that you were going to marry that person, but maybe you should look back on this time and say, 'It was a great stepping stone into finding your future partner.' Maybe it was perfect for you! Maybe The Bachelor world was the best thing for you because it helped you see -- and meet -- your future partners."

Ben said he's really glad he dated Lauren because their relationship taught him a lot.

"It has an impact," the former The Bachelor star noted.

"And it's just what you do with it. If you see it as this negative thing, it's always going to be a negative thing. If you say, 'Hey, maybe I can see the good,' you start to see the good in it."

During Lauren's conversation with Shawn on "In the Booth," which was released on July 31, the former flight attendant reflected on getting engaged to Ben on The Bachelor, although many fans had been rooting for him to pick his runner-up, JoJo Fletcher, instead.

"I was 24 or 25 and just had never done anything remotely like that, and so it was, like, a shock to the nervous system for me... It does feel a little bit young to be embarking on a journey to love and marriage, and maybe that was part of the problem," Lauren said.

Lauren said, at that age, she didn't know what she wanted and was trying to be perfect on-camera, which felt unnatural. 

"I feel like you maybe had deeper feelings [for Kaitlyn than I did for Ben] and maybe it's because you were older," Lauren said.

"Looking back, it would be like me explaining, like, me being madly in love when I was 21. I just feel like it's different than being in love at 30... I feel like my feelings weren't as deep, maybe, now in hindsight. In the moment I thought that they were, obviously, or I wouldn't have made that decision."


Lauren admitted she initially went on The Bachelor to "travel" to "amazing destinations" and "eat food" as her first two priorities. She listed meeting Ben as the third item on her list of The Bachelor pros or benefits.

"I did think Ben was so cute, like, he's a handsome guy. He just seemed so nice and normal and [we have] similar values," Lauren said. "So I was like, 'That's a plus,' but really, I wanted to travel!"

Lauren also thought at the time she was so "hurt" by the fans' love for JoJo because she was "so madly in love" with Ben.

"But now it's because I think I was being torn apart," Lauren acknowledged.

Ben responded to Lauren's comments about frivolous young love on his "Almost Famous" podcast.

"I don't think age has any impact on love. I know people who have fallen in love at a very young age and are very much in love," Ben said.

"I know people who have fallen in love at a very old age, aka hopefully [Gerry Turner] coming up on The Golden Bachelor. I think love is something that comes about in the least expected ways, at some of the most unexpected times."

Ben married Jessica in November 2021, and Lauren wed Chris in October 2019. Lauren and Chris now share two sons, Dutton and Baker.

"Personally, I hear her now say that maybe love feels differently for her than it did back on her time on the show. And I go, 'I'm glad! Like, you're married with kids. I'm married [too] and, like, yes, love does feel different,'" Ben confirmed.

"I'm glad you're in love with your husband more than you liked me -- or if you liked me at all, like, I'm just glad you like him! That's cool! That seems to be a really good thing."

Ben concluded that he has "no emotion" wrapped around his past relationship with Lauren today.

"You could not get me to cry... even though at the time, I was," Ben noted. "I just look back on The Bachelor world with a lot of gladness, because it did lead me to my wife."


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About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.