Peter Kraus is still trying to find "closure" in his relationship with Rachel Lindsay.
ET's Lauren Zima sat down with the former Bachelor front runner on Tuesday for his first interview since the Bachelor announcement, where he revealed that he wasn't ready to find love on TV again so soon after his dramatic breakup with Lindsay.
"When I got off Rachel's season [of The Bachelorette], I was devastated," Kraus explained. "It was a hard breakup, and going through the roller coaster of the show with all the cliffhangers always seeming to be on me, it was an emotional toll. [Then] going on After the Final Rose and the things that happened there on set, that was hard."
"I'm an emotional guy, I'm a sensitive guy. I used to hide from that, but now I accept it and appreciate it, and that just makes me more hyperaware of the surroundings that I'm in, and The Bachelor is a big, big step I wasn't ready for," he continued.
Viewers watched Kraus and Lindsay's emotional split on The Bachelorette's season finale, after Kraus revealed that he wasn't ready to propose. During their reunion on After the Final Rose, Lindsay declared that the process wasn't for someone so guarded about engagement -- which many fans (and Kraus at the time) agreed with.
"All the information that I had up to that point was that I couldn't [propose in the show's setting]," he told ET. "The one opportunity I had to be on this show, I was not able to get down on one knee at the end... [but] there's nowhere on the contract that says you have to get engaged at the end of the show."
"I made the mistake maybe of not watching Rachel prior to the show, and seeing that she wanted an engagement more so than what I was ready to give at that time, I guess," Kraus shared. "And the reason I didn't watch anything going into it was I wanted to know nothing about Rachel, so it was as organic as possible...Maybe that was a mistake, but it did get me to fall in love with her, it did develop a really unique relationship with this amazing woman, and I don't regret anything at this point."
"I went into the show very open -- for what, I don't know. I just went in there with an open mind, ready for love, ready for attention, ready for opportunity, ready for travel, all these great things, and the first date that I had with Rachel was probably the best date I've ever had," he said. "So the stage I got to as the process went on, it was a little surprising. I didn't expect that close of a connection that quickly."
"I loved Rachel, I fell in love with Rachel and I was ready to pursue a relationship with Rachel," he added. "I just wasn't sure so wholeheartedly that it was through an engagement at that time."
According to Kraus, he was in "denial" that he and Lindsay were actually breaking up -- and once reality finally hit him, it hit him hard.
"It was emotional, and when I watched her walk away for the last time, I asked if I could go after her, and I think in my heart, I knew that it wasn't the right decision to do that. It just faded away at that point, and I drank an entire bottle of wine by myself... Spanish wine, so it was very good," he shared.
Despite their tense conversation on After the Final Rose, Kraus says he has "no hard feelings" towards Lindsay -- but hasn't spoken to her since.
"When it ended, it ended. I knew that she got engaged to Bryan [Abasolo] the very next day, and it crushed me. I did not want to reach back out to that person, because I was still so truly invested in her, and I didn't want to continue to hurt myself, and I didn't want to cause any trouble in their relationship, not that it would have," he said, before sharing one last message to Lindsay.
"Thank you," he expressed. "There's all these fan videos of the process, and I watch them, because they're cute and the music is good, and it's hard. I still get emotional watching those videos, and there's just no closure for me."
"For me, at that time, it felt like there was still so many more experiences to be had," he continued. "I'd just [tell Lindsay], 'Thank you, you're amazing,' and it would end there."
As for whether Kraus, who is now focusing on his company, Worth Personal Training, is ready to move on romantically, he said stepping into the dating pool will be an "interesting" experience.
"I've got my dog at this point. She keeps me very happy, so we're hanging out and staying on the sidelines from that for now," he explained, noting he's not closing the door on becoming the Bachelor in the future.
"I want to continue to do my bootcamps," he said of his professional goals in the meantime, raving about his business' recent fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club. "If I can do that nationally and bring more charitable goods to them and spread love fitness and health, I'm all for it."
See more from ET's interview with Kraus in the video below.