Chris Soules Is the New Bachelor

Chris Soules

Craig Sjodin/ABC

updated 08/26/2014 AT 2:00 PM ET

originally published 08/27/2014 AT 8:20 AM ET

It’s official: Chris Soules will be handing out the roses in the upcoming season of The Bachelor.

The farmer from Iowa won over Bachelor nation last season on The Bachelorette as he wooed Andi Dorfman with sweet letters and large declarations of love.

“It’s still very surreal,” Soules, 32, tells PEOPLE about stepping into the starring role. “It’s going to be very difficult, but I just want to be very open-minded and have fun and get to know these women.”

Being sent home by Dorfman just before the finale “was tough, but that means it worked for me,” he says. “I fell in love with Andi and got to a point where I really saw that potential … the fact that it worked makes me confident that being the bachelor will work for me.”

And though Dorfman had expressed concern about moving to Iowa, Soules says he’s “open to compromise” when it comes to settling down with his future wife.

“First and foremost, I want to fall in love and find that person that is truly my soul mate,” he says. “I’m willing to compromise, but I just have to find that person that I want to compromise for.”

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