Nick Viall had a stunning engagement ring in his pocket (Neil Lane, of course), a romantic setting (a candlelit log cabin in snow-capped Lapland, Finland) and an avalanche of doubt.

The Waukesha, Wisconsin, native was moments away from proposing to one of two Bachelor finalists last November. But after enduring three televised rejections in the same number of years, the 36-year-old couldn’t shake the fear that he’d break his own Bachelor Nation record. “Nick was scared to death,” a show source says in the new issue of Us Weekly. “He said if he left alone, he’d be devastated.”

All his torment was unnecessary. Us can confirm that Viall popped the question to either poised special-­needs teacher Vanessa Grimaldi or buoyant boutique owner Raven Gates — and the woman eagerly accepted the $93,000, 4-carat diamond he offered. (So as not to spoil the outcome of the March 13 finale, Us is not naming the winner.)

A relieved Viall, who nearly quit the ABC love hunt halfway through, “was over the moon,” shares a production insider. But the night was also bittersweet. Mere hours before he got engaged, a suit-clad Viall struggled to maintain his composure as the runner-up professed her love. “He wanted to let her feel like she left nothing on the table,” the show source explains of Viall’s motivation. Then he cut her loose. “He told her his heart was with someone else,” says the source.

Viall, the founder of men’s grooming line The Polished Gent, felt guilty for keeping both women around until the bitter end while he made up his mind. (The insider says he pondered his decision throughout the night before taping the proposal!) According to the show source, “He tells the ­runner-­up, ‘I’ve been so selfish.’”

The guilt he felt for the reject, who cried as she hugged Viall goodbye, was twofold, explains the insider. He felt bad for keeping her around, but also conflicted: As someone who’d been jilted, “he could relate to the woman he was sending home more than the woman chosen.” The insider continues, “He had empathy for her. It was hard for him to let her go because it hit so close to home.”

Their parting was just one of many fraught moments, says the insider: “The finale is very emotional.”

For much more on the finale of The Bachelor, which airs on ABC, Monday, March 13 at 8 p.m. ET., pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on stands now! airs on ABC, Monday, March 13 at 8 p.m. ET.

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