Michael A. is getting candid about his fears. In an exclusive sneak peek clip of Monday's episode of Bachelor in Paradise, the widower and single father tells Sierra why he's scared to date.
"Since my wife passed away, dating is really challenging," Michael admits in a confessional about his late wife, Laura, who died in 2019 after a battle with cancer. "You know, I get scared. But hopefully I find that person here."
Michael, who is dad to a 6-year-old son, James, seems to be getting even closer to Sierra, after initially connecting with her during the season premiere.
"This whole thing is so unfamiliar to me," he tells her. "One thing I really am scared of is that I'm not ready."
"I know," she acknowledges. "I feel like whoever you do end up choosing, whoever it is, it's never replacing her."
Michael seems moved by Sierra's comfort, telling her, "Thank you for listening to this. I feel like we get each other. I feel that."
With that, Sierra smiles and Michael seals the heart-to-heart with a kiss.
"I had no idea Sierra and I would have this kind of connection," he marvels to the cameras. "I can't not feel that one."
When ET spoke to Michael before Paradise kicked off, he revealed why he decided to leave the tot again in hopes of finding love.
"Since we've had some history of doing this in the past, we were a little bit more prepared this time around," Michael told ET of himself and James. "He's with my parents and my in-laws, and they came to him with this vacation package while I was gone. When I told him I was going away, he was like, 'I’m going to have so much more fun than you.' And I’m like, 'Little do you know.'"
"He’s in good hands," he added. "I mean, I never would leave if I felt like he wasn't in a good place. I miss him already, and so it will be hard being away."
Though it was hard to leave, Michael viewed Paradise as a way he could invest in himself.
"I think a lot of parents, they have a tendency to lose themselves in the role of being a parent and you forget that they're humans too. That they have their own needs, that they are their own person," he said. "Taking three weeks out of the year, while it will be hard to be away from James, I think it's a necessary investment and I think it'll turn out to be good."
As for his goal going into the experience, Michael said he wanted to "leave here with somebody."
"I'm not somebody that likes to date multiple people. I've actually never dated two people at the same time. I've only said I love you to one person in my entire life," he said. "I am a little bit guarded after the loss of Laura, but I'm hoping to let those walls down and be able to kind of open up my heart again."