Happy Friday friends, and here is the next chapter of the story! Be sure to get caught up before you read on!
Something switched in me when Ben told me he wouldn’t be coming through Calgary as planned. The pendulum had just swung back to feeling pretty intensely for him after a period of being distant. After this happened I just felt like I couldn’t count on him. If we couldn’t even see each other for a couple hours as planned, how could I trust him to be there for me? I so badly wished that he would have just found a way to make it work. He apologized and I was honest about how disappointed I was, but he didn’t seem to feel as bothered by the situation.
This was a definite shift for me. From that point on, though I certainly still had feelings for him, I really began to look at it all through a different lens. Before I had deliberately continued to hold onto this tiny shred of hope that something would eventually work out. Now I felt like we had just met at the wrong time and it was just this sad circumstance.
Life just carried on over the next little while. I had a lot going on now that my Christmas album had been released into the world. I had booked quite a few performances and opportunities to market my music. I still had the usual responsibilities at work, including putting on a big Christmas concert. Christmas was also a very difficult time of year for me emotionally. My wedding anniversary would have fallen one week before Christmas had I stayed in that situation. Though I certainly don’t regret my decision to leave, that time of year I am always reminded of the trauma that I experienced and it is not easy. I still had a deep desire to be in a relationship and to have a family of my own. Christmas intensified those emotions and pointed a magnifying glass at what I felt like I was missing.
Ben and I continued to stay in touch periodically. We kept an eye on each other’s social media accounts, liking and often commenting on everything the other posted. We texted and messaged from time to time. But we weren’t as close as we had been. I was lonely and felt like there was no future with Ben, even though it broke my heart a little to admit that. I met a man shortly after Christmas and we started to date. It seemed great at first. I was open with him about my history and my difficulties with trusting people. He seemed like he was so supportive and understanding, even when I was being more emotional than what was reasonable. I constantly compared him to Ben without even meaning to. I knew from the beginning that he and I did not have the kind of connection that Ben and I had. I struggled with knowing whether or not that magnetic connection needed to be present right from the start, or if it could grow over time.
During that short relationship, I had another episode similar to the day I had passed out at church. I was out for breakfast with a good friend, and suddenly felt dizzy and overheated. I told my friend what was happening and fumbled my way to the washroom, wondering if I was going to throw up or faint. I could not seem to shake this awful way I was feeling and considering what had happened a couple months before, I was quite worried. She offered to drive me home, but by that point I felt a little better and thought I would be ok. I called my boyfriend from my car and put him on speaker phone, and his response was terrible. I thought he would help me calm down and talk me through, but instead he was getting upset with me, yelling and basically saying I was stupid for feeling so anxious. He had never experienced it and had no ability to empathize with me.
These were symptoms of some pretty major anxiety that I was dealing with, but I did not realize it at the time. I went to the doctor extremely reluctantly, as that was something that made me very nervous. We talked about what was happening and she wanted to do some tests to rule out physical causes. Obviously she mentioned her suspicions about anxiety being the culprit, but I didn’t fully accept it at the time. My nervous imagination told me I was probably dying from some crazy disease and that was the reason I was struggling.
Ben of course was very supportive and clearly concerned about me when I filled him in on what was happening with me. He didn’t judge me for my crazy fears, he just listened. He gently brought me back to reality and encouraged me to take care of myself, including advising me to suck it up and actually go for the blood tests the doctor told me I needed. And for the record, though I did not go right at that time, I did find my way to get the blood tests done and finally got help for the anxiety. Consider this my official endorsement of medication and therapy when needed!
Needless to say, the guy I had been dating - the one that got upset with me when I needed his support - did not stick around much longer. We continued to struggle to communicate and to understand each other and things ended about 6 weeks after they started. The funny thing is, I never did mention to Ben that I was seeing someone. I didn’t want him to know. I wonder now if I never really tried, not honestly, because part of me was still clinging to that distant hope that Ben and I could somehow make it work one day. I would have accepted the uncertainty and loneliness of that time for a maybe with Ben.