This summer I realized that as my relationship with Ben progressed, I had no business writing a column for singles. After Ben asked my dad’s permission to marry me and we picked out a ring, I reached out to my editor to tell her I would be stopping my column. We talked about possible columns on getting engaged, planning a wedding, etc. and I was excited to share that with my readers.
Unfortunately, my relationship took a dark turn and here I am single again and starting over.
Shortly after we looked at rings and started talking about a wedding, Ben began to distance himself from me. We were spending less time together than when we first started dating a year ago.
He was no longer interested in having sex and began smoking again. I wasn’t sure if it was the stress of the pending engagement, drama at work, or something else. I gave him space to think things through and was supportive. We started going to couples counseling and I felt like we had just hit a rough patch. The counseling was his idea, and he was an active participant, so that gave me comfort.
We decided to go camping to reconnect and get a fresh start, but it turned out that was the worst idea. He spent the entire car ride smoking and picking on me. He was pointing out traits of mine he saw as flaws like I am too organized and punctual. I had no idea where this was coming from and why he was being so difficult. He has struggled with addiction in the past and I started to wonder if he was slipping.
He told me regularly that he loved me, but we never saw each other anymore and actions speak louder than words. I would make plans to get together, and he would cancel last minute. He started hanging out with a friend that is a bad influence nearly every day and told me I was just jealous.
It all came to a head when we made plans for dinner after not seeing each other for almost two weeks, and he was 30 minutes late. He said he got wrapped up with his friend (who he had seen that last four nights in a row) and I realized I was no longer a priority and he was checked out of our relationship.
I was so angry at what our relationship had become that after I told him I didn’t want to see him anymore, I felt relieved. I didn’t cry or feel sad for the first three days. Some friends helped me pack up his things and take it to his house while he was on a fishing trip so I wouldn’t have to see him. I made it through that process without a tear but realized I had forgotten something. The next day I made another trip and when I knocked on the door, his friend’s girlfriend answered. She was clearly high, and I saw weed in the kitchen when I dropped off the last of his things. He always said one of his favorite things about me was how I supported his sobriety and I saw firsthand that it was going to be hard for him to stay sober and clean with this going on at his house. I cried the whole way home.
When I initially ended this column, I thought I had found the one. Only a couple months later, I realized I didn’t even recognize the man I was dating. Where was the Ben that brought me flowers, cooked with me, cuddled on the couch with me, and made me feel beautiful? Who was this man in front of me that no longer wanted to see me, talk to me, or touch me?
I had never loved anyone like I loved Ben. I don’t know which Ben is the real Ben, but I know I deserve to be with someone that wants to be with me. Cheers to making yourself a priority!
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