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This is a witch’s brew for sure.
First, you laid out the line of gunpowder:
I took her delayed text replies or forgotten plans as a sudden lack of care. My own insecurities and anxiety started kicking in and before I knew it, I was picking fights over text message that quickly ballooned
Then you lit the wick:
“My biggest trigger… I can’t deal with someone close not answering me. Now I know she needed space to calm down. But at the time, each unanswered text made me more and more frantic. Little did I know that each text was overwhelming her more and pushing her away. A vicious cycle.”
Then the explosion:
‘ “well you can’t just expect things to go right back to the way they were”.’
You say she blindsided you? Sounds like you actually blindsided her with how you acted which caused all kinds of damage. She saw a side of you she had never seen or experienced before and although you think the fight was a 5, I’d bet she’d rate it a 10+ with red flags. Now, I’m not saying you are bipolar or manic depressive (I obviously do not know you and I am not a licensed anything), but the sudden switch from Prince Charming on white steed to Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde act in her mind may have brought back some bad experiences in her former relationships. The switch from Prince to Mr. Hyde could be compared to someone who is charming as heck at first then turns possessive and controlling. Again, I’m not accusing you of being anywhere near that type of character, it’s just that she experienced a (new) side of you she had never experienced before that was out of character and may have decided to quit before things get worse or too intimate. All the follow-ups probably did not help either. It may have overwhelmed her. Perhaps you set off one of her triggers. She probably got scared. In my opinion however, it sounds as though you two had a tight connection and she really did love you.
None of us is perfect, we just pretend to be. Not her, not you, not anyone reading this. We’re all flawed in some way. The positive in all this is that both of you have shared with each other, your challenges. In my opinion, only time can mend this kind of damage. Give her the space she needs. Maybe checkin every once in awhile (“just texting to say I saw (or heard or read, etc. fill in the blank) and it reminded me of the time you/we…” Fall on your sword by telling her you understand what you did, apologize again, and be honest with her but most importantly, trust her should you be fortunate enough to get her back. You two sound like a tight fit for each other. Remember, Love’s most essential, valued, and delicate attribute is trust.