D2 headcannon: M's desperation to be a perfect princess had nothing to do with Ben; M realized quickly that E was trying so hard to put every Isle-related thing behind her & M was terrified that that would include her, that E wouldn't like her anymore just like everything else about the Isle that E was now pushing away. This is why E didn't realize what was going on: M worked harder to hide from E than from anyone. E knowing she was using magic to do it & judging that only made everything worse.
THAT’S NOT HEADCANON MY FRIEND THAT IS CANON
MAY I REMIND YOU OF SPACE BETWEEN??????
Evie: “I didn’t know what you were going through, I thought that you were fine, why did you have to hide?”
Mal: “I didn’t want to let you down…”
EVIE! EVIE EVIE EVIE!! Mal didn’t want to let EVIE down!!!!! Forget Ben!!!! Mal hid, kept it all to herself, struggled alone, so she wouldn’t have to disappoint who? Ben? Nah fam.