RED FLAG #2, JULY 1995
One of my friends has a rule: if you don’t kiss by the third date, there’s no real chemistry. My future ex-husband and I don’t kiss until the third month.
RED FLAG #3, AUGUST 1995
We’re walking down the street on our way to dinner and I ask my boyfriend a question, which he ignores. I say, “Can you hear me?” and he says, “Huh?” After dinner we go to the movies. While waiting for it to start I ask him if he thinks Jennifer Lopez is attractive. He ignores me.
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I ask, “Are you going deaf, or are just ignoring me?”
“I don’t like to answer dumb questions,” he says. Then he adds, “There’s nothing wrong with silence. Sometimes I think you say things just to hear the sound of your own voice. I’m sure you don’t really care what I think of Jennifer Lopez. It’s all right for two people to be together without talking.”
“Actually, it’s boring,” I want to say. Actually, silence frightens me. Actually, his silence, in particular, frightens me because it makes me feel isolated and depressed. When he goes silent, I stop feeling him; it’s as if he becomes a sudden stranger.
RED FLAG #4, MAY 1996—PARIS
We have a lovely day and a lovely evening that concludes at a lovely restaurant, which my boyfriend pays
for, and then we get back to our lovely hotel room and get in bed.
With the lights out, I whisper, “Did you forget something?”
He says, “What do you mean?”
Against my better judgment, I say, “A card? A present? I don’t know. Something. It’s my birthday.”
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After a pause he says, “I’m your present.”