"He Flirts Too Much"
Her TurnA Little Too Friendly
"I'm sick of the way Nick flirts," said Patty, 32, a tall blond who just celebrated her first anniversary. "Whenever we go to a party Nick gravitates to the most beautiful woman in the room and launches into a sparkling conversation before I can even get my coat off. And even when he does remember to introduce me, he soon walks off and leaves me hanging. We often have to leave early because we've gotten into another ugly, embarrassing fight.
"I don't think it's expecting too much for my husband to care about me and to show it. Nick has absolutely no idea how hurtful he is, and he won't admit he's done anything wrong. He's very quick and articulate, and manages to twist my words around and turn the whole story inside out every time.
"I met Nick, a management consultant, when he moved into my apartment building back in St. Louis. At the time, I was finishing my master's in speech pathology. I'd spent a year after college in L.A., trying to break into TV news, but I had decided to quit that crazy world and become a speech therapist instead. So I moved to Missouri and really found my niche-- I liked the city and my friends there.
"Nick's a charmer, and in the beginning he was attentive and really courted me. But at the same time, he also came off as a playboy. I wasn't crazy about the way he hugged all his female friends and would casually slip his arm around the shoulder of a woman he'd just met.
"Maybe I never should have gotten married in the first place. I don't want my marriage to be as unhappy as my parents' was. Dad, a lawyer, was very controlling, and Mother, an urban planner, used to tell me how miserable she was with him. But even thought they didn't get along, I know they loved me.
"My sister, Andrea, was clearly our father's favorite, and I was jealous. Everything in our home revolved around her moods, her needs.
"But aside from that, I had a wonderful childhood. My parents encouraged me to try new things, and they were always there when I had to make difficult decisions-- where to go to college, what career path to follow.