Turning Red Flags a Pretty Pastel Pink

Turning Red Flags a Pretty Pastel Pink



Years ago, when puppies were part of the horde, one of them chewed up a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat, Pray, Love. Even though it was ripped, I kept page 285. I’d highlighted a piece on the page. She writes, “I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume everyone is emotionally capable of REACHING his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times that I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and then I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been the victim of my own optimism.”


Most recently, with a developer from the valley, I turned every red flag I saw a pretty pastel pink that matched the rose quartz used for healing the heart.



Red Flag #1

When talking about his divorce, he blamed EVERYTHING on his ex-wife. I’ve been divorced and I own my role in it. I don’t blame everything on my ex. Most adults don’t.

He called her a “narcissist,” explained that she had love affairs with bi-sexual hairdressers and the mobile phone salesman, embezzled money, and even stole money from her children’s bank accounts.


He took no responsibility.


Turning it pink, I simply didn’t think about his lack of responsibility and felt very sorry for him.


Red Flag #2

No one in my town likes him. He attended planning commission meetings and acted like a big bully.


Because of that, all of our time was spent with his friends. We didn’t spend time with my friends in Park City.   They didn’t want to be around him.


Last week, someone with whom he worked, noted, “You must’ve seen something in him we didn’t.”



Red Flag #3

Over and over, he said, “I’m just the big fat guy.” I responded with, “Please don’t say that. I wish you saw the man I see.”


Over and over, he claimed, “I’m the worst-dressed gay man.”


Red Flag #4

I kept getting sick – runny noses, sore throat, flu-like when I first started seeing him. Because I was running to/from Salt Lake City and getting little to no sleep, I just couldn’t shake the illness.


Red Flag #5

He never posted anything about us on Facebook. When we traveled, he posted pictures of his bike. He frequently posted pictures of his friends and martinis.


I cautioned him about a post he was labeled in. . . he was in the shot with his friend and his daughters. The caption read, “My new husband and our beautiful super model daughters.”


Working for an LDS company, I wasn’t sure he wanted that on his page. Nor did I think he’d want to be tagged in photos showing how much he drank when he was driving his children.


Red Flag #6

He put the arrival date of his friend’s visit on the calendar, but not my baptism.


Red Flag #7

He yelled at me and made me feel small because I folded laundry. I thought if I folded laundry, it would give us more time together. He took it as an insult to his ability to parent. The same yelling happened when I tried to help put groceries away.


More and more, when he “spoke,” I found myself getting very small. Literally. My shoulders caved in to protect my heart. I lost weight. By the end of it, I’d gone from 115 to 99 pounds.


Red Flag #8

He re-named my dogs. He gave the Horde Greek names.




I went along with it.


Red Flag #9

Early in our relationship, he replaced his ID bracelet and added my name. Within three months, he put a “placeholder” ring on my finger, but didn’t tell any of his family.


Together, we saw the priest to schedule my baptism into the Orthodox Church. But, he didn’t tell anyone in his family.


He spoke to his cousin about the “best season” for a wedding. He told his boss he was marrying me.


He planned to move my furniture into his home. He told me where we’d put the guest bed and the living room sofa. Rather than buy a new TV, he planned to use mine in the basement.


Red Flag #10

He drank 2/3 of a bottle of scotch each night.


He was proud of his pancreatitis attack. That simply meant he was overweight and drinking too much. His poor pancreas couldn’t process the sugars. But, he told a story of being in the hospital over Christmas that encouraged empathy.




In this, I own my behavior. I was quick to fall in love and eager to please. I embraced the relationship and his family with both arms. I wanted him to be happy.


Unfortunately, that left precious little time for myself.


Prior to him, I was the girl that never left the SC (Summit County). I changed. I traveled up/down the canyon with the dogs. I lost my friends. I lost my community for six months.


That was my fault.


Now, I’ll see the red flags. The only pink will be the rose quartz bracelet I wear.



About Julie Hooker

I'm a teacher, writer, and editor. In addition, I'm an animal rescuer, yogi, and friend.
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