When you reach one year with a significant other, it feels like an important milestone. That was most definitely the case more than a decade ago with my then-boyfriend David.
During that year, our relationship deepened as David helped me through the devastating loss of my mother -- and taught me for the first time what it meant to be with a true partner and take the good with the bad. As it turned out, our anniversary was a stark reminder of this. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the summer of '99...
June 21st, 1999
New York, NY
I’m miserable at the moment, having just experienced one of the worst weekends I’ve had since Mom’s funeral.
Thursday was supposed to be the official start to the anniversary celebration for me and David. I bought us tickets to a charity benefit at the Copacabana featuring dinner, dancing and gambling. Unfortunately, David was in one of his quiet, distant moods.
When we arrived at the Copa, he showed little reaction to the festive atmosphere. Then, when we sat down to eat, he ignored me to read an event brochure.
I decided to go to the bar and have a few drinks with a friend who co-organized the event. After about an hour, David reappeared with my friend’s husband and seemed to have warmed up considerably.
He was affectionate, told me he loves me, etc. But all I kept thinking was, why did he have to be such a downer for the first half of the night?
I told David we were leaving after he finished his drink. He seemed surprised but, as usual, failed to pursue the issue.
On the way home, David put his arm around me.
“So, have you had a fun evening?” he asked.
“No, I haven’t,” I said with a flat laugh.
We spent the rest of the ride in silence.
* * *
At home, David joined me on the couch.
“Okay, what have I done now?” he asked, in a tone much harsher than any I'd ever heard from him.
Not knowing where to start, I told him that I feel like no matter what I do or how dressed up I get, it’s impossible to elicit a reaction from him.
“I’m not the kind of person who reacts in a big way to things,” he said angrily.
I couldn’t help wondering -- is his quiet, laidback personality the opposite of what I need in a partner?
* * *
Before the night was over, David and I would address where we had each gone wrong with each other. But the larger question of whether we were truly compatible continued to haunt me.