Hello Dr. Laura,
My "sign" that my marriage was doomed from the start was always right in front of my eyes, but I didn't see it until after almost 25 years of marriage.
When my husband and I got married, he insisted he not have a wedding ring to "save money" because we didn't have much at that time. I had just graduated from college, he was a sergeant in the Air Force, and the most expensive thing we owned was my 13" black and white TV. For our 5-year anniversary, I insisted on a ring for him - his excuse then was he couldn't wear a ring due to his daily work with technology equipment, cables, electricity, etc. For our 10-year anniversary, I insisted again and he asked for a gold cross on a gold chain to wear around his neck instead of a ring. I stupidly bought it for him - and he wore it "religiously" and commented on it often as his symbol of our marriage.
By the time we approached our 25-year anniversary, he would constantly tell me "I don't need a wedding ring to prove how much I love you." And it was with that, I discovered he was dating a 26-year-old co-worker which explained why he was "always working," drinking heavily and fighting with me and our 15-year-old daughter all the time. I filed for divorce - and can now look back and "clearly see" all the red flags of our marriage that he was able to sweep under the rug with flowers, pearls, expensive shoes and purses. If I suspected he was having an affair, he would scream "You're just jealous! You have a problem - go see a therapist." Yes, I was very naive, trusting, tolerant... and stupid.
My daughter and I are now healthy, happy women and are both much wiser in our interactions with others, especially males! Thank you for your ever wonderful words of advice, warnings, blessings for solid, wonderful relationships with others - love you very much! You have changed my life - and my daughter's life for the best!