The first time Julie*, a 28-year-old who works in marketing in Chicago, went to her boyfriend’s house, she noticed a pair of latex gloves on which he’d written “Do Not Use.” She thought that was weird and asked him about it. He said they were for an art project, but didn’t elaborate. “Forget it,” he told her. So she did.
After just under a year together, they moved in. Immediately before they did, that’s when he finally told the truth about the gloves, that he wore them when he forced himself to throw up (which he said he no longer did). Julie had no idea what to do. “I didn’t want to say, ‘You’re really sick. Let me get you some help,’” she says. “I didn’t think that would be useful.”