Why We Ignore Red Flags


Strings of words I've googled this past weekend:


What is a private citizen? 


BMW x5 cognac interior


Arena football 


If you've made similar inquiries, you have followed along the Marvel Cinematic Universe of Reesa Teesa's 52-part TikTok: Who the F Did I Marry? 


I first heard of it when I Facetimed my sister, continents away, and utterly uninterested in idle chit-chat as she was in the middle of the epic. So, I started on a Friday afternoon and took Reesa Teesa to the gym, the bodega, my Uber, and every conversation I had with friends as I followed along through Sunday.


This article is not a recap, but I give it a 100% Rotten Tomato rating even with 1.5x playback speed. After finding love and getting married, Reesa Teesa discovers her husband lied about everything. And I mean everything. Everything. Bear in mind she is unraveling a web of deception in a chronological timeline, astute detail, mostly while driving and obeying traffic laws. He may be a master manipulator, but Reesa Teesa is a masterful storyteller and a fantastic driver. 


This man took lies to the pits of hell, including (and certainly not limited to) a fake family tree, a dead stepdaughter, and surprises to get his wife happy and excited, only to relish in her inevitable disappointment. But one of the most poignant instance of his pathology was he had made-up conversations every morning with his brother. I repeat. He had talks and shared laughter with an imaginary person every morning while his wife brushed her teeth beside him.


There were warning signs, but her ex went to extreme lengths to provide "proof," so she mistook her uneasiness for jadedness. And then there's part 16, where Reesa Teesa perfectly surmises how she excused the "United Nations of Red Flags," it's a reason we can all relate to.  


"When I replay the events that happened, I truly cannot believe that was my story because all I wanted was to meet a guy. For him to be my best friend. For us to get married have a family. I wanted someone I could make fun of his big old forehead, and he makes fun of my nappy head and all my wigs, and yet he was my ride or die. I wanted someone I could be like, 'Man, help me with these kids,' and he help me with the kids, we have a nice home, we were comfortable, that is what I wanted…. I truly thought, I truly hoped, it was my turn."


The promise of it being "our turn" is alluring, and we, as women, need to protect ourselves from people who claim to be white knights. In the past, commitment meant taking a leap of faith, but we no longer live in a vetted world. We used to live in hometowns where an auntie could give a rundown of potential suitors. Now, with dating apps, meeting strangers for drinks, and potentially starting a life with them, we can't cross-check references as we once did. When I recounted the story to my co-founder, Jo, she revealed that she runs background checks on everyone in her life. "If someone is going to be in my life, I'm going to trust them—because of that, I'm not going to take any chances." It's surprising, but now it seems like imperative advice. Modern dating dictates keeping your guard up until running a full background check and getting a list of references going. 


And if you think this story is a fluke or believe you would recognize the warning signs, don't be so sure. I recommend listening to the podcast Something Was Wrong (season 3 is SO good), where people recount how they didn't listen to their gut and had their lives upended by liars. Or get swept up into part 1 of Reesa Teesa’s tale, and you can ask yourself, who the hell is Shantay? 


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