Why We Paint Red Flags, White!

Why We Paint Red Flags, White!
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It’s fear. Fear, someone better won’t come along, secretly wanting a sharp edged partner smoothed by our touch, and to delay the ultimate outcome of re-joining the single population. With every red flag we paint white it masks what we truly deserve, leaving us unable to recognize it. This is how you lose yourself.

Conversing with a guy I just met, I ask him, “Why do a lot of single, confidant career women struggle in love?” It’s usually “picking the wrong guy” he responds. The topic makes sense because we’re just getting to know each other. He pursued me on Twitter. Private messaging me saying, “I noticed your page, you rock” and I think you’re a badass. At first I thought, this couldn’t truly be him, although it’s a verified page. Why would a guy with millions of followers be cold calling me? He says I don’t encounter beautiful and smart women like you. If I did, I’d still be married.

It felt like he was a gift for all the bad relationships I had prior. Out of millions of followers he noticed and decided to reach out to me.

He said he’s never asked to meet someone on Twitter before. Only me. Who wouldn’t feel special after that? It was flattering. He read a recent article of mine exploring whether strong women scare off men. He wasn’t complimenting my beauty but my work and it hooked me. He said, “Real men can’t be offended by strong women.” I’m impressed by this guy’s insight. I wasn’t immediately attracted to him but drawn to his confidence and inner strength. He says I’m tired of being alone. I see all the best places, do the most amazing things and I’d like to share that with someone. Find balance for once he says to me sitting in his multi-million-dollar home.

An actor, very precise in how his life is laid out, hands on in every way, a perfectionist at home and at work however he’s known to be the opposite in choosing his past women.

Telling me he yearns for a mature, adult relationship not the twenty something’s he usually dates. It sounded good, but he never acted on it. We didn’t have an adult courtship we’d just hang out at his house, a safe oasis for him, groundhogs day for me. Red flag, painted white.

The conflict for a career woman starts when you date someone whose life is bigger than yours. You have know choice but to cater to their schedule, go when he says go, and are on call in a sense. I told myself I was being accommodating for us to build something special.

Best part, he made sure I felt a part of his life each day. I was inundated with attention, several texts daily. We’d listen to his new music, we went over his lyrics, we talked about the meaning of each song, and he’d sit at the piano and sing songs. His soulful voice piercing through me. I was falling for this guy.

So fast, I ignored what would be a series of giant red flags that started popping up. One week in, the awkward nudie pics started coming in.

We were in strong lust from our first kiss on the first night so I followed his lead. He made sure my thoughts were on him daily with a constant barrage of intense messages and yearning. It never stopped, while he was at award shows, with his family over the holidays, in-between live TV shows, at movie premieres, I felt a part of his life. I thought finally a best friend and soon to be lover. I usually wait on the physical a few months making sure the man is who he portrays, after all its Hollywood.

I thought he must be all in. Matched with his words of yearning to find a partner to share his life with, having more nudes of him then actual days spent together, and his persistent messages, I thought fine, I'm all in. Let's do this.

Still cautious always assessing the rapid progression thinking I never reach out first so it seems to be real. My dream is to find a best friend and he found me!

Months in I'm falling faster, it was mental and emotional.

The downside, he didn't want to leave his house. Red flag. We’d spend countless hours and a dozen days just talking. I asked him if we could go on a real date, actually leave the mansion he hermits in. He said he has anxiety going in public, and we’d be hounded by stares. It made sense; I succumbed to getting to know him in his safe zone. I wanted him to keep an open mind saying, I dated a guy who also is in the public eye and we still went on dates, we made it work. I was offering a fearless perspective. It wasn’t perceived that way, he fired back, with “I should punch you in the neck for saying that to me, don’t ever compare me. “

I’m a professional storyteller, my verbiage is also dramatic, but his tone and cold stare in that moment kind of scared me. I quickly painted the red flag, white. Awkwardly laughed through it and I apologized for the remark.

As the weeks past, feelings grew more intense because he was an incredible communicator. He would always explain his absence and schedule, I appreciated the gesture.

Three months in, I caught him in a lie, it ignited my anger and I lashed out sending a harsh text telling him not to ever contact me again along with a few insults. He disregarded my childish reaction and invited me over to talk.

I arrived excited to make up and apologize. He stared at me again with these intense reflective eyes, in an eerily calm voice he said “I should lay you out, knock you so hard, you’d be laid out on the ground for speaking to me that way.”

He demanded to be respected. The delivery was chilling, I felt scared of his emotionless threat but wanted to turn his anger to happiness. I didn’t care about the lie; I was desperate to please him. I begged for forgiveness, he grabbed me, gave me one of our many passionate, fire fueled eye-glass steaming kisses and I finally gave him all of me that night.

His words were a fast moving red flag, even in anger I felt men shouldn’t speak to women that way. I grabbed my white paint and carried on with the evening playing with his daughter. A perfect child inside and out. She was special and it drew me closer to him. I was back riding my cloud, unwilling to look down.

I knew the situation wasn't normal or healthy per say but that’s a word I've never known. My life is extreme highs and mind blowing lows. For example, this past Christmas, I visited my family in Michigan. A quick errand with my brother ended with a criminal friend of his, pointing a loaded shot gun, then a glock nine at me, five minutes after we walked in. A national crime reporter, one muscle jerk away from a drug addict blowing my brains all over a Detroit trailer home. Merry Christmas! Two days later I'm back in LA, in his twenty plus million dollar home telling him the story. I was testing his reaction. But he didn’t judge me, he related to me by sharing a similar story. Once again I think he’s my person! Finally, I’ve found him!

Strength is what he admired in me, what he wants for his daughter but I soon realized it would be an issue in our courtship because he never gave me any control. He was flawed but I was unable to have the luxury of improvement in his eyes. It felt like I had to be this perfectly beautiful, smart poised woman at all times. The true me is flanked with mistakes and errors I work on daily.

I was falling for someone who wasn't. I would have completely fallen if not for the last night I saw him.

I went over to his house to discover the romantic night I had planned in my head, was changed when several people were wandering his house remnants from a party that lasted until five am. An apparent regular occurrence according to his roommate I overheard say, “I’m sick of this.” Red flag I ignored.

As he slept, I decided to bond with one of his best friends of twenty years. He said, “He’s never brought home someone like you before. Their usually young a little trashy and difficult to hold a conversation with.” He laughs. We bonded over two cocktails and a good hour-long talk where he dropped warning bombs on me, kindly handing me red flags as if he could predict the future of warfare. He said, “You know he’s played a psychopath before, but he really is psychotic.” My eyes widen waiting for him to laugh but he didn’t, so I did awkwardly. I probed a bit more, but each answer gave me anxiety so I kept drinking it away. Once again, red flags painted white.

I was three drinks in when he woke up and kissed me hello. Moody, and foggy I could tell. I was laughing with his friends having a great time, trying to fit into his world of constant randomness. I sat on his flimsy dinner table and fell off. Something I’d do sober. Normally laughter would ensue, I’ve dated actors, athletes before, each would have normally giggled and asked if I was okay. He didn’t. He stormed off. Stewing in his back patio he said, “Aren’t you embarrassed? I guess, but nobody saw I replied. Well I’m embarrassed for you. What’s wrong with you? He ignited a fight throwing sharp verbal daggers cutting my self-esteem, sliced and diced my confidence, and when I started to cry and asked him why he was being so mean to me. He mocked me, said, I sounded like his child. “Why you so mean daddy, your so mean daddy, you sound like my kid.” I was following him throughout the house as he yelled and I cried. He looked at me and said, “Get out of my house.” Words never spoken to me before, I couldn’t comply. Suddenly the anger turned to passion. We kissed, my eyes closed, remnant tears streaming down my cheeks I thought, we’ll be okay now. We just needed to feel each other. Moments in, he stops, looks away and says, “I want to be alone. I want everybody here to leave me alone.” Hysterical I gathered my things and left. Confused over what just went wrong.

Was he truly an angry person or did I somehow bring it out of him?

At times, the mind games are played at such a high level you find yourself apologizing for things you didn't do, just to win or move to the next level.

He text an hour later saying, have a good work trip, we can see each other when your back. I lost respect for him that night, for myself. Red flag, painted white.

I never got an apology but the next day he made an admission on social media. He chose to reflect in a post writing be active not reactive, among other things, rather then express those sentiments to the woman catering to him. Red flag. When his consistency dissolved, his communication lessoned, I panicked and found myself on autopilot until I heard from him.

What keeps us painting red flags white is hope. Hoping his imperfections are a good fit with ours. I'm not without mistakes, at times I'm insecure and a known runner afraid of my own vulnerability. I take someone's mistreatment of me as a challenge to turn him and because I fear another won't come. So I choose to fight the disrespect. It's shadow boxing an opponent you'll never see clearly enough to win.

But if you haven't imprinted his heart after three to four months, it's not your mark to make.

I found out I was not the only girl he’d asked to meet on social media. It was another blow, but my ego still wouldn’t let me walk, reaching for white paint became apart of my exercise routine. I was bulking up from it.

We exchanged a few texts after. Weeks past, I asked are we over? He said, its not over, “just been busy, I'll need a release soon”. Red flag.

Stunned, thinking, did I transition from journalism to the service industry? “I’ll need a release soon,” So much for romance. I quickly buried the degrading comment and stayed positive we’d get back on the right track.

When a seemingly great package arrives at your door don't blindly assume it's worth keeping. It may shine, and feel like a gift you deserve but over time accepting it could diminish the value of a true gift meant for you.

We want to believe people are good and free fall into this addictive feeling, "Is this the one?" We try to rationalize the steps without over analyzing it or affecting the free fall of loving someone. But painting red flags is derived from fear. I rather try and change his mood, then wake up each day having to start over, facing the fears of when and if I’ll meet someone better.

But days turned to weeks. Know more daily hellos, know more porn pics, nothing at all. He wasn’t looking for a partner, not even a friend, the only fulfillment he seeks is narcissistic passions. Turns out, the other woman is 22 years younger then him, another Instagram model, who will never ask questions.

I was his failed experiment to see what the hype of career women is all about. Well, we're opinionated and we don't blindly trust, it must be earned. Ironically his family makes up strong career women he just didn't like dating them I think it’s because he doesn’t like being questioned. Maybe it skipped his mind; he was seeing a professional Nancy Drew. I was inquisitive by nature.

Why did I stick around? I knew I was being lied too, knowing our laughter stopped when the lies began and knowing there was another woman in the picture. But my happiness was secondary to my ego.

He turned cold as if I was meeting a completely different person. I couldn't crack this version of him, and it filled me with anxiety. So I tried harder. Because I came from an upbringing of surviving more dangerous threats then mind games.

Here I am trying to save a fleeing man I never truly had.

Romantics get drawn in by all the attention. We make lightweight words feel heavy. Finally after two weeks of “I’m just busy”, he said if I'm tired of being treated this way and upset all the time, make a change. Put up with it or walk. I was confusing the quality of one's lifestyle with the quality of one’s character.

Four months in, it dissolved with the Houdini affect. He just vanished one day, as if he never existed. What echoed is a conversation we talked about months prior. People who choose to slowly fade away rather then speak their truth. We made a pact that night, to always be honest, be our blunt selves. But he was now a ghost. A whirlwind of intensity that came and left.

When you find yourself standing amongst a row of red, feeling duped, asking did I really know this person all these months? Have courage in believing that was not your person. I’m starting over again, resisting the urge to strap on the armor that protects my heart, instead baring the vulnerability, while I re-enter the battleground praying love isn’t always a fight. Ladies, each time you paint those flags, you lose a piece of yourself.

Instead embrace the person who allows you to wave white flags not as a warning decoy but one who surrenders to life’s greatest gift, finding kind, selfless love, finding someone who truly wants you a part of their life, and welcomes you into their heart.

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