Most people think that reality TV shows have no educational value whatsoever, but I beg to differ. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in life has been taught to me through the very cheating scandals and heartbreaks that give these shows their “bad rap”. It’s one so invaluable that my college professors could only dream of teaching me something even half as useful: know the red flags when you see them. And no network has drilled that into my dating brain quite like Bravo has.
If you’re not up to speed on the current Vanderpump Rules drama, the main thing you need to know is that it’s yet another classic case of men aren’t sh*t. Tom Sandoval (a star on the show) has been accused of cheating on his long-time girlfriend Ariana Madix (also a star on the show) with Raquel Leviss (you guessed it—she’s also a star on the show). Are we pissed? Absolutely. But are we shocked? Sadly, no.
While this is the most recent Bravo relationship dumpster fire, it’s very far from the first (or the last). The men of Bravo have been fumbling for quite some time now, practically waving red flags above their heads like girlies trying to get Harry Styles to read their signs at a concert: as high as they can, right in our faces. Well, we’ve noticed them, and we’re taking notes so we know exactly what not to fall for in our own relationships. Here are some red flags to really look out for, courtesy of Bravo-lationships:
1. They’ve cheated in multiple relationships
Tom Sandoval, James Kennedy, and Randall Emmets of Vanderpump Rules (yeah, this cast has got to get it together), Tom D’Agostino of RHONY, and Shep Rose of Southern Charm walk into a bar—what are they doing? Probably cheating on their partners. Again.
Yup, every one of them has been unfaithful in more than one relationship. So when they aren’t Prince Charming to our favorite Bravo ladies…it adds up. Obviously, learning that the person you’re interested in has cheated at all in the past is never fun. But every relationship and circumstance is different, so hearing them out and being willing to work through that is totally valid. However, if they’ve been disloyal to several partners before you came along, it’s something to very heavily consider. It clearly wasn’t some one off mistake, so when they swear to you they’ve ~changed~, maybe take it with the world’s biggest grain of salt.
2. Your friends are pointing out their red flags to you
Yes, you should always prioritize the fact that someone makes you happy. Duh! But, if more than one person in your life is telling you that they’re noticing some not-so-great things about a potential or current partner, that’s definitely something to take note of. We’re not talking comments from people you’re not very tight-knit with, but more so the ones who you really trust, with opinions you value. Your ride-or-dies, if you will.
Both Luann of RHONY and Ariana of Vanderpump Rules had some of their closest friends and loved ones come through with concerns about their respectful Toms in the earlier stages of the relationships (yes, both were done dirty by a Tom…we’ll get to that in a second). But alas, the rose-colored glasses were on, and they found out about their partner’s true colors later rather than sooner. Always listen to yourself, but remember that sometimes people on the outside (with your best interest in mind) can notice those flags before you do.
3. They’re a little too secretive in the early stages
I’m not saying you have to lay out your entire life story and social security number to someone within a month of talking. (In fact, please don’t.) Opening up to a person takes time, which is totally okay. But, there’s a difference between naturally taking time to open up and hiding things that you don’t want them to know. It’s not the easiest red flag to pick out, but a huge one to keep an eye on.
Take Lala Kent and Randall Emmett of Vanderpump Rules, for example. Lala claims that Randall offered her $14,000 to keep their romance a secret in the beginning. Why, you ask? Well, he was still legally married to his ex-wife and didn’t want the world to know, of course. While most cases aren’t this extreme (and if they are, Godspeed to you), it’s a good reminder to be wary of anyone that’s noticeably holding a lot back. Whether they don’t want people to know about you or they’re keeping too quiet about parts of themselves, that red flag is flying.
4. They get mad at you for things you can’t control
When Lenny would act resentful towards Lisa on RHOM because of her infertility issues? Or when he got angry at her when vendors showed up late to a party they were throwing? Jaw on the floor. Those are very obviously things that Lisa had zero control over, and watching her receive the blame from someone who’s supposed to be her #1 fan was an ugly sight to see. At least now we know to be aware of the fact that that type of behavior is definitely not it.
You are not a punching bag! When something isn’t going as planned, be wary of partners who take it out on you. That screams manipulative and immature, and if you notice it’s becoming a pattern, that issue needs to be talked about ASAP (and if they get mad at you for bringing it up…that’s all the proof you need).
5. Above all else, if their name is Tom…run
Tom Schwartz, Tom Sandoval, Tom D’Agostino, Tom Girardi…need I say more? If you look up sleazy in a thesaurus, Tom is actually listed as a synonym. Sure, you shouldn’t ever judge a book by its cover, but you can and should judge by this name. Save yourself the time. Anti-Tom era incoming.
Obviously, we’re joking (all the Toms out there are on thin ice for Bravo watchers, though). It has nothing to do with their name, but everything to do with that type of person in a relationship: the one you can’t trust, the one who’s full of excuses, the one who gaslights you… the list goes on. This kind of partner is never someone you should give your time and energy to. Check in with yourself, trust your gut, and know that you deserve so much more than all of that BS. Don’t ignore or try to justify those big red flags—we are not following in those Bravolebrity footsteps.