I Had No Idea He Had A Girlfriend, But I Got Slut-Shamed Anyway

I was a freshman in college when I met him. He was a junior in charge of orientation and, despite my awkwardness, he took an interest in me. He invited me to his frat house for a beer and things heated up pretty quickly from there. I was newly single and he was hot, so I didn’t see any shame in it. I actually started falling pretty hard… until I found out he was keeping a pretty important secret from me.

People warned me that he was a player. I was offended when strangers would come up to me to warn me about my guy’s past. Just because I was a freshman didn’t mean I was some inexperienced, naive girl. Besides, I didn’t think it was fair to judge a brand new guy based on his past. I wasn’t perfect in high school and I had some baggage, but college was an opportunity for me to turn over a new leaf. I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

His behavior changed as things got more serious. The more time we spent together, the more I noticed things were just a little bit off. Anytime someone tagged the two of us in a photo, he’d make sure to add a chummy comment underneath about how he loved hanging out with new friends. Over our first school break, he went almost completely dark on me, only texting early in the morning and late into the night. The signs were there and I was suspicious.

I ended things the moment I found out he wasn’t actually single. It took a little bit of digging, but I found out he had a girlfriend back home. Once I found out, I went into full-on stalker mode and was able to figure out they had been together for years. I was sick to my stomach. I told him I knew the truth and didn’t want to see him again. He never responded.

Everyone was so quick to say “I told you so.” When I got back from break, I was pretty down on myself. Instead of offering words of encouragement, all I got were eye rolls and judgment. His frat brothers, who I’d thought were my friends, dropped from my life like flies. Apparently, they all thought I had a stick up my ass and wrote me off as another whiny freshman girl.

There were a lot of assumptions. It was as if no one believed that I thought he was single from the very beginning. It turns out this guy pulled this crap on freshmen girls every time a new batch would come through while his long-term girlfriend sat at home, completely unaware. Even though I ended things as soon as I found out, the word got out about his relationship and the damage was done. I was officially dubbed a homewrecker.

There were whispers. Guys thought I was lame for ending things and women shook their heads in disbelief that I would tread on someone else’s long-term relationship. No one seemed to care that he was the one cheating and lying. Any time I showed up to a party, I was convinced I was the reason for every burst of laughter across the room.

Casual digs seriously hurt. My close friends had my back, but the joking jabs still bugged me. I had a lot of conflicting emotions the day I found out I was actually the other woman. I was ashamed that so many people knew what was going on while I disregarded their warnings. I remember one friend joked that I should consider doing a background check on the next guy that shows interest in me and I almost broke down in tears in the middle of a party. I know it sounds dramatic, but I was really into this guy and he broke me.

I actually started blaming myself. At my lowest point, I started to believe the whispers. Maybe this was all my fault. Maybe deep down I knew all along that there was another woman in the picture and I never should’ve entered into that relationship in the first place. It was ludicrous, but that’s where my mind began to wander.

No one seemed to care that he was in the wrong. I think the worst part of the whole experience was that all the blame rested on me. This was a classic “boys just being boys” scenario and I should’ve seen the signs. I should’ve known better.

He hasn’t grown up. Years have passed and I’m happy to say I’m in a very monogamous relationship with an amazing man. I ran into my old flame recently at a wedding and his long-term, hometown girlfriend was right there on his arm. He looked absolutely horrified as I walked up to say hello. Obviously, he never told his girlfriend the truth, and he probably never will.



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