Names have been changed.
I wish you could know who to trust just by looking at them. I was humiliated because the person I thought was my loyal boyfriend was messing around with other girls—and he gave me an STD.
When I was 15, I befriended Rob and thought he was the nicest boy I ever met. He was two years older than me, in high school, tall, African-American, and in very good shape. He was funny and kind, and became my shoulder to cry on. I told him issues that weren’t too serious and worked my way up to pouring out my life story: foster care, then adoption by an abusive mother, an eating disorder, and suicide attempts. He was understanding and told me a little about his family, and stuff he liked to do.
He lived near me, and I would go to his house when my mother was running me down. We took pictures together and video chatted every night. He was my only real friend at the time.
Rob was a popular guy, and many girls liked him. I had no intention of being with him because I didn’t want all the competition—or to ruin my friendship with him.
One day a chubby girl came to his house while I was sitting on his couch. She seemed upset. “Can I see your phone?” she asked. Rob remained still and didn’t respond, so she snatched it out of his hand. “Unlock it,” she demanded.
When he refused to unlock the phone, she broke it. His mother told me that the girl bought him that phone and that he was cheating on her. Rob gave me a kind of flimsy story that I chose to believe because he was my friend.
Valentine’s Day Mistake
We were just friends for two years. Then, on a lonely Valentine’s Day, he had a change of heart and we had sex. Because of our long friendship, I believed this meant I was his girlfriend. I went home lovestruck, thinking that I finally got the boy I’d wanted for so long.
The next time we had sex, we stayed over at a friend’s house. The next morning while he was asleep, his phone was lighting up. His mom was demanding to know where he was. I also saw someone with a flirty nickname texting him, “Where are you? I miss you. I love you.”
I woke him up. He gave me the same blank stare he gave his chubby ex (or girlfriend) when she confronted him.
“We spent the whole night together and before that I helped you as a friend. Why would you be talking to her?” I said with tears in my eyes. He didn’t explain or apologize; he just said, “I have to go home. My mom said she will call the police.”
He didn’t want to go home and even though he hurt me, I still comforted him. I didn’t want to end my relationship with him.
What’s Wrong With Him?
A few months after we started dating, Rob invited me to a program where people explained college and job opportunities. I found the program helpful, but I was really only there for him.
We went in together and sat down at the meeting table with the others. The room got quiet as people whispered and looked at me. One of them was Ashley, a girl I knew.
She whispered loudly, “Why would you bring her here?” and tapped her foot angrily on the floor. Rob gave that stupid blank stare, and the others laughed. One of Rob’s friends, Shawn, asked for my contact information so we could talk. I agreed.
I asked Rob what was the issue with Ashley. He refused to say anything. I kept pressing him, and he got more and more distant.
Shawn called me that night and said, “You know Rob is not really your boyfriend, right?” He went on to tell me that Rob and Ashley had been a couple for months.
I got in touch with Ashley on Facebook. She said she’d thought about giving up on Rob on and off because he was too much to deal with. “He had an STD like three times,” she told me, “I try to help him, but this is getting crazy.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
When I confronted Rob about cheating on Ashley and me, he was really mean to me. He told me he felt bad about how guys mistreated me, and that’s why he pretended to love me. He later sent around nude pictures I had sent to him and told people I was disgusting. He blocked me on Facebook.
Healing My Pain
I should have gotten myself tested for STDs immediately, but I never thought to do so until a few months later, when I was in a new relationship and I had symptoms.
I got blood work, and while I waited for the results, I prayed that what I had wasn’t too serious. I was angry at Rob for lying to me and possibly making me sick.
The results came in a week later, and sure enough, I had chlamydia . The doctor gave me four pills to take at once and told me no sex for a week. After that I felt normal again.
My boyfriend was chill about the situation and got tested. He was positive and got the same medicine I did. But he wouldn’t wait the week to have sex and didn’t listen to my warning. He took off the condom and reinfected me.
Once again, I trusted someone with my body and my heart, and once again it was a mistake. He turned out to be abusive and hurt me emotionally and verbally. He cheated and laughed about it. After we broke up, I had to get tested again.
I learned my lesson about wearing protection. I used to take condoms lightly because I have a birth control implant in my arm called Nexplanon. But even though I was safe from pregnancy, I was still at risk for STDs.
No more. Now I always use condoms. You don’t have to worry as much about your sexual health if you have safe sex. Don’t be like me. I hate seeing the same doctor and telling him I messed up again. It’s embarrassing.
It also is embarrassing to stay in harmful relationships. I think I do that due to the fear of loneliness and a lack of self-confidence. As scary as it is to be alone with my own thoughts, I’m learning to hold out for someone who treats me as well as I treat him and who tells me the truth. And while I’m waiting for that person, I hope to get better at enjoying my time alone and figuring out what I like and who I am.
There’s no way to keep your heart from being broken, but there is a way to stay safe. You can look for red flags. If you are putting more into the relationship than the other person, then maybe that person isn’t meant for you. Trust and honesty are key to good relationships. And if someone is mean to you, walk away.