Reuters

I Can't Shake Being Connected To The Identity Of An Ex

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My freshman year of college, I dated a guy who was totally wrong for me, in just about every way. My best friend thought she was creating a match made in heaven when she set me up with her friend.

But in reality, he was clingy, obsessive and borderline insane. I decided the best way to handle our relationship was to end it before anything progressed or came out of it.

That was four years ago and I am still feeling the effects of it to this day.

Our relationship was tumultuous, to put it lightly. His insecurities led him to be highly distrustful of me. Once, when I was on vacation, he snooped around my apartment. He looked through my notebooks and journals, scrounged any information from my school planner and tried to break into my computer.

On another occasion, I went to a party at his apartment and he screamed at me in front of all of his guests about his lack of trust. I couldn't handle it anymore. I was freshly 18 years old, and didn't want my first serious relationship to be with someone who clearly wasn't ready for that type of commitment.

So I broke up with him.

For the duration of my sophomore year of college, I found it basically impossible to get any leadership positions on campus. While none of the organizations could give me specific reasons for rejecting my applications, they all stated that they had heard negative feedback about me.

Finally, one team leader revealed that my ex was spreading rumors about our relationship, and what he was saying looked bad on my end. Whatever it was, it was clearly bad enough that people wanted nothing to do with me.

I couldn't believe it. In fact, I still can't believe it.

There were so many opportunities that I was dying to have that would never be mine, all because of a bad relationship. I couldn't be a recruitment adviser during sorority recruitment, and I wasn't invited back to interviews for positions on club councils.

When I walked on campus for the first time my freshman year, I had such high aspirations for myself and such lofty goals that I wanted so desperately to accomplish. I felt like a failure in front of my family and friends. Finally, I made the decision to break the mold and join clubs and groups outside of my university to have a sense of belonging again.

Worst of all, my relationship with my best friend became rocky because she didn't know which side to believe.

I didn't get involved with anyone romantically for two years after that experience. I had too much fear of putting myself out there again for another person to slander my name.

I won't go as far as saying that I have everything figured out now, I don't. But, four years later, I feel pretty secure with myself. If I had known, from the beginning, that dating one guy, for a short period of time, would have had such far reaching and long term consequences, I would have never in a million years agreed to it.

So, long story short: Don't date the first guy you meet on campus. You could be carrying his name around with you for much longer than you ever anticipated.

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