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This Is Me: My Boyfriend of a Year Had a Separate Life and Two Other Girlfriends

"Besides his name, I don’t know if anything he told me was true.”

Image by Ryan Weisser.

This Is Me is a column in which we speak to Washingtonians who have a unique story to tell. Did you leave your job on the Hill to become a bartender? Did you used to work as an escort? Do you support yourself as a social influencer? We want to hear all of your stories—no matter what the subject or how kooky they may be. Email Mimi Montgomery at mmontgomery@washingtonian.com.

Who: A 21-year-old woman who works in marketing and communications
Lives in: Navy Yard

On how they met…

“I met him through Tinder, a little over a year and a few months ago. I started off just as skeptical as I always do on any of these dating apps, but he was really charming, incredibly sweet, and very attentive to all these little details. It was a pleasant surprise. He and I went on a couple dates and determined, yeah, we like each other and we’re going to get off these apps and focus on each other.”

“He was older—he was 30, and that was absolutely nothing new to me. He wasn’t my first boyfriend. I’ve always dated older, just because I find that being so young and as career-focused and family-focused as I am, I’ve never been able to relate to guys my age. Like I said, he seemed different and like somebody I could really relate to and get along with really well.”

On their relationship…

“It was a perfectly normal relationship; it was entirely drama-free. We usually spent one or two nights a week together, which, considering his super busy work schedule and my work schedule, was perfect for the both of us. We never even got into arguments. We never disagreed—everything from our political values to our upbringings were pretty much in-line.”

“We certainly were serious. He had met my parents, my grandparents, and my relatives, and they loved him. He charmed them just as he had charmed me. I was over the moon. There were certainly days where I could see myself marrying him. We’d started discussing the possibility of moving in together, which to me was everything that I could possibly want. For the first time, I was with someone that I could see myself with for a very long time.”

“There were never any red flags. I asked him questions like, tell me about your past relationships and other girlfriends, and he always gave me what appeared to be very decent and cohesive answers with no kind of hesitation. There was never any suspicion that he was seeing anyone else, let alone two people in long-term relationships.”

On how she found out…

“We’d just spent all day together exploring Annapolis. I was just sitting on my couch, coming off this great high of us spending an amazing 24 hours together, and I start hearing my phone go off. It was Instagram, and it was a woman poking fun at a picture I’d posted of him, saying he isn’t just yours—he’s two other women’s, and I’m one of them.”

“That certainly took my breath away for a minute. I decided to act calmly and rationally. I thought maybe it was just a crazy ex or some kind of weird, sick prank. I took a screenshot, sent it to him, and immediately FaceTimed him, because I wanted to see his face and his reaction. He was as calm as a cucumber, and was like ‘Oh, yes, I do know who this is. She’s an ex of mine, but it got really ugly toward the end,’ making it seem like she’s this troubled woman that was basically stalking him.”

“So I hung up, gathered myself, and sat there and thought about it. I was like, I don’t want to distrust this man that I’ve been with for a year and that I’m in love with, but I also know I’ll never be able to stop thinking about it if I don’t reach out to this woman. I decided to message her and see what she had to say, and she sent me recent pictures of the two of them together and screenshots of their text conversations. It became very obvious very quickly that he was lying.”

“I sent him the screenshots and asked him what was happening. He stuck to his guns and his initial story. The woman started messaging me again and told me about a second women, whom he’d been with for five years and was allegedly living with. I just broke down at that point. I just felt slowly and surely—and this sounds so dramatic—that my heart was breaking.”

“I went on Facebook and looked at my filtered messages, and I saw that this second woman of five years had messaged me earlier in the day with her own proof and her own pictures of them together during Christmas and all these family trips. That really did it for me.”

On ending things…

“After I had finished reading this second woman’s message, I FaceTimed him again. At that point, the tears had stopped. I couldn’t cry anymore. I was starting to feel anger. I called him and was like, ‘You lied to me to my face for over a year. You lied to me this entire evening. Had you been honest, at least we could have talked about ways to get you counseling or help.’ I told him at that point, that was it, and I didn’t want to speak to him anymore. And that was that. I haven’t heard from him since.”

“The best way I can describe it is that for the last year of my life, I’d been in love with a stranger. Also, I feel like I’ve been violated by a stranger, because besides his name, I don’t know if anything he told me was true.”

“While I was talking to these women, I was finding out all these details about alleged business trips he was taking, when he was actually with them. I found out that when he was coming to see my family, he purchased the trips late because he was trying to get out of going to one of the women’s family weddings. I assume he was living with this one woman while having a bachelor pad of his own—that explains why it was always so messy and had stuff everywhere [when I came over], which I just attributed to him being a single guy. It made me realize that this man isn’t just cheating, he’s living two other lives in the process.”

On where she is now…

“From my understanding, all of the women have cut ties with him. He had a couple things at my place, and I threw it all out. The only thing I could think of was purging my home of any indication of him ever being there. I’m really just focusing on cleansing my mind of every memory, thought, and experience that I have of him. That is what I think is the last step in this journey of moving on. Once I get to that point, this will just be a story that I tell.”

“It certainly will be hard to trust again. He was really one of the first people that I wholeheartedly opened up to. Now I’m going back into my skepticism and am currently hunting for a therapist.”

On her advice to other people single and dating…

“I really just want this to be a cautionary tale of sorts. The only time I have ever felt like I was in some sick and twisted movie was when this was happening. I’ve certainly heard of people being cheated on and doing the cheating, but never this.”

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“My advice is don’t be afraid to ask those tough questions. If something feels even remotely fishy to you, just follow up on it. You’re going to save yourself a world of hurt if you double down and just ask. Also, don’t be eager to trust somebody just because they check off all your boxes. For the first time ever, I found a man who I thought checked off every box I ever had, and if something seems a little too good to be true, a healthy dose of skepticism never hurt anybody.”

“DC is certainly a difficult city in which to start relationships and find your match. I think we’re all so over eager to meet that right person, we’re willing to overlook little shortcomings or missteps. In this age of online dating in this city, that dose of skepticism when approaching new relationships is something that all men and women should take into consideration.”

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

Associate Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She previously was the editorial assistant at Walter Magazine in Raleigh, North Carolina, and her work has appeared in Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Adams Morgan.