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I was in college when I met Serena*. She was down-to-earth, well-mannered and unassumingly attractive. We were soon inseparable, and I moved into the luxurious apartment that her sister owned.

After a month of living together, I started noticing Serena’s obsession with luxury. She shopped at designer boutiques and visited expensive restaurants and clubs… and I noticed even her lingerie was from designer brands. As I was always on a budget, I would wonder occasionally how she managed to afford them all.

One morning, I got out of bed and went to the kitchen – and ran into a near-naked man at the breakfast bar. Serena, who was preparing breakfast, appeared completely at ease. I kept my cool and left for class, but made a note to discuss the situation with her.

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That evening, when I returned, I found Serena in her bedroom, surrounded by shopping bags. I asked her about the stranger but she simply shrugged and said he was a good friend. I didn’t probe further. Life would surely go back to normal, or so I thought…

It didn’t. Serena began bringing home other men. She continued to tell me they were friends but my friend Jaime, who often dropped by, became suspicious. She would point out to me Serena’s growing collection of luxury goods but as I chose to trust Serena, I kept quiet.

One day, Serena came up to me in tears, begging me to accompany her to a doctor. When I asked her what happened, I was made to swear to secrecy: She had genital herpes. I was in shock but managed to drive her to the nearest clinic for a prescription.

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Over time, it became more glaring to me that she always obtained new possessions after bringing a guy home. I decided to confront her. I told her to be responsible but she told me to mind my own business. She accused me of being a prude and said that there was nothing wrong with casual sex. She admitted that she regularly allowed men to pick her up in public places. I realised at that moment that my roommate was a nymphomaniac. I questioned whether I could still live with her as I was uncomfortable with her behaviour.

Things came to a head when I discovered that the apartment we stayed in did not belong to her sister, but a married man she regularly had sex with. She was a sex addict – and a gold digger as well. Her designer goods were not from her siblings, as she’d claimed, but from the men with whom she’d slept. I was filled with horror and disgust, and immediately moved out.

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When my friends asked, I told them I couldn’t afford the rent. I was polite to Serena when I moved out, but I could tell she regarded me with scorn. Perhaps she was worried I’d reveal her secret to others. I never did. When I found that she was sleeping with Erik*, a classmate’s boyfriend, I wanted to warn him but didn’t: I’d sworn my secrecy to her. Later, I heard that he contracted herpes.

Serena and I have since graduated and started working. I bumped into her at a fashion show recently, and she pretended that she did not know me. Sometimes I still wonder if I’d made the right decision by helping to keep her secret. But one thing’s for sure, I am glad I moved out of her apartment as I do not condone the way she chooses to live her life.

*Names changed to protect privacy.

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