Difficult Lesson to Learn the Hard Way
We spent months hashing through the damage he had done to our marriage in marriage counseling, but he absolutely refused to take any responsibility for his actions. The most he admitted—after hours of working with the marriage counselor-- was that “Paula may have crossed a line…”. What a gentleman. He said that since his penis did not enter her slit, it wasn’t an affair. He would simply repeat that they had so much in common and that he and I had nothing in common even though we had ten years of shared experiences at that point. Yet he stayed in the house, and I kept working on trying to fix the marriage. I reached out to my best girlfriend in DC and asked for help. But I guess she felt she needed her husband to stay on good terms with my husband for work. So she distanced herself from me. And I became more isolated from anyone who would have been a support for me.
Looking back, I wish I had reached out to my oldest friends--women who had known me before I met Johnny. At the time, I thought they wouldn’t accept me since I had barely been around for the past ten years. I missed weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and baby showers. I was too busy building “our” careers. When we came home for Christmas every year, Johnny always insisted on spending most of our time with his family and friends. I would usually have two days to see all my family and friends, which meant I was lucky if I managed to see one friend after I visited with my family. But I should have known better. I know now that had I reached out to them and told them everything, they would have believed me and supported me. And then maybe I would have avoided the worst abuse.
But that is not what happened. Instead I was isolated--surrounded by Johnny’s family and friends, working in a male-dominated career field, and not realizing that my DC colleagues didn’t really know who I was and would rather spread lies about me that Amazing Johnny told them than believe that Amazing Johnny was anything other than the perfect husband and all around good guy he so desperately wanted people to believe.