Thanks for the feedback. I am giving her her space and trying to only discuss any issues I might have when I feel they are absolutely necessary to discuss in order to improve our marriage. I am trying to not desensitize her to me expressing my feelings. I know that this is hard on her to hear how much she hurt me.
Noona, I would like to offer one word of advice from some experience. It is very likely that your wife is experiencing some withdrawal symptoms from her EA. When a spouse has an EA they have serotonin in their brain similar to a person who is high on drugs, so ending the EA is like going cold turkey on drugs. Just getting THROUGH the cold turkey is hard enough--but add to that the fact that you periodically prod her to "share her feelings" and it's likely to make it harder on her. Furthermore, she is most likely missing the other person very much (less each day but it's still there) and it would be counter-productive and hurt you MORE for her to tell you to your face, "Oh I've been thinking of him all day and all day long I resisted the temptation to just see how he is."
Thus may I make a suggestion? Rather than prodding her for what she's thinking about or feeling, may I suggest that you ask her what was one good thing today and one thing that wasn't so good? Maybe make it specific like "What was one thing I did today that was loving that you wish I'd do more?" and "What was one thing I did today that was not so loving and maybe hurt you--something you wish I would do less of?" This makes it so that she only has to share one thing (so it's not an endless interrogation but has a limit) and it lets her tell you the good stuff about you! Further, if she does tell you one thing you did that hurt or bothered her, give her a safe place to do that. Even if it does hurt you to hear it, do not tell her than right away because she won't want to tell you anymore then. Tell her, "Thank you for being honest. I'll think about what you've said" and that's it.
At the same time though, I feel like her lack of sharing her feelings on this topic are due to her still having feelings (when she says she doesn't have those feelings for the other man now). It's hard to decipher what she's really feeling. I do ask her and she says that she is just trying to block it out and work on our situation, but I don't think that she would share with me if she was still contemplating this other person.
Permission to speak freely? From my experience she will have thoughts of the other man from time to time even years from now. If she is anything like me and the hundreds of spouses I know who were disloyal, she may not have romantic feelings anymore but more like a somewhat fond remembrance--and trust me, it would do NO GOOD to share that feeling with you. One thing that might be good for her would be a journal that she writes by hand. Another option might be to have her share with you one thing you did that she felt was loving and appreciated. That encourages you and helps her to look at the good things you're doing--to rekindle the love with you. Make sense?
I am trying to get my confidence back with her. I want to be in a place where I can say anything to her and request anything of her without feeling that I may be pushing her away. I need to act how I feel inside and let the rest sort itself out. If who I am is not who she wants, then we need to figure that out now versus later.
Well I'd like you to bear in mind that she had a fantasy fix on another person and came to her senses and chose you. I bring this up because you are acting like her lack of willingness to share with you her every withdrawal thought is somehow disrespectful to you. Actually it would just stab the knife in over and over again to go over and over how much she misses the other man--especially when she is trying to remove him from her mind and move forward with you. If she did it your way, she would rehash and rehash and rehash, and there is already a fairly large hole inside her missing the feeling, the attention, etc. It is helpful to get over the withdrawal to just "get over it" and try to look to the future.
So again, I would make the suggestions I made above and possibly one more. Ask her about THE FUTURE. What would she like to do for herself? What would she like to do with you? What would she like to see you do? Would she like to renew vows? In other words, I realize that you may need to go over the past some in order to process it all, but for her sake it can be better to try to leave it behind and move on with you. So ask her about you and how you did today, and ask her about a happy future with you. See what I mean?
Getting confidence back with your wife after she has told another man that she thinks she loves him is not an easy task. I have a lot of confidence in myself, but the confidence that my wife still finds me attractive and has a fire for me will take a lot of time to rebuild.
I'll be honest with you. She may not have a fire for you right now, and in a way that's okay. She may have just a small bit of warm ember. The way to build that back into a fire is twofold. First--stop doing the things that put on the fire! Find out the things you've done that have hurt her and built resentment, and it sounds to me like you two are doing a very good job admitting personal responsibility and working on this. It doesn't happen overnight but keep at it. Second--start doing the things that rekindle love for her. As you know, men and women are different and we all have different love languages. Try to find out together what your love language is and what her love language is. Then do things for her that mean "I love you" to her.
A really practical example of this--my Dear Hubby has the love language "Acts of Service" and I have "Words of Affirmation." What TYPICALLY happens is that he tries to tell me he loves me by doing household chores or fixing something around the house. That isn't how I hear "I love you." I hear it in being told out loud how he loves, adores, cherishes, respects and admires me. If he wrote a love poem, I'd be on cloud-nine for a day! So what happens is I tell him (in words) and he tells me (in chores) and neither one of us feels loved! Instead, when I want to show him I care, I do a chore for him--something that would be hard for him to do or just long and tedious that he hates. Now I have NO IDEA why that means "I love you" to him but it just does!
In summary, stop doing the things that extinguish the love, and start doing the things that kindle love in her way!