I call this "capitulation", and we don't see it very often. By that I mean the betrayer fully surrenders to the betrayed. An analogy which is close is that of the addict who hits total rock bottom. They've lost absolutely everything and nearly died, too. Only at this point are they capable and willing to release themselves of their attachment to their former belief system.
The cheater has to realize that they have lost everything. They've lost their marriage, their home, their family, their lifestyle, their secret life, their circle of friends, the respect of their parents and siblings, and their social status in the community. Now they are willing to put their future in the hands of the betrayed. If they love and desire the betrayed in a selfless way, they are willing to do anything to prove their love and devotion including walking away if that is what the betrayed decides.
Capitulation. Total surrender.
Without it the marriage may survive but it will still suffer constant poisoning from the unresolved issues within the betrayer. There will never be true R even if the marriage survives.
With capitulation there can be an entirely new relationship within the marriage. This is true R.
That's where your bedrock of honesty comes to play. The betrayer has to not only agree to total honesty but has to desire it for the benefit of the betrayed, even if it leads ultimately to divorce.
Cowboy, I am a FWW. ONS with my husbands best friend and then I lied about it for close to three years and told him it was just a kiss, Aren’t I a gem? Given those circumstances, take this for what you will.
I am into the 5month of reconciliation with my husband. This sh*t ain’t easy. If your wife has not given you all of the details of her affair – with a timeline if you require one – you are NOT in true reconciliation. I told my husband the entire story of what happened. I looked my husband in the face and told him I gave his best friend a BJ. I looked him straight in the face and told him WHY I did it. Because I have boundary issues. Because I got caught up in feeling important to this guy and that my anger at my husband for making me feel insignificant made me not give two craps if I hurt him. I looked him straight in the face and told him I was a selfish, delusional c*nt who didn’t give a sh*t about anyone but ME in that moment. Cowboy, I’d give my very LIFE if I could take that moment back. I’d take a bullet for him if I could go back in time and re-do that night. I’d give my life to give him access inside my head so that he can really FEEL how I feel about what I did, how sorry I am, how much I wish I just would’ve been a better person all around.
But I can’t do any of that. But what I could do was give him his life back. I started the process to buy a new house. I told him that he would not have to pay me child support for 1 full year until he could get some things with the house paid off, get ahead on some bills, downsize the cars, etc. I didn’t fight him for my home. I did not ask for alimony. As much as it killed me – I cried every single day for 99 straight days, I told him that I would leave, that I would let him go, but that I would wait…..as long as it took until he told me it was useless to wait anymore.
I did not tell my own best friend what happened until I came clean to my husband. I told her the same lie I told him – that I just kissed him. When I told her……..she yelled at me. She asked me why I had done what I did. She told me I’d been a sh*tty wife and that he had every right to kick me out. But she also told me she loved my husband and that she hoped he’d change his mind. She offered to talk to him about infidelity and how to work on things to make them right (her husband had an affair). She asked me what *I* was going to do to make it right. MY BEST FRIEND HELD ME ACCOUNTABLE. That’s what true friends of your marriage do!
So here we are 5 months into reconciliation and we have no friends. Know why? Because my POS AP told all of our mutual friends what happened and not a one of them told my husband. Not only did I betray him, they did too. Is it lonely? Do I get sad sometimes? Sure. Do I occasionally see a picture on facebook of my old group of friends and long for the days that things were “normal”? Absolutely. BUT, in order to keep those friends, I would be betraying our marriage. They are not friends of our marriage. They were toxic scum that helped contribute to our downfall by supporting my AP and NOT my husband! NONE of them held me or AP accountable. It just “wasn’t their business” or “that’s between them” while they all continued to lie in my husbands face and support the AP. It’s more than just the betrayal of the spouse. It’s been the betrayal of all of the people who you trust to have you and your spouses back. To support your marriage and your life, to hold your feet to the fire when you screw up. Those are toxic people. To you, to your wife and to your marriage.
If your wife is not willing to say f*ck them all……she’s not sorry, she has no remorse and you better get out quick. Before she does it again.