I have so many things to say in response to your post. But because it is late where I am (and I tend to get even wordier when tired), I am going to limit myself tonight to this-
The call to look critically inward at ourselves. I've seen it before in your posts elsewhere. It speaks to me, even though I resent the circumstances of hearing it so much. It is so easy to say - I am the betrayed spouse. I should not have to change. I am just fine as I am. Why should I (the one who has been wronged) have to go through even the tiniest bit of additional pain? To have to acknowledge that just as he has damaged me, so I have damaged my husband many times in our years together. It may not have been via the same mechanism, but pain is pain. And if we are to build a better and stronger marriage, then I also have to re-make myself better and stronger too.
Thank you. I am so glad that you posted on this thread - your words are very wise and thought-provoking.
Wise and thought provoking?? Lol!! I'm kidding, thank you for the kind words. For me, six months from d-day I knew I could live with or without my wife. It was imperative that I knew this, for this gave me the strength to offer reconciliation. What also helped is seeing the remorse from my wife, and to be honest, it shows more now then ever. My wife is a person with pride, not overly so, the correct amount that everyone loved about her. When it came to her affair she had zero pride and one hundred percent humility. In fact her honesty was returning at that time too.
During the first six months I felt so many emotions I couldn't possibly list them all. I too, felt that I was not the one who did anything wrong. Then MY flaws began to emerge in my mind, I wasn't perfect, I did things that adversely affected the marriage also. I don't think I deserved to be cheated on, but the marriage faults were half my fault. This is a very difficult realization to accept when you are in so much pain. Add in some other nuances that infidelity brings and it makes it even more difficult to accept. But, I had to own my own shot so to speak.
As those six months began to move by I also realized that cheaters are sometimes not bad people, but instead made a very bad choice and series of choices. It's how that person responds that is important. I can't guarantee my wife will not cheat again, but judging from what she has shown me, I highly doubt it would ever cross her mind. Boundaries are something that she learned and lives by. She has been in IC fixing shat was broken in her as I am in IC to fix what is broken in me.
In high school our freshman hockey team went undefeated, a perfect season, with person who were not perfect. My wife not I are perfect, but as a couple, we can be perfect for each other if we do the hard work. Now I'm sure you can understand that when you choose to reconcile some will say how unwise that is. That the person who cheated showed you their true self, that they have some sort of character flaw that destroys. I don't think that is true in every case, I feel people can change for the better. In reality my wife changed for the worse when she had her affair.
My approach to reconciliation came from a place of strength, but many may say it wasn't. The thing is I know me, I know I could have left and been healthy, and that all came after I accepted the affair. I'm definitely not happy about the affair, but that doesn't mean I didn't accept that the affair happened. It was much harder to accept the paternity, no lies there! Once I accepted the affair I could begin my own healing, build my self esteem, become that stronger man I thought I once was. This takes time, you don't just rush into thinking you can forgive. Forgiving is such a critical factor in moving forward in my opinion. You also have to learn to not live in the past, don't look in the rear view mirror or you lose sight of moving forward. Don't forget the past, but heal yourself and then move forward.
I'm not a supporter of reconciliation or divorce, I'm a person who will support the OP unless they are showing to not think about what happened to them. These are the posters who are in shock of what happened and disbelief that they can't find an answer. Your choices must come from your brain, your heart is not to be involved. Your brain makes the logical choice, your heart makes emotional choices.
I hope in some way I have helped you to move forward. Many posters here helped me in my time of need. If you ever need anything you can pm me for help or just to vent. Infidelity is devastating, I know as most others do, and it's very easy to get confused.