Question for those who have been through this..After an affair has ended, how much time should go by before R begins... Let's say there has been NC for a month, 6 months, whatever, should you start MC immediately, or wait it out to see if the apologies were truly sincere. How long does it take to know if the WS really regrets there actions and is truly willing to change?
It depends. Some cheaters turn into crying, begging, snot-running, blubbering messes the minute they're found out. Other cheaters may never be ready for reconciliation, even though the affair has ended.
From what is posted on this forum, most cheatrers will start to show signs of coming back to the marriage and wanting to reconcile within a few weeks of truly not having any more contact with the affair partner.
The cheaters usually are very good liars and if you read the posts on this forum you will see many cases where the cheaters successfully lied about no contact and fooled the betrayed spouse.
The challenge is while you are trying to get over the person and move on, you also want to know if NC is legit, so you know what options you really have to consider. In other words, you have to not care in a sense to move on, but if you are considering R, than you want to confirm that the WS has been honest.
The cheating destroys trust. Trust has to be earned back.
You have to set conditions that are acceptable to you for you to continue with the relationship. For example, complete honesty about the affair, how it started, what happened, how long, etc. Anything you want to know. Many, if not most, betrayed spouses probably do not get complete honesty. If the story doesn't make sense, you know you're not getting the truth and it's harder to move on. If the story makes sense, she's probably leaving out some details, but she probably was at least truthful about the major points. Affairs are not that complicated and you can usually fill in the blanks yourself for the answers your wife doesn't give you.
Another condition is no contact with the other man. Having your wife handwrite a "no contact" letter to the other man helps you to gauge how committed she is to reconciling.
Another condition would be for your wife to give you complete access to all communication devices and accounts, as well as to let you know her whereabouts 24/7 until she earns back some of your trust.
You may have other conditions you want to ask for, such as re-instituting sex if she had cut you off during the affair, throwing away lingerie she bought just to wear for the other man, refraining from going to places she used to go to meet the other man, etc.
If your wife is willing to do these things, basically to end the affair and allow you to verify it, and help you heal from it, then if you want to reconcile you should work on your marriage with your wife. If she is not willing, file for divorce and move on. Hopefully she comes around before the divorce is final. If not, at least you're not waiting for something that may never happen.
Hi Carl, As owner and therapist at The Marriage and Family clinic, I have had a lot of couples ask me the same questions you are asking here. I think I can sum it up by saying this: There's no golden rule about how long it takes to recover from an affair. It's a process that's unique for each couple. For example, you asked How long does/should it take for R? Well, that's up to you and your trust level. If you feel she's being genuine and sincere with you then it will probably be sooner. If you believe she's still being deceptive it will probably take longer.
The stuff Will_Kane talked about is sound advice of things she can do to help rebuild the trust. Since she's the one who had the affair, it's her responsibility to the things you request in order to restore the trust.
Again, there's no golden rule about how long this should take or what you should/shouldn't do. It's a process you and your wife have to through together, negotiate together, and create together. Be confident in yourself and what you need to heal and make requests. Best of luck to you.
In this case, NC was agreed upon, and we separated. We've been separated for 4 months now. We've talked about starting MC and reconciling, but obviously I have serious doubts about this happening again. I want to get on with my life, but also don't want to 100% commit to divorce, that is the hard part. She is willing to commit to my conditions, but at the same time, I don't want to have to snoop all the time, and I haven't been..it has helped me feel free.