The truth is that reconciling a M after infidelity can be the most challenging life experience that any given person might go through. It's for sure the most challenging experience I've ever gone through. I think what makes it so difficult is the amount of time it can take before one is able to really move past the pain and fear of betrayal.
Joe, it doesn't matter that my WH is perfect since dday which was over 4yrs ago. Part of my personal recovery was/is being able to accept that 'there are no guarantees...'. Not just accept it but be okay with it? I'm not hardwired to accept that concept. Or, I am but just not hardwired to be able to live with it...happily live with it. Yet.
My path to personal recovery involved detaching from my WH, our M, my dream of 'forever', my idea of what a family unit looks like. But mostly, I think, it was learning to let go of my expectations of a spouse- because isn't that what the acceptance of no guarantees is about?
It's taken years for me to detach and grieve the loss of all of that. And it's probably going to take a few more years before I'm able to learn how to fully integrate my acceptance of no guarantees and my ability to safely love deeply once again.
But, my M today is a strong M. It feels solid most of the time and the times when it doesn't feel as solid is my own head-trip. Those are the times when I feel a little lonely still due to the no-guarantees thing creeping back in my head. Only now it passes as naturally as it creeps in.
She has changed her lifestyle considerably but Iím not sure she is happy about it as if she is forced to do it for the M.
It took me a lot longer than where you are now before I stopped being consumed with that question. It still creeps in at times but that's okay because it's natural. Looking back to pre-dday, I probably asked myself the same question only it wasn't significant because it didn't have the pain and reality attached to it like post-dday.
It took a lot of years before I was able to look at that question objectively, without all the emotion and find the true answer. The answer is that my WH really wants to be M'd to me and preserve our family unit and for the same reasons that I do. And they're good reasons.
Joe, if you're not sure if she wants to be in the M, why do you think she's staying in it? Do you think her reasons are any different than the reasons that you're staying in the M? I doubt it's comfort that keeps her in the M because there's nothing comfortable about being in a M that you don't want to be in. It can't be money because surely a woman who cheats is capable of monkey chaining from financial security to financial security. Hell. even at my age I'm capable of it! Children? A spouse who cheats doesn't think all that much about their children's wellbeing to begin with so it's not enough of a reason to stay put in a M. Children grown? Even less reason to stay put. Appearances? To selfish.
It can be a LONG personal hellish road for some of us before we find a place of peace. I was hypersensitive to every thing he did or didn't do for years post dday. I was miserable, lonely and constantly conflicted. It lifted with time and a whole lot of agonizing personal work- but it lifted.
I guess what I'm telling you, Joe, is that you got a lot of path still ahead of you but where you are on that path right now is normal.
Be kind to yourself.