I am 35 years old, married to my wife for 12 years, known her for 16. We have 2 girls together, ages 10 and 7.
DDay for me was about 4 years ago (I think). It's kind of a blur and I don't even remember exactly when I found out. Only that it was summer time, and it was about 4 years ago. I'm still dealing with the fallout of it all, and trying to come to grips with the fact that it has been a long time, and I still can't seem to get over it. But let me back up a little and talk about my marriage prior to the A and to DDay.
I was happily married (or so I thought) for many years. I would say that the first 5 of those years were full of happiness, but my wife and I started to drift apart shortly after my oldest was born, and that drifting only got worse when my second was born. She suffers from depression and very low self-esteem, and she has issues in her past regarding her childhood and some issue with her parents. She didn't want our kids to suffer the same problems, the same lack of attention and care, and so she basically threw everything she had into them, and I ended up being almost ignored. She was not getting enough sleep, not eating well or exercising. She'd put on a bunch of weight and was very self-conscious, didn't want to go out in public, didn't like to be seen. She became withdrawn. We didn't talk. Well... I talked. I tried to. I tried to help her out of her 'funk', tried to encourage her, to make her feel loved. I cared. But she was a shell of the woman I had loved before. She didn't love herself, and it is hard to love someone who doesn't love herself.
I will admit, at some point I started to give up a bit. I had put so much into trying to help her, to make her happy. I was getting nothing in return. I tried to get her to try counseling, but she didn't want to go.
Fast forward to 2009. She changes jobs. She is a bit happier. She loses weight, now that she doesn't have a sedentary job anymore. But suddenly she becomes more distant. She starts locking her phone. She changes her facebook password. She stops talking. I keep asking what's wrong, but I get nothing. And then she starts going out "with the girls". She leaves and doesn't come home until after midnight. But I trust her. I actually thought it might be good for her to go out with friends. Only she wasn't. She was going out to meet him.
And I only found out because she accidentally left herself logged into facebook one day when she left to take the girls to dance class. I snooped, and I found. And it almost broke me.
I was afraid on that day. My world just got rocked. My life changed. I was scared she was leaving, that it was all over. My first actions after I found out were borne out of fear. I "forgave" her on the night I found out. Told her that we could work it out. That I understood. She said she was sorry. I said I was sorry. I didn't get angry. I didn't yell. I didn't even cry. I just did everything I could to keep things going and didn't deal with any of the feelings or the betrayal or the loss of trust. We didn't even talk about the A, or the OM.
Fast forward another year and a half. I'm miserable. Stress at home. Stress at work. I'm burning out, mentally, emotionally. I start having panic attacks, anxiety. I spend days feeling like my head is spinning. I end up home for three months, working still, from home, forcing myself to the computer between anxiety attacks. My wife is still distant. She doesn't show much concern. I'm fighting to keep my sanity (or so it seems), but she hardly even asks how I'm doing. We fight. I'm on edge all the time. Doctors visits. I've always been a strong person - the anxiety (didn't know it was that at the time) is new to me and I don't know how to deal with it.
I finally end up seeing a counselor. And about the same time, after all of the panic attacks and the other symptoms of a person overwhelmed, I start to realize, deep down, that I'm empty. That I don't love my wife anymore. I can't even stand to be around her sometimes. I don't like to be around her. We don't talk. We don't connect. We don't do anything.
Counseling goes well, but takes time. It wasn't until a year and a half into counseling that I really start to understand how I'm feeling. The repressed anger. The resentment. The sadness.
How could she do that. After all I gave her. She had my heart, and she stomped on it.
Like I said - I'm empty, inside. I'm married, but I feel so alone most of the time.
And then... to complicate matters, I meet a woman at work. She is funny, intelligent. We talk. We laugh. And she makes me feel a little less empty.
For a short time, I think I may have overstepped the bounds of friendship with this woman and started an EA. But we both talk, and we respect each other to much to let it turn into anything else. We set boundaries. We bring our friendship out into the open. No secrets. But then I learn that she has feelings for me - feelings that go beyond platonic friendship. We've never crossed a physical barrier, and we hardly speak anymore. I may have dipped a toe across the EA line, but I didn't ever want to do to my wife what she did to me. I recognized what was happening and pulled back.
But... and I hate to admit this, for a time, I felt alive again. I felt happy. The emptiness went away. And I realized for the first time how dark my world had become. My friend was a light in that darkness, if only for a short while. And she made me realize how much I was missing, how good it felt to connect with someone again.
My wife and I have talked extensively in the past few months. She now knows how I feel, and has for some time. I don't love her. Even before I found out about the A, I didn't love her. Our connection is gone. She is trying so hard now - she goes to therapy, she's on medication to help with her own depression. And she's trying to show me how much she loves me.
But...I still can't bring myself to love her. There wasn't much love there before the A, and then after it, when DDay happened, whatever was left just disappeared. She is, and always will be, the woman....no....the WIFE who cheated on me. I don't love her, and yet for the sake of the kids, and the sake of not being totally alone, I stay, and I try.
But I have seen the light in the darkness. I hold no hopes that my friend and I had anything other than a mild infatuation with each other. I have no fantasies of leaving my wife and finding love with my friend. She was simply the one that showed me how much I was missing. How good it felt to connect with someone again.
How can I go through life without ever feeling that. I try, every day, to be the best husband and father I can be. But I'm suffering, and I'm alone. How the hell are you supposed to force yourself to fall back in love with someone who you fell out of love with, and who betrayed you and ripped your heart out. I'm not even all that attracted to my wife anymore. At least not emotionally. She is physically attractive, and we can still have sex. Sex may be the only place where there is any connection left at all, but it is empty. I feel guilty after we're done. I'm not the type to use someone, or to take advantage of them. My wife says that if sex is the only way that she can feel affection from me, then she'll take it, but that is a sad state of affairs indeed, and I can't go on like that.
We try. We spend time together. We talk. But there is just no spark there. She is not one to open up, to really share of herself. But I crave that connection.
And so I'm trapped. I have 2 women who have feelings for me. One of whom I don't have feelings for, and the other I'm forbidden from having feelings for. It's hell on earth. I just want to feel something again, for someone. And have them feel it back for me. I think.... no.... I know, that I could be happier with someone else. But how do you take that step. How do you tell your wife of 12 years that it is over, that you want out? How do you tell the kids? It's like being in a plane at 10,000 feet and standing in the doorway looking down.
"Hey, captain? Shouldn't I have a parachute?"
"No sir. No parachutes in real life, buddy. Just jump. But watch out for that landing. It's a doozie!"
I've been writing a lot lately. Journaling. Stream of consciousness stuff. It was a suggestion of the counselor. And I've realized through that writing how much the A bothered me. How I glossed over the details and pushed all of the specifics out of my mind. It was just the other day, 4 years after I found out, that I asked my wife if they (her and the OM) used protection. And it made me sick to my stomach. I may have found out 4 years ago, but I never really dealt with it. I'm just now coming to grips with everything. And it makes me angry and sick and disgusted all at the same time.
And so... there's my story. I hope I got all of the abbreviations right. It helped a little to write it all down. Maybe someone has some advice for me. I'm really at my wits end. I'm staring right down the barrel of the 'stay or go' decision, but I can't pull the trigger. I just can't bare the thought of leaving, but I can't bare the thought of staying either.
How did it come to this........
She wants answers... I'm still trying to figure out what the questions are.
We have very smiliar stories. About four years ago I found out my husband of 10 years was cheating on me. Like you I forgave him right away and tried to work it out.
Fast foward two years and I meet a man who becomes a great friend, dipping my toe in the EA territory. I recognized what it was and spoke to my husband at the time. I told him what was happening, but he still refused to make any changes with himself.
It was then I realized, I didn't love him anymore, I was staying out of fear. Fear of losing the life I had and fear of change.
We ended up separating (divorce almost done now), and it was the best thing I ever did. Now I think there are lots of good reconcillation stories out there, but only you know your heart.
Some times life leads us to some tough decisions and you have to be brutally honest with yourself as to whether or not you feel you can go forward in your marriage.
I wish you the best of luck
People always says they stay for the kids but that doesn't mean that it will help them by staying. I know your children are still very young and it is scary to hurt them and ultimately it is your choice. Your children will grow older and understand the choices you made as a parent and husband.
Nobody can tell you whether to stay or go but being the best father and person you can be should be is what you should do. If being in your situation doesn't allow you to do that, then you may need to consider the alternative.
D-Day - July 12, 2013
It is not clear if your feelings for your wife had died out before the affair or after. Is it possible that now you are looking back and seeing everything with the post affair lens?
Regardless, I think that before making a decision, you need to go through the "discovery" phase of your WW's affair. You are processing now what you should have processed four years ago. The anger, the sadness, they are all coming at you now compounded by four years of growing resentment.
I think you need to have an honest conversation with your wife and let her know that you will be asking questions to learn about her affair. Then take your time to process it and see how you feel after that.
The friendship with your colleague, as you noted, happened at the right time for you who were (are) overwhelmed by the growing realization of the depth of your wife's betrayal. I cannot tell you how it would have developed, but I think you did the right thing by not pursuing it any further.
[This message edited by frankier at 10:45 AM, September 6th (Friday)]
More importantly, what are you doing? No where in your post do you say if you're really trying to make it work. Are you in MC (if you think you want to make it work this should be a given before any decisions are made)? Are you really even trying to connect with your spouse? If not, then why not just divorce her? And if your response is "because I'm scared" then maybe your focus on here should be on how to detach and leave your wife (and not be paralyzed by fear) rather than how to find the love again.
You gotta know what you want and go all in. You're gonna be where you are now if you don't and that sucks. You gotta decide first and foremost what you truly want.
Even before I found out about the A, I didn't love her.
I could understand anger [exposure to disease and other less than hygienic consequences], but why did it destroy you if you had little feeling for her?
There again you stated that she had your heart and stomped on it, which seems to contradict the other statement.
You try to pain a pretty convincing picture of your feelings for you wife being lacking, but if you haven't been putting your effort and energy there, it is no wonder that relationship is suffering. If you guys didn't do the work, you rugswept, and sure -- your marriage is not going to be what it could be.
You have two small kids. Gently, you need to emerge from the fog and deal with your life. Find out if you can reconnect. Go to counseling, pray, do whatever.
I hear so much self=pity, which is hallmark WS behavior. I hope others will chime in as well. Also, read "Not Just Friends" to help get a handle on your behavior.
DDay - June 2013, A was 2+ months
In MC & Reconciling
Global editing disclaimer - I edit almost everything I post, and I am not going to post why every time. ; )
I'm glad that you saw a councilor and I hope that you still are. You have a great deal to process. I'm also glad that you saw the EA occurring and stepped back from the brink. You're not ready to be with any new woman right now, until you can work through your feelings and the horror that your WW brought into your life. And you really do have to work through it. Either with her, without her, in the marriage, or divorcing. You're going to have to heal yourself or you are very likely never to be able to have a good relationship with anyone.
You know, the A may have been a deal-breaker for you. The final straw, if you will. And if that's so, then there's nothing wrong with that. Your WW brought an outsider into your marriage and broke it. If you can't stand to look at the ugly glue lines, then you don't have to. But you still need to heal yourself, so I would suggest that you at least try, to see if each of you can heal and together, put your marriage back together. If you simply can't then file.
I am the child of divorce. My mother was desperately unhappy married to my father. She faked it pretty good, but I certainly could tell. I was about the age of your eldest when I started noticing and I was 12 when she divorced my dad. She later met and married my stepfather whom I love dearly. My father married again as well to a woman that he's been married to for over 30 years. Yes, it hurt a hell of a lot when my parents divorced. But I could see the difference in both of them, when they were not together, and it was good.
(((hugs))) Please come back often for support, to vent, to talk.
D-Day, June 10, 2012
It might help if I expand a bit on some of what I said and clear up what might be a bit of confusion.
I re-read what I wrote and realized that I both said there wasn't much love before the A, and that I didn't love her before the A. Both can't be true.... either I didn't love her or I did.
I think, before the A, I did still love her. She is the mother of my children and had, at the time, been the woman in my life for 12 years (we dated for 4 years before marriage). But... looking back, I was no longer in love with her, and I don't think I had been for some time. We had a lunch together on our anniversary the year before the A happened. We sat at the table (I don't even remember the restaurant) and couldn't even look each other in the eye. We played on our cell phones. We stared off into space. We made small talk. It was uncomfortable. She referenced this meal together in the facebook message that I found, the one in which I learned about the A. Thing is, it had been this way for a long time. We'd grown apart. We didn't talk. we didn't share things. We'd both withdrawn into our own little worlds. I didn't really see it at the time, but that lunch together was a bit of a wake up call.
After the A things got better, but that was in part because I faked my way through it. I don't know if this is common or not, but I said everything right. I said 'I love you' back every time, but it was empty words for the most part. I was playing along. But I could still fake it...I was man enough to stick around and try to be the glue that held everything together.
That is what I felt like at the time. I was the glue. The financial glue. The emotional glue. The parental glue. I sacrificed every bit of who I was in order to keep things together.
After the panic attacks started, I withdrew from my wife completely. I was almost repulsed by her. I couldn't even look at her at times. She would try to kiss me and I would pull away. She would reach out to hold my hand and I would recoil. I didn't like being around her. I didn't want to do things with her.
Somehow, around this time, she became obsessed with sex. She wanted it all the time. I didn't. I went through the motions... I did what she wanted, but most nights I was the one with the headache. I was the one asking for a raincheck. I was the one finding every excuse to avoid sex.
I travel for work a bit. Not a lot, four or five weeks a year. My travel weeks became my savior. They were my time to be myself, go out with the guys from the other offices, have some drinks. I missed my kids - we used to video chat and I always told them how much I loved them and couldn't wait to see them and give them hugs. But after the kids went to bed I would vid-chat with my wife, and we wouldn't even look into the camera at each other. She would say she missed me, and I would say it back, but I didn't. She would ask if she could come along the next time I traveled, and I would cringe. I love traveling, but I didn't want to do it with her. Those weeks away were my time... there were the only times I felt like I could be myself. I would have loved to have the kids along, but not her.
This went on for 2 years, until I finally couldn't fake it anymore, and told her how I really felt.
This all happened before I met my friend and had the EA. I make no excuses for becoming emotionally attached to someone other than my wife. I know how it happened, and to my credit I recognized it and got out before anything got too far. And as odd as it may sound, my friend was actually incredibly supportive of my wife and my marriage. Despite her feelings for me, she encouraged me to work things out with my wife. She suggested counseling (which my wife and I did). She suggested date nights, talking, trying to open up (which my wife and I did). She would get me to talk about the good times with my wife, the early times. She would remind me of the kids, of what I would lose if I left. And I believe her words were genuine, and it was good advice.
Again...I make no excuses for what I know was a step across the line on my part. The EA may have opened my eyes a bit, but it did not cause or change all of the behavior and feelings that happened before. I have known my friend for three months; the issues in my marriage and the distance and the lack of communication, and the A, have been there for years. Years....
And I have been trying. I spend nearly every waking moment not at work with my wife. We talk constantly. We try to go out and do things together, without the kids. But it's like my 'love the wife' gas tank is empty. The connection is gone, and has been for some time. Looking back, I knew. I knew it but couldn't admit it to myself.
There is an old saying that if you put a frog in boiling water he'll jump out, but if you put him in cold water and slowly bring the water to a boil he'll cook. I was the frog being slowly brought to a boil. Things had gotten bad...slowly, over years. I just didn't see it. It was what it was. It was my life. I didn't know any different.
I have been in therapy for over two years now. Every week, like clockwork. I've taken a long time to get where I am. My therapist knew. She told me that she knew I had been miserable for a while, but she knew if she tried to convince me of that that I would deny it and would recoil and put up walls. And she was right. I had to find out for myself.
When I found out about the A, I was devastated. Like I said... I didn't know any better. My life, my marriage, felt like it had been destroyed. Was I in love with my wife at the time? No... I don't think I was. I still loved her, but the magic was gone. But that doesn't change the fact that the woman I had spent 12 years with, that I had stood by through thick and thin, and that I had started a family with, had decided to risk it all for a few nights of hot sex with someone who wasn't me.
This wasn't the first breach of trust on her part. There were credit cards in her name that I didn't find out about until AFTER she'd maxed them out. There was the savings account she drained without telling me until we were so desperate for money we couldn't buy food. And two weeks ago there was a letter that I found in her glove box while looking for the owners manual that she grabbed out of my hands and then lied to my face about, twice. It wasn't a letter with another man - it was an inquiry with the state for aid in the event I should leave her. Or so she finally admitted. But I don't even know if THAT was the truth.
I don't hate my wife... perhaps I should, but I don't. I just... I'm not in love with her. We don't connect anymore. If I was single, she'd not even the type of person I'd seek out. And on top of all of that, I don't trust her, and she betrayed me and our marriage in about the worst possibly way. And now... for the sake of my family... I'm supposed to convince myself to fall back in love with her?
How the hell do you do that!?!?
Aside from that, for some people an A is a deal breaker. Some people think it isn't but as time goes on they realize it is. That's okay. It sounds like that may be the case for you and it's time for you to make a serious decision.
I said goodbye to my WS. I didn't need to think about it. I knew right away that I didn't want to waste another second of my life or get another minute older next to a guy who put his penis' feelings before mine.
I think you know what you want and what you need. You should explore with your IC what is keeping you there. It might be the responsibility of the wedding, fear of those years being a "waste," or even just because you don't know how to leave. You've said multiple times you don't want her. I would say, instead of leaving the house and the kids, ask her to leave. Put her in an apartment and you keep the kids, the house, and the life you signed up for. She walked away, she can deal with the mess. You deserve your house and the kids and someone who will respect you as their husband. I think that's all any of us wanted.
My knight in shining armor turned out to be nothing more than a little boy playing dress-up.
BS 26, WS 29. D after D-Day#2, False R, M, and a lot of regret. Hate that douche.
I wish it were that easy. My heart screams at me sometimes that there has to be someone else out there, someone I could be happy with again, someone who didn't break my heart and betray me. Someone I could truly connect with.
It is just such a big step. I don't like to give up, and I've never been one to do selfish things, and divorcing my wife would feel like both, regardless of the A and the issues we've had. I'm afraid of having the talk with my kids, of not getting to be with them everyday. I'm afraid of being alone too... of making this decision and then finding myself a few years down the road with no one, alone. Maybe this is as good as it gets. Maybe this is my lot in life.
I also worry that maybe I'll look back and realize that I should have done more, tried harder, not given up so soon. I did love my wife at one point - deeply. And I still care about her. I don't want to hurt her, and leaving would devastate her.
I guess that is where I'm stuck. In order for me to potentially get to a better place in my life, I have to go through what will probably be a couple years of hell for me and my kids. I just don't know how to take that step...
But concerning the marriage... First, you describe an anniversary lunch with no connection. ALL marriages go through dry periods. Good marriages require hard work on the part of both people to maintain the relationship. It sounds as though you feel you weren't doing your share back then.
Secondly, I don't think you have ever properly dealt with the anger you had over the affair. You cannot possibly love her properly until you do. And maybe it was a dealbreaker. But until you process the anger you won't know.
And last, you need to know in your own heart, and for the sake of any future relationships that you did everything possible to heal your present marriage. Whether that is MC, marriage encounter type therapy, or whatever, you need to do it. You sound like a person with strong morals, and unfortunately that means a huge amount of second guessing and potentially, guilt ridden thoughts. You need to do what you can to prove to yourself that you have done your very best to heal a relationship.
It IS possible to fall back in love. If the foundation was there, if both parties are open to new intimacy.
My wife is trying so hard, but in the middle of trying so hard she lied to me again about the letter I mentioned. In the middle of me maybe thinking I could trust her again, that I could truly put my all into our relationship, she lied to me. She looked right into my eyes and lied. And it all came flooding back. And now I'm stuck. Stuck with one foot out the door.
Thinking about it is enough to make someone go crazy.
Where do you think that you would be today if she never had an affair? Is it possible that her affair has clouded your judgement of your feelings at that time?
I say this because I believe frankier and others have hit it on the head--you never processed the infidelity. And I believe that your past is jaded by her actions that you have never resolved.
In the middle of me maybe thinking I could trust her again, that I could truly put my all into our relationship, she lied to me.
I am calling a little BS on this. In no place in your postings have you stated being anywhere near the cusp of making your marriage work again---yet say that she (again) shattered the trust that was just building.
Again, if you step back and look at this from a distance, you may see that by not dealing with your wife's infidelity, episodes like this set you back by leaps and bounds. And I am not saying that you are not justified in these feelings, but they seem even more bizarre due to the amount of time that has transpired.
Here is the *good* news---there is no statute of limitations on dealing with infidelity. And even though four years have transpired, you now have the chance to recognize and address this betrayal---for your own personal growth.
Maybe your wife is in your happy future, and maybe she isn't, but you can find happy again if you work through the issues of being betrayed.
All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day: 9/18/09 D-Day#2: 2/19/10 The Marriage Killer: 6/6/11
Heading for D
You BS call may be correct, jb3199. Maybe I never really did put the full effort into R. But I was starting to trust again, a little. I think the length of time that has passed really does confuse things. Is my view of the past clouded? You bet. I'm sure I'm only picking up on the negative things. But it is really hard to remember the good stuff.
I realize that my situation is a little unique. Perhaps I should be 'over it' after the 4 years that have passed. But it doesn't feel like 4 years. Feels like not even 4 months.
Just wish I knew where my head was at....
One thing that I have seen here, is that there seems to be more confusion and lack of direction from past affairs that were never addressed. Some members rugswept, and seemed happy for years, to all of a sudden becoming more lost than they have ever felt in their lives. Not that people with freshly discovered affairs have any less painful a task, but maybe a little less confusion than someone who thought that the infidelity was part of their past, only to have it re-emerge like it was yesterday.
No matter what, you have to address this affair with yourself to learn how to get past it. You need direction. You need to learn if you want to start new, or if it is possible to reconnect with your wife. Either way, if you process and heal from this betrayal, better days are ahead of you.
Read, read, and read some more from this website. Invest in books related to infidelity. Talk to your wife, and don't be afraid to ask ANY questions about the affair that come to your mind. Some people need to know the most intricate details; others just need the basic facts. Many need something in between. That is the one positive that you have right now---no questions are off limits.
And this questioning for the facts from your wife may speak volumes of where her mindset is from this affair. She may be *all in*, and willing to answer any question in the hopes to help you heal. Maybe she will learn that she has not dug deep enough into her own psyche, and realizes that she has much more work to do to become a safe partner for you. And maybe she will be resentful and obstinate, which may show that she may never be of reconcilable material. But you won't learn any of this until you start the process.
It's funny(not really)--I literally had a 3 plus hour conversation with my sister a few days ago. She knows of my wife's infidelity and her sobriety. And even though my tagline says that I am heading for divorce, I haven't done so yet---mainly because for the past 2 years, my wife has put in incredible work on herself...and I found myself reluctant to leave(I was full-steam ahead with divorce until her sobriety).
The problem is, it is hard to emotionally reconnect with my wife when (1) I have kept emotional distance for my safety, (2) I have difficulty letting go of my resentments, and (3) my wife has legitimate pre-affair marital issues that she resents. So as I explain to my sister that I am not sure where I stand, she continues to drive the message home that if we don't try to process and communicate together, we will never know where each of us stands. And this makes sense...something I have always known...but have difficulty putting into action.
This may be your dilemma, maybe not. But I do know that you can't even get to this point until this affair, and her current trust breaking issues, are addressed.
Reluctant may be the best term (other than lost). I think a big part of me really does want to leave, to start over fresh and have the chance to have 'better days', as you said. But it just seems like there is such a long distance between here and there, and nothing but a big black tunnel in between.
I'm sorry to hear that you had to go through something similar, and it sounds like you may be a bit stuck like me. You're reluctant to leave because you wife is trying so hard and I bet at times it seems like you could almost forget, almost move forward, almost reconnect. It's the 'almost' part of everything that is so hard. I hate being on the fence.
My wife is trying hard. She doesn't want to lose me, and she has changed a lot since I finally started being honest with her about how I feel. But, even with all the work that she has put in, I still feel empty. I still feel like I can't take that step closer. Maybe it is because I haven't 'watered the grass' as much as I should have, or because I'm not fully clear on who I am and what I want. I don't know.
All I know is that, right now, I'm not happy. And I'm a happy guy. This is new to me. And I don't like it.
I've been trying to focus on me more. Hoping that helps. Been trying to surround myself with friends, build a support system. I've let a few close friends in on how I feel, on how things are, and it helps to have someone to talk to.
But....Ugh. Hate feeling this way.
For me, prior to any D-days, I would not give much credit to councilors--marriage or individual. But that was due to my narrow-mindedness, and obviously I look at things in an entirely different light post-discovery.
Have you continued with council? You stated that it went well as you were learning what your issues were. Personally, when it gets to the point that you are describing, I think that almost everything is in your hands now. You claim that your wife is really trying---do you believe that she is 100% for reconciliation? If so, as complicated as everything seems, it is really simple--you can try to fully recommit....or not.
And by you recommitting, it means that you have to put ALL of your cards on the table, with no holding back. You will have to make yourself vulnerable, because huge emotional walls have been built up for years. Are you willing to do that?
I say this because I feel that I can relate. I am NOT ready to put my emotions on my sleeve yet, because I feel that I am waiting for something. I don't know if that "something" is from her or from me. But I do know that it won't get any better by being inactive. Don't follow down my path---I don't recommend it.
The ball is in your court. It sucks that your wife's infidelity has led you to this point, but ultimately, you are the only one who can get yourself out of this mess. It's not fair---it just....is.