I think you've gotten some good advice above, but I also think some of the advice has been flat out wrong.
IMO, some people have drawn unwarranted conclusions from just 3 posts. Maybe the guesses they've made are accurate; maybe not.
We all have to find our own way through this mess. Some people tell you what to do in their posts. Others aim to help you figure out what you want to/need to do. When I was new here, I never got much from posts that told me to do something. I did get a lot from those that raised issues, confronted contradictions, etc.
I am certain I want to work through this and get our marriage back to what it was before her re entered her life. But I am stick waiting for her to figure out her feelings.
I am a firm religious believer that D is not ever the first or best choice for a family. This my immediate decision for R. Marriage is for life and if she doesn't feel that way anymore then she is going to be the one to end the marriage. That's not to say I won't kick her out if things don't change and she doesn't do everything I ask or put in the work to atone for what she had done. I made that clear to her.
It's great that you know you want to R. But what you want is one thing. What you actually do is another.
The next step is to see if your W is a good candidate for R. That is, will she do the necessary work? Will she remake herself as the partner you want to spend the rest of your life with.
Shirley Glass posited a stage she called 'working on the M' for people who weren't ready to commit one way or another. Her recommendation was to work on R and see how it goes. If it goes well, great - R is possible. If it doesn't go well, great - now you know R is impossible.
BTW, if R is possible for you and hysterical bonding hits, my reco is to go for it. Sex is a great tool for building bonds.
STI testing is virtually a requirement. One of my requirements for R was for my W to get tested. Since she tested negative, I never got tested myself except when I gave blood. Our MC recommended I get specifically tested, but I was satisfied with the testing that was done.
The reco against MC is iffy, IMO, but probably sound. My W's therapist saw us on d-day. She was terrific - confronted my W again and againa and again in a long session (90-120 minutes, IIRC). Gave me terrific support. Other members have reported similar results.
But most SIers who talk about MC early in R report different results. That's because, IMO, MCs treat the M, and they start by seeing the M as a system. They tend to look for systemic problems, and they set resolving those problems as their goal - even though the M is bleeding out because of the A.
And in the system approach to M, too many MCs end up blaming the BS for doing or not doing something that led the WS to cheat.
But WSes cheat because of their own internal issues, not because of issues in or with the M or with the BS. The M didn't fail; the WS did. Too many MCs don't understand that.
But a good MC can be priceless. It's pretty cool to be in a session in which my W got confronted 20 times for every time I got confronted - and that went on for months.
Here's one thing to consider: if your W won't do the work necessary to R, there's no need to wait for your W to initiate D. If R looks impossible to you, it's really time for you to initiate. Don't prolong the pain ... it hurts you, your kids, and your erstwhile W.
I am a firm believer in being honest. It's healthier and easier. Be yourself. Since you want R, I see everything right with letting your WS know that. If that makes you look weak to the WS, that's the WS's problem.
The 180 has no place in R or in working on the M. If R is possible, you and your WS need to maximize communication. The 180 minimizes comms. IMO, the BS's best approach is to give the WS numerous opportunities to step or fall down, and that requires communication. Again, if the WS steps up, it's positive for R; if the WS keeps failing, it's negative for R - and do you want a WS who keeps failing anyway?
The 180 is not a tool for manipulating an unremorseful WS back into the M. It's a tool for getting a co-d BS to find the strength to detach from an unremorseful WS.
My reco - as strong as I can possibly make it - is to do nothing in the expectation of evoking a specific response from your WS. I especially counsel against threatening D, unless you mean to D. I especially counsel against filing for D, unless you intend to complete the D process.
Avoid manipulating your WS - ask for what you want. That may be counter-intuitive, but it works. Again, a request gives the WS opportunity to step up or fail. A high ratio of yeses to noes is positive for R; a low ratio is negative.
IMO, exposure to family and friends is up to the individual, except WRT OBS. If the ap is in a relationship, I urge the BS to inform the ap's S/SO.
I believe exposure makes the most sense if the BS's choice is D. That may prevent the WS from spinning a tale in which they are the victim.
I'd be very careful about exposing the A to friends and family if R is a possibility. R is hard enough without the interference of family members who don't know what recovering from being betrayed entails. (Of course, some family members probably do know what recovery entails, but I like to think they'll offer help and tell you their credentials, but won't interfere, but that'll happen only if they've healed.)
WRT exposing the WS to their family, I think that just gives them a head start on justifying support for the WS over the BS. Blood is pretty sticky, except when it's very fresh.
It's often said that exposure ends As, and I expect that's true.
But when I was new and making my decision, I wanted my W to make a free choice. I didn't want her to feel pressure to choose me. If exposure ended her A, I was afraid she'd choose me by default rather than because she really wanted to be with me.
I don't care about looking weak. Being clear about what one wants does show others one's own vulnerabilities, but having vulnerabilities is different from being weak.
Like you I wanted R - but that didn't mean I cut my W much slack. (I've certainly cut her some slack: we've R'ed, so she got to have sex with someone other than me after vowing to be monogamous with me.) I set the boundaries I wanted to set, and I imposed consequences when my boundaries came close to being violated.
Since you want R, here's some reading that I recommend:
http://www.survivinginfidelity.com/healing_library/reconciliation/what-every-wayward-spouse-needs-to-know.asp - if this resonates with you, I suggest printing it off and giving the printout to your H as 'something you found on the web.' My reco: DO NOT tell your H about SI until you're sure he's on board for R.
http://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=361740&HL=14993 - serjr threads for newbies
Boundaries and Consequences 101:
Setting Healthy Boundaries:
Before You Say Reconcile:
The Simplified 180:
20/20 Hindsight: What I Wish I'd Done:
[This message edited by sisoon at 6:19 PM, July 17th (Saturday)]