I feel like if I really wanted to forget about her I’d have cut the gangrene away. Does this make sense?
Yes, but... fuck your feelings right now. I don't mean that as an insult, but rather, as simple advice. When the affair is discovered, our lives implode. In a flash, the marriage is over. The affair is over. The "double life" is over. Often, our jobs, families, friends and community can be affected negatively as well. And on top of all that, you now have a scarlet A on you, the "label" of a cheater. Normally, when life is difficult and we need comfort and advice, those are the people we turn to for help... but all of those people are gone now, and most of them are so angry at you that they simply don't care how you feel, seeing as how you brought this on yourself and everyone else. You're on your own for now (which is why SI was created, so that you don't have to be alone right now). So... does it make sense that every fiber in your body is telling you to hang on to the AP's number because they are the one person that might be accepting of you right now? Of course! But let's be honest here. The urge to hold on to the AP contact info is a lot like an alcoholic hiding liquor bottles around the house just in case they can't bear quitting. We all know how that ends.
Near the bottom of the first page of the "Wayward forum" you will see a post labeled "Maia's Withdrawal Survival Guide (repost for newbies)". I'd suggest reading through this as it addresses the situation you are asking about, which is how to begin letting go of the AP, and how to begin allowing your mind to reset and see the affair for what it really was, and not as "love" or whatever other BS your brain told you in order to justify the affair.
Can I ask you something? If you were to hold on to an ap number, would it be for future contact (ie there’s a reason for holding on to it)
There are very few situations where this could even be an issue. For example, sometimes the AP is a family member or other person with whom an existing relationship, outside of the affair, already exists and needs to be maintained for some reason.
*** Under no circumstance should any contact info, for whatever reason, be kept, without the BS knowing about it, and "allowing" (for lack of a better word, such as "put up with") it for a temporary period of time. ***
Again, under what circumstances should an alcoholic hold on to a few bottles and keep them within reach? The answer is "none".
One last thing. Please take a moment to ask yourself why we're still discussing this. You started another thread on this topic before this one, got the same answers, and yet, still decided to raise the same question again. And here in this thread, we're already three solid pages in, and you are STILL desperately looking for some excuse or justification to hold on to this damn phone number. WHY? Have some self-respect here, both for yourself and your spouse, AND GO DELETE THE DAMN NUMER NOW. Stop looking for reason to remain a cheater and start looking for reason to be someone better.
No one likes being a cheater. No five year old ever thinks to themselves, "Gosh, one day, when I'm grown up, I want to be the best cheater I can possibly be!". Cheaters are who we DON'T want to be. Not only because it's the wrong thing to do to our spouses, but moreover, because we should have enough self-respect, dignity and healthy boundaries to not want to lower OURSELVES to that level, to be that ugly person, to be that mean, self-absorbed, thoughtless and uncaring of others. Most people couldn't sleep at night for even considering an affair. But you (same as me and all the other people in this forum) made the choice to do it anyway. And that's just fucked up. So you need figure out what about you made it okay to cheat, and address that.
But for now, do yourself a big favor, go delete the number. It might cause you some anxiety and insecurity in the short term. You will survive, and you will grow, and you will thank yourself later for making the right decision.