Can anyone help me understand why she would confess and then do this to me?
Confessing (outside of a ONS immediate remorse scenario) is somewhat rare but I’ve certainly from the stories I’ve read, a confession certainty doesn’t equate to a FULL confession. Trickle truth or ongoing lies is incredibly common whether the WS confesses or not.
If you’re looking for a firsthand explanation, I believe BSR and HikingOut are both fWS who confessed. Both are incredible resources for both BS and WS alike. I could be wrong about this, but I don’t think either confessed with 100% of the story from the beginning (as I say this I could be mistaken about HikingOut but I definitely recall her saying she was still VERY foggy for at least 6 months post d-day). They may have some specialized insight. If neither responds here, I would encourage you to ask in the BS questions for WS thread in I Can Relate. By the way, if you haven’t already read through that thread in full, I’d really recommend it.
My husband didn’t confess, so take it for what it’s worth, but I think Waywards who confess do it for themselves -for THEIR conscience or maybe what they perceive as being for the good of the marriage at the time - not truly for the BS’s well-being or for the purpose of giving the BS true agency over the situation. Typically, the confessing WS is motivated to save the marriage. From that perspective it makes sense that they may wish to add certain spin or omit certain details that present it in a light that is going to improve the way the information is received (I think that most of us do this, to some degree in other aspects of our lives).
Even in scenarios where the affair has ended and the fog is lifting, it is not yet gone. They have not yet challenged the ‘story’ they have told themselves about what the A was all about - the same story they used to justify actions that they would have previously deemed unacceptable. There is a lot of cognitive dissonance. I also think that sometimes, saying something out loud (or writing it), can lead to it sounding totally different than than the way it sounded in your head. That can be eye opening and scary. They may not realize how it sounds to another person until it’s too late, at which time it becomes an exercise in damage control.
To that end, I assume most Waywards, those who confess or those who don’t, have no appreciation for the degree of devastation it has on their BS. We hear that over and over and over again from both WSs and BSs alike. This rings true to me because I, myself, would never have imagined in a million years the depth of pain my husband’s betrayal could cause. On some cases, ongoing lies is an attempt to quell the bleeding, so to speak.
I also imagine that for some, lying to avoid confrontation, consequences, or hard conversations is part and parcel of who they are (and likely part of the reason that they got into this situation in the first place). It’s a habit. Habits are notoriously hard to change We don’t wake up one day, decide to drop our bad habits (drugs, over-eating, procrastination, perfectionism, lateness, and yes, lying) and then "poof" everything in our character, and thought processes, and lifestyle that led to these those habits is cured. Often, even when we know something is an issue, we don’t have the best insight into how and why we got there or the tools to fix it. We need to hard work, determination, support, humility, and a willingness to screw up, acknowledge our mistakes, and learn from them. You’ve used the drug addict analogy before, so I know you are comfortable with it, but most addicts don’t get better just by acknowledging the problem and taking the first step towards recovery. Most flounder and relapse and fall back on their previous maladaptive coping strategies. Some being able to make real lasting changes, many do not. We spend a lot of time talking about WHYs and it is sometimes dismissed as being an excuse, but becoming a safe partner is about so much more than deciding not to cheat. I imagine most WSs have no appreciation for that when they make the decision to confess.
Before someone jumps on my response, as diminishing the gravity of all of this as "typical wayward spouse silliness", please know that i am just trying to answer the question, I am not suggesting that it’s acceptable or that InkHulk should change his current course of action.