She said she was sorry, and attempted to help you feel better with affection. What else do you require?
If you were her, what would you say? What are the words that would have helped you? What do you need her to say? My call is that there is nothing to say other than the apology she gave you, thus the loss of words.
You triggered, she tried to help you, it didn't work. That's common in reconciliation. What are you going to do? For me, it helps to leave the story-lines behind and live in the here and now... which is not easy.
I agree with this.
I also agree with Edie that you two ignored the elephant in the room. Actually, I think that you helped create it. You sat waiting for a response. You let it simmer, and let some resentment build up.
Your wife has work to do, but you do also. You CHOSE TO ATTEMPT RECONCILIATION WITH YOUR WIFE, and that means that you have to come to the table also. It's been 4 years into R. You had an encounter, and a trigger, and you let your wife know. She apologized, tried to show affection(which I understand you may not have wanted), and your children were with you. So not the best time for a verbal discussion.
Should she have come to you? Probably. But if you aren't your own advocate, and won't speak up, then resentments are going to build again. And when you did bring it up, it wasn't to discuss the event, but rather to express your dissatisfaction. That already puts her behind the eight ball. Defensiveness would almost be an automatic response.
I see this as a communication issue, but two-sided. She was initially empathetic at the moment it happened, but couldn't do much to help. I don't want to make excuses for her, but from your initial post, it sounds like it all falls on her lap to remedy. I don't agree with this. R takes two, and neither is in a 'one-up' or 'one-down' position. That's what we agree to when we attempt to reconcile.....especially years down the road.
Married over 30yrs.
All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary PuckettD-Day(s): EnoughAccepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14