Feelings of shame and that she is a bad person. Feels she is a horrible person undeserved of a 2nd chance. She also is conflicted about “us” being fixable ( I thought we had a good overall marriage). One of her “Why” questions is a an endless circle in her mind - did I have an A due to not valuing my marriage? She also frets about all the “what-ifs”. What if we try and fail? What if I cannot stop being deceitful? What if I do this again and continue to cause hurt? In general, she is afraid to put one foot out to begin R based on her own fears. She does still maintain she loves me and wants our marriage to succeed.
Yeah, I know those feelings well, and I feel for her (and you!). When you allow yourself to get to a point where you actually end up lying and betraying the people you love most in your world, how do you even go about learning to trust yourself again? You start to wonder if there is any hope for yourself at all, and if the people you love aren't better off without you. She's still living in fear however. She's the only one who can answer those questions, and what she needs to realize is that they are not "what if's", because they are completely within her control. She cannot control what you do, or what anyone else does, or even what's done to her, but she CAN control herself and make her own choices. Which, for a WS, can be terrifying, because it requires things we either lack or suck at, such as boundaries, self-esteem, confidence, conflict, and the requirement of truly understanding who we are, what we are capable of, what we did, the consequences of our actions, and the near-complete lack of control over the outcomes.
This all comes down to motivation (in my opinion). What does she really want (or not want) and what is she willing to do in order to get it?
Here are some givens (or very likely):
What if she tries and fails? - Well, if she doesn't try, then she automatically fails. So trying is a must. But what if she fails? Then she still accomplishes things. For instance, she learns what does NOT work, so she can try something else. She also has the benefit of knowing that she DID try, which is better than not. It also brings her closer to her desired goal, which (I'm guessing) is to stay together. I can't speak for you of course, but I would assume that most betrayed spouses are much more likely to consider staying in R in the presence of a WS who is doing everything they can to change, rather then one who is a "deer in the headlights" and giving up because they are too afraid of failing. If she loves you and the kids, then she needs to buck up and fight for all of you, herself included.
What if she lies again or does this again? - Well then things get exponentially worse, don't they? The odds of of R diminish or dissolve completely, and the odds of rebuilding trust, now or in the future, get harder. The thing is, she's the ONLY person in the world who can control this. I know she knows this. But again, she's terrified. She can't trust herself, and she lacks the self-love and confidence to beleive that she's strong enough and worth enough to stop herself from doing these things. I can tell you that, as a broken person myself, there is a part of us that just wants to somehow "prove" to the world and to ourselves that we're right... that we are NOT worthy of love or happiness or trust or anything good in life, and so we subconsciously set out to sabotage ourselves in order to keep ourselves locked into the one identity that we are comfortable with, the identity of someone worthless and hopeless. This will continue to be a problem until such time as she changes who she is and how she identifies herself at her core. And that will take courage and risk, and of course, effort.
The good news is, although only she can do this for herself, she doesn't have to do it alone. She has SI (if she's here). She has her IC. And more than anything, she has you and the kids. While you seem to be on the fence with her, you also seem to really love her and care. Otherwise you wouldn't be here asking these questions in the first place. That's a gift and she needs to understand that. At the end of the day, whether you R or D, or makes very little difference in what she will need to go through and deal with. If she puts effort into changing herself, it will be scary and hard and occasional failure is pretty much assured. If she doesn't try however, then she will have to deal with the loss of her family and the loneliness of being apart, and the scary prospect of learning to live on her own and probably fucking up again because she never dealt with the broken things inside of her to begin with. For me, it is that last part that terrifies me more than losing my family... if I don't fix this broken shit inside of me, then I will be forever doomed to a life lived feeling "less than" and unloved. Every relationship, even the one with myself, will be affected by my lack of being able to cope with stress and hurt in a healthy way. How can anyone really love or respect me when I can't love and respect myself? Whether we R or D, I still need to fix myself, or this nightmare NEVER ends. I had a lot of bad people do a lot of bad things to me in my life that got me to where I am today, this broken and sad little man. But those people who hurt me, they don't care. They probably don't even remember what they did to me that is still causing me pain and anguish today. So, who owns my abuse now? Them? No. Not them. They don't give a shit. I own it. I'm the only person that is carrying around the pain anymore. Which means I am my own abuser, because no one else is hurting me now, except for me. And I'm done.
Your wife needs to get that. She needs to change, and she needs to do it for herself. Not for you, or the kids, just for her. If she wants the marriage to survive then she needs to stop with the pity party and the fear and the shame, and instead get pissed. Get pissed at herself for letting this happen. Get pissed at what she did and for allowing it to get this far. Get pissed that she's sitting around floundering while her marriage and her life are eroding before her eyes.
I will tell you what my wife did for me (among many things) that helped me to move forward. She offered me an "umbrella of commitment". Basically, that meant that she was going to agree to stay with me for a while and try to R, no matter what. Obviously, if I did something really stupid such as lie or cheat, she was under no obligation to stay. But as long as she saw me trying and doing the work, she agreed to take D off the table "for now". This "made it safe" for me to some degree. I no longer had the fear of making a mistake or not moving fast enough. I made mistakes, We had fights. We had pain. But as long as I kept doing the work and didn't do something really stupid (e.g. lie or cheat) then she was going to stick with me. I know that's an awful lot to ask of you. However maybe it will help her to move forward, because it offers her a safety net, and it removes some of the what-if's for her. It is just a suggestion of course, you need to do what you feel is best, and what is within your boundaries.
I'm just curious - what is your wife's back story? Does she have any sexual or other kinds of abuse or neglect in her life? Does she deal with any kinds of addictions?