1. Did any of you have difficulty leaving the AP after being found out? If so how long did it take for you to completely be done with all of it....NC 100%. Did you keep in touch for awhile, thinking it benign, all the while lying to your BS about it? Do you still long for your AP and think of them as your long lost lover who just could never be?
It took about 8 months after D-Day to go NC. I was honest with my BH that I was still in touch with OM, and I told myself it was benign. Since OM and I were no longer in physical contact, and I wouldn't allow any romantic declarations from him, I insisted to BH that we could be "just friends." Meanwhile, OM made all kinds of indirect attempts at finding chinks in my armor. All three of us -- me, OM, BH -- knew that all I had to do was say the word, and things would start back up again. This was pure torture for my BH, but I was so selfish, so blinded by the rush of OM pining for me, that I didn't see it. I was basically an emotional vampire.
I don't long for the OM, but until D-Day 2, I am ashamed to admit that I would periodically think fondly of our time together. The memories that stuck with me were the feelings of being desired and pursued. I definitely would have liked to know that I was his "one that got away." Even now, if I found out that I was totally irrelevant to him, I'd feel a combination of healthy relief and a selfish, pathetic sense of insult. Those emotions are embarrassing and disgusting and unworthy of R. I'm working on eradicating that last vestige of toxic self-validation. However, he was never my "one that got away." I always thought that BH was the better man, and I never once considered leaving him for the OM. If BH and I had broken up, that would have been his decision, though I took as much of that agency away as I could (see #2).
2. Did you tell your BS everything or only the things they asked for? Did you minimize the details? If so why?
I minimized, and as JBWD said, it was almost entirely self-preservation. I told myself that it was to protect BH, since his reaction to finding out that I had cheated was far, far beyond what I had ever expected. I confessed voluntarily, and I thought he'd be hurt and angry; I had no idea he'd be traumatized. I immediately began backpedaling to make what I had done sound less terrible. I admitted the sex and the I love yous, but not the extensive details about the number of encounters, positions, romantic dates, etc. That only came out last year, 29 years after the A. As soon as I saw that I had a chance of saving my relationship, I denied my H the full picture that he needed in order to decide whether to stay with me. I'll carry that crime with me always.
3. Did you really just want "both" never intending to leave your BS, or do you just tell them that now?
I really did think I could have both. My A was timebound. It started in February, and I knew the OM was moving away in June. It was supposed to be a compartmentalized "vacation" from my real life, not a replacement for it.
4. Do you think that you are somewhat in denial about what it all meant to you? Do you minimize it all in order to protect yourself somehow?
I worry about that. Wayward reprogramming is a tricky thing, because there are so many lies we told ourselves to make the A a possibility. Sorting the lies that we told then out from the lies that we could be telling now is careful, painful work. For instance, there's a thread in wayward now about whether "love" is possible in an A. Were the feelings real at the time? If so, does it matter that we see them differently now, in retrospect, out of the fog?
The OM in my case was an actor, more of a character actor than a leading man. He specialized in the Hugh Grant persona, and his characters and his real life presnetation blended togther. How much of OM was real, and how much was a a facade? I have no idea, even now. I saw glimpses that tell me that there were very dark tendencies underneath the self-deprecating charm. But still, I was very attracted to the facade. Was that love? If I deny that it was, am I minimizing? If I claim that it was, am I still foggy, not yet remorseful?
Even here on SI, we don't always agree about the answers to these questions, but we all agree on honesty, and so I strive for that.