It's hard to put a true number of months or a when...it was very gradual and like working a puzzle. To get one piece in place, you may have to figure out other pieces first.
I went into IC immediately after the affair ended. I wallowed around in everything for two months before confessing. I had some clarity at that point in that I needed to get very honest and really dig in. I fired my counselor at that time because she encouraged me not to tell. I decided that I couldn't get the type of answers or honesty that I was seeking in my life with her guidance. I needed someone who would support me in showing integrity and really airing out my headspace rather than excusing it all.
But, it was probably another four months worth of work or more before I realized that I had held resentments towards my husband for situations I was creating myself. It took that space of really starting to see how skewed my view of our relationship was to even begin to start looking at the full picture of what was broken.
I would estimate that first 6-8 months after the affair to be largely unproductive towards much other than being able to say I was after attention, that I had been depressed and unhappy prior, mixed in with a lot of my own justifications, etc.
I finally started looking at my coping mechanisms, the patterns that started from FOO, and was able to explain in more detail the errors that I made that led me to the state I was in. I could then tell you I was trying to escape myself, my life, my responsibilities. I could tell you how I let it build up like a pile of jenga blocks until it was too unstable to stand up.
But, the reasons don't have to be deep. It's the behaviors and thought patters that led to those reasons that have to get deep. My reasons are pretty simple, in all reality. I was unhappy and instead of dealing with it I tried to escape. But it was because I had never taken accountability for my own happiness because I always felt like I was needing to earn/work for love.
But, drilling down further probably took me the rest of the year and add a few months.
I was trying to escape my life because I had become so inauthentic to myself, I had not held any personal boundaries on my energy and my time, I let all the little shit pile up until it was an overwhelming city of shit. I wanted to people please instead of confront. I was always just doing what was easier than honoring those parts of myself that were struggling to be heard. Then going and connecting that with the past. Healing shame that had always made me try to cover it up in perfectionism. Being self protective rather than vulnerable. There was a lot of healing to do of all that had accumulated there.
The hard work is turning that into what do you need to work on and how do you work on it?
Luckily, I did have a counselor who saw that before I did. She actually made me stop doing all the things I was doing and add back. You can only imagine that it's difficult to go home to a man who you just confessed an affair to and say "They said I need to stop doing all these things I do to be loved" There was a plan to it, a little complex to explain fully here. But, it did allow me to see I was still loved without those things, and it did give clarity of the fact I overworked myself so much to get love, but then resented my husband as if he was treating me like an employee. That was a huge eye opening experience, that it was my expectations not his. Doesn't sound like much but it was a game changer.
I share all the details of that even though it was a bit more than you were asking for - sometimes in order to get healthy we have to have those game changers - but it changes our role within our marriage. And that could be good, but it also can be scary because maybe our spouse won't like that new way. I have begun to wonder if some of some of the fear of facing these things, and what they might mean going forward is why the WS shuts down. I don't know. Once I could see it all, I couldn't unsee it. I still have to practice and be mindful because decades of patterning myself in a certain way in my marriage.
All in all, as I review all that I said I think I had full clarity at somewhere around the 18 month mark...integration is probably longer, I don't know because I am just now at the 3 years stage.