I want to keep iterating that I am reading all responses and I respond with what immediately speaks to me at the moment.
One of the first things I asked, other than the obvious was why she had such a 180 change of heart in 12 hours, why our marriage and me were so important to her at this moment. I didn't really ask "why did you do it?" I asked and focused on "why are you back"?" I have asked this over and over, mostly to hear it, but also to find consistency.
I've gotten consistency, way too many tears and sobbing so I have to stop her doing that to communicate more (because it's fucking not about her) but consistent answers nevertheless.
I think, outside of the love I feel for her, this was the only "reason" I even considered having her back in the house.
The short of it was (NOT EXCUSES and this is from her, not my analyzing) she realized it was all false, all her plans, all her "reasons". after we had our bad night and she got caught, after me explaining what I thought happened and then what was going to happen to her life from that point on, she realized that instead of being happy being away from someone she had believed she no longer loved, my catching her, seeing me upset and truly hurt in real life, knowing our kids would be upset and see what she had done reality struck. I do not know yet if this included realizing or believing the OM wasn't truly worthy, or I was, unsure but I know part of it had to be sentimental.
I do not know if someone can love someone else and do this kind of thing, it would never enter my mind, it's alien, and I have a very hard time believing it, but I cannot see into someone else's mind. All I know right now is that she is the woman I met, the woman I married right now, she is "back" and I have to find the courage and strength to push and push really hard because I absolutely do realize the reckoning has to come it all has to come out, otherwise it's just all for naught.
I absolutely realize that there is truth in once a cheater, I also realize I an desperate right now and I am not entirely ready to face the demons that are inevitably coming, and that's bad. It's also way too fast, even I know this, it is a whirlwind of I love you. It's kind of crazy and I am sure so many have been in this situation before which is both promising because it could be real and obviously terrifying because it could be fake.
The wonderful people here have punched large holes in my façade and I am grateful, every time I come here I see a little more clear (I think) and it gives me resolve. But if I come at this that everything she now says and everything she will say in the future is a lie, there is literally no point.
I just need more resolve and courage to really dig. It would probably be helpful if she didn't burst into tears whenever I mention something and just keep telling me how sorry she is. Self pity is not what I need. And that has sort of changed? I asked her some questions last night, she broke down and I said "stop, you're not helping me" and she stopped, and we talked more, so progress.
How do I get her to truly understand how I feel? Does anyone have any advice on that, I need her to see it every moment of the day for at least a while. She says she understands but she can't possibly understand. I know her writing it all down will trigger some of it, but how can she understand my actual ache and pain?
That said clearer chain of events:
She was becoming much more distant, increasing greatly the last few days before that night (which was just two weeks ago). I checked the digital and found the first digital motel receipt (of many). She had been looking for apartments, looking for iPhone messages deletion finality, and job hunting (although that might have been unrelated as she just recently got the job she has). It all clicked.
She had a plan, a plan that involved NOT getting caught and leaving me. SHE was going to leave, not ask me to leave, she was going to leave. Called her home, during the time it took her to come home all the pieces fell into place for me and after she admitted it and we had words, I laid it on the line for her. (I was angry at that point, distraught but angry) I told her, against her non admission, that she had a plan and I told her in no uncertain terms that our kids would know, would resent her and they would definitely rather live with me than some shitty small apartment with a new fake dad coming around. There is no uncertainty around that fact. I offered her a settlement, she could have just left for good, she could have had half of everything no muss no fuss. She might get "less" because of the affair, but she could have signed a no fault, because at that moment I was ready to print, download and sign.
She chose to come back the next morning and plead.
She did consult, just consult a lawyer, this was a week before the night, she did not give any real details, she did not lay out any plans, so she did not meet with one, did not get any concrete information on what she thought she could get, I don't think it had anything to do with money. I think and believe she truly cared about not hurting ME financially, for whatever that is worth. In fact when I also offered to split the proceeds of the house, she seemed shocked and said she would never make me sell or leave my home and this was in the heat of the moment. So money, not really a factor. I think it was more just getting away with it at that point. Perhaps... perhaps to spare me.
Then she told him she didn't need a lawyer anymore but thanks. This was a week after we had gotten back together and after the lawyers check in (for anticipated business I suppose) So she quickly inquired about services, 2 weeks before, had not followed up, then a week after that night, responded to a ping and said basically she didn't need services.
Now, to me, in my fragile state that tells me she is no longer interested in anything to do with divorce and the plan was not only not well thought out, it was also not committed to.
So to sum that up, from my perspective, (and confirmed without direct suggestions/prompting from her) She had been unhappy, she did not communicate, she was unhappy with how her life turned out. Not me... her life. I tried my best and once we had the means due to my business, offered to put her through school and be the stay at home person (which I did). She gained confidence but was wooed by someone. For some reason, she still hadn't gotten out of the funk, perhaps because she was older now and school was very hard on her (the actual classwork) but she got through it with my support and an affair. During all this she was starting to think she could just be happy outside the marriage with a professional job and it snowballed. Then when reality came crashing down, she says it was all a self lie and she did love me, I was a good man.
That's how I see it, might not be true, but it's how I see it. They are not excuses as the actions are inexcusable and I have to decide, not her, if this is still worth it. I do not know what next week brings, I do not know if the anger stage will make me tell her to get the fuck out and never come back. It's possible, I just do not know right now.
I don't know a lot for sure, all of the things that have happened point towards true remorse, I know I am not in the right frame of mind to make that determination but it seems so real. If it is, I still have to get past what is inevitably coming. I am not sure how I am going to handle it.
I have to ask a lot more questions.