I hope you don't mind if I jump in here CM70.
Both you and your wife are trying to fight human nature.
She is battling her limbic system and its tendency to ring her bell with love hormones seemingly in an involuntary fashion.
She feels broken and fragmented because she cant undo her choices or their consequence on her lymbic system.
So against her best interests (she realizes) she has lost attraction for you, and still desires the AP. At least on some level.
There is no switch she can flip, and the lymbic system doesn't speak english.
It speaks hormones, and images.
Telling her mind she needs to changes, (be it you, her therapist, or herself) seems ineffective.
This adds more stress to her, and makes reprogramming herself feel impossible.
She is at a breaking point because she cannot compartmentalize the dichotomy between what she wants, and what she desires/imagines/feels drawn to.
The IC needs to give her the tools to work through this. I would say in a somewhat detached and objective manner.
Property labeling each aspect, and putting everything in the right category, time and time again. As long as it takes.
She needs to do this in a safe, secure, and accepting atmosphere. One that allows for personal growth, and self-evaluation.
Lots of alpha brain waves, as it were.
Something like this is what I am driving at;
5 pillars of the DNRS program
Recognizing limbic impairment
Interrupting patterns of limbic impairments (POPs).
Incremental brain retraining
Elevating emotions during retaining
You are facing your own lymbic challenges.
Your fight or flight alarm bells have been pumping you full of adrénaline and cortisol. These,and this is not intended to be a long term state.
You are in danger of burning out. You may abandon any attempt at reconciliation for this reason alone.
Also our love and respect tend to rise and fall together.
To say your respect for her has taken a hit would be an understatement, but everyday as this scenario cycles mercilessly through your brain, your respect for her drops a little each time, and your love will follow it down.
You need to put this in a holding pattern, and approach this intelligently, and not just become the victim (like her) of processes you are unaware of.
I have seen wayward wives with a small measure of remorse and a large measure of regret sort it out to a full on remorse that was a concern to the betrayed partner because the depth of the waywards pain seemed to become comparable to their own, and the wayward partner was almost inconsolable.
From what I have seen in most situations where reconciliation is moving in the right direction the remorse is clarified, purified, and intensified during reconciliation.
At present your wife doesn't even know how to be remorseful. She needs guidance.
You honestly may be expecting too much too fast.
I think, and this is just my opinion, that you are trying to move to an outcome to quickly. (This is not to say that you should not have her served when the time seems right to you. This is kind of a given to me.)
In a sense this is out of her hands. All she can do is perform the work of renewal and let that enable her to recover.
To put it in terms of addiction. She made the choice to use the drug, the drug took her choice away. She has to do the work of rehab to reclaim her choice, to reclaim her humanity which she surrendered to these choices.
Also there is NOTHING wrong with self-interest. That is the very foundation of relationships. She has an interest in her relationship with you, her future, etc.
Altruism can be the enemy of the truth.
Now I will hasten to add that she needs to put your interests ahead of hers because of her betrayal, and unfaithfulness. She needs guidance here. Some good books, and IC, but she doesn't need to apologise or be ashamed of her self-interest.
So to circle back, being compared unfavorably to the AP is gut wrenching.
She can get to the place where she genuinely disowns this. He offered her those new relationship feelings. She will feel stupid and used one day.
You will never feel the same about her. Before you had an idealistic love, and gave her the benefit of the doubt.
Now there is no doubt.
But also now you know she can be vulnerable, and weak,and broken.
She came crashing down off her pedestal and is a broken fully human woman now.
It's not really fair to put someone on a pedestal. It makes it easier to overlook their genuine needs or to minimize their significance. In other words it makes it easier to take them for granted in a disconnected and more impersonal way.
From the outside I'm 50/50 on reconciliation. It all depends on you.
Some people are just not wired to reconcile. It has nothing to do with good or bad, weak or strong, right or wrong.
If I knew you personally I would tell you that I would respect and support whatever decision you would make, but I think you are trying to make up your mind to quickly
, and there are some things that need to be in place in order to make an informed and intelligent decision.
I think we have roughly the same amount of life experience. So take it for what it is worth.
I really do wish you well!
[This message edited by Decorum at 4:28 AM, March 28th (Sunday)]