My preference is to work it out
Why? Ask yourself why and try to develop a very specific answer.
It’s pretty clear she’s still in the affair fog, and I’m trying to be patient.
Why? And why do you feel that being patient is an obligation in some way? Ask yourself this question, too.
Thumos has some data on this I think but only a small percentage of marriages survive infidelity beyond the 5 year mark, which is curiously enough, the threshold for a BS healing.
This comes from the book "Cheating in a Nutshell." They cite a longitudinal study that examined success rates for marriages after infidelity after the 5 year mark. For whatever reason, most professional proponents of reconciliation have never conducted long-term longitudinal studies and cite only short-term numbers to claim success.
Interestingly, from years 3-5 after D-Day the rates of marriages still intact after begin steadily declining. After year 5, the numbers of those staying together drop off a cliff.
It is estimated that between 65-75 percent of marriages after infidelity will end. Meaning that optimistically, only a third survive (and probably closer to only a quarter survive).
After reading this, I myself made the connection to the common crowdsourced wisdom here on SI that it takes a betrayed spouse about 3-5 to heal, and by this it is meant that it really takes the physical brain as an organ to overcome the damage from betrayal trauma.
I found the confluence of these two rivers (healing and divorce) interesting and not at all coincidental.
It stands to reason that when a BS's brain has had time to settle and regain equilibrium at around the 5-year mark, most BS's start examining the marriage with very clear and very skeptical eyes. Some elect to stay. It seems increasingly clear that most do not past the 5-year mark.
I myself am considered a bit of a skeptic for reconciliation. But I DON'T want anyone to rule it out. My heart aches for every betrayed spouse facing a family torn asunder. I myself struggle with this mightily every single day. And obviously my deepest hope is that two people who love each other and who have children would find authentic reconciliation.
Nevertheless, I think the biggest obstacle to this hope I have is the wayward spouse, and more often than not what we have in a wayward spouse is usually a damaged person with an insufficient toolkit for dealing with real life, someone lacking in emotional intelligence, and someone who may in fact be narcissistic to some degree.
Thus, the common set of behaviors leading up to, during and after an affair:
1. WS's begin feeling "unhappy" or "unsatisfied" but they can't put a finger on why. Why you can't talk someone out of their feelings -- they simply feel what they feel -- we must acknowledge that very often feelings do not comport with or reflect actual reality. So while a WS may feel "unhappy" it is likely that they actually have very little to be unhappy about.
2. WS's, searching for a cause of their ennui and discontent, begin telling themselves a story about their marriage, which is usually chock full of lies, distortions and half truths. Interestingly with regard to WW (wayward wives) there is increasing media attention paid to the problem of wives losing attraction for their stable provisioner husbands, and then blaming their husbands for this problem that lies only within themselves. Rewriting the history of a marriage in order to justify an affair is almost required for most WS's, and even adultery apologists like Esther Perel now concede that most of the time infidelity is happening in what should be considered by an objective observer good marriages.
3. WS's find an affair partner, a convenient warm body they find attractive on some level and develop a connection with. Usually this person is below the pay grade of their faithful spouse. And very often, they are total sleazes.
3a. WS's must then take a series of willful steps, and practice increasingly willful deception to do this.
4. They throw themselves wantonly into an affair. Normally this develops into sex. Rarely it remains platonic (more damage has been done in my view with the concept of an "emotional affair" and it was probably developed by a wayward; affairs rarely remain "emotional" for long unless proximity is an issue).
5. The affair comes out (it usually does, even if it comes out years later).
6. WS's begin a predictable pattern of swearing fealty to the marriage, blameshifting, footdragging, trickling truth, DARVO (deny attack reverse victim offender), sex and love bombing, continued gaslighting, breaking no contact, and pressuring their loyal spouses to stay and rugsweep.
Eventually, a betrayed spouse begins to overcome some of their trauma and begins examining all of this in the cold light of day. What most betrayed spouses eventually realize is that adultery is a particularly pernicious form of toxic abuse. People who are abusers are not loving people. Love is a verb. When people carry out actions that are the opposite of loving, they are not loving. Most BS's conclude this in one way or another, and the "shit sandwich" looks increasingly distasteful as the years pass.
[This message edited by Thumos at 11:20 AM, August 6th (Friday)]