My wife had a typical affair just over 4 years ago. I do love her a great deal and I think she is a good person today. I have forgiven her for the affair, in that I don't hold her actions against her anymore. Her past actions are in the past and I really try and judge her on her actions in the present.
In the present, my wife is devoted to working on the marriage, though she has serious issues with self-awareness that persist. This complicates and has complicated healing for years. I don't think she has bad intentions, she just finds it hard to make real, long lasting changes in herself.
We have kids and other ties that bind us and are compelling in their own right. Its these ties that have kept me in the marriage these years. I don't lack for love or affection for my wife, but only the stability of my children have enabled me to endure the suffering I have forced myself to endure.
I hit a turning point earlier this year in that I really wanted to get past the affair and I accepted my marriage for what it was (and wasn't) and my wife for who she was. We have had some really great times the last two years and our sex life is great.
Unfortunately, I began having panic attacks after a few months. Most times they would happen out of the blue. I get seized by a certainty she is lying to me and gaslighting me still. I go crazy for half an hour and return to normal. However, for that 30 minutes I am instantly transported back four years. Needless to say, that is highly unpleasant.
My wife was real big with TT. In the aftermath she told hundreds of lies, said "this is the absolute truth" several dozens times as she was telling a new story that turned out to be untrue. It was shameful and it cripples her today to recount.
It generally went like this- she told a lie and I had to prove it was a lie with hard evidence. She then told another lie that I had to prove was a lie...ad nausea. Eventually I ran out of facts and what was left was her "truth". These truths include:
-The AP arranged for his wife to be out of town with the kids for a weekend. My wife met with him at his home one of those nights. She was there about four hours. According to her they were pretty much naked within 10 minutes of arriving. According to her they decided not to have sex because they didn't have a condom. When she saw I wasn't buying it, she said he was impotent. The entire time, 100% impotent. She said they made out for a long time, but never touched each other's genitalia, not once. He didn't touch her vagina and she didn't touch his penis. Not once. They just kissed and made out for hours naked and talked.
I know, but bear with me. I never bought the story and she knows that. This is something I wanted to accept (her inability to admit), because intellectually those events don't matter anymore. If she can't admit to doing things she finds shameful afterwards, that's one of her faults as a human being. However, let me outline a couple more.
-The day before that she admits to trying to meet up with him (AP wife out of town). To this day, she can't get her story straight about what she did that evening. It's too confusing to recount here, though.
-A month before that, she arranged for me to be gone a whole night from home. She lied every step of the way on this one. She ended up admitting they planned for him to come over for about two weeks. She says he never showed up with no explanation that day, he ghosted her. Not a complicated story, he just never showed up. I did recover a text fragment from the next morning where she was terrified and asking him if he was caught. That text could cut both ways, but like I said, she lied a lot about this particular day.
Those are the major ones that I recall at the moment. There were a couple of other sets of lies that have to do with other people, which I won't recount. It was in service of hiding the affair partners identity from me.
I don't need judgment on my wife. I only list them for context. It is still very painful to recount, though.
I was in individual therapy for about four years. We have been in marriage counseling on and off almost the whole time.
I am not blind to my role in my own suffering. I realize I have a choice. Me. I have a choice. My children would forgive me when they get older I'm sure. I tried so hard.
My wife says that I know the entire truth and she did admit to a lot of other things. Unfortunately, deep down I believe she is still gaslighting me. Whatever the truth is regarding anything, I can't shake that feeling. I can't find peace and have that feeling.
There is great experience and wisdom here in this community of the broken and healing. I am not sure what I am asking here, but I am willing to open the floor to whoever wants to comment.