This topic finally pushed my butt off the fence about posting about where I'm actually at right now in R.
If you are thinking that your WS got off too easy, your WS may not be embracing the work they need to do: their work to restore trust and their work on themselves to be come a much better (empathetic, NOT self-centered) partner.
As much as (sadly) you do have to do your own healing, you should not be out working them. If you are: huge red flag. (Took me a while to see this in my own situation.)
I just really want to get to this point that is the new "normal" for me
First, that remote in the movie Click? Yep, so tempting for a long time to just rewind time or fast forward...but I have let go of that. (Although, it took months...maybe over a year to let go of that kind of occasional thinking.)
Why I do not want a redo/rewind now? The betrayals made ME own how self-centered much of his part in the relationship was...for a long time, even before the betrayals--how I carried way too much in the relationship and family...and he was apparently cool with that. So, no surprise that--in a time of longterm stress and personal crisis for him--he picked himself yet again! My "aha" is becoming his "aha," though his is slower in coming because it's hard for him to see patterns of behavior that he's ignored or justified for so long. These behaviors are deeply ingrained.
I am now glad that I see the past in it's totality and detail.
I don't want a marriage where my SO isn't a true partner in shouldering the burdens of life--whether day to day logistics or big life crisis. I tend to dive in, roll up my sleeves and work. I want a partner who wants to roll up their sleeves and jump into the work with me and who isn't okay to watch me do too much.
...he admitted the whole affair he knew even in the moment it wasn’t anything serious or real. But all fake and fantasy, yet my thoughts are…you destroyed our marriage for fake.
I hear that. Loud and clear. That's part of the self-centeredness of it all. Because the affair wasn't about you. It was about him. His needs being met. He worked hard to not think about or deny the impact on others. Self-centered.
So, like other posters, I will say that if your WS wants authentic R, they have a mountain of work to do on themselves.
My fWH is there now. We are a year and a half into an attempt at R...and I finally had to 180 about 6 weeks ago. I had to create distance to see if he would actually do the work on himself and also take time to focus on myself (my healing & happiness).
[Clarification, my fWH had done quite a bit of work rebuilding trust...but wasn't doing the work to change long-standing habits/thinking that were really his "why"--so not a safe partner in the long run.]
It's a soft 180 for now. We live in the same house and even share a bed, but live like co-parenting roommates...without benefits.
Right now, it's the marriage I never wanted. So, I've let go of the outcome.
Right now, it is logistically convenient to keep the roommate situation. But I would be okay with D. I will survive and thrive. I won't live like roommates forever, but I've detached enough for now to tolerate it. My patience will run out at some point, if I don't see more work and real change on his part.
Did my WS get away with it? Nah.
I've been hurt, damn straight. But I'm strong and still way less broken than he is.
One of the reasons for my patience with his slow process? I do genuinely love him. I've known him since I was 17 (I'm now 54) and I will always love him on some level. After more than 30 years, I'd like him to heal and grow as a person for HIS sake--whether our marriage survives this or not.
I wish you the best in your journey!