I'm writing to object to the 'R is a shit sandwich' metaphor.
I never saw R as a shit sandwich. I saw R as my best - most likely to be successful - path back to a joyful and satisfying life. There was nothing good about my W's A; THAT was a shit sandwich, but R was something I thought would be good.
The primary corollary may be that a person who sees R as something that will cause vomiting may find D the better course of action. I'm all for R - unless one or both partners do not want R or don't want R enough to do their work.
IOW & IMO, it's probably best to separate d-day and the A(s) from our outcome. Lots of shit gets dumped on the BS because of being betrayed. Too many of us get more shit dumped on us because the WS gaslights, minimizes, blameshifts and TTs after the A comes out, or because the WS treats us nastily during and before the A(s), etc. But that shit, and whatever is wrapped around it, comes from the WS's behavior.
What we choose to do about the WS's behavior comes from ourselves, and we owe it to ourselves to maximize the quality of our life.
On IC and therapy, I think it is more successful if it's contractual. The client figures out what they want to change about themself and how they'll know they've succeeded. The therapist agrees to help. The content of the therapy changes as appropriate, depending on how well the client progresses, and therapy stops when the goal is reached (unless the client wants help achieving new goals).
Being betrayed usually damages one sense of self. It also triggers all sorts of self-attacking messages that accumulate in one's head as one grows up and lives life. IMO, a BS's healing requires hearing one's self-talk and changing it. Hearing the self-attacking messages is very difficult. Changing them is even more difficult. So I think post-d-day IC pretty much has to include work to change - improve - one's sense of self.
It takes a skilled therapist to guide a person through the process, and it takes a motivated client.
It's true the WS's actions damaged the BS's sense of self, but the WS can't do much to repair the damage, because it's the BS's self-talk in response to the WS's actions that keeps the BS in pain.
As Oldwounds posted, you have to choose to heal. If you don't make that choice, therapy won't help. You get to choose, and if your choice is 'no' or 'not now', you are within your rights. This work is a lot easier said than done, and it takes courage and hope to get ready to do it. It takes a healty sense of entitlement, too - one has to feel entitled to make their internal life better. One has to believe they are entitled to treat themselves well, despite being very imperfect.
Eric Berne wrote and said that people usually choose the 2nd best therapist they find, because they're afraid the best one will force them to do the work. So if you choose to hide from yourself, you've got a lot of company. But I encourage everyone to look inside. I know it can be very scary, but if you stick to it, you'll be glad you did it.
In my early years after d-day, I drafted at least 3 long-ish posts about the difficulty of R. I don't know if posted any of them. I just looked for and found the 3rd one, which I wrote 8 months after d-day. What I wrote came as a complete surprise; I had forgotten ever being in the place I was when I wrote that. Part of the brain likes to forget pain, I guess.
I think recovering from being betrayed and R are so difficult because they force us to question so much of one's life experience, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. R involves questions that don't/can't get answered for years, even decades. There are so many 'huh?' and 'WTF?' moments - they overload one's mind, I think. Events come so fast that they can't be captured, much less integrated. And all the data comes in while we're in excruciating emotional pain.
But that's the hand we are dealt.
What is 'true R'? For me it's raising and resolving issues. A BS has to reveal what they like, want, don't like, don't want to the person who hurt them. That tells the WS how to keep adding pain to the BS's burden - just keep doing what the BS doesn't want or like and keep not doing what the BS does want and like.
To get vulnerable, the BS has to know themself way beyond likes/dislikes/wants/don't wants. The BS needs to identify fears about themself, fears of inadequacy, fears of rejection, fears of being abandoned, etc., and the BS needs to surface the fears and doubts and figure out how to live with or dump them.
My experience has been that A-related issues get fewer as time goes on, and normal day-to-day issues replace them. In a real sense, I think R morphs into M - it's just that the issues change. The A recedes in importance ... work gets more complex, kids' needs change, we age. So the issues change as our life changes. The need to resolve issues sticks around, alas.
Happy anniversary, Luna. I remember with some happiness the first post-d-day anniversary that I actually wanted to celebrate. I don't remember what we did, but I remember that wanting to celebrate felt good.