I can only share from my own experience with R.
I was in limbo for well over a year. Sure, I ultimately wanted R, but it didn’t feel safe for a long time. I also still had a lot of anger, and wasn’t sure I had it in me to stay, so I kept divorce on the table. It stayed a viable option until recently. I guess it always will be, but not in the same way it was. The affair itself will no longer be the deciding factor for divorce, but more so what comes next. If that makes sense.
I needed to see more than just remorse from my husband. I needed him become a better version of himself. To become a better man than he has ever been. A better husband. A better dad. A better SIL. A better employee. I needed to see real and lasting changes. Unfortunately, that’s some shit that takes time. Time to do, and time to believe it is genuine. At nearly 2 years I finally do. He IS a better husband. A better man. A better father. A valued employee who continues to gain the favor of his employers. He has been so wonderful to my mother and my family. I could expound on all the changes I’ve seen in him, but I’d be here all day. :) (which holy shit that’s the nicest I’ve talked about him on here 😂)
Healing, well I had to do a lot of that on my own. I still am. He helped our R, but he couldn’t really help me heal. Especially when I wasn’t even sure we were going to stay married. I didn’t trust him enough to be vulnerable with him. I had to get stronger and healthier before being vulnerable was even an option for me. It’s something I still struggle with.
How he helped me feel safe was by honoring my boundaries. No lies. No "privacy." No selfishness. (His A had been over for 3 years so it wasn’t a typical list of NC and all that) Then there would be little things, like not going on a paid for hunting trip because I was struggling. FaceTiming me when he was working late, even though I could see his location. Writing me letters expressing his love and remorse for me. Every morning for over a year telling me he loved, he was sorry, and he was choosing to be faithful to me that day and forever.
One of the biggest things for me was him constantly assuring me he wasn’t going anywhere. Even when I was screaming at him and calling him every vile name in the book. When my own family told him they didn’t know how was able to stay with someone as angry as I was. He owned his part in it, and told everyone he wasn’t ever going to leave me. Honestly, even though I was hurt, I had no right to treat him the way I did. He still took it all on the chin. As shitty as I was, and I don’t condone it, it’s what I needed the most from him.
I share all that because I believe R is a long process. It takes the BS a long ass time to even find their bearings, let alone to heal. Then it takes a tremendous amount of work from the WS to go from selfish cheater, to safe partner. It takes ACTIONS on a daily basis. Small things. Big things. They all add up, and they all matter.
I really didn’t mean for this to turn out so long and detailed, but that’s my story and my experience with R.