All, thanks for your inputs.
Yeah, I know I'm better than her AP. She tells me this too, although she'd be telling that to him if they ended up together and not us. Dumb male thing here but she told me my unit was bigger than his, but I found out from his next GF that she told him that mine was smaller. She then tried to backpedal, that his was "girthier" but mine was "longer". So this tells me she just tells people what she thinks they want to hear.
One thing Im convinced of for sure is she does honestly think she made the right decision, and I agree with her. But still, my painful internal dialog keeps thinking that IF her AP hadn't been a lying sack, then she'd be with him right now. I still cant believe that she was prepared to up and leave me over this guy had he NOT ended up being a liar. We had a huge wedding with everyone who meant anything present, so many shared experiences, so many good times. It doesn't add up. Took her sacred vows, and some guy who she saw as a better option than me, she would have just run off with. Its kindof like someone aiming a gun at your head, pulling the trigger, and then the gun misfired. She was prepared to kill us and something went wrong with her AP. How does one ever mend after something like that?
Thumos, I see you keep a "stone tablet" of the most hurtful things that your wife has said to you. Im sorry that those are burned into your brain. For me, Im fortunate that Ive memory holed anything like that, although the most painful things weren't what was said to me but what I saw she said to her AP for example texting him "I love you" immediately after telling me.
BearlyBreathing yes Ive had the conversation with my WW about this feeling. Her response is that its stupid to think in terms of what ifs, that didn't happen, we will never know for sure, and she reassures me that Im the better man.
Trdd - she is remorseful and does constantly tell me she made a horrible decision, is sorry, will be making it up to me for the rest of my life, etc, but I dont think she realizes that giving me the reason she stayed because the AP essentially blew it with his various character flaws still leaves me feeling like plan B. Of course, now that the fog is worn off, she can see that I was in fact the best choice, but my issue is with her thinking at that time.
Oldtruck - his GF did find out about the STD as well and my wife contacted her, Im not exactly sure why because I never saw the email, but I feel like it may have been to tell her to stay away from her "man", or that might just be my imagination. Hopefully it was to ask her about if it was true that her AP was a liar. That GF actually got in touch with me after my wife emailed her and asked me to tell my wife never to contact her again and actually offered to help me get my wife back. That GF dumped my wifes AP (as he had been playing both). The AP then got impatient with my wife and had no problem getting a follow up GF which he used to make wife wife jealous. I contacted his new GF as well to tell her about his STDs and operating procedure, and her response was to insult me and my wife (AP had told her many bad things about us Im sure) so I just left it at that. They've surprised me and are married to this day with 2 kids. I hope something really bad happens to him.
StrugglingCJ - thank you for your story. Glad your WW had a moment of clarity. Hope your R continues to improve and get to the best version of R possible.
The1stWife - She actually confessed her affair to me, although I was highly suspicious and almost caught her on a few occasions. Had she not made it a habit of parking her car around the block from her APs house (a level of deceit and sick intentionality behind that one), and a few other lucky breaks, I would have caught her. Bald faced lied to me for probably a month (this was after she out of the blue told me she wanted to move out to learn to be "more independent") and when I started asking her directly on multiple occasions if she was having an A. Im glad that she ended up confessing since I believe it made things easier for us to R and saved me from the "how long would it have gone on for" question. Yep, it was gut wrenching for her. I gave her a demand of NC which was impossible since they worked together. I caught her setting up 4 or 5 secret email accounts over the following few months and continuing to chat via instant messenger and I just let her off with a stern warning each time. She waffled back and forth a few times, and he used his proximity with her at work to get her ear and by the by the end of each work day she'd feel like leaving me again. I would have to then pull her back to me in the other direction before she went into work with him the next day. I almost filed for D a few times, it was a tug of war over her and AP got impatient. I finally sensed that I could go to HR and she'd side with me and not him, was correct in my assessment, and they fired just him and not me or her (we all worked at the same place) and that was the end of their affair. Now, she has diligently shown me over the last 16 years that she is serious about R. We have 3 kids since then, and she is very loving and accepting towards me. But when I think back to that time, boy do I get mad and I dont let it go easily.
Dude67 - your point about that we only have so much time left and we should spend it focusing on the positives made a real impact. Thank you for that.