Youve recieved tremendous input here. I still marvel at the collective wisdom of this place and cannot help but wonder what may have been if Id had this kind of resource.
One word of caution from me and Ill try not to project, but common previous experience is also the very reason we all come here so its a bit of a balancing act.
On that note, I want to hone in on an analogy you made some posts back that resonated with me and I believe has serious implications for you where you said:
She had a big scale in her mind - on one side was me, our relationship, and our family. On the other was a crush, a few minutes of excitement, and the high of feeling desired. She made her choice not once, but multiple times. I'm not blind to this or defending her.
I dont want to hash out HER scale as I think you have come to, or are close to coming to your own conclusions as to her confessed actions and how she weighs them (now).
I want to focus on the scale YOU are using, specifically the weights & counterweights on that scale that keep you moving in a certain direction.
Some of those weights on one side are common, i.e., history together, perception of love, memories and shared experiences, intimate life, loyalty, a caretaking role (especially applicable for you), deep emotional connection, shared interests, children/parenting, etc. These are real, powerful, and weighty indeed.
Other weights MAY be there, but should not have the weight of import that we sometimes give them. In my case, they were the result of FoO issues that came out of a life of previous trauma that I was not then aware of. These included strong learned behaviors (my winning formula/coping mechanisms) to minimize, normalize, rug sweep, and move on too quickly. These "false weights", as it were, impeded my ability to give the individual acts of betrayal and all that led up to them the appropriate level of gravity. I paid dearly for this. Not projecting, just a warning from personal experience.
Now, lets look at the counterweights on other side of the scale. Someone pointed out the import of her thought process that lead up to the A. The train of thought that allowed her to drop her defenses and forget you and your family so quickly, that is a hefty matter in and of itself. The fact that you have gone above and beyond in your husbandry to being a caretaker during a serious chronic illness, something that not all men can handle, was thoughtlessly tossed aside. This is massive in my opinion. If that doesnt keep you at the forefront of her mind in the moment of temptation, as more temptations will most assuredly come, what the hell will?
Then there's "kissing" which was actually heavy petting sessions apparently, but lets just focus on kissing for a moment. Kissing is a very big deal. It is both a seal and a promise. It is one of the most sensual acts that lovers engage in (witness Klimt's "The Kiss"). I think it was another contributor here that goes by the name of Thumos that posted an in depth treatise on the import and gravity of kissing (worth a read).
Onward to fellatio. Fellatio is an act coveted by cheaters for the sheer level of carnal intimacy involved and the implied subservience exemplified by body positioning and the act itself. It is as much a power move as it is sexual. Some have argued that fellatio is actually more intimate, erotic, and sensual than PIV which is ironic as many cheaters have tried to minimize and justify affairs where fellatio was involved by saying some form of, "It was only oral, we didnt have full on sex." This, of course, is complete BS.
Same goes for heavy petting/fingering. This is a very big deal. Its defined as, "erotic contact between two people involving stimulation of the genitals but stopping short of intercourse, in preparation thereof."
All of this given up for a schmoozing salesman. Part of the minimizing defence now given is that they stopped short of completion? Of course, who the hell knows at this point, right? This to me is a non sequitor as nothing can be verified and there has been no poly to attempt to do so..
So, where do you go from here? To a concert with her apparently. I am reminded of another poster who had planned a nice trip for him and his wife and immediately cancelled the trip upon finding out about the A and working through Dday and post Dday, saying, "Not rewarding her for fucking another man." They did R after all of the hallmarks of true remorse were in place, including a polygraph that she insisted on taking (she passed) and she wanted to take more of them in the future, as many as he felt he needed to feel more and more secure.
I am not trying to drag you down the hall of horrors again, just bring focus on the "weights and measures" you are using on your own "scale" 'cause its mighty hard to calibrate and stay balanced in the middle of the tempest. The rationale is to try and help you navigate this shit show of her making while avoiding some of the pitfalls I fell into that caused even more damage.
Strength, healing, balance and clarity to you sir as you endeavor to get clear of her infidelity.