smitty82, I'm sorry you find yourself here, but I'm sure you will benefit from the support and wisdom of so many here.
I'm five years out, but from a long and drawn out disclosure of a 9 year affair, so I'm on the slow path to recovery. I would like to tell you there are days I don't think about it, but I'm not there yet. I'm realizing that my biggest hurdle to that peace of mind is me, and I'm working on separating my feelings from myself, and retraining my brain. The first chapters of Living and Loving After Betrayal explain the how's and why's of that mental process, and I'm trying to do the work to reboot.
I suggest you read the recent post from psychmom in this thread or the positive reconciliation stories thread for more success stories, and there are many BS here who have beaten the odds and rebuilt a happy life with their WS.
For me, contacting the MOW was both good and bad. Good because my initial threats to out her scared her away, when they had taken the affair underground and I had no clue. I was led to believe the PA was long over and they remained online friends who only emailed each other. Was I ever fooled with that one. Good because I got to say every horrible thing to her that I needed to and I got to hurt her with some ugly truths too. Bad because in her initial responses, she lied and helped my WH gaslight me and led me believe the A lasted only a few months and they had no contact for years. Bad because some of the details she did share were a knife to my heart. If I take a step back, beyond the initial scaring away, I wish I hadn't given her the time of day or tried to tell her how much I was hurting, because why would a morally compromised cheater and liar care about that at all? I just let her see me weak and in pain, and that didn't make me feel stronger. She isn't worth the space in my head. I have had more email exchanges with her than I can recall, but I can tell you all of them were stressful interactions and most of what she had to say was of no use to me, other than a window into her entitled, excuse making victim mentality.
I advise you to do what you think is best, but to ask yourself what your motivation is and what you hope to achieve and whether you believe the outcome will be helpful or harmful to your healing.
Keep sharing and learning here, and keep working on your own healing. What your WH said is true, his A was not about you or your shortcomings. It was about his. Stop feeling weak for staying, I can attest that leaving is easier, staying is the harder choice and takes strength you don't know you have. You have to figure out what you want and need to be happy moving forward, what you value and what path leads you to the life you want. I've thought many times that leaving would help me heal faster, but my heart wants this life, this family and this relationship with this man I am getting to know all over again. There are good days, great times and there are really bad days and setbacks. But if you are both committed to trying, and if you both believe your lives are better together than apart, keep trying. I am really stubborn, hate to quit and love to win and that may have a lot to do with why I am still here, vomiting my emotions and struggles all over this forum. Thank goodness for this forum.
Also, if no one in your life knows, that is a sad and lonely path I would not recommend. It took me a year to tell my two best friends, and they were so hurt that I suffered alone, and reminded me that the point of having friends is to share both the good and the bad. The relief I felt having safe, supportive spaces to quit pretending nothing was wrong was huge! Both of those friends have maintained a decent relationship with my WH, which was one of my concerns. The other reason I kept my dark secret so long was from shame, but I learned mostly from here, that I had nothing to be ashamed of, and at this point in my journey, I have a lot of pride in myself. I'm proud of my tenacity, my deep adherence to my core values, my kind and loving heart, my strength in the face of adversity and a host of other things. The only thing I feel ashamed about is my slow path figuring out the truth because I didn't trust my gut, my slow path to healing and my inability to control my emotions when I spiral. I'm working on forgiving myself for those things.
I got compliments on my weight loss too, but told people it was a combination of yardwork and a huge flare of my IBS! It always stung a little to not admit that I was stressed, couldn't sleep and food made me gag for almost a year after I finally figured out my WH had a secret life. The hardest for me are those who don't know, when they comment on how lucky we are to have such a perfect happy marriage. It's easier to let some people think that than to have everyone know my business, so I shrug it off and say there's plenty that's not perfect but we try to make it work. I guess that sums up the current state of my marriage.
Best of luck to you moving forward. Keep reaching out, keep reading in the healing library and take care of yourself.
[This message edited by whatisloveanyway at 1:56 PM, Friday, September 16th]