It's not letting me edit for typos my above message, here is the cleaned up one, sorry for the trouble.
hanks for all of your opinions and the great advice, it is most appreciated and helpful.
"Take it slow. Betrayed spouses react very differently physically—some go through a period of hysterical bonding where they physically and sexually cling to the spouse; others immediately need complete physical space. Regardless, I think almost every betrayed spouse is a complete and utter emotional wreck at 4-6 months out. That’s the real issue, not whether or not there’s sex/physical affection"
Thanks, this is very good to know
"The things that helped me the most were
1) complete transparency from my husband about everything
2) him apologizing sincerely many times and thanking me for considering staying with him,
3) him working to figure out what led him to that place, and
4) him reassuring me that he was committed to me even when reconciliation was super rough and that he wasn’t going anywhere."
Thanks for sharing these, trying my best at all of them.
"Tell her that you got tested and why. It’s what a grown adult does to protect themselves, regardless of whether they plan or hope to be sexually active soon."
I did let her know, let her know the reason & I gave her the results. I apologized for not letting her know I was doing the test.
"Let her know that you’re available to talk any time, on her terms and timetable."
I have offered in the past but now not as often as I feel like I am smothering her with regularly offering to talk. She feels like she is in limbo so she hasn’t wanted to talk in over a month so I’m now just trying to support her and be a good husband & father.
"Get individual counseling to figure out why you allowed yourself to make these choices."
I am doing online IC, has helped me deal with my shame and remorse, in a way better place now to support my wife then I was the 1st 2-3 months out from D-Day
"Why do you want to stay married to your wife?"
I love her to pieces, I’d do anything to go back in time knowing what I know now, wouldn’t even consider being unfaithful.
"Why did you cheat?"
The only issue our marriage has ever had over the years is intimacy related as I have a much higher libido than she does. We have talked about this over the years as often we had gone several months without sex, even once a year plus but nothing has really changed. Nearly most of the time if I didn’t initiate it wasn’t going to happen & when it did if usually felt like she was only having "duty sex". With the kids and her demanding job we drifted apart - moved more to being "mom and dad" instead of "husband and wife".
So, the lack of regular intimacy was the primary reason I cheated…nobody had a gun to my head.
Also, I don’t know if I have an addiction problem or not but I have released at least once a day for as long as I can remember; she would often help, or if not I would just lay in bed and masterbait or go downstairs to do it. I could be wrong don’t think I do have a problem as it has never negatively affected our sex life or me not meeting her intimacy needs because of my daily habit.
"What were you thinking when you were cheating?"
Only of myself. I guess it was the excitement of something new, felt like I was in high school again I guess. It never once crossed my mind about being caught or what would happen if I was caught - only thought about myself.
"You don't have to answer these questions to anyone but yourself. But I do agree with those who suggest that you get IC; preferably with someone knowledgable and who gets to the point with you. We are all different people and we all have different ways of processing information and of reacting to pain and trauma. This is not a criticism but an observation but you remind me of someone I know who believes if he just analyzes everything and thinks it through, he'll find a way to deal with his problem. That he can dot the i's and cross the t's and put things back together. But that will not work at all in this situation. This is a matter for the heart, not the brain. And until you learn to listen to what your heart is saying (and you might have to silence that mind in order to hear), I don't think you'll truly get it.
That's what I think you're missing here and it may very well be why your BW is still holding you at arm's length because she needs to see you humble and honest and reacting from the heart, not from some programmed mass in your head. My suggestions to you are to do some introspection and answer yourself honestly."
That definitely sounds like what I was trying to do, thanks for putting everything in perspective
"Would you run over hot coals for your BW?"
Yes, wouldn’t hesitate to take a bullet for her
"Do you love your wife?"
"Even when she has B.O. or pimples or drools in her sleep?"
LOL her personal hygiene is good - her snoring keeps me up, but it’s so cute I almost don’t mind it!"
"Or do you get annoyed when there's something annoying about her? While we all get annoyed with habits or behaviors of other people, when it comes to the people we love unconditionally, it's more of a momentary irritation (darn him; well, time to do the dishes) rather than that deep guttural reaction."
I really can’t find anything annoying about her besides the slight snoring issue, and maybe that she drives her car too fast before the engine is warmed up.
"Did you like your AP better than your BW while you were cheating?"
No, not even close
"Did you have sex with your wife while you were cheating?"
"And for whatever else it's worth, quit trying to control the narrative here. "
Yep that is good advice, early on (5 months out is still early on) the 1st 2-3 month I encouraged her to do to try the affairrecovery bootcamp, do couples therapy (we did 2 sessions but none for the last couple month), read books (we both read "How to help Partner after an Affair" but didn't discuss it, and we have "Not just Friends", but hasn't been read yet. Now I know that she, if she even wants to try to attempt to reconcile, decides how that looks and when she is ready.
"Just be honest, tell your wife every thought you have, good, bad or indifferent <edited to clarify I mean your true and honest thoughts when you're having a conversation>. She's not going to be hurt if you tell her you don't want to go to a particular restaurant because it brings bad memories of your A but she will be hurt if you make up reasons because she'll know you're holding something back and that will hurt her. If she has love for you, she loves ALL of you, not just the cherry-picked parts that you allow her to see. Besides, she's not real happy with the parts you've let her see so maybe she'll like the parts you've been holding back. Which of course, then begs the question of whether you should trust your own judgment when making these (subconscious) decisions.
And, here's my take on your Anniversary: Go through all of your photos, print the ones you like best and write a story to go with each one about why you love that particular photo and how you felt about her at the time and so on. Include little vignettes and how you felt during many of the events and maybe even other little memories like the weather or how the day ended so perfectly after starting off with a flat tire on your way to work or something.
A gift straight from the heart. That shows you remember and cherish all of it."
Great advice on sharing all thoughts good or bad, and praying I’ll have a chance to make something special like that on our next anniversary date - thank you all very much!