We say this all the time here on SI: Infidelity is fantasy.
This is why we recommend exposing the affair and making the (possible) consequences reality.
When you contacted the OM wife (even if divorced – I sort-of doubt they are, maybe she’s divorcing or whatever…) it got back to OM. He reacted the way probably 9 out of 10 OM react. At best:
"Honey – you know what we have is real and true love and white horses riding along the beach at sunset and all that, but reality is that I have to sacrifice my happiness for my kids and my wife. Alas our love is not to be so maybe we shouldn’t talk for a while. How long? Like maybe never again…"
"Don’t ever contact me again. You were only some ass to me. Go away!"
Rejection by your paramour is a real mood-killer….
Then there is the reaction to the freedom you offer her by not chasing after her attention:
Instead of men competing over her and/or her having to sacrifice her true happiness because of the ogre-at-home (Rambler) you simply tell her: Sharing you is worse than losing you. Go be happy, but not as my wife.
In 9 out of 10 instances betrayed husbands react by trying to win their WW back. They compete with the OM, thereby (partially) justifying the excuses used for "why" she had to have the affair.
So now you have your wife whose affair with the OM has been terminated. Be it his choice or her.
You now have your wife who is waiting for you to give way. After all – she HAS offered counseling so you can fix what forced her to have to have this small, innocent affair…
If nothing prods this along the present situation will remain in place until it becomes the new norm. you two will possibly start having sex again, go out to the Jones for dinner and start arguing over if the next vehicle should be a Ford or a Toyota, Hawaii or Florida.
Rambler – your next steps are impacted by what you want. Do you want out of this marriage? If so, then proceed with the divorce at a reasonably fast pace. If adultery impacts any possible settlement, then a delay minimizes that impact.
Do you want a shot at reconciliation? If so then your wife might need some information on her next steps. IMHO that step should be an acknowledgement that her decision to have an affair is totally on her, that NOTHING you did or the marriage offered explains or justifies that decision and that she needs IC to resolve why she decided to go that way to solve her problems. This is a very big step, and I don’t really recall a single instance where a WS managed to handle that all in one day. It’s a process. Her first step – the sign that R might be possible – is simply a willingness to START that work.
Even if she does, it shouldn’t stop YOU from preparing for the journey along the D route. Maybe even set off on the first few miles. But it can impact your pace, and if you think at some point R is open, you switch lanes.
If you want to divorce, then simply set your attorney free to start the process.
If you want to R, then tell your wife something along the lines I suggested in my first post: she is free to do what she wants but not as you wife.
Then tell her that since she is still in infidelity her attorney should have informed her of the separation requirement in your state. For that period to start you need to have separate legal addresses. Is it realistic that either of you keeps the family home or is it just as well to get it on market now to enable you both your places of residence?
If she wants the marriage she has to tell you in a very clear way that she wants it. No excuses, not yes but or well ifs. Her willingness to be married is not dependent on YOU changing, but dependent on her shouldering her accountability and you two embarking on some serious work.
I want to share this about reconciling…
It’s not the process of getting over the affair. That is only a small part of it. The first couple of years are consumed on that part, but the real purpose of R is a lot more long-term IMHO. A couple that embrace reconciliation work on communications, joint goals, a vision for marriage. They learn to express themselves to each other, and allows them to grow as a couple and as individuals.
This is a lot of work, a lot of growth. You want to be as certain as you can that the person you are reconciling with is the person you want with you on that path… Sometimes infidelity happens in marriages that are – to all purposes – dead already…
The best comparison I have is where you decide to get into shape and live a healthy lifestyle after a cardiac arrest. You can get the best running sneakers, the best spandex sportswear, the best books on nutrition and the best gym membership, but it’s not until you start pounding those roads, lifting those weights and eating salmon and kale that your health slowly starts improving. After maybe 5 years you might be looking at some old photos and see the old, tired, fat, and pale Rambler and think "Wow – I am so glad I changed everything and am so much healthier now". You would never think "Thank God I had a cardiac arrest because that made me change everything". You would have long realized you could have done all the improvement and change without first having the health-scare. Same applies to couples that do reconcile – they don’t think fondly to the affair, but are grateful for the work they have done on their relationship.