But what I would like to ask is, did your WH or WW change 2 years into the process?
Two years in? No, my wife hadn't changed at all. She was still in her world of shame, still making excuses and still pretending she cared about the relationship. She wasn't truly putting an ounce of work into herself, though she kept claiming that she "had changed on the inside" even if I "couldn't see it on the outside".
It wasn't until about 2 1/2 years after that when she really exhibited a change. It took an MC who didn't put up with any of her crap, her excuses, nothing, to get her to ACTUALLY change.
You haven't wrecked anything. She is the one who tossed in the grenade and has left.you picking up the pieces, wondering why you can't rebuild it faster.
At year 2, I had almost 100% disengaged. I was ready to throw in the towel. There were no more arguments because I simply disengaged. We talked about kids & finances. That was it. There were no "date nights". There were no "let's talk about" times. There was nothing. If it didn't involve a kid activity or something about spending money, there was no time given. I stopped hurting myself by trying to believe it was "working" well. I just flat out quit.
Because that's what I needed to do.
I couldn't keep grabbing the hot pan after burning my hand over and over and over. So I stopped.
And it was the best thing possible.
Even at the beginning of our new MC cycle (which my wife insisted that we try again), she was minimizing everything. At the first session, I didn't give the A story, even though I went first. I made her tell it. Not because I wasn't still hurting, but because I wablnted to see if she would, and if she did, HOW she would tell it.
At that first session, she said "There was nothing physical." I looked at her, disappointed & dumbfounded because it had been physical. She looked at my face and said "Well, there was some kissing, but nothing sexual."
I left it there, but at the next session, I unloaded. I recounted EVERYTHING she had told me about their sexually charged texting & conversations. About how I didn't believe that "nothing happened" given their expressed desires AND opportunities available. About how she lied to me over and over and over in the first 14 months and about how I had no belief that this was about to be any different.
Then, the MC unloaded on her.
The MC dug into her about honesty, about how SHE (Mrs. Cap) didn't get to decide how I felt or how healed I should be, about how minimizing and not taking responsibility would be the ultimate downfall of the relationship. Yes, she (the MC) would give us tools for discussing everything, but if Mrs. Cap wasn't going to commit to being open, honest, and empathetic, then we would be doomed from the start.
It took another 6 months for Mrs. Cap to truly exhibit changes. Was she "perfect"? Nope. In fact,we're a few months I to year 6 and she still gets things wrong.
But now, she seems genuinely concerned when she does. She expresses sadness & empathy for doing things that she never cared about before (i.e. making accusatory statements such as "So you scratched the pan with a spoon" rather than asking questions like "Did you use a spoon in the pan"). She at least says the right things, even if I still have a hard time believing the emotion expressed. That's going to take consistency over time.
The second year is really the hardest, in my opinion. Especially if you're trying to work everything out with R. The blinders are off. You're asking yourself whether the person in front of you now is REALLY the one you married. You're seeking an answer to the question of whether you can ever trust her again and whether you even want to put forth the energy to try anymore. It took a LOT of energy just to survive those first, trauma infused months. Now that the adrenaline has worn off, it is VERY tiring.
Eventually, the pain does dull, whether from time passing, from you working on yourself independently, or from actually working through things together. Even at 6 years out, there are still moments...but they're only moments...where things come back/pop up.
It will get better, easier, more manageable. These days, the memory of the A is more like a candle in the corner of a dark room in my mind, illuminating a small area, flickering up & down a bit. It is no longer a roaring bonfire, heating the entire house, lighting everything around it.
Did you want more than they were able to give? Or was it a case of no matter how hard they tried, it may still not be enough. It may never be enough.
I wanted more, not than she was ABLE to give, but more than she had been WILLING to give. I knew there was more effort available, but in order to give that effort, she had to WANT to give it. And she didn't want to until almost 5 years post D-day v2.0. Mrs. Cap never really tried her best until she was at the end of the line and faced with the ONE thing her ICs ever did that mattered...she had to decide if she was truly willing to fight for her marriage or if what she was saying about wanting to make things work were just empty words. In the face of ALL the damage her ICs did (that I won't get I to here), her last one did tell her that she needed to put up or shut up. And the MC we had held her feet to that fire.
May God bless your broken road, wherever it takes you.