It really is so crazy to read all of this, but it just occurred to me that a clear red flag for a toxic person (sociopath, narcissist and myriad of dark personality traits) is that they love bomb.
They don't have authentic connections, they love bomb. So our spouses, looking for their little voids to be filled are probably attracted to that.
Hence the high instance of unhinged APs. I would personally be repelled by being love bombed because I'd see as both obviously fake and also unstable.
My WS is a very smart man but he has low self esteem and craves praise and affection like oxygen so I'm pretty sure if you dressed a monkey up in lipstick he probably would have taken it.
Maybe that also plays into not protecting us. I mean, my WS was scared of the AP when she was doing all this shit to me, but I think the reason he found it so hard to believe how bad she was in the face of overwhelming evidence was that acknowledging that meant also acknowledgement of the fact all his ego kibbles were not because he's so amazing but actually just because she was a crackpot who does that to everyone.
This is my "closure" period so I guess it's included some inadvertent pain shopping, but earlier I went through old messages. I found one from me saying "look, you need to leave me alone. I understand you're upset but I am the innocent party who's just found out you've been having sex with my partner. I'm feeling very sick, I have a sick family member and it's my birthday and I'm spending it crying and terrified. Please stop this and leave me alone"
And she responds "Yes we are all suffering, he and I have had a full on relationship blah blah" and proceeds to text me a load of stuff I later had proved to be complete bullshit. She just genuinely felt entitled to my partner. She GENUINELY categorised drunken affair sex with someone outright saying they loved someone else as a 'full on relationship. She genuinely didn't care that she was terrorising me on my birthday and making me cry and vomit.
I look back and just think "wow".
Not only the level of delusion but the insane sense of entitlement. Toxic truly.