fOW/fWW - 30.
Yes, I struggled with the confusion also. My AP wasn't someone random -- he was a good friend for whom I had an *immense* amount of respect. I had always greatly admired him and, quite honestly, had a crush on him since the first day I met him. I thought he was an amazing person.
It was so confusing to me when our A ended (when he got a girlfriend) because I thought that this "good" man wouldn't lie to me about wanting to be with me; I thought he respected me enough to be honest with me; I thought what we had was real, because he was such a "good" person that he wouldn't say it was real if it wasn't. I watched him treat women like shit and still thought that *I* was different because *I* was his friend. But I wasn't different. He liked the ego boost from all the attention I gave him, and he liked to play my little fantasy "what if we were together" game, but he didn't actually want me.
So yes, this was all incredibly confusing to me. My good friend, the man I respected and put on a pedestal, was actually lying to me? I didn't understand how that could be possible.
Eventually, the gloss wears off. The lies become less painful, and someday aren't painful at all. I am now honesty indifferent to my AP. It'll take time -- you'll probably be angry at him and hate him before you get to indifference, but you'll get there eventually.
The first step you need to take is to start eliminating thoughts of your AP. When a thought pops into your head -- "was what we had real?" "why would he say he loved me if he didn't?" "why is he trying to contact me when he should be reconciling with his BW?" "is he even trying to reconcile with her?" "I wonder if he ever thinks about me." "I can't believe he lied to me." you have to *shut them down.* Stop. Don't let your brain ruminate on them, don't follow them down the road. It's sooo easy to take that one thought and RUN with it. But you can't. You have to recognize that you're having a thought about your AP and start distracting yourself with something else.
Married to amazing new H who is not a BH and never will be.