If the WS balks at NC, they are not serious about reconciliation.
The next indicator of serious commitment to R is expressions of remorse.
Expressions of remorse generally begin with an apology in words, followed by continued expressions in actions.
This can be cards, gifts, being more helpful around the house, showing more affection, loving words, and more apologies. Saying things like "I donít know what I was thinking", or "how could I have been so stupid?" or "I canít believe I almost threw away what we had" are expressions of remorse for the affair.
Look for consistency in words and actions. A general change in overall behavior.
A WS serious about reconciliation will consistently be contrite and sorry. Not just on D-day and the following days, but for as long as the BS is receptive to it.
Along with expressions of remorse, there should be a willingness to give the BS what they need to feel safe and begin the healing process.
This is often extremely difficult, especially if the BS needs to know details of the affair. If a person pulled off an affair, it is likely they are quite used to evading and lying to get out of uncomfortable situations.
Answering detailed questions about the affair will bring up intense feelings of guilt, shame and self-loathing. It will be natural for the WS to become defensive or even lie in the beginning. If the BS is gently persistent, explaining that they need the information to rebuild trust, feel safe and begin to heal, a serious reconciler will accept the pain and shame in order to help their BS. It may take some time, but if there is progress and an increased openness in answering tough questions about the affair, it is likely the WS is serious about reconciliation.
Another example of the WS giving the BS what they need to feel safe is being open about ALL of their activities. This means handing over cell phone records, computer and email account information and passwords and accounting for their whereabouts at all times.
A remorseful and committed WS will understand why this is needed and will provide this information for as long as needed. It is a violation of privacy. It emphasizes that they are not trusted. It is uncomfortable. It is necessary. The truly remorseful WS will realize that they will earn trust and privacy with the passage of time and their own consistent and trustworthy behavior.
Perhaps the most difficult step for a reconciling WS is the exploration of why they made the choice to have an affair, and taking steps to change their own behaviors to prevent recurrence. They must be willing to explore this with their BS, which means hours of difficult conversation and more hours of honest introspective thinking.
Betrayed spouses nearly universally feel a need to understand "Why?". This means taking a long hard look at the WSís feelings, thought processes and belief systems leading up to the A. It means examining how they handled conflict, how they felt about themselves and where their thinking was flawed. Often, figuring out the whyís of the affair will mean individual counseling and marriage counseling. The truly remorseful WS will be willing to take these steps to learn from the mistake and make the BS feel more secure that a recurrence is unlikely.
If a wayward spouse agrees to NC, and is making progress toward consistency in expressing remorse, providing information, communicating about the affair and shows willingness to explore why and how the affair happened, it is very likely that they are committed to reconciliation. The betrayed spouse must keep in mind that the above steps are difficult and are not likely to happen all at once. They can help the process by being patient and supportive, and by expressing understanding and appreciation for the WSís efforts.