Am I taking even his pathetic self-pitying texts as a sign that he is still invested in some way? Am I scared that my NC is working in his favour?
You are missing the spouse you loved and who loved you. There is nothing wrong with this and it is expected. I think we here have all done this and it is a part of healing from the bomb of what has happened. NC sucks. It sucks but it is also so very needed in order to move on from the toxic people our xww's have become. It is hard when the anger subsides and the sadness of what you lost hits. Anger sometimes makes the reality of the pain they caused easier to deal with.
had to seriously remind myself what the reality is here. Itís like Iím forgetting that he left me, heís with someone else and he has not once, since he left, expressed any interest in reconciling. Yes, he says he misses me and heís sorry but thatís just empty words. Why canít I get that through my head?
Isn't that the pits!?!?! We have to REMIND ourselves of the horrible person our once beautiful spouse became. We have to remind our hearts of the reality that it's been broken by a very screwed up person. It's a cruel thing these people have done. You give a shit because you CARE and deep down you still love the person you gave your heart to. I think we will always care in a way maybe. But caring does't mean we have to continue allowing these people to be the cancer to our lives that they are. You said it perfectly, "i think that man has been gone a long time, just a pretender in his place." You know the truth as many of us do and many more are still trying to grapple with. The person we loved and were loved by is gone. What's left is nothing more than a liar, cruel, and pretender.
Regarding your self-esteem. I struggle with this myself. I don't know what to say. There is no easy way around this. What your spouse did, and how they did it, left a really damaging affect on you. It leaves you feeling naked and exposed - ugly and unwanted. All of this isn't true and you know it, and I know it. The only thing that is helping me now is to work on me and improve me. There's no easy way around this.
IC for 2 weeks at a time isn't a bad thing. For me, and when we went to 2 weeks and then 3 weeks it was rough at first. I wanted that guidance, that voice to remind me of reality and help me navigate through all the bullshit. But I soon noticed it gave me ample time to process everything. Time to work on it alone and figure things out. I don't know if this give you any comfort.
Coming to terms... you know, something I have realized, this is some really messed up stuff our spouses stuck us in. I am talking seriously fawked up and down right cruel. You often hear their actions have nothing to do with us. But in reality, they have everything to do with us because we are the ones left holding all the luggage of pain and destruction. Coming to terms with it all is unfortunately a difficult and long road. If you are like me, you were not built for such betrayal and carelessness. It is a very hard thing to come to terms with - the fact your spouse turned out to be such a monster, such a hurtful and immature person. You sound like you are well on your way. I don't know your story that much and the fact it isn't in your profile may mean that wound is still very fresh. Just know you are certainly not alone. And you never deserved this.