I posted this in a thread below (about "why R?"). But, I'm reposting it here.
When D-Day happened over 2 years ago, I wasn't sure what I wanted. I had spent nearly 13 years with H, and we had just bought a home together a few months prior. I was scared of being alone, of starting over. And, despite the extreme hurt, I found that I still loved him and cared about him. Plus, I took my wedding vows very seriously, and felt like I needed to know that I tried everything in my power to save our marriage before I could feel at peace with walking away.
At the same time, because he had had an EA 10 years prior, I had always said if he did it again "I'd be gone". And I knew I didn't deserve to be treated that way. Having been through multiple affairs now with him, it was not lost on me that this was a pattern, and that I was taking a HUGE risk of being hurt again, by staying.
In those first weeks, I went back and forth from reading about how to save our marriage, to researching divorce attorneys, and even creating fake profiles on dating websites and researching apartments just to see what my options were (I never connected with anyone, and had no intention to -- I just needed to know that if/when I was ready to date again, I wouldn't be left with lepers and guys who live with their mother).
Every time I'd think to leave him, I'd freeze up. So, I decided to give myself time to not make any decision to stay OR go. I think I gave myself about 6 months, and then I would re-evaluate (H was not aware of this at all). This worked well to take off the pressure. I knew that, ultimately, I was in control if I felt it necessary to leave sooner, but I wasn't forcing myself to make a decision before I was ready.
Things seemed to be getting better. Then 3 months later, D-Day #2 hit. That apparently changed everything, for H (from what he told me). I was extremely cautious, waiting for the other shoe to drop -- not wanting to believe anything anymore. It was a dark time for me. But I didn't feel strong enough to leave, so I allowed myself to keep that 6 month "deadline". But I did get stronger in asking for what I needed and setting/enforcing my own boundaries.
Shortly before the "deadline" was up, H agreed to attend Retrouvaille with me. That changed EVERYTHING. It made H realize our MC was horribly destructive to our marriage (she had basically been avoiding the affair, and letting him sidestep fixing things by turning blame on me -- why I kept going, I don't know... maybe because I didn't know what else to do). He asked to fire her at our next session, which we did. And then, through the Retrouvaille post-sessions, we began the real process of rebuilding. H was a different person. And suddenly I felt like I really, really wanted to stay, to see where we could take this thing if we kept rebuilding like we were. It was the first time I felt real hope.
Now, 2 years later, I am glad I stayed. Our relationship is so different than it ever had been. H is a very different person too. He doesn't just say the "right things", he backs things up with actions -- actions that would be extremely difficult to fake. I've begun to trust again (though my heart is still cautious, and probably always will be), but he knows that trust was and is hard earned, and easily could be broken forever. We both agree that our relationship is exponentially better than it has ever been, and gets better all the time. And, now we have a daughter, who he loves to pieces, and I believe she's yet another motivator for him to stay faithful.
I move forward knowing that I'll never be able to control what H does. He may very well decide to hurt me again. But *I* will be okay; I will survive. I have choices, and I have power. And I have faith that all the work we've done will not be in vain. If nothing else, I'm really enjoying life again now, and I have a baby girl who is everything to me. So, I feel like so far I've come out ahead.
And, I think about how, had I left, I wouldn't have these things -- a beautiful daughter, a marriage that feels solid and happy, and all of the memories and things we have built together over the last 15 years. I may have ended up single for a long time. I may have ended up with a guy I thought was great, but who turned out to break my heart too. At least with H, he's the "devil that I know". And H has got a lot to lose at this point, whereas a new guy might not.
I don't regret my decision to stay one bit. It can get better. Doesn't mean it always will, and only you can decide if that's even probable for your situation. But if you want to try, and you think there's even a glimmer of hope, why not? At least if it doesn't work out you won't spend the rest of your life thinking "what if...?"