I guess I was afraid a little that he could run off if I called to the surface all that I was feeling.
Let's be honest – thinking like that is completely legit. In the past 4-5 years, I've read so many stories, both here and on other Internet places, where exactly that happened – WS gave up. However, there are several things to keep in mind here:
1. People are different, situations are different. Humans like to categorize things, it’s a good evolutionary strategy, and we are good at it. To a certain degree though. When it comes to categorizing people’s minds, we suck, no matter what psychology tries to sell us. This is because we all have unique personalities; we are a unique mix of different personality traits. Not only that, but our traits exist on a scale, and their manifestation is dependent on the situation. And, most importantly, people can change.
For these reasons, it is not always good or useful to compare your situation to some other betrayal story. There are some very broken WSs out there, who use their BS’s post DDay behavior as an excuse for giving up, while the truth is they themselves are just too weak to face their own problems. There are some very toxic BSs whose WSs have every reason to leave. You can never know the full story behind someone’s post. Point: just because some WSs gave up, it doesn’t mean your WS will do so. You know your husband and your situation the best, and I’m sure you realize infidelity is one of the experiences that can truly change a person. Point: just because your husband ran off in the past, it doesn’t mean he will run off now.
2. If I understood correctly, your husband’s affair was an escapism from whatever hardships he encountered in your marriage. Here’s the deal – your husband didn’t cheat because there were hardships. He cheated because he was too weak to deal with those hardships in a healthy way. If he’s doing the work like you say, he is working on improving himself. That is, he is no longer that weak person who can’t handle shit. Alternatively, he’s not doing the work, and he’s still that shitty person who can’t handle hardships in a healthy way. In that case, you’re not really losing if he stops trying. Who wants a husband who is good only when things are peachy? This is a win-win situation for you. Either you get a husband who is worthy of you, or you "lose" someone who isn’t worthy of you anyway.
3. Communicating your struggles doesn’t mean just releasing all that you’re feeling about the betrayal. He has to know you are afraid he will give up. I remember a particularly difficult discussion after which my husband just sat there, defeated. All it took was me saying: "Please, don’t give up on me". And he didn’t give up. I know it’s very hard to be vulnerable after betrayal, and probably not the smartest idea immediately after DDay. However, you are long past that and it is ok to be vulnerable. On the other hand, my husband told me many times it is hard to stay motivated if the perceived chance of succeeding is small. Nevertheless, I feel WSs need to take a leap of faith for us to start seeing they are in this for real. Like you wrote:
But he has stayed. No matter how ugly our arguments get he never leaves the house anymore. He stays.
Sometimes, when things are really tough, this is the only thing that keeps me believing in him. It counts, big time. I did and said some horrible things, and he is still here. Just keep in mind it goes both ways – he did a horrible thing to me, and I’m still here. A remorseful WS is aware of that, and he will not make you feel bad about yourself if you say some nasty words, even years later. He will understand it is your pain talking, and he will do his best to show compassion.