...I lack whatever internal mechanism, psychological tools, or perhaps just plain emotional intelligence to indentify one common, central component to any successful reconciliation.
I think you're as normal as normal gets with the unique Hell of infidelity.
I don't think there is ONE common, central component for successful reconciliation.
Infidelity behavior is strangely similar, and the similar/exact same excuses WS make on discovery day are like a bad Twilight Zone episode on a loop. However, the recovery from being betrayed -- is a whole other animal, and very, very individual.
When I boil it all away, I initially stuck around out of shock -- because I couldn't understand how my wife did what she did and chose what she chose.
It turns out, I'm never going to fully understand.
The curious case of my wife's horrible choices turned out to be just as shallow and horrid as every other story here. No evil spells were cast, no lost time or alien space ships. And it often seemed as if my wife was in just as much disbelief as I was.
We never told her family, because they would have disowned her completely.
They are as black and white as it gets.
Hell, that's how I was raised too.
The two most surprised people that my wife and I are happy again are me and my wife.
I got here, not because of magical thinking or because I looked the other way.
I've learned that sometimes two things can be true.
My wife can be a good person who also chose to do bad things.
Same for me, I'm not on the short list of consideration for Sainthood. Not now, not ever.
We built a new bridge out of brutal honesty, but I don't mock her choices now like a did the first couple years after her confession.
Intent is tough to prove. That's why it doesn't work in the legal system either. But I did have to understand her intent the best I could. She never woke up one morning and aim to destroy me and obliterate my heart. Clearly, the result was I was destroyed and my heart was obliterated.
As I have learned along the way, I am NOT my wife's shitty choices.
She chose because she was at the lowest, low point in her life. AP got to hang out with a shallow, callow worst case scenario that I couldn't have imagined. Irony is my pain is not because of my esteem or my mistakes, but her shitty ego.
I can't control that. I can't control the past. I can't change a damn thing.
I can only control my response to adversity.
I chose to believe her intent was horrifically short sighted, selfish and a bunch of stuff she figured out in IC.
I chose to give her one more shot.
Anything else goes south from here, that's on me, and I'm good either way the M turns out. That knowledge boosts this "acceptance" word we're working on.
My mission now is to understand the person in front of me today and choose or not choose to be here.
Two things can be true.
I can hate the past actions, but I don't have to hate the person my wife is trying to be today.