I am sorry Phoenix. I think trying to open the possibility of reconciliation sent your husband spiraling. Accepting that a part of you still wants this person who harmed you and mistreated you so, makes you feel incredibly weak. It makes you question if there is something wrong with you.
In turn, these feelings cause you to feel a level of vulnerability that is like nothing I, personally, have never felt before. It's like having been nearly mauled to death by a tiger that you'd lived with for years. And then, while you are wrapped in bandages from head to toe, barely able to keep food down, the tiger wants to come rub up against you and snuggle. It wants you to understand that it got scared, or confused and hurt you by accident. It still loves you and wants to go back to the way it was before. And on some level - YOU DO TOO. But on anther level you are thinking - I can't, and don't even want to try, to live through another attack. I have always scored really high on emotional intelligence testing - even 20 years ago before it was a "thing". But I found that i was having to learn new skills of self-control, self-soothing and impulse/fear regulation that I didn't know existed after DD. My heart loved my husband, but every other part said RUN. I think your husband is in horrible turmoil because one part of him wants you and the life he thought he had back. The other part needs and wants to see you suffer for the pain you have caused. A big turning point for a BS is getting to a place of acceptance. This happened, my fairy tale is broken and there is no way to start over and get it back. This is a very, very bitter pill. And yet, until you can accept it, you can't start to change the narrative. Maybe the new narrative is that it is still a fairytale, but one with a very dark and evil event that was overcome by the hero and heroine together. Or maybe the new narrative was that the fairytale was a stupid book for kids and you grew up and made a blockbuster movie for yourself. Or a thousand other things. He has to realize that he CAN'T rewrite history (which as I said is a bitter pill, especially for romantics/dreamers) BUT we can write the ending. That is where the his (and all of our) power is. Until he can reach this point, there is no path to rebuilding. Just this inevitable loop back to this place. Your husband seems to be a slow healer. That is NO ding on him. Just a fact. It took him two years to even reach the point of considering reconciliation. That is a point I got to by two to three weeks after DD - and then becoming FULLY committed to my marriage somewhere between 12-18 months (there is a lot of back and forth in your emotions due to fear.) That means you are likely JUST NOW reaching where I was at 2-3 weeks after DD. And given how slow his progress has been to this point, it may continue to take a really long time to get to each milestone. I think he is capable of getting to those milestones - and healing. But I think some combination of his upbringing, personality and the specifics of your betrayal are going to cause it to be an unusually lengthy and painful experience. And my heart breaks for what you might have to endure to get there. I honestly don't know where this leaves you. If you leave - I think he will see it as another (the ultimate) betrayal - even if you are just trying to help him rip the band aid off that he won't. That is deeply unfair. But I still think it is likely how he will see it. But I can't, in good conscience ask you to endure verbal and emotional abuse for another 2-3 years either (after the 2 you already have.) The two of you are caught in what feels like a no-win situation. You cannot be expected to pay for your mistake with being unhappy for the rest of your life. Even as a BS - I don't think that is fair. But, on the flip side - nothing about this situation is fair for him either. He didn't ask for any of it. And it isn't fair to judge him because he wasn't emotionally prepared to deal with being betrayed and lied to for decades. I honestly am at a loss. I think you will have to search YOUR heart and decide what you can live with. Will it be easier for you to live with staying and trying for another year, giving it your all, and then reassess then to see if any meaningful progress has taken place? Or is it breaking you down too much? You need to preserve your self-worth and mental health for yourself and your kids. You don't deserve to sit in your car and cry alone after two years. You did not forfeit the right to be happy ever again. I wish I had more wisdom to offer in your situation. I wish I could help light the way for your husband to find his way out of this dark hole of pain he's trapped in. You may have put him there - but truth is that only HE has the power to climb out (whether that is combined with leaving or staying is his choice). Not fair, but still true.
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child DD May 2016 “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl