...Once the no contact is done, 10 years down the road I will be a distant memory, if a memory at all. The AP will be fine without me. So, essentially it's getting rid of the ego that drove you there in the first place. Realizing that it's all about manipulations and the illusion will fade...
I can tell you that was absolutely true in my case. Even though i was eventually the one that broke off the affair, I was so convinced that my affair partner loved me deeply and that she would grieve the loss of me for a long time.
I do think she loved me, but out of a wounded place, not a healthy one. And so maybe it shouldn't have been so much of surprise to me when I found out that 4 months after our affair finally ended she was engaged to someone else. I guess it took her less time than others to get over her deep, everlasting love!
As a follow-up, 15 years after the affair ended, my oldest daughter (then nearly 30 years old) sought out my former affair partner. She wanted to talk to her to gain a clearer perspective on that part of her own life. (She told me she was going to do this and I encouraged her to do it but keep me WAY out of the picture.) From what she told me, it was a good conversation in which the AP expressed great regret, asked my daughter for forgiveness, and gave he some insight into the brokenness that had led her into an affair with me.
Everything changes with time.
This is great. When it comes down to it, I guess it's just ego. The guilt. The AP knows how to play that, and I understand from her perspective why. I just don't get why you would do that to someone else.
I can see the error in my thinking, and now I understand why prolonging this is not wise. No contact is the key.
What an Egon crush though. I think the allure in the beginning was the ego stroke, and I can imagine if after 4 months my AP was engaged it would hurt, but in the end what really matters is the future with my wife.
My mother expressed that she was proud of me for working on my marriage. That was hard to take. Proud? I don't feel like anyone should be proud. But that's also probably guilt talking, I guess.