I feel like Keep already said it perfectly. He said everything I was going to - but probably about 10 paragraphs shorter.
I will reiterate one point he made though because i think it is VERY, VERY important. Be VERY clear about what you want. No matter how many times you've told your wife that you love her, value her, want to do whatever you can to regain her trust and love - it doesn't matter right now. Even though she likely wants to believe you - your recent actions showed her something VERY, VERY different. She feels like a fool for ever believing in you and the fear of trusting you again is likely sending her into daily (sometimes hourly) panic attacks. So while you absolutely MUST give her whatever she needs right now (space, time, etc.) you also must keep reminding her over and over that is because you are trying to honor her needs and wants (something you should have been doing all along) . Remind her in words, actions and in every way possible that you still love her, that you are ashamed of what you've done and that you HOPE to have the opportunity to make it right with her. But that you also know you have forfeit the right to expect anything (and you have - the sad, but honest truth.) In the early days after DD, when I would waffle in my ability to see a path forward or despair of ever getting past it - sometimes my husband would just crumple and seem to accept it. In his mind, he was reeling in shock and shame. Once he'd had to look back at his justifications in the light of day, they didn't even make sense to him. He couldn't believe what he'd done (he even said sometimes it felt like looking at the actions of a different person) - and my leaving him and him being left alone, humiliated and scorned by me and our daughter seemed like justice to him. So when I'd melt down, he'd just fall into this little shell and say things like "You are right. You deserve better. I should just go. It's what I deserve, etc." You know what I heard? "This is too hard., You aren't worth fighting for. I broke you and us, but now I want to slink away and lick my wounds rather than help you pick up the pieces." Obviously that is not what he was feeling or meant - but it is DEFINITELY what I heard. You need to reiterate over and over two things - that what SHE needs and wants it the single most important thing to you now (regardless of whether it helps or hurts you.) If you can actually do this and sustain it... it will slowly begin to rebuild little tiny nuggets of trust. They will be very, very small and will take a long time to build into anything substantial. But being selfless after being so DEEPLY selfish is the ONLY way forward. And one of the most powerful ways to show true repentance. The second thing you need to be unwavering about is that if if given the chance to reconcile YOU will do the the heavy lifting. You will be the one to keep the faith when times are tough. You will be the one who'll be willing to answer the same painful questions OVER AND OVER AND OVER (this WILL happen). You will hold her when she cries as if her heart is breaking - even though it fills you with shame because you are the one who did it - because YOU want to be the one to help heal it. My heart aches for you both - because I know that when you were getting into this mess you had NO IDEA how hard it was going to be to climb back out of the hole you dug. I thought I understood the pain of infidelity when friends experienced it. I had NO CONCEPT. It was life-altering in a way I couldn't conceive of before I'd experienced it. This will likely be one of the hardest things you will EVER experience in your life - and it will definitely be for your wife. But, there is hope. If you can dig deep and find the strength you SHOULD have found before to treasure you wife and your marriage, AND the wherewithal to face your own demons (whatever allowed you to get to the place where you thought an affair was a reasonable solution) - then there is a shot at rebuilding something that while not the same - can be beautiful in its own right. Of course, there are no promises. But there is a really good shot if you both really want it - and work for it.
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