Kal- the process can't begin until the WS takes responsibility, stops deflecting and stops being selfish and thinking they have the right to control things, including how and when their spouse heals. You keep mentioning blame, it's more accountability and restitution. I wasn't speaking directly to you or to my situation, but to comments and attitudes I've seen here. There is a hierarchy of needs. If the spouse does not feel safe, that they are not getting grace or empathy it their questions answered, they can't move forward to change. Chances are tho, not only do they have some ideas what was wrong, but they have a few ideas of their own and those may be their priority. Your wrong on the affair not changing issues in the marriage. The moment the WS started talking to the AP, they started changing the dynamic of the marriage. Lastly instead of your house being hit by a meteor and looking for someone to blame analogy, You have someone with a sore throat , for days, and they also have a compound fracture. Instead of fixing the leg, you tell them to gargle with salt water for the sore throat...
I agree. There are no short cuts. There is no blame. You are in a relationship, pure and simple.
It's when you stop deflecting blame, when you own up to your end of what the situation is, that you can change things.
Your WS doesn't want to accept responsibility? You can't control that. But you can work on you and being right with your part of the marriage.
When I said that the underlying parts of the marriage that brought a WS to cheat don't change, I meant it. Unless it truly is only to do with the amount of sex they are getting, nothing is solved, and the problem is still there, as a WS I can tell you that the horrible realization of that sucks.
It's weird. People think the problem starts with talking to an AP. I've news for you. It stems from way, way before. To say otherwise shifts blame to the AP. In my case, I had opportunity to cheat many times in my marriage. I work in an industry where it's common. I never cheated though. Was it because the AP came along? Hell no. It was inside me the whole time. Years of letting everything go. Years of not being true to myself, and what my needs were. I was housebound back in 2011 with crippling anxiety I had no idea where it was coming from. Thousands of dollars spent in therapy. No dice couldn't figure out what or why I was so messed up. I took prescription anti anxiety meds. I got off then with CBT therapy. I figured it was because of how much I worked. It wasn't that. It was my relationship with my wife. Even if a BS is somehow perfect, (and believe me, no BS is perfect, far from it, they are just less wrong in how the situation progressed) the relationship itself didn't satisfy the needs of BOTH parties, and that needs to be addressed.
And shortcut? LOL. There's no such thing. What I am talking about is fixing the problem, and there are no short cuts. There is only hard work, self reflection, and a lot of uneasy realizations ahead of both the BS and the WS. In the end, it comes down to a choice. Scale the mountain, or stay at the bottom.
The meteor analogy is only to say that there are literally things you have no control over - like whether your WS decides to sleep with someone else. You can choose to think that it's all your fault, and that you must have done something, or could have done something differently. See, that's a fundamental flaw in thinking. Essentially you are saying there is some way that you could have controlled your wayward spouse. Why would you want that responsibility? A WS made their choice to do what they did. Perhaps it felt like they weren't in control but at the end, you do have a voice in your head that asks if this is what you really want to do. You just choose to answer yes or no.
This is why I don't buy the whole "broken" theme. It's a crutch, an explanation for something that sweeps the issue under the rug. Why did my spouse lie down with another person. Oh, they must be broken. They are selfish, they can't control what happened to them. Bull. It's all about selfishness, yes, but it's not like the call of a siren, or that they were drugged (unless that was the case, then that's a different story.)
I never wanted to lose my wife. I always wanted at least friendship with her, and the thought of losing her completely was too much to bear. I was motivated to figure out what was wrong with me, and our relationship when me and my wife decided together to fix this. But I also had to see that it was worth it. If confronted with someone who thought that I should do all this stuff because, well, I cheated...? Adios. It's easier to start at the beginning with someone else.
If there is something I learned in all this, it was to be true to myself first, so that I would be vulnerable enough to open myself to work on the hard things. Faced with "demands?" ultimatums? What's in it for me? Why should I come back? In the end, knowing that the relationship was what was wrong, the only thing left to do was, let's fix it. Maybe my wife did all the "right things" before, but that didn't work for me. Today I know what's up, and we both are better in our relationship than we were before.