Yes, apparently this can be normal for someone in your position. In all honesty it is a bit incomprehensible to me so I won't say more on that.
I will give you a different data point though.
Your wife may well have been nothing short of patient and forgiving since discovery. She may have always been willing to take you back and work on your marriage. I will guarantee you though, that dozens and dozens of times, every single day, she thinks to herself: I am a complete fool for even attempting this. I should end this relationship without any regard for him whatsoever.
Every day, she encounters more than one man of whom she thinks, This guy is nothing special, really, but he is a way better human being than my husband. I could actually trust this complete stranger with my life more than I could trust my husband with it.
(Some of those men think your wife is pretty hot, by the way, and would not mind helping her with the painful struggle she is now going through.)
Your wife isn't stupid, so she knows that she is actually, objectively, rationally, much much better off without you. It is indisputable that her best move is to ditch you permanently. She knows that if she moves on from you, she can easily find a person who is better for her than you are. She also knows that your prospects for moving on are badly damaged by your history; anyone you might meet from here will know it is unwise to trust you.
You can stake your life on this: whatever she is showing on the surface, she is making serious calculations about your value to her and your merit as a human being. And if she decides to ditch you, she may do it with kindness and care, or she may simply go nuclear. I have seen both happen, starting from exactly where you are now.
So, while you are sitting there thinking about how interesting your feelings are, your life - the life you will probably wish you hadn't lost - is in serious danger. Your reconciliation process might survive a few more instances of contact with the AP, or you might already have broken trust one time too many. There is no saying yet.
I do not think NC is some kind of external rule you need to comply with. It's really up to you what you do. But be aware that even the way you are thinking about it is doing damage to your marriage and to your wife. As hard as it is to forgive an affair, it is harder still to forgive lousy behaviour after
the affair is discovered.
And above all be aware that you are actually fighting for your life here. You have never been as close as you are now to losing your family and to a future where the people you care about the most, even your own children, only ever view you with a mixture of disgust, pity, and eventually indifference, and never again respect.
And I am not making any of this up, or exaggerating. You are fighting for your life whether you realise it or not. You have less time left than you think. You may be about to lose all power over the next few years of your life.