I hope I didn't bring you pain - that was not my intention at all. I pray that the two of you are able to find a path back from the pain and heartbreak - whether together or apart. Your remorse is so clear, your desire to take responsibility and build something loving and supportive so painfully obvious.
Unfortunately, you can not will someone to heal. Forgiveness on this level is so difficult. But what REALLY takes courage is re-opening that delicate, soft, tender part of our hearts that is central to our being. That part is mangled beyond belief in the aftermath of an affair. And it, in many ways, is what makes life worth living. It is the part of us that truly experiences the transcendental, the magical, the intense joy of being alive, to love and be loved. The most human part of us. It is why life feels so gray and flat in the aftermath of an affair. This part of us that is necessary to experience joy and connection is on life support.
We all instinctively protect this part of ourselves because we know it is where our will to LIVE (not just breathe) comes from. Once you've almost lost that part of yourself and have experienced that pain - how life loses meaning and you question the point of existence - it takes enormous courage to put it on the line again. With anyone. Ever. Much less the person who nearly killed it the first time.
But at some point, most of us come to the realization that in protecting it, we are also not engaging in life anymore. Not on any substantive level. In protecting ourselves from the possibility of pain, we've removed any possibility of joy. Some decide that living in the gray is preferable than living it the black pits of despair (I get that), while others decide that living without the colors, the joy, is not living at all - and therefore it is worth the risk to open that part of themselves again. I found myself at this crossroads and choose the latter approach.
But not everyone can, or will want to, make that decision. And I can't fault them for that. It was without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever done and a decision that I have to reconfirm every time the fear rises. And it IS A GAMBLE. I may get hurt again - by my husband or someone else. People fail, people are imperfect. But I'd rather live 10 years in joy for 3 years in pain, then 13 years of surviving. That is MY choice - and NOT necessarily right, or good for anyone else.
Unfortunately, the way I have approached this experience is more about who I am, how I view life, and my personality than any outside force (including my husband). Even had my husband left, or continued lying which would have caused me to leave, I'd have likely spent time alone healing and then chosen to open myself to someone new when I felt ready. I've never been particularly good at holding grudges. I just decide whether the person seems truly remorseful and gauge how apt I think they are to hurt me again. If I don't think they will, they get a second chance. If I think they will, I remove them from my life. But whatever I do, I don't hold a grudge - I just act and move on. It's always felt like holding a grudge or resentment just took too much of my time and energy. This has been a lifelong trait.
I share this, because I think it is important to note that it was NOT exclusively due to how well my husband handled it. I'd have arrived HERE (this emotional sate), with or without him. I'd be experiencing love and connection with someone else if he had not made the changes necessary to stay in my life.
So how well YOU are doing (taking responsibility, being loving and supportive, etc.) can HELP your husband. it can make it easier, or more difficult for him to heal - but you can't "love" him into opening himself up again. That will have to be a decision HE makes because he's tired of carrying the anger, tired of living half a life. When that day comes (if it does, no guarantees), he will have to make another BIG decision - can he open himself to YOU?
Sadly, this is another one you cannot entirely control. You can make sure that you are as whole, healed and good within yourself as you can be and hope that empowers him to feel safe with you (this is the route my husband took.) But even if you have done the work - it does not mean that he will be able to fully see it - or trust it - ever again.
From everything you have said about his past and personality, I get the feeling he very, very different in personality and approach to life than me. So I worry that if you try to apply my feelings and reactions to him, you will be set up for disappointment. I am not saying not to hope, but look closer at what Keep talks about needing from his wife to let her in past his walls. In his words I see wisdom you may be able to apply to someone who may be slower than me to open their heart - but is not entirely unwilling.
I am so sorry for your - and his - ongoing pain.