Has anyone arrived at a good answer to the question: "what can I do?", or "what would it take?", as it relates to making amends for committing adultery in a traditional marriage where monogamy is held sacred?
I am wrestling with this because I have been asked this question, and the things my inner voice demands are well beyond apologies...
The place I go to when considering the issue is one of restorative justice and I think about what people do/expect where someone has been murdered, robbed, wrongly convicted and spent years in prison, wrongly executed, etc. I firmly believe adultery is in an extreme class of harm -- it's not the minor infraction many in the secular world view it to be and the harm is certainly not limited to confines of a bi-lateral relationship between spouses/partners. In my particular case I can see damage cascading out in concentric circles around me, our kids, grandparents, aunts/uncles, close family friends, neighborhood friends, religious community. The complexity of managing life trying not to run into the OM/his x-wife since we have same age kids in same schools.
I see my cheating spouse doing therapy etc, but on a big picture "whats the outcome?" level, the benefits -- if any -- largely accrue to her ("working on herself") but I see zero effort to take any action to make amends to -- for example -- the children who's home she wrecked (neither has her idiot AP tried to make ANY amends here, etc.). Of course trying to make amends to people who hate you is difficult and its all in the execution (establishing a college fund for these children, working a job and putting money into an account for them, considering their parent's divorce has caused them financial hardship, as an example, would be a GREAT move. Throwing a birthday party for them would be a bad move, etc), but I'm interested in hearing from people what things they have seen people do in trying to make amends for committing adultery that are beyond simply apologizing and maybe promising to not do it again.
So MANY things are stolen in the act of adultery... one big ones for me is the respect I used to hold for my spouse. I no longer respect her as a person because of a) the harm she caused, b) the way she went about it, c) the idiot she chose to do it with, and then d) her absolute ineptitude and incompetence in cleaning up her mess. Even if her clean up efforts won a nobel prize I might still not feel adultery was an acceptable occurrence and divorce her, but I would nonetheless really respect a person who screwed up at this level and was prepared to truly labor to try to DO SOMETHING to make whole (they simply CANNOT make people whole for what they've done, but they can at least try to DO SOMETHING) the people they harmed with their selfishness: the spouse of their OM/OW, the children of their OM/OW, their own children, OF COURSE their betrayed spouse, the parents and siblings of their betrayed spouse, their own parents they let down, and on and on.
So, has anyone been "blown away" by the example set by a truly remorseful cheater in this regard?
If someone murdered my kid and thought all they had to do was apologize and promise not to do it again, and then they'd just get to move on, I'd probably be murderous with rage myself... there's literally NOTHING they can do to fully compensate me for such a loss. And yet, doing nothing is not ok, so clearly there's a HUGE range between the doing nothing that is so common and some other genuine/sincere/humble efforts to recompense a great misdeed.
What have YOU seen that left an impression?