Phoenix
Hello everyone, 
My questions are why don’t I get it, when will I get and what am I supposed to get? 
My BS tells me every time we talk that there is no point in talking about what I have done because I don’t get it. A little background, my affair came to light 15 months ago.
I can’t remember every detail of what was said and done because it happened 19 years ago. I have tried really hard to remember. There are also 3 incidents all together. The first was me writing in my diary about my feelings about an ex boyfriend that I should had never wrote. The second was my affair and the third was a threat from me to him, that if he doesn’t get his act together I would leave. 
I try really hard to sit and listen to him, I try really hard to understand his feelings of anger, hurt, disappointment, disillusion, humiliation and many more. I have taken accountability for everything that I have done. Including my abusive behavior. I’m trying really hard to not let my Shame get the best of me. I come to him and ask to talk about it. I believe I am trying with every inch of my being. My whole day is consumed with how can I rectify this? 
What am I not getting?
i want to write more, but it would be too long. I hope you can get a picture of what is happening. 
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anthropoidape
I can only make my best guess from the outside but I think where your husband is at is simply a place of very great pain that he has basically no relief from. And what he may be saying you don't get is that there is nothing you can say or do that can make that pain go away. In his case the whole last 20 years feel false. He can't think back on any memory and feel like it was real. Literally everything is contaminated. It is very, very crazy-making. It is not strange to me that he is in a permanently unbearable state. 

But.

He also needs to get something, and he doesn't seem to be getting it. It is that you both havework to do. Working out how to live - and like, live a life, not just barely survive - with the pain that you cannot relieve for him is his job. It is his obligation because he is the person living his life. He got one life, he may not like it right now, but it's his only life and we all have a duty to get into it and make it as good as it can be. We have a duty to ourselves and the whole world of people around us to have a worthwhile life and contribute to the world, and not to let pain cripple us forever. 

He keeps looking to you to solve his pain, but there is no fix outside himself for it. It may be your fault but that doesn't mean you have the solution. It's his job to make his life worthwhile and his journey to find a way to come to terms with all the stuff that's tormenting him. You may have dumped him in the middle of a seemingly endless forest, but only he can find a way to walk out of that forest. He has to listen for the river, find it, have a drink, then follow it back to civilisation.

You meanwhile are in a different forest with a different river to follow.

He seems to be doing the same thing over and over and so of course he is not making any headway. He needs to try some new approaches and see what actually makes his life better day to day. 
Maybe it is okay, maybe it will be okay.

BS, d-day Feb 2017, 16 mth affair.
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JORGE
I'm not completely certain how this fits into your question or if it addresses it some way, but what jumps out to me is that you've had nearly 20 years to digest the entire affair dynamic and he's not reached his second year D-Day anniversary. Hence, your ability to see what he's seeing, feel what he's feeling, etc., is hindered by the differences in time.

What's real to you is, you had an affair 20 years ago and have come to terms with what it means. You've read, studied, journal-ed, been counseled, and have had time to reconcile its place in your life and how to deal with it. What's real to him is the last 20 years, (or 50-75% of your marriage??), isn't what he thought or lived. He was someone else because you were someone else. Two decades of questions without answers. That's a long time of different perspectives for a married couple.

Perhaps you haven't thought of it this way, but your husband is thinking back to 20 Valentines' Days and 20 Wedding Anniversaries that are now in question. Imagine you finding out at 21, you were adopted. Your mom isn't your real mom. Your dad isn't your real dad. Your siblings aren't your real siblings. You're not who you think you are and since you aren't, you begin asking, who am I?  Those are thoughts and questions that require answers, or fill an emptiness that was previously not there for 21 years and now all of a sudden is there.

Which segues into my next point...... the lack of facts and details that would have lead him to answers or hypothetical conclusions. Your inability to provide  facts and details, hinders his ability to reconcile the last two decades. Although now forgotten, once upon a time, you had these details and having them enabled you to move forward with the rest of your life in a manageable way.  His restarting point was a mere 15 months ago. In a 100 meter race, you're at 80 meters and he's just approaching 10 meters.

The advantage is an uneven one. Using the adopted child analogy, the adopted person who can find their biological parents can start to reconcile their life and move on.Thoughts or questions concerning physiological differences between them and other family members are no longer (back in the mind) questions marks. Now, he or she knows or can at least speculate why they're shorter or taller, lighter or darker complected, more or less athletic or artistic. Relief to some extent is achieved, along with a stronger self identity. 

The ones who can't find their biological parents live with this loss of self identity for the remainder of their lives.Their siblings, friends, classmates, workmates, etc., can't relate to this, much like your inability to your husband's place in life partly because he is just finding out who he was married to a mere 15 months ago.

Another analogy might be him awakening from a coma that lasted years and unable to fill in the activity that happened while in the coma. There's permanent loss of a period in which he knows some very significant things occurred. The kids are half a foot taller, the wife is older and grayer, etc. Considering you can't remember anything, the most meaningful and life altering period of his life is lost.

Not only were you not the person he thought you were, but he can't put pieces together that would help him establish  a foundation for reconciling everything that has taken place. He has no such basis and has no chance of redeeming it without information. 

These are just thoughts, not necessarily truths. Just some things for you to think about. I'm sure much more relevant information is involved that I don't know about, so take what's relative and throw out what's not.
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Blessedby7
I absolutely agree with everything already written, but wanted to add, the level of pain a BS feels is absolutely indescribable.  No matter how much he explains his hurt, and you listen, he will never be able to explain the depths to which those feelings go, the magnitude those feeling have.  You may try, and that's admirable, but you will never truly "get it".    When he try's, and he realizes there is just no way to describe it in a way you can understand, it will leave him frustrated because he knows that's at least one hopeless part of this whole situation. 
Tired of working on us, so now I'm working on me. 
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JORGE
As Blessedby7 indicates, one simple word may provide you with answers to your questions. Pain. I didn't mention it earlier because it's a given, but perhaps it requires more attention. The pain that has led you to give thoughts of suicide, is fractional of the pain he's feeling. I was betrayed twice by 2 fiance's and they are more painful than what I experienced from my dad's death. Both fiances occupied approximately 4 years of my life, however my dad fathered me 70 years.

Logistically this makes no sense, but logic doesn't occupy any part of the definition of betrayal pain, which arguably, has no peer notwithstanding the death of one's child perhaps. Who knows? The difference is incomprehensible. Your husband's pain level may exceed your understanding of it by a long shot. Plus, it's hard to understand someone else's pain when you are wrapped up in your own. 

When I go to my chiropractor, I fill out a chart that asks what my pain level is on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest. If such a question were asked by therapists, many BS would ask write in a higher number than the 1-10 range, believing 10 is inadequate in defining betrayal pain, with respect to depth and longevity. 

It's consistently stated on infidelity forums that it takes 2-5 years for BS to recover. I can't substantiate this at all, but if true, he's still 9 months shy of the MINIMUM time period of this estimation, so commit to anticipating and preparing for his pain expressions. BTW, you can shave that 15 months down by the same amount of time you were threatening to divorce and berating him to get over it.

At that time, he was not on the path to recovery, he was simply trying to survive, one day at a time, literally and figuratively. No healing was taking place, so you can deduct that period length from the 15 months and you have an accurate length of time  where he is in recovery with your support. In other words, the months of which you were remorseful and supportive, are the months that can be counted towards his recovery. 

Edit Note: After rereading your post, I want to add that being married 23 years and finding out the affair took place 19 years, coupled with your inability to recall a significant amount of it, your husband is questioning nearly the ENTIRETY of his marriage, which may account for what? ........ nearly half his life, give or take a few years? His ability to decide on his future was not afforded to him because he was left in the dark. His life was being altered and he had no knowledge of it happening. He shared his wife with another, but was clueless. 

Furthermore, he's trying to reconcile, but unsure of what or who he's reconciling with, as aspects of the affair are unknown to him and you are still unknown to him. It's not much different than signing a contract without knowing the terms and conditions. As you can imagine, significant anxiety can be felt signing a contract without knowledge of what the person is agreeing to.

I'm sure this hurts, but I hope it helps. I commend you for revisiting this site, per your husband's wishes and I'm wondering if it wouldn't be a bad idea to share with him some of the responses here, so that he can get reassurance that others can relate and attest to his situation. And again, apply what's relative and dismiss what isn't. Well wishes to you both.
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Keepabuzz
I agree with much that has already been posted. I will add this though, you won’t ever truly “get it”. It’s just not possible. Finally (mostly) accepting that as fact was (sometimes still is) one of the harder aspects of reconciliation for me. I have to accept that my wife will never truly understand the depths of destruction she caused me, the unimaginable amounts and levels of pain she caused me. It’s not fair, it’s unbelievably unfair, but it is true. I have to accept that as fact just as the the sky is blue. You husband is going to have to (at some point) accept that as well. As others have said, he is only, ONLY 15 months out from having his entire world imploded. As said above, it is extremely frustrating to try to describe the level of pain and no matter what words you use, when it comes out of your mouth, it doesn’t even begin to describe it. The pain is completely “indescribable”. 

I am NOT suggesting you tell your husband that you will never truly get it and that he needs to accept that. If my wife had told me that when I was where your husband is, lord, there is no telling what I would have done. No matter how true it is, there are some messages best not to be delivered by you to him. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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Phoenix
I can only make my best guess from the outside but I think where your husband is at is simply a place of very great pain that he has basically no relief from. And what he may be saying you don't get is that there is nothing you can say or do that can make that pain go away. In his case the whole last 20 years feel false. He can't think back on any memory and feel like it was real. Literally everything is contaminated. It is very, very crazy-making. It is not strange to me that he is in a permanently unbearable state. 

But.

He also needs to get something, and he doesn't seem to be getting it. It is that you both havework to do. Working out how to live - and like, live a life, not just barely survive - with the pain that you cannot relieve for him is his job. It is his obligation because he is the person living his life. He got one life, he may not like it right now, but it's his only life and we all have a duty to get into it and make it as good as it can be. We have a duty to ourselves and the whole world of people around us to have a worthwhile life and contribute to the world, and not to let pain cripple us forever. 

He keeps looking to you to solve his pain, but there is no fix outside himself for it. It may be your fault but that doesn't mean you have the solution. It's his job to make his life worthwhile and his journey to find a way to come to terms with all the stuff that's tormenting him. You may have dumped him in the middle of a seemingly endless forest, but only he can find a way to walk out of that forest. He has to listen for the river, find it, have a drink, then follow it back to civilisation.

You meanwhile are in a different forest with a different river to follow.

He seems to be doing the same thing over and over and so of course he is not making any headway. He needs to try some new approaches and see what actually makes his life better day to day. 

thank you Anthro, I didn’t think about that. He has told me many times there is nothing that I can say or do that will make it any better or fix it but it had not sunk in. So what do I do with this information? 
We will not be doing any recovery work together. For the bast 3 weeks he has been asking me for a divorce and I keep begging him not to leave me, but I think he has finally made up his mind. I wish we could at list be able to have an amicable separation but I’m afraid it will be horrible. What keeps confusing me and giving me hope is that even though he wants a divorce he has reached out for sex and will invite me to get  frozen yogurt with the kids. I’m not sure what to do. 
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Phoenix
JORGE wrote:
I'm not completely certain how this fits into your question or if it addresses it some way, but what jumps out to me is that you've had nearly 20 years to digest the entire affair dynamic and he's not reached his second year D-Day anniversary. Hence, your ability to see what he's seeing, feel what he's feeling, etc., is hindered by the differences in time.

What's real to you is, you had an affair 20 years ago and have come to terms with what it means. You've read, studied, journal-ed, been counseled, and have had time to reconcile its place in your life and how to deal with it. What's real to him is the last 20 years, (or 50-75% of your marriage??), isn't what he thought or lived. He was someone else because you were someone else. Two decades of questions without answers. That's a long time of different perspectives for a married couple.

Perhaps you haven't thought of it this way, but your husband is thinking back to 20 Valentines' Days and 20 Wedding Anniversaries that are now in question. Imagine you finding out at 21, you were adopted. Your mom isn't your real mom. Your dad isn't your real dad. Your siblings aren't your real siblings. You're not who you think you are and since you aren't, you begin asking, who am I?  Those are thoughts and questions that require answers, or fill an emptiness that was previously not there for 21 years and now all of a sudden is there.

Which segues into my next point...... the lack of facts and details that would have lead him to answers or hypothetical conclusions. Your inability to provide  facts and details, hinders his ability to reconcile the last two decades. Although now forgotten, once upon a time, you had these details and having them enabled you to move forward with the rest of your life in a manageable way.  His restarting point was a mere 15 months ago. In a 100 meter race, you're at 80 meters and he's just approaching 10 meters.

The advantage is an uneven one. Using the adopted child analogy, the adopted person who can find their biological parents can start to reconcile their life and move on.Thoughts or questions concerning physiological differences between them and other family members are no longer (back in the mind) questions marks. Now, he or she knows or can at least speculate why they're shorter or taller, lighter or darker complected, more or less athletic or artistic. Relief to some extent is achieved, along with a stronger self identity. 

The ones who can't find their biological parents live with this loss of self identity for the remainder of their lives.Their siblings, friends, classmates, workmates, etc., can't relate to this, much like your inability to your husband's place in life partly because he is just finding out who he was married to a mere 15 months ago.

Another analogy might be him awakening from a coma that lasted years and unable to fill in the activity that happened while in the coma. There's permanent loss of a period in which he knows some very significant things occurred. The kids are half a foot taller, the wife is older and grayer, etc. Considering you can't remember anything, the most meaningful and life altering period of his life is lost.

Not only were you not the person he thought you were, but he can't put pieces together that would help him establish  a foundation for reconciling everything that has taken place. He has no such basis and has no chance of redeeming it without information. 

These are just thoughts, not necessarily truths. Just some things for you to think about. I'm sure much more relevant information is involved that I don't know about, so take what's relative and throw out what's not.

Thank you, you are completely correct. I have thought about how I am in a completely different place than he is. For him this just happened, for me it’s something that I have been able to put so far in the back of my brain that it feels like it never happened. Its a horrible situation. His pain is killing me to. I have so much shame and regret for causing him this incredible pain with my horrible acts.
Yes, he has told me many times he cannot move forward with just the information I have provided. I wish I could go back and change my choices and never have had an affair. The next thing I wish is that I could go to sleep and wake up with all the answers he needs.
As of now he has decided he longer wants to continue with our marriage. 
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Phoenix
Blessedby7 wrote:
I absolutely agree with everything already written, but wanted to add, the level of pain a BS feels is absolutely indescribable.  No matter how much he explains his hurt, and you listen, he will never be able to explain the depths to which those feelings go, the magnitude those feeling have.  You may try, and that's admirable, but you will never truly "get it".    When he try's, and he realizes there is just no way to describe it in a way you can understand, it will leave him frustrated because he knows that's at least one hopeless part of this whole situation. 

thank you, it’s true I will never understand or get how badly he hurts. I wish I could transfer all of it to me to understand. 
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Phoenix
JORGE wrote:
As Blessedby7 indicates, one simple word may provide you with answers to your questions. Pain. I didn't mention it earlier because it's a given, but perhaps it requires more attention. The pain that has led you to give thoughts of suicide, is fractional of the pain he's feeling. I was betrayed twice by 2 fiance's and they are more painful than what I experienced from my dad's death. Both fiances occupied approximately 4 years of my life, however my dad fathered me 70 years.

Logistically this makes no sense, but logic doesn't occupy any part of the definition of betrayal pain, which arguably, has no peer notwithstanding the death of one's child perhaps. Who knows? The difference is incomprehensible. Your husband's pain level may exceed your understanding of it by a long shot. Plus, it's hard to understand someone else's pain when you are wrapped up in your own. 

When I go to my chiropractor, I fill out a chart that asks what my pain level is on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest. If such a question were asked by therapists, many BS would ask write in a higher number than the 1-10 range, believing 10 is inadequate in defining betrayal pain, with respect to depth and longevity. 

It's consistently stated on infidelity forums that it takes 2-5 years for BS to recover. I can't substantiate this at all, but if true, he's still 9 months shy of the MINIMUM time period of this estimation, so commit to anticipating and preparing for his pain expressions. BTW, you can shave that 15 months down by the same amount of time you were threatening to divorce and berating him to get over it.

At that time, he was not on the path to recovery, he was simply trying to survive, one day at a time, literally and figuratively. No healing was taking place, so you can deduct that period length from the 15 months and you have an accurate length of time  where he is in recovery with your support. In other words, the months of which you were remorseful and supportive, are the months that can be counted towards his recovery. 

Edit Note: After rereading your post, I want to add that being married 23 years and finding out the affair took place 19 years, coupled with your inability to recall a significant amount of it, your husband is questioning nearly the ENTIRETY of his marriage, which may account for what? ........ nearly half his life, give or take a few years? His ability to decide on his future was not afforded to him because he was left in the dark. His life was being altered and he had no knowledge of it happening. He shared his wife with another, but was clueless. 

Furthermore, he's trying to reconcile, but unsure of what or who he's reconciling with, as aspects of the affair are unknown to him and you are still unknown to him. It's not much different than signing a contract without knowing the terms and conditions. As you can imagine, significant anxiety can be felt signing a contract without knowledge of what the person is agreeing to.

I'm sure this hurts, but I hope it helps. I commend you for revisiting this site, per your husband's wishes and I'm wondering if it wouldn't be a bad idea to share with him some of the responses here, so that he can get reassurance that others can relate and attest to his situation. And again, apply what's relative and dismiss what isn't. Well wishes to you both.

He has mentioned how in reality we were only married for a couple of years if we really analyze the relationship. This is extremely hard for me to hear. We have lived many things together. We have overcome many obstacles. We have had wonderful memories. We have started over financially a couple of times in our marriage. We have been able to pull through extremely hard situations, but he says he is tired now and can no longer fight for what was a lie all these years. I can’t accept this. It’s unbearable to hear him say this after so much we have lived together. I know I have to come to terms with it because it’s not about me, I have to think of what I would do to see him happy. 
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anthropoidape
Phoenix wrote:

For the bast 3 weeks he has been asking me for a divorce and I keep begging him not to leave me, but I think he has finally made up his mind.


You might be at risk of creating a shared pattern where he says this and you beg and that keeps repeating, because a part of him will be getting some relief and sense of regained power from your begging. That's not acceptable if that is what he is doing but it is somewhat understandable given that he feels so disempowered. 

It would not be a healthy pattern. These things can be very subtle and complex and only you can read your situation but it may be that you have to say, "Divorce is not what I want, but if you're sure that's what you want, then okay. Let's get the ball rolling so you can get on with your life." 
 
He may need to really see separation as real, otherwise he can keep seeing it as a way to assert. power over you and get the gratification that comes fr you begging.

Phoenix wrote:
We have overcome many obstacles. We have had wonderful memories. We have started over financially a couple of times in our marriage. We have been able to pull through extremely hard situations, but he says he is tired now and can no longer fight for what was a lie all these years. I can’t accept this. It’s unbearable to hear him say this after so much we have lived together.


I am sure he doesn't see it as having been done together. I don't perceive anything my wife did while deceiving me as authentic. I'm sorry but you were living a lie, you weren't really there at all. Every sacrifice he made while you were being untruthful seems to him to have been scammed out of him, like a big long con. He will be thinking about how he wishes he had put his effort into something real rather than something false. 

Sorry but that's how I see it and he probably does too.

It sounds as though he hates what he has become as a result of all this. I hate what I am now, with great intensity, this broken half-there thing I am. It's hard for him to find a path forward that isn't repulsive to him.
Maybe it is okay, maybe it will be okay.

BS, d-day Feb 2017, 16 mth affair.
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Phoenix


You might be at risk of creating a shared pattern where he says this and you beg and that keeps repeating, because a part of him will be getting some relief and sense of regained power from your begging. That's not acceptable if that is what he is doing but it is somewhat understandable given that he feels so disempowered. 

It would not be a healthy pattern. These things can be very subtle and complex and only you can read your situation but it may be that you have to say, "Divorce is not what I want, but if you're sure that's what you want, then okay. Let's get the ball rolling so you can get on with your life." 
 
He may need to really see separation as real, otherwise he can keep seeing it as a way to assert. power over you and get the gratification that comes fr you begging.



I am sure he doesn't see it as having been done together. I don't perceive anything my wife did while deceiving me as authentic. I'm sorry but you were living a lie, you weren't really there at all. Every sacrifice he made while you were being untruthful seems to him to have been scammed out of him, like a big long con. He will be thinking about how he wishes he had put his effort into something real rather than something false. 

Sorry but that's how I see it and he probably does too.

It sounds as though he hates what he has become as a result of all this. I hate what I am now, with great intensity, this broken half-there thing I am. It's hard for him to find a path forward that isn't repulsive to him.


i think we already went through that pattern you are talking about. Now it’s me just me literally begging him constantly not to leave me. He has made his mind up. He keeps telling me to come to terms with it. That he will never change his mind. He no longer shares anything about his day, he blocks me completely from his phone. I have no idea what he is doing or where he is going. I am completely in the dark. He is removing me from his life. 
I know he see’s our whole life as a lie because I never came clean. 
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anthropoidape
You probably have to let him take these steps wherever they may lead him. It is not a certainty he'll leave but I think you have to let him go so it's all his free choice.

I'm sorry.
Maybe it is okay, maybe it will be okay.

BS, d-day Feb 2017, 16 mth affair.
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Phoenix
You probably have to let him take these steps wherever they may lead him. It is not a certainty he'll leave but I think you have to let him go so it's all his free choice.

I'm sorry.

yes, I’m trying to come to terms with it. Please don’t be sorry. I brought this on us, my family, him and myself. We had such a beautiful family and I threw it all away. 
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JORGE
Phoenix wrote:

He has mentioned how in reality we were only married for a couple of years if we really analyze the relationship. This is extremely hard for me to hear. We have lived many things together. We have overcome many obstacles. We have had wonderful memories. We have started over financially a couple of times in our marriage. We have been able to pull through extremely hard situations, but he says he is tired now and can no longer fight for what was a lie all these years. I can’t accept this. It’s unbearable to hear him say this after so much we have lived together. I know I have to come to terms with it because it’s not about me, I have to think of what I would do to see him happy. 

The damage caused by infidelity doesn't discriminate. Seems unfair that from his perspective, the affair invalidated the marriage for all but three years. He's correct in that a 3rd party was permitted to enter and violate the marriage and because truth wasn't your choice, the vows that were broken remained broken from that point forward. Early confession would have given him a chance to fix what was broken and perhaps proceed forward with all of the memories you cited. Broken vows, unspoken truths and forgotten facts meant that only you can hold the marriage in a reasonably affectionate way. 

Again, the 19 years in the dark has distorted and recolored his experience, to the point that his reality and yours are completely different. This is the fallout of non-disclosure. And this is why many people encourage WS to confess as early and thorough as possible. Similar to an infection or cancer, the longer it festers unattended, the more damaging it will be,and eventually could lead to fatal outcomes.

Essentially it's a 19 year betrayal he's seeking to overcome. The length of the affair, plus the 20 years non-disclosure, followed by shift blaming equals 19 years. Each carries a different emotion. The affair will cause massive emasculation, the non-disclosure makes him feel like a fool for not knowing and the post affair "get over it" and divorce threats extended humiliation.

Perhaps grant him his wish for a divorce, and ask for an opportunity to reconcile after he's filed. I would think while his pain would remain, it would begin decreasing possibly right away, as would regain some self respect and dignity for delivering consequences to the person that caused him to lose a part of his life and cost him his marriage and self worth. This has been gnawing at him non-stop since D-Day. 

At this point in time, he may be willing to see the post affair marital history in a different light which can be thee launching pad into a new relationship with him. Right now, the albatross around his neck and the elephant in the room is you being married to him for 19 years, and him being held captive in an inauthentic marriage. He either has to manage this reality differently or divorce you so that the marriage is legally and figuratively killed ended. He will probably feel better immediately. Just a guess here. Many have reconciled and remarried after divorce. Removing the obstacle of your existing marriage may be needed to enable a new one.
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