So it has been one year? Think of how much has changed in just one year. Things really do change, even when it feels like time is standing still or we feel stuck. Just remember, with each passing year, more will continue to change and unfold. We do not see a lot of stories about piecing or what happens years after BD, but often the LBS can be the one to change their mind. I have certainly had my doubts over the years, even with my H being committed to the M.
I think you are on target with your thinking. You know you will be okay without her and you don't need her. That is key, because you are breaking the codependency. The idea for a healthy marriage is not that we need each other, but that we both want to be together. I think all of us can be okay without our S, but we have to know it. It is amazing and liberating. It is also sad, as you say, and I think the sadness comes from looking at our partner with a different lens. They are no longer innocent and we now know they are capable of dishonesty and destruction. This is where time and patience come in. I have to often remind myself to judge my H based on his actions today and not only the past.
Pictures and messages. I am not sure what you have seen, but I am sorry :-( It is most def insult to injury to have seen evidence of the A. As if the imagination isn't painful enough, you also have some proof that you cannot forget. I was fortunate that the "evidence" that I found/saw was not too troubling and was mostly from her. I often suspecting that she was the one pursuing him and trying hard. His issue was more being spineless and allowing it, however the passivity is just as wrong or even worse IMO.
I once found proof that their s-x life was not working so well, so admittedly, I appreciated that. And, that has never been an issue for us. I found a little note that she left in his backpack and that set my mood off for a bit. In thinking about it now, it read like a HS girl fishing for attention. When he came back, he gave me all passwords so I went through and read every email between them. This did hurt and maybe I should not have. In another way, it actually helped because it reinforced my belief that their R was very lopsided. Most of the messages were her flirting, inviting him places, wanting to get together, bring our kids together, and even live together. He didn't reply much and I could see the ambivalence and avoidance from his end.
I do also have a lot of memories of our friendship when their EA got started and I didn't know, but my gut told me something was off. There are many painful memories of watching their interactions and feeling like something was going on. I would call him out, and he would deny, deny, deny. We would argue and the wedge between us widened. This viscous circle went on for many months before I learned about the A. It has been painful for me to accept that he could torture me so many times like this. And we have talked about it quite a bit.
In a nut shell, my perspective is that there were a hundred lies and betrayals. And each one felt like a thousand daggers. My H sees it in another way, and while I was resistant to accepting this position for many years, I have come to understand it better now. In his view, everything was lumped together and it was one giant lie and betrayal, each connected and all intertwined. He could not have had one without the other. Does that make sense? ... Can you think about each painful memory with your W and understand that they are all somehow attached to one difficult time period? Not just difficult for you, but for her as well?
Another thing I want to say is that an A is not as fun and glamorous as the LBS may think, or not according to my H anyhow. For him there was a constant feeling of shame, guilt and self-doubt. He knew it was wrong and wouldn't work, but he felt stuck. It wasn't so much about her and who she is, but more about him trying to run from his life. Can you try and see it that way? Was your W running from her life? What was she running from?
I'll be honest, my H did and still does walk on eggshells with me. I didn't and haven't. I was pretty darn piszed off and have been for years. If anything, I am getting better at and working on toning that back. I am not an easy person to live with or be M to. I have work to do too, even if I am not the one that had the A and left the M. ... I think it's okay to walk on eggshells for a bit. The painful feelings will come up and the triggers are intense. Go easy on each other. If you both want to be in the M and if you are both willing to make positive changes, then that is enough.
My only real advice I have is more patience and more time.
Keep posting. I think it also helps readers pull out of the mind set of just wanting their S back when they see what this process entails.
“Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.” – Nelson Mandela