I am glad you are holding off on making a decision. You have been at this (posting with us) for a year now and he has been cheating for 2.5 years. So there is no hurry. I'll say again, I don't think there is even really a decision here because he has not shown you a person worth choosing. That doesn't happen with a sad face, an apology and promises. It happens when he is committed to doing the hard work and he shows you those slow, consistent changes over time. It takes many months and more likely years. I know you know that already, but I also know when you are in that moment, it is human nature to want to grasp those feelings of relief. Those feelings are fleeting. Really, all emotions are fleeting.
My biggest concern for you is that you over analyze so many details, which leads to justifications, and then the bigger picture becomes overshadowed. I have watched you do this before and so I want to caution you to that. I tend to think that in life, and in relationships as well, our greatest strengths are inversely our biggest obstacles. Esther Perel discusses this often in her work -- what initially attracts us to our partner is ultimately what also leads to destroying the relationship. It is as if we are attracted to this unmet need in childhood and then that attachment style goes unchecked and it backfires. I see you as this very intelligent, loving and loyal person. I see you wanting to understand him, what happened in your M and make sense of things. But there are some things that just do not make sense and we need to come to a point where we accept that.
You might want to make sense of why he did what he did and that he is showing all of these signs of improvement (you said that each time by the way) but it doesn't matter. What matters is the bigger picture. He has been dishonest, selfish and not prioritized you or his family in a very long time. You continue to believe what he tells you. You honestly just believe what he told you about his email to her? I find myself just shaking my head more and more with every month that I read your posts. I feel sad for you. I want to see a May that really, truly values herself and how she deserves to be treated. I know you are an amazing, loving and loyal woman and you want to see the good in him. That is your strong suit but that has now become your greatest weakness. Because you have taught him how to treat you. He has treated you very poorly for a long time and he will continue to do so until you say enough is enough! Why are you even entertaining the idea of taking him back when he has again dragged you through the mud???
I don't see that there is a decision to be made here. He sees it that way because you have allowed him to lie, cheat and then come and go as it suits him. There is only a decision to stay married to a good and honest man. For someone as corrupt as him, that will take a very long time to fix and also to prove to you. What decision can you make without all of that first?
I think your thread has come so far away from the basic principles we learn here. Please go back and read Sandi's 37 rules and think about what they mean and why. The overall focus is that we separate oursleves from someone that treats us badly and rejects us. Then we focus on ourself and our kids and do the healing. We have to heal ourself so we can be strong and be able to make that tough decision if it ever comes around. If that other person comes back around and shows us someone that deserves another chance, then we are better equipped to do the hard work. In your sitch, that has never happened, and worse, he keeps trying to break you down and you allow it. .... It is really simple and doesn't involve the frequent over analysis, which in your sitch I fear has become a lot of justification and excuses for what he is doing. I think you want to believe he is a good man because you love the idea of him and the family, or you still love what you could have had.
Sorry for the 2by4. I just don't understand or believe why you are or will just allow all this BS again and again. This was strike 3. He's out.
“Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.” – Nelson Mandela