To MelodyLane: thanks.
(8) RE: Exposure 101.
I read your long post. That seems like the nuclear option in my situation. The affair is already over and in the past. So it feels like if I publicly expose this, it's hurtful and mean-spirited. I've take the approach that public sins should be confessed and exposed publicly. Private sins, privately. Personal sins, personally.
I would not suggest being "hurtful" and "meanspirited" but being loving and therapeutic to your marriage and your wife's outlook. The fact that the affair is supposedly over [which you don't really know] does not change that. Exspoure is the first step towards recovery because it kills the fog that accompanies affairs and prevents a resumption. If the affair has truly ended, which you don't know, exposure will greatly help prevent a resumption.
Is the OM married?
I must admit (and grantd, all of this is new to me... so please forgive me for still thinking through your advice critically), much of what you say in Exposure 101 almost sounds manipulative... publicly forcing her to do something against her will.
No, you can't force her to anything. Exposure is not "manipulating" but is simply exposing bad behavior and asking those around you to support your marriage.
This of it like this: An affair is an addiction much like heroin addiction. Is it manipulative to take steps to remove the heroin from your wife's life or is it what a loving a spouse would do? When marriages are restored using these principles, the wayward spouse often thanks her spouse for taking these steps because he/she recognizes the therapeutic effect.
I keep holding out hope that on her own she will realize the error of her ways and decide for herself to choose to love me. That's why I made the initial post here. Does that ever happen?
No, that is an unrealistic hope.
Is there any chance that she might actually do this? Am I blinded by our past love and now myopic optimism and not in touch with reality with these hopes? (Again, please forgive me for thinking critically through what you are suggesting... I can't afford to make a bad choice with this... you can't really undo exposure.)
I applaud you for asking questions, however, it does no good to ask questions if you are not open to the answers. Keep in mind that you are the least objective person on this thread.
I would not agree you have been thinking critically about this. You have been thinking EMOTIONALLY as evidenced by the frequent use of the word "FEAR" in your posts. You are obviously paralyzed by fear, which is why your situation is not improving. Hope is not a plan; conflict avoidance only creates more conflict.
(9) Re: OM
She met him in another city 70 miles away. There is virtually no chance that she would accidentally come in contact with him again, unless she put herself intentionally in the position to do so. And now ever since I exposed the affair to her, when she has had to drive that direction, I noticed that she has avoided that whole area. And this used to be her absolute favorite place/city to visit (even before the affair ever started).
You do know he can drive to your area, right? He is also free to contact your wife anytime because his spouse has not been informed.
(10) Re: snooping.
That's why I asked on the other forum about how to search online dating websites. I would be surprised if she's actually doing that, but then again, almost nothing surprises me now.
A good way to find out is to put spyware on her phone, a VAR and a GPS on her car.
(7) I have been quite open with my people in my ministry about my own sins, failures, and shortcomings. But I'm not comfortable at this moment of exposing those of my wife.
Our goal is not to make you "comfortable" but to save your marriage. Once again, exposure is the most effective first step towards recovery. Affairs thrive on secrecy, so keeping her secret only helps the affair or the fantasy thrive and grow. Since you have told them how you were snooping, finding a new way would be simple, such as an affair phone, etc.