Even if I take you back, it will never be the same.
The denials are done. The excuses are empty. The blaming is bruising and bitter.
Your gut is churning. You don't want to believe it. Surely this can't be happening to you. You were such a great couple. Weren't you? Even if you were bored silly sometimes. Even if you were irritated. Even if you were sometimes tempted.
You never thought of yourself as a cheat. At the time it seemed so natural, so right. Now your partner looks at you like you just slithered out from under a rock.
You've offered abject apologies. You've begged for forgiveness. What are you supposed to do? Nothing seems to be enough. And if you want to feel that the relationship is all fixed up, probably nothing is enough right now.
This is not about your partner wanting their pound of flesh, although they might. However fast your world seems to have collapsed, this disaster is more recent for your partner.
You knew you were getting it on with someone else before your partner did. Even if they were suspicious, even if they were anticipating this, you knew about it in real time and they're still scrambling to catch up.
Your affair didn't come out of nowhere. You were in some way open to the possibility. Maybe things were just dull or out of touch between you and your partner. Maybe the atmosphere was tense or sore.
Your partner probably knew things between you weren't right. Maybe they ignored it. Maybe they tried to fix it or to get you to notice it too. They wanted action earlier, on a smaller scale. They wanted to keep the hurt between you at a level you could both readily forgive.
When you chose an affair you escalated things instead. A breech of trust on this scale makes forgiveness anything but easy.
You've been wondering what you have to do to get your partner to forgive you. You might want to think about what that forgiveness will demand from your partner.
You've just taught them that loving you is painful and trusting you is risky. To forgive you they have to put their hand back in the fire when every self-protective sense they have will be yelling NO.
You sent your partner's self-confidence plummeting when you chose someone else. To forgive you, to take you back, your partner has to summon up the courage to step into uncertainty. There is simply no promise you can give that they can unequivocally believe. Mustering that kind of blind faith is a daunting prospect.
How you behave now can make your partner's choice on forgiveness easier or harder. But the decision is actually about them not about you or even really about the outcome. Only time will tell whether putting their trust in you again is misplacing it.
Embracing forgiveness they risk foolishness if you let them down. Embracing experience, they risk the proverbial foolishness of cutting off their nose.
Foolishness is a possible outcome in all their choices. Accepting this, they can choose if they prefer to be a person who will learn from these mistakes or one who will forgive mistakes in others. Maybe, if you're very lucky, they might chose to be both.