I’ll be blunt. It doesn’t sound like you’ve actually repented and truly owned your choices and actions. Know how I know? I’ve cheated (and it’s not worth it). I had a kid out of wedlock and was a single mom. I’ve had my fair share of big mistakes and picking up the pieces to reassemble my life. I learned a thing or two about owning choices and actions on my journey. What I hear in your comment is someone that still fails to really see and understand how their actions influenced what’s playing out in their life. True repentance and ownership recognizes not only the gravity of what happened, it also shows itself through respecting the choice of faithful spouse, whatever choice it is they make regarding whether to divorce or not. True repentance and ownership go with an attitude of humility. Humility does not act out of entitlement, it does not act out of merit, it truly understands that the faithful spouse is under no obligation to stay married, and if the faithful spouse chooses to stay married it is an undeserved gift, not a requirement, not a contract.
You wrote: “My husband, who had originally said that he would fight for our marriage and that he would never give up on me, had given up 8 weeks after I left him. Genuine repentance meant nothing to him. He had made his decision to divorce me before I repented. He has filed for divorce and only spoken to me twice about anything to do with ‘us’ – once to tell me he was divorcing me, and once to tell me he had filed the papers.”
That is not true humility, repentance or ownership speaking. What is speaking is the voice of entitlement. “Hey! I repented! See! You’re a horrible person for leaving me now!” No. Check yourself. You left him. Not the other way around. Furthermore, it sounds like your repentance was more along the lines of “hey, if I do this he’ll have to stay with me” rather than “what I did was wrong, the right thing to do is to repent, even if I lose my husband. My husband owes me nothing.” True repentance doesn’t go into it looking for a reward or as a way to avoid the imposition of a hard consequence.
“We have three children who are 8,3 and 1 and they are stuck in the middle knowing that mummy is truly sorry (they know I did wrong and that God has forgiven me for it – I don’t think there is anything wrong with them knowing that adults make mistakes too!) The main thing is that daddy told them he would have mummy back if she didn’t see the other person, and they can’t understand why that hasn’t meant our family can be together again because they know I’m not seeing or contacting him.”
Yes, it’s true that adults make mistakes and it’s important that kids know that. However, there’s a flaw in your method because there it is again, it’s still all his fault and cue the pity party. “The main thing is daddy went back on his word that he’d stay with me. See kids, the problem isn’t that I cheated it’s that daddy is a liar. He’s the one who put you in the middle of all of this. Think of the kids!” Check yourself again. You’re still blame shifting and you’re putting the kids against their dad. Saying sorry, or “God has forgiven me!” doesn’t fix it. Yes, God forgives our sins and thank goodness for that. However, it is not a free pass to get you out of a sticky situation. God forgiving your sins doesn’t mean your husband will forgive you and it doesn’t mean that your life will just carry on as if nothing ever happened and all will be hunky dory. Whether your kids or your husband forgive you is up to them. You left a path of destruction behind you and you must clean it up and/or pave a new path. Your kids and stbx are left picking up pieces because you detonated the bomb that blew up their lives.