You seem to have a wonderful heart, and it is a shame that a heart like that was treated like crap. But people with big, wonderful hearts are the ones who often get hurt the most. Wanting to help your ex-WS is what makes you a good person. But it's also what keeps you most vulnerable to being hurt again.
She had done some things to heal like stop drinking, writing every day, yoga, spending time with herself, stopped seeing AP, but still didn't take full responsibility for her actions.
Lots of criminals... murderers, rapists, thieves... go to jail, and then try to improve themselves. They find religion. They get in shape. They read a lot. They develop new skills. And all those things are wonderful. But if they don't take accountability for their crimes, then they aren't really doing the work needed to heal their "soul", their integrity, their own ability to be a good person, to rebuild trust or help heal the ones they hurt. Getting a gym membership doesn't heal infidelity. If you take a pile of dog poop and decorate it with icing, it's not a cake. Until you work on the core problem, you are just putting icing on the problem and hoping others will eat it.
What is the healthiest communication strategy to help a WS face themselves while protecting myself?
There is a very old saying about leading a horse to water... At the end of the day, there is NOTHING you can do to help you WS face themselves until they are willing to do so themselves, and even then, it still takes dedication, drive, determination, effort, courage, fortitude, and a willingness to fail a thousand times, in order to heal.
Think of what it is like to heal from a shattered knee. Would it heal any faster if 1000 doctors were on the case? Would it heal any faster if you put a million dollars into healing it? Would it heal any faster if you loved the person as much as you can? The truth is, a knee heals at its own pace. There is nothing you can do to change that. Now, that being said, there are lots of things that can be done to slow or stop the healing. If the person keeps trying to walk on it anyway, they'll just keep re-injuring it. If they don't go to therapy and do the work, it could heal incorrectly or not at all. Not acknowledging and owning their infidelity is like not acknowledging that a knee is broken. It can't heal, even at its own pace, until the damaging behavior stops, and the healing behavior begins. That's on your WS. In order to heal, they have to work at it, every single day, and put up with the fact that it will still hurt for a long time, that it will have days where it feels worse rather than better, days where you want to give up, days where it seems hopeless. Taking ownership of that healing is the only real solution.
I'm wondering if blocking her and going almost no contact with her is the healthiest route.
. If she is the right woman for me she will figure it out on her own and she can send an email that makes it plainly obvious she understands and takes full responsibility for her actions and chooses me and is 100% faithful to me and does everything to make me feel safe.
Until something changes, then nothing has changed. You hit the nail on head all by yourself here. She is still NOT safe to be with, for the simple fact that she has not acknowledged and owned who she really is and what she's done. I think your second quote here is perfect. I'm not sure what is best or safest for her, but I can clearly tell you that she is not healthy or safe for you, and so keeping a healthy distance is the only way to help ensure your own safety.
Look, you can be her cheerleader. You can maybe even be her coach. You can send her articles, recommend a new therapy group, praise her for the progress made, etc. But what you can't do is go down the rabbit hole with her. In another recent post, I compared it to sending in a check to save an animal in a shelter. It's one thing to say, "Aww, poor puppy" and send in a check. That's a way of helping the puppy without getting too involved. You don't go down to the shelter and clean the dog's crap out of the cage. You don't hold the dog when it cries. That's too much, that's too involved. It's the same here. Encourage your WS, and let them know what YOU need from them in order to even consider letting your walls down a little. But that's it. You protect yourself, and let them do the work needed.
What would have helped you the most in this situation?
This WAS us. My wife did everything she could to help me heal, to her own detriment. The more she tried to heal me, the more excuses and justifications I came up with, and the more she got hurt. Her willingness to try and help me heal, in my mind, only made me think that there was really nothing wrong with who I was or what I did, and that's not a recipe for accountability. Instead, it prompted me to blame shift, sometimes to her, sometimes to my health, sometimes to other things going on in life. It wasn't until she detached from me, and did a 180, and kept at it, that I started to change. It left me feeling alone, and scared, and that was awful, yes. I saw her not only healing on her own, but moving on with her life without me, and that terrified me. It made me face the fact that I had to change something. She certainly wasn't going to stay with me if I didn't change. And if she did leave, and I hadn't changed, then any future attempts at relationships would be just as broken. To be honest, I was terrified at the thought of being alone for the rest of my life, I was terrified of destroying a new relationship, and I was terrified of her staying and me destroying her even more. There was no "winning" path forward, other than healing. So it became a "do or die" situation for me. (To be fair, I was proud of her for moving on. Even in my broken state, I knew she was healing, growing, and living her own life and finding her own joy. I was envious of that, and wished I could do the same, but I never blamed her. I knew deep down inside that nothing she was doing was what she would have chosen to do had I not cheated. I could either accept that, or do something about it. That was what drove me then, and to some degree, what still motivates me now.)
But then I wonder if this is doing the opposite of what I hope for and by cutting off contact is hurting the chances of reconciliation. Breaking it down, one thing I think is for certain is hanging out with her is completely out of the question if she is actively talking to seeing another man and isn't 100% committed to me.
Let's be honest here. Her seeing another man is what is hurting reconciliation, not cutting her off.
Another old saying is that, "Being angry at someone is like drinking poison and then waiting for them to die". That's not how it works. Similarly, leaving the door open to an actively cheating spouse and hoping they'll suddenly see 'how much you love them' and change, never, ever works. It just makes you a doormat. Imagine if your boss kept paying you even when you stopped working, hoping that one day you'll tire of getting free money for nothing and see the value in working hard again. It will never happen. If you stop working, your boss fires your ass, and you'll never work there again without giving them a damn good reason to even reconsider it. Same here.
I would suggest that you put your efforts into living your best life, into finding joy again, into leaning into loving yourself and moving on. The marriage is over. Period. Done. And if a new relationship is to ever exist between you two, it will HAVE to be on her to make the necessary changes first. I'm sorry if that thought is hurtful. It sucks. This whole thing sucks. The best motivation that you can offer her is to simply model for her what a healthy person, who has integrity and who loves themselves, does to heal and move forward. If she was putting in the effort to be a better person, we might not be having this conversation right now. If she wants to be together again then she'll need to step up to the plate and catch up to you where you are at first. But don't let that deter you. Sleep well knowing that you've done all you can for her, and have nothing to feel shame or blame about. Joy will come again when you love yourself even more than you feel sorry for her. Since she's busy with yet another AP... sounds like she's making her choice already.