Maybe your wife is starting to respond because YOU are behaving differently. Before you say No, listen: thoughts are energy, energy that produces a result. Thoughts are creative. They create, they have life. A thought does NOT, as the saying goes, "come out of nowhere" - they come from you, and they go somewhere and produce a result. Often when people try to change in a big way, things will go haywire particularly in the area of change. As if your crap jumps up and says "are you sure you want to get rid of me? I have served you all these years". I say that because these thoughts have life, when you change them, the old/negative thoughts start to die of starvation. Have you ever noticed in nature the "will to live" factor? No one and nothing WANTS to die, the lowly mosquito in the spider web struggles to free itself. Such are our thoughts. But I digress.
The point is, you have willingly listened to what we think. To be willing is difficult for most of us. Some of what we have said has given you cause to pause and think, and maybe shift some of your own thinking. This change has drawn her closer, WITHOUT YOU THINKING YOU ARE DOING ANYTHING DIFFERENT!! Man how cool is that. Hopefully this shift will continue.
The hardest thing in the world for most people is to do the very dificult work of coming to self awareness. We BS ourselves more than we could ever BS others. To consider that our ideas that we are so proud of, so willing to defend, might be erroneous thinking, might serve us negatively and not positively as we believed, well my friend, that is WORK. Ah, but it is the work worth doing.
Take care. I agree with you that I would not pursue the person that represents the old love, but the qualities of the old love itself. And maybe that can be found from within yourself.