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4 Reasons Affair Fog Is Not a Thing

The Fog. The Fog, the Fog, the Fog. She is deep in the Fog. Great update, it sounds like she’s finally coming out of the Fog. Oh wait, she’s gone back into the Fog. Don’t pressure her to come out of the Fog, lest she go deeper into the Fog. The Fog has got her. She must come out of the Fog on her own. When the Fog clears, she will have an epiphany, a Fog Epiphany. Oops, she’s gone back into the Fog. The Fog is finally clearing! No, it’s back! Your poor wife, she’s in the clutches of the Fog. She knows not what she does. Too Foggy.

Jesus, I clung desperately to that shit for eight months until I finally snapped out of my Fog and divorced her. Ten years later, she’s still in the Fog.

— David (comment left on Stupid Shit the Reconciliation Industrial Complex Says)

If you’ve spent any time reading infidelity articles, you’ve stumbled across this peculiar weather phenomena “affair fog.”

It’s a cloud that descends on otherwise respectable partners and absolves them of responsibility.

Sorry chumps, you don’t get a fog. That’s a very angry question you asked, and perhaps we’ll revisit it when you can calm down and be less judgy.

Meanwhile, here are four reasons “affair fog” is not a thing.

1.) Cheating is a choice. “I’d like to blame my neurotransmitters” is a game we all can play. Did I club Schmoopie over the head with a rock? Well, my pre-frontal cortex got riled up and I have an evolutionary imperative to kill mate poachers. That wouldn’t go over well in the court of law and neither should “I fuck around because… limerence.”

Fog is just a handy euphemism the RIC has for devaluing. Abusers know exactly what they’re doing. It takes a lot of executive functioning to create a double life.

2.) Fogs are not selective. Had you actually been under the influence of a cogency-obliterating fog, it would permeate your entire life, not just the way you treat your partner. Consider dementia. You don’t selectively turn your impairment on or off. Similarly, your cheating wife is not confused by pomegranate purchases at the grocers.

But, but! She quit her job under the influence of her affair fog! So it does permeate her whole life!

Because she wanted to. See point #1. She did the cost benefit-analysis and chose the gratification of kibbles. Is this person muddled in every aspect of their life? Paralyzed by indecision? A determination to cheat or quit a job is a series of decisions, not confusion.

3.) Fog is a stalling tactic for cake. Waiting for the fog to clear keeps you in place as Plan B. It’s the power of maybe. Perhaps they’ll have an epiphany and come back!

4.) Enchantment needs witch doctors. If cheaters are under a spell, then you need a voodoo professional. Who deals in hopium? Who creates these cockamamy theories to “stand for your marriage” and singlehandedly fix your relationship? The Reconciliation Industrial Complex. The Plan B holding pattern is very profitable.

Now then, about that chump fog. I’m sorry to tell you, that doesn’t exist either. It’s totally human to be traumatized by betrayal, to be afraid, and seduced by false hope and a sense of control. But we chumps also make choices — to spackle, minimize or deny.

The good news is we also have agency and get to make decisions. Like leaving the foggy pumpkin patch and declaring the Great Pumpkin a fraud.

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Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Sûre it’s fog. But… it’s poison.
    They’re hoping you get sucked in.
    Like a Venus Fly Spouse
    ‘Côme with me. Everything’s fine. The waters warm. I have agency and you smelling fruity lube on my face is totally normal.’

    Run. That’s all I can say.

    • I wonder what kind of horrible carcinogenic chemical shitstorm ingredients would be in fruity lube. It would be funny if the lube brand were called “Karma.”

    • Creativerational, “smelling fruity lube on my face is totally normal.” I just relived him coming home and kissing me and my bewilderment when I smelled some other woman’s vaginal effluvia his face. And that dear Chump Nation is how LTC Fuckface got his new name.

      • Oh, that is truly horrific! I can’t even express how badly I feel for you. Makes me want to vomit.

      • So sorry you have that memory.
        I experienced something similar and now know that the ex took particular delight in “sharing” his disgusting girlfriend’s bodily fluids with me. To the point where his girlfriend made a very explicit and gross comment to me once he dumped her.
        Took several sessions with my counselor to unpack that nastiness.
        The level of disrespect for me was off the charts.

      • I sometimes relive a horrid night where chumpy me and my cheating wife were at a party in a castle. I was wondering where she was at one point and when she came back, she was chewing gum. I came close and smelled she had dickbreath.

          • It got even worse after that. Maybe I’ll write it up again tomorrow. I just did but somehow got lost.

            • Ok so here goes. Thinking back it’s probably the most embarrasing experience in my life. The reason I walked up to her was I hadn’t seen her in a while, plus she came in at the same time as the guy she was having a laugh with for most of the night. Mind you they came in at the same time, but through opposite entrances. They exchanged “a look” and his posture exhuded confidence and then some, like the kind you have after you just had sex with someone new. At least that was my instinct was telling me, so I walked up to her and smelled dick breath through the chewing gum. She was not pleased to see me and said she was in the bathroom and continued to walk back to the dance area. I was confused and weant to the toilet, asking myself if it was possible that she just ate some stinky french cheese or something, but there wasn’t any food.
              Later that evening when we were back in our room she reluctantly agreed to have sex, when I noticed she was red in her private area. During sex I noticed residu and I asked if we had sex the past days, knowing we didn’t, but she said yes (with a scared look on her face). Because of my confsion I didn’t press the matter.
              The following day on the way to my parents to pick up the kids, my gut was still telling me something was wrong, and I pulled over, shut off the car and asked her if she cheated on me. She touched my arm and with a warm smile said she would never do that to me and empathically asked why I thought such a silly thing. I spackeled and wanted to believe her.

              A year later she gave me the same line and look when she denied having an affair, that later did come out.
              Whenever she is nice to me now I think back on that night and her evilness, so I know what she is truly like.
              I still can’t believe I believed the lies and how I ignored my own gut feeling. It’s amazing what years of manipulation and gaslighting can do to a person.
              Sorry if this is too explicit for some people but it is an experience that can still keep me awake at night, whenever I think about it. It feels like she really wanted to degrade me.
              Maybe one day she’ll do the same to the AP, she is now married to.
              Thank you for listening.

              • I have one similar that also haunts and disgusts me. Before my ex wife’s affairs where fully exposed she was still sleeping with me and one night she more more turned on / wet than usual. Turned out from evidence I found on her phone, she had been letting random guys cum inside her. I feel rancid even typing it and it’s been a couple of years now. Not only could she have given me and the kids covid during lockdown she also potentially exposed me to HIV or god knows what else. Truly evil.

              • Stinky French ???? . Also known as smegma. Some men (particularly uncircumcised) don’t know how to wash and dry themselves properly. I was both disgusted and laughing reading your fromage remark.

  • Nothing to do with today’s topic but I accidentally came across Dr Ramani, a Clinical Psychologist in the US with a series of videos on narcissists if anyone is interested. I found her very good especially the final one on ‘the tremendous growth that comes from surviving a narcissistic relationship’. Hope it’s of help.

    • Understandingthenarc
      Are all great pages to follow on Instagram. Dr. Ramani has a wonderful page too. Lots of great information given in small doses so it’s easier to process and understand since this can be such an overwhelming topic. Hope it helps! It’s helped me a ton in my healing and recovery

    • Dr. Ramani rocks and also has a podcast.

      Little Shaman is also a great resource for those dealing with narcissism.
      She has a podcast and is on YouTube.

      My mother was a diagnosed true narcissist. It’s a word that I see is getting thrown around a lot these days….so be ready for a cheater to call you a narcissist when you stand up for yourself. I myself am not a licensed therapist, so I keep it to suspecting or wondering if someone might be a narcissist, but I don’t consider myself qualified to actually diagnose…..

      For example, the first mediator we had (he was fired) said both people are responsible for the end of a marriage and anyone who doesn’t understand that is a narcissist. I’ve been in therapy for many years and have had two therapists in that time and both agree I am not a narcissist.

      • You hit it. My FW said that I was a Narc. So not true but it concerned me. Talked to the therapist and I am not a narc and she said that he was trying to project that onto me. In the first few weeks after DDay it is so hard for a chump to get their arms around it and we try so hard to understand why this happened. Thanks to CL and CN, I was able to realize that it was not me and that the cheater is a FW that truly sucks as a human.

        • Words often heard on this page: “Every accusation by a narc is a confession.”

          • “Every accusation by a narc is a confession.” I don’t know if I’ve heard it put exactly that way, but that is oh-so-validating to read. Many times I’ve felt like my cheater was projecting how he feels about himself onto me.

            • It’s an absolute axiom. They project their own faults and, if in long term affairs, all the ill-deeds and character flaws of their APs. I was accused of trying to secretly get pregnant… while the AP was secretly flushing her pills down the toilet and bawling to coworkers when she didn’t manage to get knocked up. She had PCOS and had been taking the pill to control acne. FW must have noticed that her acne had sprung up again with a vengeance (after D-Day, FW admitted this) and perhaps subconsciously he put two and two together that she’d stopped taking the pill, thus the insane projection onto me.

              Meanwhile, I had made it absolutely clear for years that three kids were enough, especially when he floated the idea of having a fourth the year before. I was actually shocked when he said that but I think it had to do with the fact that the kids were finally becoming more independent and so was I, starting to happily get into work again and making new friends, throwing parties, etc.

              Because of my past advocacy work, that was a skein I’d already untangled so it made sense that my renewed independence could have “triggered” cheating.”Masked dependency” is a big part of abuser psychology. All abusers cheat and tend to have affairs when they feel like their intimate partners are getting out from under their control as a way to prove to themselves that they’re not actually dependent babies and terrified of abandonment.

              Also, if you ever nailed them with something truthful you said about their character, recall how they doubled back the exact same accusation at you in a different moment even though it didn’t fit you.

              • Lots of food for thought in your comment, Hell of a Chump. It did ring a bell.

          • Yep, I started realizing this when my husband was screaming horrible insults at me and when I cried he yelled “You’re abusing me! You weaponized your tears to try to manipulate me and that is abuse!”

            And I realized that’s why the pathetic little baby cried so much. Tears were a weapon to him, his were never real. He probably can’t imagine anyone really cries when hurt. He would always accuse me of being so angry and having anger issues whenever I cried too. And I would get so confused because clearly I’m hurt? I’m crying? I’m sad, not angry. Meanwhile he’s crying constantly, even through Folgers commercials, like a pregnant woman. It was so confusing for so many years.

            The thing that bothers me about all that is he also accused me of being incestuous. Out of nowhere. It was very weird. But it means he’s incestuous. Sometimes that pops up into my head and I wonder which family members he’s having sex with. And then I get a sick feeling in my stomach because I know he likes children. Can’t prove a crime but I know he fantasizes about it. And I wonder if it’s a child in his family. But nobody believes me, I’m a crazy bitch and he’s a great guy who is so great with kids and will babysit for free anytime! There’s just nothing I can do, I tried, so I have to push it away. But I think that will always come up on me occasionally. I think that’s why he called me incestuous.

            • Just to clarify, he’s my ex husband now. He was my husband at that time but I divorced him.

            • KatiePig, you nailed it. You recognized the projection and understood what it revealed about your husband. I believe you.

              Being surrounded by enablers and denialists is a huge part of the incest dynamic. Else the incest wouldn’t be happening, because family members would be alert and step in to shut it down before it got started.

              Do you have children with him?

              • I have a son and I’ve spoken with him about it. Nothing happened to him but he believes me. My ex’s taste is little girls. I wasn’t able to have any more children and I thank god for that daily. If we had had a daughter I believe he would’ve been molesting her her entire life.

            • If you could see his porn history I’m sure there was a a lot of incest porn and betrayal porn and pedo porn. It could also mean he molested or fantasized of molesting a sib or cousin or was molested himself or witnessed the molestation of a family member as a child. Either way, it’s guaranteed that it was pure projection.

              I always call those weepy abuser incidents “bully tantrums.” I don’t even put up with those from my kids much less adults. What I learned as an advocate for dv survivors is that no one cries more than batterers. In professional circles, it’s a red flag.

              I cried a lot during the DARVO stage before D-Day, the most I had probably since the age of six months. But typically I’m not a big cryer unless absolutely broken. Gives me terrible headaches.

              • My can’t be x soon enough was also into very young teen porn, violent rape and choking. He had a private browser, and constantly would overtip young waitresses with a disgusting leer. He and his brother made horribly lewd comments about their (at the time) 14 year old niece. Now he’s posting photos of teen girls on Pinterest of all places.

                Mine never cried. I think once in the entire 35 years I knew him.

              • “What I learned as an advocate for dv survivors is that no one cries more than batterers.”

                Once again, HOAC, you’ve shared something from your work in DV that describes my ex. I don’t know anyone who cries more than my ex. For a long time, I thought his crying meant he was empathetic and sensitive. Most people still do believe that about him. This characteristic might stand out to professionals as an abuser red flag, but I don’t think the general public is aware. It’s incredibly confusing, and it’s not just when they’re showing “remorse” for hurting people. People see a guy crying over sick animals, sick people, how sad he is that he’s hurt the “love of his life,” and they think it means he has a big heart. They want to help, and they let a lot slide.

                It also doesn’t quite fit the controlling, “independent and capable” image that he also projected. Abusers are so inconsistent, yet no one seems to catch on. CL is right on about the choices cheaters make. They are master manipulators. When I finally saw through my ex’s act, his tears no longer tugged at my heart strings. I felt only anger and disgust at the end, because I was the one who should’ve been crying, and yet he was using his “hurt” as a weapon against me. He would cry at the most inappropriate times, when he should’ve been the calm and supportive one. I would honestly comfort him when I was the one who needed comfort. Didn’t even feel like I could grieve, because he was so triggered by deaths and mourning (lost his fad as a teen). Then, when I saw how he’d written his AP the night my grandmother died, or used our friend’s death to get sympathy and bond with her, I was disgusted. I stopped putting his “emotions” before my own.

              • Hell of a Chump says,
                “I always call those weepy abuser incidents “bully tantrums.” I don’t even put up with those from my kids much less adults. What I learned as an advocate for dv survivors is that no one cries more than batterers. In professional circles, it’s a red flag. ”

                Mr. Sparkly Pants always claimed that tears were manipulation–especially if they were MY tears in response to something he had said or done. He would scream vile insults at me, and if I cried, he’d accuse me of using “crocodile tears” to manipulate him, and he’d escalate the tantrum. For years, I couldn’t figure it out. When four mental health professionals agreed that he was a full blown personality disordered Narcissist and I started reading up on Cluster B disorders, I began to understand what he was about. Nevertheless, it surprised me, in the six months or so before I finally left him, to realize that he was physically abusive as well. He never hit me — probably why it took me so long to figure it out. But he pushed, shoved, threw things at me, engaged in rage driving, and both in the car and at the helm of the boat would yank the wheel out of my hand “because you scared me.” (I was driving in my own lane or keeping the boat between the channel markers, but when he grabbed the wheel, we’d leave our lane.) I was getting my ducks in a row to leave him because of the abuse when his sister informed me of the cheating.

                And now I wonder — his browser history when we were sharing a computer always revealed a lot of incest porn, and he and his sister always acted as if they were the couple when the three of us spent time together.

                And if I’m willing to believe that he was engaging in incest with his sister, or even that it is possible, perhaps it makes sense why his daughter was unwilling to spend the night in our home when I wasn’t there because I was working night shift. ICK, ICK, ICK! I had no idea at that time — I actually believed his line of shit that her evil mother had brainwashed her against him.

                I am lucky in the extreme that his daughter has chosen to keep me in her life, even after I divorced her father. She seems happy, healthy, confident and resilient — no thanks, I am sure to her father or me.

              • I had a miscarriage at age 42. As I did not think I could become pregnant, and because of my age, this was a big deal! He went to work, while I was having the miscarriage. I had the miscarriage alone. Doormatty me asked him why he went to work. He immediately became angry. He said ‘I was upset, [his boss’s name] found me crying at my desk’. That’s ok then! With hindsight the tears will never have existed – he lied about everything.

                During the peak of the discard he was:

                a) all over his 20 plus niece and she was all over him at a family event; the family took it in their stride while I was trying to remind him of boundaries. It wasn’t the first time he had behaved this way with her, his brother’s daughter.

                b) exchanging yearning emails with his exgfOW days before my Dad’s funeral.

                The ex changed me into a person I didn’t recognise. I lost my dignity, my self-respect, my confidence. He was never in a fog. He was coldly, callously manipulative. One day, again during the discard but it seems like an ordinary day, he looked at me sideways on, with a smirk, and said ‘you are very manipulative aren’t you’. Being a chump I reflected on whether he was right. For a while I believed him. People able to project to that extent are not in a fog. They are manipulative. They are disordered. They are poisonous.

            • KatiePig – X said those exact words to me too. I wasn’t crying though. I was asking him rational questions about his behavior. Not yelling. Not hitting. Not threatening. Just asking.

              You should have seen the bad acting that accompanied his accusation – arms wrapped around himself, doubled over in his chair, fake trembling.

              So, yeah, questioning a cheater is abuse.

              • “You should have seen the bad acting that accompanied his accusation – arms wrapped around himself, doubled over in his chair, fake trembling.”

                My ex did the same EXACT thing, Chump Queen. I’ve read many shockingly similar experiences here, but I literally could’ve written this. I wish there had been a hidden camera in our house so I could expose 6’4” FW being emotionally and physically abusive and then cowering as if 110-lb. me was the threat. Even Switzerland wouldn’t stand by that.

                Gaslighting is so obvious, so textbook, and so bizarre that sometimes it’s hard for me to believe it really happened.

              • Oh, and it was also a common occurrence for my ex to scream “Calm down!” at me as I tried to talk reasonably or walk out of a room to remove myself from his unreasonable and out of control behaviors. (And if I walked carefully away with a blank look on my face, I was “furiously stomping away”… or, yes, even “abusive.”) It’s not pleasant to remember all of this, but it’s helpful from time to time. This was my everyday life for so many years, and I took responsibility and tried to fix it – and me. This isn’t normal, but I see reading here (and, sadly, with friends/family) that these absolutely insane patterns are common. At least now, however hard things are, I am relieved to be out of *that* fog.

          • Yes! More than once FW accused me of “playing games” when I was expressing emotional distress. At the time that caused me even more emotional distress, which fed right into his narrative about what a controlling shrew I was. In hindsight I can now see that it was projection, that it was all a game of manipulation to him.

            It’s infuriating, but also liberating, to realize that there was nothing real in my marriage (or “mirage” as VH so brilliantly says). There is no point in longing for something that never truly existed in the first place.

        • My FW said I was an egomaniacal narcissist and her greatest disappointment. Sure, our marriage wasn’t great, but I somehow managed to keep my jimmy in my pants. I’ve been Grey Rock-ing her lying ass since this exchange as I line up my ducks, and it’s been pretty damn effective, allows me to focus. BTW, I’ve overheard a few convos between her and AP, and a major topic of conversation is always disparaging other people. Just goes to show what kind of people these are.

      • I must be a narcissist because my XW said her therapist told her that I was.
        The one that never met me.
        The one that was talking to a cheater operating a double life.
        The one whose patient was being treated with anti-psychotic drugs.
        I must be a narcissist.

        • Ex claimed that his therapist, an intimidating woman who seemed to accept any crazy that ex dished out, labelled me a rage addict, whatever that is. Apparently I shouldn’t be upset about ex fucking Craig’s list prostitutes in our home. I told him that his body and car still being in tact shows my considerable restraint and this his therapist was a quack clearly failing at her job.

          • My FW had a whole story of how his therapist told him what happened was just a big misunderstanding, and that it was very weird for me to still be upset months later, and there was nothing wrong with him, and there was nothing he needed to do to work things out, all there was for him to do was decide how much of this unreasonable reaction he was willing to stand.

            I was pretty upset about that, until my therapist told me she is pretty sure that was all a lie, and no reputable therapist would say anything like that.

            • I was in a divorce recovery group and someone was relating all the things her husband’s therapist was saying about her and how terrible she was. I was surprised any therapist would say this, so I asked his name. Turned out to be my therapist as well. I told her that your husband is lying, because I have the same therapist and I cannot imagine him saying those things. I have run accross this several times since. What else would you expect from a cheater?

              • Lying liars lie out of their lying lie holes for sure. Cheaters can also easily manage to find themselves really toxic therapists who enable their abuse. There are a lot of sickos in the field. But frankly I’ve seen FW interpret a therapist’s mere silence as triangulation. FWs rehearse their false narratives in front of other people and if no one openly and specifically calls them on their BS, FW’s take this as agreement and credulity and feel encouraged in their false narratives. They could probably do the same at a tea party with inanimate dolls and teddy bears.

            • Yeah you can’t even trust what they say about therapy.

              That is why it blows my mind the folks that will believe the cheater when he/she gives the sad sausage story.

              No one really did to amount to anything in my case; but I do think it is pretty common for many folks to believe the cheater over the betrayed.

              Had folks not known me as well as they did; and he had not lied and conned himself into a corner, more might have believed him.

              Not that I cared anymore, once I was done I extracted myself from my former community. I had to get away from that mess. Also, I needed a whole new life to focus on.

              • “Yeah you can’t even trust what they say about therapy.” So true. In fact, you *especially* can’t.

          • My x’s therapist, a woman, told him (apparently) that seeing prostitutes is not uncommon, that I had enmeshed myself with our younger son (who was told on his 18th birthday, by his father, that he wished our son had never been born and that all men see prostitutes.) His therapist also supposedly counseled that my x needed to follow his heart, write his next chapter, and create his own mantras…did I mention she got her degree from an online diploma mill and advertises herself as a divorce coach?

            His attorney, also a woman, called me a “scorned wife” because I was angry my x had sex with prostitutes in my home, because yeah like you Geode, I shouldn’t be upset by this.

        • Me too, Bruno.

          If my XW’s word is to be believed, I had the dubious honour of being long-distance-never-meeting-me diagnosed as a narc by a military psychologist that therapizes BOPE cops. It is kind of a SWAT team inside the most deadly police corporation in Brazil (probably in the world). Just take a look into José Padilha’s movie “Elit Squad” to see what they’re up to. The movie has been widely criticized and deemed fascist propaganda (middle class brazilian audiences cheered out loud during scenes of torture against slums dwellers) among other things for depicting inaccurately BOPE cops as ruthless, but incorruptible idealists (nothing far from truth; see some recent brazilian political scandals that involve ex-cops from BOPE). But the movie is quite accurate when it comes to the abuses the most disenfranchised endure at the hands of these “heroes”. There are many recent cases of slaughters in poor communities during police raids, it’s just a google away.

          Well, if my FW XW is telling some truth, one of the very professionals that attest to the mental fitness of these “agents of the State” has diagnosed me (a mild mannered, soft spoken professor) as a malignant narcissist without ever seeing my face or talking to me.

          These news came to my knowledge right when I stood for myself after my second DDay and asked for my then wife to leave the force if we were going to reconcile (her AP was her direct-report and a crooked cop). That was so narcissistic of me, I am ashamed!

          I just don’t disbelieve completely this talk indded took place because the said professional (I googled her up; she is a public figure of sorts), notwithstanding her being a public servant and holding a PhD from a respected university, also presents herself as a “corporate coach” and an expert in something called “familiar and corporate constellations”. I do not mean to offend anyone, I am an ignoramus in the field of psychology, but these things kind of sound like bullshit to me. I am not an expert though and may be wrong.

          Anyway, I don’t think it is well advised, professionally speaking, to diagnose someone you never met in person with a personality disorder based on a cheater’s word alone.

          But of course it all could very well just be another one of FW’s self-aggrandizing fabulations. She would love me to believe she is a BOPE’s shrink patient. And even if this bit is true, who knows if the therapist really said what FW said she said?

          Talking to a cheater after discovery is really like sticking your head inside a blender, as Tracy says.

          I hope not to get in trouble by putting these stories out there.

          • I lived in Rio for two years. I cant believe you are married two one of those monsters.. I am so sorry!

            I was an advocate and community organizer within a couple of favelas. And paid dearly at the hands of these ‘ heros’. I’ve found it very hard to talk about in the US because it sounds almost unbelievable.

            • Hi, Dr. D, not married anymore, divorce was final last november.

              The girl I married 22 years ago wasn’t the monster’s apologist she turned out to be, she was sort of my high-school sweetheart and (pretending to be) very into science so I never in a million years would have expected her to join the SS. It came as a very unpleasant surprise, but I am at fault here for supressing my moral indignation and staying with her afterwards. Our already disfunctional marriage has become insuferable after that.

              For the sake of clarity, my XW is in the health corps, she does not engage in urban warfare, that would have been a deal breaker for me. In fact, her rationalization for being in the military police was that she was only helping sick people there, and I bought it. But the ideology percolated deep through her mind, and by the end she was a true believer to the point to referring to cops as “heroes” and quoting some of the preferred brazilian middle class aphorisms that reflect the racial cleansing disguised as public security police (I’m sure you’ve got to hear some of these pearls during your stay in Rio, and they are just too disgusting to repeat here). Her then AP was a crooked street cop (not in BOPE as well) that was sent to help at the hospital where she works after screwing up badly in the streets (she told me she killed a person). He also is an “entrepeneur” in the transportation business and is very well-off for a private soldier, if you know what I mean. I have photos of him and my XW fooling around in combat uniforms and holding guns.

              She’d got to see a shrink to go back to job because she took a short sick leave after “trying to kill herself” when I filed for divorce (barely tried to hold on to the knife when I disarmed her; I think it was fake). It turned out it was one of the psychologists that works with BOPE (or so she says).

              Thanks for trying to help being an advocate and organizer in favelas communities.
              I am sorry to hear you were molested by those guys, I hope you got out unscathed and are safe now.

              I find it very hard too to try and explain any of this to whomever have never lived in Brazil, it does seem unbelievable.

        • My ex told her therapist about me being angry, and not being happy with her going out and spending time with her friends, without telling her about the fact she was in love with another guy and that this was the reason I was angry. In her words ‘leaving out my villainous deeds’. So the therapist decided I was a malignant narcissist, abusive, angry and controlling. That gave my ex the rationale she needed to leave the relationship. “I knew then it was over.”

      • Oh. FW told me he was not a narc, he thought maybe he was codependent.

        He was gone 70% of the marriage. Military training, triathlons, random certifications for random things he felt like getting into, supposedly mandatory things that were not actually mandatory. So codependent, can’t you see? I must be the crazy narcissist that made him choose full-time military (um, no, I’d rather he changed tires for a living and actually came home). He was so codependent with me he had to spend the eleven years of our marriage traveling the world to fuck around, and drink mojitos in cigar bars, and mountain bike with his buddies, and do whatever men do in Thailand, and go to restaurants where dessert was more than the family’s daily food budget. While I watched the kids. Then try to tell me I couldn’t travel alone to study abroad ONCE IN ELEVEN YEARS. Sure. ???? Poor codependent pawn, he just wanted so desperately to please me.

            • ????????????

              For sure lee Chump, and he told this elaaaaaaborate story about how he and the guys wanted to go to a restaurant, but the taxi driver took them to a strip club, and they had so much trouble trying to explain that, no, they really wanted food. What a lark!

              He was in Bangladesh on business, but they went to Thailand on a long weekend because everyone knows Thailand is the place to have suits tailored ???? Anyway he came home with some horrid suits, but they fit nicely at least.

              Being a chump, I told him the suits were nice and didn’t question the taxi story.

      • I was just yesterday explaining projection to another family member in terms of accusations of bad behavior (lying and stealing) launched by a proven liar, thief and cheater.

    • If you have ever had one in your family there is no other answer. My paternal grandmother was Histrionic/Narcissistic and the only children she had that made it out ok were the ones who left home immediately after school. They moved out of state. The ones who stayed behind were damaged, including my father.
      You never have to wonder. Their selfishness is off the charts. They are so good at manipulation that you have no idea what is real.
      It is my understanding that most are men but the only one I saw up close was a soft spoken, small boned, dainty woman who was despised by every single in-law.

    • OzChump- I would also recommend VERY valuable information provided by an admitted narcissist for victims of true narcissists, not just assholes exhibiting narcissistic behaviors. There is definitely a difference. Some may be triggered by the fact that a narc runs the site, but I’ve found it to be helpful. He confirms the predatory nature of these beasts and provides very specific examples of how and why they seek us out. They are NOT like us. Never were and never will be.

      • Thanks OntheOtherSide. Will check it out. Different perspective should be interesting. They sure know how to use and abuse. It’s an artform with them. We never suspect cos we assume they’re like us.

    • I’ve only discovered Dr Ramani recently and she’s great. She’s enlightened me to how narcissists won’t and can’t change so there’s no hopium to be found that they’ll be the person we thought they were when they were in the Love Bombing phase. The awful person we see is who they really are.

      • Dr. Ramani’s book, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” is required reading for all Chumps. Even those with long gone ex-cheaters can learn a tremendous amount. It’s gaslighting in reverse.

        I believe in bibliotherapy, because good therapists are so rare, especially ones who are sharp enough to rebuke cheater apologists. And bad therapists can do real damage.

        There are a handful of books that have been absolutely life-saving for me. In addition to LACGAL and Dr. Ramani’s “SISSIG,” they are:

        The Passive-Aggressive Covert Narcissist by Debbie Mirza

        “Out of the Fog” by Dana Morningstar (“Fog” is an acronym for “fear, obligation, and guilt.” Morningstar is a brilliant psychiatric nurse who also authored “The Narcissist’s Playbook,” which is equally good.)

        Fragile Bully by Dr. Laurie Helgoe, PhD

        Character Disturbance, Dr. George Simon, PhD

        I’ve either read or listened to about 150 “self-help” tomes on cheaters, emotional abuse, manipulation, gaslighting, and narcissists. Many were just people jumping on the narcissism bandwagon to make a buck. Some were good (Lundy Bancroft, for instance). But the ones I listed were the very best for me in terms of their therapeutic results.

    • Narcissism is a trigger right now, my own fault, discovered the pro adultery reddit group and read it and one of the reoccurring justifications for cheating is because THEY wholeheartedly believe the betrayed spouse is the narc ???????????? umm… what the actual fuck? Talk about projecting

  • “The Plan B holding pattern is very profitable.”

    Wow. The impact of that sentence – an oak spear to the forebrain.

  • Cheaters act in their own interests and it is in their interests to keep the chump off balance. It is also in their interests to avoid being held responsible for their choices; far better to blame events that are outside of their control. In my opinion the “fog” is just a RIC enabled narrative that cheaters use to avoid consequences.

    It’s not fog people …. it’s a smokescreen laid – deliberately – by the cheater.


      • FOG: fear, obligation, guilt

        The disordered use this type of FOG to manipulate and control loving, faithful chumps long before we ever learn about the cheating. That way we’re primed to keep producing maximum cake for the longest time.

        Fear: What is it’s my fault? Why am I not enough? What if they leave me?
        Obligation: I took vows. Sunk costs.
        Guilt: Jesus said forgive 70 times 7. Divorce is a sin. I’ll break up my family. I’ll hurt my kids and extended family.

        • My cheater XW never used the exact term “fog”, but she did try to make her indecision and shadiness pass for this hypothetical abnormal state of mind the term describes. Or a deep confusion caused by some sort of psychological breakdown that nevertheless didn’t affect her executive functioning in the least, as Tracy accurately points out is usually the case with cheaters.

          The closest I got from the true nature of her “foggy” behaviour was one time between Ddays #1 and #2 when she was gazing dead-eyed into the horizon while I was begging her to explain what she intended to do next, since I was feeling she was playing games with me about reconciliation. She replied that she was just “biding her time, waiting for the dust to settle”. It was frighteningly unlike her. It was the first time I realized beyond doubt I was dealing with a player and an actress.

          Then there was a moment of semi-sincerity, when she told me she has had a very hard life so far and was only looking for fun from then on. That maybe she was chasing after illusions as I told her, but she would take her chances nonehteless. In this same conversation she declared I would be way more lovable if only my monthly paycheck was (the approximate equivalent of) 2k US dollars bigger than it was then.

          I came across the acronym F.O.G. meaning “fear, obligation and guilt” back when I was desperately searching for online resources. It describes perfectly what I have felt for my XW since long after the first DDay up to now. It is me who have to come out the F.O.G..

    • I haven’t seen cheaters using the term “fog” much. Certainly mine never did – but since she still hasn’t admitted to having an affair in the first place, she’s not likely employ a term of art in the infidelity community.

      In my experience, “fog” is something other people use to explain cheaters’ behavior. The cheaters themselves are just doing what they feel like doing – looking out for their own best interests in life – which doesn’t even need a name. Or rather, if they need to name it they call it “seeking their bless” or “I have a right to be happy”, or some other 21st century euphemisms that paints a gloss of self-actualization over what would, in earlier times, have been called “selfishness”.

        • “I have a right to be happy” really does me in because – they really don’t.

          He has a right to pursue his happiness as long as, and this is key, he isn’t infringing on the rights of another person.

          So if his bliss is abusing, stealing, sexual assaulting (like cheating on your spouse), willfully spreading STD’s, or any other common crime – sorry pal, you don’t have a right to do that.

          • “He has a right to pursue his happiness as long as, and this is key, he isn’t infringing on the rights of another person.”

            AMEN! Clear, concise and well put!

          • Exactly and his right to pursue happiness does not include lying to the spouse and denying them the opportunity to make life decisions based on the truth.

        • Same. Or, “We both deserve to be happy.”

          I wish FW would get what he deserves… and it is NOT happiness.

          • I also just remembered the oft-repeated Hoover: “I’ll do anything to make you happy. I’ll do whatever it takes to prove my love.” And then I realized, no, he actually will not do ANYTHING, not even the smallest gesture, to make me happy. He’s ignored everything I’ve asked for. Why even say that shit?

          • My fw called me after our D was final. He told me he and whore were flying to Vegas to get married. I said “why are you telling me?” He said “I didn’t want you to hear from someone else. I just said “ok, bye” and hung up.

            Had this been post CL, I would have know to say “I wish you both all the happiness you deserve”.

    • This is the conclusion I eventually came to.

      In about 2005 or 6, Cheaters behaviors were bizarre…literally made no sense. I was a believer in The Fog back then, he acted like a lunatic.

      I now believe that he likely had moments where his serial adultery was close to being discovered and he was likely anxious, but he knew what he was doing. He likely knew that if I learned he had cheated for years, I would throw him out and tell everyone, so he worked at keeping the conversation on the current affair.

      I was in a fog because I had no idea the extent of his treachery and was reacting only to what I knew and saw in front of me.

      It was years before I gained a few details that helped me understand a bit (there is much I will never know) but now I am not surprised that I misunderstood what was happening back then.

      • Too often this whole thing snags Chumps in because we think they are suffering from serious mental illness – something we should support them through.

        It rather makes sense that a person being found to have a double like would act goofy as they realize they are in danger of being discovered.

        What is happening is abuse being inflicted on us.

        • “Too often this whole thing snags Chumps in because we think they are suffering from serious mental illness…”

          This nails what I thought. My ex’s behavior resembled nothing so much as that of my bipolar father’s delusions. The difference was that my father had acted erratically in the grip of his mood swings throughout his entire life, whereas my then-husband’s bizarre behavior, thought patterns, and words to me had a very sudden onset.

          • Yup, I thought my husband was going crazy. I thought I had to help him through it. I thought I was a lighthouse meant to guide him out of that fog so he could return to being the man he used to be.

            That stupid fog. He never was in “a fog.” Like CL, managing a secret life takes a lot of executive functioning.

            It took years of critical reflection before I realized that he always was who he was. The one in the fog, who couldn’t see a red flag for a romantic pink one, was me. I may as well have had “Rube” tattooed on my forehead when he met me and instantly appraised me as an acceptable Plan B.

            • I had come to the conclusion that FW was undiagnosed Aspergers. I even went to a specialist counselor two hours away for guidance on how to adapt and live with an Asperger spouse. All the while, he was lying and scheming and treating me like dogshit on the bottom of his boots!

              On D-Day he screamed at me “I am not As…whatever you have been saying about me!”

              So, all along, for months. he has sat back and watched me struggle and try and work and struggle……. just enjoying the show, I’m sure. Him and Schmoopie probably got many minutes of post coital giggles out of my Hail Mary moves to save my family.

              • I’m with you. When asking my FW about how he was feeling, as he’d been acting strange (I blamed his behaviour on the lockdown) he described to me, what could only be described as depression due to his parents dying within 5 years of each other. I encouraged counselling which he readily took up. I have since discovered that he took the money and the time to spend with schmoopie. Oh silly chump me sitting at home worrying about his state of mind.

              • Yes! My FW was always giving explanations like he must have Asperger’s syndrome for not showing an ounce of empathy when someone we were close to died. The year before D-Day, my year of discard, he was acting so erratically that I found him a therapist (through my insurance of course, like a good little chump wife). I thought he was depressed, had ADHD, a minor stroke… you name it. Literally anything was preferable to what ended up blowing up in my face months later. And he let me pretzel myself and try to “help him” the whole time… ????‍♀️

              • Fuckthatshit: That one REALLY pisses off adults with actual Aspergers and parents of affected children. I remember when Seinfeld tried to hint in an interview that he was aspy, no doubt because he was being a typical narcy celeb and ruining his relationships. The entire aspy and parent community flamed him until he recanted and apologized.

              • I thought he was in a MidLife Crisis and when I told him so, HE AGREED!! Eureka, we have a solution and the troubles can end!!

                What I didnt know is that he was a serial adulterer and being accused of a Mid Life Crisis was a HUGE relief and his agreement would keep me spinning looking for a solution to THAT problem while 25 years of fucking strange remained hidden.

              • I have asperger’s (was diagnosed when I was 40, but they don’t use that term anymore.)

                Anyway, many autistic people have a really hard time with lying. Many of us are so literal that lies just do. not. compute.

                It’s probably why I am a chump, it took me a good 30 years to be able to pick up on other people’s lies even a little bit.

                Can we be obtuse and not pick up on your emotions or body language? Sure. But liars? Probably the least likely sub-group of humans to have a problem with lying.

          • This. So much this. Such a sudden personality change has to be a stroke or something, right? But they didn’t change, they just took off their mask because you’re not worth keeping it on for anymore, they’re finished with you.

            • And it’s not even that you’re not worth it. You’re as worthy as you always were. They’ve just fucked things up to badly for it to be worth it to them anymore. They don’t actually care about chumps. We’re not humans they’re bonded to. It’s all about what we can do for them.

            • I thought Mr. Sparkly Pants had Alzheimer’s. Turns out he had your basic Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

        • Too often this whole thing snags Chumps in because we think they are suffering from serious mental illness – something we should support them through.

          I kept saying “what is wrong with you?” He said he was depressed, I said see someone. He says I’ll be fine as soon as I’m paid, the Veterans Administration owes me a lot of money (healthcare provider). I was snowed. Allowed me to use up savings, while waiting for the large payment (not really large of course).

          His sleepless nights, I get up and ice his shoulder, turns out he became a cheater and late life addict.

          He chose young gf and drugs over what had been a pretty good life for 36 years. He created quite the toxic fog. Thank God I found LACFAL I was petrified but did it.

          • At first, I thought X was depressed, and I was oh so supportive.

            Then I thought his prostate meds were giving him ED. The POS used this to his advantage, even going so far as to let me make – and accompany him to – a medical appointment to check his virility. What an idiot I was – the doctor basically said everything he could to suggest X was cheating, but my mind simply wouldn’t let me go there.

            Then I thought FW was having a mid-life crisis and, again, was determined to support him through it.

            In the end, I gave up trying to figure it out and finally asked “who are you?” He responded with a smirk I will never forget.

            He didn’t even resemble the person I thought I married. I remember considering for just a second if satanic possession was a possibility.

            What a crazy-making nightmare he was!

            • Oh! Mine did this too, started having ED issues more and more which was a huge mind fuck since it happened right at the start of a couple challenge he wanted to do. “100 days of sex” challenge (basically you make the time to be sexually intimate with each other for 100 days straight and it’s suppose to reset and refocus the effort needed to be put into the relationship as well as rekindle conversation as it’s meant to break down “the communication rut”)… we never got to day four without ED striking.

              Like yours mine wanted to include me in this great mystery, took me to the doctors had all these tests (apparently testosterone is fickle and needs many tests to get a base line reading) but unlike your experience his doctor blamed everything else but the possibility of an affair. The excuses were”
              – It was his reflux medication (nope and what a nightmare that was because ex went off those and so I was blamed for ALL that heart burn for months, never blamed himself for all that takeaway he would sneak, always my fault)
              – It was the stress of work (I guess this was slightly true since he was keeping me in the dark about him fucking his exhibition coordinator but he was also keeping her in the dark because he was messing around with his marketing assistant too. Lots of juggling = lots of stress.)
              – He wasn’t exercising enough (which was a red flag for me since he had two gym memberships and twice a week he would leave home early to go to a class… yeah… no)
              – It was too much salt, sugar, fat, dairy, gluten…

              Ugh two years of him acting like he had no clue what the cause for his fluctuating ED was, fake sniffling and crocodile tears that he feels like less of a man for not satisfying his wife.

              His ED was purely because he didn’t have the stamina to fuck three+ women in a week. His two chicks at work wanted some, he would get sexual with clients or a random at a café/pub/conference/meeting and then at the end of the day when he returned home to me he just didn’t have the stamina to give me the scraps, which now I’m grateful for now but at the time I took it so personally.

              Terrifies me to no end I went to sleep next to this person, thinking i was safe, not aware of the effort he put into covering up who he was, to bring me to the doctors like that is psychopathic.

        • Amen, Unicorn. These two posts are spot on. I do think chumps are in a fog. Our reality has been so skewed that we don’t even realize the extent to which we were spackling until we uncover a tiny fraction of the cheater’s lunacy.

        • Yep! So true! All his friends and family condemn me for going digging through his computer and online accounts but the reality is I thought my ex husband was having a serious mental health crisis and I was worried about him.

          What I found though was that he was an evil person and always had been.

        • I thought I was the only chump who did this! I read so many self-help books. He had a tormented relationship with his mother and sister, so I thought he might have trust issues in important relationships with women (me). I read attached and highlighted paragraphs to show him he might be avoidantly attached. I read John Gottmann’s books and “love languages”. I was holding on so strongly to denial that I even diagnosed my FW with relationship OCD! I kept looking for diagnoses online and eventually I found a subreddit r/ROCD, which seemed to fit my FW’s state of mind.
          (He was always tormented “I have doubts about the relationship! but at the same time, what if I leave you and you become a big shot professor and I regret it?”)

          I thought it was his relationship OCD not allowing him to be vulnerable and be with me. He left me once he secured his landing spot (the OW). eventually it became clear that he had a cheating episode around every time he had doubts about the relationship. I was so trusting that I believed all his stories of being propositioned by women to sleep with him at 3am in bars (a pre-pandemic world)

          • I reconnected with a friend from years ago (thank you internet) to share photos of our friend group. She now lives thousands of miles away with her daughter. She moved to this country because it was the only place her now ex could start a uni teaching career, after she supported him for YEARS whilst he was on the collegiate teat. I think I know who his girlfriend is, a much younger woman (student advisee for her degree) who looks eerily like my friend.

            My friend wrote her ex “lacks emotional courage”. Meanwhile their daughter shaved off all her hair and seems to be struggling emotionally.

          • As my therapist pointed out if your partner’s “love language” is words of affection that’s a huge red flag that they thrive off external validation AKA ego kibbles.

    • I came to say this. My therapist talked about me being in a narcissistic fog, where fog stands for “fear, obligation, guilt”. It’s a tool used to manipulate. Interesting that the RIC has co-opted it.

  • Yes, they are in a fog trying to feed their spouse appliance hopium. This is where they come up with really great material for stupid shit that cheaters say. One day Chump Lady will have to do a volume on that topic. During his fog I heard really great ones like:
    1. You can love more than one person at a time
    2. Everyone sends nude pictures and videos to their friends
    3. You can have multiple partners in a marriage
    4. I needed to feel good about myself
    5. We love in different ways
    6. I finally found true love
    7. Everyone cheats
    8. Friends have sex with each other
    All this and so much more. I just did not realize that these things happen to everyone. If only I had known. I am now in the process of getting free while the FW continues in his fog with Schmoopie who understands him.

    • 9. Marriage is a purely societal construct, and one size doesn’t fit all
      10. The key is to know how to compartmentalize your feelings
      11. Love isn’t like a pie, where giving a bigger slice to someone else means giving a smaller slice for you.

      • 12: I am unhappy. I should not be unhappy. It could not possibly be because of anything I have to take responsibility for myself. I cheat because of you chump. You make me unhappy and you are lucky to have mr

      • UX– If you think about it, #11 is actually true for guilt, not love Convicting the getaway driver doesn’t reduce the sentence for the armed bag man.

      • “Love isn’t like a pie, where giving a bigger slice to someone else means giving a smaller slice for you.”

        Right? Except of course in most cases you better not give a slice of pie to anyone but them.

        My fw didn’t want me to travel for work, or go out at night except for church or family. His reasoning was, I couldn’t handle myself; but he can.

        Yeah, he handled himself and pretty much any whore he could get his hand son, while sat home like the dutiful wife.

        • Oh, Susie, I’m sorry.

          I don’t really care about the affair anymore, but I will forever resent the time I spent raising a family while he did whatever he wanted and came home when he wanted.

          No matter how much I love my kids to pieces, I will never forgive FW for putting me through the experience of trying to date at 40 ????

          • Oh I think I still do.

            I have had a wonderful life with a sweetheart of a husband. But yeah the time he stole from me was the worse part.

            Even though I know he made his life after our D a living hell, that smarts.

            I do have an amazing son though. We spent a lot of time together this past year dealing with my brothers estate, and I know how blessed I am that he turned out so well.

            • “I know how blessed I am that he turned out so well.”

              We may want those years back, but they were never wasted ♥️

      • I got the opposite of #11: I loved you too much for too long and all the love just got used up. In other words, love is like a pie and I ate the whole pie so no more pie for you.

        I am proud that I’ve never told my kids that their mother’s attitude is “yeah, my love could just run out one day.”

        • XW said she “fell out of love” with me when I had a heart attack. My son said to me “boy, I hope I don’t get sick someday”. I assured him I would always be there for him, in sickness and health.

        • “yeah, my love could just run out one day.”

          Are they human? How do they abandon family like that? Chumps can remember al the abusive, cruel, dishonest things that cheaters did. Or, we can focus on the fact that they abandoned and betrayed loved ones. Cheating isn’t one of those crimes that perpetrators can pretend are victimless. They hurt the people they are closest to. Trust they suck.

      • I got a version of 11. She told me it was like our children – when the second came along i didn’t love the first one any less did i? Then she told me i was better than AP in many ways but that she didn’t find me attractive and that i shouldn’t destroy our children’s life out of pride. Tbh my self respect is zero right now and i dont have the strength to leave. I know she would screw me with the children. I envy all you that were ‘deserted’ .

        As for fog – im certainly in a fog of trying to understand how someone could lead a 3 year double life with a ‘soulmate’ met on a seedy dating site when we had a really good life. Not perfect sure, but better than most i thought.

        • Wait . . . YOU shouldn’t destroy your children’s lives out of pride? She led a 3-year double life, but YOU are destroying your children’s lives? It takes some grade-A nerve to make that kind of statement.

          Don’t try to understand it. Accept that she’s who and what she is, use that acceptance to get your dander up, and start protecting yourself. She’s already demonstrated that she doesn’t give two shits about you or your feelings, so the only one who’s going to look out for you is you (and your lawyer).

        • George, you need to get your mighty on. Don’t let your kids witness your FW continuing to abuse you. She is hurting the kids with her secret life, these kids need to see normal and that means a life without a FW. Realize that she sucks and that you are the good person who did not cheat. Looks or not this already makes you infinitely better than a cheater. You have value and values. Look after yourself, get you ducks lined up and get FW free. You are worthy of respect and worthy of love. Don’t let a FW you down. Being a single parent to your kids is better than giving them a skewed idea of a marriage. You will be okay. I am in the middle of this but I can already look back and laugh at stupid cheater shit. Take it one step at a time but take those steps.

        • George, I took too long to leave as well, for the same reason. But my kids paid the price. They are worse off than they would have been if I had left long ago and set about giving them a safe and stable home.

          Instead they grew up watching their mother grow more depressed each year until it turned into a serious illness. It took realizing I was going to die and then they would have no mother to raise me out of my fog.

          Don’t assume ANYTHING about custody. Talk to a lawyer, find out your rights.

        • Damn George that is hard. But you have a tough decision to make, because your children will learn from you how to respond in situations like this. The only thing she is doing is making you feel guilty and keep you in place to take on all the responsibilities, while she is fucking someone else without consequences.
          Get thee to a lawyers office for advice and start planning. It will be a shit storm, but that is probably still better than torture for the rest of your life. Think she is nasty now? She will move the posts of what she thinks she can get away with if you let her. It can only go downhill from here.
          And expect a turnaround when she realizes you are emotionally pulling away. She will hang on for dear life. You will be flooded with positive feelings and hope when she does, but that is because you have been starving for positive attention all these years. It is the biggest mindfuck, so bee prepared.
          Hang in there and keep reading here, because we are here for you my man.
          Also read the book “Now what” from Dad starting over. A book for men getting their life back in order after infidelity and divorce.

    • 13. I thought you weren’t interested anymore (aka I was doing it for you… um…)
      14. I can’t explain it okay so stop asking
      15. It just wasn’t a big deal / didn’t take too much of my time etc…

        • 17. “I am such an asshole”. The closest he got to any admission of guilt, but also his excuse for everything

        • There must really be a cheater’s playbook because #s 13-16 sound all too familiar.

          • “but I chose YOU.”

            HA! F me I got this too. He said “I had the chance to leave, [AP name] begged me to leave and it would have been so easy but I chose to stay with you because I love you that much”. Of course this confused me because earlier in that week he delivered the ILYBNILWY speech.

            He was so hurt that I said he should have left, sulked at home and kept bringing it up how heartless I was for saying that when he was so vulnerable ATM.

      • 13. “I thought you didn’t care,” & its evil twin “I thought you were going to divorce me anyway. ”

        That’s why I worked so hard to hide it from you for a year on a secret messaging app, lied for two months when you started asking questions, then begged you not to divorce me. Because I knew you didn’t care if I did it, and the marriage was practically over anyway.

        Idk guys, sometimes it doesn’t sound like there’s anything in their pretty little heads BUT fog.

        • I got “I thought you were just settling for me until you could find someone better so I started devising a backup plan in case you left me.” I think it was pure projection…he was the one settling for me until something better came along.

      • Ugh, all of those. My ex (before it came out that his summer fling was actually years of a double life with multiple women) emailed our counselor to tell her he thought it was “unhelpful for B&R to think of this as cheating.” And then when she shared this with me, he was furious with *her*, which translated to him being furious with me – because of course he couldn’t openly express his rage in front of the counselor because that would undermine his whole narrative and persona.

      • Me too. If only I had known this was a classic cheater script. If only my therapist or marriage counselor had recognized it as such and encouraged me to let him go and get a life. Thank God for Chump Lady!

        • One day, I am going to run into the site that sells the cheater’s manual. There has got to be one because we have so many of the same experiences. Am just entering in settlement negotiations with the FW and it is horrible! He was upset that I did not ask for his consent to file for a divorce! So many things that he is trying to bring up but we have the PI report so that will come out when we need that. Ugh!

          • “He was upset that I did not ask for his consent to file for a divorce! ”

            Well sure CFANM, how dare you betray him by filing for a D. Two married folks should not be keeping secrets.

            Mine was pissed because I retained a lawyer. He had it all set up for me to use his lawyer, and they had worked out the settlement, and all I had to do was sign it.

            He called me once when it became clear that things were not going his way and threatened me by saying “if you don’t do it the way I said, I am going to sell everything”. I just said “knock yourself out big boy” and hung up.

            He called me back about an hour later and apologized. I don’t know if he meant it or his sad sack lawyer had enough sense to tell him “dude you just threatened your wife”

            Bottom line was we were under a legal separation agreement. He did not have the authority to sell anything.

            I do think up to that point, he really thought he was still in control and that he would control me and the legal system.

              • It was one of the few comments I made to him. I don’t even know what made me think of it. I was at work, and my supervisor was sitting in the next cubicle. She got a huge kick out of it after I told her what happened.

            • The FW just has no idea how ridiculous he sounds when he spews his crap. He said this in front of our respective lawyers. He was classic and then he proceeded to launch into how this was impacting him, how he doesn’t want to lose his money, how he deserves what he wants, etc. please note it was all me, me, me. His attorney eventually realized that there was not going to be any agreement while the FW had an audience to play to. They are supposed to come back with an agreement which will hopefully line up to something more reasonable.
              Yep, my FW found out that if we go to court, he will be asked about his Schmoopie and she may also be called in. Now he is trying to keep things out of court and private. I am perfectly fine with not keeping everything quiet and will go to court to get a fair settlement. The PI is ready and we have a great case with tons of visual presentations (yep dumbass sent videos to my sons shared account by accident). Nice thing is that we are in a fault state so he knows he is not going to look good unless he settles and it never gets to court. Knowing that he s no longer in control makes me feel pretty mighty especially after years of taking his shit.

              • I kind of wish I had gone to court. Lawyer said I didn’t have to unless I wanted to. Unless of course it was contested.

                I bet the fw showed up at the first court date to “take control” I am betting if he tried it, the judge knocked him on his ass, police uniform and all.

                But at the time, I couldn’t stomach seeing him.

              • “Nice thing is that we are in a fault state so he knows he is not going to look good unless he settles and it never gets to court. ”

                I love when that happens.

                We were in a no fault state, but I had three years of credit card debt that showed clearly him spending money on women who were not me. He did agree to a years worth of temp maintenance, and I got a small property that was paid for. he did not want a huge court case, as he was still trying to save his ass at work.

                Luckily the mayor waited to bust him until about 8 or nine months after our agreement. Had the mayor busted him right off the bat, I might have had to fight it out.

                Turns out No Fault does not cover fraud against a spouse.

    • “Yes, they are in a fog trying to feed their spouse appliance hopium. ”

      Yep, the day fw left, he told me he still loved me and he thought things would work out. That bit of hopium was only needed until he could get his shit moved out of the house without me falling apart. Much easier for him, to hell with me.

      A week and a half or so later he came back and told me, he was in love with whore and they wanted to get married. He had been unhappy for ten years, and had been dating for ten years. (I guess in his mind, this made him less of a monster if he had been unhappy, I mean he was unhappy, what else could he do). Whore was totally innocent, and he made the first move. She had been fucking him in back alleys for at least three years, likely more; but she was a delicate flower. Their first time was in the back of his squad car, and oh by the way I never loved you. Just though I would throw that mind movie of us hawling our fat asses over the seat to screw.

      In that case he only needed me in a hopium trance to keep me quiet until he could get out. Then of course he could turn his efforts to trying to save his ass at work.

      The good news is he had so obviously lied and used so many folks that he was never going to get that shit smell of of his shoes. Whore was already known as a pile of shit, so no change for her.

  • If there was such a thing as “ affair fog” then no affair would last more than say 2 years and we all know that’s not true .

    I’m my early days ( I’m a seasoned chump now) every article said “ limerence” ie affair fog and that wouldn’t cope with real life and it dies after about 2 years .
    It’s another made up thing so cheaters can’t hold themselves accountable

    • True Karmeh.

      However, there is no question the affair ends when real life begins. By affair I mean the thrill and excitement of an affair.

      I am also convinced that except in rare cases a cheater is a cheater is a cheater. About the only thing that will stop them is aging out of the ability.

      With Viagra; it extends their cheater life span.

  • I kind of disagree with chump fog.

    I do think there is a fog for chumps. And it affects every area of our life. We can’t sleep, we can’t eat, it affects our job performance, we are scared, indecisive etc. Maybe fog isn’t the right word, but it is certainly more fitting for the chump to be in a fog than the cheater.

    Whatever we want to call it, I am so glad I got away from that lying asshole, and I am so glad schmoops got to suffer at his hands. Now that is a true win/win.

    • Understand what you mean here. I think the issue is calling it “fog” for chumps because we are not trying to get out of responsibility for our actions with some made up BS. We are traumatized.

      • Traumatized is a good description. But, still I couldn’t have made a serious decision if my life depended on it. It took me about a month to be able to unfreeze. I did go to work, and I told my supervisor what was going on.

        Luckily for me (though not her) is she had been through it a couple years before. She knew I would come out of it. At the three week time frame; I got in to my dr. and went on temp meds to help me focus.

        Thank goodness because he was still trying to manipulate me into using his lawyer, so they could screw me into poverty.

        Back then there was no internet, much less any CL.

        • Therapist once explained our reality is destroyed.
          Our past our present our future.
          It is not fog, it is pure and simple emotional destabilization triggered by another person and trauma
          And then we go into survival mode, trying to regain our sanity our perception of reality and our stable lives, particularly if you’ve been together a long time, or have children or an intertwined professional life.
          Nothing we had was real.

          everyone is able to process it at their own pace, and hopefully leave
          I could not process that my ex did not want our life. And I stayed far too long

          • “it is pure and simple emotional destabilization triggered by another person and trauma”

            True, but it is still just another way to say fog. In CLs comment below it states we make decisions to spackle, minimize or deny. But, we are not thinking (most of us) clearly enough to make good decision in the beginning.

            “It’s totally human to be traumatized by betrayal, to be afraid, and seduced by false hope and a sense of control. But we chumps also make choices — to spackle, minimize or deny.”

            I guess what I am trying to say is the cheater who has been living a double life has no excuse of a “fog”, but a betrayed does have an excuse to not think clearly until you can get a handle on it. Whether we call it trauma, blindsided, emotions trauma or fog.

            Sometimes that inability can help protect us from making a horrible situation even worse. Sometimes we make horrible decisions during that time. All because we can’t think clearly; not like the cheater who has had plenty of time to access and make decisions based on their own self interest.

            I am not coitizing CL, she is gold; I just know that I was in a haze when it all came crashing down; and yes I suspected something for the previous few months; but I was in survival mode. Or what I might call chump fog.

            I did ok, given my situation; but there are things I could have done better had I not been confused and in severed emotional pain.

      • Yeah, we are def traumatized. I think looking forward to Tuesday described it well:
        “It’s not fog people …. it’s a smokescreen laid – deliberately – by the cheater.”
        We keep getting boobytraps laid out on our path by these manipulative deceitful cheaters and you only get a few random puzzle pieces here and there that don’t even seem like they are part of the puzzle you’re trying to put together.
        And Dr.Ramani is wonderful, she fully gets it.She and CL are my go toos for clarity and very solid practical and reality based advice.

    • This was my experience. I believe I was in shock and incredibly depressed as I saw my life falling apart in front of my eyes and felt faced with a series of shitty choices. Compounding it was my nonstop worry about the impact to my child. It was a torturous terrible time that lasted several months for me. I cried anytime I was alone. I wouldn’t call it a fog. It was more like living grief. Anyway, I had little control until one day I woke up and made a decision…then I started to regain some semblance of resiliency. At that time, it was the wrong decision, but at least it pulled me out of emotional and mental hell for a second.

      • It was exactly this for me too. Took me months of drifting through a fog of doubt, far, indecision, and hopelessness. Then I started making plans and putting things into motion. I stopped asking if what I felt was true, stopped asking for reasons and apologies and started the business of rescuing my life. Especially during the first year that fog would occasionally roll in with the tide. But it would soon roll back out again as we are living a better life even with the still scary unknowns stalking the perimeters.

      • Yep.

        I remember the year before the year of discard (when I began to figure it out). I was not really happy, I was a bit depressed. I would get angry a lot; I remember one day after work sitting in my car in the work parking lot, talking to myself and saying: “what the heck is wrong with you. You have a husband that loves you, you have a secure job; some lovely friends and yet you are down and prone to anger.”

        Little did I know he had been cheating for years. No wonder my body was breaking down. My body knew. My body was likely in protection from danger mode. I was not yet ready to listen. Quite frankly, I should have gone to counseling right then. My guess is had I gone to my preacher, he likely would have known something was up, just by some of my issues.

        • Same thing happened to me…..I kept wondering what was wrong with ME, when the truth is my body/intuition were screaming that something was terribly wrong with HIM. That he could watch me struggle and suffer and agonize, and know that the reason I felt so emotionally and physically “off” was because he was lying, gas lighting, destabilizing, me — that level of emotional abuse is more unforgivable than the actual affair(s).

          • So familiar. And then to have them say, oh we stopped talking. Um yeah asshole, you stopped talking to me because you were too busy with the whore.

            I honestly think if I were in physical proximity of anyone who used the phrase “we grew apart, I might have to ko them.

            Sadly we don’t get it all put together until it is too late to have our say. At least I didn’t.

          • MehBeSoon, this is so true! (That he could watch me struggle and suffer and agonize, and know that the reason I felt so emotionally and physically “off” was because he was lying, gas lighting, destabilizing, me – that level of emotional abuse is more unforgivable than the actual affair(s).) Now that I am out of the marriage, I wake up some mornings just in awe that someone actually does this for YEARS! And this is not awe as in awesome. It’s a feeling of horror.

            • ” that level of emotional abuse is more unforgivable than the actual affair(s).)”

              And as far as I can tell; that is the part that follows us for years.

              Doesn’t mean we don’t move on, or have a good life; but it is a part of us.

              I read somewhere today “We don’t get over, or move on from Trauma. We are forced to make space for it, we learn to live with it, and sometimes we thrive in spite of it”

              That is my prayer and wish for everyone here still in the fresh midst of it. That they thrive in spite of it. I believe most will, simply because they are talking about it and not burying it.

        • Same for me. I started individual counseling 5 years before D-day, right after the birth of our second child, because I thought something was seriously wrong with me. Angry and depressed all the time, pains and aches all over… it took me and my therapist years to figure it out… all his lies, deflecting, breadcrumbing, gaslighting, future faking, it turns out it’s not a healthy way to live.

          • If I had it to do over again, I would have at the very least went to my preacher for a discussion, and ask if he could refer me to an IC to figure out what was wrong with me.

            I am betting first of all, he would have figured out quickly what the issue was; though he likely would have tried to verify it before stating it. And, I would have gotten some individual help; so that when the explosion came; I would have been stronger.

            I am guessing me just telling him how much more the fw was working, and how lonely and angry I am getting would have been a tip off. Preacher was also the police chaplain with full access to work records.

            He trusted my fw too; and he was pissed beyond belief when he realized the liar the ex really was.

            But that is the thing, we are scared, confused and think we are the problem, so we try to just will ourselves to get better; while unknowingly suffering abuse.

            But, no do overs.

    • I think of what we experience as “punch drunk.” The discovery or confession is like a blow to the head, and we’re reeling around trying to stay on our feet and think while our brains are whirling.

      • True, in fact it is very much a physical blow as well as emotional. I have read that it causes a physical reaction by our bodies.

    • I’d call it trauma induced depression, something beyond mourning the end (murder really) of one’s marriage.

  • I’m of the opinion that cheaters are like drug addicts or alcoholics, but the high they chase is the new relationship energy high/kibbles.

    Plenty of drug addicts/alcoholics regret the things they did before they got clean. Then again, just because they’re clean doesn’t mean they’re not drug addicts or alcoholics. One drink and they can descend back into that lifestyle. The advice given to partners of alcoholics is just like what chump lady says. Nothing you did caused them to drink, and nothing we did caused them to cheat.

    Just like cheating, extreme alcoholism, or drug use are perfectly valid reasons to divorce someone. Ultimately we have to protect ourselves, and if our partners are putting our well being at risk to chase some emotional high. They aren’t really worth being married to. Good spouses don’t hurt you just so they’ll benefit somehow.

    • Luckycline: I agree with you. I see it as thinking of themselves and their wants first and doing this serially. They are like addicts but like addicts they can work at not putting themselves and their wants first because they have made a committment to a spouse or SO. They know what they are doing is quite harmful and to their relationship and that it will hurt the one they are committed to. They can choose to accept the temptation or reject it. If they are a person that can not be loyal to their spouse or SO, they can at least be honest and get out of the relationship.

    • But bottles and pills don’t cry out in pain when consumed. People do. Not every substance addict starts out with impaired empathy even if consuming substances eventually kills their compassion (many drugs have that chemical effect). The thing with cheaters, like all domestic abusers, is that impaired empathy is the starting position, the factory setting. It’s something far darker than addiction.

      I read an essay on dv that put it well: you wouldn’t call battering “punching addiction” because the supposed addict would be punching their bosses and armed cops. The thing about domestic abusers (including cheaters) is that most only target their intimate partners. As a former advocate for DV survivors, there’s too much that’s familiar in the behavior of cheaters to be random. Another argument I read about DV is that most batterers operate on a beat-by-need basis. If they can get the same results (victim paralyzed and under total control) using less athletic or legally risky means, they will.

      Aside from the fact that virtually all domestic abusers cheat, cheating ticks all the boxes of what typical domestic abusers seek, which is mainly to dilute their own internally generated, pathological infantile dependency on intimate partners by diminishing the partner and/or “spreading” dependency between more than one partner. If this fails (as it often does) many turn to violence and other forms of coercion. Only when the victim seems too broken and paralyzed to move on (or is literally dead) can the abuser move on themselves and they often do it with an expression of victory as if they had been avenging themselves against the victim for some terrible thing the victim did. But the abuser’s infantile dependency is not the fault of the victim and the victim did not deliberately foster it, so the vengeful attitude of the cheater/abuser makes no sense.

      • ” The thing with cheaters, like all domestic abusers, is that impaired empathy is the starting position, the factory setting. It’s something far darker than addiction.”

        That is the best description of a cheater that I have ever read. Every person who cheats, lies or hides their behavior knows it is going to hurt someone. If it wasn’t going to hurt someone, they wouldn’t have to hide it. And if it wasn’t going to hurt someone, they likely wouldn’t do it because duping is part of the thrill.

      • “Aside from the fact that virtually all domestic abusers cheat, cheating ticks all the boxes of what typical domestic abusers seek, which is mainly to dilute their own internally generated, pathological infantile dependency on intimate partners by diminishing the partner and/or “spreading” dependency between more than one partner”

        I’ve never heard this bit before. It’s super enlightening. My cheater left me to be polyamorous with her affair partner. For most of our marriage she had no friends or much of a social life outside of what we did together. That while we were in our early to late 20s. I’d bet she resented being reliant on me like that. :/

      • You should write a book. This is chillingly illuminating – like everything you write about DV. I can’t thank you enough for sharing all of this.

  • “Cheating is a choice.” THIS!
    It is a conscious decision made with overt indifference and blatant disregard for the chump.
    Fog my ass… they know exactly what they are doing and why. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the chump.

    • Yep, my fw by his own admission had been cheating for ten years out of a 21 year marriage. I believe it was our whole marriage.

      I had financial records going back three years to prove the money he had been funneling to the whore. I am sure I could have gotten ten years and it would have been more of the same.

      He kept it from his boss, and lots of other folks. You can’t do that in a fog.

      He paid the price on the job, and his whore lost her job. City handled it pretty cleverly. They transferred her to another totally different job. She worked there a few months and totally fucked up a dispatch; so she then got fired.

      They had to know she was as dumb as a bag of rocks, and wouldn’t be able to handle the dispatcher job. It calls for a good memory, and quick thinking.4543

      I didn’t really realize it at the time, but I think the agreement was she would be “transferred”, he would be demoted. I am sure the union was involved, as there was an ethics violation filed against him. I found out years later, just this last year that he retired early. I wonder if that was part of the deal, because I doubt he would have retired early, unless maybe they were making it so miserable he had to.

      This was about a year before tail hook. (end of 89) My guess is had it been after tail hook; he would have been fired.

      I don’t know who the whistle blower was, or how he/she was compensated. My guess is a pay out, or a promotion. You know they didn’t walk away empty handed.

      • “He kept it from his boss, and lots of other folks. You can’t do that in a fog.”

        Agree 100%.

        The conscious precise effort put into “OPSEC” (what cheaters call their security toolkit to keep their affairs private) completely invalidates the myth around fog. It’s a cool clear mind who made those decisions, not a clouded mind.

        • Agreed.

          I do think some chumps can be in a fog for a while, and to prove it is a fog it affects every part of their life.

          Call it what you want, I was not thinking clearly for several weeks after Dday. I was so fortunate that I didn’t do something stupid.

  • (music by Three Dog Night, lyrics by Chump Nation)

    Cheater says she has affair fog
    Said it six times before
    I always understood and tried to see it through
    But it ain’t my job no more
    And I’m gonna show that halfwit the door

    Fuck shifting blame
    Fuck the stalling game
    Fuck anybody who does that to me
    Fuck the R-I-C

  • I remember FW being frantic when his word salad was no longer effective. He claimed he was overwhelmed by concern for his adult daughter or his vehicle or his job. He just couldn’t be expected to talk about our 30 year marriage. I thought he was having a breakdown and, after I left, I called his brother to stop by to make sure he was okay.


    • Almost Monday

      ER doc actually texted me when he was asked to be part of intervention, “I hope we aren’t missing something organic”. (Idk if he knew about gold digger)

  • This post reminded me of a comment I made shortly after the FW left, “if he were a drug addict, or ill, I would stay by him so I will keep trying”. Surely this must have been caused by all that fog surrounding the FW- it is powerful, lol now!

    • This post reminded me of a comment I made shortly after the FW left, “if he were a drug addict, or ill, I would stay by him so I will keep trying”. Surely this must have been caused by all that fog surrounding the FW- it is powerful, lol now!

      I felt that way when I found out cheater was drug addict, such an about face from what our life had been. But I realized he wasn’t really seeking recovery, just more lies. I had to protect myself emotionally and financially. He continues to make a mess of his life. Try getting financials from an addict. Just lucky we had paid off home, commercial property and vacation home when things were normal.

  • I don’t believe for one split second that anyone who has the executive functioning required to cheat is in any kind of fog. They are a walking talking fog machine. They’re creating the fog 24/7 to throw off the partner being cheated on and maintain the buzz. The best way to respond is to walk away and don’t play.

    Anyone dumb enough to volunteer for a relationship with a traitor and a liar deserves everything they get, and it gets delivered faster if you put on your oxygen mask and walk out of the fog bank. Double that for a jerk who cheats on a loyal partner and thinks someone who will cheat with them is a step up.

    There is no honor among thieves or cheaters and I could not be more grateful that the fog he was generating evaporated in the light of truth and reality found here courtesy of Chump Lady.

    Here is where you get your oxygen mask and your map to freedom and a better life.

    • Exactly. Fog my ass. They’re not in a fog. They see clearly what they are doing. But they do dapple in the foggy arts, blowing smokey lines like this:

      “I just fell in love.” [INNOCENT victim of Cupid’s arrow.You got a problem with that? If so, you’re a bitter bunny, which only proves that you were impossible to live with.]

      “Yes. I lied every day for years, but that was just because I knew you would react badly, and I wanted to protect AP.” [My Fault and See How Noble I am!!!]

      “I was naive.” [Poor guy. See also: Timid Forest Creature]

      Thanks to CL for helping me see through the fog. I’ve got my oxygen mask firmly in place. #maskmandateforchumps.

  • For far too long we’ve been condoning people not taking personal responsibility, in fact society backs up the lame excuses…his father left when he was a kid so that’s the reason he robs banks, she didn’t make the cheerleading squad and that major disappointment is why she neglects her kids. It wasn’t the excessive speed that killed people in the car he hit it was poor road conditions. So it shouldn’t be a total surprise when society (or chumps) come up with excuses for cheaters.

    • I think Mr. CL can verify this, but when I had a class in high school called Youth and the Law, taught by a lawyer who was also a teacher, I remember her telling us that “ignorance of the law is not a defense.”

      Similarly, I think what happened to us growing up is not a defense either. I suffered plenty of trauma my entire road to adulthood and did not cheat or murder anyone etc. I was taught as a psych major that some people react by harming others, and other people turn it inward and harm themselves. I don’t know how true that is, but I would definitely fall into the latter category.

      • You just gave a great example of how your trauma (legitimate) didn’t make you screw over or abuse others. I think society, although well intentioned, has had a big hand in creating these monsters by backing up or coming up with the bizarre excuses of why they do what they do.

        • “I think society, although well intentioned, has had a big hand in creating these monsters by backing up or coming up with the bizarre excuses of why they do what they do.”

          Though I would argue, most of the intention is to make money off the actual victims, and for many to give themselves hope that if chump was the problem, then maybe they won’t be betrayed because of course they are good wives/husbands.

      • Hey VH,
        I believe you are correct because I learned that lesson on an episode of Gilligan’s Island – not to date myself.

      • Velvet – I came across this about 2 weeks ago, and it really struck me (might even have been from a referral from here) :

        “Hurt people, hurt people.”

        … which would include turning it both inward and outward… it feels true to me, and those I’ve shared it with since, and resonates with what you said.

        • Naw. I’ve been hurt more than many – physically, sexually, and emotionally, but I’ve never hurt a fly (I trap them and take them outside.)

          Entitled people hurt people, because they feel justified in their actions. No person on this earth does anything they don’t WANT to do.

          At some point all of our cheaters decided it was fair to cheat. They told themselves it was justified because of something you said, did, or didn’t do. Or they made up some convenient reason, like the lists above. They justified it, and then went and did it.

          Hurt and trauma has little to do with being a good person.

          • Hm. I did not interpret it as :
            (A) (causal) “all people who have been hurt, will hurt other people”,

            I interpreted it as :
            (B) (correlational) “all people who who hurt others, have been hurt”.

            FW’s are masters at hiding their true nature from everybody except their target, and all FW’s are also masters at hiding their true nature even from their target, until they see no further value in maintaining a facade.

            This may just be a variation of “untangling the skein”, by looking way earlier in the FW’s history than their relationship with their spouse/partner, all the way back to their FOO, but – is it possible that a large percentage of the inlaw families have been successfully masking *their own* toxicity to all external observation, and that’s where the FW “got trained”?

            Lots of CN got raised in toxic families and chose not to be toxic themselves (a toxic/hurtful upbringing doesn’t *cause* a toxic adult), but maybe there’s a correlation – that a high percentage of toxic adults, were brought up in toxic families, and got raised that *that* was the “normal” way to be.

            If FW’s can hide their true selves from their spouse for decades, then couldn’t the FW’s in-laws be hiding the same toxic dynamic even more easily from being observed by the spouse? It seems there would be no easy way to detect if the inlaw family was actually toxic, too?

            If there is a correlation, and it’s not observable, well, a red flag that’s invisible doesn’t help anybody, but it seems like there *ought* to be some way to detect it.

            Has anybody, after “fixing their picker”, suddenly seen the way their inlaws interact, in a shocking new light ?

  • The “affair fog” was always BS to me. It takes practice and work to get good at gaslighting, keeping so many secrets and lies to carry on an affair and a marriage. As CL said — that takes agency. If anything, FWs are fueled by their illusion of power. “Wow! I’m amazing. Look at how everyone wants me and I’m getting away with it!!! Bwah ha ha!” Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    And that is why FWs get so freaking angry when the chump outs them … tells their secrets… and walks away. “That wasn’t supposed to happen! I’m amazing! Pick Me Dance for wonderful me, dammit!!!! Oh… that’s not happening?? Then CHUMP is useless to me — CHUMP must be disgarded immediately.” Sound familiar?

    There’s no fog. But I wish professionals would finally put it under the category of a mental illness.

    • That was one of the most chilling things for me, when I realized all those times FW was on the phone to the other betrayed partner, buttering them up like he was the most friendly and trustworthy person in the world, while pursuing their partner, that all took *practice*. Normal people can’t just lie like that, put on a whole persona of “you should trust me” while knowing they’re betraying the person’s trust.

      • “Chilling” is right! FWs often seem to flip personalities like a switch.

        I had known my FW as a friend for 5 years, dated for 2 years and were married for 14 years. I knew this man 21+ years! But DDay… he was suddenlya different person — a complete stranger. This was someone I’d always thought was a quiet thoughtful man…. now he was angry and manic and CREEPY. It was like a horror movie.

        How does someone hide their “real” personality for over 21 years? WTF? And it really became real when my 9 year old son asked the same: “what happened to dad? Why is he so different?” We we’re both traumatized from it.

        There was no “fog.” This was all purposeful manipulation: lies, gaslighting, deception. Many of these FWs are cracked. I agree… it’s chilling as Hell.

        • MS – “I had known my FW as a friend for 5 years, dated for 2 years and were married for 14 years. I knew this man 21+ years! But DDay… he was suddenly a different person — a complete stranger. This was someone I’d always thought was a quiet thoughtful man…. now he was angry and manic and CREEPY. It was like a horror movie.” Same. Friend/dated for 2 years, married for 24, I’d always thought he was a good, thoughtful man. Then found out he’d been sexing up my friend for two years right under my nose. Horror movie indeed. I, too, wonder how someone hides their “real” personality for that long? Really? Maybe he was good once. But I have no idea where everything took such a hard turn into hell. Or maybe it was a gradual descent…

          • ” he was suddenly a different person — a complete stranger.”

            I distinctly remember when the year of discard began. It was actually at the beginning of the calendar year. He turned distant almost over night. As if he flipped a switch. I questioned him after a couple weeks. He put it off to work stress from his recent promotion etc.

            As the year progressed he got worse. About mid year he began the verbal abuse, and blowing up over small shit. By the end of the year, Thanksgiving on, he was visibly recoiling from my touch and telling me I had become clingy and he needed space.

            Now I realize he must have subtly started the process the year before and I didn’t pick up on it. I was going through a bit of a slump myself and was questioning myself on what the heck was wrong with me. But we were still doing a lot of stuff together “mostly with political events” and we were still being intimate.

            He evidently couldn’t go full force dismissal until he had secured his promotion. He still needed me for that image.

            On New Years day he and whore walked together into their new life. He as the Captain and fancy office and power, her as his supporting woman. Neither of them knew that his office, power and promotion would fall through his fingers; and they would be outcasts.

            I am sure he was convinced she would just walk into the space he vacated for her, and it would all go seamlessly, as of course folks would forget after a few bumps. I mean she may have been the town whore, but he had baptized her in the water that aura of his awesomeness, she had become clean.

            Lol. That may play well in a Hollywood movie, or on Mad Men, but not in a smallish town where the mayor needs every vote he can get to maintain his job.

            I do think they can hide their personalities for a long time. I suspect my actual year of discard was to be the year my son graduated from HS. But, by then we were involved in a political campaign that could help him if our guy won.

            I don’t regret helping this guy get elected; he was by far the best choice for the city, but I do regret that my ex conned him. But then I had no way of knowing, as I was being conned myself.

  • Imho – i love a lot of this take but I think the fog and limerence are very real things.

    BUT the fog/limerence of course don’t negate personal responsibility for one’s actual actions. And some may do what they do with a clear head and no fog.

    Reason I think it is real is personal experience. I have been in limerence from afar but never cheated – but it did alarm me and prove to be a good wake up call for me to figure out my issues. And it also gave me an insight into the reality of “the fog.” But fog or not – it DOES clear and it DOES NOT mean they aren’t responsible for their actions. It is not equivalent at all to say temporary insanity or something in a criminal court

    • I think you are saying the same thing really… we all have experienced the excitement and thrill and giddiness of a new relationship or been so smitten that we were ridiculous in some ways. But it’s not a “fog.” We don’t become so charmed that we have no idea what we’re doing or have zero control over it.

      • True but I think it is still a real thing as it can be a good description for so many other non infidelity scenarios too. I can also think of times where I did something really out of character or was mean – not cheating – but it was egregious and I was a less healed version of myself and in a real mental health “fog.” I immediately regretted it and went to therapy and became a better person. But I think that was a kind of fog and I felt totally bewildered by myself once i was out of it. I don’t see it as an excuse i just think it is an apt description for state of mind. It is a good description for not being in touch with your values. So to me it is a real thing

      • Personally I think cheater/poacher fixations don’t relate to childish puppy love or anything innocent. I think it’s more akin to stalker-ish obsession. Someone in love (capable of love) may be inspired to be kind to all God’s creatures, etc.. Someone obsessed would hurt anyone who got between them and their target.

    • The problem with calling it “fog” is everything that is implied by describing it as a fog. It’s something that descends on you from outside, you can’t see through it even if you want to, it has to clear on its own. The metaphor is one where the person can’t make good choices – just like you can’t see through fog.

    • My cheater displayed a lot of goody behaviors over the years, but I think that limerence influenced his “big” affair.

      I learned after he died that he had likely cheated on and off for most of the first 18 years of the marriage. I think he chose women in relationships so they had as much to lose as him. It was sex without strings.

      Susan of Seattle was where he believed that he fell in love (please, gah) but his limerence made him act differently with that one than any way I had seen him act in the past.

    • “Here is one of the posts I saved. In particular, I really appreciate the section describing affairs being about power and control.”

      I so wish I could have seen his face when he was served 3 years ago, how’s it feel to be blindsided buddy? I’m sure he thought I’d allow him to come & go as he pleased….power and control. No, I will not be sharing your lawyer.

    • I think for a season they are heady with power and excitement of their deception. I know my fw was. They really do think they will maintain that power, at least for a while they do. When it starts to fall apart around them, I think many of them are surprised and of course get angry.

  • The simile of waiting for the FW to come out of the fog is like waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear is an apt one.

    I get you, Linus, I really do. The Great Pumpkin, for me, was my marriage to my soulmate. I knew it existed! I swore I had seen it! It had just dissapeared into the foggy night somehow. But if I plant myself down on the cold ground, on this cold night and wait and wait and wait then the Great Pumpkin will come back, you’ll see! I’m steadfast and loyal! The Great Pumpkin will come!

    I used to have a “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” record as a kid. I can still hear Linus screaming as the music overpowers him and the record ends: “You’ll see! The Great Pumpkin is real! It’s going to come!” Charlie Brown could do nothing to get Linus out of that patch; eventually he had to give up and leave Linus to his own devices, shivering and miserable, waiting for something that was never going to happen.

    It took time but I got up and left the cold, foggy pumpkin patch. My marriage was a mirage and the Great Pumpkin was something I thought I saw (and would have waited years again in that patch for another sighting), but it was just a story.

  • My XW didn’t have an affair fog that I know of. She just got so mean and hide it so we’ll that it took me 14 years to uncover the first affair. They KNOW what they are doing. It takes something special to set up a complicated double life not some “affair fog”.

    • Agree. They KNOW.

      “It takes something special to set up a complicated double life not some ‘affair fog’.”

      And by “something special,” I imagine you mean:

      *no character
      *sense of entitlement
      *shitty boundaries
      *lack of empathy

  • The FW never admitted to me that he was fucking a work colleague. He admitted to there being a ‘distraction’ which he explained didn’t help with how he was feeling about us!. Say what?? Us? At this point I still thought he was depressed due to his parents dying. I didn’t know there was an issue with us. About a month later he left and moved into a rental with her. My girls pulled him up about having an affair (he wanted them to think he’d been honourable towards me and not screwed around til he’d left.. So, so, so it couldn’t have been an affair.. bleurgh). He said to them ‘What did you want me to do have had a 2 year affair’, which I’ve come to realise that’s probably how long it was. They don’t see him anymore (I also have a son who sees him randomly) which although easier for me I feel pained for them. They no longer have a dad to be proud of. So I’m being both!

  • Even though ex confessed on dday to having a whore/work subordinate, days later looking back I was in what I can only describe as mental dissonance. My brain stuffed the cheating aside & wanted to focus only on his cruelty: you’re not this, you don’t do this, you should have done that, you can never be that, etc. I threw myself into researching brain tumors, thyroid issues, whatever might be the cause of his bizarre behavior including yelling or raising his voice something he never did in over our 26+ yrs together. I became frightened & tearful in his presence. I was falling apart but he wasn’t. I fell into a downward spiral mentally & physically.

    His diagnosis: shitty character & an enormous sense of entitlement.

    • “His diagnosis: shitty character & an enormous sense of entitlement.”

      Yep, my go to was mid life crisis. He was doing the rants over silly stuff. I mean, even he had to know how silly his rants were. I can only assume, he couldn’t find anything else to rant about; so he fixated on silly shit.

      Bottom line was it was no mid life crisis; he had been doing it according to him for at least half our marriage, I suspect the whole marriage. I still don’t know if it was mostly the exit whore, or if there were several others. But, financial records went way back.

      So yes “His diagnosis: shitty character & an enormous sense of entitlement.”

      I was helpless to do anything about it, but the mayor sure knocked him on his ass. He never recovered from that. I think his take away was “you can treat your wife like shit, but you better not fuck with a powerful politician”

    • My FW created that “we weren’t getting along”
      WHAT? News to me
      He even told everyone at Thanksgiving.
      They start ahead on it……

  • I think we’re trying to say the same thing. There is obviously no actual fog. I was just trying to explain what happens emotionally debilitating abused spouses thought process, Metaphorically…. I’m not touching the ridiculousness of a cheater fog
    Having watched my own and send RIC literature on this fog my personal conclusion entitlement and wanting to have their life anyway they wanted no matter who they hurt w no responsibility for anything they do. Shortened into fog

    • “entitlement and wanting to have their life anyway they wanted no matter who they hurt w no responsibility for anything they do.”

      So true. I know for a fact that once my ex got busted on his job and kicked out of his cushy office, that as selfish as he was with me, that was going to be nothing compared to exit whores treatment would be.

      And from what I know from my son and his wife, I was right.

      When he was with me and had his cushy job due in large part to the image I helped him build in the community he had a reason to at least try to act decent. Once he lost the only thing in his life he ever really cared about (his captains bars and power) he had to look around and blame someone for that; and I was gone, and it certainly wasn’t going to be his fault.

  • More gold from Infidelity Help Group.

    I have found it essential to read and re-read truth on a daily to combat the gaslighting and brainwashing. When I’m tired and start to feel responsible for eBay Traitor X did, it’s time to read those bookmarked passages that snap me back into a sane mindset. My perspective requires regular recalibration.

  • Unless they suffer from a myriad of other mental health problems that are addressed with legitimate prescriptions and then they self medicate with pot and other drugs before driving off into the wild blue yonder… in a “fog”

  • Here’s my take on the “affair fog” myth: it’s based on the idea 1) “falling in love”with someone new or 2) the need for sex from random people is a force completely out of a person’s control.

    So for example, if I get a crush on my boss (God forbid) and he crushes back (worse), the fog of attraction overrides my common sense, my professionalism, my need for a paycheck, and my ethics. If my boss were Mark Harmon in his NCIS prime, I wouldn’t sleep with him because he’s my boss and I value my job.

    Affairs don’t happen if cheaters haven’t already devalued heir partner and decided to disregard the promises they’ve made, whether tacit or explicit and public.

    Any “fog” involves manipulation–blameshifting, lying, gaslighting and DARVO. That’s the “fog” that cheater use to cover up their dirty deeds.

    • RIC loves the fog idea because it keeps the person desperate to save the marriage (the chump) hooked on hopium. If cheaters are in a “fog,” like football players with major concussions, there’s a chance the fog will clear. And RIC knows on some level that cheaters don’t WANT to change so the only “hope” is for something outside the cheater to change. So–either the fog clear or the chump signs on for more abuse.

      • When I read this the thought occurred to me that we as chumps are once again positioned to rescue our cheating abusive spouses because they are in some sort of mystery emotional confusion. Lost. Wondering. Unable to help themselves
        We have to take responsibility and “save” our marriages.
        So horribly destructive to the cheated on spouse.
        Goes back to the core value of Chumplady. They don’t change just leave

    • “Affairs don’t happen if cheaters haven’t already devalued heir partner and decided to disregard the promises they’ve made, whether tacit or explicit and public.”

      Absolutely. By the time the discard comes, they have devalued us so much that they would never treat us right again, unless they could gain something from it.

  • I think the only “fog” cheater ex was in was the idea that he was such a great catch, a Good Guy, a Knight in Shining Armor. He was actually a self centered, selfish, lazy, lying, cheating asshole. He extended the “fog” to the slut he was sneaking around with. She had High Morals, and was a Great Mother, and all around one hell of a wonderful human being. These fuckers really are delusional but you don’t have to make it your problem once they show their true selves.

  • I’m on the fence about this topic.
    I think there are different kinds of cheaters.
    (All rotten, let me be clear)
    There are the serial cheaters, that sneak and cheat and lie from day one.
    But I think there IS a type of cheater who gets in the “Fog”. IMHO
    I’ve seen it.. (Not in my case personally, he had EA’s and probably more, during our entire marriage)
    But I’ve known couples where they were happy and one day (and it’s primarily the husband…) meets a new coworker, or rep, or someone that has just entered their realm… and BAM! They blow up their whole life.
    The terms I have heard from the wives are strangely similar, too. That they (the cheater) had an awakening! An awakening!!!
    They seemed to be in a drugged state, spouting 8th grade crush like stupidity. They actually think everyone will be happy for them. And….
    It doesn’t last. That is limerance I guess.
    In all three situations I know of, the wife suffered terribly, but moved on. ALL the Husbands came crawling back… almost in disbelief at what they’d done. No takers by the way, all 3 of the wives basically slammed the door in their sorry faces.
    Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the fog is real. It’s a delusional state. I’m not giving them a pass.
    No way. I just wanted to scream: GROW UP!
    And shut up. Them coming back expecting a huge welcome home party was …”sadly” :DENIED.

  • I experienced “fog”; it was pure trauma bonding, Stockholm syndrome. Even though I recognized it immediately, working through it took years.

    There is a recent criminal case that illustrates this. A married woman named Brooke Dinkel employed as a middle school counselor was raped at school by a 6’2″, 13 year old student. Using the threat of sending her to jail for statutory rape, he extorted her for more sex, money, and other favors. At first severely trauma bonded, she told many people she was infatuated, the sex was incredible, etc. She was a survivor of child sexual abuse, with PTSD, and for a time the trauma bonding overwhelmed her.

    She was tried and convicted of statutory rape of a child under age 14, then in an interesting series of appeals her conviction was overturned.

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