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Do You Believe in ‘Affair Fog’?

reconciliation_fogDear Chump Lady,

My husband had drunk sex with a woman who works for him when our little boy was 9 months old and we had been married for just a couple of years.

He was remorseful (well, he cried a bit and said sorry and, hey, at least he told me — yeah right, now I can see I was a chump…) We had a baby and a new marriage and I thought, “We are better than this, this isn’t our defining moment.” Sure you know how it goes! Anyway, we carried on and I put it as far out of my mind as I could  and things went back to “normal.”

We were a couple with lots of friends and family, a gorgeous little boy — we had date nights and family holidays and plans — but it turns out my husband never stopped getting oral sex from this skank. Last Christmas — when I was 12 weeks pregnant — he “kissed” ANOTHER employee. Over the months that followed this developed into a full on affair until I eventually kicked him out.

I did all the stuff I thought would break it — called her, called her husband — but nothing would stop them and I had to practically watch them fall deeper “in love.” Six months on and I have just given birth to our daughter. He is still with this woman (seriously, what sort if woman could get involved with a man whose wife was pregnant??) and juggling his time and his finances between seeing our children and seeing her (she has now moved 2 hours away).

My question is if you have an opinion on the Fog of the Affair? Lots of sites mention it and I really felt that for him to walk away from the son he adores and his new baby there must be something to it? Sometimes it’s as if he has become remorseful and wants us to spend time together and tells me he misses us — or is this all just kibbles and cake?

I really don’t want him back (and my heart is slowly catching up to my head). I would not put our children through this again. I just want him to come out of the fog to a moment of clarity in which he sees how monumentously he has fucked up — or does this never happen?



Dear Liz,

I don’t believe in a great mythical fog that turns ordinary humans into assholes. I just believe in assholes. You know how you can tell if people are assholes? They behave like assholes.

The fog is one of those reconciliation canards that subtly (or not so subtly) absolves cheaters from moral culpability. Your husband didn’t really cheat on his pregnant wife and abandon his infant children. No, he was in a fog. This dark, wet cloud descended on him and muddled his thinking. He knows not what he does! At some point the fog will clear and he will have that “Oh my God, I fucked up” moment of clarity. He’ll return to his senses, return to his family, and be that person you fell in love with again.

Yeah, I don’t believe that. However, I totally believe in the “Oh my God, I fucked up” moment of clarity. But here’s the thing — it’s only a MOMENT. And then the vast majority of cheaters IMO do everything to not feel it. They drink it into a stupor. They shop for new shiny shit instead. They discover new affair partners. Anything to blot out the stench of failure.

Cheating is about entitlement. OMG I fucked up is about humility and lucidity. Entitlement feels better than humility. Lucidity means dealing honestly with the consequences of your appalling behavior. Serial cheaters like your husband are gluttons who need feel-good kibbles. As long as there is an affair partner out there who will shovel the kibbles at him, or he believes in the opportunity for more fuckbuddies when those kibbles run out — why would he change?

Because you hurt? Because your children are so precious and wonderful?

He already demonstrated exactly how he feels about you and your children. He cheated on you while you were vulnerable and pregnant with his child. Not once, but twice (that you know of) with two different women in a rather short span of time. His abhorrent actions tell you everything you need to know about how deeply he feels about his family. You did not matter to him. He is not a person who bonds and connects.

And Liz — that is NOTHING on you. It says NOTHING about how lovable you are or how precious your children are. It says everything about him and his character.

A “fog” didn’t make him that way. That is who he is. If the fog exists, it’s kibbles. It’s his addict’s high. Kibbles feel great — better than the love of your family. He’s sick in the head, and that’s nothing to do with you.

This is not a person who can love you the way you  and your children deserve to be loved. You refer to him as your husband, so I assume you are still married. Please for the love of God, get a lawyer. A kick-ass, pitbull lawyer and leave this cake-eating jerk.


I’m running Chump Lady classics while on vacation. (During which time I may or may not finally get to the Valentine’s poems. I’m so sorry… Got a lot going on before trying to get out of town. But I’m good for it.)


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  • CL please do keep running the classics. This is a bit weird (bear with me) but they’re like the readings in Church – may have heard them before, but when they’re good messages, they are so worth repeating time and again. (Grew up Catholic, Mass every Sunday, long-since not a church-goer or dogma-swallower, but still regard many of the core teachings as valuable – same with Buddhism, Judaism and others).

    Gold here in the Absurdity of the Fog Excuse, the reality of the Vanishing Moment of Culpability, the Over-riding Golden Rule of Kibble Feel-Good.

    And besides, sometimes here in Chump Nation, what with all the trauma etc, memory is not so good … though I’ve been reading here for years , every time you do a re-run I swear I never saw it before!!

    • There’s a reason I can sing Christmas carols by memory. REPETITION.

      It took time and a lot of rehearing my inner voice tell me that Asshat’s cheating and choices were not my fault.

      🎼♫ Trust that they suck ♬

  • He is worse than you’ll ever imagine. He wasn’t a real man when you married him. Just an actor putting in a show. The thing is, he will never realize what he lost on your time. He’s undeveloped in mind and spirit and iced with entitlement to make it all about him. In later life, he’ll expect his childrento understand and love him, too. My ex was/is like this guy. You are just the married appliance with first son phase. But he’ll get more second chances and do overs than you ever will.

    • “But he’ll get more second chances and do overs than you ever will.”

      That’s so true. People hold them to different standards. If we did a fraction of the shit they do, nobody would ever talk to us again. I wonder what it is about FWs that arouses such goodwill. Maybe most people are like them to some degree, so they can identify with them. That’s a scary thought.

      • “I wonder what it is about FWs that arouses such goodwill.”

        They’re very good liars.

      • There are a lot of people who are afraid of being judged (rightly or wrongly); so they make a kind of psychological deal with the devil. If everyone has to give the benefit of the doubt, second chances, never assume malice etc etc, then THEY don’t have to feel anxious that anyone might judge THEM.

        Plus, for people who are pathologically afraid of conflict, it’s always easier to get a chump to spackle than to get a FW to change.

    • I think it is interesting, that in studying narcissists, experts are beginning to understand more you forgive them the more narcissistic they become. I think this is the same with cheaters. If you forgive them it just gives them permission to do it again.

      • I agree with this. I used to think people would appreciate second chances, that they’d be grateful for it. I don’t think most people are, I think they just see you as a moron they can take advantage of again. I was that moron for far too long. It’s weird because I’m not as nice as I used to be but other people are much nicer to me now. That’s sad in a way but I guess it’s how the world works.

        • Maybe they see you as a moron. But maybe they’re just that self-absorbed. Maybe they don’t see anyone else much at all. Just the reflection of themselves in the water, like Narcissus. Oblivious to others.

        • I’ve been that moron all my life. The nicer I am the more I’ve been taken advantage of.
          Foolishly I thought everyone thought like me and had a conscious.
          I also noticed that people are nicer to those who are mean or pretentious.
          Odd, but you’re right Katie pig, it’s the way it is.

      • If you forgive them it just gives them permission to do it again.

        It’s not forgiveness that makes them do it again; it’s entitlement.

      • Yep, unfortunately I think that narcissists might swear that they’ve learned a lesson if they’re forgiven, but then the sorry wears off pretty quickly, and the only lesson they learn is how to avoid detection for longer next time. They get super angry/sorry when harsh consequences are enforced, and try and get let off the hook, and expect chumps to finally crumble and give in if they keep the barrage up long enough (like a toddler that tantrums until Mum lets them have their way) but if someone doesn’t, they don’t accept it, they abandon and go find someone else who doesn’t know about their games and runs the same racket on them.

        • It’s never what they say. Their words are meaningless. It’s why separation is a good idea even if the chump wants to reconcile. If the chump is clinging to the relationship, it’s hard to look at what the cheater is doing. It’s too easy just to hear the “I’m sorry” and think it means something. And then a few years down the road, there is D-Day #2.

  • CL – Seriously, no rush on the Valentine’s poems. Have a great vacation!

    And I love this “Classic.” I get so sick of the Affair Fog and limerence excuses. Just more reasons to side with the FW — “He (or she) can’t help it! He’s in that affair fog/limerence/dating thrill.”

    Who gives a fuck? How about instead of everyone focusing on how “happy” they are (because they are acting like immature dolts) just talk about it this way:

    “FW is abandoning his pregnant wife and child because he doesn’t want to adult. He’s a man-child that’s so immature that he needed another woman in place before he could abandon his family —- he’s basically a parasite moving from one host to the other.”

    Affair fog, my ass

    • “He’s a man-child that’s so immature that he needed another woman in place before he could abandon his family —- he’s basically a parasite moving from one host to the other.”

      Exactly. And I think OW was just the first woman to bite. I don’t think she was his first attempt to find an exit. But he knew he couldn’t be alone and take care of himself. He basically needed a mother and a bank account. Once he found someone stupid enough to get involved with him (and who would absolutely shower him with admiration and praise, which was the most important thing to him), he started making plans to dump me. He waited until he was sure that OW was willing to do anything for him (she left her husband for him, then she “waited” for him while we “reconciled” for three months which I now believe was more a test of her loyalty to him than it was an attempt to see if I would allow him to have his cake and eat it too), then he kicked me out. And in between finding OW and officially getting rid of me, he treated me in increasingly awful ways, probably to goad me into leaving (it didn’t work because I was a die-hard loyal idiot at that point) and so absolve himself of any social stigma of leaving his wife. When that didn’t work, he launched a smear campaign and convinced everyone I was horrible. They were so happy for him when he “found” (admitted to having) a woman who “appreciated” him. Ugh.

      There was no “fog”. It was carefully calculated.

      • They know exactly what they are doing. And the adultery partner knows to, and is complicit in it. If she/he is keeping their mouth shut while he/she steals and abuses the spouse they are equally guilty.

        • YES. I cannot stand the common rhetoric that absolved the affair partner (“they didn’t make any vows to you, so you should be angry at your spouse, not the affair partner”). OW knew EXACTLY what she was doing. She knew he was married, she knew ME (we were coworkers), she lied to my face for years, and she joined hands w/FW in abusing me (and, I’m sure, participating in the smear campaign against me, seeing as ALL our friends, who had known me for YEARS, sided with her and FW even though they had only known OW for a couple of months). FW was a very convincing liar, but no matter what stories about his marital unhappiness he shared with OW, she should have known better than to get involved with someone who was married. The fact that she lied to me tells me she knew she was doing wrong.

          • I hate that rhetoric too. I was kicked out of a women’s group because I said I would not embrace his other women in sisterhood after what they did to me. They went on and on about how those women did NOTHING to me, they didn’t even know me! When I corrected them that they did know me, some knew me for decades while they pretended to be my friends, I was booted out and blocked. My story didn’t fit their neat little narrative so they got rid of me. Two women who defended me were also expelled.

            It made me wonder how many of them are fucking each other’s husbands in all honesty. Since they think it’s just fine.

              • Oh absolutely. OW actually did me a huge favor. I was the sort of person who would never have gotten a divorce if it weren’t for the cheating. Even though my husband was extrememly abusive and controlling, and I was miserable. But I know that my well-being wasn’t in her mind at all. (I’m no longer religious, but there is something, I think, in the story of Joseph where Joseph says “you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good”. Sometimes things work to our benefit even when the purpetrator had the exact opposite in mind.)

                My life is 1000% better now, and I would never willingly go back to or stay in a situaltion like that ever again. I’m free and so happy.

            • I’m so sorry that happened, Katie. That is why I don’t believe in the whole “sisterhood” crap anymore. Some women talk about it, but they have no problem with stabbing another female in the back. They should have been supportive of you during a horrible time in your life, and they were defending the OW.

              One of my relatives defends that type of behavior because she is an OW herself. Just one of many reasons I don’t talk to her. Again, I’m sorry that even in a support group, you had to deal with nonsense.

          • The argument that the AP “didn’t make any vows” is kind of the equivalent of “Hey, I’m not a mandated reporter so it wasn’t up to me to stop someone from abusing a child or report it.” APs who have longer term goals are invested in a certain outcome. So it’s a better to comparison to say they’re facilitating the abuse of a child who’s ahead of them in line for inheritance. The few times I bothered to duke it out with some anonymous AP or other online over the smug “But I’m not the one who made vows” alibi, the above analogy triggered babbling rage and hysteria.

            Oops, that hit a nerve. At first I meant the analogy as a loose, off-the-cuff moral equivocation but, the more I thought about it, the less “loose” the analogy seemed especially if there are chumped kids involved in an affair (or the chance of future kids in the marriage) and if the affair is– consciously or unconsciously– part of a long-range economic plan for the AP. The AP in my situation wasn’t just inciting FW to neglect, mistreat and abandon me but also our kids. What else could explain her tantrums prior to every major kid-centered holiday like Christmas? She’d throw crying fits and punitive fake breakups because FW opted to spend those occasions with his family. She also– weirdly– insisted on dining in family-centered bistros and doing activities that one would usually do with children. She would also compete with the kids’ accomplishments. Since they all got into college-level music programs in their tweens and teens, she demanded FW buy her an expensive instrument she’d only played for one semester in seventh grade. Her psycho daddy issues aside, I thought it was obvious she was trying to displace the kids as much as me. I’m sure if anyone asked her if she was consciously scheming to do this, she would have had a cognitive dissonance meltdown.

            Along with a laugh emoji, my lawyer sent me the AP’s work bio in which she lists “empathy” as her strongest personal trait. It’s funny how divorce lawyers and other veteran legal professionals who deal in the financial aspects of marriage aren’t shy about depicting APs as foes. One lawyer warned me that, because I have a disabled child, a common occurrence was that APs exhort FWs to fight for full custody to cut down on child support and then have any disabled children institutionalized on state waivers, simultaneously dispensing with the bother and expense of caring for disabled children.

            Had the AP not been dumped after D-Day and had her long range scheme succeeded, here’s a hint about the future outcome of behavior like that: an estimated 80% of stepmother/stepchild relationships are fraught and a large percent of those relationships devolve into battles over inheritance and “undue influence” charges upon the decline and death of a FW.

            Probably in an effort not to sound misogynist, the articles I read about estate planning in remarriage usually included careful qualifiers about the fact that women tend to live longer and men– especially older men– tend to make more money and amass more wealth which might explain why there aren’t more “evil stepdads” involved in estate battles. Probably again to be diplomatic, there was no mention in these articles of the tendency towards greater age gaps among second wives compared to second husbands but I saw references to cases where the second wife had been an affair partner and how this would likely intensify hostility between stepmothers and stepkids and increase the risk of future estate wars.

            So APs mentioning “vows” is kind of a red herring to distract from the fact that marriages aren’t just moral commitments but also financial contracts with spouses and children. Try repeating this online experiment of analogizing “facilitating child abuse” and mentioning estate battles with troll-APs online and I think that, 9 times out of 10, they’ll flip out like short-circuited cyborgs.

            • Yep, the AP in my father’s affair thought she’d snagged herself an older man who would be able to financially support her going forward. Shame that he liquidated all the families assets (sold the family home) and gave away his general manager position to start his own (low paying) business with evening hours that allowed his fucking around with AP to go undetected. She didn’t think that through because twu wuv. They went in with the APs relatives to take on a already established lucrative tourist venture, and did well out it, but then dear old Dad, who always thought he was the smartest person in any room decided to take up day trading, put all their money into stocks in a company that got canned by the government after a terrible industrial accident, and blew their almost 3/4 mill retirement nest egg. Sucks to be chained to a narcissist who loves taking risks and cannot conceive that he will not win, but yes, at last Karma called. And of course, because they went through so much to be together (in her mind at least) she’s got to sit there and take it and like it, like a truly loving partner. She’s getting more and more erratic as time goes on, and alludes to herself as the wicked stepmother, and says things like ‘don’t worry, it’s not poisoned’ when serving us food. I’m wondering if dementia is starting to creep in, or just the reality of her life choices (they’ve been together almost twice as long as he was with my mother).

            • Agreed, HOAC! I also want to add…even if there are no children involved, it is still extremely hurtful to the betrayed spouse.
              In my case, he didn’t want kids because (as it turns out) he wanted to be free to cheat and lie and a child would have complicated things in that department.

              Also, he would have to explain himself to one or both of the AP about a baby (since some married men will tell the other woman that they are not having sex with the wife anymore, but that’s a lie).
              That is how a friend of mine caught her husband. She had a baby girl, and the OW found out, then called her up in tears. Apparently the guy told OW that he was in a sexless marriage, which was obviously false if he got his wife pregnant. When my friend asked if she knew that he was married, OW said “yes, but I don’t owe you anything”. So then my friend laughed and hung up on her.

              But yeah…you are so right! A lot of AP (and their enablers) do not want to accept responsibility. They don’t want to feel guilty or ashamed of their part in it. Most of the blame lies with the wayward spouse, but the AP is also to blame if they knew the person was married.

              In today’s world, we are viewed as bad if we call them out, though.

      • I could have written this word for word. Seriously. You are not alone, ISawTheLight.

    • Does anyone know how the letter writer is doing?

      Sounds like a re-run but I don’t know how old it is. I hope she’s safely out and doing well.

    • I actually believe after going through this experience that the chump is in the fog.
      I sure was for awhile.
      Being free is beautiful!!

  • My ex’s “moment of clarity” still didn’t make him sorry for what he’d done, nor did he take any responsibility for the damage he’d caused. That moment of clarity resulted in him taking his own life because everything was crashing down around him. And yet his suicide letter was basically one long “poor me. Why is everyone so mean?” And basically saying all women are crazy. And while he did say he could have been kinder in leaving me, he expressed no regrets for cheating on me or lying to me.

    OW left him and since she worked at the same place he did (he got her the job) and then walked out without notice, it made work awkward for him. I didn’t want him back, even though he tried to reach out (he couldn’t be alone, and he needed money). He was broke and up to his ears in debt (OW had cosigned the lease on an expensive house and then refused to pay after she left). Both OW and I were alledging domestic violence, I in the divorce paperwork, and her quite publicly to anyone who would listen (in his letter he said “it looks bad when two women are falsely accusing you of DV”; he never once considered that HE might actually BE an abuser, which he was).

    He spent his whole life blaming everyone else for his problems. He blamed me for his cheating, he blamed me for his abuse. He blamed his parents, his bosses, his coworkers, his ex girlfriends, his friends, fate, the universe, whatever else he could think of for his failures. NEVER himself.

    Don’t wait around for the moment of clarity. It likely won’t happen. And if it does, it won’t be what you want from them. It is entirely SELF focused. The “clarity” is that they harmed THEMSELVES with their choices. Your ex will never feel badly about what he did to YOU and how YOU felt about it. I used to argue against my ex being a narcissist, because he would cry and express sorrow, which I took to be an indicator of genuine feeling. But then someone (I don’t remember who, it might have been my therapist) pointed out that all his sadness had to do with HIMSELF. He cried for how HE had suffered, not how his actions had affected others. And when I thought about it, this was entirely true. That was a moment of clarity for ME. He had no empathy for anyone else.

  • I saw a change in FW’s mental functioning as his trickle truth was running out. A bit of flailing and hand wringing which I mistook for confusion or remorse. But it wasn’t. It was the behavior of someone who was firing a loyal employee or someone abandoning a pet by the side of the road. The decision was made and there was no turning back. He was already committed to a relationship with someone who condoned his behavior.

    • Ooh, that’s a great observation! I wonder if that was my ex’s issue at the end. He just couldn’t make his lies work anymore. That would make sense. From my end it just seemed like he became incredibly stupid. But that makes sense.

    • Oh, the hand-wringing executioner– cue to quote Lewis Carroll:

      “‘I weep for you,’ the Walrus said:
      I deeply sympathize.’
      With sobs and tears he sorted out
      Those of the largest size,
      Holding his pocket-handkerchief
      Before his streaming eyes.

      O Oysters,’ said the Carpenter,
      You’ve had a pleasant run!
      Shall we be trotting home again?’
      But answer came there none —
      And this was scarcely odd, because
      They’d eaten every one.”

  • Cheaters have agency. Sadly, they use it to unilaterally further their own ends, and to hell with the effect that it has on others. They really don’t care who gets hurt so long as they get what they want. As for the “fog,” it is absolute BS; nothing more than the excuse a busted cheater uses to avoid the repercussions of their dubious choices.

    F*ck ’em all; if they can’t own the consequences of their unilateral choices like any normal grown up, then then don’t deserve a second of our time.


  • I realize this is a rerun and hope that the poster found clarity. Getting that from an ex is rare.

    Usually what you know is way less than what there is. I had some pieces and suspicions that were confirmed by his attorney, who threw the case when he realized there was too much dirt on his side to go to trial against mine when I had stayed on the straight-and-narrow. He even started sending me messages through my legal team to tell me he felt sorry for me and was doing all he could.

    Mine was a “gray” divorce, and certainly, I had been in denial fog for decades until I wasn’t. During separation, I realized that I couldn’t reconcile, period. I frankly barely looked back from then on.

  • “I just want him to come out of the fog to a moment of clarity in which he sees how monumentously he has fucked up — or does this never happen?”

    Mine did just that. He had plenty of those moments. Yet every time he did, he would still go back to his fantasy world where he is an awesome guy who deserves to get whatever he wants.
    So even if they do come to a realization of how badly they fucked up, you can’t expect it to stick. You can’t expect them not to do it again. They quite literally cannot live without getting their kibble fix. If they had to go without it for very long, they would become depressed and suicidal because they have no identity and no soul. They must have distraction from their emptiness. So it’s on to the next affair, drinking binge, porn video, etc. ad infinitum. It’s a bit like being with a heroin addict, except that heroin is actually an inherently addictive substance, so that person is a legit addict instead of just an escapist freak. The only fog they are in consists of a FW’s typically bizarre internal landscape of puerile fantasies, and it’s a pre-existing condition which they brought on themselves.

    • “They must have distraction from their emptiness.”
      Wow OHFFS
      THIS pretty much sums it up.
      In that one sentence, I finally feel absolved of any part in the wreckage that my marriage became. This, after years of untangling, therapy, disbelief, torment and … tears.
      There was nothing I could have done to fill that empty hole, not me, his children, my family, a secure and loving home. Nope, he ditched it all for a new “distraction.” This new distraction IS 20 years younger, and is STILL shoveling the kibbles about how great he is although I’m not sure for how much longer – he stayed sober while with me 15 years… and I recently read in the local paper he has been arrested for felony DUI with injury.
      If there is a fog for the AP’s I figure it might be lifting right about… now.

      • TTM, I’m happy you no longer accept any blame. True, there really is nothing we can do. Even if you work your ass off to do everything they want, they just keep moving the goalposts on you.

    • Yes! All of this OHFFS! Mine has moments of clarity and he feels absolutely terrible in those moments. But then, like flipping a switch, he suddenly changes. It can happen mid-conversation. One minute he’s telling me how sorry he is for everything he’s done, then the switch flips and it’s suddenly “I’m not a villain! I deserve good things!” It’s insane. He can go from seemingly truly remorseful to DARVO and gaslighting in an instant. I have learned it is pointless to ever engage him.

      • MollyW… I think this is the 3 channels CL writes about:
        Charm, Rage, Self Pity.
        Your X was just on the speed cycle!
        It truly is/was maddening.
        Yes, pointless to engage.

      • My situation exactly, Molly. “One minute he’s telling me how sorry he is for everything he’s done, then the switch flips and it’s suddenly ‘I’m not a villain! I deserve good things!'” Heard it so many, so many times. It’s insane. MADDENING.

        • I think that flip-back into DARVO is their unstable identity protecting them from going too far down the ‘rabbit hole’ of their stupid decisions. ie if they see the enormity of their fuck-up, they will no longer be able to hold together the illusion of control over their life and disintegrate.

      • Our FWs are twins, Molly. Mine does exactly the same. Is your FW a covert narcissist?

        • OHFFS, I know you’re asking Molly…but I’ve deduced that my X is a covert narcissist…

    • “They quite literally cannot live without getting their kibble fix. If they had to go without it for very long, they would become depressed and suicidal because they have no identity and no soul. They must have distraction from their emptiness.” Yes.

      For my X – from what I’ve observed – those distractions come in the form of hours of TV (unable to unwind at night without it), sugary foods (every single day), being more permissive with our kids (rarely able to say no), buying buying buying new shiny shit, and – after three years of swearing he would never rejoin social media – he did exactly that about a month after he moved out of our home, posting pics of his trips with our kids and his legitimately beautiful drawings/paintings. I mentioned his dive back into social media to another chump friend and she wrote back one word: kibbles.

      Nothing wrong with TV, a sweet treat, letting kids live their lives, buying a new toy for yourself, or posting something you’re proud of on social media. But when you spend ALL your free time with these “distractions”, not making therapy/support group/inner reflection a priority, after years betraying your wife/children/friends, I think you’re…not the sort of person to whom I want to be married.

      • Juniper, your FW sounds like a cowardly escapist just like mine. In addition to cheating, mine used booze, porn, TV, computer games and his job as tools of distraction from the awful truth about himself. It’s how they cope. They are hopeless.

        • OHFFS, I responded to your question for Molly before reading down into the thread. Yes, my cowardly escapist/covert narcissist X absolutely uses his job as a form of distraction. And why wouldn’t he? He is – as a former boss once described him – “a superstar” 🙄 Everyone loves him!!! He’s won awards!!! He’s AMAZING!!! 🙄🙄🙄

    • “They quite literally cannot live without getting their kibble fix. If they had to go without it for very long, they would become depressed and suicidal because they have no identity and no soul.”

      This is very literally what happened to my ex. OW left him only a few weeks after they set up house together and since he thought she was still in the honeymoon phase he wasn’t expecting that. He hadn’t found anyone to take her place. He reached out to me and I wasn’t having any of that. I was completely over him at that point. He took his own life because he couldn’t see a way out. His reputation was suffering (allegations of abuse, his fairytale romance in shambles, the courts siding more and more with me, money issues) and his reputation was EVERYTHING to him. He opted to die a “martyr” and thus get one last burst of sympathy/notoriety that way (bonus that it also meant stress for me, left to clean up his mess and deal with our young child through the death of a parent). He left a long, long suicide note full of self-pity and blaming everyone else for his failings.

  • This fog can sometimes help you get a better divorce settlement if you move fast and are able to exploit the fact that they really want to be with schmoopie.

    Otherwise it’s a crock of shit used to excuse a piece of shit.

    • This was absolutely my story, Kim. By moving rapidly and leveraging his desire to try to have it all, I very luckily fast-tracked a reasonably amicable divorce before he had time to regroup and decide to mess with me. I believe his euphoric affair high is the only reason that worked and that waiting even a few days could have changed that outcome significantly.

      It wouldn’t work in every situation, I know, but I feel very lucky that it worked in mine.

    • Yes! I did this! I got it all done within six weeks from D-day and I think it really helped. At the time I was moving so fast because I was afraid because he had talked about killing me. But I look back and realize how much it helped that he was so in love with the adult baby at the time.

  • CL: Here’s my take on re-runs. When I read them the first time (if I did read them), I was in a different head space than I am in now, so when I read them now, I see them differently and take something new from them.

    As for the letter and the subject of “affair fog”: I just couldn’t believe that the person I had lived with for over 30 years had become a person I didn’t recognize, so I kept waiting for him to “come to his senses.” I waited years, and it didn’t happen. In fact, the person I didn’t recognize grew more and more like the person I didn’t recognize, until finally I had to admit that even if he had been a different person in the past, he no longer was that person. Nor did he see a problem with this new, different person, he now was. Whether that (past) person would ever come back I didn’t know, but I could no longer subject myself to the “new” person and wait around to find out if “old” person would re-emerge. It’s been five years since I left. I have been no contact with him for years (except for a very very occasional text or email about our adult son), and I will infrequently, idly wonder whether he ever came to his senses. I don’t do this with any kind of longing for a return to our married life, however. Whatever he is now, he wasn’t like that during the years I was wondering whether he’d come to his senses, and I did what I needed to do and divorced him.

    • For what it’s worth, I think my ex (after decades and two failed marriages after ours) did come to his senses regarding his having fucked up our marriage and regretting it. However, there’s no way I would take him back because I am beyond Tuesday. I’m a different person now and even if I thought he wouldn’t cheat on me again, there are things about him that even without the cheating that I would not find acceptable in a mate.

      • Having seen my father in action, I firmly believe that only the ravages of time have stopped him from continuing his behaviour. At some point he realised that if he kept using people and having affairs then he would end up alone in his old age, with no one to ‘do for’ him. However, if tomorrow it was announced you could go through a reasonably-priced regeneration procedure, he would do it and carry exactly as before. They don’t respect limits and only curb their behaviour when they realise it will have severe consequences. Some narcs aren’t smart enough to learn either, and they’re the ones that do end up alone.

      • Just felt like saying how eager I am to get where you are now. I’m five years out from DDay, divorced for two, and in the thick of raising three kids in close proximity to ex. 😣 Ex has announced to the kids that he’s getting married, and I KNOW it either won’t last or will be miserable. I can tell because of the way he lies to me even in our kid-focused interactions. He’s in no head space to be getting married. But I still have ahead of me those decades of watching him flail around and hurt the kids in so doing. What I wouldn’t give to be on the other side of it all!

  • There were funny moments in CL’s answer, but then I got to thinking–how do we fix this? How do we raise children that can bond and don’t act like assholes?? There need to be answers out there.

    • I might say: Just don’t be one yourself, nodel responsibility, and the rest is in the lap of the gods, as the saying used to go. You can only control what you control.

      Well, there is maybe one other thing. While you are modeling responsibility, maybe share your “process” a little bit…how you think things through as you are making a decision…you know, when you think a kid is ready for that. Help them think through certain decisions when appropriate, if they a feeling stuck, but facilitating, not dictating or preaching.

      • I think you also have to give children consequences for their behavior, let them know that when they are unkind & inappropriate it’s not acceptable, instead of making excuses for it. Still, as a parent, you are only one part of the equation that shapes them.

    • Two parenting behaviours will help reduce the number of entitled assholes in the world;
      – respond to your kids’ needs, not your own. That includes needs for age-appropriate structure, expectations and discipline (meaning teaching and MILD but consistent consequences), along side TONS of warmth, support and affection. Simply making sure kids have a FEW chores that they are responsible for, that they do regularly because they benefit others in the family (pets count!), not just themselves, greatly reduces entitlement. It can be a pain in the neck to get kids to DO their chores, far more work than just doing them ourselves or paying someone to do them, but it’s SO worth it!
      – gradually teach them to believe people’s BEHAVIOUR, not their words, and not to take infatuation too seriously, to take their time in a relationship before having kids. Then perhaps they won’t breed with entitled assholes. That’s important because part of this is genetic (the low empathy part).

  • I discovered my now-ex had planned to move out and into an apartment with a schmoopie he found online but hadn’t met. Even though I proved it was a catfish scam, he persisted in contacting the scammer, pleading for “her” to continue the relationship, and they did online for at least several months. I filed for divorce, and perhaps because he felt so foolish, within the year he love-bombed several subsequent women and introduced them as life partners. He proposed to at least one. It looks like they all dumped him. Since our divorce, he has sent several emails claiming he didn’t know who he was, that he was a different person then, he’s so sorry, etc. Maybe he means it, but I think it’s just more scamming to try to get me to forgive him. And be an appliance again.

    • Don’t fall for it, Goodfriend. He is just looking for a soft place to land. The best thing you can do for YOU is to enforce your boundaries. No contact is your bestfriend.

  • I can’t think of any other violent transgression where the victim and others so vehemently excuse and defend the perpetrators.

    I just finished watching The Boy Band Con on YouTube, about Lou Pearlman, who created N’Sync and The Backstreet Boys and fucked them over royally. Mr. Nice Guy, like Bernie Madoff and other Nice Guys/Gals throughout history, had a candy coating which concealed the pathological rot inside.

    Cheating is hard evidence of pathological rot inside. It means that candy coating on the outside is just a cover for a con artist. They have always existed among us and always will.

    If anybody was in a fog, it was me. It’s called denial.

    Genuinely good people don’t fuck over other people. Period. I am still in a lot of pain over what he and his collection of conspirators did, but I don’t miss him and you could not pay me to be married to him. Genuinely good people are loyal and being in integrity is important to them.

    I don’t have the capacity, time, space, energy, bandwidth, or willingness to associate with anyone who has the capacity to knife me in the back. Especially anyone who can knife children in the back, which is what cheaters happily do.

    • Whether or not an affair fog is real is a moot point.

      Both of my parents, and most of the relatives, are alcoholics and therefore I was basically raised by wolves. After I got into recovery myself, a big part of that recovery was becoming a lifelong student of Miss Manners. I discovered a wealth of gaping holes in my etiquette training. Her books are a treasured part of my library. I truly care about doing the right thing and feel mortified if I learn that I haven’t.
      (A mindset cheaters are infamously not famous for).

      If you are at all familiar with her column or books, you will quickly learn there is no shortage of the ill- mannered and the crass.

      She does not sanction illicit relationships, being a side piece, lying to or betraying or defrauding others.

      At its most basic, cheating is abominably awful behavior and those who are OK with it are best avoided altogether.


        There’s just no need to look any further than how this person has treated you.

        I have my issues. Among them are not lying, hiding or controlling money, cheating, putting GPS trackers on Traitor Ex’s car, failing to speak up, blocking efforts to problem-solve.

        I understand the instinct to preserve a marriage, especially when there are children involved. I am glad I quickly let go of it, as my happiness counts too, and my happiness, my desire for security and peace of mind, would not be possible with a cruel, untrustworthy, selfish man.

        • On the subject of them “realizing what they lost”…..

          What I realized I lost was a traitor, thief, liar, cheater, and criminal.

          Cheaters and side pieces are LOW VALUE MATES.

          I didn’t know he was a fraud. The side pieces knew and signed on.

          Not very bright IMHO.

          Birds of a feather flock together. Leave the low value poor quality cretins to each other. It’s painful surgery without anesthesia, but ultimately I’ve been relieved of a low value mate, and he is much better matched with someone as emotionally, mentally, and morally bankrupt as he is.

  • So true…
    “blot out the stench of failure”

    My ex is buried under the stench of failure! Failure is something he feared at all costs since he was young. Now it is all that he has.

    At 16, he was all about how smart he was, a boy wonder. He was going to be a successful big shot and wealthy! Then as the years went by and he went from one law firm to another, later on with his “partner”, salary went from very high to much less so, lost the status of family including his kids, to now being over 60, retired (more like kicked out from his profession), still without his kids, very overweight and looking terrible, the stench of failure is about all he has.

    Too bad, so sad 😂

  • Well said, CL.

    I believe the “fog” conversation goes in the “untangling the skein” bucket. It’s a distraction.

    If you discovered that I stole $50 from your wallet, and the reason I gave was that I had low blood sugar and really needed some food, would that justify the deception, and would you leave me alone near your wallet again because my reason for deceiving you and feeling entitled to your resources seemed medically necessary? (Last time I checked, an orange juice and a clif bar didn’t cost anywhere near $50 — and anyway, a person could just as easily take only the money they need, tell you promptly, and promptly pay you back.)

    What if my reason was that I had a health condition that created cognitive changes that caused reasoning problems but I didn’t realize it, and I truly didn’t understand the harm that I caused? If somehow I truly couldn’t make a choice to do better and you felt you couldn’t personally blame me. Even then, would you leave me alone near your wallet?

    Seems to me that if a person causes you harm, it’s justifiable to change the rules so you’ll stop being harmed, whether the harm was clearly intentional or not.

    Likewise, the reason for the violation of this foundational relationship agreement — and intentional deception to get away with the violation (especially repeatedly over time), endangering of her health, and resulting trauma and other harm to her and her children — doesn’t matter. Maybe he was in some kind of cognitive fog. So what if he was?

    It doesn’t really matter why he harmed. It matters THAT he harmed. Cheating endangers us, and our children, physically, financially, emotionally, and these days technologically — which can create professional and even legal risk. There’s no question that it causes actual harm.

    And in fact, if it WAS some mystical “fog” that caused those behaviors, then in my mind that only strengthens the argument behind leaving the relationship. A person who will harm you everytime they are consumed by an unpredictable and irresistable urge to deceive and/or do things that cause harm is a person who shouldn’t be alone with you in your house or have their fingers in your bank accounts. Or wallet.

    You don’t have to hate a person to decide their behavior mustn’t be allowed to destroy you. You can have compassion and even love for a person who can’t function independently without creating problems and also not let them create problems for YOU.

    If the person was in a fog, then the person can seek out professional help to untangle that skein themselves. They don’t need you nearby to do that. And enabling them in their behaviors by sticking around isn’t doing anybody any favors. The one and only thing it will do is get you harmed.

    • I like that -great points! It’s more than just trusting them with other people it’s with everything. Even personal information-
      So right! Thanks for this Ami
      Also for the fact that you can care about someone and just know this isn’t right for you.
      I’ve been here a long time. The writers’ stories break my heart. I want to help everyone and still haven’t fully helped myself!

      Thanks for sharing this

    • Yes, this. The shark may only acting on instinct when it bites down on you to see if you’re good to eat, but you still get out of the tank quick-smart.

  • I don’t believe in affair fog. These FWs had agency and made hundreds if not thousands of conscious decisions to dupe the family that he supposedly “loved”. Loving people are kind, honest and forthright. Cheaters are not. They will not come out of a “fog” and become good people. As CL says: they don’t get character transplants.
    I hope Liz eventually got out and is safe and happy with her kids.

    • One of my best and favorite takeaways from mrs CL is “character transplant”. I have been told for the past two years how sorry my husband is and he just recently said “not to be mean, you know at some point you’re going to have to let this go” he said do it for yourself and my reply is that yes, you’re correct which will most likely mean you too.

      • Limbo, I agree with you. FW is currently showing all signs of being a unicorn, but who cares? Staying with him means I will never be safe. I will never feel secure. That feeling left the instant I found condoms in his briefcase. I am quietly, stealthily lining up ducks to start my new life.

        • Good for you. From the other side, I can say that life FW-free is GLORIOUS. Getting off that emotional rollercoaster is such a relief. I love my new life. It is better than even the “best” times with my ex. Best of luck in your journey forward. Wishing you peace, freedom, and safety.

  • Today is womens day and I cried all day… I cried because I went through my life and I now believe I was abused since the beginning. I was abused when he complained that I shouldnt be until late talking to my friends as I was about to become a mum and I had to have time for my children. I was abused when he would complain about me getting cancer because I talked to my friends on the telephone… I live farway from friends and family and I decreased contact gradually until I do not feel like talking to anyone anymore… he managed to isolate me and I cannot get out of it… I have my children to tend to, I am a single mum, always have been because unlike me he never changed his ways and he always did whatever he wanted… i allowed it. He used self-pity etc to put himself always on the victim sit… and I sacrificed further until i vanished…
    I just am so disappointed with life. Everywhere I look I see is entitled man that one way or the other do abuse women. Like me, invisible. Nobody notices, small steps, small criticism, small imposed changed… you do not even notice and suddenly you lost yourself.
    Sorry for the chumped men out there… I know there are good men… but they are soooo extremely scarce, I do not know any.

    • Life has endless possibilities. Contact your local abused women’s shelter for online or in person support.

    • Your sorrow has touched my heart. I am sending you blessings for peace and comfort, strength and stamina.

    • “he managed to isolate me and I cannot get out of it”

      Wouldn’t your family take you in? If not, are there spousal abuse shelters in your area?
      I suggest you reconnect with family and friends and tell them what he has done to you. When they hear your story, they’ll likely forgive you for not being in touch.

    • Anix,
      You are an abused woman. And one result of the abuse is that your mood is depressed. You need help. I can’t tell if you are still with him, but if you are, one way for you to seek help is to schedule a doctor’s appointment, either for you or, if that would raise his suspicion, for one of your children, and while you are with the doctor, tell the doctor that you are being abused and that you need help. Immediate help.

    • “Nobody notices, small steps, small criticism, small imposed changed… you do not even notice and suddenly you lost yourself.” I completely understand this. It’s exactly what happened to me. The abuse got more overt towards the end, but it was abuse from the very start. It took me a long time to find myself again, but I did. Life is full of possibilities. It is full of joy. The future is something I look forward to now instead of dreading it or bracing myself for disaster. I am happier than I ever was with my ex. Happier than I’ve ever been in my life.

      My ex isolated me from friends and family too, but I am slowly rebuilding those connections.

      I share your general disappointment in men. For myself, I have decided not to pursue relationships. I like being single. I’m content. I have no desire to risk getting involved in another abusive relationship, or potentially expose my child to someone who may abandon us or harm us. And there are so many things I’d rather spend my time doing than dating. I always hated dating.

      • I too share general disappointment in men. Some are okay but I have to dig deep to find them. On the surface, they are “good guys” until you piss them off. Misogyny & the Patriarchy have breeded this entitlement to not care (or very little) about their intimate partners. As more women are taking on bad behaviour in the name of equality, I’m sure that there are men that also feel the same about women.

        • My brother and I were talking about this the other day, about how he (a kind, loyal, generous, respectful, and strongly self-managed and emotionally intelligent man) and I both feel this sense of not wanting to be at all anti-man but feeling like the number of men we know who are kind, loyal, generous, respectful, and strongly self-managed and emotionally intelligent man is disappointingly small. We both know them, him included, but it’s disappointing to keep having experiences that leave us feeling like the ones we find are unicorns.

          I suspect much of the lens we both see through is impacted by our age, as younger generations seem to have a stronger foundation of respect for girls and women than my generation does, on the whole. But even that lens is tinted in the direction of the people we know — as it’s a big country and a big world — and one only has to visit a different region to see different values in the majority position in a community.

          I vehemently refuse to allow myself to let my biases take a front seat to my actual experiences of people. But even so, I struggle all the time with the feelings that come up every time another guy walks into the grocery store and stands in the doorway while checking his list, expecting everyone else to walk around him while he stops and thinks. 😀

    • Anix, I know these feelings so well. I felt so so small and insignificant and invisible. First as a child, and then I brought that ish right into my marriage and married a guy who treated me just like my parents did. Took me 20 years to build myself up enough to get out – but life is so much better now.

      I hope today is the day you take a step to get yourself and your children free. Call a lawyer, contact a shelter, get a bus ticket back to your friends and family. There is no shame in it.

      I don’t really know if there is a good man out there for me, but I no longer care. I having SAFETY for me and my kids is absolutely priceless.

  • They are capable of it because it is who they are


    They hide it well until they don’t. Scrape them off like the garbage that they truly are. Whether you were with them
    1 year, or 40 years, don’t continute to live with a weasel

    Admit that they fooled you, but no more !

    • Yes.
      Once I admitted the con, I got on solid footing.
      Now, x isn’t even in the rearview.

  • “Lots of sites mention it and I really felt that for him to walk away from the son he adores and his new baby there must be something to it?”

    I just want to make a couple of points about this bit. Lots of sites talk about how vaccines increase rates of Covid and you can cure it by drinking bleach. Lots of sites say 9/11 and the Apollo 11 were hoaxes. Lots of sites say the Holocaust never happened. Websites are the worst places to look for the truth, because the bullshit sites vastly outnumber the truthful ones. Of course RIC sites talk about fog. Their mission is to get the chump to give the cheater a pass. It’s trickiest to spot the con when they insert some truth in there as well. We chumps need to fine tune our bullshit detectors.

    Another thing to remember is that a FW’s alleged love for his/her children should not be assumed to be genuine. Consistent, loving actions are what prove love. Actions which break up the family and traumatize children are not loving. We all want to believe our spouses love the kids, but we also thought that surely we must be loved, yet we were not.
    Don’t assume a FW has a normal range of human emotions. Yes, they *should* love their kids. It doesn’t mean they do.

  • Love hearing that you’re getting ready for vacation! Please share when you get back- I’m all about people enjoying their lives!
    This woman- I just want to hug her right and her sweet kids. I always think exactly that “how and WHY would someone get involved with a pregnant woman’s spouse”. It’s so sad how gross and disrespectful people are!
    My “husbands” ex never cared. She was just happy to be screwing him and me. Because she’s one of those too. In that regard, they were made for each other. I don’t know how I made it this far with this under my skin.
    Love you CN💗 enjoy the vacation Mr and Mrs CL

  • I believe in affair fog in the sense that they get really effing stupid but it doesn’t make them have the affair or mistreat their spouses. They entered into those affairs knowing what they were doing. My ex did become incredibly stupid though with this last one. It blew my mind. He was so caught up in his wonderful adult baby girlfriend that he was as cruel to me as possible, which was dumb because it didn’t inspire me to be nice when pursuing a divorce and settlement. And I really was one of those who would have left with only my inheritance if he had approached me and had a polite conversation about wanting a divorce. I literally offered him that when I thought he was unhappy and wanted out. But no, he became unbelievably stupid just for the joy of being cruel. I wonder if he’ll ever have a moment of clarity about that when he’s paying me alimony.

    • The absolute absurdity of the lies my ex told me throughout his affair was rather mind-blowing. I tended to just nod and smile and I guess he thought I believed him, but I never asked him a question that I didn’t already know the answer to. I just wanted to see what he’d say. There were simple explanations (lies, still, but simple ones) that I might actually have believed. Instead, he wove these ridiculously complicated stories that were easily disproven. I don’t know what was going through his head.

      • “I don’t know what was going through his head.”

        Based on my experience, he might be thinking how dumb you are to believe his dumb lies/stories. How you deserve a discard because of it.

        My Ex got all contemptuous about that. I didn’t tell him how often I’d only been half-listening to him. I was in the habit of half-listening to my parents venting when I grew up. So I thought part of life was tolerating your loved ones venting, talking smack, saying untruthful things about people they were upset with. It was dangerous to point out when the emperor didn’t have new clothes, so it was rare for me to challenge his BS.

        Boy was I surprised that he took this to mean that I believed his BS. Part of his discard was contempt on how I could have believed him. No chance for me to fit a word in edgewise, let alone set anything straight. Preemptive DARVO, all the lies he was embarrassed about was my fault. But he seemed stupid to have ever believed that I was doing anything except tolerate that side of him, or make the best of it.

    • Hello KatiePig, I think paradoxically you might have inadvertently reinforced your future-ex for entitelment when you generously offered to leave with your inheritance only when you saw him unhappy. I guess here is a perfect example of “no good deed gets unpunished”. This is a potential explanation (untangling of the skein), and absolutey not an excuse for him to behave as a jerk and for you to take any less than what you are owed 😘

  • Yup, some people will behave well as long as that comes easily and is rewarding for them. Then when behaving well isn’t as easy, or quite as rewarding, or there’s something else easy and rewarding nearby …..

    They are who they are, they always were.

    When they were behaving well, WE attributed that to the same reasons we behave well. They aren’t the only ones who project.

    I found that my ex’s behaviour was highly influenced, as well, by who he was hanging out with. That’s ’cause he has no moral compass at all, no values, no convictions, no capacity to self-reflect. Just lots of entitlement!

  • Pfft. The “fog” is nothing more than their cognitive dissonance that allows them to think they are a good person. I think they prefer it; otherwise they would have to admit they were complete selfish jerks and maybe do the hard work to change. As the CL says, “How likely is that?”

  • “..the ‘Oh my God, I fucked up’ moment of clarity. But here’s the thing — it’s only a MOMENT. And then the vast majority of cheaters IMO do everything to not feel it. They drink it into a stupor. They shop for new shiny shit instead. They discover new affair partners. Anything to blot out the stench of failure.” True, true, truest of words.

  • My cheating ex never accepted the idea of her being in a “fog.” It was me who pushed the idea on her. I wanted it to be true so I’d have an explanation for her repeated betrayals and continuing coldness. The real explanation, as CL points out, was that she was CHOOSING to cheat and to continue cheating after D-Day 1. She was very clear about what she was doing, and what she wanted.

    IMO, the “affair fog” concept is a figment of chumps’ desparate imaginations, upon which the RIC capitalizes (“It only looks like the couples counseling is unproductive and cruel, because cheater is suffering from . . . FOG! But if you stay at this long enough (Weeks? Months? Years? Who knows!) a rationale and compassionate person will magically emerge from your cheater, and all your one-sided sacrifices will be reciprocated!”). #baloney

  • I was also married to a serial cheater. I agree with ChumpLady. These people who do this are definitely a little off in the head. Cluster B personalities to the max. I didn’t need a PHD in psychology to figure this out. I didn’t see the oddities in his personality until after Dday and ended up dealing with all the gaslighting and weirdo crap he did and said. (I did actually see a lot of it in our 22 years of marriage but, you know, spackle. Lots of spackle.). I think the bottom line is that they just don’t care and they are not capable of caring. No fog, just something inside of them is missing and can’t be fixed. After the last Dday when he decided the grass was greener at the neighbors house we had one of many fights. I asked him if he realized what he did was wrong. He just stared at me. Just stared at me like I had 4 aliens on top of my head. It was crazy!! Go No Contact and eventually your heart will catch up with your head!!

  • I believe in London Fog. I believe in Foggy Mountain Breakdown. I believe in the fog of dementia. . . .

    Cheater Fog? Not so much. Selfishness? Denial? Dysfunctional Thinking? Even if they regret getting caught or having consequences, that’s not believable fog for me. I am so glad I no longer care what cheaters and haters think. Meh is fog free.

  • Fog? Yeah right the hoe had fog lights on her snatch so he could find it in the mist!

  • The Cheater will get it?? hahahaha Only if something hurts The Cheater will they get it (but with 98% blame assigned to you, of course)!! But if you hurt or your kids hurt? Pfffttt…no fucks given! They might pretend a little or not in the least. My ex left us in his “fog” aka dust. Now that he’s out of the “fog” aka bagged his conquest, he tries to spackle his shit show with the kids – they go along because they want to fervently believe their dad is not an asshole. If I could go back, I would’ve pulled the plug sooner so his “foggy” moments wouldn’t have affected the kids or I as much! The TRUTH: He’s a douche that should’ve never married in the first place! Even his parents agreed with me on that. Good luck to the AP! Actually, no I hope they both spontaneously combust! 🔥

  • If anyone was in a fog in my marriage it was me due to all the gaslighting and confusion he caused.

  • My first cheaters Fog lasted 37 years with his OW. 5 years before he put a ring on her finger so he had agency to make decisions. He left me 2 weeks after delivery but was able, through the FOG, to give my daughter his 0W name. I that same fog my 1st cheater could see the OW, lie to me, deceive me, verbally abuse me and use me AND at other times, still in the FOG Zone, be sweet as Thanksgiving pie in order to manipulate me to get his cake. This Fog is a pure entitlement HIGH and works for all addicts in order to keep the buffet table rotation. I didn’t understand this back 37 years ago. My second cheater was bipolar and I used the excuse of his disease allow him to be abusive towards me. I finally got hit with the fact that this FOG is the high of entitlement, the high of power, the high of arrogance, the high of manipulation, the high of getting away with the lies, the high of playing me against other woman for the gift of him. Other woman I knew nothing about. It is about the high of evil and it gets worse with the years if you don’t find out about it and stop it. There is no cure for DNA deep selfish and the love i thought I got was pure manipulation. An academy award performance with a statue in his Hands. Affair fog is …I’m all powerful, bow before my needs. Just like a spoiled 2 year old that mores into a surely teen. I don’t see a cure once the apple is nit. SAS news for me. My STBXH got cake for 3 years because he was bipolar. Now I know the truth, and it has set me free

  • Part 2.
    I think that Affair Fog is that persons TRUE MISERABLE SELF when their mask falls off and you see the true unvarnished character. When their fog lifts, and they resume their original “caring” person, that is the mask back on. Keeping the mask firmly in place to fool you, takes effort. Dropping the mask and floating into the fog, takes zero effort. Because THAT. IS .WHO. THEY REALLY ARE.This was a shocker for me. The path of least resistance is the Fog life. The kind family man, hard work.

  • In a moment of clarity, my FW said that I was quite important to him in his life – had boosted his career. And that I had given him what he needed at that stage of his life. And now he is in a phase where he needs something else. It’s as simple as that!
    It remains to be seen whether his young lover will still be present in the phase of his life when it is time to change the stoma bag and wipe the drool from the corner of his mouth.

    • Awake: that’s being the appliance that CL talks about. “Thanks for being a good useful, appliance, but now I want some new updated appliance to help me (certainly not you!) skate through life. Toodles!”

    • “In a moment of clarity, my FW said that I was quite important to him in his life – had boosted his career. ”

      Yep, same here. Had it not been for my community and political work, he would have never acheived his dream of Captains bars and and office right beside the Mayor.

      He was all set up, and dumped me to share the spoils with a new (to him) woman. In his case within the first year after our D became final, he had been busted in rank, put back out on patrol and no office. Whoopsie.

      For some reason the mayor turned against him. His sob story was he was so loyal to the mayor and friends don’t do that to friends. I only know because my son told me what he said. I oft wondered if he actually said that with a straight face.

      Schmoops was his (fw’s) direct report and the mayor was blindsided, I suspect that was his reason for not trusting him.

    • I think FW told you the truth. They’re like an alien species that comes to a planet and takes whatever they need, and then move on, devastation in their wake.

  • The original poster wrote “ My husband had drunk sex with a woman.” Yeah, this is what my XH told me too.
    “He was remorseful -well, he cried a bit and said sorry and, hey, at least he told me .” Yeah this is what my XH did too, and what I thought also.
    The problem was, it wasn’t the entire truth. More truth trickled out over the years: history of one night stands, hookers, public master nation, heavy pornography use, on and on. All happening before the “drunk sex” and after. At last I knew enough to say this is not acceptable to me. I didn’t need to know it all.

    I hope the OP got away and updates us.

  • I always say about my ex that he loves and cares for our shared kid as much as he is capable of doing…which is not exactly the gold standard. It’s a kind of grace I give myself to go about life without harboring consistent anger and in a state of acceptance that I’ll do all of the heavy parental lifting and attend to my child’s needs, including emotional trauma associated with her relationship with her dysfunctional father. This doesn’t morally or legally obviate him from his duties, but it does allow me to move through life with some level of contentment. And I take pride in my stance and the work I do as a mom, providing for my child.

    All this to say that “affair fog,” and the resultant parental neglect, is not a transitory thing. It’s a way of life for these people. It reflects their permanent capabilities and limitations. And the faster you accept that and go about the business of architecting your life and your children’s lives, the better off you are. Hold their feet to the fire for what’s legally due, but always expect the bare minimum (at best)…because this supposed “fog” is actually their true selves.

  • I think the idea of affair fog persists because it freaks people out too much to think that there is the possiblity that people can switch so completely from a good guy or gal that they can related to, to this alien being that would throw people under the bus and act in such a bloodless manner. It shakes our sense of certainty and trust in our own perceptions of reality. That’s why so many of us wonder if our spouse has a brain tumor or sumsuch, the behaviour is just so out of character.

    • Hahaha the judge ordered my ex to a neurologist, based on my speculation that something was wrong with him. (I am a medical expert of a kind, but brains are not my wheelhouse). It turns out that there is no scan for low moral character, but I take a grim enjoyment in how much narcissistic injury that must have inflicted. I doubt he followed the order. I never tried to follow up because, no point.

    • Totally Stig. Sounds like my comment below. In my case it was an absolute shock at how he behaved after DDay. It was understandable that he was all “a flutter” after his month long fuckfest while daughter and I were out of town. But the behaviour that followed was so odd, cold and cruel that I bought into the fog scenario for only a short time. Then it was evident that it wasn’t just “limerence”. It was all out abuse.

  • I get why people believe in the fog because if we once thought we had a loving partner and they change their behaviour so radically we seek a reason because we want that reason to go away. But if they are just fundamentally assholes then it’s hard to wrap our brains about how we didn’t see it. We feel duped.

  • “Affair fog” just makes me think of the FOG acronym for “fear, obligation, guilt”– a favorite FW strategy to stymie and confuse chumps with chronic blame-shifting. And the FOG is also a dry run of what FWs are going to tell their APs flying monkeys in order to disparage their chumps as justification for affairs.

    FW in my case frog-boiled me with gesture warfare for years that was meant to subtly convey that I was responsible for his suffering and oh what great suffering it was! If asked, say, not to leave dangerous tools lying around the kids’ play area, he would silently stiffen as if that were the four thousandth criticism he’d heard from me that day which he was stoically letting fly despite the fact that my cruelty was driving him to an early grave. Literally any time I asked him how he was he would launch into a whining rhapsody about the dangerous level of stress he was under. Anything could set off a rhapsody, even asking him to drive slower or stop tailgating. He would often stomp through rooms in a hurry with brows furrowed as though on a dangerous mission (to get more hot water for tea). If I fell into the trap of asking what was wrong, whoops, another rhapsody. If he didn’t sleep well, it was always somehow my fault even if he stayed up too late binging on Netflix.

    The whining was part and parcel of blame-shifting since one could almost hear an audible “chink” of a blame token dropping into a blame bag every time he complained or pretended that my day-to-day marital nudging over kid safety or chores was a form of extreme abuse. I think he launched into the affair after he’d amassed enough blame chips to purchase a massive betrayal. By then he thought his case against me was airtight. Before D-Day when I started getting suspicious and directly asked if he was cheating, it was like he unleashed the “fires of hell” version of manbaby whiny rhapsody. I wouldn’t let him sleep! It was domestic abuse! I constantly criticized him! It had destroyed his self esteem! He was equivalent to a battered man!

    I was so confused at first since I hadn’t been keeping track of all the bs. Frogs don’t know they’re being boiled and he already had me in this posture of feeling slightly guilty towards him at all times. What abuse? What criticism? That I asked him to help clean up the kitchen before bed? That, after all the housework and kid-wrangling, I came to bed too late when he wanted to have sex? That I asked him not to leave his shoes in the middle of doorways, eat food around the kids that the kids are allergic to, tailgate city buses or leave the house unlocked? That I was always asking him what was wrong because he walked around with the diffident expression of a baby with a wet diaper?

    Yes there was an affair-related “FOG” but it was kind of like pesticide fogging and I was the one lost in it at first.

    • Omg! So much of this resonates with me, Hell of a Chump, espcially this: “He would often stomp through rooms in a hurry with brows furrowed as though on a dangerous mission” as well as “I came to bed too late when he wanted to have sex.” 100 times this!

  • “Seriously, what kind of a woman gets involved with a man whose wife is pregnant”? Really? The kind that cheat themselves.

    After D-Day I found out not only did my UW cheat while pregnant with BOTH our kids (yes, I DNA checked them), but she had an 18 month affair with a married man who’s wife was 3 months pregnant when the affair started (went all through the pregnancy, birth and first year of this piece of shit’s first child’s life). A whore is gonna whore. They have zero morals….

  • “Affair fog” is just NRE, New Relationship Energy. They’re just kids in love and excited to be alive, doncha know. It’ll last as long as their interest in the AP lasts. Life has a way of grinding all of that down, though — bills, kids and such.

  • Affair fog= BS

    Cheating is a choice. Love is a verb.
    Limerance is a thing. Maybe thats what they mean by Affair fog. It wears off after 4-48 months. Thats why everyone is saying to get a quick divorce. They are crazed with limerance and want to be with schmoopie, not their awful family. Once the limerance chemicals wear off and the sheen and sparkles of their shiny new sparkle twat wears off, they will turn their attention back on us. Make the divorce hell. My MIL did give me that advice, to get a quick divorce.

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