For my husband, being in the "fog" perfectly described his actions pre-, during, and post-A. He justified, he minimized, he compartmentalized, he fantasized, he lied. He was not the man I'd been married to for 21 years.
His EA/PA was from Jul-Nov '12. I suspected a possible EA, but never more. What got my senses on high alert was his bizarre behavior when she ended the A. He acted out, slept with a prostitute (which I DID find out about), then paid for 2 escorts while on a business trip (I saw the money leave the account and figured 1 of those had happened). I tried to get him to talk to me about it, to go to MC. We couldn't go to MC until the New Year--when our new insurance would start up.
When I confronted him about the prostitute--with the e-mail proof and the condoms receipt, he told me then (12/12) that he'd gone to the prostitute but hadn't done anything because she smelled like cigarette smoke and was ugly (true--I already knew that because my friend had found her on FB), so I believed him. Ha! He also told me, around this time, the dreaded phrase "I love you, but I'm not in love with you," and said that he thought we'd each be better off starting over with someone new. And he, a SA, couldn't get it up to be intimate with me because there wasn't an emotional bond any longer (and it wasn't illicit, so wasn't a thrill that way).
Anyway, end of Nov to end of Jan was a horrible time of knowing something was REALLY wrong, suspecting he was paying for more prostitutes, hearing that he wasn't in love with me, and worrying that he was lying to me.
By end of Jan 13, he'd had a couple more business trips with the OW and had tried to rekindle something, but although she was nice to him, she was trying to reconcile with her husband, so she turned down his attempts to have meals together or to chat. She did, however, keep up a texting relationship with him. But he knew then that it was over with her--even though they'd planned a future together that he really wanted.
So he came home to me and he asked to reconcile. He told me everything (and, yes, 7 months later, I've asked more questions and gotten more detail, but he confessed to ALL the big stuff and much of the little). When I asked that evening how firm his commitment was, how he'd respond if she called the next day and asked him to come back to her, he hesitated and said he just didn't know.
I wanted honesty, right? I was devastated by the magnitude of his sins, truthfully. It absolutely boggled my mind that this upstanding man--with weaknesses--would make the choices he had. But I was willing to keep my family intact and my children "safe" even if it meant sacrificing myself. I didn't know how long that'd suffice, but I knew, at that time, that I didn't want a divorce.
By mid-February, when he went on to a sports tournament out of state with our son, he came out of the fog a bit and told me that he felt more in love with me every day. I, of course, was thrilled. But I was still hesitant. Our MC sessions were OK, but there were a lot of issues to work through, and we weren't even ready to start talking about the A--just the issues leading up to the A that were the fault of us both.
Back in July, he hurt my feelings by telling a funny story about OW to a group of people that included me. I walked home, pleading illness. Later that evening, I confronted him about that. I also brought up a few other things that my therapist had told me to talk about with him--mainly about giving me gifts and finding a new day to celebrate my birthday (since his A tainted mine). He brought up, more gently this time, the fact that maybe we shouldn't be trying to make our marriage work, that maybe I deserved to find someone better for me. At the end of the conversation, I was disturbed. He'd obviously been being more kind to me, but I wondered if he was just waiting until the perfect woman came along and then he'd dump me.
The next morning, he left for a business trip--in the city where he'd once been with OW. He took a long walk. And he came back a new man. 'Though he'd been making baby steps, I think the fog FINALLY lifted during that trip.
Since then, we've had a three-hour conversation about the A where he answered more of my questions and explored some of the issues that brought up, talked about how it made me feel, ventured to talk about our future together. He was open and honest and non-confrontational and kind and completely different from how he was a year or even 6 months ago.
He installed Facetime on our computer and fixed his so that we can interact when he's out of town. He was gone several days a week every week of the first four months of this year (save two weeks) and was away the entire month of June, but didn't install it until now. Until the fog dissipated.
He is, finally, making personal changes that will be good for us. He was a caffeine-a-holic. He's now down to one caffeinated soda a day. My daughter needed a question answered today, so she Facetimed him; he was working out (first time in a year?). He Facetimed me as soon as he got to his hotel room today. I wasn't inside. But two hours later, I texted him that I was sorry to have missed his call and he Facetimed me right back. Last week, he bought me thoughtful, lovely gifts for the faux birthday I asked that we celebrate and that he remembered this time. He even expended effort to have the gifts be a surprise and had to jump through some hoops that seemed fun for him instead of a chore. Does that make sense? Instead of being disgusted by/frustrated with my lack of popular culture knowledge, he's introducing me to stuff he wants me to share with him. The other night, he asked if I'd watch The Godfather with him. So we did. I have to admit, the scene near the end about the A about made me cry, but overall it was a good experience to watch the show as his partner.
There are many other almost insignificant things that mean a lot to me and that say a lot to me. What I'm saying is that, maybe just for some waywards (I can't speak for any others), there really is a fog, a fantasy-land of sorts, where they dwell for awhile. What brings them out of it may differ. For my husband, true NC (starting end of January) played a part. My willingness to not put all the blame for our marriage problems (not the A but the M) on him played a part. My obvious love for and forgiveness of him played a part. Time played a part. Communicating with him--not making him be a mind reader (even though broaching subjects that were potentially verbally volatile was frightening to me)--played a part. Keeping my composure during discussions (even if I was teary or cried) played a part. And going to MC played a part, too.
He has changed. HE'S the one who has done the 180. We're not "done" by any means. Sometimes the reality of what happened is still so intensely painful that I reel with it. But he's given me hope. My wish is that this post has given you hope, too. Hugs!