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Wayward Side :
“The Fog”

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 ff4152 (original poster member #55404) posted at 11:16 PM on Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

I’ve seen this term bandied about on SI quite a bit. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on what "The Fog" actually is.

I’m wondering if others could share what they think "The Fog" actually is.

Me -FWS

posts: 1927   ·   registered: Sep. 30th, 2016
id 8730815
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emergent8 ( member #58189) posted at 11:53 PM on Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

No stop sign.

I think the fog is the pattern of thinking that allowed the Wayward to justify the affair to themselves, when previously they believed that infidelity ran counter to their morals or code of ethics. The specifics will vary from person to person but from what I have read it can include: I deserve this; no one will get hurt; this feels so special and unique so it must be right; my marriage is basically over; my partner is so _____; etc etc etc.

When people snap out of the fog, they begin to realize the lies that they were telling themselves.

Me: BS, Him: WS. Mid-late 30s.
Together 15 years, married 6 (11 m at D-Day).
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
5 years (and two toddlers) into R. Happy.

posts: 912   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8730822
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landclark ( member #70659) posted at 2:38 AM on Thursday, April 21st, 2022

I assumed it was what came after DDAY, the not snapping out of it immediately and continuing to believe it’s true love.

Me: BW Him: WH (GuiltAndShame) Dday 05/19/19 TT through August
One child together, 3 stepchildrenTogether 13.5 years, married 12.5

First EA 4 months into marriage. Last ended 05/19/19. *ETA, contd an ea after dday for 2 yrs.

posts: 2017   ·   registered: May. 29th, 2019
id 8730850
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BearlyBreathing ( member #55075) posted at 2:47 AM on Thursday, April 21st, 2022

I have interpreted it as the fairyland a WS makes through intentional compartmentalization and extreme cognitive dissonance and good old lies to themselves. It’s the culmination of justifying that "I deserve this", "no one will get hurt if no one knows", "if I am happy then I am a better father/mother/spouse", and "my spouse doesn’t get me or is evil or washes the laundry wrong".

When a WS truly lets go of all those lies and bullshit they made up in their heads to justify their actions, that is when the "fog" lifts. As long as they are still making up bullshit to justify, then they are still in "the fog".

Think of it as a fine mist of shit particulates they douse themselves with like a 13 year old with Axe Body spray.


(Apparently I am in a salty mood- sorry! laugh )

Me: BS 55 (49 on d-day)Him: WH. 64. D-Day 8/15/2016 LTA. Kinda liking my new life :-)

**horrible typist, lots of edits to correct. :-/ **

posts: 4701   ·   registered: Sep. 10th, 2016   ·   location: Northern CA
id 8730851
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achilles1101 ( member #74132) posted at 7:17 AM on Thursday, April 21st, 2022

I think there is no fog. It is a way to justly what was done

Me: BH 56
Her: WW 49 Midlyfewife
Married 20 years, two children
D DAY 1: May 2019 confronted with evidence of PA, sexting, copped to one incident and the sexting
D Day 2: April 2020, after contacting OBS, confessed to 4.5 year long PA, AP much younger

posts: 359   ·   registered: Apr. 1st, 2020   ·   location: NorCal
id 8730884
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 1:53 PM on Thursday, April 21st, 2022

^^^^THIS^^^^

posts: 4332   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8730912
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MrsWalloped ( member #62313) posted at 3:26 PM on Thursday, April 21st, 2022

I have interpreted it as the fairyland a WS makes through intentional compartmentalization and extreme cognitive dissonance and good old lies to themselves. It’s the culmination of justifying that "I deserve this", "no one will get hurt if no one knows", "if I am happy then I am a better father/mother/spouse", and "my spouse doesn’t get me or is evil or washes the laundry wrong".

When a WS truly lets go of all those lies and bullshit they made up in their heads to justify their actions, that is when the "fog" lifts. As long as they are still making up bullshit to justify, then they are still in "the fog".


I agree with this. At least it was that way for me during the A and for a bit after DDay.

To Achilles1101’s point, the "fog" is NOT a justification. It is not an excuse. "Oh, it’s not my fault, I was in the fog." That’s garbage. But it is a state of mind that helps the WS justify our horrible choices to ourselves, or gives us a way to not think about what we’re doing or have done. When we start to realize just what we’ve truly done, recognize the damage we’ve wrought and how much we’ve messed up, that’s coming out of the fog. That’s when we gain clarity and pull the curtain back.

Again, the fog is a real thing IMO, but it is never an excuse or justification.

Me: WW 47
My BH: Walloped 48
A: 3/15 - 8/15 (2 month EA, turned into 3 month PA)
DDay: 8/3/15
In R

posts: 769   ·   registered: Jan. 17th, 2018
id 8730922
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 7:06 PM on Thursday, April 21st, 2022

I don’t think it’s a justification or excuse at all.

I experienced what others on this thread explained. It was directly due to conscious decisions I made that led to the cognitive dissonance and lies I was telling myself to continue what I wanted to do.

Unfortunately you start believing your own bullshit gradually. And it does take some time to see that you were lying to yourself.

I think it’s controversial because it is a stupid word. But it’s only short hand for the pining, the believing of rewriting history, the belief that our behavior is justified in anyway. If it gets discussed with that sort of description there would be far less controversy.

I was definitely buying what I was selling and realizing how wrong I was about the thoughts I was choosing to believe was just as hard to admit. In many ways it was likely to avoid the deep, debilitating shame. But it’s a process that is obviously nexcessary.

So short definition- has not accepted yet they are full of shit.

Edited to add I hadn’t read mrs. Walloped’s response before writing mine but not surprised we said essentially the same thing.

[This message edited by hikingout at 7:08 PM, Thursday, April 21st]

WW/BW BH/WH Turnthepage My Affair DDAY 9/1/2017- 2 month EA/PAHis Affair DDAY 10/10/2020 - 18 month A - EA?/PA

posts: 6019   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8730957
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EnPedasos ( new member #79857) posted at 9:17 PM on Thursday, April 21st, 2022

hikingout This exactly what I believe.

It really irritates me to call it FOG.
Like it’s out of their control or they have no choice.
barf

Call it what it is. Selfish entitlement

Just my opinion

Dd was 12/15/21. Me BS 43Him WH 43
20 years 14M 18DD 8DS

You can ignore reality but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.

"Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides." –André Malraux

posts: 31   ·   registered: Jan. 30th, 2022
id 8730979
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Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 5:33 PM on Friday, April 22nd, 2022

I see the fog as self deceit. I can totally see that if I WANTED to have an affair today, I could start slowly convincing myself that I deserve it, that my husband doesn’t love me, doesn’t appreciate me, that he wouldn’t know anyway and what he doesn’t know can’t hurt him, that I love my AP and they’re my ultimate soulmate (thus ignoring the fact that it’s pretty obvious you can’t REALLY get to know a person during affairs, affairs by definition are unicorn land, are bubbles where STIs don’t exist, unplanned pregnancies don’t exist, the APs tell each other exactly and only what they want to hear, the BS is a monster and the AP’s poos don’t even smell).

Seriously, when I look back at some of the bullshit my WH said to me closely after dday I can now, almost 5 years later, laugh because there was no substance to it and it sounded like a 12 yo who was telling me why he ate a whole cake behind my back and I am wrong to tell him off. But at the time he was serious about it. 😳

BW - 38 at the time of the A
WH - 45 at the time of the A
Dday - 27/9/2017

posts: 1459   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: Europe
id 8731253
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 8:04 PM on Friday, April 22nd, 2022

EnPedasos,

Can you say more about being irritated by the term? To me it's neutral, and I'd like to understand what gets you. Does irritate mean, say, 'raise your blood pressure and add stress' or does it mean 'have contempt for with only a little added stress, if any'?

A friend once bought a desirable car at a very low price from a dealer. When he got home, he called the previous owner, who said, 'You bought it? Good luck!'. IIRC, my friend said he bought it in 'a fog'. That seems like a neutral description of his state of mind that allowed him to buy (a very bad instance of) a desirable car at a very low price. Does fog irritate you in that case? Or do you just have contempt without serious change in body chemistry? (My own reaction was that I was sorry he screwed himself, but I was a little bit contemptuous, because he DID screw himself.)

Again, I don't mean to argue. I want to further my understanding.

Thanks.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 8:06 PM, Friday, April 22nd]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27110   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8731279
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 ff4152 (original poster member #55404) posted at 8:32 PM on Friday, April 22nd, 2022

I wonder what the genesis of it all is.

You have some WS that have been loyal for 25 years when they suddenly decide to cheat. There are others who have cheated throughout the relationship. Its easy to say its because of FOO or a crappy life/childhood/marriage etc yet there are plenty of people in the same types of situations who never stray.

In hindsight and in an attempt to be completely candid, I'm not surprised my behavior culminated in an A. Many of the things attributed to "The Fog", i.e. selfishness, lack of empathy etc. were already present before I cheated. So can we really say that fog like thinking is something that gradually happened over time or was always there, just below the surface?

Me -FWS

posts: 1927   ·   registered: Sep. 30th, 2016
id 8731290
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Tanner ( member #72235) posted at 11:34 PM on Friday, April 22nd, 2022

I saw it as my WW had to make all the justifications and lies to herself. She was a true believer in the shit she convinced herself. On Dday she was still a true believer and tried to run that twisted thinking by me. It was definitely a delusional fog.

Dday Sept 7 2019 doing well in R
BH 55 WW 48 M 31 years, 4 kids 2 grown 2 grandkids

posts: 1380   ·   registered: Dec. 5th, 2019   ·   location: Texas DFW
id 8731336
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 12:23 AM on Saturday, April 23rd, 2022

You have some WS that have been loyal for 25 years when they suddenly decide to cheat. There are others who have cheated throughout the relationship. Its easy to say its because of FOO or a crappy life/childhood/marriage etc yet there are plenty of people in the same types of situations who never stray.

In hindsight and in an attempt to be completely candid, I'm not surprised my behavior culminated in an A. Many of the things attributed to "The Fog", i.e. selfishness, lack of empathy etc. were already present before I cheated. So can we really say that fog like thinking is something that gradually happened over time or was always there, just below the surface?

I think you are conflating a lot of concepts together.

Our whys have nothing to do with the fog. The fog is believing our own lies so deeply. What Luna describes above is a perfect example.

Our whys or the dog are not why we cheated. We cheated because the opportunity presented itself, we wanted to do it, it felt good at the time, etc.

The whys are why did you want to cheat? Why were you able to do it? What were your character flaws, for the purpose of identifying where to start work on yourself.

And finally I think what you are talking about is true too. It’s not the fog, but we ws have a tendency to not have a good awareness of ourselves. We often are people who numb our feelings different ways. If you numb bad feelings you numb good feelings.

That’s not the fog but more of some Common coping mechanisms that ws display. We also tend to be overly selfish or overly selfless because both ways we are looking to fill a void. The overly selfish will overtly demand a lot of a spouse as proof of their love. The overly selfless will be a doormat trying to be what they think their spouse will want. They have an anxious attachment style but over the years stuffing feelings and needs becomes it’s own crisis. For me I didn’t even realize I was doing it and holding resentment. But bath have a void they only make bigger over time.

In other words, our self awareness is often very low but that’s not the fog.

WW/BW BH/WH Turnthepage My Affair DDAY 9/1/2017- 2 month EA/PAHis Affair DDAY 10/10/2020 - 18 month A - EA?/PA

posts: 6019   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8731352
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EnPedasos ( new member #79857) posted at 3:50 AM on Saturday, April 23rd, 2022

sisoon

It’s triggering to me. It definitely raises my blood pressure makes me irritated, angry.

It’s probably due to the fact that I had people approached me with " try to understand he’s in a fog and he’s judgement and decision making is clouded."

No I don’t care if he’s in a fog or cloud. Let him crash 💥

I can’t help it. I’m only 4 months from Dday.

Dd was 12/15/21. Me BS 43Him WH 43
20 years 14M 18DD 8DS

You can ignore reality but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.

"Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides." –André Malraux

posts: 31   ·   registered: Jan. 30th, 2022
id 8731378
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DailyGratitude ( member #79494) posted at 3:57 PM on Saturday, April 23rd, 2022

@endepasos
I heard that stupid excuse from my family members too. "Oh he’s in a fog. He’s not thinking straight. You have to understand that. You must forgive him and take him back"
It’s a way of justifying and excusing the disgusting behavior. So infuriating!!!!

Me: BW mid 50’s
Him: WH late 50’s
Marrried 25 years
Dday: EA 2002
PA 9/2021
Divorce 10/2021 (per wh’s request)
WH left to be with AP

posts: 217   ·   registered: Oct. 17th, 2021   ·   location: Connecticut
id 8731442
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:51 PM on Saturday, April 23rd, 2022

Thanks for the clarification.

Although we have different views of the word, I absolutely agree with you on evaluating the WS. It makes no sense to me to stay with someone who is not thinking straight.

*****

I think there's hope for a WS who says, 'I was in a fog. That was a major eff-up, and I'm going to work to stay honest in the future - no more lies, to myself or to you or to anybody (except maybe it's OK to spin things in my favor at tax time).'

I'm not hopeful for WSes who say, 'A fog came over me, and I just don't know what to do....'

[This message edited by SI Staff at 5:16 PM, Saturday, April 23rd]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27110   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8731447
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 5:19 PM on Saturday, April 23rd, 2022

This is always such a difficult subject because so many WS's use "the fog" or something similar in order to excuse or justify their behavior to their BS, especially shortly after D-day. As others have mentioned, sometimes it's family members or "other people" that also offer it up as a reason for the BS. The problem with this isn't the fog itself, it's the fact that it is linked to an excuse, thus insinuating that the WS has limited or no culpability in the affair. So it is perfectly reasonable to see many BS's on this site with the staunch opinion that the the fog is made up, or that it's just a diversion tactic, or a CYA, whatever. That's THEIR experience with it and so it's hard to open their minds enough to see that they are blaming the cart for the direction the horse is going in.

As others have said and I will shout it from the rooftops myself, IT IS NOT A JUSTIFICATION FOR INFIDELITY. I'm sorry that your WS used it that way if they did, and that was wrong of them. Understanding what the fog is and how it affected the decision making process for the WS is a key element for most WS's to understand and work with if they are ever to "get it", and so labeling the fog as "fake" and "a lie" and "an excuse" is really harmful to the efforts of WS's and BS's alike who are fighting to save their marriages and need to understand what happened in order to address it and build new, healthier lives and outcomes for themselves.

In my opinion, the biggest problem that SI has with "the fog" is something I've addressed in other threads, and that is simply that this is an infidelity forum, so we tend to see everything through the eyes of infidelity. The fog that we are describing is NOT an infidelity issue. For example, a person might get drunk and then have a one-night stand. And if you come to this site, you might see a lot of stories that start with, "I was drunk and then...", so it becomes easy to say that people are just using being drunk as an excuse, which is true to an extent. The problem comes in when people start to say, "There is no such thing as being drunk, it's just an excuse to cheat". And that's just not true, at all, not even a little. And it also is not a logical conclusion that anyone who is drunk is also cheating.

If you grab a copy of the DSM-5 and look for a condition labeled as "the fog" you won't see it. That's because "the fog" is an SI term, much in the same way that looking up "CoW" will get you a "moo" and not "co-worker". However, if you start to look up trauma responses and the way people are damaged by emotional trauma, things will start to make sense.

Let me ask you this. Suppose that one day, you wake up to find that your spouse has painted themselves purple, shoved a broom up their butt to look like a tail and is running down the street introducing themselves as Barney the Dinosaur and asking people to sing kids songs with them. What would go through your head at that moment? Would you think to yourself, "OMG, my spouse has secretly been hiding the fact that they are actually a dinosaur! They never loved me, they just wanted to humiliate me!" My guess is, that would not be your response. Instead, you'd probably think that your spouse is insane, have them committed, and then work with doctors to determine what caused the mental break and how to repair it. That's a normal response to your spouse doing something totally insane and completely out of character for them, and which came on seemingly "overnight" so to speak.

And yet, when our spouses suddenly start acting coldly and secretively, and completely out of character from the person that we knew, loved and married, we don't ask why/how they changed into a monster seemingly overnight, we just assume that they've always secretly been a cheater and a liar and just "hid it well". Again, this makes a lot of sense from the perspective of a BS who just got cheated on. But if you can take the personal trauma out of the equation for a moment, you might notice that in both cases (Barney and infidelity) the spouses did something "not mentally stable" and out of character for who they are. We react differently and come to different conclusions because in one instance the behavior ended in betrayal and in the other it didn't. But that doesn't change the behavior, it only changes our perspective of it. Our perspective has nothing to do with the cause. Mentally unstable is mentally unstable regardless of the outcomes.

Some here might say, "Fine, I get that, but my spouse didn't change 'overnight', they cheated on me for years and years". Which is a good thing to note. However, trauma is not a time-limited state of mind. If for example, a person grew up in a house where they weren't shown unconditional love and weren't protected by their parents, that person would grow up missing what most other people have. For example, they don't understand what a healthy relationship looks like or acts like, not because they are assholes, but because they were never taught healthy relationship skills to begin with. They never developed healthy boundaries to begin with. They never learned how consequences work and how to grow from challenges instead of just folding. In other words, they've been broken their whole lives... they just were able to mask their brokenness because we always assumed they were mentally healthy to begin with.

At the end of the day, "The fog", however it manifests itself, is an inability of a person (our WS's in this case) to deal with reality and with relationships in a clear and healthy way. They ARE selfish and they ARE liars, but not because they are full of hate and evil, but rather because they are broken and those are the tactics that have allowed them to survive in a world that they aren't built for.

The really, really wonderful thing about all of this, as awful as it sounds at first, is that it means there is a path to actually "fixing" the person who is broken. Once they can realize, and ACCEPT, that they are broken, steps can be taken to build what was missing or broken in the first place. Healthy boundaries. Self-love and dignity. Empathy and respect for others. The ability to own our choices. So on and so on.

I speak from experience here. This is MY life story. This the experience that we've shared, and understanding this has opened up new paths and opportunities for my wife and me to not only understand what happened, but how to prevent it from happening again, and how to grow closer by working on the rebuilding process together.

There is no entry in the DSM-5 for "lying, cheating, POS asshole" either. How would you feel if you were accused of "making up infidelity as an excuse to just hate your spouse"? You'd be pretty pissed I imagine. Well, it feels the same on this end. When people say it doesn't exist, it diminishes the 56 years of emotional pain and trauma that I've suffered through, it diminishes the pain I put my wife and family through, and it demeans every person I know who is clawing and scratching their way through therapy in order to heal. I just needed to say that, because I don't think people "get" how much it hurts and how much damage it causes to be labeled as a liar when you are doing everything humanly possible to own and understand yourself, your choices and actions. Call the fog whatever you will, it doesn't matter. Just understand that your spouse might be broken in a way that may make them seem like an uncaring asshole, and if you can see this as "a broken person" and not "a natural born asshole", then you have options, rather than lacking them.

[This message edited by DaddyDom at 8:08 PM, Saturday, April 23rd]

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1269   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8731454
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EnPedasos ( new member #79857) posted at 6:56 PM on Saturday, April 23rd, 2022

DaddyDom

I have read a lot of your post I find them very helpful. I appreciate you taking the time to walk us (BS) trough the thought process of a WS.

Thank you 🙏🏼

Thank you to all WS who post even though they know they might get negative feedback. My respects to those who work on doing better it’s a daily endeavor.

" And yet, when our spouses suddenly start acting coldly and secretively, and completely out of character from the person that we knew, loved and married, we don't ask why/how they changed into a monster seemingly overnight, we just assume that they've always secretly been a cheater and a liar and just "hid it well". Again, this makes a lot of sense from the perspective of a BS who just got cheated on. But if you can take the personal trauma out of the equation for a moment, you might notice that in both cases (Barney and infidelity) the spouses did something "not mentally stable" and out of character for who they are. We react differently and come to different conclusions because in one instance the behavior ended in betrayal and in the other it didn't. But that doesn't change the behavior, it only changes our perspective of it. Our perspective has nothing to do with the cause. Mentally unstable is mentally unstable regardless of the outcomes."

This^^^^ I definitely had it in my head that he’s always been a monster just hid it well.

[This message edited by EnPedasos at 4:41 PM, Wednesday, May 4th]

Dd was 12/15/21. Me BS 43Him WH 43
20 years 14M 18DD 8DS

You can ignore reality but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.

"Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides." –André Malraux

posts: 31   ·   registered: Jan. 30th, 2022
id 8731473
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 4:19 PM on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

Just my .02 . . .

I think the fog my W had was that she lost sight of the humility and empathy as key character traits.

I agree it is not excuse for any of the hurtful behavior that occurs before or after Dday.

Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 5002   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8733549
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