Potent toxic smog that infiltrates normal, free thinking rational people and turns them into jelly brained, irrational zombies with no sense whatsoever. Its effects left me wondering where the hell my husband went and what on Earth was he thinking? The man I knew disappeared and was replaced by an alien imposter. It looked like him, talked like him but seemed to be acting like a weird doppelgänger from an eery Stephen King classic. Plus a strong word of warning: when it wears off, affair fog leaves behind a very pungent residue. Sense may return, but dark, irreversible stains of childishness, stupidity, naivety, shame and embarrassment remain, which blend together to form a distinct stench of guilt and self loathing. It really is a fervent poison the affects of which linger long after it fades, leaving a persistent mark that changes your life forever.
Urrggh! *Shudder* as the hairs stand up on my neck.
Simply just thinking about this stinky, disgusting fog churns my stomach and makes me feel sick and violated by something disgusting. I've been avoiding writing this blog as revisiting its effects is so repulsively hurtful. It truly is a nasty concoction that distorts reality and turned my husband against me in the most prejudicial and crippling way. The scary thing is too, it's invisible. He looked and sounded exactly the same, but what was going on, on the inside was devastating, incredibly effectual and extremely toxic. From my desperate search for answers and understanding about what had gone on, I came to learn affair fog seems to be created by a combination of the psychological processes necessary to invent the flimsy moral justifications and vaguely plausible excuses, and the biological chemical reactions that happen in the brain when entering into an extra-marital affair. A lethal combination creating blinkers, a questionable defensive mindset and an intoxicating drug to overpower and subdue any attempt of an emerging conscience. Through my reading, I found out that it's a universally commonplace phenomenon involved with infidelity, contributing to the baffling question of why unfaithful partners display what seems like completely irrational behaviour void of all common sense. Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to definitively answer that question, but I will tell you what I read about and relate it to what I actually saw and experienced, as it’s important to realise that this fog is deadly, takes hold very swiftly and needs time to detox from. During that time, including the detoxing period, WATCH OUT because your significant other is not who you think they are!
“The term ‘the fog’ can be described as being similar to being brain washed. The thrill of the affair envelopes the wayward partner in good feelings, and the excitement can be overwhelming. They feel a new high, a feeling of being in love. They begin to rationalise with themselves in order to cover up their feelings of guilt.
They may have convinced themselves that their marriage was already bad, that their partner really didn’t love them, and that the affair partner must truly be their soulmate because he or she is the only one who understands them.
Next begins a repeated internal dialog of the rationalisations over and over again in their minds. It’s as if they become addicted to the affair, needing the constant high it brings, many times with total disregard for the betrayed spouse.
Over time, they really begin to believe all the lies they’ve told themselves. Their beliefs are reflected in their actions; loving to the affair partner, and angry and hostile towards the betrayed. Wash, rinse, and repeat, and soon, they are deeply entrenched in the fog.”
Have you ever been to a funfair where there is a funhouse or hall of mirrors? You know the ones. The wobbly mirrors that distort your body and create hilarious reflections. I have great memories of my sisters and I crying with laughter at how parts of our bodies were exaggerated, stretched out and blown up out of proportion with each other. Your legs look really long, or your head looks really big. I'm probably showing my age as I guess the equivalent now are filters on Snapchat. The big mouth ones are my favourite, they always make me LOL....anyway....I digress, however I do have a point. It's a very accurate way of describing what affair fog does to a person. It distorts what they see and how they think. Exaggerating certain characteristics and realities, while diminishing others. Working exactly like a filter dependent on what or who they are looking at. During an affair there's a chemical rush of endorphins with an intense ego stroke, accompanied by a filter which works in unison with the justifications the mind comes up with to defend the behaviour. This results in all the perceived negative traits of the wife being exaggerated, along with all the perceived positive traits of the affair partner. No one is perfect, so it may be that I have 80% great wifely characteristics and 20% not so great ones. The filter will swap these proportions over and even enhance the negative to completely suffocate any positives completely. Where the affair partner is concerned, she will be able to do no wrong. She will perceived as perfect in every way. The soul mate the unfaithful spouse didn't know he was looking for. Fun, carefree, loving and attentive. Everything their wife is perceived NOT to be. The man is having such a great time diving headfirst into this fantasy life, bathing in the intoxicating spa of infatuation they are very blinkered to any suggestions of the actual realities of the situation. The affair partner is all good and the wife and marriage all bad. I read so many accounts of unfaithful spouses appearing adamant their affair partner was wonderful, without flaws, weaknesses or undesirable traits. Men who had always put their family first suddenly turning into someone so self absorbed and blinkered they are oblivious to the hurt they are causing people around them. Making unrealistic and unfair comparisons about what a wonderful partner the "other woman" was when, in an affair bubble, there simply aren't the mundane everyday chores that exist in a real-life marriage.......to then rescind completely utterly distraught at how they could have got things so wrong. All of a sudden the affair partner is needy, jealous and demanding, not who they thought she was.
That first night of disclosure, my husband was saturated in this fog. I could see it in his demeanour and hear it in his voice, but I had no idea that's what it was. I distinctly remember being terrified by his seeming coalition with this woman he'd only known a few weeks and how all of a sudden I was the enemy. I was completely perplexed at how this could have happened in such a short space of time, after he had known me for so long. He was so entrenched in his justifications and the guilt of what he knew he had been doing, plus he was under pressure to end the marriage and uphold the "love" he had professed. I am going to talk about it more in "The Moment My Heart Shattered", but my experience of women who have affairs with married men (and please note, I said in my experience. This is not a generalised statement to all) was not great. They were obsessive, manipulative and a little bit crazy. I always think if someone can cheat with you, they have the mentality to cheat on you and/or turn on you. I said to my husband that night, "she could be a total bunny boiler for all you know. You don't actually know her that well." The response was a shaking head and furrowed brow "Oh no, absolutely not." He spoke with such sentiment and certainty. Well, if you've read any of my other blogs, you'll know who was right about that one!
Anyway, you have to remember, I didn't know anything about affair fog at this point in time and I was totally clueless to what had been going on and to what extent, so the way he was responding was very real to me and seemed pretty rational. It was incredibly horrifying and upsetting. My instant internal reaction was "Who the hell is so great you're considering giving up your whole family? Are you fucking mental?" If I can say anything to anyone finding themselves in a similar situation, this female enigma is not actually as great as you think they might be and this is not about you. Plus, it's also NOT about giving your spouse an excuse because they are under the influence of something out of their control. They are absolutely in control and could choose to stop at any point, however once the affair cogs start turning, the chemical reactions start releasing endorphins in the brain, along with the inventive cognitive justifications, the gradient of that slope covered in Fairy Liquid increases at a steady rate and it becomes very difficult to stop sliding down it, if in fact they even want to stop. The more I informed myself about affairs and the more I managed to extract from my husband and piece together what had gone on, once under the influence of this textbook cocktail of how affairs evolve, he didn't want to stop (and no, he's not proud of that at all.) It's that common and textbook quite a lot of the justifications and things he said in the first few weeks, matched almost word for word what I read in the books. It was embarrassingly textbook, but no matter how textbook, it was fucking horrible to be on the receiving end. He was hostile, defensive, guarded, vague, evasive. It was like talking to a complete stranger, not someone I had lived with for the last twelve years. I had no idea what had been going on for the last six weeks and I had no idea, when he did disclose details, what was true and what wasn't. While under the influence of the fog, everything is about damage control and allegiances are definitely with the affair partner. Even the atomic bomb of D-Day going off isn't enough to dissipate its potency and control. My husband definitely believed he had this unique affiliation with her. Like a secret pact between the two of them that was so special it was utterly tragic it had to end.
Naively, I was still taking my husband on face value. How he appeared to me, rather than knowing what poison was affecting him on the inside and what he was covering up. There was definitely something different about things going on behind my back, when I had no knowledge of the affair than once I knew about it, and my husband knew I knew about it. When the betrayal continues while you're aware of it, or in my case, being informed about it as revenge, it is an immeasurable amount for a betrayed spouse to handle. It is so inexplicably difficult to wrap your head around as it smashes all common logic and what you believe about the person you married and this absolutely annihilated me. The pain this generated was simply unreal and was largely caused by the continued intoxication of the fog clouding judgement and distorting reality. The longer the fog goes on, the more damage is done to the marriage. With this in mind, it would have really helped me to realise what affair fog was and that snapping out of it simply wasn't going to happen straight away. There is definitely a period of detoxification needed and during this time there is a high risk that the unfaithful spouse will succumb to the exaggerated emotions, manipulations and fantasy again. If I'd have known and been pre-warned about the existence and lingering effects of affair fog, I could have been more wary and a bit more empowered by this knowledge. I may have been able to prepare myself a bit more for the fact he may go back or take some action to prevent it happening. Instead I was at its mercy with no way to prepare or defend myself whatsoever. Being that vulnerable and defenceless is definitely one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced, ever. When I found out about the continued deceit, after the affair had been disclosed, my brain actually couldn't process it. It literally blew my mind, my beliefs and perceptions and my sense of normalcy to smithereens. It is such a painful and difficult concept to accept that your husband needs time to get over the feelings they have for someone else, regardless of how absurd the whole situation seems. My perception of what happens after disclosure, and what I wanted to happen, was for him to be faced with the extreme shock and distress of being found out and break down in front of me, suddenly seeing the error of his ways, how stupid he had been and how much he loved me.
Well......it didn't quite happen like that and that's really, excruciatingly fucking hard to face.
However, the fog did wear off and sense did return and after talking to my husband about how it felt for him, affair fog is definitely real. More real than the "love" that was supposedly felt during the affair. He said he felt like he had his "head up his arse" and is mortified at how he behaved. He explained how he got totally caught up in the "ridiculous nonsense" of the "fantasy" and how embarrassed and ashamed he felt once it all wore off and he could see it for what it was, "a cowardly mistake". He doesn't make excuses for himself or blame "the fog" and nor do I, but in order to be able to move through this and get over it, it is so important to be able to understand and make sense of what happened. Learning about this toxic smog and what it does, helps that. It doesn't take the pain away or make his actions any easier to deal with, as ultimately he was responsible for all the choices he made, but it offers an explanation as to why someone can act in such a seemingly irrational, ridiculous and hurtful way. It's then down to me to decide whether or not I can forgive that, which I eventually have, but I still struggle with the fact that nothing kicked in to stop him. If leaving me because he was unhappy was what he wanted to do, he's allowed to feel that way. He didn't have to annihilate me and completely disrespect me in the process. I didn't deserve that in the slightest and I am very hurt nothing stopped him, however, affair fog is thick and there's little or no reasoning with someone who is under its influence.