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Are we just trying to make ourselves feel better?

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allatsea posted 4/29/2013 03:09 AM

The questions I am about to post I have asked inwardly of myself ever since this shitstorm of mine happened. I'm an engineer by profession so I always question everything. I'm sure they must be the same questions you have asked of yourself too. Please do not think that these questions are to deflate our own self worth. I truly want to believe that the answers we all provide to each other are true.

The questions are:
We reassure each other and hence ourselves that the WS must be feeling guilt and this is shown in their behaviour of re-writing marital history, telling us that they love us but are not in love with us, they've met their soul mate etc etc. What if they aren't feeling guilt? What if we are just telling ourselves that because it helps us to handle the emotional tsunami that has just devastated our lives? We feel so much pain that it is only right that the WS MUST be feeling something too. We need them to feel something. But what if they have just checked out and flicked an emotional switch and they feel nothing? That is what my WS is saying.

How would we react if the fog was proven to be baloney or was something we had invented? As victims, we use the fog to explain their lies, uncharacteristic behaviour and use it to protect ourselves against the immense betrayal. It allows us to believe that what they're doing isn't personal (although it sure feels like it)

And what if the reasons they give us about why the affair started are legit? My WS claims that she didn't feel she could talk to me about her feelings. She was befriended by her boss and of course he was able to manipulate the situation for his benefit. After all, people can often tell a therapist their inner most secrets but can't tell a spouse or family member. We say that we shouldn't take responsibility for the affair, we should only take responsibility for the things which contributed to it. It's quite a grey area even if we do think they could have handled it better. However, some people just don't have the strength to move on without having a new nest to fly to.

I suppose these are just my expressions of self analysis and doubt, trying to find out why, and how I have contributed to it.

Are we just kidding ourselves to bolster our own healing process? posted 4/29/2013 05:13 AM

I think those are fair questions.
WS's are not one thing, though. There are all kinds of affairs, all kinds of cheaters.

I think those who feel no guilt or remorse are not very good at compartmentalizing different aspects of their lives, which in my books makes you a grade A asshole.

My own FWH lost around 25 lbs (he's slim to begin with) during his affair. I don't think his inner voice was killing himself apart with guilt, but obviously he wasn't comfortable with what he was doing since he couldn't eat.

A mistake I made after I jfo was to focus on what my fwh was or wasn't feeling. Ultimately, figure out your own thoughts and feeling and boundaries, and work on those. His words but more importantly his actions should show you where he's at, as time unfolds.

I'm sorry you're going through this, the pain created by these betrayals are just awful.

isadora posted 4/29/2013 05:21 AM


All I know in my sitch, I was going through the same thing as FWH. He chose to drink and soothe himself by flirting with women online, having an online EA, and having a EA/PA. He had the laundry list of what was wrong with me and why he cheated. I asked him why he didn't just file for D. He told me he didn't want to D because he loved me. I told him that was a fucked up way to show love.

Yes I sid things wrong in my M. When things were getting rough I started to think about D, I didn't cheat.

Our WS are/were broken. They made destructive choices because they are selfish and only cared about making themselves feel better.

The fog is not something that takes a hold of our WS and drives/controls their choices, it's just a way to describe the way their mind is wotking.

isadora posted 4/29/2013 05:26 AM

Also wanted to add, I originally assumed a large chunk of the blame, because if he was cheating because of something I did, then I could fix it or control it.

It's hard to understand that you don't have any control over another person or over their cheating

noprincess posted 4/29/2013 05:32 AM

hi allatsea,

I've struggled with some of the same questions - particularly the affair fog idea, because my H seems to be mourning the loss of his GF. In any case, it is why I frequently read posts on the Waywards forum.

Why don't you identify yourself as a BS and post your questions there and ask for input from the waywards? You may find their insights helpful - I know I do.

catlover50 posted 4/29/2013 05:52 AM


I think some WSs legitimately feel love for their AP and are truly unhappy in their M. But there have been countless WSs that seem to wake up from the fantasy and realize what a lie they had been living. They look around and can't believe what they have done. "Fog" describes that
behavior. That does not apply to everyone.

My fWH did not kid himself that he was in love or that he was anything but happily married. He never bad mouthed me or promised the OW anything. He treated me the same as always. But he was able to compartmentalize to the degree that he allowed a toxic, ultimately unrewarding " relationship" go on for years. Now he looks back and can't understand it at all. Neither can I, obviously. I wouldn't call this fog, but a confluence of unresolved issues.

I am in R because of who he is today, but it still hurts.

Good luck!

RockyMtn posted 4/29/2013 06:20 AM

Why don't you identify yourself as a BS and post your questions there and ask for input from the waywards? You may find their insights helpful - I know I do

BS aren't allowed to create threads there, as far as I know. They can post on open threads (not on those with a stop sign). There is a thread in ICR - BS questions for the WS. You can post thoughts there if you want a WS perspective.

She was befriended by her boss and of course he was able to manipulate the situation for his benefit.

Gently, this is one of the things I think most BS tell themselves. I see it here all the time. The OP pounced on a WS at a vulnerable time. The OP manipulated. The OP pursued. Etc etc etc. Even if it IS true, BS cling to it a little too much, as if it matters, really. Maybe that's not what you're trying to say. But I would lump this kind of thought (generally) into the self-protection "make ourselves feel better" category.

Shockleader posted 4/29/2013 06:37 AM

#1 is easy: My STBXWW told me she had no regrets, likes having sex w/OPOS and she did/does in fact rewrite marital history like a MOFO... I would say the rewriting/demonizing me with her never saying a word that she was unhappy, speaks volumes. Hey, some folks, men or women cheat simply because they can, and then because they are cowards, blame others.

#2- I have written a lot that I am not the biggest believer of the "fog". Cheaters are masterful liars many times, CYA cowards, NPD/BPD types combo-ed with a codependent for a match made in hell, etc... I have written here many times, and fully believe that many cheaters know damn well what they are doing, some couldn't care less, some do, and it is a CHOICE, a wanton disregard for others, driven by pure selfishness and too much of a coward to own up to it.

#3- No reason any cheater can give is legit, none, no grey area.

allatsea posted 4/29/2013 06:40 AM

Thanks everyone. That's a good idea. I will post it in the ICR forum as suggested

Happydays posted 4/29/2013 06:50 AM

Hi @allatsea.
I know your story and where you are coming from.
I am an engineer too :)

My GF in college betrayed me for a guy who got a mediocre degree and was working for scraps. Just because I was studying and had my monetory limitations I could not provide her that much fun.
When we were in the fog/A/lurve we used to talk for hours and hours on the phone. One Sunday she calls me and tells me she is leaving for another guy. Thats right she finished it in one call. I kept calling her on the same day. Her domestic help told me she was taking a shower. I instantly knew she was getting ready to meet OM. She was getting irritated that I was calling so very often. She met the OM the same day and stroked his ego. I was the extra now all of a sudden. I just couldn't see her in OMs arms. I was left with a big void in my life. She did not feel guilty because she had OM to keep her busy. She basically hopped nests.

Then I severed both my arms from dialling her number (metaphorically speaking) It was very very painful.
At that same time I met this very beautiful and bubbly girl who was very cute. She liked to hang out with me. She was a sweetheart really. I had still not recovered from the shock exGF had given me. I kept on bringing my exGF in conversations with this new girl. She totally understood and heard me out patiently. I introduced her to my friends and she became a part of our group. I got a part time job between studies and excelled in it. But, I still thought of exGF whenever I could get time

6 months passed by. Back in those days I was holding an MSN messenger account. I updated my status (Available, busy, out to lunch etc..)to "I am in a multinational company finally". I positively thought exGF had blocked/deleted me off her friends list as I we were no longer in talking terms.

Guess what, she suddenly appeared (unblocked) on the screen a few days after I updated my status and we began chatting.

In six months after the breakup she had an abortion (18 yo exGF), OM was abusive made her cry always, was only with her for the sex portion of it and never committed to her.
I asked her why she didn't come back to me . And the golden answer was "I felt guilty for what I had done to you"

Which sub conciously also meant "I messed up and didn't want to give you the feeling of victory"

So she got what she wanted but it lasted for a couple of months and she dragged it on for 4 more months instead of coming back to me. I took her back BECAUSE THERE WAS NO SI back then, and then threw her back again when I found out she was juggling me and OM together.
Today, from her FB I know she is married to another person neither me nor OM. Is obese, doesn't work, got some useless degree (she was capable of much more) Well best of luck dear.

As for the bubbly girlfriend she distanced away from me becasue I could never get over my ExGF. My loss.

Trust me on this. When they are all alone, they do think about what they have done. They will even shed tears. But they are too timid to own up the destruction they have caused.

Right now you are assuming that they will live happily ever after. Maybe now everything is hunky dory for her. Things do normalise.
Then they wonder what BS is upto.

Right now there is a void in your life. A big gaping hole. You need to fill it with healing. Later on when you find a great SO you won't even look back.

Your WW doesn't feel/show an iota of guilt right now. Her current status is to grab what she always wanted in the OM with both hands.
She is on top of her world.

Even if she has made a mistake she will not show it now. She will try to justify her selection and behaviour. She is not going to give you the chance to say Aha! Told ya!

I know this hurts and it takes time to heal. But the time to heal totally depends on you. Get more involoved with friends, get busy, do everything to occupy your mind. You'll still remember her but she'll consume lesser and lesser mind space.

Right now @allatsea you have to maintain a level head, excel in your job and prove to ourself that you are capable of being successful and raising your dear kid alone. You have to go through this, but, we engineers excel most when we are challenged, right ? You will pull through with exellent results and emerge stronger.

In a nutshell she will eventually feel guilty and you'll be lucky to know she is feeling guilty. God will show it to you. Trust me.

atsenaotie posted 4/29/2013 13:08 PM

Hi allatsea,

I understand the engineering mentality; it is part of my job to translate between the engineers and the occupants of the building systems they design.

What if we are just telling ourselves that because it helps us to handle the emotional tsunami that has just devastated our lives?

It just takes time, we need time to have these thoughts validated by sustained and reasonably consistent action by the WS.

My M is really going pretty well for the last 6 months, but I will be waiting to see if this sustains before I decide I am R with FWW. I want to be sure that I am not “accepting” or seeing what I want to see. I also want to ensure that she can sustain the effort that she is making, and that it is not too much load for her over time and when she is under stress.

What I do know is that I have changed since dday, and I am not so accepting of the crap I did before dday. I may never understand or have the truth of her feelings and actions prior to dday, but I am comfortable that I have a good measure of her feelings and actions now and going forward.

ReunitePangea posted 4/29/2013 13:43 PM

Sorry you are dealing with all of this allatsea.

Maybe we need a BS who are Engineers section in ICR. Fellow engineer here as well.

I can very much relate to your questioning nature. I went through the same process for a long while. Honestly, I find myself with many unanswered questions but am trying to accept that. I finally realized what I was trying to do was to put myself into my WW's shoes and trying to understand and relate to how and why it happened.

The problem with that is I don't think like her at all. In my mind if I would have been caught in this type of conflict I would have evaluated risks/rewards and rationalized a proper decision that no way would I ever do what she did. I simply will never understand why she made the decisions she did and I think this irrational type thought is what we refer to as the fog collectively.

The fog isnt some magical spell my WW was under - she fully knew what she was doing was not acceptable to me, that's why they lie about it. The WS just is making a conscious decision that they don't care the risks or they simply believe they will never get caught. On top of it, often despite a lack of reasoning from our perspective in their decisions, they rationalize their bad decisions and this is what we hear immediately after dday.

In your case I say it is most likely crap that her boss was able to manipulate the situation so that your WS had an affair. Was she going to lose her job if she didn't sleep with him - if so get a new job. That is a weak excuse and tells me even though she has admitted the A to you she is still lying about the details and reasons. Does she feel guilty - very likely yes cause if she didn't feel guilty she wouldn't need to keep lying about it. Now you will need to evaluate if the amount of guilt and remorse your WS is giving you is enough to meet your needs to stay M. Don't just listen to what she says, take a close look at her actions as well. Only you can evaluate this to see if it meets your needs.

allatsea posted 4/29/2013 13:58 PM

Thanks engineers!
Unfortunately I'm nowhere near being in the position of deciding whether to reconcile or not. I'm not in charge of that decision seeing as she is still living with him. I'm just trying to understand how someone so kind, maternal, gentle and family oriented could do this. I so NEED her to be suffering. Even if we don't reconcile, I want her new relationship to fail miserably. I want to be in the position of strength whilst she is circling the drain of despair. I want to see her blubbing like a child, begging, humiliated, ashamed and shunned. I want her to see that I've moved on and that my children resent her.
Bitter? Moi?!

atsenaotie posted 4/29/2013 14:01 PM

I want her new relationship to fail miserably. I want to be in the position of strength whilst she is circling the drain of despair. I want to see her blubbing like a child, begging, humiliated, ashamed and shunned. I want her to see that I've moved on and that my children resent her.

Give it time. Meanwhile, work on your healing and issues to become the best allatsea that you can be. That way, whern the time does come you will be looking from the very high road, and likely, you will be so preoccupied with your new path that what is occuring back where you were will no longer matter or be of concern.

lonelylost posted 4/29/2013 14:33 PM

First (((hugs)))

Now this...

And what if the reasons they give us about why the affair started are legit?

Are you asking if maybe it is somehow your fault? And that is why she has no guilt?

Even IF, and I am saying a big IF, it was something that you have done, in a marriage or relationship the other person has a responsibility to say..."something's wrong, we need to talk, we need to work on something." NOT go behind your back and start a new relationship. That's low. That's selfish.

Don't try to reason.

Sending strength.

CallMeRed1 posted 4/29/2013 14:35 PM

I think it depends on the individuals.

My EX WH just didn't want to talk about anything, he never said sorry or showed any remorse. He just felt sorry that he was discovered but only because of the way he was affected.

Mine was an extreme case and I'm sure on the opposite end there are WS's that beat themself up with remorse...

Every case is different. I hope your questions and answers help you though.

7yrsflushed posted 4/29/2013 15:12 PM

Another BH in the engineering field checking in to say you can't logic your way through this. You will ask the questions and ponder them for a long time. The 2 things I did that I wish I hadn't were incorrectly treating my healing like it was linear (checking off boxes along the way) and unconsciously treating my M like a problem that I could solve, because you know every problem has a solution...

It will take time for your heart to catch up with your mind. Read all the info you can, you probably already have, but as long as you know your healing isn't straight forward you will be ok. The best thing you can do if your WW is unremorseful or on the fence is 180 and focus completely on you and your children if you have any. The energy I spent trying to "fix" my M and my WW was a complete waste and I made huge leaps in my own healing once I realized that and turned that energy towards myself and my children.

I can't remember who said it but this is true, "you can't Superman your way to a happy M or happy WW, sometimes all you can do is pack up your shit and fly away." Your situation may not warrant packing up your cape and tights and flying away yet but you can stop trying to figure out how to rescue your WW. Your WW has to fix herself before you can even think of R. If she is still foggy don't even try. 180 and focus on you and your kids and she will either get with the program or not.

Ask all the questions you want but don't ever doubt yourself. I am not being cryptic when I say it all gets real clear as time goes on. You may never get an honest answer to why from your WW and it's her problem to figure out. Your job is to heal yourself. Any reasons/excuses your WW gives you of the A that have ANYTHING to do with you are all blameshifting bullshit. You in no way made her go out and sleep with another man. She always had other options. You theoretically own 50% of the problems in the M but your WW owns 100% of the A all by herself.

So ask away and contemplate it's a part of the healing process just try not to get sidetracked by the BS an unremorseful WS can send your way. If you are like me and many others you will dissect every little thing in your M and everything your WW says, just don't let it drive you crazy. At the end of the day focus on you and you will be okay no matter what.

[This message edited by 7yrsflushed at 3:14 PM, April 29th (Monday)]

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