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Myths

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Thumos posted 11/26/2019 10:23 AM

"Take the advice you can use" -- hmm, not really. The individual situations aren't all that unique. There's a nauseating drone-like quality to the predictability of wayward spouses, and a pretty well-established series of steps for dealing with adultery as effectively as possible. Elide, enable, leave out important steps, rug sweep … and it doesn't' seem to work out well. People like to think we're all unique special snowflakes. That's true to some degree, but not nearly as true as we Westerners would hope. Your truth and my truth are actually the same. It's called the truth.

"You're responsible for 50 percent of the problems in the marriage" -- okay, but since the marriage has been double tapped with two to the head and is rotting in the ground, this seems like a practically useless observation. And it isn't true in any case. On closer inspection, it often turns out that an innocent spouse was contributing to what objectively would be described as a good marriage, and whatever problems that existed were minor and much more on the shoulders of the adulterer.

"The fog" - A euphemistic term, like too many other euphemistic terms, that seems to elide and sugarcoat very painful truths about adultery and adulterers. No imaginary fog descended on an adulterer's mind and put them in a trance, any more than they tripped and fell on another person's genitalia. I can find no actual reputable, verifiable, replicable, peer-reviewed scientific studies with empirical data (like brain scans) that support the notion of 'the fog.' I stand ready to be corrected.

Readers of this thread: What are other examples of mythical and logically fallacious euphemisms and language that have been adopted the past few decades around adultery? Shouldn't we be challenging such wrong-headed notions here instead of repeating them?

There seem to be a quite a few, but I've just provided a few examples.

[This message edited by Thumos at 11:07 AM, November 26th (Tuesday)]

Dorothy123 posted 11/26/2019 10:57 AM

Hollywood has made billions promoting the myth that .

1) A's are hilarious

2) A's are fun, harmless and magical

3) A's are the greatest love on earth.


Billions because references to A are everywhere and inescapable.

The myths promoted by Hollywood drives popular culture.

Below are the popular culture myths.

Before the A
The BS must have done SOMETHING to make the WS consider cheating.
That something may be
1) Not enough sex
2) A nag
3) Cold
4) Unsupportive
5)ETC to infinity.

During the A
How can the BS not know that the A is going on ?
How can the BS not spot the signs of an A?
How can the BS not know that they are being lied to ?

After Dday
The BS is dumb for staying with the WS.
The BS is vindictive and unforgiving if they divorce.
It is the BS fault when the BS can't "get over it" within a month or less.

Popular culture views someone who betrays the secrets of another to get that person into trouble as a "snitch", "rat" and "tattletale". So, many people who know chose not to tell the BS.

nekonamida posted 11/26/2019 11:18 AM

"The fog" - A euphemistic term, like too many other euphemistic terms, that seems to elide and sugarcoat very painful truths about adultery and adulterers. No imaginary fog descended on an adulterer's mind and put them in a trance, any more than they tripped and fell on another person's genitalia. I can find no actual reputable, verifiable, replicable, peer-reviewed scientific studies with empirical data (like brain scans) that support the notion of 'the fog.'

I think that "the fog" is less about a legitimate observable scientific phenomenon happening to a WS and more about a term used to describe the behavior of a remorseless WS and what might be driving it (cocktail of NRE, infatuation, dopamine, etc.). But I actually agree with you. I don't think it's a great term to use because people often misinterpret it as something every WS goes through and you can just wait it out until the fog clears when in reality, a WS just keeps doing what they want to do until the consequences of their actions become great enough for them to re-think whether it's worth it to continue on as they are. Some WSes understand that right away and while they may not "get" all of the nuances of their position, they take strides right away to try and stop the A and make amends to their BS. Others, the "foggy" WSes, just do what they think they can get away with to experience as few consequences as possible. That kind of mindset is so much deeper than what "the fog" suggests and takes a lot of hard work to confront and correct.

Thumos, do you have a suggestion for a better analogy to remorseless behavior possibly being fueled by the ego kibbles of an A? Should we also consider changing who qualifies if there is indeed an observable chemical reaction happening in the brain that could greatly affect "foggy" thinking as in a WS far removed from their A with time isn't going to qualify because there's nothing recent causing this reaction? How can we determine someone who might be suffering the effects of ego kibbles vs someone who's just an asshole?

crazyblindsided posted 11/26/2019 11:24 AM

I hate that term 'fog' it seems less harsh for the actions like they are confused in some way.

WS's know exactly what they are doing and WHO they are doing it to.The 'fog' is them not wanting to give up the AP either physically, mentally or emotionally.

I feel like I have been in a 'fog' for most my M. I thought the person that I married wasn't an NPD or serial philanderer, but turns out I was very wrong about that.

Marz posted 11/26/2019 11:25 AM

"They always come back" nope, some do some don't. Probably hopium talking

"Once a cheater always a cheater" nope, some do some don't.

I think the fog is an excuse for "this isn't who they are, they wouldn't do this to me". But they did didn't they.

Dorothy123 posted 11/26/2019 11:52 AM

"A don't happen in good marriages " or

"A's are a symptom of bad or failing marriage"

I shouldn't tell the BS about the A because it's really "none of my business" .

My personal favorite is "The BS knows about the A and condones it ".

[This message edited by Dorothy123 at 12:14 PM, November 26th (Tuesday)]

destroyed1 posted 11/26/2019 12:02 PM


I can find no actual reputable, verifiable, replicable, peer-reviewed scientific studies with empirical data (like brain scans) that support the notion of 'the fog.' I stand ready to be corrected.


Sometimes we form an opinion about something and no matter what the evidence says, we refuse to believe it.

It's my guess you have done zero reading or actual research on this. Is it any wonder as to why you havent found anything?

NoMoreRugSweepin posted 11/26/2019 12:08 PM

I agree that the term the fog minimizes what's going on. Better to just refer to it as conscious cake eaters. Waywards most of the time are just trying to avoid the consequences of their actions. There is a reason why you don't have cake all of the time, yes it tastes good but eat too much and it has bad effects on your health.

nekonamida posted 11/26/2019 12:47 PM

It's my guess you have done zero reading or actual research on this. Is it any wonder as to why you havent found anything?

I have done a lot of reading and I too have a similar conclusion to Thumos. Yes, there are not any studies that directly look at people currently or recently cheating but you can find tons of other related research. What happens to a brain during infatuation. What could be contributing to "foggy" behavior in terms of mental health (sleep deprivation, serotonin levels, etc.) The difference in brain scans between honest vs dishonest people during the moments of lying/truth telling. But he's right - there's not really a smoking gun and unremorseful WSes hardly fall into a pattern themselves of lifestyle. Hell, even pinning a WS's temper on lack of sleep seems really dubious when so many BSes report how their WS slept like a baby during and recently after the A. Can't really pin it on decreased serotonin levels when BSes are often depressed and depleted themselves during the A but don't cheat. The answers clearly lie deeper and have much more to do with the individuals themselves instead of a uniform biological phenomenon ruling them.

Unhinged posted 11/26/2019 13:10 PM

"Take the advice you can use" -- hmm, not really.
Agreed. I don't personally subscribe to "take what you need and leave the rest." I think valuing as many different perspectives as possible is the best way to reach our own conclusions. Now, that being said, some of the things written by members can be rather pointless (not to mention insulting). Generally speaking, though, I think it helps to be as open as possible.

"You're responsible for 50 percent of the problems in the marriage"
Who cares? When it comes to infidelity, everything that happened before my FWW cheated became absolutely fucking irrelevant (with the singular exception of our kid). I also agree that when one spouse has serious enough issues to lead them down Infidelity Lane, then, most likely, the majority of marital issues stemmed from those same issues. We are each 100% for the shit we bring into a marriage (or any other relationship, for that matter). To attempt to assign a percentage of blame to each spouse in a trouble marriage is a pointless (and childish) exercise.

All of that being said, problems in the marriage are not responsible for a spouse's infidelity. Until a WS is able and willing to own and fix their shit, marital issues won't go away.

"The fog"
might be a euphemism. I honestly don't know. Personally, I think a more apt term would be RCI (rectal-cranial inversion).

There is a shit ton of myths about infidelity, most of which are nicely dispelled by SI's members.

Thumos posted 11/26/2019 13:23 PM

It's my guess you have done zero reading or actual research on this. Is it any wonder as to why you havent found anything?

I am going to assume good intentions here. Yes, I actually have done research because I was curious. It shouldn't be difficult to find said research if in fact this is a legitimate theory. I was unable to find any empirical, scientific, verifiable, replicable peer-reviewed research backing up the claims generally made for 'the fog' with solid evidence (like brain scans, for example).

There is evidence for limerence. To extrapolate from limerence to the broad theory of "the fog" seems unfounded. To extrapolate it to explain away the behavior of mature adults with functioning frontal lobes with executive functions seems even more unfounded.

Again, I stand ready to be corrected.

Failing that, I think my original post is quite reasonable. "The fog" seems to be a pseudo-science theory that is a stand-in for a grab bag of various reasons that adulterers act like shitty people during and after affairs. Most adulterers don't have severe mental health issues, no body snatcher took their soul, most are not sex addicts, they weren't under the helpless hypnotic influence of dopamine or other hormones, etc. They are grown-ass damn adults capable of making responsible mature decisions. They just made a series of deliberate choices to act like shitty people.

It seems to be a myth that may have been developed through a series of well-meaning discussions trying to make betrayed spouses feel somewhat better about the horror of witnessing very true aspects of their WS's personality that the spouse had kept hidden behind a mask for years, perhaps decades.

They told you abruptly they hadn't been happy "in years"? The fog. They rubbed your face in their cuckoldry of you? The fog. They expressed contempt for you with their AP? The fog. They lied repeatedly about NC? The fog. They slept with the AP in your home or the marital bed? The fog. They gave the AP their sexual best and did things they would never do with you? The fog. They wanted to leave their entire family behind? The fog.

I think it would be far healthier to go back to the millennia-old model of human behavior: That some people do bad things and that those bad things are proscribed for functioning societies for very good reasons. It's healthier to say this is an integral part of the adulterer's personality and that they made a series of choices based on their own free will.

Thumos posted 11/26/2019 13:27 PM

Sometimes we form an opinion about something and no matter what the evidence says, we refuse to believe it.

I refuse to believe it because the evidence is scant to none and it's merely another form of excuse-making for bad behavior.

tushnurse posted 11/26/2019 13:32 PM

I agree with Unhinged on the "Take what you need, leave the rest".
In fact if a poster really pisses you off, or several posters say similar things and it pisses you off, it is worth stepping back and really evaluating it. There is probably something there that needs more evaluation and possibly some work to be done.

KingRat posted 11/26/2019 13:39 PM

“Reasons” and “excuses” are not synonymous. You can explain a behavior without excusing. Yes “fog” does have connotations that could imply the inability to accurately interpret consequences for actions. But that’s a lay colloquialism that BSs have adopted. That doesn’t negate the mental processes that can potentially exist in any given situation.

Thumos posted 11/26/2019 13:40 PM

"Take what you need, leave the rest"

I guess I was raising this as a myth more to test the logic of it along the following lines: It seems this aphorism often comes up in the context of telling a BS the steps they need to take to get out of infidelity, and drop some shock and awe on a WS.

It seems to me that the "kit" for what to do is pretty well-established at this point, and that most infidelity situations aren't all that unique, They share so many commonalities as to be nauseatingly repetitive.

WS's act in drone-like predictable ways. Dealing with them in a healthy way seems to have an established pathway, almost like a programming language that results in predictable outcomes. Deviating from that pathway seems to bring years more of heartbreak. Just sayin'

Phoenix1 posted 11/26/2019 13:57 PM

**Posting as a Member**

It seems to me that the "kit" for what to do is pretty well-established at this point, and that most infidelity situations aren't all that unique, They share so many commonalities as to be nauseatingly repetitive.

While this is often true, infidelity does not necessarily follow the same/common script in every relationship. There are unique aspects to many situations.

Case in point. When I first came, I was told to take many of the commonly suggested steps. However, due to my circumstances, I simply could not. They would not have worked. Infidelity is not linear and following A-B-C solutions aren't always effective. Had I done so, it would have actually caused me greater turmoil. Thus, I took what I needed and left the rest because it did not apply. I was strongly encouraged to do many things, repeatedly, but those actions were actually counterproductive for my personal goals.

So while I think it is good for everyone to throw all the common suggestions out there, every person needs to digest them and find what works for them. Take what you need and leave the rest is very appropriate, but I didn't go off the deep end justifying my actions (or lack thereof) either. I just did what I knew I needed to do. It is not always black and white.

hikingout posted 11/26/2019 14:03 PM

It seems to me that the "kit" for what to do is pretty well-established at this point, and that most infidelity situations aren't all that unique, They share so many commonalities as to be nauseatingly repetitive.

I think this is exacly why you see "fog" as shorthand. Because it is unfailingly predictable. I think the problem is not in what you are saying, but the various ways in which people are defining this shorthand.

What the fog is not:
1. The reason for an affair. "Fog" doesn't even exist in the onset of the affair.
2. A mental illness, a body snatching episode, or a lack of knowingly and willingly conducting an affair in which they know it was wrong.
3. An excuse for any kind of behavior.

What the fog IS:

The lies that the WS tells themselves to feel justified in having an affair. They are lies the person comes to believe wholeheartedly because they reinforce them.

So, let me provide an example. And, I am going to talk pretty simplistically just for sake of argument. I was in a happy marriage. I went through 2 or 3 major crisis's (depending on how you separate them) and was extremely miserable. My initial interactions with the AP were exhilarating. Not because he was special, but because I was so down that attention felt good. I should have ran as fast as I could in the other direction. I made the conscious decision not to do that, but to pursue the attention. That attention escalated, and at every turn I told myself a bigger and bigger lie so that I could "feel good" and "escape". I re-wrote my marriage by focusing on what wasn't good about it. I conveniently blamed my husband for things that were actually mostly if not all my fault. I also told myself a lot of stories about the AP that was not in fact true. What we focus on expands.

So, there became these little interactions where H was making a request and I blew it up into a demand, and called him controlling. If he was nice to me, that was the worst because then I had to admit to myself I was a piece of shit. I began distancing myself so that I could not feel like a piece of shit. Then I blamed him for the increasing distance. And this just kept snowballing.

"The Fog" to me starts there but doesn't become as apparent to the WS until the affair ends. Because you start to realize that a lot of shit you said to yourself wasn't true. And, you have a lot of resistance in believing that because you only want to go back to having the good feelings. You had an affair to escape bad feelings, you aren't going to want to return to reality any time soon. So, it was a fight I had within myself to debunk this false relationship I was having, because then I had to go back to knowing I was a shitty person for what I did, that I was never special to the AP, and that was what I was propping myself up on the entire time.

You said you understand limerence exists, but it's truly an addiction. There were days where I wanted to kill myself so I could stop thinking about the AP. I hated myself for it. I knew logically I had created a myth in my head but some of the thoughts were obsessive compulsive. I played this loop over and over because I was addicted to how that story I was telling myself made me feel. That's when I started running and trying to eat healthier and get more sleep, because I had to start to balance out the physical withdrawal. And that withdrawal really isn't even from the AP, it's from the feelings of having the affair itself which are blown up with the stories you are telling yourself.

So many people who have a limerant affair describe this behavior to the point it's predictable. Dr. Frank Pittman did a lot of research on it.

I don't blame my behaviors on "a fog disease". I created a thought process that was allowing me to deal with the cognitive dissonance of having an affair. And that thought distortion did guide some of my behaviors. I think the more wrong the person thinks it is the more justification they create.

The process of "coming out of the fog" (which again is stupid labeling and minimizes the pain they are still creating and the abuse they are still doling out to their spouse) is the process in which you are cycling these lies out of your mind. You don't go from believing one thing full tilt one day to not believing it the next. We don't work like that. So, when we are saying stupid shit coming off the affair it's because of that process. We still believe our own bullshit.

I don't think any of this is mythical, or even a stretch to see how it works. It's still shitty behavior that the WS caused by deciding to have an affair.

WS's act in drone-like predictable ways.

YES, EXACTLY! That's why it's a term that gets used everywhere, it's predictable. I would agree that not all WS have fog, but I am willing to bet that most of the time you see it in a limerent situation. Because addicts lie to themselves. Someone who isn't an addict doesn't fall for the land of make believe they play out in their head. They don't have anything to "snap out of".

Dealing with them in a healthy way seems to have an established pathway, almost like a programming language that results in predictable outcomes. Deviating from that pathway seems to bring years more of heartbreak. Just sayin'

I agree with that to a certain extent. My H wasn't having any of it. I think that the BS who walks a hard line with their WS can hasten the process a bit. I knew I was under an already expired time frame. It made me hustle to try and get to the other side. It still took me more time than either of us would have liked.

[This message edited by hikingout at 2:29 PM, November 26th (Tuesday)]

Oldwounds posted 11/26/2019 14:30 PM

I get the misunderstanding of the term 'fog' because people use it so many different ways.

And in the pejorative use of the term it's dismissed as a way WS avoid responsibility for their shitty choices. But, there is no good reason or excuse for choosing to cheat -- ever. I hate to see it get used as a rationalization, because again, there are no good reasons.

Replace the word 'fog' with compartmentalization if needed.

Compartmentalization is like gravity or oxygen, it's real whether you believe in it or not.

Military members, first responders use it everyday to hang out in terrible places or seeing horrible things and then arrive home and happily act as if nothing bad happened so they can play with the kids.

In that sense, the mind-set of creating the world that allows one to cheat lasts as long as the fantasy bubble exists. Some WS never fully extricate themselves from this little compartment.

As to 50 percent of the marriage, well I do contribute good and bad to any relationship I'm in. I don't know what percentage is on who, but it's a full reset once I decided to stay. If she gets another shot, so do I.

As to to the take what you can use, there is good and bad advice here, based on what people project from their own personal experience.

Your truth and my truth are actually the same.

This was my take for 40-years of my life. But I've found the last decade or so that many humans subscribe far more to the limits of their own life experience/perspective than allow for much truth to get in.

That aside, I do agree human behavior is much more common than unique. We also always have choices in how to respond to behavior and choices to make changes too.

Trdd posted 11/26/2019 14:30 PM

That's true to some degree, but not nearly as true as we Westerners would hope

Another Western innovation is the need to have a scientific explanation for any natural phenomena. If we are going to wait for "reputable, verifiable, replicable, peer-reviewed scientific studies with empirical data (like brain scans)" to explain human behavior then we are going to be waiting a loooong time, lol.

But I agree there are myths. "Take the advice you can use" is not exactly/completely one of them though. I think it is perhaps a myth relative to analyzing the patterns of a WS. But it is no longer myth when the advice starts flowing about what to do about it. What is one person's deal-breaker is within another person's ability to reconcile from. I have always thought the phrase applies mostly to the chorus shouting D or R and less to the core advice of things like the 180 etc.

Regarding the fog.... I like the way many here have articulated it as an often inadequate description that can also be easily misinterpreted. However, the notion of a significant chunk of affairs having an addictive quality that is hard to break free from via only the cold logic of facts is very well documented in both formal and informal literature on infidelity. The fact that "science" hasn't done a placebo controlled, double blinded study on it does not make it less true.

Personally, that addictive quality pisses me off. First, because there is a sexual and emotional intensity in it that is hard to replicate in a long term relationship--- so the playing field is far from even. And second, it pisses me off because it is demonstrably true in many cases. I think it is particularly true for WW although I may be biased in that opinion. It's a terrible fact, but a fact nonetheless.

But I do think "the fog" is less than a perfect descriptor of the phenomenon we see and read about. Not the least of it because the WS puts themselves in this situation rather than an act of nature rolling in off the water.

Remember the movie "the Fog"? In it, the fog was filled with zombie pirates killing everyone they came across... sounds about right actually.

Buck posted 11/26/2019 14:48 PM

In my experience, my WW's "fog" dissipated pretty damn quickly when she was faced with consequences. Divorce talk and seeing her life taking a dramatic turn for the worse stopped all her foggy bullshit pronto. YMMV. The fog is merely the BS refusing to take (or believe) any more cheater bullshit.

I think SI and most R books don't mention the power or control aspect of infidelity. Cheating on someone is an way to exert power over them. A cheater knows something vitally important that the poor BS has no idea is happening. The cheater is denying you your reality. They are choosing to alter the course of your life without your consent. I am a mad hatter, I had a RA and this was part of the appeal to me.

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