You’ve heard about the “Wayward Fog” (also known as the “Affair Fog” or just “The Fog”). What is it? How do you know if it is happening in your marriage?
Are you faced with infidelity in your marriage? Has your Wayward Spouse begun describing a marriage unfamiliar to you and a history of which you don’t believe you were a part? Have you been told that the infidelity is your fault or that your spouse never loved you in the first place? Perhaps you’ve heard, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.”
These are typical symptoms of the biochemical rush commonly known as the “Wayward Fog” or “The Affair Fog”. When The Fog comes into your marriage, what can you do about it?
Infidelity And The Wayward Fog
The Wayward Fog and the Affair Fog are terms often used by experts and victims of infidelity to describe the euphoria felt by someone involved in an affair. The Fog, while strangely named, is a real phenomenon. On websites supporting infidelity, it is sometimes referred to as the “affair bubble.”
The Affair Fog Rolls In
The Wayward Fog is described as similar to being brainwashed. The thrill of the affair envelops the wayward partner in good feelings and the excitement can be overwhelming. S/he feels a new high, a feeling of being “in love.” Comparisons are made between the marriage and the affair and, inevitably, the marriage suffers.
They Justify The Infidelity
Next begins a repeated internal dialogue of rationalizations, over and over again in their minds. The Wayward Spouse needs to rationalize with themselves in order to cover up and minimise their feelings of guilt. They may convince themselves that their marriage was already bad and that it had been for a long time, that their spouse doesn’t really love them, and that the affair partner must truly be their “soul-mate” because he/she is the only one who understands them. They may tell themselves, and the Betrayed Spouse, that the Betrayed Spouse is “better off without them.” Frequently this rationalization leads to inventing reasons for having the affair in the first place, including that the affair is like “therapy,” something they do for themselves. They say it makes them a better, happier spouse — “If I am happier, then how could that be bad for my marriage/family/spouse?”
Loss of Empathy
After a short time, they cease to think of anyone else’s feelings — not parents, not spouses, not children, not friends — only their feelings and the feelings of their Affair Partner. To a foggy Wayward, the Other Person is without flaws, weaknesses or selfishness. Soon the cheating spouse begins to believe the lies they’ve been telling themselves. They, therefore, act accordingly, treating their spouse with anger and hostility, and their affair partner in a loving and affectionate way. Despite all of this, the Wayward might not want out of the marriage. They enjoy the familial comfort of home, with the added excitement of the affair. It is as if they become addicted to the affair, needing the constant high it brings, no matter the total disregard for the Betrayed.
Thus beings a cycle of wash, rinse, and repeat and soon they are deeply entrenched in the fog.
A typical Affair Fog, also called The Wayward Script, includes:
* Re-writing marriage history
* Projecting blame for the Wayward Spouse’s guilt onto the Betrayed Spouse
* The typical “I love you but…”
* The proclamation that the other person is the Wayward Spouse’s “soul mate”
* The demonizing of the Betrayed Spouse in order to rationalize the Wayward Spouse’s infidelity.
An Addictive Fantasy
Of course, The Fog is nothing more than a fantasy created by the affair partners. They are under the influence of an addictive drug similar to that of a teenager in love. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to remove them from this Fog. The dopamine that is released in the brain is the same chemical that is released when someone uses cocaine or opium. It clouds judgement and makes people do and say things they would never do or say otherwise. This does not excuse the Wayward Spouse for their behaviour, it just partially explains what is occurring within their thought process.
The Wayward Fog Is NOT An Excuse
I cannot stress enough — The Fog does not provide an excuse for the actions of the Wayward Spouse. However, it certainly does explain where some of the behaviour comes from and how it can manifest. If you read any of the works of Dr. Helen Fisher, you will gain a clearer understanding of the dynamics of the human mating system and how dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin can affect a person’s judgement and personality.
Confusion and Uncertainty
For the Betrayed, The Fog makes for a very confusing and trying time. Not only has the person you thought you could always count on stabbed you in the back, but they are now acting totally out of character. They have probably rewritten your relationship history and are professing their love to someone else. If you can have a rational, calm discussion with your Wayward Partner, sometimes you can point out the inaccuracies and inconsistencies in their story. More than likely, however, if they are deep in the Fog, this conversation will be unproductive. Listen to the Wayward Spouse’s complaints and ask yourself, “Is there a kernel of truth in that?” While the Fog presents a warped perspective, often these complaints contain genuine grievances that were problems prior to the affair, and need to be addressed.
The Freedom of Understanding
Gaining a better understanding of what your Wayward Partner is thinking is beneficial to the Betrayed in that s/he can understand that the infidelity is NOT about them. Now is the time for the Betrayed to begin to take care of him/herself to further his/her own growth and healing.
Affairs are fantasy and even the blindest Wayward Spouse eventually realizes and acknowledges that his/her fantasy isn’t reality. But this realization of reality almost always happens after the affair has ended.
The lies those engaged in an affair will tell themselves can take many forms. These lies are not always about leaving the marriage or demonizing the Betrayed Spouse…but they are always bad for the marriage.
If you have to rationalize it — it’s wrong.
The right choice is evident and does not require explanation.