If you’ve ever been cheated on, you know how hurtful it can be. You also know that a cheating partner always acts slightly differently than they normally do. That’s how they get caught. This change in behavior is most often known as the affair fog.
However, not every victim will be able to tell when their significant other isn’t being faithful. Sometimes their affair fog can be so subtle that it’s hard to tell. And oftentimes, people don’t even think badly of their partner’s change in behavior.
We’re probably not going to be the first or only ones to tell you this, but we’re going to say it anyway. You can’t stay with someone who’s not faithful. You just can’t. For your own mental health, things have to be ended.
Now, if you’re married, it may be a different story. You can potentially go to counseling and work through the infidelity. However, when someone cheats on you, there are lasting effects like lower self-esteem, trust issues, and more.
For that reason, a relationship will be nearly impossible to get back to normal after a partner cheats. [Read: What to do when you think your partner is cheating]
When someone is cheating, they have an affair fog. This refers to their behavior and their state of mind. When they’re with someone else, they may start to internally process what they’re doing and justify it. That means they need to make themselves feel less guilty.
In order to do that, they start placing blame on their significant other. They can convince themselves they’re not doing anything wrong by fabricating false ideas about their partner.
Now that we know what affair fog is, what causes it? Well, there are different factors that could contribute to it, so let’s discuss a couple of major ones. [Read: The 7 stages of emotional affairs and the games it plays on your mind]
No, we don’t mean that they are literally on drugs. But their brain really does change and is different than it normally is when they are having an affair.
You see, when someone is newly in love and/or lust, the pleasure centers in their brain get stimulated *no pun intended*. In other words, their brain looks like they are under the influence of drugs.
Scientists have done studies on this. When they look at a brain that is high on cocaine and compare it to someone’s brain that is in love and/or lust, they look almost identical. What this means is that someone having an affair is acting as if they are on drugs. [Read: How do affairs start? The way it plays out in real life]
Their brain is on what you might call a “romantic high.” And think about it. When you are on drugs, you are not thinking clearly, are you?
This romantic high is caused by mood-lifting neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Another euphoria hormone that is released during infatuation is phenylethylamine. These chemicals can literally distort their sense of reality.
If you’ve never heard this term, it refers to the tension that someone experiences when they have two beliefs that are inconsistent with each other.
For example, the cheater might normally have a self-concept of being a good person. But since they are now cheating and lying to their partner, they are both a “good person” and “a liar and a cheater.”
You see, those two just don’t “go together,” and they don’t match. When this happens, the cheater has to attempt to re-organize their thinking in order to minimize their uncomfortableness with these two opposing thoughts about themselves. [Read: 13 types of affairs people have and the reasons behind each of them]
In order to do this, they have to use self-justification to eliminate the cognitive dissonance. So, when they are confronted with evidence that they are wrong *that they are not a good person*, they don’t change their original point of view.
Even if they are presented with irrefutable evidence that they are a liar and a cheater, they still won’t admit it – even to themselves. So, they do anything and everything to justify themselves.
This self-justification results in them becoming a complete hypocrite.
Since cheaters with affair fog have a brain on “drugs” and they also experience cognitive dissonance, they need to deal with these in some way. So, how do they do this? Here are a few ways. [Read: Why are affairs so hard to end? 12 reasons that make it really hard]
Gaslighting is done to manipulate and confuse the other person.
For example, if the betrayed partner is calling out the cheater by saying that they have been home late from work 4 days this week, the cheater will make them feel crazy and question their own memory, and maybe even their sanity. This is actually a form of mental abuse. [Read: Gaslighting – What it is, how it works and 22 signs to recognize being gaslit]
Confirmation bias is when people give particular attention to any and all information that confirms what they already believe, and they ignore evidence to the contrary.
So, the cheater will ignore any information that confirms they are cheating.
When someone feels guilty about what they’re doing, they want to feel better. So, how do they do this? They do it by changing and altering the facts that happened in the past. Some call it “truth-shifting.” [Read: Do emotional affairs ever stop? 12 steps to break the connection]
They try to re-write the things that happened in their relationship history. It is the creation of false memories in order to justify their behavior and feel better about themselves.
Now that we know the causes of affair fog and how the cheater deals with it, here are some signs to watch out for.
Affair fog is all about your partner being under a sort of “spell” by someone else. They’re distracted and not themselves. If you notice this type of behavior from your significant other, monitor it closely.
When they seem spacy and not present during conversations, it’s because something else is taking up space in their mind. That could be the person they’re seeing on the side. [Read: 18 ingenious ways to catch a cheating partner in the act]
This is definitely something an affair fog is known for. If your partner is having an affair, they’re on a high. They feel great! Imagine how you felt when you first fell in love with your partner. You were giddy and in a great mood.
An affair fog works the same way. They’re going through all those same feelings they had in the beginning of your relationship, just with someone else.
So they may be in a good mood, but they’re also feeling very guilty. And when you remind them that they’re happy and ask them why they’re in such a good mood these days, it fills them with that guilt and takes them down from that high.
This has a LOT to do with the affair fog. Oftentimes, when they’re cheating on you, they need to justify their actions. They know what they’re doing is wrong but instead of stopping, they find reasons to make it okay.
So they start picking fights with you just to stay angry with you. Because in their mind, if they’re mad at you, they can justify why they’re being happy with someone else. [Read: 8 things to tell yourself when fighting with your significant other]
Do you have a habit of doing nice, sweet things for your partner? If you were in a previously healthy relationship, then you probably did all the time. Is your partner getting annoyed with those same things now?
If so, it could be the affair fog. When you do nice things, it ruins the image in their head of you being this awful person they’ve concocted in order to justify their actions.
You being nice makes them feel even more guilty so in order to get rid of those feelings, they want to get you to stop doing those things. AKA, they get mad when you do. [Read: 15 signs an affair is slowly starting to turn into love]
This will be very obvious. When you’re very close with someone and they pull away emotionally, you should be able to tell. They won’t discuss their feelings with you and they won’t really ask you how you’re feeling anymore.
This is a means to protect themselves from feeling guilty. If they’re not emotionally attached, they won’t feel as though they’re hurting you – even though they are. [Read: 20 revealing signs that show you’re growing apart emotionally]
When some people get deep into an affair fog, they forget about their real life altogether. As a means to pretend they’re not doing anything wrong, they dissociate themselves from the norm.
So if they’ve stopped engaging in their normal hobbies and interests, something could be up.
Again, this happens because mentally, they’re tearing you apart for being a horrible partner. This can be completely false. You could be the best boyfriend or girlfriend in the world but if they’re having an affair, that affair fog will make them see you as a villain who’s not allowing them to live their life.
Those negative thoughts about you will make them mad at you all the time. You could’ve done nothing wrong at all. It’s all internal. The affair fog is making them manipulate themselves. [Read: Affairs and the big role ego plays in it]
Your partner is going to cause fights if they’re cheating. That’s what happens when the affair fog sets in. And these fights will be baseless.
They’ll argue about anything and when you make a valid point in the argument, they’ll start saying things like, “you just don’t understand me.”
They do this to justify the fact that they’re with someone else – someone who “really understands” them. They’ll convince themselves you don’t get the real them just to feel better about themselves.
Again, this is all about getting rid of their guilt by pushing you away. The affair fog will cause them to say hurtful things.
They’ll start seeing your flaws and voicing them where they never would’ve said anything before. These random put-downs are a huge sign you’ve got a cheater on your hands. [Read: 16 abusive relationship signs of a devious lover]
They stop doing little things you used to love. When they don’t appreciate you anymore, something is off. Usually, it’s an affair fog.
When someone is under someone else’s spell, they’re made to believe that you’re in the wrong. They try to rationalize their behavior by telling themselves that you’re the one who’s not good to them. So, they behave accordingly by refusing to do nice things for you.
As they say, nothing lasts forever. But how long does affair fog last? While it is different for everyone, there are some general rules. [Read: How cheaters react when accused – anger and what you should expect]
Typically, it might last anywhere from six months to four years. As we mentioned above, the chemicals in the brain are very powerful, so it takes a while for them to calm down and have your brain return to normal.
That’s why it’s called a “honeymoon” period. But the length of that time varies. Eventually, however, it does wane. Whether or not the affair continues after that is completely up to any individual couple.
Do not let your partner suck you into their fantasy world. They are not telling you the truth, and they are probably gaslighting you or even re-writing your relationship history.
Stand your ground. Do not allow them to manipulate you and get away with it.
Call them out on it and make them face the damage they have done to you and the relationship. You deserve to be treated with respect, so you need to demand it from them.
[Read: 16 warning signs your partner is falling in love with someone else]
Spotting someone in an affair fog can be really tricky. Some of their behaviors may seem and even be innocent. Make sure you’re paying close attention in order to catch an unfaithful partner.
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