Rewriting History in the Affair Fog

Their affair lasted six years.  Six years!   The average affair lasts for a year and a half.  My husband always manages to beat the averages in everything he does.  And he beat it again.  Six years…   SIX  #*%!  YEARS.  You know I never swore at all until my discovery day – my kids used to tease me about my G-rated vocabulary.  But I have used swear words many times now in describing his affair, and it feels entirely appropriate to do so.  I won’t use them here, but you get the idea.

I have read a number of articles about how affair partners rewrite the histories of their lives and of their affair.  This is part of the affair fog they are in – everything is clouded, distorted, and sometimes even completely false.   The author of the Secret Life of Jane, a woman who describes her journey back to real life after having an affair herself, says the fog is created by denial.  If cheaters have any kind of conscience at all, they have a hard time living with themselves when they are betraying their spouses, so they recreate their lives and create a romanticized version of their affair to justify their actions.  They deny wrongdoing and create the picture that they were destined to have the affair, that it was meant to be, so they are not wrong for breaking the vow they made to their spouses or for betraying their families or for sinning against God.  It’s amazing what the human mind can do in the face of inconsistency and hypocrisy.

The blog site Emotional Affair Journey has several articles about how the cheater rewrites the history of his marriage and writes a distorted story of his affair.  This is something that bonds the affair partners together, and they reinforce it with each other so much that they come to really believe that their version of the story is the absolute unbiased truth.  When the betrayed spouse finds out and talks with her spouse, she is easily taken in by the cheater’s story because he is so convinced of it himself.  This can be a dangerous thing because the cheater’s story usually includes things like how the betrayed spouse was never a good spouse, that she caused the marriage to deteriorate, that he was never really in love with her, that their marriage was a farse, that the affair was the most wonderful thing that ever happened, that the affair partners are soul mates, that their love was destined to be and can never be denied, etc. etc.

Most of this is usually not true.  Cheaters who have come out of the fog and look back will slowly come to realize that most of it was not true.  My husband is one of those.  He says he was sick to his stomach when he looked at the emails that I found.  He says he now sees that I was always the one for him, but the fantasy and the secrecy which led to the adrenaline high that is so much a part of affairs dragged him down into the dirt.

Do I believe him?  Sometimes.  And sometimes I am dragged down into the dirt with him – down into that rewritten, falsified story of his life.  It’s so easy to buy into it, so easy to become part of that fantasy and live in the misery of it all.  I have to pull myself up every day and tell myself that it was not real, that the reality is him and me and our family and the fact that he swears he wants to spend the rest of his life making it up to me.  But it’s hard – very hard.  I can see the emails in my head and his words to her:  “I love you and I always will.  I am ready for this journey, no matter how long or how hard… You are always on my mind… I will love you forever… you are my dream… I wish I could turn back time and never let you go…”  I see these words in my head and I fall back into that hole, the abyss of abandonment, where I’ve wanted to die so many times.

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