The Fog Of Whore

The Fog of War is often used in computer strategy games to hide the position of enemy units unless within the current line of sight of your own units. This is to mimic the reality of warfare where you don’t know where enemy units are, unless you’ve scouted their position out.
“War is an area of uncertainty; three quarters of the things on which all action in War is based on are lying in a fog of uncertainty to a greater or lesser extent. The first thing (needed) here is a fine, piercing mind, to feel the truth with the measure of its judgment.”    Carl von Clausewitz
The Fog of Whore is the lies, bullshit, deceit and misdirection an unfaithful spouse uses on the unwitting faithful spouse, when an affair is in progress or being considered. Affairs require secrecy. And yes indeed, your good, moral, sweet, loyal and, not meaning this to sound like a cheap shot on the religious… even your Christian spouse can be laying on the manure two feet deep.
So…. having caught her husband in an emotional affair…
Reader:  So, back to the point. I snoop, multiple times a day, at work, etc. Again, I’m just so wary of being burned. I haven’t found anything. I don’t think I will find anything. He has a government e-mail account which he cannot delete or change (because, duh, it’s a government account). I’ve explained to him that even if she did e-mail him, I won’t hold that against him– only if he were to respond. I feel like a crazy person. And it’s only a matter of time until his patience wears thin. He understands to me this was emotional cheating, but I know he doesn’t really believe it was cheating, and that I have blown it out of proportion.
What is reasonable in a situation like this? Where is the line between paranoid, obsessive stalking and reasonable self-defense drawn?
Athol: The line between paranoid obsessive stalking and reasonable self-defense is very blurry, simply because reasonable self-defense snooping will make you feel totally paranoid and obsessive. Then because you now feel paranoid and obsessive… you can’t stop snooping. The only way to feel trusting again, is to actually trust and not snoop. Your feelings follow your actions.
I do advise people who suspect their partner is involved with someone else to actively seek to find out if there is someone else… by which I mean snoop. However I always warn them that they will feel extremely anxious and paranoid when they do so. So whatever snooping you do shouldn’t turn into an endless stakeout.
There’s also no perfect solution here either. If you do snoop, you’re paranoid and controlling. If you don’t snoop, you risk not catching the affair in progress. Plus people engaged in affairs or considering them create a great deal of distraction and always attempt to hide the affair from discovery, so a merely casual investigation isn’t likely to find much of anything.
My general advice is if you get a nagging sense that something isn’t right, check into things thoroughly once, and if you find nothing, stop. It’s a somewhat jaded view of things, but good people occasionally do very bad things… even to people they love… or perhaps more correctly, once loved.
Overall though, more information is better than less. Sometimes you just have to clear away the Fog of Whore.

Comments

  1. Well said, Athol. Jealousy is a cancer, and if you don't treat it immediately, it will spread. Check once and be done. Of course, that doesn't mean ignore future warning signs you get, either. But don't let it weigh on your relationship: don't treat him like he's cheating on you unless you know he is (and don't treat him like he's already gone, either).

  2. Aleph One says:

    Wow. This really hit home for me.

    When I caught my wife in an emotional affair, I naturally went a little bit nuts. Even after the affair was over, I couldn't let it go. And the more I checked up on her, the more insane I got.

    I finally got to the point where I actually told her to put a password on her phone and change her email password. I knew there was nothing there, but constantly checking was making me crazy.

    We've only recently reached the point where she has taken the password off her phone again, as a gesture of trust. It took months to get there. She can leave her phone laying around and I don't feel the need to constantly be looking in it.

  3. You can check all you want, but every desk at work has a phone, companies can assign new cell phones, and the cheating spouse can also create new email addresses which you will know nothing about.

    Of course you're not going to find anything — they're not using the equipment you have access to.

    I would not believe someone who said the affair was only emotional. They're not going to cop to anything that you didn't discover with proof.

    Ultimately it boils down to trust. If your gut tells you that there must be more, that they didn't disclose everything (and are still lying), then you need to face the fact that a partner who cheats IS JUST NOT INTO YOU.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I doubt that's real, seems like some fantasy writing to me….

  5. GumbyMan says:

    Dude- you have it backwards… If she cheated, and says it is over- she should NOT have any passwords etc. and be ok with leaving her phone lying around, so that you can check whenever you are feeling worried. I don't know since you asked for it, but if you hadn't and she put passwords on then it would be an obvious sign of trouble.

  6. Many people that snoop a lot – especially those that either (a) do it for no reason and with nothing suspicious going on or (b) those that obsess over it – are PROJECTING their own thoughts onto another. The snoopers themselves are cheaters or would cheat if given the opportunity, so they naturally assume/fear that the other person is the same way.

  7. Stargate Girl says:

    If that is real, that guy needs to run at Warp 8 from her, pronto.

  8. Athol Kay says:

    If it's real he should just divorce her pronto, but it doesn't seem real to me either.

  9. Aleph One says:

    GumbyMan, allow me to clarify the sequence of events:

    1) I snooped in her phone and caught her.
    2) She ended the affair.
    3) I kept snooping in her phone, in her email, in her stuff, anywhere that I could. After weeks of this, I realized several things. The most important thing was that the snooping, instead of reassuring me, was actually making me more paranoid.

    Also, the subtle changes in her behavior that had led me to snoop in the first place were reversed. I had every reason to believe that she was being honest with me, and no reason to believe that she was lying.

    And if she WAS going to continue the affair, she could do it through her work phone, work computer, and work email, and there wasn't a thing I could do about it.

    So, as Athol said, the way to rebuild trust was by acting like I trusted her. I asked her to change her passwords because I was making myself crazy, to no useful purpose.

    She took the password off her phone on her own. I noticed it when she was using her phone, and mentioned it. At this point, it's no big deal… I know she's not hiding anything, so I'm not compulsively checking her phone.

    As for her being ok so that I can "check whenever you are feeling worried," that's the point: checking was MAKING me worried. And doing it secretly was just throwing up another barrier between us.

    If I get worried now, I'll actually TALK to her about it. If I was truly concerned, I would ask her to show me her phone, and we'd go through her texts and call history together.

    I'm done with playing spy games. I had to stop it to protect my own sanity.

    Trust but verify. But then, after you have verified, trust again.

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