Advice When You Suspect Infidelity
By Susie and Otto Collins
In the day to day busy-ness
of life, it can be difficult to remember to take your vitamins and
where you left your car keys, let alone keeping a close connection
with the one you love. Suspicion that your partner is having an
affair can come up suddenly when you least expect it!
Noticing your relationship signals can mean the difference between a
fully alive, passionate connection and one filled with mistrust,
suspicion and disconnection.
We recently took at trip in
a rental car that had satellite radio. How fun to be able to choose
from the oodles of stations that offer music, comedy skits, weather
and traffic reports and even Oprah audio! All we had to do was tune
in and choose what we wanted to listen to.
In a relationship you also
get to choose the "channel" you want to live. By tuning in to
yourself and your partner you can become more aware of disconnection
and more aware openness, when you are fully embracing the love you
share--bypassing suspicion. It starts with recognizing how you are
feeling within yourself and learning more from your partner about
what's going on within him or her.
As much as we'd like to
offer you a concrete list of signs that something is bothering your
mate which means your relationship is in trouble and possible
involving an affair, we're just not able or willing to do that. It
all starts with you. You know best how you are feeling and what is
true for you about your relationship. In fact, sometimes we get so
caught up in the stories we tell ourselves about how our mate is
feeling, we conveniently ignore our own emotions.
Dan's partner Kate was out
of town for several days at a conference for work. She returns home
late in the evening talking excitedly about how much she learned and
mentions a male colleague who she was able to talk "shop" with a few
times. That night Dan cannot sleep as scenarios involving Kate
having an affair with this male colleague dominate his thoughts.
Over breakfast Dan sees signs of infidelity in everything Kate says
and does and he plans to confront her about it that evening.
If we were in Dan's shoes,
we'd take a moment and stop trying to interpret Kate's signals and
focus in our/his own. As Dan tunes in to himself, he might realize
that he has no proof (other than his own stories) that Kate had an
affair. As he further slows down his mind, he might notice that he
feels hurt that Kate was so excited about her experience she didn't
take the time to tell him she missed him. After tuning in to
himself, Dan chooses not to confront Kate about infidelity but,
instead, share with her that he missed her and would like to
re-connect. He might ask how she is feeling and if she would also
like to share special time together that weekend.
Getting curious about what's
going on with your partner is a wonderful way to test your
interpretation of your mate's signals. Getting curious doesn't
always mean posing questions to your partner, but sometimes it does.
When you do ask your love a clarifying question, make sure you are
not blaming or judging. You could share how you are feeling--as in
Dan's case feeling insecure and wanting connection-- and ask your love
to "tell me more" about what's true for him or her. Dan doesn't
even have to mention his infidelity fears to get to the place of
connection he is wanting.
Notice and celebrate
It's unfortunate but often
accurate, that we seem to be bombarded with what's going wrong.
Those news stations on satellite radio predominantly broadcast the
wars, natural disasters and corruption erupting all over the world.
We can fall into the same habit when tuning in to our relationship.
Instead, we encourage you to allow yourself to notice and celebrate
what's going right between you and your love.
Dan's insecure feelings and
fears about infidelity (which he's always had, even before he
started dating Kate), obscure the strong connection that is usually
present for them both. The more that Dan can remember and notice the
connecting moments going on, the easier it will be for him to
question those stories he tells himself from time to time. Besides,
doesn't it feel better to celebrate how much love you and your
partner share? Remember to tune in to yourself, get curious about
your mate and celebrate the connections!
For more information about how to communicate
to heal disconnection and mistrust, visit
Relationship coaches Susie and Otto
of Should You Stay or Should You Go? Stop Talking on
Eggshells and No More
Jealousy are experts at helping people get more of the
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