Learn to Speak the Language of Connection
after an Affair
By Susie and Otto Collins
If infidelity has happened in your love relationship or
marriage and you're trying to rebuild trust, you probably
already know how important communication is.
It could be that the ways you and your partner tended to
communicate in the past contributed to distance between you
As you and your mate re-commit to working on your
relationship in an attempt to heal and rebuild trust, we
urge you to focus some of your attention on improving
This can be one key to putting the infidelity behind you and
moving closer together.
Learning to speak the language of connection is one way to
point yourselves toward the relationship you want.
Judy is willing to try to rebuild trust and connection with
her partner Chris.
After Chris cheated, Judy promised herself that she'd do
everything in her power to get their relationship back on
She loves Chris and doesn't want to lose him.
But Judy is also still very angry with Chris. She can't
believe that he betrayed her in this way.
Even though his affair happened over 2 years ago, to Judy it
still feels like it was yesterday.
Especially when Judy and Chris communicate about their
relationship with one another, that past pain seems to
refresh and intensify for Judy.
She is aware that she puts up walls and becomes more distant
from him, but she doesn't seem to be able to make herself
open up and trust again.
"After all, he should be the one opening up and proving
himself to me," thinks Judy to herself.
Intend to connection
If you find yourself and your partner in conflict or
simply distant from one another when you communicate, take a
look at how you are approaching each other.
What is your intention and priority?
Ask yourself if it is most important to you to be "right" or
for your mate to "prove him or herself because of past
These may not be your conscious intentions, but they could
still be driving you.
When you hold on to your role as the victim of infidelity
and your partner's role as the perpetrator, an inevitable
wedge forms that infects your relationship-- including how
you two communicate with one another.
We're not suggesting that you automatically "forgive and
forget" about your mate's cheating.
This is not something you can force yourself-- or anyone
else-- to do.
Instead, we encourage you to do the internal work to process
and release the past and along the way, practice setting
aside your need to be "right."
If you want to continue to stay in this relationship and
rebuild trust, make it your intention to connect as you
Does intending to connect mean that you can't assert a
boundary, request an agreement or speak honestly about how
Of course not.
It means that even as you speak and interact with
integrity and set those boundaries, connection is your
When Judy begins to make connection with Chris a priority,
she can request that he be transparent with her, for
As she communicates this request, however, she
speaks from a place of love and from the present moment.
She does the inner work to release her anger about his
affair as it arises.
In communication she meets Chris where he is today and keeps
at the forefront of her mind the two of them gradually
moving closer together.
Share information clearly and openly
Judy starts to realize that in order for communication to
improve and be a point a connection for she and Chris, she
needs to make a shift.
Of course, Judy believes that Chris needs to also be working
on their relationship.
But she is aware that she can only effectively change her
own attitude and behavior.
The shift that Judy chooses to make is to stop
symbolically holding the affair over Chris' head every time
they come together and try to talk about their relationship.
She sees that she maintains different
standards for him in communication than she does for
The language of connection in relationships is to be as
open, honest, respectful and clear with your mate as you
want him or her to be with you.
This seems obvious-- until you are in a situation where you
feel hurt and betrayed.
In those cases, like infidelity, it is easy to fall into
communication habits where you expect your partner who
cheated to listen more to you, perhaps share more openly and
possibly offer you a deeper level of respect.
Again, we're not asking you to pretend the affair didn't
This wouldn't be genuine in most contexts.
Take a look at the way you expect communication to go
between yourself and your mate.
Be sure that there is a sharing in which you treat each
other with the same openness, honesty and respect.
Be clear about what you need and make requests based on
Be open, even when it seems difficult, to what your partner
has to say.
Just because your mate is the one who had an affair, doesn't
mean it's ok for you to disregard or disrespect his or her
words and needs.
Communication is the way that you and your partner share how
you are feeling, what you want and how you'd like your
relationship to progress as you rebuild trust.
It is a sharing-- when you both stay as open and clear and
honest as possible.
Learn how to speak and listen in ways that bring you two
Learn the language of connection and watch as trust grows.