Rick Reynolds, LCSW
by Rick Reynolds, LCSW
Founder & President, Affair Recovery

Travel Plan

Purpose:

When a person has been unfaithful, a problem in the relationship is revealed, and he or she not only destroys the mate’s trust but also learns they are at risk. Good intentions are not sufficient to protect loved ones and reestablish trust between the spouses. Restoring a sense of safety and trust requires intentionality. Creating a plan before he or she travels away from home is necessary to protect family and for trust. If you have plans to travel, obtaining your mate’s feedback and approval (if applicable), as well as that of your therapist, creates a path for success while away from your mate. Approval means that you have learned to act in safe, careful, and thoughtful ways while away from home or in other high-risk circumstances.

Instructions:

Prior to requesting approval to travel, which may place you in high trigger/impulse areas, complete the questions below. Be very specific. It is your responsibility to complete a plan in plenty of time for your travel or entry into a high-risk situation. After you complete the checklist, present the information to your spouse (if applicable) and your therapist. Prepare this list at least one week before travel. Both your spouse (if applicable) and your therapist must approve of the plan.

Plan:

  1. Place and dates of travel (or of other high-risk circumstances) with exact times of arrival and departure.
  2. Possible areas of temptation and high trigger/risk situations during travel.
  3. Why do I need to make this trip?
  4. What triggers, impulses, or fantasies do I expect?
  5. What external controls will be operating?
  6. What internal controls will be operating?
  7. Who will know my plans?
  8. At what level and/or quantity of triggers should I leave a situation? What are the mental and physical signs I will experience when I know the temptation has reached a level that indicates “exit” is essential?
  9. What are my “exit” plans?
  10. I plan to deal with the expected triggers/impulses in the following ways (list at least five ways):
  11. Make a list of the negative consequences to possible behavior (you will commit to keep this list with you at all times during your travel if your plan is approved).
  12. Make a list of your mental, emotional, and spiritual states as you plan for this trip to be successful and safe.
  13. What factors, external and/or internal, would cause me to cancel this trip?
  14. Make a list of a minimum of ten different and relevant “What ifs.” Include how you will handle each “What if.”
  15. Who will you be traveling with that you will be accountable to?
  16. How will you remain accountable to your spouse (if applicable) and your therapist?
  17. Provide space for signatures and dates for you, your spouse (if applicable), and your therapist.

Example

Plan:

  1. Place and dates of travel with exact times of arrival and departure.
    1. Leaving: Saturday 5/7 (early afternoon approx. 12 PM)
    2. Returning: Sunday 5/8 (as soon as the game ends; get home by 9 PM)
  2. Possible areas of temptation and high trigger/risk situations during travel.
    1. I will avoid areas of high trigger/risk (no inappropriate restaurants or bars). There will likely be attractive women at the Ranger games.
  3. Why do I need to make this trip?
    1. It’s a groomsmen trip so the guys in Brian’s wedding can get to know each other a little bit and have some fun at the ballgames.
  4. What triggers, impulses, or fantasies do I expect? 
    1. If temperature is warm, I expect women in shorts and various tops at the ballgames.
  5. What external controls will be operating?
    1. Limiting exposure to areas other than the ballpark and hotel. A friend I can trust should I need to exit a situation that is causing me issues. My own vehicle if I need to leave a situation.
  6. What internal controls will be operating?
    1. Balancing my eyes, prayer, and contact with God.
  7. Who will know my plans?
    1. Betsy, Sean, and Rick.
  8. At what level and/or quantity of triggers should I leave the situation? What are the mental and physical signs that I will experience when I know the temptation has reached a level that indicates “exit” is essential?
    1. If there are any women nearby causing me to break the three-second rule or second-glance rule, or making it difficult to balance my eyes, and I cannot position myself in such a way as to prevent my ability to see them, I will exit the situation to a safe area. If my thoughts begin to focus toward sex and/or I cannot capture my thoughts, I will find a standing area to watch the game from or excuse myself to the car.
  9. What are my “exit” plans?
    1. Ask if we can all move to another location.
    2. Find a safe standing area to move to.
    3. Go out to the car for quiet time.
    4. Have my own transportation so I can exit to the hotel.
    5. Sean will operate as my aid if I let him know I need to exit immediately.
  10. I plan to deal with the expected triggers/impulses in the following ways (list at least five ways):
    1. Limit glances to three to five seconds
    2. No second looks
    3. Balance my eyes
    4. Close my eyes and pray
    5. Picture an image of Betsy
    6. Think about each woman as someone’s daughter (like Faithy)
  11. Make a list of the negative consequences to possible behavior (you will commit to keep this list with you at all times during your travel if your plan is approved):
    1. Hurting Betsy
    2. Hurting my children
    3. Guilt
    4. Shame
    5. Losing my family
  12. Make a list of your mental, emotional, and spiritual states as you plan for this trip to be successful and safe.
    1. I am aware of Betsy’s concern and nervousness and I feel bad that she has to feel that way because of my actions. I am confident that God’s grace will get me through any situation. I am excited to have a chance to spend time with my friend Sean, and also with Brian. I feel I may have the opportunity to steer conversations toward Christ and marriage, which is exciting. I am praying regularly and have been very open and honest with my accountability partners, close friends, Betsy, and men in my 12-step group about my relationship with God. I feel I am in a good place right now, constantly speaking with God, relying on Him each day, and measuring my thoughts and behaviors against His Word. I feel I have planned for this trip well by setting boundaries with Brian ahead of time so I won’t feel bad should I need to implement an exit plan. I have my own transportation, and I have a close friend and accountability partner with me whom I trust.
  13. What factors, external and/or internal, would cause me to cancel this trip?
    1. I feel I am at a weak point and not communicating with God.
    2. Betsy can not handle me going on the trip.
    3. Illness (Betsy, the kids, or myself).
    4. It comes to my attention that there will be planned activities I cannot participate in (though I have spoken with the groom, and he has assured me there won’t be. Sean also has assured me he won’t participate in anything I am unable to nor would he ever want to).
  14. Make a list of a minimum of ten different and relevant “What ifs.” Include how you will handle each “What if.”
    1. What if I see an attractive woman in short shorts and a tight top at the game? Stick to the three-to-five-second rule, no second glances, and picture an image of Betsy (see #10).
    2. What if they want to go to a bar for a drink after the game? I will not go, suggest something else, and/or just go back to the hotel if needed.
    3. What if they want to eat at Hooters or another inappropriate establishment? I will say I cannot eat in there, and Sean has already said he will have my back. Since Johnny and Poole also know my addiction, they will understand.
    4. What if I need to exit a situation? I will be riding with Sean and we will make sure I am able to leave without impacting the others at any point.
    5. What if I am having trouble sticking to the guidelines? I will talk to Sean, or call Russ, Rob, Jack, or Betsy.
    6. What if Marty is not giving up and being inappropriate? I won’t participate with him, and if needed, I will comment that he is being over the top.
    7. What if Marty talks them into going to a strip club? Sean and I will exit to the hotel to watch an appropriate movie.
    8. What if they want to rent an inappropriate movie in my/our room? I will go to sleep in a separate area/room or get my own room if need be.
    9. What if some girls start flirting with us? I will not participate and won’t be rude but won’t engage in conversations with women.
    10. What if they give me a hard time about not drinking? I will tell them I can’t drink because of the medication I am currently taking.              
  15. Who will you be traveling with that you will be accountable to?
    1. Sean
  16. How will you remain accountable to your spouse (if applicable) and your therapist?
    1. I will call Betsy in the evening and morning to tell her how things are going.  I will have someone with me who can be trusted to hold me accountable and has permission to share anything needed with Betsy (Sean).

Provide space for signatures and dates for: you, your spouse (if applicable), and your therapist

Download the Travel Plan Document

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