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

Travel Plan: How to Create One and Why It’s Worthwhile

In Week 11 of EMS Online, our couples must face a difficult truth: Relapse is a normal part of infidelity recovery. But just because it’s normal doesn’t mean couples should sit back and accept relapse, and all of its pain and difficulty, as an inevitability.

After the betrayal, both mates need to identify high-risk situations and come up with a plan — together — for how they’ll tackle them. And, it probably comes as no surprise, traveling is one of the most high-risk situations for wayward spouses in recovery. That’s why I encourage wayward mates, whenever they’re going to be away from home for an extended period of time, to create a travel plan.

What Is the Purpose of a Travel Plan?

If you’re the wayward spouse, a relapse reveals all your places of pride, weak motivation and unwillingness to do whatever’s necessary to recover. But relapse can also be a primary motivator for you to take the steps to break the cycle. Often, it’s not until relapse that wayward mates will begin to seek help, such as from medication or support group meetings, and create strategies for handling high-risk/trigger situations. For many, traveling is one of those situations.

Travel is a normal part of life, though. COVID-19 pandemic times aside, it’s commonplace for companies to sponsor events that exclude spouses. Additionally, it’s not unusual for men and women to travel together for business trips, although they’ll be placed in separate rooms for overnight stays. Even when it’s not for work, traveling is still a high-risk activity for wayward mates. It creates an environment where you’re vulnerable to slip back into image management, self-deception and inappropriate behavior. With a travel plan, you can better ensure you’re acting in safe, thoughtful and careful ways while you’re away from home.

Why Does Your Travel Plan Need Approval?

It’s crucial for your mate to offer feedback on your travel plan to ensure it, and the trip itself, has the best chance of success. I recommend having your therapist also look at it, since they understand you and your patterns and will likely be able to help you create the best plan for success. Both your mate and your therapist can also help you identify any potentially risky situations you might have overlooked. A travel plan is a sensitive thing to share, but it’ll only become stronger once they get their eyes on it.

Ideally, your travel plan should be prepared at least one week before a trip. It’s always better to have this plan squared away far in advance, though, so that everyone has ample time to weigh in. It’s important to note that once your travel plan is approved, whether it’s for a business trip or a weekend getaway with friends, you’re expressing to your mate that you’re committed to acting:

  • Safely.
  • Carefully.
  • Thoughtfully.

If you cannot commit to these three things, you’re probably not ready to travel. During infidelity recovery, the last thing you want is to lose the extraordinary life you’re creating to go through the misery of betrayal again.

How Do You Get a Travel Plan?

Let's face it: Good intentions aren’t sufficient enough to protect your loved ones and reestablish trust in the relationship. Restoring safety and trust requires intentionality. By creating a travel plan before you embark on a trip, you’ll be able to identify high-impulse/trigger situations, devise exit strategies for said situations, and select an accountability partner. Having this structure ahead of time isn’t just a means to prevent relapse, it’s also necessary to put your loved ones at ease and restore safety in the relationship.

To begin creating a travel plan, you’ll need to answer a few questions. It’s paramount to be very specific in your answers, as they’ll serve as the actual plan. Some of these questions include:

  • Potential areas of temptation and high-trigger/risk situations.
  • Which triggers, impulses or fantasies do I expect?
  • Who will know my travel plans?
  • What are my exit plans?
  • Who will you be traveling with that you’ll be accountable to?
  • How will you remain accountable to your mate and your therapist?

The best travel plan ensures that when you go somewhere with potential high-trigger/impulse situations, you're prepared to act. You can create your own, but I highly recommend using our Affair Recovery travel plan. Over the years, our tried-and-tested travel plan has helped thousands of mates stay accountable while on the go. When you register for EMS Online, this 17-question form and a reference example are included in your course workbook. I also encourage you to sign up for our Hope for Healing online course for wayward spouses. During this small group course, you and other wayward mates will work through a curriculum designed to help you develop empathy, overcome shame and set healthy boundaries. Hope for Healing has provided targeted support to numerous participants over the years, so I urge you to use it as a resource during your healing journey.

Yes, relapse is normal, but you can — and should — take steps to prevent it whenever possible. To that end, compiling a travel plan is emotional and does take time, but its potential benefits for you and your relationship make it well worth the effort.

Hope for Healing Registration Opens Soon!

Designed specifically for wayward spouses, Hope for Healing is a supportive, nonjudgmental environment for you to heal and develop empathy. Over the years, this 17-week, life-changing course has helped thousands of people find hope, set healthy boundaries and move toward extraordinary lives.

“I just finished Hope for Healing and am proud of the changes that I already feel in myself and my marriage. I found Affair Recovery when I was at the darkest point in my life, and this course has helped me to get myself on a true path to recovery." — S., Ala., November 2020 Hope for Healing participant.

Spaces fill up quickly for this small group program, so don't wait to register! Subscribe to registration notications below to ensure you get a spot in our next round.

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