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

Travel Plan: How to Create One and Why They're Worthwhile

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

After a betrayal, I encourage both mates 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 mates in recovery. That’s why I recommend 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?

For the wayward mate, a relapse reveals all their places of pride, weak motivation and unwillingness to do whatever’s necessary to recover. But relapse can also be a primary motivator for them 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 these 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. Even when it’s not for work, traveling is still a high-risk activity for wayward mates. It creates an environment where they're vulnerable to slip back into image management, self-deception and inappropriate behavior. A travel plan can help them act in safe, thoughtful and careful ways while they're away from home.

Why Does a Travel Plan Need Approval?

If you're the wayward mate, you'll want to get feedback on your travel plan to ensure it, and the trip itself, has the best chance of success. I recommend having your mate and your therapist look at it, since they understand you and your patterns and will likely be able to help you create the best plan for success. They 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 best to have it completed far in advance so everyone has ample time to weigh in. 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 just yet. During infidelity recovery, the last thing you want is to lose the extraordinary life you’re creating to go through the pain of betrayal again. This might very well mean putting off trips until you and your relationship are more stable.

How Do You Get a Travel Plan?

The truth of the matter is good intentions just aren't enough to protect your loved ones and reestablish trust in the relationship. Restoring safety and trust requires intentionality. When the wayward mate creates a travel plan before embarking on a trip, they'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 an excellent way to put their loved ones at ease and help restore safety in the relationship.

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

  • What are the potential areas of temptation?
  • Which triggers, impulses or fantasies do I expect?
  • Who will know my travel plans?
  • What are my exit plans?
  • Who will I be traveling with that I’ll be accountable to?
  • How will I remain accountable to my mate and my therapist?

The best travel plan ensures that when the wayward mate encounters high-trigger/impulse situations, they'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 wayward mates to sign up for our Hope for Healing online course. During this small group course, they'll work through a curriculum designed to help them develop empathy, overcome shame and set healthy boundaries. Hope for Healing has provided targeted support to numerous participants over the years, and it can be a truly invaluable resource during the healing journey.

Yes, relapse is common, 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.

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Designed specifically for wayward spouses, Hope for Healing is a supportive, nonjudgmental environment for you to heal, develop empathy and set healthy boundaries. This 17-week, life-changing course has helped thousands of participants find hope 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 get on a true path to recovery." — S., Alabama, November 2020 participant.

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Comments

You are legitimizing affairs

You are legitimizing affairs and relapses by calling them "normal!
There is nothing normal about it!
Only under very strange circumstances would anyone get married with the thought in their head that an affair is normal, muchless a relapse!!
If an adulterer has another affair, why not just call it what it is??? Adultry!
NOT "NORMAL"!

Val

What type of affair was it?

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