Is Relapse Inevitable? I’ve written on relapse before, but today I’d like to ask the question, which so many ask which is, whether or not relapse is inevitable? I will tell you there are varying, differing opinions on it for sure and I’m not sure that I think anyone is per se the expert on relapse besides maybe Rick Reynolds. Some say it’s absolutely inevitable. If they cheated, they will eventually cheat again, but in what degree or what stage is what is undeterminable, and the best you can do is shore up their recovery plan, and the betrayed spouse’s recovery plan, and hope for the best. Some say, no, not necessarily. That a good, strong, recovery process is what will prevent them from falling again and there is hope of it never happening again. All I can tell you is, from those I’ve talked to, and from my own experience, relapse is not inevitable. It is highly likely though if you do these few things….in fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s truly inevitable if you do these things: 1. After the initial storm of infidelity and a short recovery period, go back to the way things were. Same habits, same response mechanisms. Same hidden life. Perhaps still working in a job where the affair partner works. Or staying in the same position which mandates you need to work with the affair partner each day or week, thinking you’re strong enough to prevent it from happening again. Lessen the intensity of recovery and accountability and allow yourself to think, it’s behind me now, I can relax again. 2. Thinking that just because you’re in therapy, that will be enough. From personal experience, if you’re an unfaithful spouse, or still married to one, that unfaithful spouse (as well as yourself I might add) needs a very detailed, “infidelity-specific” recovery plan which can help them understand why this happened in the first place, how to make sure if never happens again, and what the future requires for them to stay clean and free from even the opportunity at infidelity. The strength of a recovery, or relapse prevention plan cannot be in the therapist or general therapy alone. 3. Just depend on your own ability to figure things out and help both you your spouse, and your marriage. Fact is, you are the one who created this mess, and you can’t figure it out or fix it on your own. I know that’s direct and I know that’s humbling, but it’s just the facts. To think you have the knowledge you need to prevent things from happening is just not accurate. I tell friends all the time, I couldn’t even keep my own marriage vows…what makes me think I know what to do on my own, to stay clean and free of an affair? I needed help from an expert. I couldn’t prevent it from happening the first time and to think I know what I need to do is downright arrogant and a display of great self-deception. 4. Finally, just think you can’t do this again, you’ll never do it again, and that you’re strong enough to prevent it from happening on your own. It’s a guarantee you’ll do it again. Just trusting in your own strength and wisdom, thinking you’re strong enough on your own to prevent the situation from happening again, is just not enough. It doesn’t take into the account the beast within, or the beast outside you at your job, in your company, etc etc. It doesn’t take into account the fact that we’re given to deception and that we can’t see all that might be coming our way or how we are falling back into old habits. We’re given to deception and we’re given to just getting by, even if we start out by being intentional. Finally, though I’ve never fully relapsed, I have fallen prey to old habits and old habit patterns which can very easily give way to full and total relapse. From pornography, to minimal flirtation, to working extra hours, I’ve struggled with these things, but when those things have started to take root, I’ve used my specific recovery tools which have prevented me from relapsing. From talkng to Samantha, to talking to Rick, to staying open and accountable with my group of 4 men who know everything about me. I just have too many checks and balances to relapse without certain things falling apart sooner than later. The strength is not in me, but in the tools, measures, and open relationships I’ve installed. I hope you or your spouse will do the same.