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How To Prevent Relapse After Your Affair

"Why do I keep going back to my affair partner? Why can't I stop stalking them on Facebook? But I want to stop talking to him and save my marriage but I just can't help it."

This was questions I would get asked often and ones that I asked myself as well. It just seemed as though I couldn't stay away from my ap. Because when things were tough or I was feeling down, I would look at his picture or call to hear his voice. It seemed to be a never-ending cycle. So I would do good for a while then fall off the wagon as the saying goes.

After I reached out to my ap one night, I realized there had to be a better way to keep me from continuing to relapse.

If you are not familiar with what a relapse is Webester dictionary Staes it as : a return to bad behavior.

After an affair ends it is common for the unfaithful spouse to go back to their affair partner. They can't seem to break that connection. I talk more about breaking bonds in my post on How to break a soul tie.

A relapse is not just starting the relationship over again. It could be you have ended the affair and are working on your marriage, but like I said earlier you cant stop looking for him on Facebook, or reading old text, or texting him to see how he is doing. For me I would call him just to hear his voice. I did this especially when I was sad or my husband and I were fighting. I needed to reconnect with a time I was happy. This behavior keeps us trapped in the same cycle as an addict finds themselves in.



What I mean by building a fence is, we must set up some boundaries to help protect us from returing to our affair partner and keeping our marriage safe. We are going to first start to work on building the outer fence then we will work on building the inner fence.

Most of us have dogs or know someone who has a dog. I have some neighbors who had a dog that would run to my yard to play with my dog. Our neighbor didn't want to build a fence so she got the shock collar system. Shen then had to put up little white flags to mark the boundary for her dog not to cross. If the boundary was crossed the dog received a shock.

Imagine with me for a moment you are drawing a circle around you and your marriage, marking it with little white flags. This is going to be your outer fence. And if you cross them it will cause you pain.

7 Little white flags

  1. Get a journal: Write in it every day. I want you to write down everything you are feeling or thinking about. Writing how you feel will help get out all of those thoughts that your mind keeps going over and over. There are apps for your computer that will require a password. This way, you can feel safe to express your feelings. Example Secret Diary
  2. Get an accountability partner. Someone you can trust that is not afraid to tell you the truth and will be there to support you in the process.
  3. Go to a counselor. They will be able to help you sort through the process of grief from losing the affair partner.
  4. Find a support group of other women who have been where you are. Because we are stronger together. Having a strong support system of other women who may be farther along or have been through it will be able to see pitfalls and warn you ahead of time or just show the road to recovery.
  5. Read, Read, Read, as much as you can about affair recovery. Learn as much as you can from people who have been through it.
  6. Learn what your high-risk external risk factors are and avoid them or set up a plan to get through them. For me, it was Facebook. So w hen I was on Facebook I was more tempted to look him up, so I deleted the app for a while. But For you it could also be work, bars, church, travel, alcohol, etc. One night I allowed myself too much wine, by doing this when I was tempted to call him I did and we talked for a few minutes. His concern for me stayed with me for many months to come. I would play those words he said over and over in my mind.Because of this I have not touched a drink since.
  7. Learn some new hobbies or pick up some old ones. Hang out with friends. Go on date nights with your husband. Spend more time with your kids.

Build the Inner fence

Now that we have a good outer boundary set in place we just need to work on the most important fence of all, the inside fence.

Getting back to the shock collar system. After the flags have been up for a while and the dog understands where the boundary line is, most owners take down the fence and don't worry about their dog crossing the line. That is because they know their dog has learned its lesson. And he got shocked so much that he doesnt want to cross the line.

I want to show you how to get to the place inside you that says I dont want to call him again, I don't want to stalk him again, or even meet for drinks as old friends. How do we do this? Im glad you asked.

I had all of the flags set in place. I had the journal, the accountability partner etc. But when I wasn't busy taking care of my kids or going shopping and I found myself alone that is when I struggled the most. Nothing could stop me from calling him and just listening to his voice. I know it seems like Im saying the boundaries we just set up are useless but they are not. They did help to keep me focused and reminded me of the pain I could face if I crossed them.

However, I needed a change not just a boundary. I needed to become like that little puppy who doesnt want to cross the line. I remember sitting with my phone in my hand ready to dial his number and I felt this question come up in my spirit. What kind of person do you want to be? Do you want to be the one who pretends she is over her ap and then when no one is looking find a way to feed my hidden desire for him?

This hit home because I didn't like who I had become and I didn't realize I wasn't living in integrity, I thought what I was doing was harmless. I wasn't talking to him or still meeting him. I was just missing him and I needed to hear his voice. And all I wanted was to be close to him, even if he didn't know it. But this is a dangerous place to be in because I was still keeping those feelings I had for him alive in my heart.

What I learned

Prevent an affair Relapse

  1. Learn what my internal risk factors are. For me, it was arguing with my husband and being lonely. When I felt sad all I wanted was to go back to the place I was the happiest and that was with my ap. Some examples are: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, tired or bored.
  2. Learn your "why". Why did I have an affair, why did I risk everything to be with a man I barely know. Infidelity is the fruit. We must get to the root of the problem. That way we can get rid of the bad root. Examples of roots that produce infidelity are bitterness, unforgiveness, selfishness, fear, anger, boredom.
  3. Don't continue the affair in your head, through fantasies and taking a trip down memory lane. Our mind is the battlefield. Its where we will win the fight over temptation or we will lose it. If I would allow myself to daydream about him, this would stir up those longing feelings I had for him. Then I would think well if I just hear his voice, it will ease the pain of missing him, and it did but only temporarily and I was back dialing the number again.
  4. I had to recognize what direction I was headed in. And then make a decision to change, because if I didn't change my course I would end up in the place I was headed. Doing things to keep those feelings alive will lead me back to my affair partner. Those feelings are the car that will take me away from my husband and drive me straight into the arms of my affair partner.
  5. If I keep playing with fire I will get burned. If I keep fake FB accounts and keep calling him or talking to him on occasion my husband will find out and all the work we did to rebuild trust will be ruined. I had to be aware if my husband found out he may leave me. It's not fair to him to play second forever. There has to be a shut-off date.
  6. The on and off, and the continuing to put before you images of your affair partner is called intermittent reinforcement. B.F. Skinner, a psychologist, says that this behavior is one of the most powerful practices. When continued over a long period of time these emotional attachments can become so intense and consuming that physical health and emotional health suffer from it. Excerpt from the book Anatomy of an affair by Dave Carter.
  7. I love the saying my spouse is not the problem he only reveals the problem in me. Our husband reveals the broken pieces within us that need to be fixed. So working on ourselves is the most important step in preventing a relapse.
  8. Don't give away your power. By this I mean don't allow someone else's behavior to control yours. I would tell myself if my husband would stop being mean to me then I would stop needing to hear his voice. If my affair partner would leave me alone I could get over him. All of this is lies we tell ourselves because we don't want to realize we are not the victim but an active participant in our life. So the truth is even if my husband stopped being mean I would still want to hear his voice. Even if my affair partner left me alone I would still go looking for him
  9. Don't hold onto false hope that somewhere in the future you will meet again. Don't tell yourself you will always love them. See my post on breaking soul ties. I discuss our silent commiments

It is all in our mind

All of these steps can be summarized into one thing. Take control of what you are thinking. I had to learn to stop stirring up my excitement for him by changing how I was thinking. The bible tell us to take our thought as a captive. So we may not be able to control what pops into our minds but we do have the power to take control over them.

Science tells us if we speak out loud, those words will stop the current thought process, giving us the chance to redirect our mind. I would always speak scripture or say my husband's name. This would help remind me of what I want in my life. Because it's not easy, and it's actually hard to change a habit, but if done on a consistent basis for 63 days we will create a new neuro path inside our brains. This means the next time I would argue with my husband my mind would not automatically go back to my affair partner. It would follow the new path I created. For me that was taking all my concerns to the Lord in prayer and depend on Him to provide my needs. If you don't share my faith you could start thinking about your kids or your hobbies.

We may have good intentions but if we don't make old behavior not an option, then we won't have lasting change. So we have to be intentional with every decision we make.

If you're struggling to end your affair and you feel frustrated, confused, torn, or alone, I'm here to help. Book a 30-minute consultation with me and I'll provide you with the clarity you need to move forward. Remember, you don't have to go through this alone.

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