A year ago I had an affair with a married woman. I ended it because I knew it was wrong, but we kept in touch through conversations and meals together with our group of friends. My wife found out about the affair about six months later, and we were on the verge of divorce; but she forgave me, and I abruptly cut off my relationships with the woman and with the group of friends we had….

This week I got the feeling that I should speak with the woman and tell her how sorry I am for all that I did wrong. She knows that my wife found out and that it is why I backed off. Frankly I did have feelings for the woman, but the ones I love and want to be with are my wife and my children. Would it be right for me to have a final meeting with the woman to ask for her forgiveness and say goodbye? I have no intention of ever committing adultery again.

Dear Friend,

What a statement! Like millions of people have said, or thought without saying aloud, you say, “I have no intention of ever committing adultery again.” Those people, like you, have learned from their mistakes and have determined that the consequences are not worth the act. They, like you, love their spouses and don’t want their marriages to break up. And they, like you, have made the decision to be faithful to their marriage vows.

So why is there so much adultery going on in almost every corner of the world? Why is adultery breaking up so many marriages? Why do people go ahead and do what they have decided not to do?

There are many reasons that people commit adultery without intending to do so, but we are going to focus on just one: calculated risk. Your question about whether you should see the woman just one more time illustrates that very idea of calculated risk. You think that you have a good reason to see her and that you are now immune to adultery, so it is worth the risk of seeing her to fulfill your desire to say that you are sorry.

Married people who decide to go to social events or bars or nightclubs without their spouses are likewise taking a calculated risk. They know that there will be persons of the opposite sex who are looking for companionship or a relationship. And if liquor is being served, the inhibitions of those who drink are lowered, and the risk of unintentional behavior is multiplied many times over.

For those who do not intend to commit adultery, another type of behavior that is risky is to keep as a secret from their spouse any kind of meeting or any communication, such as texts or social media. Secrets, in general, pose a great deal of risk.

It is good that you want to ask the woman to forgive you. Jesus Christ and the apostles taught the importance of forgiveness. However, in this case you should ask God for forgiveness, not the woman. Jesus died on the cross to pay the eternal penalty of all our sins, so ask God in Jesus’ name to forgive you for what you have done. Then read the Bible to discover how to be a man of integrity, and take your family to worship in a church where the people live and act according to Biblical principles.

Stay away from all risky behavior!