Exit Plan

The Value of An Exit Plan.

Whether you arrive in ILIASM at the stage of "everything is perfect, but for the sex" part of your process, or at the point where you know the marriage is dysfunctional - with sex being the major symptom, or even at the stage that you know it is done, an exit strategy is well worth working on.

YOUR exit strategy will be as unique as you and your unique circumstances, and you will tailor it to cover these.

Getting your exit strategy together has value in all sorts of ways.

1 - it deals in hard practicalities, and in so doing makes you confront many fears, for example financial fear (among others) and helps you see these things for what they are. It will help in reducing the fear level. Choices you make without a mindset of fear will be better choices than those made on a basis of fear. Whether your ultimate choice is to stay, or to go.

2 - it will help you get yourself up to speed about matters with which you have not - up until now - had to know a lot about. Like maybe finances, or what you need in a kitchen. It will help alleviate anxieties concerning fending for yourself. It will also provide you with a distraction from the emotional turmoil you are dealing with at times. Whether your ultimate choice is staying or going.

3 - it will help you accept that this is a real and probable outcome should your domestic situation remain as it is.

4 - once you are at a stage of accepting the probability of leaving, and know what you would have to do logistically to do so, you can play the "ultimatum card" in your last ditch effort to fix the marriage. Otherwise referred to in ILIASM as "The Talk" this draws the line in the sand which sees you out if the spouse does not step up. So point 4 is that it provides you with leverage, and produces a consequence for inaction by your spouse.

5 - should "4" work, then you may never have to activate your exit strategy, so you have lost nothing in this scenario. Alternatively, if you do have to activate your exit strategy, it will be at a time of high emotion by all parties involved - NOT a good time to be trying to think objectively. But with your exit strategy in your pocket - thought out carefully and calmly over the preceding weeks - you can devote yourself to handling that upheaval at the time with no need to worry about 'what you are going to do' because you have already got that in hand.

Even if you have put up your own roadblocks - "I can not ever leave because (insert your reason here)" it is still worth thinking about your exit strategy, even just in theory.

Self imposed roadblocks have a tendency to disintegrate when you apply the blow torch effect of challenging your thinking about them. What may have been inconceivable a week, a month, a year ago suddenly are seen as viable choices, and any work you have done on your exit strategy, even just theoretically, up to this point suddenly becomes valuable.

It is hard enough to leave a marriage under the best of circumstances. It is certainly the hardest of the choices which are all rotten choices anyway. Whatever you can do to smooth the path, pre-prepare, call it what you will, is going to help when this awful time has to be faced. With an exit strategy in your pocket you can concentrate on the other aspects of the dynamic at that time. It may help the split be 'managed' rather than just blown up, and thus be as amicable as can reasonably be expected. Very important as a co-parent if applicable, and equally applicable in your future relationship with your spouse.

Tread your own path.
bazzar bazzar 56-60, M 12 Responses Mar 28, 2011

Your Response


Baz, I am a newbie, have only started reading Dec 1 and immediately posted. I see you as a veteran member (was going to call you an oldie but didn't want you to take offense :-) ) so wanted to ask why you stay on, still learning or just wanting to give advice? Are you still in a SM?

I have to say that the stories are interesting but noticed there is no forum for refusers to share why they choose to deny their partners sex.

As for exit plans, I still really don't have one. I trust my husband won't try to screw me there (as he doesn't ever screw me). Stupid and naive, maybe. Or perhaps I would take a screwing as a just punishment for my infidelity lol.

This is pretty simple really Swab.

If the necessity to have an exit strategy does not resonate with you, just ignore it as a choice for you.

I'm not holding a gun to anyones head about this. It makes sense to me is all. Doesn't mean it has to make sense to anyone else.

Tread your own path.

Unfortunately for me, Leaving is NOT unthinkable. I already live seprately from my H (for the past 1 1/2 years). I live with my daughter. My H comes home maybe once in 2.5 or 3 months just for a weekend. Also my H is the sort who will cut down all his necessities to basic and see that we (me and our D) are very comfortable. In an angry rebuttal to my H's concentration on all things financial, I never take part in his financial discussions. Because he never talks to me , like a husband with intimacy or love. So while we have earned well, I do not know what is where and exactly how much. My H would probably make an easy reckoner for me if I ever were to make an Exit plan. He would find an advocate for me too, who operates close to where I stay so that I need not travel much. How can you leave in the face of such simplicity and care? So there are these invisible chains which keep me tied to an impossible man. But yet, I have started my TALK with him. He says we cannot allow our 'marriage' to be open to 'dirty, money minded counsellors' who would have new fangled ideas of breaking it and nothing else..... We are unable to talk, I am unable to fathom who is he and I want us to go for counselling desperately. Also he says he has read my mail but has no time to reply to it. My TALK was partly on mail and partly on phone. Not to sabotage the topic, but an EXIT plan is both necessary and not necessary (not a priority) in my case....There is a bigger mess in the heart and head...

As the others before me have, I commend you on this well given advice.

You need legal advice, because these matters vary in different jurisdictions.

If your jurisdiction is the same as mine this would be very simple.

Be aware though, it is not the practicalities that are the most difficult aspect (they are usually basic arithmetic). It is the emotional side of it that is the toughest bit.

Tread your own path.

Baz, this is great advice and I think it will help people. Having logistics in mind will help people realize that they indeed have options if and when the time comes to actually leave.

Great advice--I am finding out about the finances now. Yes, fear is no base to work from and I have found I become very fatigued when I start working on this. However one must take one step ahead at a time whether one can put it into action or not.

The sticking point for most of us in the early stages of our ILIASM membership is that leaving is "unthinkable" - as AC says, we still have hope. But once our minds begin to gradually accept the possibility that our fiercely held beliefs about "I will never leave" are wavering, the FEAR of the unknown and the FEAR of the possible outcomes of leaving are the next major sticking points.

It is at this point that the Exit Strategy comes into its own IMO. It addresses the possibility of leaving - bit does not actually propel you into GOING. It allows you to figure out the "hows" and to plan for them, in the knowledge that you are yet to decide to stay or go.

Having an exit plan does not mean you HAVE to use it - think of it as a "First Aid Kit" or a "Fire Extinguisher"!!! You may never use them, but having them on hand adds to your sense of safety and security. In the event that you need them, they are standing by ready . . . !! So too is the Exit Plan!

I couldn't agree more, bazzar. In fact, just this week I was thinking that my life is better off because of it. Regardless of whether I stay or go in my marriage, an exit plan provides me with options I would not have had otherwise. Take back the power in your life!

Work the plan and plan to work!

Great advice.

No matter the circumstances, good or bad - one needs to always have realistic alternate plans. Life can and will turn on a dime and there is no such thing as 100% security.

Nothing lasts forever. All marriages eventually end - through death or divorce. So best be prepared for that eventually best you can.

Running through all possible scenarios, thinking the unthinkable and getting an operational plan in place to cover any relationship contingency can help ease one's mind, boost confidence levels to face yet another day and oftentimes be a catalyst for real change in life.

This is good advice. I remember myself being at the stage where it fell on my deaf ears. I would not even entertain the idea of an exit strategy while I still had ( false ) hope.

The one thing that kicked my *** into gear was establishing a limit or a breaking point. My limit was love. I was willing to work with any dysfunction but when it became clear that the dysfunctions were arising because of the lack of love, the exit became much more acceptable even while wanting to bang my wife even more than ever before.

My point is that defining limits -- for example, Vegass' Ninety Days Or Gone is one -- and having the courage to act upon that decision is more important than a plan. Planning a divorce is not that difficult. The internet is filled with divorce advice.

I have my exit plan waiting...

It is a fear remover, and a kind of rock.

Cheers Baz