In cases of physical abuse, the victim is encouraged to leave the abuser. In cases of gas lighting, active addiction, ongoing betrayals and other forms of emotional abuse, the betrayed spouse will need to evaluate if leaving is a necessity for their emotional well-being. Maybe you love your spouse, want to stay married, but realize that the emotional roller coaster is too crazy making. You may be powerless over what your spouse chooses to do, or not do, but you can create an informed exit plan for yourself. This may be a plan that you never need to use, however, making a plan in advance could help you in times that are extremely emotionally challenging. Most people do not want to think about having to create a plan on how to leave their marriage, but it may be necessary.
An exit plan is a detailed plan on how you leave your relationship. If the marriage ends, where will you live? Would you be staying in the current residence or would you move out? In some states, the law appears to protect the person who stays in the primary residence. If you decided to move out, could it be viewed as abandonment in your state? Many lawyers offer free consultations to potential clients. You may also want to find out about financial issues, spousal support, child support and child custody laws in your state.
Are you financially dependent on your spouse? If you find that your relationship is in a state of limbo or dependent on your spouse’s recovery, this may be a good time to evaluate how you would support yourself by applying for jobs, seeking job training or pursuing a degree. Stay at home parents may feel financially trapped, and returning to the workforce can be intimidating and difficult at first. Creating a viable exit plan can take months or even years, but if you are in a state of limbo in your relationship, then now is the time to create your exit plan.
Ingela Edwards, MS, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS specializes in helping individuals and couples heal from sex addiction, infidelity, intimacy anorexia, and intimacy deprivation. Ingela Edwards Counseling serves the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and Sherman area.
Ingela Edwards, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS is an individual and marriage therapist