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a) your husband refuses to end his affair or you have reason to believe he's lying about ending the affair
b) he engages in the crazy-making behaviour common to cheating husbands including but not limited to calling you hysterical, out-of-control, jealous, manipulative, or he otherwise makes YOU the problem
c) he uses Divorce as his trump card, as in, "If you can't just leave the past in the past then we should just get a divorce."
An Escape Plan is your chance to take back your life and put yourself in control of your future. And though you may never act on it, it's paramount to your healing (which includes healing your own battered self-esteem) to have a plan that focuses entirely (though not exclusively) on your well-being.
How do you create an Escape Plan?
•Start by figuring out where you would go if you needed short-term accommodation (ie. your husband refuses to leave/sleep on the couch). It might be your parents' house, a best friend, a neighbour. We're simply thinking short-term here, somewhere you could go to escape for a few days or a week, taking kids if necessary, in order to get your head straight. And allow your spouse to get his head straight and, perhaps, recognize that the New You isn't going to tolerate his bullshit.
•Figure out what logistics need to be in place: For example, if your short-term accommodation involves leaving town, how will this affect getting to your job or getting kids to school? Can you commute for a few days or weeks? Is there somewhere else the kids would need to stay during the week? Would a nearby hotel be a better option?
•What will you do for money? Do you have access to your own cash? A credit card that he can't put a stop on? What if your short-term turns into a month or so? Can you afford to pay for a hotel for that long?
•Meet with a lawyer to determine what your life would look like if you left the marriage. Again, this is just a dress rehearsal. It's a chance for you to take back the reins of your life and know that you will be okay, no matter what happens. And by okay, I mean that you'll be entitled to what is yours financially.
"But why, if I don't want to separate/divorce?"
Your Escape Plan is as much an insurance policy as an actual plan. It's something to have in place in case things go even more to hell. In case he cheats again. In case his affair never ended. In case the Other Woman announces she's pregnant. It's to ensure you're not blind-sided again. And it's to offer you some security that even if you don't get blind-sided again...you'd be prepared if you were.