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Sat Oct 7 7:47 am  #1

If you can't leave just yet, what are your best coping strategies?

This thread is for those who have decided to leave their relationships but who for reasons outside their control-- financial, illness, special needs children, etc--can't yet (or can't at all), to ask how best to cope until we can leave (if we can leave).  

I have reached the point that I will soon initiate divorce proceedings (at this point, I'm still in stealth mode, and will be until I can initiate), but because of an upcoming medical procedure I must wait, probably until close to the end of the year.  I'm looking for your best suggestions on coping strategies to get through this time.  Those who've been in this situation and are now out of it, those who are in it and will soon be out of it, those who want to be out of their marriages but can't leave, please weigh in.  Mental detachment, physical distance, self nurturing activities--I'm hoping for your best and most effective strategies.

Thank you!


Last edited by OutofHisCloset (Sat Oct 7 8:54 am)


Sat Oct 7 9:32 am  #2

Re: If you can't leave just yet, what are your best coping strategies?

Right must do what needs to be done and that includes staying to the end.    Me and my now ex were together until several months after the divorce.   

I had several phone apps

I used to go the library,  parks,  walks..    

We walk forward and learn how to live on our own (again). 


"For we walk by faith, not by sight .."  2Corinthians 5:7

Sun Oct 8 1:46 pm  #3

Re: If you can't leave just yet, what are your best coping strategies?

My biggest coping strategy is self-counsel. Even with a professional counselor (who is on the 4th of a 5week break), my involvement on this Network, and the moves towards entrusting what's happening to both our children..... it's my 
own counsel and the thoughts & fears that fill my head that stand as the only foundation I can truly trust and believe in. And with that comes the need to speak those thoughts to the only person they have bearing on...

We lay in bed this morning talking (mostly I talked) ...he sniffed and I said half-joking "Are you crying?" (I'm the teary one) When he said "Nooo"...I said "you should be what your sexual bollocks has done to us. This was your fault, from the moment you wanted to introduce other people into our r'ship. And now you keep me down & quiet with your threats of anger & silence. We're both resentful......both can't imagine life without the other"

I feel I'm moving in tiny increments toward......I don't even know what! but the strong part of me knows that if I lose 
my grip on my right to have my voice heard...he wins. If he shuts me down and thinks my silence is acceptance....he wins. 

*between a rock and a hard place*

Sun Oct 8 10:38 pm  #4

Re: If you can't leave just yet, what are your best coping strategies?

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted or have been here at all. I told my GID husband I was done and wanted a divorce back in March. I’ve been on his roller coaster from hell for 8.5 years. I am now 7 months into this escape plan, and I’ve got 5 to go before I’m able to actually move out and file.
At first my anxiety was off the charts. He gave me constant hell. Then i started staying with my parents 3x per week with my kids. And at this point we seem to be coexisting better. It’s a constant game of accommodating him, appeasing him, just to keep the peace. I joined a gym again to do something for me. I stay 10 steps ahead of him always. I slowly am moving out all the small things I cherish without his noticing. I live a double life just trying to prepare for the day I’m able to leave. And he just worries about getting laid. I stay busy. I keep the schedule packed for me and the kids so there’s so little time in the house with my husband. Time alone with him is what I avoid above all things.
When I met him, he was my dream guy, my adventure partner. And he has caused me more tears than anyone i will ever know. His constant lies and betrayals, his hidden shit that never ends, his circular reasoning and shifting blame, made me a doormat who no longer felt like a real person. I was a maid who paid the bills and worked full time and nannied the children while he went out and did whatever his heart desired. Now I am still all of those things for him, but I am a person again. And he doesn’t know...but inside I am a spider. He made me learn to be one. And I am constantly spinning, preparing, for the moment I’m able to leave him and claim my life back.
Find your strength. Build your support fortress. You deserve happiness.


Mon Oct 9 5:53 am  #5

Re: If you can't leave just yet, what are your best coping strategies?


That has to be one of more accurate coping and gathering strength descriptions I have heard..   I know the feeling all too finds avoiding them as much possible relieves the stress; the physical trauma.    I think there comes a point where there is little left to say...for me any conversation would devolve into an argument where her twisted moral logic was thrown back at  "you cheated you have to leave"  (huh?  your having the gay affair,what are you talking about)

Walk forward.    Wishing you extra strength and peace.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight .."  2Corinthians 5:7

Mon Oct 9 9:54 pm  #6

Re: If you can't leave just yet, what are your best coping strategies?

I can't leave just yet due to medical and financial barriers.  But I did have to seek out a place I can escape to for short term if necessary (just another friend's home). I sold an item of value so now I have some money set aside to get another place relatively soon. I talked to some close friends, which he initially claimed was me unfairly "outting" him. I have to take pepto bismal and immodium ad because I am now constantly sick to my stomach. I talk to a counselor weekly. I grieve. I envision a future alone, because I don't think I can trust another man again. I try to think of how being alone in life might actually be fulfilling, although it breaks my heart. I look at the blue sky and the sunshine and contemplate how he can't possibly ruin everything in my life. I look at pretty flowers and listen to the birds sing.  I pet my dog. I kind of accept it when I am just quite frankly completely shell shocked overwhelmed. Sometimes I can find inner strength.  Sometimes I can actually feel grateful that finally I have learned the at least partial truth.  The truth hurts, but sometimes now I can look back at the negative aspects of our relationship over the years and think, wow, now it makes sense.  I am trying to get a local support group of women organized (not specific to this hideous situation, but just women who don't have anyone else to talk to about being alone in the world). Knowing this forum exists and that I am not a bad person because of how he has made me feel really helps too...reading other straight spouses agonies and successes is helpful. It feels weird nowadays when being non binary or gay or whatever is "in". Some day, I won't have to think about how creepy this ordeal is making me feel.  I also try to watch comedies.  Sorry for rambling, rambling is a coping mechanism too LOL.  My shame is that for the most part, I try my best to act like everything will be ok between us when I am around him.

Last edited by pea hen (Mon Oct 9 9:59 pm)


Mon Oct 9 10:11 pm  #7

Re: If you can't leave just yet, what are your best coping strategies?

Pea hen  welcome

" shame is that for the most part, I try my best to act like everything will be ok between us when I am around him."

You do not have to be ashamed..   We all do whatever needs to be done to cope and survive.  My  now ex and I became very good at avoiding each other...but it was toxic for the kids..   I agree its sad.. I have triggers every now and then.     But sad and alone I can do something about  (i hope).. my ex I could nothing about except get away from her..  


"For we walk by faith, not by sight .."  2Corinthians 5:7

Mon Oct 9 10:57 pm  #8

Re: If you can't leave just yet, what are your best coping strategies?

Rob, hi!  I just missed you being online.  Makes me hope someday this forum may have chat room scheduled so we all can have a chance to chat in real time. My SO and I have a daughter who is grown and on her own, living in a larger city a few hours away, so now we've downsized and I can't avoid the only bed in the current apartment in which we dwell.  I am so sorry you find yourself here on this don't deserve to have to be on this forum although I appreciate that you are here.  I am ashamed of myself.  I am not wanting to choose to live a lie, or be deceitful, or secretive by sneaking onto this site.  I have always felt good about myself regarding honestly and transparency with family, friends and coworkers.  Remember the saying "oh what tangled webs we weave, when we practice to deceive". HE has cornered me into survival mode, compromising the values I hold so near and dear, to maintain my self respect at this moment is almost impossible.  I do like what you say about "sad and alone" you can do something about, but your ex all you could do was get away.  You speak TRUTH and that gives me some hope.  Thank you.


Tue Oct 10 2:18 pm  #9

Re: If you can't leave just yet, what are your best coping strategies?

I had to build space.  I couldn't even come to the decision of wanting a divorce while I was actively building up my marriage.  How does one DO that?  I had to start going out and getting away from him most evenings.  Not because I couldn't stand him as much as how do you intentionally do things to serve your spouse and simultaneously decide to end the relationship that you're actively fostering?  I found that I couldn't.  We were sleeping in separate spaces then anyway - due to his snoring.  So I didn't try to encourage him to come back to the bedroom.  I stopped our nightly sit down family dinners and instead, started putting the food in the middle of the island for people to serve themselves.  It didn't really matter much in the end - we were still all going to sit down together.  But something about putting it all in serving bowls and passing it felt more..... connected.  I also stopped calling or texting him about anything but something that was absolutely necessary.  As in "the house has a pipe leak".  No just saying hi, no more "I love you's" on the phone.  No more heading to meet him as he came in the door.  And certainly not participating in any decisions together for our house.  I remember him wanting to buy new stools for the kitchen, and me thinking, "I'm not building ANYthing with you that I have to tear back down."  Not one single purchase was made after that except for groceries and when the brakes on one of the vehicles needed replacing.

I opened my own bank account.  I started putting little bits in there so that I didn't feel the need to inform him of each and every purchase I made - it wasn't coming from "joint" monies any longer.  I let my failing cell phone just whither on - because our account was merged, and I wasn't "upping" the plan together.  I did nothing that fostered togetherness.  We often spent time with the kids separately - if I took them somewhere like the park, he'd decline going.  He no longer went to my family gatherings.

The downside of all of this is that when you've mentally thrown in the towel but can't yet separate, it can be VERY difficult to come to agreement on anything any longer; the desire to give in to the other person for the sake of peace or kindness is no longer really there.  We ended a lot of arguments with "Fuck you!" after we'd decided we were going to divorce.  That never once happened before that time.  I didn't need to compromise for the sake of the relationship any longer.  So I just..... didn't.

I think it was likely harder on him than on me.  My separation from him seemed like a dream to me - a good thing to look forward to.  I don't think he saw leaving the home that way for him at all.  So he was miserable, and looking forward to an even larger dose of misery.  That had to be very difficult for him.  I steeled myself with the knowledge that he'd literally been stealing from me all those years - knowing full well that he didn't love me the way he needed to in order to be my husband.  He took from me what he wanted - children, a home, monetary support - but didn't give me back what was required.  And that made me angry.  Enough so that any discomfort I thought he was going through were deserved.  I never did wind up doing anything just to make him uncomfortable.  I just no longer feared making him so.

There were little, tiny things that I did.  Like going out with a girlfriend to dinner, but not texting to say that I was leaving and would be home shortly.  I still needed to inform him of where I was going and what I was doing - because we had kids together, and it required one of us to watch them.  But I didn't ask for permission any longer to go out.  I'd say, "I'm going to Walgreens to pick up an Rx", and then take 2 hours to do that.  Wander the aisles, sit in the car listening to music and smoking, etc.  I stopped justifying why I was gone so long.  Of course he took this as me cheating and ran to my family immediately to tell them that I was gone constantly, which wasn't true.  And I couldn't tell them, "Well, I'm trying to create some space so I can decide to divorce him."  So it looked like I was being sneaky.  And yet, I didn't care.  I wasn't doing anything wrong.  Let them hire a P.I. if they wanted - they weren't going to find anything because there wasn't anything to find.


Last edited by Kel (Tue Oct 10 2:25 pm)

You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.

Wed Oct 11 11:16 pm  #10

Re: If you can't leave just yet, what are your best coping strategies?

When I first found out about TGT last October,  we were already sleeping in separate spaces.  He had asked me to move to the couch years ago.  (But that's another story!!!)   Surviving that time after disclosure was so hard.   It really was survival. For me, there was so much going on with the kids that I didn't have much time to stop, and deal with anything. That was not healthy for me, and I ended up in the hospital just after Christmas. I did learn some good ways of coping with the enormous shock and weight of responsibility. 

Here are some that I remember:

 - I spent some time with family.  Soon after disclosure, I was panicking quite a bit.  I knew with work, I'd just be ramping up and up for Advent and Christmas, so I packed up the kids and me and took off to visit my parents in Florida for Thanksgiving.  I needed the breath I gained by being with my family support for a few days.  It really helped.  My folks were so supportive.  They didn't spend time bashing my STBX (or me!) but they just loved on us for a few days.  It's just what I needed.  I can't imagine getting through the next few months if I hadn't had that little time of grounding.

- I told a few people.  I work for a church, so my boss is a pastor.   I told him everything.   He's been so supportive. 
I told a friend.  She took me out to lunch just about every week just to be there.   I told 2 other friends who both made it their mission to keep me laughing whenever possible.  That helped a lot. 

-STBX and I made regular times to meet.  For us, this worked.  Our schedules were so impossibly opposite anyway, that it just made the little time we were home at the same time easier.  We didn't have to squeeze in these life-changing conversations in between helping kids with homework, dinner, and our evening work obligations.   We found that we could communicate better in a public place.    So we planned one time a week at Starbucks, or the library, or wherever, where we could to start figuring out what the heck was going on. There were times, however, that it was simply too much and I opted out for a week here and there.   For us, this meant divorce. 

Focus.   I had to sometimes just take a few minutes at a time.  Two of my five kids just really shattered last fall.  They are both doing better now.  But let's just say we had some real nightmare situations.   It was crushing to see him detaching more and more, especially when the kids were in such crisis. 

Do something for me.  This was a turn-around point for me.  A counselor suggested that I find some daily thing that is just for me.  I kind of laughed at her because of the intensity it took to keep those kids alive...but she was right.  I decided to give a concert in the fall.  (It's coming up soon!)  It's something that I had given up due to my STBX. (Yet another story.)  Practicing for that concert is something that I've found I can do pretty much even on a really bad day.  Not always, but it is a good and healthy motivator for me to get up and join the world today. 

New experiences with the kids.  We've gone to lots of parks.  Quite a few new ones.  We are very lucky to have plenty of parks where we live.  Play parks, small lakes (small enough to walk around 3-5 miles), state parks, nature preserves.  It's one thing all the kids like to do.  Since they range in age from 8 - 16, it's kind of a miracle that there is anything!  LOL!  Plus, most of the parks are free.  Getting them out and being social as they can.  For some of them, that is not much, but that's ok.  Just keep making new memories. 

My mom told me that I need to make this time count for the kids.  So I tried my best to make sure the kids and I weren't just stuck in some horrible holding pattern until he moved out.  Being honest, it still felt like that sometimes. 



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