An exit strategy is a means of leaving one's current situation (in BDSM context this usually refers to a relationship), either after a predetermined objective has been achieved, or as a strategy to mitigate failure.
Best Practices Exit Strategies
When sizable investments are made into a relationship such as with M/s or with longer term relationships an exit strategy is often a difficult but important step to take.
Benefits of the Exit Strategy
- Productive discussion of an exit strategy means the partners have both reached a point in the relationship of maturity to talk about things like that may be unpleasant, but are for the long term health of the relationship. This can be a potential indicator that a partner has good lasting potential because of their mature attitude.
- When you have a plan to leave at any given point and clear expectations about how that will go it becomes evident that one can leave according to these specs at any time... ergo logic indicates "each day that I don't do that choose to exit, not only do I not feel trapped by the relationship, but I am liberated to know that this must mean each day I am CHOOSING to remain, that this makes me aware of the positives, and reminds me that I am grateful to be here in this relationship!" and that creates a wheel of positivity which creates stronger and deeper bonds over time, as well as healthier relationships.
- If for some reason it is time to part, partners have a plan in place to mitigate damage and allow clear expectations be met, and hopefully everyone parts friends.
- Without an exit strategy created and honored between mature adults those things are a lot less likely to happen. Like almost every issue people bring to bear in discussing relationships, the answer can be found in being self aware and communicating with your partner openly and honestly.
Components of an Exit Strategy
Common components for a maturely crafted exit strategy include but are not limited to:
- how joint finances, properties and debt will be separated
- how living arrangements and behavior will be afforded/maintained during a period of transition
- what additional responsibilities each will have to the other during transition
- how others (such as mutual friends or children) will be affected by the end of the relationship and how to care for those eventualities
It is important to craft your exit strategy during a period of happiness, stability and clear thought of all partners involved so as to ensure the best possible circumstances for everyone; if possible, do so prior to parties making large and substantial investments into the relationship. It is important to follow through on the obligations made so as not to set off a chain reactions of resentment and bad behavior that collapses the entire plan. It is also far better to have an exit strategy and not need it, than need it and not have it.
Exit Strategies are often criticized because they admit up front that a relationship has a statistical chance of failure that isn't the result of simultaneous death of the partners involved and that this creates an atmosphere of doom and detriment. Proponents argue that facts show that romantic relationships far more often end for other reasons than simultaneous death of all partners and that not all relationships are created with the intention to be lifelong partnerships and taking the ignoring these facts is not the most responsible course.