10 Feet At A Time
My client Michael and his wife had recently decided to do a trial separation. He had moved out of the house and leased a place not too far away.
He has been spending the last several months living between his new place and his marital home. He goes back and forth to spending time with the kids, having dinner together, helping with homework, and managing the household.
He feels like neither place really feels good or truly like home but he still doesn’t know what to do. He isn’t really engaged in the relationship but he is not truly making a life on his own either.
Michael had thought that moving to the new place would give him space and the clarity he needed to move forward. He saw the separation as kind of trial divorce in a way, but when we were talking the other day, he said “why can’t I let go? I feel like something is keeping me stuck.”
He is right. There is something keeping him stuck. Having the new place isn’t enough for him to really be able to make his decision. He has not fully committed to living in the new space and making it home, and really finding out how it feels to be on his own. He has one foot in the marriage, and one foot out in this new place.
He has not truly tried to go all in and see if he can make the marriage feel better and create change, and he has not really tried to make the new place home where he can be by himself and come to terms with no longer being married.
So, he stays stuck in indecision because he is not totally lined up with one decision or the other. He is so focused on the end result, he cannot see what is 10 feet in font of him.
Essentially, he has changed the way the space around the marriage is set up but has taken the problem with him. Until he can really line up with one choice or the other, he will continue to feel stuck.
Maybe this sounds like you?
Where we really get stuck is in wanting to know what the end result is going to look like. We want to be able to see what it is going to be like when we get there, except that we can’t.
Let’s say that I am going to take trip to AZ from Dallas, TX. I am going to head out for my 15 hour road trip driving straight through. When I leave at 6pm, it is going to be dark and for a good 12 hours of my drive I can see what is in front of me with the headlights for about 10 feet. I cannot really see much past that point, but I know I am going to get there. I may only know what that next 10 feet looks like, but that is okay. I keep going in that direction to make it to my destination.
It is the same with our relationship. We may want to know exactly what it looks like a year from now but we can’t. We may want to know exactly what our life looks like if we move out, but we can’t. We may wat to know exactly what our life looks like if we really lean into our marriage, but we can’t. We cannot be in both places at once, so we stay stuck.
You have to be willing to leave that idea behind and start looking at what is 10 feet in front of you instead. You have to start working on what you can see so you do not continue to stay stuck.
You can take it 10 feet at a time and you can make it to a happier place and a happier life. You just have to start taking the steps.