I have worked in family law for twenty years, I thought I was so smart and knew everything. I was sure I had my own marriage handled and I would never become a statistic, until I did. I separated from my husband thinking that we just needed some time apart and that he would eventually fix himself and come back. (Notice how I put it all on him) I waited for him for two years. During that time, I kept in regular contact with him, he came to the house and fixed things, turned the sprinklers on in the spring and off in the fall, took care of my car etc. I continued to rely on him for income and help with other things. I wasn’t ready to let go. I still wanted to be married no matter how bad things were. I spent much of those two years in tears but also praying for him to come back. I look back now and wonder, what the hell was I thinking? I was so sure that after 17 years of marriage I could not live by myself, take care of myself or survive on my own with two kids. Although, sans the children I had been doing just that, and quite well thank you very much before I met him. I put myself through college, bought a home and a car and even managed to save some money. Why did I think I couldn’t do that now?
I happened to have watched the movie Gravity with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney one night. I am not really a Sandra Bullock fan so it was actually unusual for me to be watching anything with her in it, especially as the main, and eventually, the only character. It was that movie however, that convinced me that it was time to untether.
If you have seen the movie Gravity with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney this will make a little more sense to you. There was a scene in the movie where their space ship had been hit by shrapnel, they had been outside at the time and Sandra was jettisoned away from the vessel. George rescued her tethered her to him and led the way back to the ship. Unfortunately they were hit with more shrapnel before they could board. He had run out of fuel in his jetpack and there was no way they would both be able to get back on the damaged ship. They had to make a decision.
George decides that they need to let go of each other, they need to untether, if someone didn’t let go they were both going down. She was scared she wanted them both to get back on board the damaged ship. She was convinced there was no way she would make it without his help. He was the one steering the ship, he knew the way and she depended on him. She didn’t know nearly the amount of things he did in order to get things up and running and hopefully get them home, she was convinced she would die without him. But he knew she wouldn’t, she begged, cried and pleaded with him not to let go but he did anyway. Now she had no choice, she had to save herself.
There she was floating in space, literally all alone she somehow had to find a way to save herself. It was scary and hard, she wanted to give up and very nearly did, she had to force herself to keep going and figure out how to move on from the broken down craft in order to survive. It was either that or give up and die, she started to believe that death was her only choice, she started to shut down. But she soon realized she had to combat the urge to give up and fight for her life. If she had not let go they both would have been left floating in space, tethered to each other drifting aimlessly in the realm of the unknown waiting to die.
By untethering not only did she stay alive but she found her strength and revealed her ability to do whatever was necessary to live. She left that broken craft behind and found her way home. Whether you believe it or not, you’ve got this. You may need to read a few manuals and will mostly definitely make mistakes along the way, but we all do. Given the choice of death (staying in a miserable relationship for the rest of your life out of fear) or going it alone for a little while, floating out in space by yourself and enduring the temporary fear and pain, the choice is clear. Enjoy the space for a while then fire up those engines and move on.