‘Conscious Uncoupling’, a phrase that now seems so common and yet is so new to the dialogue of divorce thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin who announced their decision to “consciously uncouple” on the 25th March 2014. Since then I’ve read with interest the varied commentary on their decision and this supposedly new concept of ‘conscious uncoupling’.
This week a colleague shared his views that “conscious uncoupling is for those who live another life on another planet a long way from you and most other earthlings for whom divorce will be far more complex, painful and real”. I’m not sure that I agree. Putting aside the perhaps new age language and deep emotional references expressed by Dr Habib Sadeghi and Dr Sherry Sami on Gwyneth’s blog ‘Goop’, the concept that a couple can make a conscious decision in how they choose to end their relationship is a smart, simple and fitting idea- but it is not necessarily ‘new’.
Of course the lives of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin are far from those lived by most of us, but the essence of their relationship- the love, trust and respect- is no doubt that which underpins the majority of all committed adult relationships. Why can’t couples that find themselves at a fork in the road, when being asked to make a decision about whether to continue or not, make a conscious decision about how they choose to end that relationship? They can, and in my experience they do.
I accept that for most of us the outcome of our divorce will perhaps look, in a financial sense, quite different the division of the wealth of the likes of Gwyneth and Chris. But what is the same, and what could be the same, is how any separating couple deals with the grief and emotional outpouring associated with the breakdown of any significant relationship.
The idea that you can consciously make a decision about how you choose to part ways is not novel and is not new but is entirely sensible. Some research has suggested that it takes at least two years to overcome the grief associated with the end of a marriage or significant adult relationship. For some, that process can take much longer and for others it may never come to an end. Anything that can assist with the grief associated with the breakdown of a marriage has to be beneficial for all of us.
It is said that the grief felt as a result of the breakdown of a marriage is second only to the death of a loved one. If a couple, by making a conscious decision in choosing the path of their separation, can minimise the emotional impact on them and by extension their children, their family and their friends, this could only ever be a good thing.
Your divorce can be like Gwyneth’s. Sure, you may not have private jets and a team of nannies, an international lifestyle or a pop career, but at the end of the day, like Gwyneth and Chris, we are all people. We are all just human beings who feel grief, pain, fear and loss in just the same way. And perhaps if you can’t find yourself a personal divorce guru you can settle on a good old Family Lawyer to guide you through!