On March 26th 2014, the news was littered with coverage of the announcement by Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin that they have decided to divorce. But being celebs, they are not having any old divorce. Oh no, they will be ‘consciously uncoupling’.
All the big newspapers were covering the Paltrow/Martin announcement and discussing ‘conscious uncoupling’. As a divorce consultant, I was fascinated with what at first sounded like a brand new way of conducting a divorce. I needed to learn about this!
So what is ‘conscious uncoupling’?
Well, I’ll admit that when I first starting reading I agreed with the journalist who referred to it as a bit ‘woo woo’. Yet another trend started by celebs, which doesn’t relate to us lesser mortals. But I was wrong. Having spent a lot of time researching this ‘new’ phenomena, I now have a different view.
Yes, it has got quite a ‘woo woo’ name.
Yes, a celeb couple is using this process, so it does put doubt in one’s mind as to whether Jo Public would be interested or able to adopt this process. But when you look in to what it is trying to achieve, I can’t not think it’s a great concept.
It involves taking a very adult approach to your divorce.
It involves each party taking responsibility for themselves, learning from the marriage, and working together to let go of each other as spouses but remain friends and effectively co-parent the children. What’s not to like about that?! My work is all about empowering my clients, for them to feel more in control and learning to move forward with their lives, in a positive way. Conscious uncoupling is a holistic way of splitting up, which I’m all in favour of.
The concept of conscious uncoupling helps take the stigma out of divorce.
It teaches that it is not unusual for people to have more than one long term relationship in their lives. I am certainly not wanting people to take advantage of this idea, so that they don’t take their marriage seriously, but it does take the pressure of those unfortunate people going through divorce. Divorce happens. It is traumatic and sad but there is life beyond it. You can have a civilised divorce. You can work together to create an environment where you both feel calm and confident about moving on from the breakdown of the relationship.
Gwyneth and Chris are leading by example with this great way of approaching their divorce:
- They didn’t make a hasty decision to divorce but worked on their marriage for some time before coming to their decision.
- They clearly discussed their situation sensibly and made a joint decision to separate.
- They have agreed how to conduct their divorce and what they want the outcome to be – i.e. to remain friends, still be a family and to effectively co-parent their children.
It has been given fancy name, but the concept is not a new one. Divorce coaches, consultants and marriage guidance counsellors throughout the UK are helping clients to adopt this approach in their divorce and separation. I do appreciate however, that the fact that a very popular celeb couple are promoting this concept will greatly encourage the general public to follow their lead and adopt the same attitude to their divorce. Great!
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