Why so much cynicism about conscious uncoupling?

Monday, 31 March 2014

Gwyneth Paltrow's announcement of her separation from Chris Martin has been met with a flurry of scornful articles in the press. It seems even the Mail and the Guardian have finally found something they can agree on.

I'm as guilty as anyone of having a snigger with friends over the shamelessly right-on nature of their split. Yes all that talk of gurus and emotions sounds a bit pretentious to our British sensibilities, but when you think about it doesn't conscious uncoupling make common sense considering the alternative?

I uncoupled from my husband the good old-fashioned unconscious way. It involved screaming matches, name-calling, recriminations, long periods of not talking and profound amounts of pain for all involved, including our children.

To be honest I don't think we could have done it any other way. Our relationship had disintegrated to the extent we could barely discuss the weather without it ending in an argument. With the absence of a spiritual guru or holiday in the Bahamas to aid matters, we muddled by messily as best we could. It wasn't pretty.

A year on and we've finally got to the stage where he can come round for a cup of tea to discuss the kids without a row breaking out. He even fixed the broken toilet seat last week and gave me flowers for Mother's Day. We're still parents first and foremost and it's important for the children that we get along.

Now enough time has passed for me to finally start grieving not only our relationship but our family and the future I thought we would have. I'm working through my own anger, disappointment and sadness and am aware the divorce process is likely to bring up many more challenges. I hope we have the grace and good sense to approach them as adults and to deal with our differences with as little harm to each other and the children as possible.

Nobody goes into a marriage thinking it will end and when I said my vows I meant them. Maybe one day I'll be able to look back with gratitude for the good times and appreciate the lessons that 10 years together taught me, which I guess is what conscious uncoupling is all about.
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