It is always sad when a family decides to change its form. (That description is the Hollywood correct way of saying divorcing.) It is with sadness for their children and for Gwyneth and Chris that I write about their uncoupling. As an uncoupled woman myself, I certainly understand the pain and confusion that comes along with that decision. Your dreams shatter quite consciously.
Assuming that Gwyneth Paltrow's team invented the term "consciously uncoupling," I want to applaud them for the use of the term. For anyone that has ever been divorced, you know the feeling of being a complete loser. That divorce feels like your biggest failure. In the early days of my uncoupling, I felt as if there was a "D" on my forehead: Divorced, Loser Woman. I support any effort to find a new term for the "D" word.
I now find myself wondering what the difference is between consciously uncoupling and divorce. The word conscious must mean that you deeply thought about your decision. You were mindful about it and considered all of the implications. Uncoupling must mean that you are no longer a couple. You are now free to date. For those of us that got divorced, there are many of us that just said, "I'm so done. I'm outta here." Usually that feeling comes from years of putting up with someone else's crap. I now ask myself, "Are these thoughts conscious or unconscious?" All I know is that I remember being consciously annoyed. I wonder if that counts.
To be honest, I felt divorced in a very unconscious way. I would like to say that I felt consciously uncoupled, but I didn't. I felt like my dreams were shattered and I wondered if I could keep a commitment. I also wondered if I would ever find love again. I wonder if Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin feel the same.
The notion of conscious uncoupling evokes the image of two married people, hand in hand, discussing all the wonderful aspects of their relationship. I wonder if they cried as they consciously discuss how sad they will be when they leave one another. They discuss how they will co-parent and how their children come first. Then, they make plans for their family vacation and discuss the new home they just purchased. The home has separate wings, but the family still stays together. For those of us that just left and never had a meaningful conversation, it gives us cause to think.
I could be wrong, but even though the rest of us may not have been as articulate as Gwyneth or continued to share a home, the end result was the same. Our tears fell just as strongly and our children were shattered in the same way. We all faced an uncertain future. Whether you have been divorced or have consciously uncoupled, it is painful. Gwyneth and Chris, those of us who have been divorced support you in your journey. Thanks for opening up the conversation and if you want to continue the discussion, there's a bunch of us that would love to come over and see that house!