Conscious Uncoupling



For those of you into celebrity gossip, you may have heard today's announcement that Gwenyth Paltrow and her husband, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, are divorcing. goop published a really interesting article about 'conscious uncoupling' as a part of the press release. It starts out by talking about how life expectancy has doubled over the past century. Instead of marriages lasting a couple of decades, the concept of 'until death do us part' has marriages lasting four, five, six decades or more. Is it a fair expectation that two people will remain unchanged with the same feelings for that length of time? With more than fifty percent of marriages ending in divorce, it may be time to reevaluate the institution of marriage/divorce. 

The article moves on to talk about what happens when the honeymoon phase of a relationship ends. After seeing a partner as perfect for an extended period of time, we end up reflecting our own shortcomings and past emotional traumas on the once idealized person. The relationship becomes a 'boomerang' of negative energy. The article devolves into explaining how the human psyche is like the exoskeleton of a beetle (immediately made me think of Kafka's Die Verwandlung), but finishes up cleanly, saying the best way to end a relationship is through conscious uncoupling. That means focusing on healing our own emotional wounds instead of succumbing to detrimental arguments with the other person. In a family with children, the most important thing is to remain functional coparents. 

Honestly, I appreciated the backup. I feel a lot of pressure to get married, partly because we have Merle and partly because I'm getting closer to the dreaded 25. As a product of a bitter divorce, I feel even more pressure to find Mr. Perfect, get married to feel secure, and never, ever consider divorce. It puts extra stress on our relationship every time my partner doesn't live up to the idealized fantasy of who I think he should be, because hey if he's not perfect, how can I spend the rest of my life with him? It feels like we're perpetually looking down the barrel of a gun. To pull the trigger or not to pull the trigger. Will it last a lifetime or won't it? The reality is one, we don't need to rush down the aisle, and two, we don't need to feel the weight of our entire lives every time we make a romantic decision. Yes, you should enter into a marriage with the expectation that you will both put the energy in to make it last into perpetuity, but don't let the pressure of 'forever' take the joy out of a relationship today. 

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