Most of us enter into a marriage full of hope and good intentions. The state of “falling in love” helps us look at each other through a positive lens, in the best light. We want to believe that those wonderful feelings will always exist.
Then, somewhere along the way, the hard work of life begins to wear us down. Our partner no longer seems to be the person we thought we’d married. In our hurt and frustration, we lash out, hold grudges, and both parties are left feeling traumatized. Ultimately the result is divorce.
The decision to separate from your partner is not an easy one. The un-coupling of your relationship comes with all sorts of uncomfortable, and bitter feelings. In addition to the emotions, you must deal with the logistics of separation, such as dividing your assets and liabilities, finding a new home, and negotiating a parenting plan if you share children.
So, how does one avoid unnecessary drama and manage a break up better? Perhaps by applying some of the principles of Conscious Uncoupling - the new separation/divorce method that encourages couples to split up as mindfully and respectfully as possible.
The term went viral in 2014 when famous Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin and his spouse, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, chose conscious uncoupling. The revelation came across as a surprise, and people wanted to know “what exactly is conscious uncoupling?”
In essence, Conscious Uncoupling is a method focused on a happy and peaceful future. It encourages each party to take responsibility for what went wrong, look for the good in each other, find ways to protect their mutual assets, and treat each other with kindness and respect. Instead of finding reasons to blame the other person, you look for opportunities to learn and grow, so your future relationships start on a healthier foundation.
Marriage and family therapist Katherine Woodward Thomas is credited for this new concept after she separated from her husband. She now teaches workshops to help couples “uncouple” more amiably. According to her, you can heal from the separation by:
- Becoming mindful of habits that lead to repetitive patterns of behaviour;
- Taking responsibility for your part of the relationship dynamics;
- Using strong emotions as a source of growth and change instead of hate and blame;
- Consciously dealing with the root cause of past emotional pain.
Self-reflection plays a crucial role in examining the reasons behind your behavior and gaining enough awareness to avoid creating the same issues in the next relationship.
Difference between Conscious Uncoupling and Divorce
Divorce is usually seen in a negative light due to its adversarial nature. In an environment of anger and distrust, divorcing couples fight each other for their share. What is often lost is a perspective of the greater good, especially for the sake of the children. However, when they engage in conscious uncoupling, it can be amutual process, where they can break up with honour and integrity, coming out stronger and wiser.
Separation doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience. If you try to remain conscious during uncoupling, you can prevent your family from being further eroded, and learn to live happily even after separation. You can make a commitment to sidestep blame and look toward a healed future. Self-compassion, growth, and mindfulness may help you cope with the challenges of separation. While your goodwill may not extend to attending your ex’s honeymoon as Cold Play’s Chris Martin reportedly did, your separation process may proceed more productively if you bring kindness to the table.
Contact me to find out how to consciously uncouple amicably and with dignity.
I am a divorce paralegal. My mission is to ensure your divorce process is simple, respectful, timely and cost-effective.
“For learning to live happily even after, finding a way to forgive the unforgivable, and to move forward in life graciously with hope in our hearts… may very well be the essence of what it is to truly love each other.”
—Katherine Woodward Thomas, from Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After