Want To End Your Marriage? Try Conscious Uncoupling


Want To End Your Marriage? Try Conscious Uncoupling
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin just announced their "conscious uncoupling", but what is it?

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin just announced their "conscious uncoupling" and it has brought up new questions for some people and a media conversation about what endings might look like in a long term, committed partnership.

See Paltrow's blog


Conscious uncoupling or what I call intentional divorce is more common than ever before. The move toward a more intentional uncoupling in marriages, a committed partnership or family is a positive one in a society where divorce rates still hover at about 50-60%, and second and third marriages are common.  When marriage seems to have an expiration date, it's the endings that are traumatic, and we need a new way in our society to deal with the finality.

No one wants to get divorced if it means we tear each other apart, but sometimes a marriage is over and we have to leave in order to start a new life. And we don't want to throw each other to the wolves in court, suffering an adversarial legal battle where the winner takes all. We want to end our marriages well. We want to know that we have our children's best interests in mind, and that we are protecting ourselves and our partner's financial interests for the future. And divorce can be, well, let's face it, emotionally devastating. However, there isn't a lot of good advice about how to do it well.

Today we have choices. We can choose a "collaborative divorce" where both attorneys commit, in writing, to a process without fighting or instigating a legal battle. Both parties can share a mediator, someone who can help negotiate the parenting plan, the financial arrangements of splitting property and savings and filing paperwork. Divorce doesn't have to be frightening and create a world of hate. Nontheless, what if you are in that emotional space where you don't want to be nice to your soon to be ex? The following is a list of reasons to end your marriage or partnership consciously.

Reasons To End Your Marriage With Intention:

  1. If you don't end it well, you may jeopardize the new relationship you can have for the future, as co-parents.
  2. If you don't do this with integrity and respect, you could potentially hurt your partner's feelings, which could mean they may want to hurt yours, in order to find closure for the divorce. The process could drag on for a lifetime. Neither of you will find emotional satisfaction in this.
  3. Some partners who feel disrespected may create more chaos in the divorce, complicating the legal process and dragging it on, making financial pressures greater for both of you now and in the future.

Rules of Disengagement:

  1. Be clear.
  2. Make sure you are clear that you want to end the marriage.
  3. Let your partner know that you are not interested in pursuing continued therapy if you are done.
  4. If you want to try one more time, be specific about what you will or will not do. (For instance, if you are willing to try six sessions, stay with the treatment for the whole six sessions.)
  5. Set boundaries. (Try to maintain a "light and polite" relationship, avoid personal discussions where sharing feelings may trigger arguments.)
  6.  Make amends. Tell them you are sorry for hurting them, leading them on, or getting them into this mess in the first place.
  7. Show empathy. Try to relate to how they are feeling, and take responsibility for your part in the marriage ending this way.
  8. Admit Ambivalence. Make it clear to them that you have to end the relationship, although you may have regrets and even ambivalence.
  9. Thank them. If you feel it, thank them for all that they have shared with you.
  10. Share priorities. Let them know that you are working on an intentional divorce and that your relationship with your children is your priority.
  11. Commit to ending the marriage with integrity: This will let your partner know that you are not setting out to devastate them legally, emotionally or financially.
  12. Be patient. Your partner is still catching up. You are way ahead. Let them have the feelings that you may have had long ago.

Remember, you don't have to go through this alone. Get help. Find a therapist who is familiar with conscious uncoupling or intentional divorce,  or find a support group. For more information on Relationship Therapy, Intentional Divorce, Intensives or Retreats for Couples, or trainings for therapists, please go to www.drtammynelson.com

Dr Tammy Nelson is a licensed relationship therapist and the author of The New Monogamy, and can be found at www.drtammynelson.com

More Divorce advice on YourTango:

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Tammy Nelson


Tammy Nelson, PhD, LPC http://www.drtammynelson.com/ email me at tammy@drtammynelson.com

Location: Ridgefield, CT
Credentials: LPC, PhD
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Sex Therapy
Other Articles/News by Tammy Nelson:

Can This New Type Of Couples Counseling Save Your Marriage?


In today's world, going to couples counseling when your relationship is falling apart is like going to the Shaman or the healer in the old days when we lived in tribes, and the ancient elder held the key to lighting fires, making rain and resolving interpersonal conflicts.    Couple's therapy can be stressful. Most of the time, you show up ... Read more

Into 50 Shades Of Grey? Don't Do These 3 Sexy Things In Real Life


I see couples every day in my office committed to improving their sex life. As the author of Getting the Sex You Want, and The New Monogamy readers turn to me to find out how to spice up their love life, or to rekindle their marriages. And sure, I advise them to have a sex date, or create some adventure, or even try out some grown up dress up and role play ... Read more

Waiting For The Future? Now Is The Time To Have A Confident Life


I woke up and it was the future. It was a new year. There were no hover cars, and no jet packs. But that is the only thing missing.  When I was little, 2015 was the real future. I saw it on television, on the Jetson's. It was the time to be an adult with confidence and a life full of my childhood dreams.  Growing up in the sixties and the ... Read more

See More

My Videos
Most Popular