Guest blog post from Anne Chilton, Joint Head of Professional Practice at Relationships Scotland, on Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s ‘conscious uncoupling’.

Conscious uncoupling might sound catchy and a bit new wave, but is it? It’s the other end of all that lovey dovey stuff we do at the start of a relationship. Only at the beginning its more about entwining our lives, not only in living together but working out where we stand in relation to each other on the things we value. The beginnings are about giving up some of yourself to become the ‘we or us’ that makes the couple. Weaving together the threads of our lives  to make a different pattern, our individual threads are still there but the joining of yours and mine creates something new, an ‘us’.  So, as we enter the end of a relationship we need to unthread, unpick or as Gwyneth and Chris have said, consciously uncouple.

It’s quite a good description really, both being aware and purposely unthreading their life together. Taking care to maintain the threads that need to be uncut, like those of being parents or having respect for each other or even that they still like being together. Taking time and giving attention to the uncoupling can pay dividends in the future. It gives space to value and remember what was good and to be, maybe, a bit sad that it didn’t work out and that the dreams you held at the start didn’t continue to the ends of time.

Relationships are not static things, they grow and develop and sometimes that growth is in directions that takes one or both partners in different directions and whilst they may uncouple parts of their relationships they may want other bits to remain and doing that together, the unpicking, can help both partners to feel they actively involved in laying to rest that part of their lives together.

Conscious uncoupling sounds like a process that both partners can be involved with, something that takes time and is somehow less brutal than ‘ending’. Maybe it will become a more positive way of leaving relationships, giving the same sort of care and attention to the ending as we often give the beginning.

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