Good Question: Is There A Healthy Way To Divorce?
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Most of us would just call it separation or divorce, but Gywneth Paltrow calls it “conscious uncoupling.”
On Tuesday, she and her husband, Chris Martin, announced they’re splitting up after more than a decade of marriage. In a blog entry on Paltrow’s website, the couple wrote: “We however will always be a family, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been.”
Reaction to Paltrow’s wording ranged from confused to critical to comical.
“It’s their lame way of saying we’re sick of each other,” said Lori Nelson of Minneapolis.
The “conscious uncoupling” concept is not new. In a posting linked to Paltrow’s, husband-and-wife doctor and dentist Dr. Habib Sadeghi and Dr. Sherry Sami explained the idea. They say, due to longer life expectancies, people are no longer meant to be with one person. They believe “there are no bad guys, just two people” who should be “partners in each other’s spiritual progress.”
Lisa Cross, a licensed marriage and family therapist says this concept is not well-known or supported in the marriage counseling field, but believes Paltrow and Martin are trying to take the emotionality out of the divorce. She acknowledges that that is difficult to do.
“They’re trying to be respectful, trying to do this is a rational way, and they’re trying to take responsibility,” she said. “That’s not unusual for a healthy divorce, but I think the terminology is a little radical.”
Cross says conscious uncoupling isn’t necessarily realistic for all couples, because many walk away from divorce with anger and hatred. She believes therapy is crucial to try to prevent that from happening, but knows each couple is different and goes through their own fair share of problems.
A good piece of advice, she says, is to recognize that emotions will be involved and that “you don’t want to walk away hurting or destroying someone.”
As for the children, Paltrow and Martin wrote: “We are parents first and foremost, to two wonderful children and we ask for their and our space and privacy to be respected at this difficult time.”
That’s a sentiment Cross strongly believes in. The most important thing, she says, is to take children into consideration, and make sure they are put first.