The phrase “conscious uncoupling” has sky-rocketed to popularity since Gwyneth Paltrow recently announced her separation from Chris Martin on her blog. The uncoupling terminology seems to suggest that rather than being a bad thing, the mutual decision to part could actually be another step in life’s surprising journey.
I have been pondering this question for a while now: can two people in a relationship consciously uncouple? Can separation be a happy phenomenon? Can we really imagine a state of evolution when bitter breakups and nasty, emotional divorces are a thing of the past. Though we may share the same bedroom, as human beings, we are constantly evolving and growing as individuals each day based on our own individual journey. Is it really possible then, when dealing with a break-up, for both parties to be on the same page and consciously part on good terms?
A precious relationship of many years fell apart recently because it was the end of the road for us. There wasn’t much left in the relationship for both of us to want to remain in it. Perhaps this realization occurred to each party individually, at their own pace. We had been fighting for months – on the same issues to begin with, and finally, about anything and everything. And when fights start, we only tend to focus on the bad leading to the ugly.
What started out as a beautiful relationship of hilarious fun, mutual admiration, respect and lots of flirtation – something I thought would last forever – couldn’t survive a few tumultuous months of differences. Life as I knew it for the last few years had been beautifully entwined with this person. While we had constant differences in opinion, as our personalities were on the opposite sides of the rainbow, our core values were similar. Trust, commitment, loyalty and civility were things we both agreed were integral to any and every relationship, and what formed the basis of ours¬¬¬.
We used to talk every day, all the time. She knew every minor insignificant detail about my daily life, work, work colleagues, evil bosses, family, friends, enemies, the maids, the driver, the gym instructor, the newspaper guy – everything. She was on excellent terms with my BFFs living abroad, even though she had never met them. She knew my likes and dislikes, my strengths and my weaknesses; she even knew when I was pretending to pay attention to her banter. When we fought, she knew my defense strategies even before the words came out of my mind. I knew her inside-out too. I thought we were infallible and our relationship indestructible. Clearly, I was wrong. Nothing lasts forever– not even the strongest of relationships –when trust, commitment, loyalty and finally civility are lost. Recognizing the warning signs, we tried to salvage what we were in danger of losing. We identified the reasons for our growing distance and despite all the expert analysis, introspection and discussion, we decided to take a break, knowing full well that things would probably never return to what they used to be.
And that’s when I realized that this was us ‘consciously uncoupling.’ I wanted to be angry, annoyed, bitter and sad about the ‘break’ and the unspoken break-up. But strangely, when I just let myself be, I did not feel any of those emotions.
It took me a few days to realize that, strangely enough, I didn’t crave her attention or her phone calls anymore. I no longer compulsively felt the need to text her at the drop of a hat. Instead, I felt this inner calm, a sense of happiness and freedom for both of us, and I was at peace.
It has been almost six months since we last spoke, but I know that we both are in a good place, and happy in our own lives. I can confidently say that we both will remain incredibly special to each other. We will think fondly of the past, but there will be no scope for any new memories. Ordinarily, I would be crying buckets over this realization, but surprisingly enough, this feeling of not-feeling-anything was good too. And a happy one at that!