Redefining break ups: Conscious Uncoupling
Along with the unexpected news about Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s break up, comes a whole new piece of relationship terminology: “Conscious uncoupling”. I heard someone liken the term to a Malibu therapist’s self-help philosophy of marriage. Essentially, a fancy way of saying, “We’ve discussed this, we’ve been mature about this, and we’ve decided to both be adults and move on from one another.”
Like it or lump it, Gwyneth and Chris’ grown-up way of viewing their split couldn’t come at a better time. From dating online to meeting someone on Facebook, the rules for relationships are changing—which means the way we break up needs to change as well. Finding your ideal mate is hard work. It’s not something that gets dropped in your lap. Have you ever been so focused on the person you’re dating that you never stepped back to think, “Is this actually my best fit? Is this person really my soul mate? Or are they just my soul mate right now?” Sometimes even when you know you want out of the relationship you don’t know where to begin the discussion.
Here’s a conscious, modern way to look at moving on from a relationship:
Go back to the original list of qualities you’re looking for in a partner. Are you with that person or did you allow physical attraction—or something else—sway you?
Make a list of the positives and negatives in your relationship. If that list is unbalanced, you should start considering the reasons why. Everyone deserves to be in the right relationship. Staying with someone who you know is wrong for you is only keeping both of you from fulfilling that destiny.
If you’ve been dating for 3 dates or less remember that you may not be the only person your partner has seen in that time and that you’ve made a relatively small investment overall. As long as you are clear and thoughtful about the way you say it, you shouldn’t feel too guilty about breaking it off. As long as you’re direct and honest about your feelings, no one can fault you. But make sure you take the responsibility upon yourself rather than throwing it on them.
Make sure your message is clear and your words are not ambiguous, that nothing said is accusatory and that the blame for it not working out is placed on yourself. The way to do this IS NOT through email, text, or phone. If you have been dating for over a few months, you MUST talk to this person FACE-TO-FACE. It’s respectful and establishes you as a responsible, mature dating adult.
But remember, do not leave the door open if you are sure you want a clean break. By staying friends immediately after the split, you risk becoming friends with benefits, which will then become a confusing sort of dating situation again.
Conversely, when you are the dumpee you shouldn’t take it personally. As I said before, it’s the other person’s duty to allow you the space to find the right one for yourself, too. So rather than looking at it as failure, look at it as an opportunity to find someone even better.
If you’re comparing your relationship status to those of a celebrity couple, DON’T. Here’s why celebrity relationships plague us so.