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Why Conscious Uncoupling Can Do More Harm Than GoodThe term “conscious uncoupling” has picked up a lot of steam this week in light of the announcement that actress Gwyneth Paltrow and now-ex Chris Martin (frontman of Coldplay) have decided to call it quits “with the least amount of emotional damage possible.” The couple decided to file for divorce after one of Hollywood’s lengthier marriages.

While Paltrow’s contribution to the divorce lexicon sounds nice, there is definitely cause for concern regarding how it plays out. In other words, it could do more harm than good, especially to the average person. Here’s how:

It Keeps You In The Past.

As relationship therapist Dr. Tammy Nelson recently pointed out in a post on conscious uncoupling, the process “begins with the recognition that being in a relationship for any lengthy period of time, and living together, means that you have spent some successful time growing up in a shared partnership. You have shared a developmental stage of your lives building a home and you have grown and changed from having known one another. That growth is a gift. The vision you had of how things would have turned out is different than you imagined, yes. The expectation of living together forever, desiring one another exclusively is a dream that you are grieving now, yes. But the love that came before was real, and should be honored consciously.”

This sounds nice, but it could place an unreal demand on anyone who files divorce papers. By honoring the failed relationship for what it was, as Nelson suggests, you could run the risk of glorifying and longing for a piece of your past that is more predominantly destructive to your future. The marriage didn’t work for a reason. Sure, some good things might have happened during that period of time, but ultimately if you live in the past, you could be doomed to repeat it by going after the same type of spouse in the future and making (or accepting) the same mistakes that caused the rift.

A Better Way

Don’t give your failed relationship too much respect. It could very well be a roadblock keeping you from making the transformation you need to make in order to become the person you’re supposed to be. While conscious uncoupling sounds warm and fuzzy, it can also make you feel like you’re failing at this divorce thing if everything isn’t peace and tranquility.

Divorce happens, more often than not, because of conflict. Even in uncontested cases, you might find yourself furious over something your spouse has done, especially if they cheated or betrayed you in some way. You have a right to that anger and to not feel guilty because of it.

People frown on divorce because it’s ugly. It is a deviation from what was expected when we said, “I do.” Don’t glorify it. Just approach the divorce forms with a businesslike mindset, and if you’re going the collaborative route, commit to getting through the process and doing no harm.

Once divorce is inevitable, your happiness lies in the future, not the past.

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