Uncoupling, conscious or not, tears people apart

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

CONSCIOUS uncoupling,” definitely phrase of the week and probably sound bite of the year, is billed as “de-stressful” way of ending marriage.

In her blog, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, her husband of nearly 11 years, thus headlined their separation.

What “CU” means is that marriage is “supposed to melt away without resistance”: no row over money or kids, no shouting match or court battle, no meddling lawyers or in-laws.


Deceptive, as it sweeps under the carpet the disputes that produce sharp objects that tear at the marriage fabric.

“CU,” coined by psychotherapist Katherine Woodward, sounds kinder and vague but still means divorce. The crisis the Catholic Church sees as assault on the biblical tenet--”what God has joined together, let no man separate”--still occurs, consciously or in coma.

The “CU” carries an explanation that subverts the institution more insidiously: Marriages were never meant to last long. People used to live short lives; not anymore, with spouses going into their 80s, a marriage for life “would put pressure on anyone.”

Offending Matthew

There was this man who after two decades of marriage asked his lawyer to scour fine print in the marriage contract for an expiry date or escape clause. A bar joke, yes, but the “CU” concept takes that seriously and, to avoid breakup woes, demands no anxiety or resistance to separation.

Which offends Matthew’s precept--and sorely misses a fact of life: the union that survives heartbreak and pain is the marriage that becomes mighty and sweet.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 31, 2014.


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