Conscious Uncoupling: The Next Evolution of Divorce
by Sally Mitchell
No one gets married with a plan to get divorced. So much to the contrary, that when they are standing at the altar, they will look into the eyes of their love, and promise them, without a shadow of a doubt: forever. Even though, factually, they know they have roughly a 40% chance of staying together until the day one of them dies. We override our factual brains when we get married by saying, “Yes we know the statistics, but we know it won’t be us.” And then for many of us, it is us. Divorce has been so stigmatized that we leave no space to even consider that it could impact us, until it does.
Time goes on, people grow, circumstances and lives change. Life is a constant, fluctuating, and moving entity that we truly have no way to predict.
And then? For a large percentage of the population, the breakdown starts: you’re separating and the relationship as it was, is over. All those words that you said to each other at the altar start to feel bitter and ridiculous.
But why? We live in a society that does not protect people as they go through one of the hardest times in their life; does not make room for changes of heart, growth, change, or evolution. Our society has no rules or guidelines in place to honour the love that might still exist between people, even when they are making a drastic relationship change. Society still plays by the rules of a good guy and a bad guy, a winner and loser, victims and villains. What an incredible disservice this does to each individual and their needs during relationships transition.
Divorce is never 100% one person’s fault. There is always shared responsibility whether it’s agreeing to something one didn’t want to agree to, saying yes when it was a no, turning a blind eye, staying quiet when one’s needs were not met, or just “setting it and forgetting it” as the love and passion fizzled away. Regardless of blame and finger pointing, a story (or stories) is written and the friends, the family, and the community that once said they would stand by you through thick and thin take sides, further degrading the sanity and mental stability of the people who the separation actually impacts.
Enter lawyers. Divorces that use lawyers who are not collaborative, take longer and cost more money and, dare I say, inflict much more emotional pain. Two well-intentioned people can enter into divorce only to be derailed by the emotional distress that comes along with these changes, and find themselves bitter and angry and alienated from the person they once loved deeply. They can begin to play a role that isn’t true to them: “The nasty ex, sworn to make things difficult forever more.” Everyone begins with the phrases, “I just want what’s best for the kids. I just want what’s fair.” But as time goes on, these sentiments often completely crumble along with everything else: all that remains is “winning.”
There are collaborative lawyers and mediation services, and these are people who can help you through your financial splitting, property division, schedules, and parenting time, but what about the emotional impacts of separation, divorce, and moving on? Who will help you sort through your emotions, unpack the burdens of change and separate you from the unconscious patterns you’ve been repeating?
Enter “Conscious Uncoupling.” Conscious Uncoupling is a divorce and separation coaching program that takes as little as six weeks to move through and come out the other side with a stronger sense of yourself, more emotional freedom, and less baggage moving forward. They say that the first stage of your next relationship is actually the last stage of your previous relationship. Read that again. If a relationship does not end peacefully it never ends at all, as you spend precious time and energy stewing and ruminating. You do not need the other person’s permission for the relationship to end peacefully—even if you are the only one who walks away healed, they may choose to stay bitter and stuck.
Conscious Uncoupling is the missing piece for divorce and separation support and planning. We readily seek support in the legal structure of divorce, but I believe it’s time to focus on supporting individuals through the very specific pain of relationship dissolution. Conscious Uncoupling is a specific targeted process that deals with, and only with, your healing from this fracture. Conscious Uncoupling takes you gently to your source fracture wounds, helps you to discover why you show up in relationship the way you do, and then guides you towards making a plan for a brighter future—a future where you will not repeat the patterns, consciously or unconsciously, that you’ve been living in, and where you are bringing your full self into the new life you are creating. Conscious Uncoupling was brought into public awareness on Oprah 15 years ago by Gwyneth Paltrow, in regards to her divorce from Chris Martin, and has since changed the lives of thousands.
Sally Mitchell has her certification as a Conscious Uncoupling coach. She received her training from Katherine Woodward Thomas, creator of the program. She is also a teacher by trade, and a trained mediator who combines all her training to help people navigate through the emotional aspects of separation and divorce. She wants to stand with people as they rediscover themselves in their new reality, make the conscious decision to heal the wound of the break up, and choose not to carry it into the rest of their lives. She is also divorced and believes in love and that the end of a relationship should receive the same care and intention as the beginning. For more information and to contact her, see the Directory of Services ad on page 19 of the 29.3 September/October issue of the WHOLifE Journal.