real life

Why has Gwyneth's divorce announcement made people so angry?

You know, I always thought that the end of a marriage was devastating.

I always envisioned it to be internal, agonising and heartbreaking, regardless of each party’s best intentions.

I did not ever imagine that it could ever be portrayed as an appealing lifestyle choice.

Welcome to the world of ‘Conscious Uncoupling’, which few of us had heard of until yesterday when Gwyneth Paltrow, 41, used it to describe her divorce from Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin, 37.

Here’s how the announcement was described on Gwyneth’s website Goop:

It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate. We have been working hard for well over a year, some of it together, some of it separated, to see what might have been possible between us, and we have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much we will remain separate.

We are, however, and always will be a family, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been. We are parents first and foremost, to two incredibly wonderful children and we ask for their and our space and privacy to be respected at this difficult time. We have always conducted our relationship privately, and we hope that as we consciously uncouple and coparent, we will be able to continue in the same manner.

Gwyneth & Chris

“Apparently Paltrow wants to differentiate herself from all those people who get divorced while unconscious.”

I am of the age (closer to 40 than 30) where people in my friend circle are starting to divorce or separate. Some of these come out of left field and some I predicted silently while drinking free booze at their wedding reception.

And I know, that after almost 15 years of marriage myself, that nothing is sacred and nothing comes without hard work. Life changes. WE change.

And you know what? That is completely fine but let’s not pretend when the end comes, it’s not devastating or that somehow, there is a better way in which to do it.

Time magazine had this to say:

Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t eat cereal, she eats quinoa granola with olive oil. She doesn’t go to the gym, she does “brain activated” Tracy Anderson Method dance cardio. And she doesn’t get divorced from the father of her two children, she “consciously uncouples” from him, as she explained in an announcement posted on her lifestyle website, Apparently, Paltrow wants to differentiate herself from all those people who get divorced while unconscious.

The point here is that in her graceful attempt to explain her situation, Gwyneth alienates herself from the rest us by making it seem that divorce is almost… lovely. Not to mention rather easy.

If only it were that way for the majority of uncoupling couples.

Through both hard work and circumstance, Gwyneth has found herself financially independent. And that means at least 75 per cent of the stress that normal people in the midst of a divorce encounter (all the stuff to do with money) has already been eliminated.

Most couples are too busy hashing it out over living arrangements and school fees to make public announcements about how they’ll be happily ‘co-parenting’. They are devastated, angry and broken.

In a perfect world, Gwyneth’s version of breaking up would be the norm. In a perfect world, every couple at the end of their relationship would put their children first (Paltrow and Martin’s children are Apple, 9, and Moses, 7) and put aside their differences. In a perfect world, both parties would remain kind and respectful and committed to constructive parenting, side by side. Like Gwyneth and Chris appear to be doing.

But rarely can this ever be a reality. Real life (the messy, non-Goop kind) invariably gets in the way.

But does it have to? With more and more couples splitting up, is this the future of divorce?