Gwyneth Paltrow, Conscious Uncoupling and Why It Misses The Mark


When I first heard the term Conscious Uncoupling I thought, "What the hell is that?"  When I found out who made the phrase famous I thought, "Gimme a break, Gwyneth!"  Luckily, I had my mother to put it in perspective:

"What can I tell you, Sam?  What do you expect from someone who subscribes to having her vagina vacuumed?"

Well, of course, my mother, in her infinite wisdom was right.  What did I expect? I mean we're talkin' about the same woman who popularized the most notable phrase of 2014. I first heard those annoying words Conscious Uncoupling when the celeb in question and her rock star hubby used it in lieu of the big “D Word” to announce their well, uncoupling, and I scoffed. I scoffed my ass off…To friends, to family, to Facebook. I’m sure it’s on my wall somewhere, preserved for all eternity, waiting to bite me in the ass.

There’s an entire thread of people chiming in about how absurd the whole thing sounded; more crazy celebs doing crazy things. Of course, the thread also offered the inevitable counter-argument by a few people who really resonated with it.  And these weren’t just trouble making, pot-stirring strangers trying to start something on Facebook. These were the views of people I know, people I respect and admire applauding higher levels of awareness.

People like my sister, who said she would’ve benefitted greatly from a little more Conscious Uncoupling when she went through a traumatic divorce. From what I understand, trauma is not an exaggerated description of the horrors of divorce, so if my sister was on board with this concept then surely I could take pause, reflect more deeply and allow my higher-self to get me over my Goopy Gwyneth prejudices.

Turns out Conscious Uncoupling is all the rage nowadays. Last week I stumbled across a new course a therapist was offering that delivers step-by- step instruction on how to break up with love.

And just the other day I was at coffee with my friend, Eric, who’s about the least 'New Agey', personal growth person there is. He told me about some seminar in Santa Monica that sounded "so cool" and "was super enlightened" because of its teachings on how to end a relationship with “respect, gratitude, and harmony”.

Eric isn’t even in a relationship let alone breaking up.

He just seemed psyched fantasizing that he could one day get out of the imaginary relationship he'd spent the last year looking for on Tinder without seeming like the bad guy. The perfect ending to the relationship that never happened.

As a person who works to help people make love last, I’m sad when a relationship ends. I know sometimes things come to an end and not all relationships are meant to last, but still, lasting love is something I believe in and I find most people aspire to create.

If something has to end, then, by all means, it’s best done consciously and with a higher awareness; not all partings have to be messy and drama and “now you’re just somebody that I used to know”.

Doing it with love is something to strive for ‘cause why you gotta hate, right?

So, I guess this is the part where I have to (insert pride swallowing gulp here) give it up to Miss Paltrow and say, thanks for giving us Conscious Uncoupling.


“Dating Apps are to the relationship world what fast food restaurants are too fine dining.” 

Gwyneth, vagina vacuuming, and celeb divorce aside, now that we’ve considered the end, shouldn’t we ponder the beginning? If we hope to avoid the jagged edge of a messy ending, softened only by the promise of an honorable parting made possible with Conscious Uncoupling then maybe we’d be better served if we stopped running around doing all this UNCONSCIOUS Coupling at the start.


Hear me out. We have way too many distracting outlets today that seriously challenge our abilities to anchor to someone because it’s just too easy to jump in and out of something. It’s all at the touch of an App.

We’re encouraged to treat our love lives with the same ease and attention we give to on-line shopping or mobile banking. In our society, we’re rarely taught or encouraged to understand and identify more about our values, our true needs, ourselves, and on a higher level, how to truly love the person we choose without criticism and judgment BEFORE GETTING INVOLVED, if ever.

We’re not disciplined to put the time in at the beginning, so no wonder we need so much help at the inevitable end.


“Instant Gratification Takes Too Long.” – Carrie Fisher

The landscape of how relationships are created from meet-up to hook-up to who-knows-what has changed more in the last 5 years than it has in the last 15 and it’s not getting us any closer to what most of us claim we want, a relationship free of the need of Conscious Uncoupling.

Remember my Tinder buddy, Eric? That’s where he’s hoping to meet his true love. And there’s plenty more where that came from. People have an endless supply of ‘Dating App-tions’ out there. From Plenty Of Fish to Fling to Coffee Meets Bagel to Bumble to Cougar Dating  to Senior People Meet to Tinder, it’s exhausting.  And I'm only naming a few of the instant hook-up options available.

These are not the platforms that inspire hope for taking time to better understand ourselves and others before getting involved.


“Oh Take Me Back To The Start” – Cold Play

So I leave you with these final thoughts to ponder:

Wouldn’t we be better served by preemptive tactics rather than new agey band-aids?

If we were better equipped to employ more CONSCIOUS COUPLING at the start maybe we wouldn’t need so much Conscious Uncoupling at the end.

How would the landscape of dating and co-mingling change if people had better tools to assist them from the get-go?

How would intimate relationships evolve if we loved and understood ourselves better before seeking out a partner?

Can’t we find a way to bring this higher level of awareness people aspire to bring at the end to the beginning?

Samantha RossComment