Ever since Gwyneth first used the term Conscious Uncoupling, it’s like every couple splitting up was in a race to do it the best; to be the most amicable, the coolest, the most modern. And now, everywhere I turn, people speak of these Unconscious Uncouplings, even the news that featured a divorced couple living next door to each other. And that’s great and all-for them. It’s great that so many couples are able to do that, to end one relationship and begin a new one as friends.
Truth be told, as my marriage failed, and it was clear it was ending, I pictured Christmases and birthday parties together, the kids being able to see both their parents on these special days. Despite the past, I had hopes for the future, my children’s futures. And then, something happened that dashed those dreams of one big happy unconventional family.
And it felt like I couldn’t even get divorce right-a failed marriage, a failed divorce. No amicable Thanksgivings spent passing the stuffing. Instead, an incredibly isolated one where not many people know the full story, nor realize the exhaustion and loneliness I feel deep within my bones. How it feels like the fairytale let me down, and then I, in turn, let the world down by not being one of those cool hipstery couples with an amazingly awkward story to pass around with the craft beer.
How strange it has been for me to not write, to actively prevent my fingers from flying, from saying what is in my heart. But, with the great privilege of children comes the great responsibility, and I chose them over my one tool; my pen and my ink. How heavy this silence seeps through my body, and soul, wishing to express to these other couples, these fine examples, of how it is for the rest of us.
When we speak of these couples, the Gwyneths, let’s stop speaking of them with the notion that they hold the gold star of divorces, but instead, remember that every story is unique, even the ones unraveling.