Conscious Uncoupling vs. Divorce. What's the Difference?

While emotions can make dissolving a marriage sloppy, it doesn’t have to be that way. The term “conscious uncoupling” was coined to describe the smarter, less painful way to dissolve your marriage.

For decades, we’ve accepted the view that divorce is a contentious, emotional process leading to years of emotional scarring. What has been deemed “conscious uncoupling” aims to turn that perception on its head.

Conscious uncoupling is the process of separating from your spouse amicably, accomplishing personal growth and healing throughout the process. Conscious uncoupling is a mindset that you and your spouse can choose if you have decided to dissolve your marriage.

Conscious uncoupling and divorce are not mutually exclusive. The outcome of conscious uncoupling is divorce, but much more is accomplished than marriage dissolution.

Reasons for Conscious Uncoupling

Conscious uncoupling has been popularized of late, but the concept has been around since the 1970s. There are a variety of factors involved in the “why” of conscious uncoupling, but there seem to be four common threads present in most couples who choose to consciously uncouple.

Reasons couples are pursuing conscious uncoupling:

  • People are living longer – Within the last century, the average life expectancy has increased by about 45 years. Whereas “Til death do us part” used to mean about 20 years, now it can mean 50 or more years.
  • People change – Some couples get married under the misconception they and their spouse will stay the same, for the most part, their entire lives.
  • Negative projections – After the honeymoon phase is over, spouses begin projecting negative issues onto their partner. Often, this cannot stop until the two end their relationship.
  • Rigid perceptions about marriage – Marriage is largely viewed as an “all or nothing” lifetime commitment, but more and more people are letting go of this ideal and exchanging it for a more flexible, daily commitment.

How to Consciously Uncouple

To consciously uncouple, you must be committed to separating or divorcing your spouse amicably. Remember, divorce does not have to be messy. All parties involved will be better off if, above all else, peace is pursued.

Maintain mutual respect
Going along with amicableness, mutual respect is a key component to conscious uncoupling. Perhaps the best way to keep relations good-natured is to strive for respect. If you don’t respect a person, it is difficult to treat them with fairness and kindness.

Conscious uncoupling isn’t just about what divorce looks like on the outside. Conscious uncoupling is about self-reflection, which is necessary if you want to avoid the same problems in your next relationship.

Identify areas that need healing
Aim to understand your struggles and the root of your arguments with your spouse. These are your areas that need healing. Giving direct thought to these pressure points can be painful, but it is necessary to prepare yourself to move on.

Love, acceptance, and forgiveness
Loving, accepting, and forgiving yourself for problems in your past relationship(s) is the impetus for becoming whole again. Wholeness supports our ability to grow, despite the pain of a divorce.

Realize your ability to chance isn’t dependent on your spouse
It is possible to consciously uncouple without the support of your spouse. You may very well be committed to this type of change, but your spouse is hanging on to rigid perceptions about marriage, anger, and pain. Even so, you can be committed to growth and healing and accomplish this in spite of them.

Robert Sparks Attorneys is here for you if you and your spouse have decided to part ways. Contact a Tampa divorce attorney at our firm today for a confidential consultation to see how we can help.