Consciously Uncoupling, the Most Zen of Break-ups

A couple of weeks ago, I observed the first ‘we’re in splitsville’ announcement on facebook. Not by any rockstar, supermodel or reality TV D-lister, but by an everyday person. It was written in the style of a celebrity breakup, minus the ‘request for privacy at this difficult time’, and inclusive of a statement that the message was not posted in a call for sympathy, but just to avoid having to tell everyone one by one when they next met. A momentary quandary ensued as I contemplated whether pressing ‘like’ was appropriate. But there’s something efficient and appealing in this mechanism, and having been a person who announced her marriage breakup to her parents by text message some three months after the event, I can relate to delivery of news in that fashion.

What is far more tedious is the procession of celebrity breakup messages, and this week they were all topped by Gwyneth Paltrow announcing the end of her marriage to Chris Martin. Now I find Gwyneth particularly loathsome at the best of times, and on more than one occasion have wanted to inform her what she could do with her authentically-ancient rustic earthenware bowl of quinoa, hand-roasted grain by grain and nestling meditatively in a nest of shredded kale, but I have a general philosophy not to stoop to twitter trolling. She topped it this week by trying to out-zen every celebrity breakup that has gone before, describing it as a decision to ‘consciously uncouple’. In a week bereft of any kind of humour this proved to be fodder for every radio station, comedian and commentator as we all tried to understand if this was gluten-free-speak for divorcing.

From someone who has named her website after nothing (Goop) and her child after a fruit (Apple) we should be unsurprised to note new phraseology emerging from the Paltrow camp. However it seems to be very Gwyneth-esquely grounded in its origin from a term used by two divorce specialists in LA who aimed to bring ‘wholeness to the spirits of both people’ during the process (which is about as LA as you can get)


I’d imagine Gwyneth has had some time to contemplate (whilst inhaling bergamot essential oil and pondering the perfection of a lotus flower) the best wording of such an announcement, with the benefit of reviewing the announcement content alongside subsequent behaviour on the part of the couples in question. Here’s what she could have learned from those who inhabit the celeb-stratosphere.

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries

From Kimmy,

“I had hoped this marriage would be forever” (cue collective groan as we all understood that it had been 72 days, which meant at flat-line amortisation rates the grotesquely OTT engagement ring had cost close to a lazy $28,000 per day)

kim and kris

“We remain friends and wish each other the best”, slightly at odds with Kris’s ‘I’m devastated to learn she filed for divorce” and comprehensively at odds with their subsequent behaviour which included him suing her for a divorce based on fraud whilst Kim worked simultaneously on a new handbag line and becoming impregnated with Kanye West’s child.

Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher

From Demi:  ‘there are certain values and vows that I hold sacred, and it is in this spirit that I have chosen to move forward with my life’

ie – you cheated on me, you SOB, and its going to be messy. And expensive.

demi ashton split

Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt

I realise we are going back to the archives here, but there was a nuance in this breakup announcement that was a little unique ie ‘we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any speculation reported by the tabloid media’, said media being in a frenzy much like a Western Australian shark population circling a coconut-oil-basted clutch of surfers.

Sure, it was not a result of that speculation but a more fact-based scenario where Mr and Mrs Smith were taking their conjugal duties seriously off-screen.

For the record and in the interests of full-disclosure?

I’m #teamaniston.

jen ange

Marc Anthony and J-Lo

J-Lo…the roots of the Anthony downfall were grounded in the fact that she ever ditched Ben Affleck in the first place (actually, that whole thing was incomprehensible to me…)

However once the Anthony era was done, her statement that she had ‘come to an amicable conclusion on all matters’ seemed to only have the tiniest discrepancy – that the scope of the amicable conclusion was unlikely to extend to her installing boy-toy back-up dancer as boy-toy back-up daddy to the Lo-Anthony twins.

As for you Gwyneth? My predictions are these:

One – You will shortly understand that immediately after conscious uncoupling you will undergo a period where

  • your blender moves away from green smoothies to hi-octane margaritas, and
  • shortly thereafter conscious uncoupling becomes unconscious coupling

Two – You and Russell Brand will be swapping yoga mats and harem pants in a Hollywood heartbeat.

Mark my words……

If you are taking your online dating alittle more seriously than this blog, check out this website for fabulously simple online dating advice.


When Twitter knows you’ve split before you do…

It used to be a little simpler to pick up on the signs that your relationship was coming apart at the seams. A gradual drift apart, longer working hours at the office, a moving van appearing unexpectedly at the marital home….

In this era, it is entirely likely that social media is likely to register your impending relationship implosion before you do, and everything you needed to know about your couple-doom will be delivered by this chirpy little fellow.


For the uninitiated, prone to some new-age rookie mistakes, here are the five twitter clues that might indicate you are headed for #splitsville.

Early warning visuals

Body language is a funny thing, right? A reliable but subtle indicator that all is not well – and Twitter conveniently dishes this right up to you in photographic form. Take these examples….

kardashian body language

At the point you become more interested in holding your handbag with both hands rather than one of your boyfriend’s hands, disaster looms.

It is no defence to cite the fact that said handbag cost you more than a small luxury car.

Slightly further north on the scale of awkward body language is something like this.

body language

Death-ray stare from Katie, something between fear and sheepish from Tom and even the kiddie knows she doesn’t want to be there.

The warning signs need not be pictorial. Some of us have very predictable behaviour around a breakup. Daily infusion of Lindt almond chocolate anyone?

Despite her youth, no one demonstrates more entrenched breakup response behaviour than Taylor Swift. I give you:

  • ‘I knew you were trouble’
  •   ‘Better than revenge’, and
  •  if you were any doubt about potential reconciliation ‘We are NEVER. EVER. getting back together.

So if you were entangled with her and you saw this status

taylor swift-studio

you know its over and another #splitsvillesong is about to hit itunes.

Aberrant behaviour

Next step along from the early warning body language signs are the deliberately posted images of defiant behaviour.

A clear sign that perhaps you are not the same people as you were when you first coupled up is when you wake to a tweet that shows your significant other has morphed from this

hanna montana

To this

aberrant pic cyrus

…potentially in a bid to deliberately move away from the image they knew you fell in love with. If you hadn’t detected the subtle hair and wardrobe change, they are now visually bludgeoning you with it with all the subtlety of a Donatella Versace spray tan.

Alternatively it may come in the form of a reminder that they have joined a new crowd that you are no part of.

miley and the twerking kids

It could even be the simple donning of an outfit/coat of armour that screams I NEVER WANT YOU TO TOUCH ME AGAIN.

aberrant pics kardashian

Cryptic Tweets

Nothing says its over like not saying its over.

The twittersphere abounds with quotes from the vintage sayings of relationship gurus such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, to new age chaff that spews forth from the google relationship quote generator faster than you can brew a pot of tea.

obsucre tweets marilyn

obscure tweets - taylor

A touch of obscurity there. With any luck you may be less in the dark if you are on the receiving end of something more robustly obvious like Seal simply tweeting #theend.

Radio silence

There are risks in dating someone who needed to go through tabloid humiliation to learn that flirty texts to someone other than your partner are messy when made public. That said, you might feel that the risk is mitigated when he went on to reform himself into a bit more of a monogamist and moved onto twitter knowing that everything said was public. Hello Shane Warne

If you then proceed to play out your entire lovefest on twitter, the way you will recognise its demise as  this


Complete radio silence –thus proving that someone is obeying Mamma’s advice that if you have nothing nice to say……………

You are unfollowed

Unfollowing someone is the overt gesture that demonstrates that you don’t care to hear from them ever again, even digitally. (although there is nothing to stop you from routinely checking his twitter postings anonymously every hour thereafter. No evidence, and no stalker charges under ANYONE’S  jurisdiction)

If your twitter following is limited to your immediate clan only, it may equate to a number where you will probably notice you’ve lost one and can reciprocate immediately in the hope it gives an air of mutuality to the decision.

If you are Liam Hemsworth, with a following of 443,403, you won’t personally notice a decrement of one, but the entire world media will let you know.


If all of this seems to be overwhelming and you feel you lack the savvy and commitment to apply these learnings to your twitter feed, close your account and go back to Facebook.

There’s no room for doubt the day you see this little icon pop up in your feed from your now-former flame.


Redemption of the male race

Once you’ve navigated the immediate aftermath of a breakup and  survived the four stages of breakup grief there will be a time when a glimmer of hope appears.

No matter how your relationship ended, at some point you will move to a milestone moment where you allow the male race as a whole to achieve some redemption in your eyes.

At this point, don’t try googling men and redemption, as I can tell you from personal experience that you’ll be swamped with religious references.  Mysteriously thereafter your facebook will start sending you sponsored suggestions that you take up learning Biblical Hebrew. Then you have a lot of frivolous googling of cake, vodka and cats-doing-cute-things to get your newsfeed back to normal.

Saving you ALL that, there is a simple way to have your faith in men restored and it comes the form of something we have spent a lifetime digesting easily.

Not carbs or sauv blanc, but chick flicks.

Before you can be prescribed a specific chick flick to re-warm your heart to the male race in general, you need to undertake a self-assessment of how catastrophically it was broken. Take a moment to see where you are on the spectrum of breakup catastrophe

The Demi and Bruce, “yes we’ve split but it’s terribly amicable for the sake of the kiddies” (hang on, one of those young ones isn’t one of the kiddies)

willis demi

The somewhat dignified, no-fault, never commented-upon (albeit bound by the Alcatraz of prenups and the threatened wrath of a thousand Scientologists) split of Nicole and Tom.

tom cruise

Katy being advised BY TEXT that Russell Brand was divorcing her and only being slightly mollified by watching him descend into an incredibly unwashed phase characterised by many pairs of bad harem pants.

russell brand combined

Maria Shriver’s marriage arrmageddon of finding out your husband has sired a child with the help. (although how she didn’t twig to who this kid’s babydaddy might have been is beyond me)


Having rated the level of damage you have sustained (and hey, do you like how fast we diagnosed this? No need to fund the swimming pool of your therapist or wear down your friends lamenting about how badly you were treated) choose from the following chick flicks as the healing salve to your open wounds. They are conveniently sequenced from something that is like a little Barbie-print band-aid through to the equivalent of major sutures of a kind not seen since you last had that chardonnay-induced crash through the sliding glass door.

One – Grease

Here the male redemption is confined to a mere change of image, from drag racing, leather-clad tough guy to track star wearing a Letterman jacket. He wins her heart through a simple wardrobe transformation to being one of her kind, proving definitively that you can change a man. The only downside is that she switched as well and falsely put forth a view that it was OK to wear leggings as pants, a myth that is still perpetuated today.

Two – Pretty Woman

Here Richard Gere – who just by turning up in a movie can repair a woman’s view of the entire male race – shows the depth of character to overlook Julia Robert’s character’s rather dubious choice of occupation and goes on to then shower her with gifts and defend her against his dodgy mates.

Three – the Notebook

Once you get beyond the sound of your own convulsive sobbing, the beauty of a man standing by you even though, due to dementia, you have no clue that he’s doing so, will warm your heart, even if you’ve been treated in a way that makes Maria Shriver’s experience look tame.

Four – PS I Love You.

Sends his love from beyond the grave. Enough said. If you are looking for something more tangible than a note, say in the form of some clay-based sculptural work, then Ghost will do the trick.

Five – Thor

I know, unlikely choice right? But stay with me here. This guy TRAVERSES THE UNIVERSE to find his lost love Jane. If the combination of Hemsworth biceps and the phrase ‘I gave you my word I would return’ (notwithstanding it takes him till the sequel to do so) doesn’t give you chills, then I can’t help you.

In which case continue seeking a path to forgiving all men. Just don’t use the word redemption in google, else next time you log on to facebook, you’ll have friend requests from one of these two.