I think of all my posts over the last year or so, this one will be the hardest for me to write.
You remember when Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin split up and they called it a ‘conscious uncoupling’ and we all wanted to smack them in the fucking face for believing themselves to be too special, too celebrity, to just, y’know, GET DIVORCED like the rest of us?
You remember how we were also baffled about if there IS such a wanky thing as a ‘conscious uncoupling’ is there also its opposite, an ‘unconscious coupling’? Because that sounds either like, y’know, date-rape, or like what we all do when we fall properly in love, when we’re blind-drunk with passion, with a stupid, un-thunk, burning desire to couple-up.
My Gwyneth and I unconsciously coupled. And now we are consciously uncoupling.
And for the first (and last) time in my life, I agree with the real GP. Divorce is a brutal, ugly word. Saying we’re separating sounds like we’re a sauce gone wrong (and Gwyneth never gets a sauce wrong). Splitting or breaking up is for lovers with no more than months between them, not twenty years.
So I’m with GP on this and will say we’re consciously uncoupling, partly because we actually ARE too special for any other description, and also because it will make us giggle every time we say it, and giggles are in short supply at the mo.
Eldest knows and is deeply confused by how her mum and dad are suddenly getting on better than they have in ages, still eating meals together (my future of beans on toast every night is looming), still sitting down to watch our favourite TV shows, but then she’ll walk into a room and find her mother sobbing, her dad looking stricken.
Youngest doesn’t know yet because the process of uncoupling will take time, mainly because we ain’t rich enough to immediatley find somewhere new to live, so it would be too confusing for him until he has something tangible to understand. (For those of you wot know me personally, your discretion until he knows would be massively appreciated).
This taking our time feels right. How can you set a deadline for ending a twenty-year relationship? Especially one where both of you feel you are the love of each other’s lives, each other’s best friend, and crucially, the co-parent to your children.
Also, if I’m to crack on with my life alone, I need time to get some serious shizzle organised first, like getting a job. Because you can’t sustain life on the wages of a clown/comic. I haven’t had a proper job since I was in my twenties. I’ve been (sloppily) raising kids instead and writing unpublished books. NB: younger readers (what are you doing here?) listen to your Auntie Annagram and DO NOT EVER GIVE UP YOUR CAREER FOR YOUR CHILDREN.
One thing to hold on to is what an absolute CATCH I am. Who doesn’t want a middle-aged clown with a history of depression, no money, no job, two kids with special needs and, now, an auto-immune condition?
I think the correct dating phrase here is, swipe left, am I right?
The weirdest thing is that whilst I’m in a state of permanent terror about the future, I also feel totally convinced we’re doing the right thing. As that classic inspirational quote reminds us: ‘Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.’
Yes, I just shared an inspirational quote with you. Things really are that bad.
When GP announced her conscious uncoupling from Martin, it also marked the beginning of her conscious uncoupling with reality. Within weeks she was ramming jade eggs up her hoo-haa and banging on about fennel.
I hope I can rely on you lot to keep me on my true path of pure filth and self-deprecation. E.g. if I share any more inspirational quotes, feel free to immediately unsubscribe.
The photo I’ve shared is of us on our wedding day. It was a good day, as you can see in my beaming face. I loved him. I wanted to marry him.
But for me, our happiest times have been incidental moments: a cracking home-made meal (cooked by Gwyneth, not me, obvs); when he plays me an album I haven’t heard before and I love it and he then loves it more for my loving of it; when he brings me tea in the morning and wine at night; all the nights sat at our kitchen table with that good food and music and wine as we talk about everything and I end up singing my head off at 2am to his appreciative (ever-tolerant) audience of one.
If love and life were easy, this would all still be enough. The fact that it no longer is, for either of us, doesn’t mean we have to trash what we had, or bury it.
I’ll always have Gwyneth. He’ll always have me. Just differently.
And I’ll have to make my own morning tea…