Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Long Divorce

From the Atlantic:

Many long-term relationships follow a painfully cliché playbook when they end: Have a big fight; move out; fight over your stuff; never speak again; begin to hate each other; talk badly about each other to your friends; etc. But more people breaking up today are reconsidering the best way to end a relationship, including how to honor their time together.

Breakup counseling has become noticeably more common in recent years, according to Matt Lundquist, a psychotherapist in New York whose practice also specializes in couples therapy. He attributes the rise, yes, in part to Gwyneth Paltrow’s 2014 popularization of the term conscious uncoupling, but also to some of what Cordelia detailed: The idea of what a marriage could and should be has changed. “I think that the barrier to divorce … has gone down,” Lundquist told me. Although many couples used to divorce only under extreme circumstances—infidelity, violence, emotional abuse—he said, more couples today are willing to consider divorce “even in scenarios where things aren't necessarily dire but are nonetheless not working for them.”

As the reasons for ending relationships change, so too are the ways people end them. About six years ago, Lundquist said, some couples in his practice started asking about continuing to be in treatment together through their breakup—“which initially was a bit surprising, because that’s not the norm.” But it started to make sense to him: Couples would tell Lundquist that he’d helped them make the decision to not be together, so they wanted help from the same person in figuring out how to break up thoughtfully. “What I say a lot to couples is ‘Listen, this is a relationship that a lot of thought and care has been put into creating; I think it warrants a lot of thought and care in its ending,’” he told me.

Read more here.

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