Jargon of Breakups

How would you call your breakup, or should we say you’re ‘conscious uncoupling’?

By now you must know that uber power couple Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin are kaput.

Oh, you didn’t know? Let me give you a quick sec to climb out from under that corner of the Shenandoah where you must reside snow-covered, dusty from debris and blissfully out of touch so that you get up to speed.

Celebrity break-ups of all kind have risen to obsession levels, to be sure. Usually it’s more of a Jennifer Aniston situation (we feel bad for her and simultaneously intrigued/disheartened/horrified by the cheating that led to Brangelina and the split) or a Taylor Swift situation (singing along to her heartache, sadness and/or anger at being back on the market).

But this time it’s different. Gwyneth decided to announce the news in her too-perfect-to-be true lifestyle brand Goop and, in doing so, school us in her enlightened way of explaining what happened between her and Coldplay’s frontman. They didn’t break up like the rest of us mere mortals. They consciously uncoupled.

Cue the mocking and parodies that have welled up like movie screen tears.

As hard as I tried to just smile at this whole scenario and go on my way, the ridiculousness of the phrasing captured me and forced me to weigh in.

So “conscious uncoupling,” eh?

I’ve explored the topic of break-ups a bit before, (in this column and in my actual life)  since they are such a natural part of the mating, dating and relating process. I’m pretty sure I’ve never referred to the outcome as anything close to an conscious uncoupling however. “Saying uncle to being together” is also something I’ve never uttered. But I might be more likely to say that than to go all Paltrow about the demise of a relationship.

Maybe Gwyneth is right about one thing, though; that we could stand to come up with more romantic, artsy, high-falootin or even colorful terms for what transpired when a pair hits a snag and parts ways. You know, takes a trip to Splitsville. Because—in addition to fictional lands like Splitsville that are part of the break-up nomenclature—we have a lot of other not-so nice terms for breaking up. Just off the top of my head there’s dumped, over, taking a break, heading to divorce court, throwing in the towel, getting an annulment, separating, dialing it back, dunzo, the old heave-ho.

Allow me to workshop a few alternatives in the vein of the actress who I could only really stand in “Sliding Doors” and only sort-of tolerate in “Iron Man” mainly because Robert Downey Jr. served as such a mighty distractive force. Here they are:

We’re peeled (or juiced)—Because any couple that names their child Orange deserves fruit puns associated with them at every turn.

Returned to the wild—Similar to a caged zoo animal busting out of its tiny habitat

We’ve decided to become freshly squeezed—This kind of works along with the idea of replacing the ex with a new main squeeze too.

We’ve become unconscious to our relationship—Sounds like both peiple fell asleep at the wheel on their road together. Heck, that terminology works for me too.

Deliberately dating other people—Pretty clear that moving on is happening.

Ripping up the Post-it—A reference to Grey’s Anatomy and the decision of McDreamy and the title character to get hitched by writing out vows on a Post-It note

Purposely underwhelmed by each other—Or maybe unpurposely?

Forcibly fortunate again—This just oozes positivity.

Wedded to separate existences—A different, post-modern, post-relationship wedding of sorts

Engaged in blissful singledom—I’ve tried this. It can be downright poetic.

Comfortably numb—If it works for Pink Floyd, it works for me in just about any context.

Subconsciously single—Subconsciously? How? You’d have to consult Goop on this one.

Love-40—For tennis enthusiasts

IPO (aka my heart has been acquired)—The goal of startups the world over can be embraced by married folks also seeking to go public sotospeak.

Cinco de I’m on my own—A seasonal choice to have a solo fiesta. Sorry for partying.

Taking a ring off of it—Particularly apropos given Gwyneth and Chris’ longtime  friendship with Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Cashing out—Especially if said marriage was instigated in Vegas or another gambling context.

Sinking the court ship—Like Battle Ship but this game is on dry land.

Officially unentangled—Extricating yourselves, in a formal, proper sort of way.


Fancy any? Have other preferred terms?