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Gwyneth Paltrow was the one to really educate the world on the phrase “consciously uncouple."

She and her husband Coldplay frontman Chris Martin decided to “consciously uncouple” earlier this year. Everyone was talking about it. What is uncoupling? What is she talking about?

At the time of Gwyneth's media blitz about this new aspect of their relationship she shared an article by husband-and-wife doctor and dentist Dr. Habib Sadeghi and Dr. Sherry Sami that explained what uncoupling is and the history behind it.

"The idea of being married to one person for life is too much pressure for anyone. In fact, it would be interesting to see how much easier couples might commit to each other by thinking of their relationship in terms of daily renewal instead of a lifetime investment," Sadeghi and Sami write. "This is probably the reason why so many people say their long-term relationships changed overnight, once they got married. The people didn’t change, but the expectation did."

Uncoupling is relatively new and now it has a ceremony to accompany the uncoupling. It's done with invited guests and your children watching. It's a New Age ritual where you exchange rings. I know, sounds familiar -- like marriage -- only this time you get the rings back that you originally gave. No throwing them at each other is allowed.

Not a divorce

This is not a divorce -- it is a ending of a romantic partnership but you stay in the same house and raise your family. It is something that is there to aid the kids and ease the trauma. Separate bedrooms are most likely. It becomes an open marriage. The couple is free to date and they set rules and boundaries due to the young children in the home. The ceremony supports the values behind the uncoupling.

Obviously it is something both parties have to be willing to contribute to and that means a great deal of communication.

Worried about an uncoupling gift? It could be awkward being invited to a ceremony. As of now there are no uncoupling gifts that you register for at Macy's but maybe a set of sheets might be a good gift? Somebody is going to need them.

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