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Conscious Uncoupling: Reassessing Agency and Desire in Couple Relationships

van Hooff, J (2014) Conscious Uncoupling: Reassessing Agency and Desire in Couple Relationships. Discover Society (9).

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Abstract

The recent separation of celebrity couple Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin after over a decade of marriage, or, as they refer to it, their ‘conscious uncoupling’, encourages reflection on the nature of couple relationships in twenty first century Britain. Have we embraced a more fluid and reflective approach to relationships, with diverse relationship forms challenging the status of the heterosexual couple as the normative relationship type? I argue here that couple partnerships have actually retained and strengthened their hold as the centre of our intimate and erotic lives, often to the detriment of our personal development and other relationships.

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