You don’t want a divorce and if you’re the wrong generation to go the Gwyneth Paltrow route of conscious uncoupling perhaps the trend in Japan might be of interest.
Sotsukon or “graduation from marriage” is a sophisticated way to arrange your life and was proposed in a book by Yumiko Sugiyama back in 2004 – Sotsukon no Susume or”I recommend graduating“.
It’s for people who still love each other, don’t want the messiness of a divorce, but no longer want to live together all the time.
Once you’ve raised the kids and sent them out into the world your marriage enters a new phase from which you graduate.
“In Japan, traditionally the man is the head of the household, and the wife lives under his financial support as a domestic worker,” says Sugiyama. “I wondered what if each member of the married couple could obtain more freedom to do what they want without getting divorced?”
Only 1 million babies were born in Japan in 2014, according to government figures, the lowest figure on record. Japanese women in the same year had the longest life expectancy in the world — 86.83 years — according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.
“That means the longest period in a woman’s life is after her kids have gone,” says Masako Ishii-Kuntz, a professor of sociology at Ochanomizu University, in Tokyo. “Many empty-nesters have nothing left to do but care for their husband. “They realized they should pursue their own hobbies and happiness.”
Sotsukon is for couples still in love, who decide to “live apart together” (something I’ve posted about before) in their later years to achieve their separate dreams.
In a nation with an aging population, the idea is becoming popular, usually instigated by the wife.
To make it work the couple must communicate and respect each other’s wishes. And it doesn’t remove the obligation to care for each other in ill health. They must also remain faithful – it is not an open marriage.
If you still want to follow the Gwyneth Paltrow/Chris Martin route check out the essential 5 steps to conscious uncoupling which claims to let you find your “happily ever after“.