Why I think Gwyneth Paltrow’s marital living arrangement sounds heavenly

OPINION: Let’s start with a disclaimer: I am not one generally in agreement with Gwyneth Paltrow. I don’t steam my vagina or insert jade yoni eggs into it.

I didn’t consciously uncouple with my ex-husband, or consciously couple with him, for that matter.

And I’ve never consulted a “shamanic energy medicine practitioner”, or an “intimacy teacher”, or a “healer”, or Beyonce. Quite frankly, I have occasionally wondered if Gwyneth Paltrow is of this world.

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But in one area of her life, at least, Gwyneth Paltrow is my new idol.

READ MORE:
* Gwyneth Paltrow reveals she and husband Brad Falchuk live apart
* Can you really be friends with your ex’s new partner?
* Gwyneth Paltrow: Chris Martin and I were ‘meant to be together’
* Gwyneth Paltrow weds Brad Falchuk in star-studded ceremony

Gwyneth Paltrow famously does things the 'goop' way. Think: 'Conscious uncoupling', vagina steams, 'clean' sleeping... but writer Kerri Sackville thinks Paltrow may be onto something with her living arrangements.

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Gwyneth Paltrow famously does things the ‘goop’ way. Think: ‘Conscious uncoupling’, vagina steams, ‘clean’ sleeping… but writer Kerri Sackville thinks Paltrow may be onto something with her living arrangements.

She may have some odd ideas about intimate hygiene, but she and second husband Brad Falchuk are completely aspirational when it comes to their partnership.

In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, Paltrow revealed that she and Falchuk only live together four nights of the week.

On the other three nights, they retreat to their separate houses, where they are each raising two children.

I adore that idea. It sounds almost perfect.

It comes very close to my vision of the ideal marriage, which involves me living alone and allowing bi-weekly visits from my husband, who will cook me dinner, tidy up a little, service me sexually, massage my feet, and then bid me farewell, leaving me to sleep peacefully in my queen sized bed, unburdened by snoring or blanket-hogging or raised toilet seats in the morning.

Heaven.

As a person who has been married and is currently single, I firmly believe that designer relationships are the way to go. It seems eminently clear that the traditional, heteronormative paradigm of marriage is woefully inadequate.

We know this because of the high rates of divorce and infidelity, the rates of domestic violence, the financial inequality between men and women, and the disproportionate hours spent by women in childrearing and household duties.

We understand now that families are not necessarily a Mum and Dad and 2.4 kids. We accept single parent families and same sex couples and blended families and long-distance relationships.

Consensual non-monogamy is becoming more popular and (slowly) less controversial, with couples embracing open relationships or polyamory or Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell agreements about infidelity.

“Whatever works” is becoming the norm, as well it should be.

And if “whatever works” involves two houses and nights apart during the week, well, that sounds absolutely brilliant.

Of course, maintaining two households requires vast amounts of money, and this particular paradigm of marriage is one of immense privilege.

Gwyneth Paltrow is exceptionally wealthy, as you probably gathered from the jade eggs.

What’s more, Paltrow and her husband each have teenage kids, and share no offspring together. Living alone three nights of the week would be quite different if young children were involved.

When you’re up at night pacing the floorboards with a crying newborn, you don’t want the father of your baby enjoying a quiet evening alone. You want him there, in the room, where you can demand that he takes the bub now before you die of exhaustion.

Still, the options for a modern relationship aren’t just “living together” or “living apart”. It isn’t about a choice between two polarities.

It is about the freedom to design your own life and your own relationship within the boundaries of your economic and social reality.

We all follow so many unspoken rules about relationships.

A man must be a good provider. You need a dedicated date night per month. You can’t be friends with the ex. Never let a third party into your marriage. Put your children first. Put your spouse first. Be emotionally faithful. Don’t have sex with anyone else.

But there are an infinite number of ways to conduct a relationship. There are no blanket rules for love that work for everyone.

If we want happiness and fulfilment, alone or with a partner, we need to design lives and relationships that work for us. We need to stop worrying about what other people think of our situations and do whatever the hell makes us comfortable and safe.

We need to follow Gwyneth’s lead, in this one specific area.

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