Neil Patrick Harris, as the character Michael Lawson, in the Netflix series, Uncoupled, is going through it – from the very first episode. (SPOILER ALERT) Not only is he unceremoniously dumped within seconds of a very public event he’s hosting, but he also really and truly didn’t see it coming. Shock and more shock describe his reaction. Colin, his partner of 17 years, played by Tuc Watkins, moved out while Michael was at work leaving their housekeeper to think they were robbed. 

A series titled “Uncoupled” piqued my Conscious Uncoupling Coach curiosity as to how the breakup would be handled, would there be consciousness to it? In some ways, yes; there were some similarities to the Conscious Uncoupling process, for better or worse.

Without giving away the entire series, which I recommend watching for the fun, sadness, humor, and acting, let’s go over some of the CU features I noticed right away.

  • Like all of us who have gone through or are facing a breakup or divorce, Michael goes through the range of feelings and he feels them ALL THE TIME and with mostly deep degrees of strength.
  • His friends give Michael the best guidance they know. They love him and want to help, and while some of their ideas are helpful on some level in the moment, they don’t bring about the self-understanding, self-reflection, and knowing he’s looking for.
  • Our families and communities really struggle with breakups and divorces and look to us for guidance. Sometimes they act in ways that feel unhelpful to us, or like betrayals. More than likely, they are trying to “do the right thing” and feel uncomfortable with picking sides. 
  • Dating before we’ve created a deeper knowing of ourselves may lead to more confusion and feelings of disconnection. It also sets us up to repeat the relationship patterns that led to the breakup. We may show up just exactly like we were before without having done the work to look within.
  • Acts of golden repair bring about real goodwill and show our ex and the community that we are bigger than the breakup. When this comes up in the last episode it’s beautifully described this way: Sometimes we make a selfless decision that’s better for the person we love or loved than for ourselves. You have a chance to do a nice thing now.

There were many moments while I watched when I so wanted to coach Michael, or his ex! I could see how his friends were trying to hold space for him, distracting him with activities, taking him to a healing guru, or letting him vent, and vent. I appreciated the ways they showed up for him and didn’t desert him. Yet I could see how a trained coach could help him manage the feelings he was having and could help him reflect on how he was being in the relationship and what he hadn’t seen during it. 

By the end, Michael seems to have gotten to some of this, he’s less dysregulated when he sees Colin at a wedding and he understands he needs time to be alone before he can be in a relationship. When a friend asks him how he feels after sharing a slow dance with Colin he says, “It didn’t hurt like it used to. I guess the bleeding finally stopped.”