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Did Emma Watson Just Coin the Next “Conscious Uncoupling”?

Vogue logo Vogue 11/5/2019 Elise Taylor
a close up of Emma Watson © Vogue

In 2014, Gwyneth Paltrow made flexible-lexicon history by referring to her divorce from Chris Martin as “conscious uncoupling.” Since then, the term has become part of the cultural vernacular, so much so that it renders nary a “huh?” or “wait, sorry, what?” when mentioned.

Five years later, we may have a new contender for a rebranded relationship status.

Yes, thanks to Emma Watson, the term “single” may well be on its way out. In an interview with British Vogue, the actress revealed she prefers to call it “being self-partnered.” (And, she adds, she’s “very happy” with her current state.)

Watson has a point. Single implies you are seeking to become a pair, whereas self-partnered implies you’re complete just the way you are. More “I feel fulfilled with my own being and accomplishments,” and less “I’m going to die alone like that sad tortoise in the Galapagos.” (And with a professor of behavioral science from the London School of Economics recently finding that unmarried and childless women are the healthiest and happiest population subgroup, it seems that Watson’s suggested term is more reflective of reality than its predecessor.)

Sure, adjusting traditional terms might seem superfluous to some, but as our views around sex and dating evolve, our language should too. Plus, doesn't "self-partnered" sound like a much better answer when your nosy aunt asks about your love life at the next family reunion?

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