Helen Bach: Chris gets to keep the toaster, Gwyneth gets Brad

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's split could lead to some awkward moments for their friends

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's split could lead to some awkward moments for their friends

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My favourite phrase of the year so far?

Conscious uncoupling, how Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin described the end of their 10-year marriage.

Is it just me, or does that sound like they were unhitching their caravan on arrival at a campsite?

“Gwyneth, I’m just going to consciously uncouple the ‘van now, then we can have a cuppa.”

I know what they’re saying – that they’ve thought long and hard about their separation – but still, it seems a little unemotional.

It also begs the question is it the opposite of ‘unconscious coupling’, of which I think Ross and Rachel from Friends were probably guilty after their drunken nuptials in Las Vegas?

The end of any marriage is sad though, particularly for the children and the couples’ families. It’s also really difficult for friends of the splitting couple.

Friends tend to get divided up too, much like the furniture and the wedding presents (I’m now picturing a couple holding this conversation: ‘I’m having the toaster, you can keep Dave and Sam’).

Even though you try to stay friends with both parties, you usually end up seeing more of one than the other.

Organizing social events can become a nightmare too, particularly if the split wasn’t amicable.

You would like to invite them both, but they may have new partners, so you need to ask them as well.

Then if one of the original couple is partnerless, it just becomes horrendously awkward. Truthfully, it ends up easier not to invite either, which is a shame but helps with your stress levels.

Getting back to the Paltrow/Martin uncoupling, I’m guessing Gwynnie will keep Cameron Diaz and the other Hollywood celeb pals.

Perhaps this means Chris will get to keep the toaster...