Katherine Woodward Thomas, the Berkeley-based family therapist who coined the term “conscious uncoupling” more than a decade ago, said the key to making the next stage work will be honesty, as well as clear communication about the situation with her two children, who are. in their 20s. That will be true, she and other experts said, no matter how that turns out — whether one person falls in love and eventually wants a divorce, or if they find a way to have a more open relationship.
The first step on a long road to unraveling the emotional bonds of marriage will be building a fuller identity outside of politics and the home, Ms. Thomas said. And that may be more difficult for Mr. de Blasio than Ms. McCray, who had a a proud personal identity how to out a lesbian before marrying her spouse.
“He needs to go out now and develop himself – and not just in the dating scene,” Ms Thomas said. “He’s got a big makeover ahead of him.”
The biggest cultural contribution of their breakup story, Mr. Savage said, would be if it sparked a conversation for other couples who, after decades together, are looking for respectful ways to evaluate their marriages while opening the door to something new.
A few blocks from Mr. de Blasio’s YMCA, neighborhood residents generally had good things to say about his and Ms. McCray’s announcement. Some commented on how “Brooklyn” it was and thought it could set an example for other couples in similar situations.
“It’s inspiring what they do,” said Kent McVey, 65, on a walk in Park Slope with his wife of 43 years, Laura, 67, and their two dogs. “To me, that just shows that there’s a deep, deep level of respect and friendship. If they don’t stay together and they end up dating other people and they marry someone else, they’re going to be friends forever. What other way would you want it ? I think that’s incredible. I love it.”
Olivia Bensimon contributed reporting.