‘The children would rather have this than us getting divorced’

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Marijke is married to Vincent and has two children aged 13 and 15. She and Vincent have an open relationship and a caravan where they regularly retreat when one of them needs to be alone.

“As much as I love Vincent, I was shaken two years after I met him. It happened a couple of times that I came home after a night out and he knew what had happened but didn’t say anything. We had children and for a long time I focused exclusively on my family and career.The first ten years of motherhood survive, I had no time or desire for anything, let alone looking at other men.

When the children were about ten years old, I had more free time. I started working out, felt more attractive again and discovered Tinder and Feeld. A world opened up to me. I had a date about once a month. That someone looks you in the eye and says: ‘Marijke, I think you’re fantastic.’ Someone who is completely engrossed in you, wow! I went all in for it, I didn’t want to deny myself that excitement. I said it to myself, although at the same time I felt very guilty about it.

Open relationship

Two years ago the bomb went off. Vincent said, “We’re not going to do this again, you’re hurting me.” We both decided to take a trainer in to talk to. It was very nice. I also read everything I could find about open relationships and polyamory. Renowned sexologist Esther Perel’s theory was an eye-opener for me: your partner cannot be your best friend and father to your children and the love of your life, safe and sexy at the same time.

“Your partner can’t be your best friend and father to your children and the love of your life, safe and sexy at the same time”

Vincent suggested that he also start dating for a year, see if it was for him. He wanted to fix what I had done, now it was his turn to find out. What happened: He fell in love with someone else. He didn’t like casual flings, but he had met a woman who liked bee. He now sometimes says that if he hadn’t gotten to know her, things might have turned out very differently between us.

Vincent has been in a relationship with her for two years now and sees her a few days a month. I’ve been dating someone for three months now. It was something for me, because I definitely want to stay with Vincent. I never fell in love, I made sure of that. But with this boy it was: why do I keep imposing those rules on myself?

Also read – Marjolijn (43) has an open tantric relationship: ‘A love affair lasts about three hours with us’ >

A moment alone

When I’m away, the kids are sometimes home alone for a night. They love that. They know, like family and friends, that their parents have an open relationship. We have had several conversations about it. They would rather have that than their parents getting divorced, and they also know that I am a better mother when I have time to myself. That is why we have had a caravan at the campsite for eight years. Sometimes Vincent goes there, sometimes I do when I just want to take care of myself. Then I go swimming, meditate, light a candle. It is such a wonderfully peaceful place.

Being honest

I’m glad everyone knows what’s going on. I hated the sneaky one. I still feel guilty sometimes, but I’m also glad that I can show my kids that there isn’t just one kind of relationship possible, no matter how complicated it is sometimes.

“The world has changed, we have changed. Your relationship changes and each phase has a different solution.”

I think it is a good message to pass on to future generations: the world has changed, we have changed. Your relationship changes and each phase has a different solution. To be honest with your own and your partner’s feelings, to dare to feel what you feel, to talk honestly about it together: it is sometimes very difficult, but in the end it leads to a better situation for everyone.”

This article appears in Kek Mama 11-2022.

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