A Divorced Man: Never again!

A Divorced Man: Never again!.

Daily Prompt: Have you ever gone to a new place or tried a new experience and thought to yourself, “I’m never doing that again!” Tell us about it.

If there is one thing I will not do ever again, it is having a relationship with a divorced man.

A little background here: I met the Ex when I was 24 years old, he was a 40-year-old man with an ex-wife who had cheated on him, a six-year-old daughter, a mother who died of breast cancer, a father who suffers from dementia and two houses of which one still has to be sold. I did fall for him. Afterwards I felt a little out of place, living on my own for hardly two weeks. I fall for men who can give me a kind of security, I am aware of that now – I was not back then, and sought it in someone much older. What he brought me was more insecurity and a lack of understanding for someone so much younger.

Did I love him? I think I did. I did… care about him anyway. It was not enough. It was by far not enough to beat all those problems he brought with him. The fights with his ex-wife, while I told him to ‘ease down, you only make it worse’, he told me I could not know, I was young and had never been divorced. Meanwhile I hurdled his daughter with me out of the house, to a playground, when he shouted at her mother over the phone, or at her uncle because he did not want to give her enough for her birthday present. When I told him to sort out his finances without the guy who sold him all the way too expensive insurances, he said I did not know anything about it; I had never bought my own house. What did I know about finances or insurances? I was only 25 years old. When I told him to give his daughter more structure, to let her chose between two dishes to eat instead of asking her ‘what do you want to eat tonight?’ (she was only seven at the time, and clearly could not handle the blank choices he made her make), I, the ex-scout-leader and eldest of 5 siblings, was told ‘how did I know what was good enough for children? I was young and did not even have children’. So his ability to put his shizzles in his ex without a condom made that he knew how to raise children. Right.

I will never again chose a divorced man as a significant other. Not only because I already have the most wonderful fiancé, without a nasty past, also because I have been hurt too much to be able to deal with it again. Because of what happened. Because of the feeling of guilt that I left him, and that after that he has never seen his daughter again, because her mother did not trust him with his daughter when I was not around. I do not want to be responsible for a father to see his child anymore. I will have my own family, my own children who I can love and take care for and for whom I can decide, for whom I do not have to watch the persons who can protect them fight over them and make the world a worse place for them, while I can do nothing. It was too hard, it hurt too much.

There is one person I have a lot of respect for in this story: my ex’ daughter’s stepdad. Yes, the one her mother left my ex for. Afterwards he made her leave the ex, because he saw he was too difficult a person to cope with, and he stuck around. He stayed, they are together still. He kept fighting for the little girl who became his stepdaughter. The position that was too much for me – fighting without being able to fight, because you know the child is worth it – he was able to keep doing it.

via A Divorced Man: Never again!.


How do People See Social Housing?

When I was a little kid, I grew up in what could’ve been a social housing estate. Well, not really – in the village where I grew up, there were some blocks of social housing spread through the village, and the first nine years of my life I lived in one of those blocks. It was not a problem at all; some of my classmates lived in blocks like that too, others did not, but we did not care. We had lovely neighbours – people warned my parents for them when we started to live there, but really, we could not have wished for better ones. When I was nine years old, my parents bought a house that was big enough for them and after a while five children to live in, in one of the more exclusive parts of the village. It was a logical step when my father started to earn more, and we needed a bigger house. They still live there, the population has changed for the better, but my mother still misses the old neighbours sometimes. After 15 years I saw one of them again, and even while I changed quite a bit (growing from 9 to 24 years old) she recognized me.

Now I live in social housing as well, in quite a nice apartment. There are two apartment blocks like this in the small city I live in, while the older apartment blocks from social housing are being replaced for new ones, ours will stick around for some time longer. They are built in the ’60’s and not perfect (we cannot have a dishwasher), but the half-a-million-costing houses around the corner do not have the marvellous sight we have when we roll out of our bed.

Here too, we have quite nice neighbours. Okay, I admit, the ones upstairs are a Somalian family, with three kinds who like to run around, so we hear them. The neighbours next door are not all Dutch either, and there are some Polish guest-workers somewhere in the block. We have been on visiting terms with the neighbours upstairs and downstairs, and they are all quite nice. Some people downstairs like to repair cars all day, and we can hear that all day. So what? I dare to bet that if my fiancé had his car-breakdown here instead of at his work, they’d have helped him right away.

I know social housing can be different than I am used to. Where my parents lived, and where I live now, it mostly are the neat people with just less money than average, who live here. The housing is cheap, but it is home, and we live between the rich, driving the same roads, shopping in the same supermarkets. I know it can be that way in the bigger cities too, although I know there are some more ghetto-like buroughs as well. My ex grew up in a social housing estate in Utrecht, one of our bigger cities. Where he is just a city boy, with a little bit too much experience with his bike being stolen when he was a kid, his area was not much unlike it is here. On the other hand, there is one burough in that city he does not want to live – ever – and when he heard my cousin lived there on her own, he told me that if he were my aunt and uncle, he would not sleep at night. But that is in the Netherlands, and it is not really as bad as I hear it to be in other countries.

How is social housing where you come from? Would you want to live there?

How do you avoid burnout?

As I told in my former post, last year I was on the verge of a burnout. My biggest problem so far is, that I want to be normal. I want to be like everyone else, and I want to be able to do what everyone else can.


One of the things that helped me, was realising I do not have to be ‘normal’. Heck, if someone is not normal, I am that someone. I am the person who is clumsy all the time, and usually is able to laugh about it herself. No, I am not a nutcase (oh well, I might be), I am just different. Like everyone is different.

Somehow that was not enough though. I still wanted, and want, to be like everyone else. I still wanted to be good enough to fit in. Starting to become fine with being out of the box did not help me completely. It were the people around me who care for me that did, You know what? Even while my apprenticeship-coaches told me that if I did not quit, things might get even worse… Even while my SO told me to please, please take care of myself… I was afraid still. I was afraid my parents would think I gave up too easily. My mother had been going on about the importance of finishing something and getting a degree, and I did not want to disappoint her. Was she right? Oh yes she was, I still do not have a job after half a year of trying. Was she right? No… since a job is not nearly as important as my health. Apart from being jobless, I am doing much better now I take care of myself.

I do work, in some way. I do have a webshop that I am trying to grow into a selling webshop. I do also take care of myself though, I make sure I do things I like. And yes, about half a year ago, I slept, a lot. Still I would love to know how to make sure this does not happen again. I cannot be a quitter every time, I do not want to be. But I do know I have to keep taking care of my health.

How do you avoid burnout? How do you speak up if there is too much on your plate?

I can work, or… can I?

Four years old

I am in class, almost in tears, because I am stupid. I could not tell the teacher why I touched the Easter-thingies. I knew why I did it; they were nice, and everyone did it. Only I was the one seen doing it, and how could I tell the teacher why without betraying my friends? Well, I did not think it out like that; all I knew was that the teacher must think I am stupid, since I cannot even tell why I did something.

Six years old

I cannot fix the words out of my letter box fast enough. They are so small, and slip out of my fingers so easily. I love letters, and I started to read and write before the others in class, but still I must be dumb. All others can make words with the letterbox so much faster than I can.

Nine years old

Finally they know what is wrong with me, I have dyspraxia. I was not dumb for not not placing those tiny thingies fast enough, nor stupid because I wanted to feel what I saw.

17 years old

Why is it so hard for me to do my homework in time? Sleepless nights, because I have to hand in something important, and I have not finished yet. Always being just in time, always just good enough for practical things. But I am good enough, and even while I cannot plan, I get through high school pretty easily. Everything goes smooth, I can rule the world if I want to!

20 years old
A speaking disability, that is what they say I have. That is why I cannot plan, or take initiative, or talk with cliënts the way I should when I learned to be a social worker. That is why I could not tell stories good enough when I learned to be a primary school teacher. I cannot do anything right, see, I knew all along I was stupid. Now I am without work, without education, too stupid to have a good job, and too clumsy to do a more practical job.
Thanks to the Social Security worker – who knew me, and knew I would be able to work my ass off, and who knew how hard I needed a break, so she sent me on a holiday with my parents – and thanks to an old classmate who was able to give me a job, I survived. I learned I could do something, I learned I could work, and people wanted me to work. Later there was my boss, when I worked with a big insurance company on the customer centre – yes, on the phone, me, with my speaking disability. He gave me a year’s contract, because he was confident I was good enough. When the contract stopped and they could not give me a new one, there was Jaap, the director of a small company on the verge of bankruptcy. He was not in the position to hire just anyone, but he needed someone good enough to help him sorting out things. I was hired. His words: ‘You should not be so insecure, you are great!’ Then there was the teacher who helped me getting my first-year-degree, because she thought I was worth helping.
Now I have been jobless for about half a year. I do not have the right education for the things I want to do, nor do I have enough job experience. The jobs I had were too diverse, too short, and too long ago, or so I was told at the employment agency. It would be a miracle if they could find me a job, she said. There would always be people better than me, she said. ‘Why would you be a go-getter? You stopped three studies’ she said.
I will tell you why I am a go-getter.
Although I have a couple of disabilities, I finished high school without any extra help. My sister had an ambulant coach for these disabilities, my brothers even are at a special school for them, I did not get any more help than a normal student, and I finished it with good grades. Although the first study was a total disaster, I did not give up until I had to. If they had given me a chance to improve myself and learn to cope with the extra disability I found out I had, I would have finished that one – I have FOUGHT to get the aknowledgement that I could do it, but it just was too late. After months of being jobless, I was able to get a job, and to get better jobs after that. Not only that, other people who knew me, believed in me. I started another study, because I wanted to have a degree anyway, and it took me almost on the verge of a burn-out before I was willing to give up.
And you, just fresh from college and younger than I am – you for who, looking at your age everything went smoothly, after which you had a job right away, doubt that I do not give up too easily? Step into my shoes please, I wonder if you are able to walk in them for as much as five minutes.