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“I’m ashamed of my husband’s bluntness, how do I change that?”

Jasmijn (32) lives with Raphaël (40). Together they have two children: Lene (4) and Joëlle (3).

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“The first time Raphaël came to eat with me, he was at the door empty-handed. No flowers, no bottle of wine. We were twenty-four and had only been on two dates. I had been in the kitchen all day. I offered him a glass of wine, to which he said: “Would you mind if I just watch the football results, while you’re still in the kitchen?” Considerate has never been a word that applies to him.


Raphaël is very honest. And reliable. He is a rock in the surf for our family. We have a wonderful life together, but in a social context he still has some challenges – and so do I. People often mistake his honesty for bluntness. Sometimes his behavior in public is even downright inappropriate. During Lene’s first parent evening at school, he shouted in the middle of the teacher’s presentation: ‘I think everyone in this room knows these open doors, can you get to the core a little faster?’ I could sink through the ground.

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New context

My family is now used to his comments. In the beginning, my parents especially had a hard time with it, but because he was so incredibly sweet to me, they quickly closed him in their hearts. The fact that he also turned out to be a great father only helped the situation. Our friends don’t know him any other way, so his comments seldom lead to problems for them either. But now that we are entering a new social context through school, I am starting to feel ashamed of his behavior.

Unemployed women

During a drink at our new neighbors, who happened to be parents of a classmate of Lene’s, he made a political sneer at people with very left-wing views. Everything in our neighbor’s house – from the anthroposophic fall table to the spiritual books in their closet – suggested that these were probably not VVD voters. And when he came home one afternoon while I was having tea with some mothers from school, he expressed how all those “unemployed women with rich men” had it easy. While I just work four days a week, and one of the mothers takes care of her children and earns a living.


Raphaël gives me a glassy look when I confront him again with his thoughtless statements. ‘Anyway, everyone is free to argue with me,’ he says. I feel that the mothers at school occasionally talk about it. I can’t change my partner, and I don’t want to, but how do I make sure he is a bit more appropriate? ”

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