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Co-parenting is not a drama, Lykele Muus now knows: ‘my fear was unfounded’

The Netherlands had over 582,000 single-parent families last year. That is almost a quarter of the total number of families in our country, and the number is increasing every year. Lykele Muus is one of those single parents. He takes care of his 7-year-old daughter Nine half the time, his ex (actress Melissa Drost) the other half. And that suits him very well: “I am very happy with how things are going now.”

Melissa and Lykele broke up three years ago, when Nine was 4 years old. “We had become more brother and sister than husband and wife,” he says over the phone. “It was great fun together, but physical affection was gone. We both thought, this is not it, and we are too young to get stuck in a platonic relationship. That’s why we chose to part ways.”

That meant that they both suddenly became single parents. Lykele was very much afraid of that, he says. “I thought it would be very lonely and confronting. Society still gives you the impression that you have failed if your relationship has failed. I was in great need of positive examples and advice.”

Everyone pity

But to his surprise they turned out to be difficult to find. That’s why he wrote the book he wanted to read at the time. That’s another way to do it is his first non-fiction book, after two previous novels. In the book he talks candidly about everything he encountered after the breakup, from his search for a new home to the agreements he made with his ex, how they told Nine and more. His own prejudices, in particular, initially got in the way of single parenthood, he noticed. “The first time I went on holiday alone with Nine, I felt that everyone and everything felt sorry for me. I was very much concerned with filling in other people’s thoughts instead of my own happiness.”

What did he want to know at the time? “That my fear was unfounded. You don’t have to cling to the ideals you thought up for yourself long ago. You can let go of your prejudices and don’t have to fear the unknown. Because if you do your best, you can. co-parenting eventually yielded a lot of positive things. I felt I had to rebuild everything, but my life just went on. I was still a father, I was still myself. And actually I was quite comfortable with a new I had more time, peace and space to look at myself and my life, it was not as if I was starting again, but as if I was making a restart halfway through the ride. I did not have to go back to start. That realization was very liberating. “

A better father

For the book he also interviewed other single parents, including Isa Hoes, Kluun and a mother with donor children. Each in their own way, they all make the most of it. “Their circumstances are very different from mine, but all the important things were basically the same. Whatever happens and however you go about it, you don’t have to worry because it will be really fine in the end. As long as you go to your child listens, it indicates what it needs, and occasionally chooses for yourself. “

Just look at Lykele: he is happier now than before the break. “I am much happier and therefore a better father. I have three days to myself, in which I do not have to discuss anything and can enjoy sports, work and see my friends. And when Nine is there I can attend her with all my attention. I notice that this is also pleasant for her. We have a lot of time to do fun things together. “

It also helps that Melissa and he don’t fight each other out. “The ex. Favorite person on earth. Best mother I know,” Lykele writes with a photo of Melissa on Instagram. It says everything about their band. “We are still very good friends,” he says. “We live close together and raise Nine together. It’s very harmonious.”

Such a good relationship with your ex is not self-evident, he realizes. “I think it would have gone wrong for us at some point if we had stayed together longer. I am glad that we made this choice in good time in good consultation and did not stay together because it supposedly would be better for Nine. It is more important for a child that you as parents are also happy. “

Melissa is now with a new love. “A very nice man who also has a child himself”, says Lykele. “He understood the situation very well, that makes it easy. Nine really wanted a little brother or sister, now she has a ‘kind of sister’, as she calls it. That’s great too. We celebrated Sinterklaas last month “I looked like the fifth wheel from a distance, but it was a lot of fun.”

We should all look a bit more positively at single parenting, Lykele wants to say. “Separating is sad, it is a difficult decision, but it will be fine. If things turn out differently than you expect, it can turn out very positively. Just look at us.”

The book That’s another way to do it is now for sale.

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