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Author Topic: My Story Will he return after 7+ years away?

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My Story Will he return after 7+ years away?
OP: October 15, 2020, 04:21:46 PM
Long time lurker here.  My first post.

Here's the Reader's Digest version of my situation.  Things started to unravel in 2012, but I was pretty oblivious.  He bailed on his job of 24 years and started a new one in 2013 -- one that gives him a lot more attention and recognition.  Affair with his old flame from high school (a mutual friend) began sometime in 2013.  He took off his wedding ring and said he was no longer my husband, but we stayed legally married and I made a few failed attempts to knock some sense into him and get him to end the affair.  I tried to hide it from our friends as long as I could, but I have no tolerance for infidelity, and I granted him the divorce.  It was final in mid 2014.   He broke up with the OW briefly but then they got back together.  He left behind our kids, our grandkids, his beloved dog . . . everything . . . and moved 5 hours away, back to his hometown, to be with the OW.  Somehow my grown kids found enough grace to eventually accept the OW as their stepmom, and he married her in 2016.  There has never been more than one OW.  Husband told me that she was always the love of his life and that he's happy.  Sometimes I've even wondered if this was really MLC or if he really just regretted breaking up with the OW all those years ago and she is the love of his life.  His social media is an endless stream of nostalgic photos from high school.

Now I have my own little cottage, a new puppy, and so much love from my kids and grandkids.  Husband (62) is far away and we don't see him all that much, but we're something approximating friends.  As I read the pages on reconciliation, I find I'm less and less prepared for that to happen.  At first it was my one wish, but my new normal has become really . . . NORMAL.  I've dated a couple other people but I've discovered a real love of my independence. 

What I'm wondering is this:
-Is this even MLC, or just a typical unhappy marriage?
-Has anyone had a husband return after 5+ years of being married to the OW, especially at his age?  Or 10+ years away?
-Has anyone else dealt with the feeling that you don't know if you want things to go back anymore?
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« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 05:41:01 AM by OldPilot »

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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#1: October 15, 2020, 09:13:11 PM
I'm so glad that you decided to post MTL.  Welcome to the board officially!

From what I've read, many of them do go for an old flame.  I sometimes question my own xH and whether it was MLC, but then I think about all the things that he's said and done that is the exact sort of thing others MLCers have done and I know that he is not whole and healed from whatever it was that internally caused the crisis.

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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#2: October 16, 2020, 10:44:04 AM
Hello,

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He left behind our kids, our grandkids, his beloved dog . . . everything . . . and moved 5 hours away, back to his hometown, to be with the OW.

This speaks to crisis. His crisis as at the age of 55, he changes a job and promptly has an affair.  He then leaves everything to go back to his past.
 
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His social media is an endless stream of nostalgic photos from high school.

To me, this is more of an indicator of crisis than OW. He wants to return to the past for whatever reason. He looks back at that time as a period that he was safe, comfortable, and understood his world. OW just happened to be a part of that world and helps keep him in his comfort zone.

So crisis erupt because of issues from the past that lie deep and others from a current reality that makes on seek a safe haven of times in the past.

Maybe that explains why I baby talk to my dog, wow an epiphany while posting on someone else's thread.

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At first it was my one wish, but my new normal has become really . . . NORMAL. 

Yes, I used to be reconcile or bust and now I am remarried. Wouldn't change anything right now. Many don't reconcile. Too much damage and MLCers don't always clear the tunnel. If you have found your own peace and healed from the trauma of his crisis, you have found success. It seems that you have thrived without him and that is the best that you can do under the circumstances.

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-Is this even MLC, or just a typical unhappy marriage?

Sound like MLC, were you both unhappy before? Or was this a sudden shift? If it was years of being at each other's throats, drug dependency, or abuse. Then it's unhappy marriage. If he changed overnight like you describe, it sound like MLC. Especially the abandonment of his children and even his dog. Sound like it was more than just you.

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Has anyone had a husband return after 5+ years of being married to the OW, especially at his age?  Or 10+ years away?

I don't know but someone will answer that question for you.

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Has anyone else dealt with the feeling that you don't know if you want things to go back anymore?

Yes, I have and I don't want things to go back anymore.

Hope this helps and (((((Hugs)))

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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#3: October 16, 2020, 10:47:50 AM
Welcome to HS.  I wish we all had crystal balls and had a way to answer your question...but we just do not.   I would have swore and bet a million dollars that my husband would NEVER EVER return , because that is what he told me , many times.  Neither could I imagine he would ever be able to face the catastrophy that he created and face all the people that he hurt . I never expected him to return...but he did.  I was dumbfounded ( to say the least) when he admitted his huge mistake and wanted to "fix what he broke". So, I guess my point is , you just can never tell what they will think in the future, how they will feel or what they will do. Certainly I have heard of men returning "years" after they departed ...but I am not sure it is that common. My sister has a friend that re-married her wayward spouse 9 years after he left. Astonishing. The important thing is to find ways to "live as if they will not return" so your life is not on hold for something that may or may not ever happen.  I wish there was magic .
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#4: October 16, 2020, 01:24:35 PM
Thanks for all the great insights.  I never imagined that he would cheat.  We shared a lot of common interests and we were involved in community organizations together, etc.  No drugs or alcohol problems -- he was routinely drug tested to keep his license for his job, so that definitely would have come out.  He was a pretty upstanding citizen before all this.  I still have a hard time reconciling the fact that he thought it was an okay thing to do.  In a way, it's almost like mourning a death, because that person I was married to doesn't even really seem to exist at this point. 

He is the THIRD (!!!) husband of OW.  I know that statistically speaking, third marriages are basically doomed.  For a while that gave me some hope.  Here's the thing that drives me crazy, though.  He seems so happy, from the bits I can see.  He and OW seem to be beating the odds.  Yet so much here suggests that maybe he is not so happy.  Is he really as happy as he seems?
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#5: October 16, 2020, 07:28:51 PM
Hi Marian,

  I think we all wonder the same thoughts. My wife's OM has everything we have ever talked about doing in retirement. A ski cabin , sailboat and a big house. She seems happy as can be! Can she really be happy though? I don't know but from all accounts I have to believe what I see. My older kids think everyone is doing good. I seem to be the one made out to be crazy with a need just to get over everything and move on.

  As I am sure everyone on this site knows how hard this is. Trying to understand the illogical way of thinking and being replaced when you thought you had a pretty good marriage.

   To me  my silence is the best go F yourself I can do as we have kids together. It's my way of saying what you did was wrong and NO I haven't forgotten it and we are not friends.

  My only fault was loving her. Even if she was in an unhappy marriage from her vantage point a real caring human being would still have some kind of remorse about the way they hurt someone. Especially the father of her children. No person that can't see that can ever truly be happy, can they ??
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Re: Will he return after 7+ years away?
#6: October 17, 2020, 05:40:39 AM
Welcome to the Board

You are in a good place.
Your H/W  is on his/her own journey.
You can not do anything to control this trip.
Come here and read or vent, we will listen.
Give your H/W space  he/she needs to heal himself/herself.

I would not ask him/her anything unless you can have no expectations.
Sometimes asking them questions will be thought of as pressure.
You do not want to do anything that can be thought of by your H/W as controlling or pressure.

Your need to start working on you.
There is nothing that you can do to help your H/W.

He/She has given you a gift.
It is time!!

Use the time wisely to make yourself a better person.
Look in the mirror to see what it is that you can improve.
Take care of yourself, breathe, eat, sleep, exercise.
GAL.

Read some books on depression. Both for yourself! And for H/W.
Believe none of what he/she says and 50% of what he/she does.

Read the resources from this site.
The links that are in my signature.

Detach. - The single most important thing you can do

The detach link and HB's 6 stages of MLC(rewritten from Jim Conway) located in the resources above.
http://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=4.msg380#msg380

Developing Detachment
http://jamesjmessina.com/toolsforcontrolissues/developdetachment.html

http://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/self-focus_releasers_detach.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/14712-developing-detachment/

RCR has asked everyone to keep to one thread until  that thread is 150 posts

Keep posting and asking questions and we will try to answer them.

Knowledge is Power - Sir Francis Bacon
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nah

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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#7: October 17, 2020, 06:36:36 AM
If you’re a long term lurker you probably remember me as we have similar timelines and I was very active here for many years, especially the early days.
So you’re wondering if it’s “really a MLC” or something else?
Has anyone had a husband return after 5+ or 10+ years?
And
Has anyone delt with the feeling of not wanting to go back?

Well, over the years many of us debated with the idea of MLC. Is it real? How do I know if my spouse has it?
My opinion. If they’re gone does it really matter?  If there was an MLC contest, I would be very surprised if my ex didn’t win the trophy. Seriously, he checks every single MLC stereotype. Every. Single.One
Including, I hate to break it to those who are hoping for a return,.. he has not returned and I don’t expect him to return.
I believe someday she will dump him and then he will go on to the next thing to fill the emptiness inside him that he refuses to address. Cowards take the path of least resistance.
Will someone have a story of knowing someone that returned after 10+ years? Sure, there’s always stories that keep us hanging on to hope. Why live our life based on exceptions instead of rules? Especially when those exceptions are something we have zero control over?  The exception is females don’t pursue advanced degrees after the age of 50? Well, hell yeah, believe in an exception when it’s something that is about you, and something you CAN control. But when it’s about a pipe dream of a ghost returning like nothing ever happened or he was taken over from a mysterious fog and now he will treat you like you deserved from the very beginning?  Personally, I would rather place my bets on me.
As for the feelings of not wanting to go back.
Hopefully, at some point that’s were we will all be.
I do remember having mixed feelings about truly letting go. Feelings of thinking that’s what I should do (bc people kept telling me that’s what I should do) and feelings of guilt and fear. I would begin to release and then grab on tight again.
At some point, I can’t even say when bc it was gradual, I just did. It happened naturally over time.
At this point, if he magically showed up at my door, on his knees with tears in his eyes, I would be kind but he’s just not the man for me.
Too much time has passed and I’m no longer that girl who was willing to worship someone while ignoring her own needs.
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« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 06:38:28 AM by nah »
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#8: October 17, 2020, 06:53:22 AM
The Gospel truth according to Nah. She tells it like it is....
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#9: October 17, 2020, 07:04:50 AM
Hi and welcome to HS.

Nobody knows what will happen in the future. Your question is a good one but there is no way that anyone can predict what will happen in the future.

One person's situation is their own unique story. No other person's story is the same on HS or anywhere else.

Something caused them to "break" and sometimes, when they have healed and several other factors are in place, sometimes they find their way home...and I do not think that the length of time has anything to do with it.

The best thing I did was to stop looking for "stories" that would calm me down by telling me that eventually he would come back. That is not my story.

But I believe in hope that one day he will return to our family. Because I have seen it happen in real people that I know, but more importantly because God's in control of this. I trust in God's goodness. I know that divorce is not something God wanted for me and I know that God can change hearts.

My husband would need to be open to that, he would need to be "well" enough to look at himself.

It's been 11 years since BD and 3 years ago I was stuck so I embarked on an intense journey. It took 2 years of therapy before I broke through the effects of the trauma that was caused by destruction of this crisis...really hard work. I don't know if my husband has done any work this way, I doubt it......I think he compartmentalizes anything  to do that involves feelings. He buries himself in his work, that is his focus, that is his life.

Trying to "predict" how long their crisis will last or if they will come home is somewhat like forecasting the weather. I live in Colorado and there is a saying here that "if you don't like the weather wait 5 minutes and it will change". Even with the finest science, they often don't get the weather right so why do we think that we can determine what a human will do?  We understand very little of the brain and MLC is a very complex issue. Especially since they had something happen to them that changed them so much and so suddenly.

For me, the most important thing is acceptance of my life as it is today. I needed a great deal of healing and I still see my therapist at times to help me cope with other issues..because I tend to go back into the fight/flight/freeze that I spent so much time in ......

Each of us will decide if we want this person back in our lives or not..that too is a very personal decision and based upon many many factors. Reality is, that they are not in our lives now, so the question to me is more about how am I going to live a life that is fulfilling and satisfying and peaceful?

I don't focus on his return or not the way I once did. He is a part of my life, but not my whole life and I needed to separate the two in order to heal.

I truly don't think the "length of time" matters....they will come back if at some point they resolve their own issues.

My firm belief is that this is not about me and not about our marriage.....it's his journey and his work and since we do not know what is going through their heads, it's really not possibly to put a time frame on when or if they ever recover.

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The Gospel truth according to Nah. She tells it like it is....

Nas tells it from her perspective only as we each of us  do...sorry, I find her "truth" not to be what I have seen and personally I see her post as a very negative outlook which I would not agree with.
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« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 07:06:59 AM by xyzcf »
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

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Re: Will he return after 7+ years away?
#10: October 17, 2020, 07:18:05 AM
Nah is 100% right.

What difference does it make if you call it MLC, Walk-away-spouse, purple brain eaters, alien abduction etc?

The result is the same.  A Spouse has walked away from his marriage, divorced, and married someone else in 2016 - 4 years ago.

Your H is in a new life - and from what you wrote I would say he plans to stay there.
I am sorry if this is painful - but reality is staring you in the face - stop feeding the fantasy of the MLC theory of their eventual return.  It simply isn't the norm.

Let's be honest - reconciliation of a marriage after MLC breakup - divorce - and remarriage to another is about as rare as a hen's tooth.

Can you find an  few examples of people that had the experience?
Probably.
But let's look at a different example -

Every month there is a Lottery winner.
However, the vast numbers of lotto players don't win.
Would you plan you retirement income on the idea you will eventually win the Lottery?
I would say it's not a prudent idea - and the downside could be pretty disastrous.

From what you said - your have rebuild a good life - keep doing that.



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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#11: October 17, 2020, 08:16:32 AM
I wouldn't say I'm hoping for him to come back -- I think I would find that upsetting at this point.  It's a strange combination of hope and apprehension.  I think mainly I know that it would never be the same.  I don't really want to be compared to the OW and I feel like my resentment for what he did would bubble up in any and every conflict.  I just don't need that in my life.  I just find it hard to emotionally prepare for his potential return and the conversation that follows, along with the possibility that that will never happen.  I'm better off if I just assume it won't.

His relationship with the OW has beaten all the odds.  People don't often marry their affair partner, but he did.  Third marriages fail 74% of the time, but he's been married 4 years now.  He's even lost both his parents in the last 18 months and gotten laid off in the pandemic and it just keeps on ticking.  Maybe there is something there that we just didn't have.

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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#12: October 17, 2020, 08:29:27 AM
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I'm better off if I just assume it won't.

We have some well worn phrases on HS "live as though he is never coming back" is one of them and indeed many people  have built a life of their own which is truly satisfying.

For the sake of our daughter, I remain "friendly" enough that I am ok when he wants to join us. Different from you, there is no OW that I know of now.

You have done well with your life and seem to find the joy and beauty that we can have, as I said, they are a part of our life story but not all of it.

We also "quote" on HS that the LBSer will be the one to decide whether or not a reconciliation or friendship is possible. Each of us are vastly different in our personal history and belief system.

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He's even lost both his parents in the last 18 months and gotten laid off in the pandemic and it just keeps on ticking. 

There seems to be this idea that something will shake them out of their crisis. I think that could be true for some but not for others...once again, there really is no way to generalize.

 
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Maybe there is something there that we just didn't have.

Only you can answer that. Most of us question but again, I reiterate that MLC is not about us and not about the marriage. They rewrite history and sometimes it's hard for us not to do so as well.

I am grateful that we had 32 wonderful years together. I know what they were like. His crisis changed him, perhaps what he wanted now...a "second" chance at life or love..who knows...but I know what we had was real.

Keep pondering and asking questions. Ultimately I think that each one of us finds the answers within.
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"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

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Re: Will he return after 7+ years away?
#13: October 17, 2020, 08:37:07 AM
There IS something there I’m their relationship that the two of you didn’t have.  A desperate (and despicable) need to cling to the “it was all worth it” aspect of the relationship.  It was founded on deceit and betrayal.  There’s no integrity there.  Superficially, maybe it is wonderful.  It might be a mile wide but it’s only an inch deep.  What I had with my husband had genuine depth to it.  Would I want the relationship he has now?!  Not in a million years.  I still miss what was - but I don’t envy what he has.  A man capable of leaving his wife and kids for dead after more than 20 years together - isn’t a man I would want.  I don’t deserve a man like that.  The OW does and I’m glad that is what she found.  Bc woman like that - deserve men like that!
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Re: Will he return after 7+ years away?
#14: October 17, 2020, 10:22:02 AM
Marian, this really stood out to me:

"At first it was my one wish, but my new normal has become really . . . NORMAL.  I've dated a couple other people but I've discovered a real love of my independence."

I say good for you!  It does sound like you have a good, happy, independent life right now, with you loved ones.  Isn't that what we all should want?  To be happy with our lives.

To answer one of your questions, I believe in MLC but I also believe some marriages just weren't that happy.  It's hard to say why some people leave their marriages, yet I think after a few years, and some real mirror work done,  "some" may find it becomes apparent things were not as good as they thought.

I'm certainly not saying that is the case with your marriage, no one can answer that but you.
I'm just saying not everyone leaves a marriage because they had a midlife crisis.  Some times they just leave...and sometimes they are happy.  I guess time will tell.

You see more crazy antics with MLCer's.  Big personality changes, making crazy decisions that make no sense, becoming highly self-absorbed, dressing much younger than their years, hanging out with a much younger crowd.
Just a few things that so many MLCer's seem to have in common, but not all of them.

I sounds to me like you are in a good place, Marian. 

I'm glad you finally posted.
Hugs
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« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 10:23:36 AM by Thunder »
A quote from a recovered MLCer: 
"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#15: October 17, 2020, 12:15:08 PM
I have a friend for whom this happened. The person her H was during the time they were divorced was a total jacka$$. The person he is now still cringes at what he was. When he came back, be was worth having because he didnt come back half baked and wanting anyone to help fix him. He fixed himself, and has made amends every day since he's been back. This is not the usual of what happens. It just shows it can.

Here is the interesting thing about time. It passes, you live your life, you find you can actually HAVE  one without MLC spouse. And hey, it's not so bad. In fact, considering some of us had a ramp up we didn't understand leading up to BD, it's pretty nice. And calm.

So here you are in a comfy and normal life, and you don't really want MLC spouse back, and yet kinda feel like you ought to hold out for the Golden Ticket.

Consider that 4 of the Golden Ticket holders got nothing. Only the "GOOD" ticket holder got the spoils. This is the lesson we are brought up with. We can be the one true "good" person that gets the spoils. We keep thinking if we just do everything right. Just try HARDER! Just wait LONGER! The MLC spouse will realize they were wrong to leave and come back WONDERFUL. Or still broken and we can go back to dysfunctional, if that's who you are. Or whatever in between. In our minds, that will PROVE it wasn't really us, it was MLC that sent them running away.

I don't know anyone who likes being abandoned with no explanation except possibly blame that the LBS caused the wayward spouse to lie, cheat, steal, abandon and lose all empathy for their existing family's feelings. Having them come back would be justification that it was not us. Also, FOMO. What if he becomes a "Wonderful Person". The LBS would miss out on "Wonderful Person"

But we don't need justification. At least I don't.  I did not lie or cheat or steal or abandon. I had no idea there was a problem, so nothing to be done to fix it. The guy who left me was really worth nothing.  If he becomes "Wonderful Person" he can come by, show remorse, and seek to make amends. And that bridge will be crossed or blown up if I ever see it. I also don't seem to have FOMO.

I'm good if he never comes back. I'm good if he tries to.  I won't settle for less than I deserve either way.
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#16: October 17, 2020, 02:12:36 PM
I know a couple who got back together after a divorce and remarriage - they are members of my church. He married the affair partner, it didn't last very long, they met each other in an airport and got back together... I don't remember how long they were apart, a few years, maybe five.

It can happen.

None of us can tell you for sure whether he will come back. It is more important to make sure that you are where you are meant to be. For me, as a Christian, that is in the center of the Lord's will. I am a stander for my marriage, so that means that I am not pursuing another relationship, I am open to what God wants for me. I continue to work full time, I keep my house, I have two adult kids with whom I have a close relationship, I have three dogs and I have an elderly, mother who needs my support. I travel by myself (when the pandemic allows it), I enjoy cooking, I take part in my church celebrations via Zoom, I drink wine.... My life is not bad, it is a bit lonely, but I guess it is lonely for a lot of people nowadays. I like my independence, as I always have and I find joy in small things, flowers in my garden, sunny days, films on Netflix, coffee, a clean house...
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#17: October 17, 2020, 09:15:18 PM
I think it is important to realize that feelings may change over time, both yours and his. It is pretty standard for men to take up with someone they knew as a teenager, to explore what their life "would have been" if they hadn't married you. What they are looking for is a mythical chance to "start over", to live life again, and this is precipitated by a fear of their own mortality. This fantasy of starting over is a very powerful drug, and they frequently reject everyone and everything they see as an obstacle including their job, their wife, and their children.

I am glad that you have found peace, it is important to have a "glass half full" attitude. For women living alone is often less burdensome, less cooking and cleaning, more time and independence to dedicate to other activities. I myself have been through many many phases, denial, sadness, resignation, combined with a whole series of tremendously satisfying real life adventures which I never would have lived if he had not abandoned us. I have changed my mind so many times that I no longer try to keep track of how I feel anymore, nor do I make any effort to make final decisions. The bridge will be crossed when we get there.

So if you are happy living alone that is wonderful. You may continue to feel this way, or you may entirely change your mind with time. He may return or he may not, and at that point you will know how you feel.
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#18: October 17, 2020, 09:15:29 PM
Hi Marian,

It sounds to me that what you're wondering mostly about is the relationship with the alienator and why it has lasted thus far. You aren't really certain about reconciliation--wanting it or not and maybe even fear the idea if it ever got to that. But why is this affair lasting against the odds?
Well, some do. Just like some MLCers come home and successfully reconcile, some marriages to the alienator last for years and may not end in divorce.
My father was the alienator and she was his 4th wife. They'd been married 29 years when he died in 2016.
Was it a happy marriage?
Well, it wasn't a miserable marriage unless you were hanging out with them--meaning it worked for them and they weren't unhappy, but it sure didn't seem like a great romance to me...I called them the Bickersons.
They each married and brought two kids into the marriage--I didn't live with them, but I was 14 and so not grown. Her kids were 8 and 11 and my brother was 6 and did live with them from 9 to 15.  And my brother was a handful--so they stayed together amidst serious challenges.

But Marian, your situation does have one thing going for them that my Dad did not have. The alienator in your case was an Old Flame and not just, but it sounds like an Old Flame from his teenage years? I believe the researcher who specializes in Old Flame relationships has said that those from this time period have greater pull. I could be wrong, so don't quote me on that.
Here's a Psychology Today article by Dr. Kalish that just goes over some of the Old Flame basics: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sticky-bonds/201110/my-research-12-facts-about-lost-love-reunions
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Re: Will he return after 7+ years away?
#19: October 18, 2020, 01:42:20 AM
On here all evidence is of course anecdotal.

It is true that most MLC marriages end up in divorce and it is true that documented on here are a handful of reconciliations (not always after divorce though)  Stayed talks about her friend who was divorced from her H for over 9 years and he had been a vanisher. 9 years later asks her out for coffee  and now they are fully reconciled, remarried and happy.

So it can happen. Does it mean that your H will want to reconcile with you - who knows?

What matters is you.  You seem to be thriving and living your life to suit you and bearing in mind the speed with which everything happened it is perfectly normal for you to think about the whole concept of reconciliation.  What is important is that like everything else you have learned about your MLCer and his crisis is that you put it all on the back burner to either simmer or boil dry. 

You will never ruin your chances because you have grown so much; you clearly have a good grip on things and living for you so whatever happens will always be controlled by you.

So in answer to your question - yes there has been evidence of some couple reconciling after a long gap;it's fewer than might be liked and bear in mind too there are many on here who no longer post  and who may be heading towards or reconnecting or reconciling - we just don't know.

Yes there are more divorces that never reconcile or even reconnect on here. 

However - what matters is that you are OK and living a fruitful life with family and friends.

 
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#20: October 18, 2020, 06:43:39 PM

But Marian, your situation does have one thing going for them that my Dad did not have. The alienator in your case was an Old Flame and not just, but it sounds like an Old Flame from his teenage years? I believe the researcher who specializes in Old Flame relationships has said that those from this time period have greater pull. I could be wrong, so don't quote me on that.
Here's a Psychology Today article by Dr. Kalish that just goes over some of the Old Flame basics: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sticky-bonds/201110/my-research-12-facts-about-lost-love-reunions


Wow, this was informative.  Yes, I am mostly stuck trying to reason out how the situation with the OW has managed not to implode, despite the fact that they are obviously financially strained, the stress it put on his relationship to his children and grandchildren, and the fact that it is really an "affair down" in many ways.  While I went to school in another district, the OW went to school with exH for many years.  They shared a lot of common interests in high school and spent a lot of time together.  Going by the article, it seems like a platonic bond later in life wasn't really in the cards, so when they got in touch, it set a lot of wheels in motion.

So here's my nagging question.  All of these articles on MLC and finding old flames and things like that seem to end with the refrain that it's impossible to go back to teenage years, that it will not be all shiny and exciting because it will be tainted by adulthood and baggage, and that generally speaking these relationships can never live up to the huge expectations people place on them.  I have yet to see anything written anywhere that suggests that attempting to go back in time leads to happiness, and yet here is exH with his old yearbooks and his scanner, apparently happily recapturing his youth.  What gives?
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#21: October 19, 2020, 01:39:33 AM
Tbh, Marian, I tend to lean towards the Occam's Razor principle in life that the most simple answer is often closest to the truth. Perhaps not 100%, but close enough to be a workable hypothesis until or unless new information turns up.

I think the simplest answer about these departed spouses is 'Happy enough'. Or perhaps 'Not Miserable enough to do anything different'.....
And that it is pretty impossible to understand the dynamics of someone else's relationship and worth reminding ourselves that changes in ours came as a bit of a shock lol, so maybe it's just a 'not easy to absolutely know' thing?
We can know the bare facts in front of us. We can infer to some extent from others actions (with caution  :) )
But we probably can't know. So 'Happy enough' fills that gap imho.

The more useful question I have usually found is 'Why does the question....or prospective answer....matter so much to me?' There are tons of things in the world that I don't care about much....I just use them or accept them, but I don't think much about them....how light switches are constructed or how sugar is refined or the colour of.Mr Trump's underwear  ::)  if events in my life change, say I was rewiring a house or got a job as the White House Underwear Under-Secretary lol, then that might change. But until then, nope, don't give it any thought.....

So what is the question or answer you are really trying to find? And what would you do with the answer if we could wave a magic wand and give you a 100% definitely accurate one? (I suspect all LBS go through some version of this at different times and in different ways and to scratch different kinds of itches, so be reassured that it is pretty normal. It just might not be as useful as you think if there is any chance that you are getting hooked up onto the wrong kind of question maybe?)
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Re: Will he return after 7+ years away?
#22: October 19, 2020, 02:15:53 AM
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I have yet to see anything written anywhere that suggests that attempting to go back in time leads to happiness, and yet here is exH with his old yearbooks and his scanner, apparently happily recapturing his youth.  What gives?

What gives? MLC - it's the gift that just keeps on giving but not in the way that anyone expects or hopes.

You said it yourself "apparently happily recapturing his youth"

This is very common in MLC - the look back to how much better life was before the LBS was on the scene.  You see, in replay the LBS reminds the MLCer of all that is "supposedly wrong" with the marriage.  It is completely irrelevant that the MLCer is the one who has broken the marriage; the justification is that they fervently believe that they have been trapped for X no of years and life before they met you was so much easier. 

So the old flames may spark genuine attraction but its limerance and often dissipates into nothing or he moves onto a new form of limerance.  Limerance is that first flush of romance and chemistry.  It can last some time; it's not usually a weekly or monthly timescale but as with ALL relationships limerance fades and is either replaced by a deeper connection leading to a genuine authentic form of love or it dissipates and becomes indifference. 

From what I have seen on here over the last 7+ years almost all Limerance MLCers are no longer with the original OW and those that are seem to not be as happy or content as they would like you to think.

This is why we advise taking your eyes off the MLCer and onto your own life.  MLC watching brings nothing but confusion and nothing but frustration.    Your MLCer has become an actor - he knows he's in the wrong and he knows that he has brought pain and anguish on the family and so out of guilt he acts the joyous happy lifestyle.  He is not just in replay but serious self denial and that will only dissipate with time as he discovers that his pot of gold is actually copper and not as good  as the pot of gold he found with you.

Whether that means he returns really is up to him. 

My H never left home and for 3.5 years I saw him go out with OW. In the early days I saw him dancing and chirruping around the house "I've found my soul mate"  (before you ask I couldn't kick him out as joint owner and he refused to leave - so we lived separate lives)
And then in  moments of quiet he would let me know how dysfunctional she was and how her children were weird and he hated her house (one of the reasons he wouldn't move out).  That's when I saw the cracks and that's when I truly got the point being made to me about letting him get on with it and living my life as if he isn't coming back.

Now we are in reconnection and have been for a long time (since 2017ish) - as yet there has been no talk of reconciliation other than he doesn't think he can commit to being the kind of partner I seek. 

MLC takes time so this is the gift that you can take - this is the gift that you can relish and use to your heart's content.
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Re: Will he return after 7+ years away?
#23: October 19, 2020, 09:39:46 AM
If MLC was predictable it would be the one thing on this planet that was. Treasur and S&D advice to take eyes off of the minutiae of your xH's actions and place them back into your happy life is really the best move, as hard as it can be at times. My xH is also one who married the OW and there is no indication that his new lifestyle is not his permanent one (BD was 9 years ago). He reconnected with high school people, including his first girlfriend (who also seems to be MLC, so I don't rule out that would be his next option!), in no doubt some bizarre attempt to reclaim his youth before he met me. Accepting him at face value, i.e. he's not the man I married, mourning that change, and embracing my new life without him (which is way better than it was while he was freaking out and still living with me) has been key.
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#24: October 19, 2020, 02:02:15 PM
I guess what I'm looking for is a narrative, the words that I tell myself.  His story seems to be that he married the wrong person, then fate brought his true love back into his life, and it was meant to be.  He even (ironically) "got Jesus" when he got back together with her.  The whole thing took on an almost supernatural meaning for him.  I'm scared to come up with a narrative I can live with, and then have it all upended when he changes his again.
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Re: Will he return after 7+ years away?
#25: October 19, 2020, 02:48:54 PM
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I'm scared to come up with a narrative I can live with, and then have it all upended when he changes his again.

This is sort of the meat of trauma. The underlying fear is that he will change your idea of reality again. We all get it, truly. But know that those fears don't have to be permanent.

It's why we can't base ourselves on what they do. Will he change again? Quite possibly. It takes time and rebuilding your life on your own terms (as you've been doing very well) to move the focus from their behaviors to our own narrative, to know for sure that the only way our lives will change again is if WE make choices that change them. And I thought this would never happen for me, but my xH and his situation truly has no bearing on my life now.

I think many of us would recommend a qualified counselor to help work through the trauma of this massive bomb drop and regain your autonomy and write that new story. Even just knowing today that you can start affirming that, "Nothing he does can shake my foundation again. This is my life. Everything I knew before WAS real, but his crisis is not about me." Because none of us can tell you what he will do next, whether this is some better path for him, whether it's "real". But we all know that watching that pot boil is going to do nothing but rob us of more time we can spend growing, healing, and loving the life we have again.
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Re: Will he return after 7+ years away?
#26: October 19, 2020, 03:35:13 PM
I'm scared to come up with a narrative I can live with, and then have it all upended when he changes his again.

This is so relatable. I know you’ve been in this a while, but it’s worth remembering that truly, the only person who counts is You.

I can no longer remember exactly when everything went awry or exactly what the clearest harm was, for me. I’m surprised, though, that the longer my h is away or otherwise occupied, the more and the most of ME comes forward. Aspects of me and all these traits and dreams and inner satisfactions I’d forgot. Things that were facts and that are still facts. Aspects I really loved, and still love. About ME.

What I’m trying to say is, if your h changes his narrative, you have this many years of Self and grace and self-knowing, and your own good rhythms now. If his narrative changes, whichever way, you are much more You. And no matter what, You are a force to be reckoned with.

I don’t mean in the sense of fighting or combativeness. I mean like the majesty of a forest or mountain or sea. There’s a timelessness in you that can handle any narrative change. Just keep breathing; be calm. It’s weird to think of all the “what if” scenarios, I know; there are so many. Even so: remember that “This *could* happen” and also the many options of “...and I could _____”.

You have all kinds of strength here in you, and your own road of happiness and contentment and peace, joy, fulfillment, is in whatever direction You choose to go.

It sounds a little like you might feel you are at some kind of crossroads right now? Anything else going on just for you that feels like a big decision (or small but significant) needs to be made soon?
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#27: October 19, 2020, 05:16:24 PM
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I think many of us would recommend a qualified counselor to help work through the trauma of this massive bomb drop and regain your autonomy and write that new story. Even just knowing today that you can start affirming that, "Nothing he does can shake my foundation again. This is my life. Everything I knew before WAS real, but his crisis is not about me."

Very true. My first therapist didn't really help me. I saw her in the first 2 years after BD. Years went by...eventually, by chance, I was introduced to a different kind of therapist. Mind/body therapy and identification of the trauma that had caused a great deal of issues for me.

I saw her for 2 years regularly. It was difficult and hard work. I still see her occasionally when I feel I want to go further in my healing or something comes up that shakes me again. It is expensive and so many people can't afford this kind of work but really, I finally have xyzcf back again. I am not sure I can say that nothing he could do would shake my foundation, but I certainly "recover" much faster than I used to.

Finding the right therapist is the key.
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#28: October 19, 2020, 10:05:37 PM
Courageous of you to say that, Marian, and I suspect a lot of us nodded at that issue as a familiar one.
I too would recommend you have a few sessions with an IC, ideally one that specialises in trauma, to help you find firm ground for yourself with this. If it helps, it is a pretty common thing in trauma fallout...I suppose it is the ultimate kind of safety issue isn't it, feeling secure in our own narrative about our own life?

Out of interest, do you have a narrative about it all that works for you now?
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Re: Will he return after 7+ years away?
#29: October 20, 2020, 01:17:44 AM
I'm going to ask you a question my therapist asked me:

"What are your values?"

At the time of asking, BD was 5 months previously and I was a mess, an emotional wreck, so bad that I collapsed in tears in the reception area hysterical with panic.

I didn't really understand the question - I wanted my marriage back and I wanted my H to stop the affair, apologise and we could go back to normal...oh the naivete!

Now the question has different meaning - it has the true meaning - what are my values? 

That became my narrative and it wouldn't change just because he returns to the marriage. No my values are what keep me whole, healthy, emotionally balanced and healed.  The MLCer has no right to upset those values anymore.  He has to learn to work with your values.  If you do need to change or alter your narrative then it has be your choice with a full awareness of the consequences.

You are in control of you - don't be scared to have a new narrative. Narratives are important and need to evolve. But they should change out of choice, rational thinking, emotional healthiness and understanding of self.
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#30: October 20, 2020, 06:58:13 AM
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what are my values?

That became my narrative and it wouldn't change just because he returns to the marriage. No my values are what keep me whole, healthy, emotionally balanced and healed.

I would add, that for me, what allows me to continue standing when there is nothing at all of a relationship with him (except the superficial crap) is that he may have changed his values but that does not mean that I have to change mine. Often people do not understand why for example I allow him to join us for Christmas. Part of the healing/therapy process was to dig deep to really know what matters to each one of us...and sometimes that is surprising. But when it is clear, it is much easier to have boundaries that make sense for each individual's situation.

Quote
I'm scared to come up with a narrative I can live with, and then have it all upended when he changes his again.

One thing I have certainly learned is that everything changes and that as much as we would like to think we have control over our lives, so many things can impact us..and just when we get "settled" and say this is good, something else comes along..sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes not so good.

I stumbled across a quote many years ago and have pondered it ever since. I still cannot say that I totally buy into it, especially when things are not going well in my life. Looking it up today, it was of interest that Julian of Norwich lived through the Black Plaque in the Middle Ages.

"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well"

Changing my belief about what my life was supposed to be to what it is continues to require acceptance of what life is now. And a willingness to hope that it will be a bit easier in the future (and by that, in my case before COVID I would say I was content with my life...now not so much so).

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#31: October 22, 2020, 03:16:15 PM
Reflecting on this, I've realized two things.

When people assign special importance -- perhaps even supernatural -- to their emotions, they can go down a dangerous path.  When exH began to feel like the OW was his destiny, every piece of the affair that fell into place confirmed this, and all of the emotions associated with the relationship felt like they were a sort of gut feeling that he was headed the right direction.  Emotions without discernment drove him right over a cliff.  He has a narrative of the OW as "the one" and the fact that this seems divinely ordained to him justifies what he did to me and the rest of his family. 

The other thing is that people who have to fight for things become stubbornly committed to them, even when they're going wrong.  Having to fight to be with the OW made him feel like ending up with her was a triumph.  Now he has to live out that triumph by being the great husband to her that he was not before.  Having a relationship so founded on emotion and lack of reason makes me think that when those feelings wear off one day, he will be sorry with what he's left with, but who knows if that will happen, because denial is a powerful force.  It takes a lot to admit a mistake of this magnitude. 

This is a random question . . . but did anyone else's H introduce them to the OW like it was no big thing, like, hey, would you like to meet her?
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Re: Will he return after 7+ years away?
#32: October 22, 2020, 03:35:06 PM
Those are both important points, and things as LBSs we need to remember, too. If we feel like only through the reconciliation of our marriages we'll be complete, or that the actions we take as standers initially can't be reconsidered or changed as we continue to grow in a healthy way, we're in the same ship they are, IMO.

My xH never wanted me to meet the OW. Completely compartmentalized the two relationships. He demonized me to so many people, there would be no way to keep his narrative going if any of them were to actually know me. Plus, different lies to different people would be debunked if we ever compared notes. ;)
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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#33: October 22, 2020, 04:25:38 PM
When people assign special importance -- perhaps even supernatural -- to their emotions, they can go down a dangerous path.  When exH began to feel like the OW was his destiny, every piece of the affair that fell into place confirmed this, and all of the emotions associated with the relationship felt like they were a sort of gut feeling that he was headed the right direction.  Emotions without discernment drove him right over a cliff.  He has a narrative of the OW as "the one" and the fact that this seems divinely ordained to him justifies what he did to me and the rest of his family. 

It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.... It is much like when one searches for something emotionally, one usually can find it, whether it is actually there or not. Humans have an amazing ability to delude themselves....
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Re: Will he return after 7+ years away?
#34: October 23, 2020, 02:20:40 AM
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This is a random question . . . but did anyone else's H introduce them to the OW like it was no big thing, like, hey, would you like to meet her?

More than that. I unwittingly pushed the two of them together. I was directing a show (a very clean old operetta) and OW (a complete stranger to both of us)and H were cast in it and most of her scenes were with H. She began to tell me how difficult things were for her and how she struggled to learn lines yadda yadda.  I had a whole show to direct in a matter of weeks - my compassion for her was limited partly because I wondered why she actually auditioned as she had a very clear awareness of the size of the role.  So when H volunteered to help her - I thought it was just kind of him and would reduce her attention seeking from me so that I could focus on the other 60 strong company.  Boy was I wrong!

I learned it was her three weeks after BD (I had begun to suspect it was her) and guess what when I did she wrote me a letter explaining how she and H were soulmates and that he was unhappy with me and I had to let him go .......(yawnsville)  I posted the letter on my fourth thread.   It is soooooo telling of the power of the relationship which fell apart for definite 3 years later.  However H would continue to complain about her so I knew he wasn't happy.
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« Last Edit: October 23, 2020, 02:22:29 AM by Songanddance »
BD march 2013
Stay at home MLCer
OW for 3.5 years - finishing Autumn 2016
Reconnection started 2017 and still going with no sign of reconciliation.

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Will he return after 7+ years away?
#35: October 23, 2020, 01:47:00 PM
When people assign special importance -- perhaps even supernatural -- to their emotions, they can go down a dangerous path.  When exH began to feel like the OW was his destiny, every piece of the affair that fell into place confirmed this, and all of the emotions associated with the relationship felt like they were a sort of gut feeling that he was headed the right direction.  Emotions without discernment drove him right over a cliff.  He has a narrative of the OW as "the one" and the fact that this seems divinely ordained to him justifies what he did to me and the rest of his family. 
This struck a chord with me. Is it really their emotions that causes this? Or is it a lack of rudder? If you are going down a stream and have a rudder, you can steer in the direction you want to go. You might not get exactly there, but you can get close, and at the very least try. If you don't have any kind of rudder, you go helter skelter wherever the water takes you. Eventually, it seems like you were "meant" to go that direction. That you had no choice in the matter.

If suddenly a person somehow loses whatever it was that was steering them through life, and they now no longer have a moral compass or logical direction to go, and someone comes along and grabs them and leads them somewhere, it  might SEEM like it was meant to be. No real emotion, just lack of direction and allowing someone else to steer because it is easier. And since that person makes their life so much easier, it must be "love".

It made me wonder how much is really emotion, and how much is having lost their own identity just moving with the water.
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Re: Will he return after 7+ years away?
#36: Today at 01:13:55 AM
What is important to remember is that MLC is depression.  A full blown sense of depression.

My youngest D has been fighting it since her teens and it has got her into all kinds of emotional trouble including physical and sexual abuse.
Not long after BD she said the problem with depression is that you constantly long not to be where you are but somewhere else and if someone provides that opportunity you run for it.  You know deep down it is irrational but the feelings are so overwhelming that you go even though a few days/weeks/months later you feel the need to run again.  You seek salvation but you reject it;you seek for someone to take the pain away and whilst they do you stick with them but you eventually realise that it is your actions and emotional behaviour that landed you in the next load of hot water.
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BD march 2013
Stay at home MLCer
OW for 3.5 years - finishing Autumn 2016
Reconnection started 2017 and still going with no sign of reconciliation.

 

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