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Old 03-22-10, 11:04 PM
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Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

Trust me... you'd be happy that I am rewriting this thread before posting it...

Here's my problem...

This is in relation to my last two relationships... my marriage, and the most recent relationship I have had for the last year.

These two are the only times I have fallen in love to this degree.
I have been in other relationships in my life and at the ripe old age of 49, I know when it's love and when it is just fascination.

So both are now over... or so it seems with the recent one.

I have a hard time shutting off my love for these women.
While my love for my former wife is not as strong feeling as it once was, I still care a lot for her. Same thing with her family... I care a lot about them.
I considered them my family for 17 years.

My, now, former girlfriend is still the love of my life.
Her kids and grandkids still mean as much to me as they have for the past year.

The rejection I have felt from both of these women takes a long time to reconcile for me because of the intensity of my feelings for them.

Is that wrong?

To illustrate what's bothering me lately...

It's only the third week since we apparently broke up (I didn't know we were breaking up until late in the first week of the break up), but I'm still having a hard time getting beyond the pain.

I called her a few times, wrote her a letter (which I posted in my thread about the relationship being over), and have approached her in person twice (I'm pretty sure it's only been twice).
She called it "creepy" back around week number 2... my contacting her.

I wasn't calling her and bawling my heart out over the phone begging for her to take me back... I was only asking what it was that caused the break up.
I was just trying to understand.
If you go and read my letters I posted here, I believe you'll see I was not doing anything remotely 'creepy'.

I called up her adult son and daughter just to say goodbye.
Actually, I did call her son up to explain that one particular issue I tried to discuss with his mom had nothing to do with him, although she tried to make it such (again, this is in my other thread).
He called me back and we had a really good talk.

The daughter told her mom it was sorta creepy that I had called their house asking for their mailing address so I could send them a card.
I wound up calling her phone again after I heard that and explaining to her answering machine that I was just trying to say thanks for how nice she and her family were to me, and goodbye.
I'm not sure if she found that call creepy or finally realized I was just trying to be considerate.

I don't know... I just like to communicate with people.
I don't like sudden endings, especially when it involves people I really care about and love.
But the other people don't seem to feel the same way.

During the divorce, I would sometimes mention that I saw my soon-to-be former wife, daughter, and myself as a family still.
I never said we were a family where the parents were in love... just a family... Mother, Father, and Child.

I caught plenty of flack for that from my former wife, her family, and her lawyer.

Am I wrong? Because of our daughter, the three of us will always be a family... a divorced family, but a family of three individuals bonded by the experience of creating a life and bringing it into the world.

Moving to the present...

My girlfriend seems to think I should just turn my back and walk away without looking over my shoulder.

I told her several times that my love is not controlled by a switch... I don't just turn it off.

I know I see the world differently than many other people, but it bothers me that in the case of Love, I am so out of the norm apparently.

There seems to be this notion that when two people who, at one time... or still, loved each other separate, they should "move on" with their lives.
People tell me this while attempting to convince me that I shouldn't grieve over the loss of the continued companionship of someone I am deeply in love with.

If I continue to express this love and act sad in public, I am being creepy or not sensible?

I'm not harassing her.
I don't go and watch her house.
I don't go over to the E.D. where she works (I work down the hall in the lab) and stand there staring at her, or attempting to make non-professional contact with her.
I'm not sending her endless messages, gifts, flowers at home and work.
Basically, other than asking her for answers a few times, I've been leaving her alone.
But... because I can't just walk away cold I'm creepy?

At least in this current situation, both the son and I think she's just having trouble releasing herself to a new relationship... giving in to commitment.

She actually called me yesterday with a piece of information she originally said she didn't want to share with me.
It was the name of a therapist she had seen who sounded like someone I might try.
I asked for his full name and at first she told me that if I saw him, it would ruin any future visits to him that she might make in the future, if she ever felt the need to.

My first reaction was disappointment, and it showed, but I recovered and told her I understood. We finished up talking about frying pans and then I left.
A short time later, she called me at home and apologized.
She gave me the guys name and number even though I apologized to her for my behavior earlier also, and told her I didn't want to make her feel weird about this thing.

So basically, she did something really nice for me and I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much over it.

I have no idea what the hell my point is here... I suppose I'm just venting some more about all this.

But really, how do people just turn off their love for someone?
How do people just walk away from a relationship that was really good for a year?
How do people expect others to turn off their feelings like they do?

I tend to believe part of my own unique brand of love stems from the fact that I am adopted.

For the first 33 years of my life... anyone who lay claim to the title of 'family' with me were just strangers previously. I had no connection with them at all... no blood connection.

So, for my whole conscious life (meaning, for as long as I can remember), my family consisted of people who adopted me, or people I adopted.
I even have court documents stating I had a new family just after my birth.

Some of these family bonds are quite strong to me.
I have learned that in order to have what I feel is a 'real' family, I have to first love these people unconditionally.
Some people I thought could/would be family, never quite made it.

When my daughter came to this world, I finally realized that special connection.... that sense of real family through 'blood'.
I have to say that my sense of family with my daughter is so much more different than that which I have had with anyone else in this world.

When I got married, I wound up adopting my wife and her family as my very own family. I had a very strong feeling of love for them all.
During the divorce, they seemed to easily cast me aside, while I struggled with the loss of family.

Now, I am facing this again. I haven't spent as long creating those family feelings with my girlfriend's kids and their families, but I have fallen so deeply in love with her that it's hurting me enormously to let go.

Once again, so many other people seem to not see how strong my feelings of love are. They seem to feel I should just accept that it's over and move on!

Why is my sense of love so different than what it seems to be for the majority of people?
Why is it considered weird of me to still be three weeks out and hurting?

Is my notion of love just as abnormal as my ADHD traits?
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I have no 'deficit' of attention... I pay attention to TOO many things.
I don't have a 'disorder'... My brain works fine the way it is, society just doesn't have room for my unique talents.

=========
I know have a new diagnosis: Attention Difference Display / Happy Dance (ADD/HD)... I think it fits!
=========

Sometimes I worry that if I don't slow down... I'll run my batteries down and won't be able to recharge myself... powered down permanently at such a young age!
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Old 03-23-10, 12:52 AM
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Re: Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

Three weeks isn't much. Just because someone else is moving on emotionally at a different speed doesn't make your pace "creepy." It seems to me that this woman isn't really understanding what a breakup entails. It sometimes means that the person you broke up with is going to try to contact you. I feel she's not got much perspective. Just because she explicitly broke up with you three weeks ago doesn't mean you're at the same stage of breakup as she is. After all it was a surprise.

You seem like a really cool person to me. And yeah, maybe being adopted has something to do with it, but so what? That's what makes you, you. I too still love people who have probably long forgotten me. I accept that. Sometimes people who are feeling at fault like to point the finger at others. Maybe that's what she's doing with you. Maybe she's trying to be extra discouraging so you will move on faster. Yes you have to heal and move on, but it takes a while! I have a formula that for every year it takes me six months to stop constantly being reminded of the other person. Eventually it takes effort for me to keep thinking about them, and the moment I realize I've not been thinking about them usually takes me by surprise.
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Old 03-23-10, 01:51 AM
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Re: Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

wsmac,

it's very hard to turn off love, i'd go so far to say that it just can't be turned on and off. I think breaking up with a loved one has to be a healing process, even a grieving process.

In my opinion, reaching out to her and her kids right now may be making the break up more difficult for you (and even her and the kids). Perhaps you both just need some time apart, a couple months without communication. Then, when it's all not so fresh, call her and see if she wants to talk. If she says no, then it's good to listen to her.

If she's "creeped" out now and thinks you're stalking her, then you should listen to her and stop communication for a while, even if in your opinion you're not, because if you continue to contact her, and she continues to feel "creeped out" that could even come to legality stuff - like restraining orders.

To me, you've always come across as a nice, caring guy. Try to not let this get you down. Find some fun hobbies to partake in to get her off your mind. It will get easier.
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Old 03-23-10, 03:33 AM
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Re: Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

From the mind of a cynical 26 year old like myself, it seems she is trying to make you see yourself as the bad guy, because you, like myself, probably feel insecure due to having ADHD, and so it's easy to be convinced that when something goes wrong it is entirely your fault.

If that is the case, don't let her do it, it's wrong and unfair and you don't deserve to be taken advantage of like that.

For me, when trying to get over a girl I loved more than anything, I tried to recognise when I was thinking about her and force myself to think about something else. It helped the first time I fell in love, but the second I went and buried myself in a new obsession, this one being playing World of Warcraft for well over a year.

It worked, and now I've been playing WoW for over four years and I am completely free of all feelings towards my ex girlfriends. I hope you can find something to sweep you up so completely you forget about her and the pain she's caused as well as the pain she seems to be trying to cause.
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Old 03-23-10, 04:35 AM
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Re: Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

It sounds like you are having normal feelings. I don't think it sounds weird at all. Communication is so important, and so many people don't know how or are afraid. I say give it to me straight. I need to know myself why people don't call back, whatever it may be, cause this leads me to wondering what it is with me. Maybe its not me, maybe its not what I think, I just want to know. I can make up so many stories in my head. Sometimes I make up stories in my favor, like maybe they realized that I was too good for them...lol. But that doesn't last long, and I'm back to, "Do I express myself too much?", "Am I too aggressive?", "Am I too passive or indecisive?" Do I smell?...WHAT
Anyway, I'm sorry they are giving you a hard time. I hope time can heal.
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Old 03-23-10, 04:41 AM
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Re: Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

I do the same thing as River09, that's why I tend to ask why this or that happened, but I do think it's unfair for her to make out that everything is your fault and you're the only one in the wrong considering, from what I've read of your posts about this, she seemed to WANT to create a divide between you and her children.
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Old 03-23-10, 06:36 AM
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Re: Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

No, this is not strange at all; I think it takes months to get through things like this. And it's certainly not creepy! nor has much to do with ADD anyway. My mom may be "nt" but she is extremely intense; she had 2 failed relationships as a widow and it took her a very long time to feel happy again.
(actually, they never even really started, but she had fallen in love again...)
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Old 03-23-10, 08:09 AM
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Re: Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

You sound very reasonable to me. 3 weeks goes by in a flash. From what I've read, transitions are particularly difficult for us ADHDers. Short term transitions (coming home from work, waking up in the morning) and longer term transitions (job changes/loss, relationship changes, even car changes...). What stuck out for me in your post was the word 'creepy'. That's a very loaded, emotional accusatory term. I'm wondering if she isn't hurt and angry and using the word 'creepy' because it pushes your buttons. It would totally push my buttons. Heck, tell any guy that he's acting creepy, and he's naturally going to feel defensive.
You sound like me like you are trying to make sense of a broken relationship, trying to end on a good note. You sound a like a decent, caring person.
Good luck - 'go on and love some more' - to parapharase Maude in one of my favourite films 'Harold and Maude'.
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Old 03-23-10, 09:52 AM
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Re: Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

If it's any conciliation, I wish I could love like you. I distance myself from people I love and try so hard to want to hang on and love them the way they deserve to be loved...but my whole life has kinda been like don't let the door hit you on the way out...

Growing up though I had a pretty loveless childhood and my parents never hugged or touched to show affection to me...that is probably a good deal of why I have the issues I do today.

Anyway, I didn't help much...but know being on the loving too much end of the spectrum has got to feel better than the inward struggle of showing love you really don't feel.

Good luck! I hope your healing is quick and you find your soul mate so you never have to feel this way again.
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Old 03-23-10, 10:03 AM
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Re: Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

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Originally Posted by C.C. View Post
Good luck! I hope your healing is quick and you find your soul mate so you never have to feel this way again.
Yeah, what she said!
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Old 03-23-10, 10:42 AM
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Re: Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

Good Morning

Thanks for the comments and advice folks.

I'm feeling a bit sheepish because once again I let all this stuff come spilling out here.

I have to say that I am not always the best at "getting" people's meanings from their words.
I've been told before that women have been flirting with me, but I never realized it... I just thought we were being playful, having a bit of fun.

With this break up, I'm feeling like she's scared to open up and give me the reasons why.
I swear, she's not being mean to me. My former wife did act out in some mean ways towards me, but this is not what's happening now.
She doesn't even say I've done anything wrong (other than the issue about her son where she kept trying to say I was trying to get between them - all in my other thread).

But this is about love, not all that other stuff.

I am trying to give her space. I actually went through the whole day yesterday not seeing her on the road (we live very close and drive the same roads in this small town), not seeing her at work, not calling her...

Today I have to go into work for an A day (admin stuff to do), but only for four hours. If she is working today, I will not take my usual shortcuts through the ED.
After I'm done for the day, I think I'm heading out on the road until Thursday when I have an appointment around 2pm.

I'll take my snowboard and gear and drive over to Shasta, maybe up into Oregon. I'm not sure what I'll do, but it will be better being on the road than being around home. The only way I can bother her would be to call.

River09, I've been doing just what you've described.
For me, I need the specifics. If all I know is that she has a hard time with my ADHD, that doesn't tell me a whole lot.
I know that some of my ADHD traits are not all that bad, and not all that hard to live with. She's even said so before.
About the past body dysphoria stuff... I just really wish she could tell me more about why this matters to her. It was a difficult past issue that is completely over for me now.

Anyway, I tried to do this with my former wife as well. I even begged her to go to a couple's counselor with me and I promised to sit and listen to whatever she wanted to dump on me.
I still believe that my former wife never came out and said what she probably needed to say... needed to get out, in order to find peace.

I'm not saying I was so horrible that I deserved to be angrily yelled at, I just always thought she was holding too much in.

In my family, we always let stuff out... sometimes too much, too fast, and too harshly. There has to be a good balance somewhere in all this though.

This is what I want with C____ (my girlfriend.. former).

When I talked with her the last time, I asked her to please just tell me what it was exactly that she couldn't stand about me.
Her reply was, "Mark, why do I have to be the bad guy?".
So I feel from that remark that she has something to say, but can't.
I've given her options... couples counseling (early on), email, letter, or face-to-face.

Eh... It's not going to make me feel happier if she does tell me, but at least I will know what it was that made her want to get rid of me.
I suppose you may well imagine that right now I don't feel very attractive and definitely do not feel like there's any chance of me finding someone who won't dump me again down the line.
But... let's just pretend it might not happen like that... if I knew what it was that turned her off me.. specifically... then wouldn't it make sense that I might want to see what I could do about those things so my 'next' relationship might work out?

Maybe you are right and a few months apart will help ease her mind about telling me.

C.C. , I don't know... sometimes I think loving too much is just a revolving door of pain and disappointment.
I do know that one of my reasons for loving so much is this fear of rejection and abandonment.

I fear living alone without people to love me and be with me.
I get so disappointed when someone I know, someone I may consider to be a friend tells me about a project they are working on.... I offer my help... they are nice and acknowledge my offer, but I never get called over to help out. It's even worse if I hear that other people were over to help.

Many times, I think it's just that this person might not know me all that well and might feel uncomfortable inviting me over just to do work.

I take it rather hard sometimes though. My adopted father did this to me many times in my life... have this building project at his house, never ask me to help or accept my offer, but he'd always have some other kid over to help him out.

I know I need to work though all this fear of rejection stuff, but I worry that nothing much will change even if I do.

ARRRRGH.. here I go again.. rambling on.

Anyway, thanks again for your comments.
I will give them all some thought.
__________________
=========
I have no 'deficit' of attention... I pay attention to TOO many things.
I don't have a 'disorder'... My brain works fine the way it is, society just doesn't have room for my unique talents.

=========
I know have a new diagnosis: Attention Difference Display / Happy Dance (ADD/HD)... I think it fits!
=========

Sometimes I worry that if I don't slow down... I'll run my batteries down and won't be able to recharge myself... powered down permanently at such a young age!
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Old 03-23-10, 10:43 AM
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Re: Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

wsmac I read your post -- ok I skimmed it -- last night and just couldn't think of anything to say that might help.

I'm so glad that 9 others did.

Take care. Wish you well.

"Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" was a hit by Neil Sedaka when I was a little kid. Still true.
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Old 03-23-10, 11:48 AM
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Re: Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

Quote:
Originally Posted by meridian View Post
wsmac I read your post -- ok I skimmed it -- last night and just couldn't think of anything to say that might help.

I'm so glad that 9 others did.

Take care. Wish you well.

"Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" was a hit by Neil Sedaka when I was a little kid. Still true.

Love Stinks by the J Geils Band was a hit when I was a kid...LOL Either way they were both correct.


And WSMAC.... healing takes time. My walls were built for the same reason you love so strongly. Rejection rejection rejection...I push every one away so I never get hurt. But at the same time pushing them away hurts cause I never truly feel safe, happy or content....
Give it time...My moto..Live through it..learn from it...walk away a stronger (smarter) me.
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Old 03-23-10, 12:33 PM
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Re: Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

wsmac,

You engage intensely, now personally, I find that appealing since I also do, The difficulty is that many do not do anything particularly intensely and then disengagement is quite a lot easier.

Attachment and bonding with another are like fine tentacles that weave themselves into the fabric of the two people involved.. Those who are more open and more intense most likely to allow this to take place on a much greater level.

The abruptness of the ending of your relationship did not allow you the time to withdraw and so it's almost like all of these tentacles (yeah I now that word sucks but I can't think of another good one) are all pulled out at the same time leaving you feeling like your bleeding from a thousand places at an almost cellular level.

It puts you into shock which is then followed (usually) by rage which does seem to be a perfectly reasonable response to violation. This woman may be really nice but she certainly did violate several unspoken relationship contracts. Honesty being a main one, she was not forthcoming about her disatisfaction and she did not display warning signs which are used to give another indication that there's something wrong. You weren't given warning and so you couldn't brace yourself emotionally.

Frankly, I do consider that particularly inconsiderate and even cruel. The thing is, there's nothing to be done about it, you can reflect about what 'you did wrong' all you like, but without reasonable warning signs you can't expect to come away unscathed.

I don't suggest you become angry with her as it will only harm you further, rather just address the wounds you've been left with. When the shock wears off usually the pain intensifies but you have been making excellent efforts to heal including introspection. Introspection can not only inform us of ourselves but others and how we need to approach in future. Often these are go far and kick hard lessons.
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Old 03-23-10, 12:56 PM
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danelady danelady is offline
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Re: Help me understand what's wrong with my views on love and relationships

Let me tell ya my experience. I'm not smart enough to give advice...not even to myself. I've had to learn by looking back at all the things I did that crashed and burned in a ball of flames.

I don't know anything about relationships except that I thought the answer to my misery was to be in one.

I thought I would spend the rest of my life with my ex...would have died for him...yeesh,what a waste that would have been. But that's just to show you how deep I fell in love.

I never saw the end coming either..well,when I look back the writing was on the wall,I just chose to ignore it. But I poured EVERYTHING in my being into that life I tried to build.

I found myself out on the street while him and his family went on with their lives as if I was a piece of doggy doo they wiped off their shoes.

I was crushed,I wandered around lost,hurt,confused,you name it. Someone then told me it takes half the amount of the time you spent together to get over it.

Uh,yeah...maybe a year or two more till I was able to stop my head from going into spin cycle every now and then.

After I started driving I found myself back in the small town he still lives in...and on a Saturday night..and race night too.

I looked up another woman I knew,she got divorced too,and invited her to the races...my treat.

Now the one and only reason I wanted to go was to see if he was there...AND HE WAS!!!

So me and my girlfriend were in the pits walking around saying hi to the gang...and all the while my eyes are scanning looking for him.
I'm sitting in the bleachers when he comes up screaming and yelling at me in front of everyone! He accused me of sneaking around on the property,just making an all out scene...and this guy is a supervisor at a gold mine. He didn't realized that if I were to go near the property and see all I had worked for it would be like cutting my heart out.

Let me tell you I put on an academy award performance in front of him! I calmly put my hand in the air and said..'puhleeze,I've moved on and I have a good life now'
I told him how sorry I was to hear about the death of his son. Then he did something he never ever did...he apologized!! Never once in all the years!

His new old lady was there..off to the side in a body cast practically,from another one of his accidents. But I laughed and joked and smiled and put up such a front I amazed myself.

He asked if he could come to the truck after the races and see Earl,who was just a baby then. The truck stop in town was the place all the racers hung out at.

There was no way in hell I was gonna go down that path. I cried and cried when I went inside the truck and was all alone,but I was tired of letting someone hurt me and I knew that just talking to him would prolong the agony even though it had been years.

I never went inside to see him...nope. He doesn't get another chance to hurt me again. I think standing up to him,instead of groveling is what got his interest up again. Showing him how independent and strong I am...even though I was nothing but mush inside,helped me with closure. I can still grieve over the lost love and the lost life I had,but there really is no going back,ever.

It took me years though,and it felt like getting pulled inside out through my little toe,but I am learning that I need to be happy with myself before I can truly be happy with someone else...and I'm freakin' fitty-five!!!

Just a slow learner here. I feel for ya..it hurts. But I was at the very bottom...and my pants are now up around my waist cuz I had to pull them up...either that or check out permanently. We all die eventually..so I figgered what the hell,no one promised me a rose garden,so now I try to laugh..find a good forum with some good people,and take everyday as it comes.
Laugh and cry and be all the human bean you can be...you,too,are going to find new strengths inside of you as this passes.
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