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Reconciliation Post Reply     Print Topic    
User Topic: What is the new narrative after the A?
Zengirl
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Member # 42195
Default  Posted: 8:03 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Love this thread - great stuff to mull over for awhile. But thanks especially to wal for this little nugget of brilliance to keep me smiling today.

Doesn't matter which way the BS goes, there's a narrative that fits like a badass glove of awesome.


Me (BW): 40
Married: 15 years
3 kids
D-Day: 10/13

Posts: 160 | Registered: Jan 2014
mbbd
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Member # 41828
Default  Posted: 8:16 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

This thread is stirring up a memory of a counseling session gone haywire/ Our MC stated in a session in the first year that he thought that it was evident that I am on a pedestal being catered to and a marriage should be equal... not one person above the other. He felt that my H would do anything and everything I wanted... and that I should not take advantage of the position. Did any of you feel the earthquake I unleashed on him? In the past two years, my H and I have worked so hard at communication... some things successfully, some not. The guilt and remorse stop the narrative on my H's part from being as nourishing as it should be. My anger stops my communication from being as cognoscente to his pain as I could be.

Posts: 75 | Registered: Dec 2013
rachelc
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Default  Posted: 8:19 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

he guilt and remorse stop the narrative on my H's part from being as nourishing as it should be. My anger stops my communication from being as cognoscente to his pain as I could be.

and this is why recovering from this is so very difficult. Typical marriages without infidelity have trouble with communication. Throw in a nuclear bomb and consider how that impacts communication.


his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
4 kiddos in mid 20's

“Follow your intuition. Be smart, be brave. Tell the truth and don’t take any shit.”


Posts: 5344 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
sisoon
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Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 9:24 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Infidelity is apparently a primal fear shared by human beings all over.

Before we experience it, and if we don't experience it, we create stories in the hope of understanding it - stories like cold W, boring H, irresistible man or woman, weak, immoral woman, 2 people getting drunk and making a mistake, 2 people finding true love with someone other than their spouses, etc., etc., etc., etc..

The stories we learn about infidelity say absolutely nothing about the reality of d-day and recovery for the BS - gut-wrenching grief, anger, and fear (- or for the WS).

That's why the BSes who heal (whether they D, R, or stay in a less than ideal M) probably ignore 'society'. Society knows nothing about our experience. The critical things society says to and about people experiencing infidelity are best ignored.


fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10440 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
bionicgal
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Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 9:37 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I've been thinking about this, Jesus jokes aside. (I probably could've made it Harry Potter as well, but I digress...)

Here's the thing...cultural stereotypes are just that...shorthand ways to communicate. They aren't necessarily reflective of reality, and you can find many that contradict each other. (I.e."once a cheater always a cheater" & "the redeemed wayward".) They reflect nothing but underlying cultural assumptions, but are not Truths with a capital "T."

What seems like capital -T truth to me, is Plato's assertion that we should be kind to each other, as we are all fighting a hard battle. And, as David Foster Wallace said in his commencement speech at Kenyon College, we all get to choose how we interpret things. . .life, and the things that happen to us.

So, I am not so concerned about the cultural narrative.


me - BS (40s)
DDay - June 2013, A was 2+ months, EA then PA
In MC & Reconciling
An affair is a personal crisis, not a relationship.

I edit, therefore I am.


Posts: 2081 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
bionicgal
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Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 9:37 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

dup post

[This message edited by bionicgal at 3:51 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)]


me - BS (40s)
DDay - June 2013, A was 2+ months, EA then PA
In MC & Reconciling
An affair is a personal crisis, not a relationship.

I edit, therefore I am.


Posts: 2081 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
seethelight
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Member # 43513
Default  Posted: 9:49 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

not saying I disagree with what you wrote WAL, because I understand it, but also because disagreeing with you tends to make someone look
stupid. however, I think our society treats a BH differently from a BW. You see it in movies and culture all the time. A BH is somehow lacking because his WW felt the need to cheat. She wasn't fulfilled. She fell out of love from a loser. We even have a derogatory name for a BH, a "cuckhold."

Do we have a similar name for a BW? Maybe, I can't think of it at the moment. In general, I think the narrative for a BW is that she is long suffering, godlike in her forgiveness, do the best she can with a cad for a husband. The BH is always portrayed as a loser. Not something I particularly enjoy.

I agree that most BH's are seen as a cuckhold by the gossips of the world and people who have never been cheated on.

I don't see it that way, as a Betrayed wife.

As for the Betrayed wife, I think they are also held responsible for the husband's cheating. I have heard the gossip, many times before being cheated on.

The gossip among women was always about the husband ran on the wife because she let herself go, or she was not sexy enough or she was not treating him well enough, or she withheld sex.

I think people who have never been betrayed do this out of fear and as a way to give themselves the allusion of control and the ability to stop their own spouse from having an affair.

In their minds, if the BS did something to CAUSE THE WAYWARD TO CHEAT, then, the people think they can prevent their spouse from cheating.

I think they misjudge the BS as a defense mechanism for themselves.


“If two people truly have feelings for one another then they don’t have an affair. They get a divorce and they sort out their feelings. You are accountable for the people you hold hostage in a marriage when your mind and heart refuse to fully commit

Posts: 1462 | Registered: May 2014
sudra
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Default  Posted: 10:00 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

See, it took it that NGU was trying to understand what a BS goes though after Dday in a more global sense - not how s/he feels from the cheating itself but how s/he perceives the world and how s/he is treated. Perhaps I misread.

And yes, I define me. But I live in society. I have friends and family.

My very best friend in the world, upon hearing that my husband wanted a divorce (before I knew he was cheating), asked me how out sex life was. First thing out of her mouth. Well, it sucked. He had not touched me in months (since he fell in love with OW). So she and I explored my fault in my husband wanting a D. It had to be my fault.

She has pointedly made comments, since learning that my husband cheated, about keeping the man happy in bed and has even gone so far as to get us a romantic music CD and candles. Like if I'd had those before, he wouldn't have cheated. She's said time and again, if the sex isn't there, men will look elsewhere. She's never forgotten that I said we weren't having sex, even though I told her later that we WERE having sex when the A started. The lack of sex came later, and was because HE didn't want it because HE was cheating. She simply cannot imagine that it wasn't something I did (or didn't do).

Another very good friend, who husband regularly cheats with other men, told me, after Dday, she could never stay if her husband was in love with another woman.

My third very good friend, who left her first husband after he confessed an affair, was totally supportive. She said, again and again, that I shouldn't blame myself, it wasn't my fault.

My DStepD, once commented that women surely must know when their husband cheat and just ignore it.

Everywhere we look, the woman is blamed for not keeping her man satisfied. Talk shows, conversation, television, everywhere, even self-help books on cheating. "If a partner cheats, we must look at the marriage to see what s/he wasn't getting that made them stray."

Ugh! Yes, I know that I am still with my husband because he is remorseful, is trying to change, sorta, and because I am strong and willing to take the risk. I know I rock!

But I hear otherwise all over the place. So, NGU, thanks for asking. Society's acceptance has made this so much harder than it should have to be. Society should treat infidelity as the scourge to society that it is.


Me (BW) (55), Him(SAWH) (58)
Married 22 years, 1 son (19), 1 stepdaughter (27)
DDay #1 January 2004
DDay #2 7-27-2010 7 month EA/PA (became "engaged" to OW before he told me he wanted a divorce)
Working on R

Posts: 1500 | Registered: Nov 2010
Crushed15Feb13
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Member # 38846
Default  Posted: 10:25 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Actually, every narrative for the BS is a successful one.
If you stay, you're the awesome spouse who was willing to give their spouse a second chance -- the one who modeled forgiveness and strength while everything around them was trying to destroy their family and their children.

If you divorce, you're the spouse who knew when it was time to stop putting up with shit and take charge of your life.

Doesn't matter which way the BS goes, there's a narrative that fits like a badass glove of awesome.

Even if you try to R and get cheated on again or whatever, you're still the person who gave their spouse every chance to turn things around for the sake of their children (or dogs or whatever).

There is no lose, at least not in decent society, for the BS. Anyone who tends to argue the other way is usually a not-so-former WS or someone for whom infidelity remains an open option.

Honestly, this makes my heart sick to read. I'm sure I have a long way to go in my journey of trying to heal, but this treads so lightly on a terribly painful subject and with such upbeat confidence that it is beyond my understanding right now; it just hurts without relent. It seems to me like there has been plenty of "lose". And I am not a WS, nor do I feel infidelity is an open option for me.

It hurts the same way the book title "My Husband's Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" hurts.


Me: BH, 54
Her: WW, 54 4 yr LTA
Married 32 yrs, 2 college age boys
DDay #1: 15Feb13 - LTA 2008-2013
DDay #2: 27Jan14 - ONS, same AP 2007 - turns out it was a 6 yr LTA
Trying to understand

Posts: 258 | Registered: Mar 2013
wincing_at_light
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Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 10:51 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Crushed,

Once upon a time, I wanted to punch everybody in the face who suggested (even faintly) that there was light at the end of the tunnel of my pain.

It felt like some kind of disgustingly irrational and myopic joy. Worse, it felt like being patted on the head and being told that what I was experiencing was no big deal in the grand scheme of things.

I needed to hold onto my agony and honor it with the gravity it deserved.

So, I feel you. You're in a completely normal headspace.


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6750 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
NoGoodUsername
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Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 10:55 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

seethelight, Sudra, crushed15: your responses are definitely in the spaces that I wanted to explore with this thread.

from Sudra:

But I hear otherwise all over the place. ...Society's acceptance has made this so much harder than it should have to be. Society should treat infidelity as the scourge to society that it is.

Yes, this. Infidelity isn't funny. It's not just something that happens in life and you move on and it's not the fault of the betrayed partner. So why are so many of the questions in the world about what the Betrayed did wrong? It's just more self-protective victim blaming to prop up the myth of a fundamentally just world.


Me: WH
Her: BW
Dday 7/11/13
"May you be protected from hearts that are not humble, tongues that are not wise and eyes that have forgotten how to cry."

Posts: 253 | Registered: Aug 2013
KatieG
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Member # 41222
Default  Posted: 11:06 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

So why are so many of the questions in the world about what the Betrayed did wrong?

Really? Is this still the case, I think with more awareness of mental illness and SA we are all opening our eyes. Its very old fashioned thinking that the BS did wrong and "drove" the WS to it.


DD#1 - 6th Oct 13 - TT
DD#2 - 9th Nov 13 - Full disclosure
DD#3 - 12th May 14 - FOG lifted and in R
7 week A, 2 weeks together, rest phone and email - PA and EA

Posts: 492 | Registered: Nov 2013
Ascendant
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Member # 38303
Default  Posted: 11:19 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Sudra-

I get what you're saying, and I've struggled with it a little myself, but at the end of the day....why be friends with those people?

The one and only good thing to come out of this awful fucking mess (and even then, I already knew it before) is that I am burning daylight with every breath and every minute I waste on, or with, people who don't add any joy to my life is a minute I've flushed down the toilet. I owe a lot of that to WAL and his posts. I'm sure that's no shock.

Someday I will die.

I'll be damned if I spend even 5 minutes on my deathbed thinking about all the shit I *wished* I'd done.

I'm trying as best as possible to live the life I want to live. I love my wife, and I love my kids, but at the end of the day they do not define who I am...I stay true to my promises to them, but I am *finished* constraining and contorting myself to what society's (or my wife's, or my parents' or my peers') role for a loving husband and father is.

Everyone's different, though. My give-a-fuck-o-matic shattered on DDAY2, it just took a while for my brain to catch up. As a BS, though, the sooner that you start slowly cranking up that middle finger A LA Rebreather to everyone's expectations of you, the better.


I keep my mind on my future/and my eyes on the sky/I don't really smile much/If you were there you'd know why.

Posts: 2185 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: City in the Midwest/Best In The Whole Wide World
bionicgal
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Default  Posted: 2:04 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

So why are so many of the questions in the world about what the Betrayed did wrong?

I must live in an alternate universe. I haven't heard this once from the people I've told, nor have I heard it in relationship to the OBS -- not one, single time. So for those of you who feel it is the "cultural conversation," I would wholeheartedly challenge that. I might also look at who you have chosen to tell, or who you hang around with that might say or even imply such things!

[This message edited by bionicgal at 2:05 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)]


me - BS (40s)
DDay - June 2013, A was 2+ months, EA then PA
In MC & Reconciling
An affair is a personal crisis, not a relationship.

I edit, therefore I am.


Posts: 2081 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
StillGoing
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Member # 28571
Default  Posted: 2:32 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

We don't exist in a vacuum. Our identity is affected by what goes on around us. We are social creatures and what we believe others think of us matters. I'll be the first to agree that overvaluing what other people think is extremely unhealthy. Seeking cheap validation is at the core of my personal sins, but that's not what I am talking about here. Regardless, the lens other people view us through shapes how they treat us and, like it or not, that affects our feelings, our relationships and our self-image. What label other people apply to us does matter. It's not the whole story, but it matters.

It really only matters as much as you want it to matter.

My narrative is all about me wrestling fire elementals with my bare hands, while riding a giant chicken named Sir Whuffles IV. It's read by Kenneth Branagh.

I honestly don't care what society defines my narrative as. Society raised up Justin Beiber as whatever he is. It's way below my reading level.


"You have insulted my footwear."

Posts: 7495 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
wert
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Default  Posted: 2:49 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

We don't exist in a vacuum. Our identity is affected by what goes on around us. We are social creatures and what we believe others think of us matters. I'll be the first to agree that overvaluing what other people think is extremely unhealthy. Seeking cheap validation is at the core of my personal sins, but that's not what I am talking about here. Regardless, the lens other people view us through shapes how they treat us and, like it or not, that affects our feelings, our relationships and our self-image. What label other people apply to us does matter. It's not the whole story, but it matters.

Agreed that what we believe others think of us does matter. But I get to decide who's "beliefs" I value. I don't value a newspapers or huffy puffy post. Post A, as a BS, I really filter out the crap and frankly that is what most opinion is, crap. I know who my friends are and the rest can take a hike.

I would add that I am unclear who society is. That seems to be a varied and broad concept at best. I get what you are driving at in so much that society has various opinions about things. Certain narratives are held by various sects of society about infidelity in general and about BS's and WS's extra. Moreover, those tend to vary on male or female status. I get that, but I firmly reject that notion that it shapes me. I am the hero of my own story. Why would I want anyone else to be? Much of my meditation practice focuses identifying false beliefs, often imposed by "society" and redefining them myself. I think it central to be a fully self actualized person. It's a journey and it's messy at times but it's mine.

That's why the BSes who heal (whether they D, R, or stay in a less than ideal M) probably ignore 'society'. Society knows nothing about our experience.
Bingo.

I have consistently said the first thing a BS should do is stick their middle finger up to just about everybody in view. It's gut check time. I time to get to know you time. It's fierce independence time. Once you get centered, you start listening to people who are kind, make sense and matter to you.

I go back to my original statement to you. Take a long look at why you are asking the questions you are. While they are interesting from a sociological stand point, I think they hold little value in healing - unless it forces individuals to reject the very notion of societies viewpoint. Notice I did not say the conversation was not worth while I just think at the end of the day as with most generalize thoughts and pondering's, it doesn't help people much.

Take care...

[This message edited by wert at 3:02 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)]



Posts: 1436 | Registered: Jan 2012
painfulpast
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Default  Posted: 3:16 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My very best friend in the world, upon hearing that my husband wanted a divorce (before I knew he was cheating), asked me how out sex life was. First thing out of her mouth. Well, it sucked. He had not touched me in months (since he fell in love with OW). So she and I explored my fault in my husband wanting a D. It had to be my fault.

She has pointedly made comments, since learning that my husband cheated, about keeping the man happy in bed and has even gone so far as to get us a romantic music CD and candles. Like if I'd had those before, he wouldn't have cheated. She's said time and again, if the sex isn't there, men will look elsewhere. She's never forgotten that I said we weren't having sex, even though I told her later that we WERE having sex when the A started. The lack of sex came later, and was because HE didn't want it because HE was cheating. She simply cannot imagine that it wasn't something I did (or didn't do).

Wow. No offense, but how do you call a woman that has been blaming you for your WH's actions for so long "my very best friend". That sounds more like a selfish, close-minded know it all. I"m sure you've provided fact after fact that a WS cheats because of the WS, not the BS, and yet she continues to vocalize her belief that you caused his cheating. To me, that's not a friend at all.

She sounds extremely toxic. How do you remain friends with someone that blames you for what may very well be the worst experience of your life?

[This message edited by painfulpast at 3:16 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)]


The stones from my enemies, these wounds will mend
but I cannot survive the roses from my friends

Posts: 1898 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
painfulpast
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Default  Posted: 3:19 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

your responses are definitely in the spaces that I wanted to explore with this thread.

OK - but I have to ask, if you wanted comments regarding the stupid, uniformed comments regarding the BS being 'at fault', why not just ask "How do the BSs here feel about society's tendency to blame them for the A?" Instead of "I get to be redeemed, and society loves that, but where are the successful BSs?"

These are two very different questions.

[This message edited by painfulpast at 3:20 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)]


The stones from my enemies, these wounds will mend
but I cannot survive the roses from my friends

Posts: 1898 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
NoGoodUsername
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Default  Posted: 5:24 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Responding to painfulpast

OK - but I have to ask, if you wanted comments regarding the stupid, uniformed comments regarding the BS being 'at fault', why not just ask "How do the BSs here feel about society's tendency to blame them for the A?" Instead of "I get to be redeemed, and society loves that, but where are the successful BSs?"

These are two very different questions.

I strongly feel that mischaracterizes what I have been talking about. This site is full of successful BSs and there are, hopefully, thousands of them that have moved on from here and don't post any more. There are many, many BSs on this site that are great models, including right here in this thread. Also, there was no self-congratulatory declaration "I get to be redeemed". I was presenting the most positive vision I know of from the Wayward perspective as a means of illustration.

Getting into the 'two different questions', I submit that they are not.
I've been trying to talk about the shared visions that circulate in our social construct. The big ideas and labels that we make available bear a direct relationship to the "stupid, uninformed comments regarding the BS being 'at fault'". From what I can see, the lack of social archetypes supporting BSs and the individual behavior of people who assume affairs are the fault of the BS are symptoms of the same larger set of problems. They manifest at different scales. i.e. large group, small group, interpersonal and self-identification.
The missing positive imagery and the poor treatment some people receive probably have the same roots and feed into each other. I also argue that we might have better success breaking some of the victim blaming if it is addressed at both larger and smaller scales.

I have to go cook dinner now. I'll be back later.


Me: WH
Her: BW
Dday 7/11/13
"May you be protected from hearts that are not humble, tongues that are not wise and eyes that have forgotten how to cry."

Posts: 253 | Registered: Aug 2013
wincing_at_light
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Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 6:04 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm beginning to think that this has got to be a data issue (i.e., how you feel about this depends on your sources of input.)

I guess I've just spent way too much time in church circles over the years, because, honestly, the idea that you blame anyone except the sinner for their sins is foreign to me.

To me, even most Hollywood representations of infidelity are loaded with metadata -- you know from the moment the A starts that it's going to end badly, or it was initiated by someone with catastrophically dysfunctional coping mechanisms -- that make most of those stories anything *but* celebrations of unfaithfulness. They're expressions of tragic choices with predictably tragic consequences.

At the end of the day, the narratives you have access to are limited by the narratives you encounter. I think some of us are just drawing water from different wells.

(I wonder also if some of it isn't about FOO stuff. For instance, if you have a parent who was betrayed, you learn how one copes with infidelity through their experience -- either as a positive or as a reaction against. My parents didn't give me any lessons to draw from in this regard, so I got to make it up as I went along. With regards to friends giving bad advice, I've also never had any problem identifying stupid and unproductive commentary -- I don't take life advice from people whose lives I don't have any interest in emulating, for example. I don't take marriage advice from people who have been divorced four times. -- without assuming its representative of some legitimate school of thought.)


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6750 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
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