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BS Questions for WS's - Part 13

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JBWD posted 2/9/2020 16:45 PM

... I guess this just all stems from me now feeling inadequate and wondering how he can possibly feel happier now than when he was in his A’s getting his ego boosted and having fun, exciting relationships with 2 other women...

Mamacesto- I know this is likely something you’ve heard before, but he learned that the relationships he created outside of the A were actually NOT relationships. They were fairly sick, transactional interactions. And he has been fortunate enough to have you remain with him while he learned this. He damaged the actual relationship that you had together, but I’m guessing the knowledge of that relationship is what he now focuses on and sees the true value in.

William- The process of learning that the A was NOT a relationship is when I further started to learn that the feelings I felt for AP were actually manufactured by me. It wasn’t love, just like it wasn’t an actual relationship.

[This message edited by JBWD at 4:46 PM, February 9th (Sunday)]

earlydetour posted 2/10/2020 08:30 AM

Did any WS's lie to their IC and/or MC about the A, the M, the BS, themselves, the AP? Giving out misinformation that then influenced the counseling? I know that's CYA stuff. Did you tell the truth later? How has this affected things? Thanks.

hikingout posted 2/10/2020 10:10 AM

I was reading another post in the reconciliation page that contained a lot of responses from WS talking about their experiences after dday regarding shame, guilt, remorse and how long it took to experience all these things. I find these responses fascinating and helpful. I was wondering if any WS would describe their struggles and feelings after dday in an effort to gain insight into what my WS is feeling and going through. I guess I often feel like I’m the only one struggling and my ww is fine, so when I here other WS describe their struggles it’s so helpful.

Hi Brew,

I suspect I was one of the commenters on that thread.

I struggle to be able to answer your question in a good way because there were so many different phases and feelings. The best thing I can tell you is I was at my lowest point for about all that first year, and I didn't know how to get back up.

If your WS appears to be fine, I am not sure we would have been on the same path. I think my h would tell you that I was weird and obviously ill in some way after dday for a long time. If you aren't seeing the struggle there might not be one?

hikingout posted 2/10/2020 10:20 AM

Here is another question for you guys. When the affair was ongoing, many WSs see the AP in such a positive light. What helped change this positive, "I love you" view if the AP?

This was gradual and not overnight for me.

If I had to put it in phases it would look like this:

1. Holding onto the fantasy of it to continue to justify my behaviors. After all, when you put "soul mate" and "meant to be" it allows a lot of justification. I think what really was hard to accept is that I risked everything for nothing. Seeing that all at once, well I was fragile to do that.

2. Starting to recognize the things that told me all along that I was just projecting. There were lots of negative thoughts I would have about things he said and did at the time they were happening but they just got pushed away as other things were happening that I liked better.

3. Starting to recognize that I manipulated him. That my intentions were not pure, and that I just wanted him around to make me feel a certain way. It wasn't actually him I wanted.

4. Realizing how delusional I had become by beginning to see all the stories I was telling myself weren't based on anything real. There would be pull back on this one because I wasn't ready to let go of the idea I was special to him. My ego wasn't ready to accept that part because I had made it a big source of everything. Once I had gotten more stable, I was able to let that part go as well. I was able to see that he used me too. You would think it would be in reverse since he established NC and never broke it, but It was something I harbored because I don't think I could take that I was that stupid.

5. And, I think sometimes the emotional aspect then has to fully catch up with the logic.

LifeDestroyer posted 2/10/2020 11:51 AM

Did any WS's lie to their IC and/or MC about the A, the M, the BS, themselves, the AP? Giving out misinformation that then influenced the counseling? I know that's CYA stuff. Did you tell the truth later? How has this affected things? Thanks.

I did with my first IC. The same lies I told my husband and the people here, I told her. As I divulged more to him and here, I told her the same. In my head, I had to keep the lie going in all places. When I switched to a new IC, for a short while, I told her how I kept things/lied to the first. With my recent IC, I came out the first meeting and told her all about how I lied. I told her every single thing that I have done.

Since this one knows everything, I don't have to sit there and wonder "oh wait did I tell her this or not." There are still things from my past that I will start with "I'm not sure if I told you about this but..."

It's changed it for me because I'm not lying anymore. She gets to hear about everything that I have done and felt and then challenges me on it.

Justsomelady posted 2/10/2020 12:22 PM

Did any WS's lie to their IC and/or MC about the A, the M, the BS, themselves, the AP? Giving out misinformation that then influenced the counseling? I know that's CYA stuff. Did you tell the truth later? How has this affected things? Thanks.

Want to know something messed up? NO. I was honest and full of angst about my desires to have a PA. I had an EA but went to a counselor off and on at the early stages of my Limerence- couldn’t go regularly due to financial situation at the time. Here is the really messed up part- my IC did not understand how obsessed and serious I was about escalating. She told me that flirtations and erotic energy are a natural part of life and I should just lean into it - flirting as an outlet only but without cheating. She said flirting is ok and fun. I can see how causal banter in a certain context would remain above board - but not in my situation. I am not a natural flirt. I am beautiful and attract attention but am also awkward and insecure. So when she told me to flirt it was like I had a license to emotionally cheat. Almost a prescription for it to fully embrace life! I had also gotten into Esther Perel and was full of self justification... And when I attempted it I basically was waaaayyyyy too forward as I am too intense and literally cannot flirt like normal people (I assume) do. And shit got out of hand until I came clean to H...

And as for my H - I lied by omission - never brought it up until I came clean after talking to folks here at SI..

[This message edited by Justsomelady at 12:59 PM, February 10th (Monday)]

Brew3x posted 2/10/2020 12:34 PM


Hi Brew,

I suspect I was one of the commenters on that thread.

I struggle to be able to answer your question in a good way because there were so many different phases and feelings. The best thing I can tell you is I was at my lowest point for about all that first year, and I didn't know how to get back up.

If your WS appears to be fine, I am not sure we would have been on the same path. I think my h would tell you that I was weird and obviously ill in some way after dday for a long time. If you aren't seeing the struggle there might not be one?


Hikingout
She has told me some her struggles but not much, my ww has a great ability to tuck her emotions away due to a lot of trauma from a serious life long battle with cancer, she has shown some cracks In her emotions but It's very difficult to tell.

Justsomelady posted 2/10/2020 12:48 PM

Here is another question for you guys. When the affair was ongoing, many WSs see the AP in such a positive light. What helped change this positive, "I love you" view if the AP?

For me, it was also gradual as Hiking Out says. A big part of that for me was realizing a couple things: first, we were just using each other for our own vanity and ego kibbles. Also, how unoriginal and bored this cheating impulse is. I think on some level I was looking for escape and avoidance of boredom and my anxieties in life.... and the one they took me a while to let go of, was realizing he wasn’t so nice of a person as he clearly saw that by tempting me - no matter how willing I was, he was willfully f’ing up my child’s life and my husband’s wellbeing, all of our stability and my mental health as well.

TooManyCliches posted 2/17/2020 06:14 AM

If the AP did not initially accept that it was over (particularly if they were single), how long did it take before she/he stopped making contact (assuming no encouragement on the part of the WS)? And did it eventually fade out on its own, or did one of you have to do something more proactive?

And for the WS side, if you were initially fully committed to making things work with your BS, and we’re trying to maintain NC, did continued attempts at contact (especially professions of love from the AP) cause you to waiver at all?

My WH’s AP reached out every few days for the first three weeks or so. He never initiated or saw her in person again, but he did talk to her briefly the two times she called. Then she SEEMED to get the message, because there was nothing for over a month. But now THREE TIMES in the last week and a half she’s sent things to his office. One he mailed back with no message, the others he threw out. He thinks she’ll just fade out again soon, but I’m less sure. And I don’t really think any of this will inspire him to go back to her (he’s told me about all of them, and not been receptive) but the possibility is still in the back of my mind.

[This message edited by TooManyCliches at 7:34 PM, February 17th (Monday)]

EvolvingSoul posted 2/17/2020 18:33 PM

Hi there TooManyCliches,

Just so you know, BSes can't respond to you on this thread, just WSes.

I was fortunate enough that my AP respected my request for NC but I'm sure there will be other WSes along that had a different experience.

Sorry for all that you're going through.

Best to you from this EvolvingSoul.

MrCleanSlate posted 2/18/2020 15:30 PM

toomanycliches,

In my case I broke up with my AP, then before the week was out my AP wnet nuclear on my BW before I got up the nerve to tell her.

My AP tried her best to 'friend' my BW and drive a wedge between us. My BW told the AP to f-off.

I then started to get the random butt call or text or email from different numbers and emails that the AP created. This went on for a month or so with no response from us.

Final straw was a written letter about months later to our new address. This one was kind of scary and prompted my BW and I to head off to the police to advise them and also a cease and desist letter from a lawyer.

End of the day the AP felt that my BW was the obstacle to my AP getting me back and enjoying some of the 'good life' she perceived she was owed.

No contact is the best method. No responses. nothing. At best you go to a lawyer and have them issue a cease and desist letter.

Timetomoveon posted 2/19/2020 10:38 AM

My wife and I are enduring a miserable few days until we can finalize a plan for the kids through a co-parenting counselor for when she leaves this weekend. She has exploded each night with very harmful words. She "hates" me and tells me to "go to Hell." She has "wasted 18 years of her life on me." I have "mentally abused her for 18 years." She "hates my family." She made comments that her parents fear for her safety which I find hard to believe. There never has nor ever will be any physical safety issues. On and on...
Wow. Yes, we have our differences, but you would think I am serial killer if you ask her. I have accepted 50 percent of the responsibility for where our marriage was prior to her affair. My question for Waywards is did you take it this far? Were you that angry and say things this harmful? Or am I dealing with a whole different situation?

EvolvingSoul posted 2/20/2020 00:02 AM

Hi there Timetomoveon,

It seems like she is demonizing you to justify her actions. This isn't uncommon although the degree varies, it sounds like in your case the degree is pretty high.

This kind of demonization/dehumanization is necessary to circumvent the brain wiring humans have to prevent us from hurting each other. Generally when we hurt another human being it makes us feel bad, and that wiring is necessary for us to be able to live as a social species. She has to see you as evil/enemy/less-than-human so that you "deserve" the crappy treatment you've received and are continuing to receive and she can feel okay about it.

I think the 180 is a good idea.

I'm sorry you're going through this.

[This message edited by EvolvingSoul at 12:03 AM, February 20th (Thursday)]

eehamlet posted 2/24/2020 18:08 PM

Reposted from General Forum.....

My wife and I married very young her 19 me 22. My parents were going through a messy divorce and dragging my brother and myself into it. This stress drove my brother to drugs and obviously put stress on our marriage.

I thought we were doing well, after a couple of years we put 5% down on a condo and were building out lives. About 2 1/2 years into the marriage overnight my wife went stone cold on me. Wouldn't talk, showed no emotion towards me, started "going out with her girlfriends" after work. After a couple of months of that she "needed her space" and moved out. She refused any discussion but claimed it was just temporary while she thought things through. A couple of weeks later the divorce papers came in the mail. She obviously was having an affair and planning the divorce for quite a while. I was very naive then but realized that she had figured out our finances very well. At her insistence we paid off the new car loan before she left (she took that car) and due to hard economic times the condo was worth less than what we paid for it.

The truth is that I never cheated on her, verbally or physically abused her or treated her badly in any way. The only thing I can think of was the toxic environment that was brought into our marriage because of my parent's divorce and me having to deal with it and the fact that I was young and probably not as sensitive to her feelings as a more mature man would be. Admittedly at the time I saw my family's issues as a "my" problem not an "our" problem and it surely brought a lot stress into the relationship. I liked to stay home and she would have liked to go out more. Those are the facts as honestly as I can see them. I cannot give you her views as she never shared them with me or anyone that I know of.

The divorce was final back in 1982. I put my life back together and met the woman that has been my friend at first, then my lover and now my wife a couple months before the divorce was final. The only closure I have from my first marriage are the certified divorce papers. I haven't talked to my ex-wife since 1982. I never will.

I found out a little while ago that she died back in 2007. The wounds have long since scarred over and I accepted the lack of any formal closure many, many years ago but somehow finding out that she's dead and I'll never know her side of things makes me want to find some closure. Over the years I understood more of what my family's stress must have done to our relationship and had softened my opinion of her.

I expected that after hearing of her death my feelings towards her would become softer and more forgiving. I thought that was what a good person would do. But it hasn't worked that way. Since then I've read a whole lot about infidelity and cheating and instead of feeling more forgiving towards her I feel more like I was very, very lucky to escape her clutches and thrive. I read time and time again of cheaters of both sexes that use their original partners as backup insurance if the new one doesn't work out. Little details about the timing of certain things and the financial timings start looking more and more sinister.

What I am hoping for with this posting is to hear from some of you women that cheated, particularly if you did when you were very young (she was 22 when this happened). I'm not looking to pass judgement, I would just like to see the other side of what happened to me or at least as close as is possible to get at this late date. I know that many cheaters do have a lot of regrets down the road and wish that they could ease the pain of those that they cheated on. On the other hand many cheaters feel justified in what they did and have no regrets. Regardless I'd like to hear from you.

Hopefully some of you went through something like this from her side and can give me some insight. That's going to be as close to closure as I'm ever going to get. I'd like to understand how a caring human being could do this. I can understand the cheating - married too young, bored, not seen enough of the world, whatever the reason was. I can understand people not taking their marriage vows seriously - that is unfortunately common enough. What I can't understand was the deliberate infliction of pain. Had I done something to her that demanded revenge on her part? If so why wouldn't she tell me what it was? Why the total unwillingness to have any serious discussion? Was she just too young to formulate the idea she would have expressed. I don't know.

What I'm left with now when I think of her is a woman who cheated on me, who plotted her exit in secret, well in advance and made sure that she sucked as much equity out of the marriage as was possible, who turned stone cold towards me and refused to ever have another serious discussion with me ever again in her life. She never admitted to an affair and by never having some final discussion I think she tried to leave the door open if things didn't work out.

I'd like to see more of the good that was in her and come to a more generous explanation for what transpired. Maybe I was a sucker and I've got an accurate summary of what happened. The more I have read the more that seems to be the case. I'm hoping to see a softer, gentler explanation. Either way - if you have experience from the cheaters side please add to this thread.

hikingout posted 2/26/2020 10:42 AM

What I can't understand was the deliberate infliction of pain. Had I done something to her that demanded revenge on her part? If so why wouldn't she tell me what it was? Why the total unwillingness to have any serious discussion? Was she just too young to formulate the idea she would have expressed. I don't know.

I think that one thing for sure is her cheating and bad behavior were not a reflection on you or anything you were or weren't. The rest of what I am going to say is just the speculation fodder I think you are asking for but that statement I just made is the one thing I totally believe is true in all cheating cases.

I don't know if your ex was a caring and loving person. But, I have been around here for almost three years and I have talked to a lot of different WS. Most of the time (not always) their cheating really could be summarized as "I was having a hard time, I felt bad about myself. I started talking to someone and they made me feel good and I wanted to continue". That's an oversimplification, of course but generally I see that one a whole lot, really even in my own case.

Mine happened at a transitional stage in my life - mid-life/empty nest. I can remember being 22 and I feel like that is also such a transitional time in someone's life. There are a lot of new stresses. It's very possible that she was a lot like me and didn't know how to manage that. Some of her disappointment with what life was looking like - she might have made you a scapegoat of that and blamed you. For me, I certainly had gotten to a place where I could no longer process the stress, I needed an exit button. I escaped my life by getting caught up in the affair much like some people drink, gamble, take drugs, or whatever else they do to escape the pain of their own reality. I thought I could just go and have a different life without my husband and it could be simpler with fewer expectations.

I am a middle aged woman. I can imagine if you add the immaturity of being 22, and the fact your brain isn't even fully formed at that age that it's not hard for me to project something similar happening with her.

I do not feel she likely set out on that venture to destroy you...not at first. The affair was really about her and her lack of character combined with not coping with whatever was happening in her life. I think the thing that is harder is how she acted in a calculated way in divorcing you.

When people cheat they know what they are doing is wrong so they start to rationalize their behavior in their head. They tell themselves stories of justification. One common way they do that is to villainize their spouse. If their spouse is the problem they don't have to think about the ways they are the problem. They invest in a fantasy of "my life could be more perfect if..." and it's really misguided.

I don't know if that helps or not, but you didn't do anything that caused it. And, she couldn't face her own stuff so she ended up likely justifying a lot of sucky choices she was making with stories she was telling herself to feel better.

eehamlet posted 2/26/2020 14:33 PM

hikingout -

Thanks for your response. It definitely helps. I think that you are right about the reasons things started out. It makes sense. We were young, not too much money, it's a flashy world out there. She didn't she deserve some of it? I have zero doubt that there was anything I could have done that would have prevented her from straying. It wasn't my fault. If she didn't do it when she did it it would have been 6 months down the road, a year down the road, whenever. It was going to happen. I accept that and am peace with that. That was her character. I didn't know it then. I'm sure of it now.

You wrote: "When people cheat they know what they are doing is wrong so they start to rationalize their behavior in their head. They tell themselves stories of justification. One common way they do that is to villainize their spouse. If their spouse is the problem they don't have to think about the ways they are the problem. They invest in a fantasy of "my life could be more perfect if..." and it's really misguided. "

I think that that is what happened here too. The only regret I ever had about our marriage was that the stress of what was going on with my parents bled into our marriage. I couldn't prevent that and at 24 years old I didn't know enough to handle it any other way than how I did. That had to have been the seed that grew into the infidelity tree. Coming to an understanding that had it not been that it would have been something else definitely gives me peace. No one likes to fail. It is still hard for me to understand how a person can villanize their partner the way she did. Intellectually I understand that it happens all the time. And it makes sense that she must have done this with me. I guess the deeper the affair went on the deeper the need on her part to justify it which meant that the more I deserved it in her mind. The financial actions that she took are factual. Leaving our home was factual. The timing of the divorce papers is factual. The lack of discussion is factual. It all leads to the same conclusion that it was all well thought out. I've tried to find a more innocent explanation. I haven't found it.

The most rational explanation is that what she did was intentional and done to better herself at my expense. The pain she knew she was inflicting didn't matter to her, she either minimized it or justified it to herself. I'm coming to terms with the fact that she just wasn't a very good person. And that's a difficult thing to come to terms with.


Thanks again for the response. Better understanding always helps.

hikingout posted 2/26/2020 15:01 PM

The only regret I ever had about our marriage was that the stress of what was going on with my parents bled into our marriage. I couldn't prevent that and at 24 years old I didn't know enough to handle it any other way than how I did. That had to have been the seed that grew into the infidelity tree.

Hard to say. You suffered from the same stress and didn't cheat, right? So while it might have been a strain on your marriage, she should have dealt with that differently than cheating. So, that part doesn't matter. It was in her character at that time to cheat instead of facing issues head on. I know that for my part I was conflict avoidant and kind of lazy really in terms of communicating. I lacked integrity because my moral code changed to fit my needs at the time. Same has to be said for her.

I guess the deeper the affair went on the deeper the need on her part to justify it which meant that the more I deserved it in her mind.

Yes.

The financial actions that she took are factual. Leaving our home was factual. The timing of the divorce papers is factual. The lack of discussion is factual. It all leads to the same conclusion that it was all well thought out. I've tried to find a more innocent explanation.

I would agree. I would say she disconnected any feelings she had about you and then used what she knew to benefit. Probably without regard to your feelings at all. It was likely less about hurting you and more about getting what she wanted. People who cheat are selfish. That can be worked on and changed but at 22, well...I just doubt there was the emotional maturity there. She may have grown and become a more loving and caring person, but at the time someone is cheating and lying and scheming...no...that person doesn't understand love. So, I can see why that's hard for you to digest.

But in any case to you see how you are involved in any of that? No. It would have happened to whoever she was married to. It was always about her. I think maybe the healing lies in leaving the responsibility of any of that behind you. It wasn't you that failed it was her.

The most rational explanation is that what she did was intentional and done to better herself at my expense. The pain she knew she was inflicting didn't matter to her, she either minimized it or justified it to herself. I'm coming to terms with the fact that she just wasn't a very good person. And that's a difficult thing to come to terms with.

Yes, I can understand. But, I think of it a little differently. Noone is all good or all bad. You may have married someone who was behaving and doing the right things, who hit a crossroads in her life and started down a bad path. That bad path created a lot of bad behavior and a lot of callousness. It doesn't mean she was that way when you married her. It doesn't mean that she was that way for life. I know that I was very numb after my affair. I could not connect well with my feelings. I would say because of that there were times that I know I was being callous.

I don't know if that helps you or not. But, for you to heal you don't really need her to be a good person or a bad person, I think you just need to feel you have done the best you can at each juncture and be compassionate with yourself. You do not own the behavior or the actions of others. You were dealt a very unjust situation and you were taken advantage of, but you continued to be you and do the best you could.

eehamlet posted 2/26/2020 17:23 PM

I am satisfied that at each step of the way I did the best that I could with what I had at that age. I'm nearly 40 years older now and if something like my parent's divorce came into my life at this stage I could have dealt with it more effectively. I don't feel any guilt for being unable to handle it any better than I did at 23 any more than I feel bad that I can't slam dunk a basketball or run a 4 minute mile. We all have our limitations.

I am actually proud of how I behaved throughout the process. I was wise enough not to run out and have a revenge affair. I was wise enough to reach out to friends and to her mother for support when I needed it and not just crawl into a hole. I was wise enough not to attempt to take revenge on her or to verbally call her out for what she was. I was wise enough to never attempt to contact her after the fact. I was wise enough to work on bettering myself. I was wise enough to develop a great friendship with my now wife before we took it forward and to move forward slowly. This paid off as we've been together ever since then. All in all I got through it well and I made the smart choices at the time.

During my reading about infidelity I read a question from a guy that laid out all of what was going on in his relationship asking if she was cheating and should he leave the relationship. It was obvious what the answer was. The answer that I saw as the most insightful came from someone who answered "If your best friend came to you and showed you the words that you wrote but said it was happening to him what would you tell him"? It's very obvious from outside the relationship to see through the bullshit. When you are in it at the time you want very badly to believe. I dodged a bullet. She made the choice of the path to take. I didn't drive her to it and I could not have prevented it. Hopefully she found her way back to the right path later in her life. I had a friend who died from a drug overdose. I was powerless to stop that. This is the same thing. It's OK to feel sad at how things turn out without blaming yourself for not being able to stop it.

Peace!

Slowly_Breaking posted 2/27/2020 23:25 PM

My wife had an exit affair. I’ve been on this board due to infidelity in the past with a previous partner and I find myself here again.

She said she was unhappy. She cheated and I caught her. She saiid my trust issues pushed her, she’s told friends that I accused her of cheating so she figured she may as well do it. I don’t know the extent of the affair. She’s said it was a ONS, but her behaviour for months leading up, could be perceived as an ongoing affair. I learned from the last time, I don’t want to know.

She knew cheating was my deal breaker. She couldn’t tell me she wanted to separate so she blew it up.

So, WS, will she ever feel any remorse? She’s moved out, like to continue her affair I assume (“we should separate, I need to work on myself, I need to understand why I would do something I swore I would never do”).

She’s been unkind. Has said cruel things all around resenting me. Doesn’t believe she needs to report to anyone (because I would get mad if she didn’t text that she’s working late since I was cooking, or because she would say she’s working until 10 and then show up at midnight without sending a text that she’s gotta stay later, rude).

No offer of reconciliation. She said the damage has been done and she will go. I didn’t ask her to stay because why would I?

Angry and resentful or exit affair WS, will she ever get to feel an ounce of the pain and devastation she’s bestowed upon me?

I’m 180, minus some matters we need to settle. Not yet filed for D as I have to focus on my healing, moving out of the house she abandoned, and understand what financial rights we need to sort to process D. (No assets, so a lawyer route is questionable).

I’ve been here before and survived. This time, I’m gonna address my trust issues, but I can’t stop wondering, when does she get to feel my pain?

[This message edited by Slowly_Breaking at 11:27 PM, February 27th (Thursday)]

ff4152 posted 2/28/2020 07:18 AM

Slowly

IMO she will not feel remorse for what she’s done until she admits she did something wrong. She can rationalize her behavior away as much as she wants but it doesn’t alter the truth.

That’s how many of us WS give ourselves permission to cheat. Oh my wife doesn’t love me so she wouldn’t care if she found out. Oh my husband doesn’t spend enough time with me blah blah blah. All bullshit. Think of it this way. Suppose your walking down the street and you see Warren Buffet in front of you. You see that he drops his wallet but doesn’t notice and keeps going. Most normal people would pick up the wallet and give it back to him. Typical WS thinking would be, well it’s ok to keep it. He has enough money anyway.

I do not think you will get the closure you seek. Based upon what you’ve described, you would be better served to accept her for the broken person she is and move on.

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