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Reconciliation :
Why did you stay?

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 DailyGratitude (original poster member #79494) posted at 3:48 PM on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

Curious to know why some of you decided to stay and work on R
Was it the right decision? Or would you have done differently?

posts: 68   ·   registered: Oct. 17th, 2021   ·   location: Connecticut
id 8704063
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Omnipicus ( new member #79316) posted at 4:15 PM on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

I’m only about 6 months into healing, so it’s early. But I’ve stayed so far bc of these reasons:

-my WW told me immediately. She did not hide anything and I did not catch her. I got confirmation from AP’s wife she was telling the truth about timeline
-there was no malice here. It was not personal (revenge, anger, etc)
-she has been completely truthful throughout this whole thing. Even when she slipped up early in the process she told me immediately. She can’t lie to me. It’s just too hard for her. She gets sick and crashes hard.
-she didn’t love the AP. She told me from DDay that she loves me and that this was her problem, not her wanting to leave

The fact that she did those things makes trust far easier to attain. I can’t imagine how hard it would be if this was going on for a long time and she lied of hid it and I caught her. I feel for those that are going through that.

Nothing is guaranteed obviously but I feel like on the affair scale mine is not as difficult as many

posts: 16   ·   registered: Aug. 23rd, 2021
id 8704070
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Happenedtome2 ( member #68906) posted at 4:23 PM on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

I'm 3 years + out from DDay. It was EA.

I stayed because I love my wife and our family. I didn't want to see it all fall apart.
At this time, I do not know if it was the right decision.


After year 1 I would have said that it was. Right now I am in limbo having run into a situation where I no longer think I care to save the marriage and feel I have wasted my time. Keep in mind, WW has done nothing to make me feel this way. It's just a feeling that maybe I have run my course of R and just don't even want to have "that feeling" that made me check up on her on DDay. The clock is ticking on D and I don't know what I'm looking at/for.

If I had it to do differently, I wish I would have found this page sooner TBH. I did the pick me dance right from the start instead of doing the 180 and filing for D. 3 years out and my trust level is still very low. It's a crappy feeling.

BH DDay August 2018 :https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=633451

posts: 506   ·   registered: Nov. 23rd, 2018
id 8704073
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 4:43 PM on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

Most days I reckon it's because I'm a masochist.

Bit of a joke there (but see my signature).

I do love my wife, never stopped, probably wouldn't if we did get divorced.

That's not a good reason to stay though. I stayed because I really wanted to maintain the family we built together (two kids) and she eventually showed real remorse and the ability to become a safe partner.

The decision to stay is also not permanent. That's part of how I accept my choice. That if I want to, I can always change my mind.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 1652   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8704080
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 5:04 PM on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

The simplest answer is, I still loved her.

And while I would never recommend that as a reason to consider R, it was enough to get us started.

Because love is never enough.

Love wasn’t enough to stop my wife shitty choices and it wasn’t enough to heal us after discovery.

Relationships, for me, are all about connection. Infidelity obliterates that connection.

R worked here because we started over. We started with little bits of care and trust and talked and read books, went to counseling, and pushed through the worst days. We boiled it all away to see if "us" was worth it.

All that said, to get to us — I had to figure out me first.

This kind of pain is horrible, but very liberating. It gave me a chance to evaluate and reevaluate my entire existence.

I didn’t owe R to my wife.

I chose to give her a last chance.

I had always done for others, my next decisions were about me and what I wanted.

I sat down and decided what really mattered to me and what kind of life I wanted and MOST important : to KNOW I was fine and awesome solo or hitched, or whatever path I ended up on.

Strangely enough, I think the strength I gained from surviving and then thriving from the Hell of infidelity is something that drives the rebuilt relationship.

I’m happy with my choice and my life.

If something changes, or my wife changes the locks for whatever reason, I’ll be just as awesome.

Married 34+ years, together 40+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived
Restoration takes time.
"Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him to himself." ― Epictetus

posts: 4269   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2016   ·   location: PNW. The adventure continues.
id 8704085
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alucard ( member #78796) posted at 5:05 PM on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

I am feeling a lot of anger in the last couple of days so perhaps my answer is tinted by that but I think that, once you peel off all the layers, as BH, fundamentally, we stay because we're weak, we act from a place of fear, and we lack self-esteem.

Love is not a healthy reason to stay.
Actually, the more I think the more I realize that there are no real reasons to stay, and that true reconciliation is impossible.

The damage is done, and unfixable. Whatever marriage one can reconcile will always be a diminished, damaged, tainted version of it. I read other stories People 5, 10, 20 years out. That anguish never goes away, it never really heals, the pain never really stops.

One can love their partner immensely (I do) and still leave. That's perhaps the only healthy and empowering choice.

[This message edited by alucard at 5:07 PM, Tuesday, December 14th]

posts: 126   ·   registered: May. 14th, 2021
id 8704086
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alucard ( member #78796) posted at 5:15 PM on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

@oldwounds

On my good days, I think and feel exactly like you.
But lately, I've started to feel discouraged.
Why? My WW has been doing EVERYTHING right. I can see, sense, and feel her love, commitment, remorse, honesty.
But that doesn't prevent me to slip into dark pits of anguish, desperation, pain. I realize that I am broken, and nothing might be able to fix that.
I also understand that It's my responsibility to heal myself, and show up stronger, despite the harm done to me.

posts: 126   ·   registered: May. 14th, 2021
id 8704090
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 5:43 PM on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

Alucard -

I also understand that It's my responsibility to heal myself, and show up stronger, despite the harm done to me.

I agree. I had to heal me — but it helped my R — that my wife helped heal us too.

That said, I wasn’t ready to truly heal until I recovered from the trauma. I had to mourn what was lost. I had to rebuild what my reality was.

For me, that was over TWO YEARS.

So, be kind to yourself, give yourself room and time to gain the strength you need to choose your path.

I am feeling a lot of anger in the last couple of days so perhaps my answer is tinted by that but I think that, once you peel off all the layers, as BH, fundamentally, we stay because we're weak, we act from a place of fear, and we lack self-esteem.

I think SOME people stay out of fear, but I would imagine for a successful R, fear makes a lousy foundation.

It’s funny, because after surviving infidelity, and rebuilding myself — fear, acceptance and validation — have all gone out the window. I have zero fucks to give about what ANYONE thinks of me. I am more awesome, I am stronger, cooler, more at peace than at any time in my life. Because I got through trauma I didn’t think I could get through (at least that first year for sure).

I could ONLY stay if the relationship became worthy of me.

And I will ONLY stay again today, if my relationship is as good or better than it was yesterday.

Married 34+ years, together 40+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived
Restoration takes time.
"Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him to himself." ― Epictetus

posts: 4269   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2016   ·   location: PNW. The adventure continues.
id 8704092
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Timeforhelp ( member #74605) posted at 6:47 PM on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

I think most BS will say they stayed because they ‘love’ their WS. It is our capacity for this blind love that helps the WS ‘pull the wool’ over our eyes and conduct the affair in the first place.

I think the question is better posed for the WS that stay, especially when so many still haven’t got their heads out of their arse for months, or years after dday. As a sceptic my instant answer on behalf of my WS is that they have no where else to go, as they realise the OW/OM isn’t a good replacement full time, but haven’t planned for the eventuality forced on them by discovery.

Sorry to thread Jack, but any WS’s who can answer would be appreciated.

posts: 71   ·   registered: Jun. 16th, 2020
id 8704106
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Ladybugmaam ( member #69881) posted at 8:07 PM on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

I stayed because I felt like, despite the overwhelming pain, I had something worth fighting for with FWH.......IF he was willing to put forth the effort to fix himself and us.....I was willing to try. But, there were more than a few caveats. The affair had to be over. He had to sign a post nuptial.....I didn’t want the reason I stayed or he worked on it to have anything to do with finances or feeling like either of us were stuck. Having him work on this was hard for him to fathom in the early days. Why would I want to work on us if I was effectively having us draft a divorce decree.....but that really communicated that this might not work unless he drove the truck that got us there. I couldn’t do it. I was too traumatized by it all. Mostly, we had a fairly good marriage going into the affair - just vulnerable.
I think my FWH stayed because he knew he didn’t want to affair as a long term option. It was cake eating/midlife crisis for him. If we were going to work, HE had to find our counselors. He had to show that he was trustworthy over and over again. He also said that he felt like even if they were caught, he would have ended it. Again, no excusing what he chose, but in some ways he made him value what we had more understanding that he had made choices that would end our marriage. While early on, I could see him mourning the relationship.....he went all in for us. (To the point of me using a VAR only to hear him berate himself for going there).
I remember early post DDay......I asked him what he wanted. If he loved her, etc. He was pretty adamant, no. I also told him that IF that is really what he wanted, I’d let him go. I didn’t want him staying for our kiddo, or any reason other than he really wanted us. NOW....it took a long time to absorb that and not question him. Some days, I don’t. The thing is, every relationship is vulnerable to this. I just didn’t know it at the time. Doesn’t excuse it AT ALL. Now I see it everywhere. I’m hard pressed to find a relationship not tainted by infidelity in some way. People suck.
Was it the right decision for us? I think so. I’m glad, mostly, for where we are now....not how we got here.

EA DD 11/2018
PA DD 2/25/19
One teen son

posts: 198   ·   registered: Feb. 26th, 2019
id 8704120
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alucard ( member #78796) posted at 8:29 PM on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

@oldowounds
Thank you once more for sharing your perspective.
I understand, and I agree.
I see my R and the work that needs to be done.

I am around 1-year mark, and I've had many good moments, and in a way, I'm way stronger than I ever was. However, overall I'm still profoundly stuck in grief. I am in a constant anxiety state and experiencea lot of sadness and derpession. I can't concentrate, I can't get work done, and I strusucucmt to the darkness way too often.

posts: 126   ·   registered: May. 14th, 2021
id 8704127
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 8:43 PM on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

In 8 days, we'll pass through the 11th antiversary of our d-day.

I knew immediately that I wanted to R. I watched my W and looked inside myself for 90 days before committing to R, and that was probably a little too quickly.

I had lots of motivations for wanting R. I took the 90 days to unearth as many as possible, to make sure I could see a good life whether I D'ed or R'ed, and to make sure I was deciding from strength and from reasonable hopes of rebuilding our relationship into something very satisfying.

Also, I loved and lusted after my W - both were necessary factors for me, but I knew that love alone, even with lust added, was not enough.

I also thought my W was a good bet for R. She was concerned for and supportive of me. More important, IMO, I thought she was committed to changing from cheater to good partner.

Also, I found SI 58 days after d-day. Here I read posts by members that gave me some optimism that R could work for us.

I did not commit to R until the commitment was also to go for something I wanted, to go for something that promised what was IMO a high probability for joy. I did not aim to avoid the risk of pain.

*****

Alucard, Doubting you're making the right choice and doubting your strength are pretty normal in the early days. I avoided a lot of it by reminding myself that I could change my mind any time I wanted to. BTW, I don't see a lot of weakness in your posts....

I'm sorry you're feeling down. Recovering from being betrayed is not easy or pleasant, but I believe you'll find it's worth the effort.

*****

Note that R has 2 requirements: 1) both partners' desire to R; 2) both partners' willingness to do the work.

You don't have to D if both factors aren't present. If you stay without both factors, though, it's not accurate to call it 'R'.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 9:07 PM, Tuesday, December 14th]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 26518   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8704130
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 12:01 AM on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

Alucard -

I am around 1-year mark, and I've had many good moments, and in a way, I'm way stronger than I ever was. However, overall I'm still profoundly stuck in grief. I am in a constant anxiety state and experiencea lot of sadness and derpession.

That grief and mourning is profound — because of how much you loved and cared for the person who hurt you.

If you didn’t care about your spouse, or the relationship you thought you had, it wouldn’t hurt so damn bad.

I don’t think you are stuck. At ONE year, I was in that dark place and couldn’t even imagine a brighter day.

You’re not weak. Hell, just to be working, standing up, moving one foot in front of the other, while processing the Hell of infidelity — you’re extremely tough.

It’s why you’ll find a way to the other side of the pain, that sure seemed endless to me after that first year.

You will, but don’t rush it. Any anger or sadness is hard earned. Process it all.

[This message edited by Oldwounds at 12:03 AM, Wednesday, December 15th]

Married 34+ years, together 40+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived
Restoration takes time.
"Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him to himself." ― Epictetus

posts: 4269   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2016   ·   location: PNW. The adventure continues.
id 8704162
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alucard ( member #78796) posted at 12:47 AM on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

thank you @oldwound
Again, I deeply understand your perspective. It's rooted in the same spiritual path I've embarked on after the discovery.

I am broken, but I am still managing to function. Working, earning more than I ever did, working out, reading, growing, working on future plans, traveling, reconnecting with friends and family, trying to forgive WW and myself.
My WW is being amazing. Caring, supporting, honest, remorseful, apologetic, generous, kind and I think she has now realized how much she has to hut me and us. Sometimes I find her crying in bed for hours on her own, mumbling that she hurt me and destroyed our marriage. It breaks my heart to see her going through so much pain and grief. Of course, this is helping m

Having a hard day today, but I'll take one day at a time

posts: 126   ·   registered: May. 14th, 2021
id 8704175
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Repossessed ( member #79544) posted at 1:22 AM on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

'Til death do us part.'

Mating for life. I liked the notion and idea of it. I liked that she was my pick. And in the same way that I'd turned myself over to her, she was mine. I believed in the us... fiercely.

I waited for 5 years for her to 'get it' and for this...

Sometimes I find her crying in bed for hours on her own, mumbling that she hurt me and destroyed our marriage.

We are no longer as of 8 months ago. And I'm now in the midst of this...

I had always done for others, my next decisions were about me and what I wanted.

And as for my mindset regarding her, as fiercely as I cherished her/us, I just as fiercely now detest her. I want her no where near my orbit, let alone in it.

Here to keep myself mindful that I don't always see what actually is. I certainly didn't when I married her.

posts: 122   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021   ·   location: Chicagoland
id 8704179
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src9043 ( member #75367) posted at 1:30 AM on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

I was in a conundrum due to my ex-wife's first affair. I could never imagine divorcing someone I married, but infidelity was always a deal-breaker. My ex-wife's behavior was very erratic during her affair. I told her she needed therapy and she agreed. I suspected she was having an affair, but she kept gaslighting me. Well, the affair was soon revealed to me through her counseling. I was devastated and didn't know how to handle the conundrum I mentioned. I joined her in therapy. Big mistake. The MC immediately blamed me for half the cause of the ex-wife's affair and told me I should get over it, even after finding out about it only two weeks earlier.

Thus, I allowed fear, very poor advice, and competing values that obscured everything to push me into staying. Big mistake. I never felt anything for the ex-WW afterward. She was also a terrible candidate for R. Thankfully, I caught her again, but only after another six years. I was utterly stupid to stay with her after the first affair. But once realizing that she was irredeemable (within a year of her first affair), I should have left soon thereafter. I wish a forum such as SI existed back then. Extremely happy the marriage ended six painful years later. She was a horrible choice to marry. There were just too many red flags.

posts: 500   ·   registered: Sep. 7th, 2020
id 8704180
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Underserving ( member #72259) posted at 2:30 AM on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

My situation wasn’t the norm. I found out 3 years after the end of the A. I will never know what I would have done if I had discovered his affair while it was active, but I am fairly confident neither one of us would have been willing to do the hard work of R at the time. I call it a miracle that we were able to come back from that shitty place we were in. In the 3 years between his affair and d-day, our marriage did a complete 180. Both of us changed. Really, we grew the fuck up. EXCEPT, ya know, that tiny little thing where he had a secret girlfriend for 7 months that one time, and forgot to mention it to me 😂

When I discovered the affair, I had already had a glimpse of the potential we had as partners. I couldn’t imagine having that with someone else, at least not fully. Sure I could be single and thrive. I could remarry and have a happy life with someone else. But it wouldn’t ever feel… complete. He’s the father of my children. The man I chose to share my life with. We have so much history and have overcome so much. While he made the conscious decision to risk losing all of that, it still mattered to me. A BS recently said something that really resonated with me. They said they considered R a gift to themselves. I had NEVER heard it worded like that, but that’s what I think I have done for myself. I am gifting myself the opportunity to see if we can do this. If we can overcome the impossible and have the life I want for ME and my family. It’s painful. It’s hard as fuck. But it’s worth giving it a real shot. At least for me.

BW (32)Found out 3 years post end of AD-day 12-9-19In R

Infidelity brings out the cuss in me. I’m not as foul mouthed in real life. ;)

posts: 752   ·   registered: Dec. 9th, 2019
id 8704192
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Seeking2Forgive ( member #78819) posted at 6:31 AM on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

Initially I stayed mainly because I still loved my WW - or rather I loved who she had once been. At the time I was in denial about how much she had changed and how far she had gone in betraying me.

I recognize now that it was also, in part, my response to the trauma of betrayal. I was desperately afraid of losing the only person I could turn to for love and support. I realize now that was a fear and response going back to childhood.

As part of that I also realize that I rationalized what had happened. My beloved wife could not have been as horrible as the evidence I had suggested. She couldn't have really loved this creep. She couldn't have been as invested sexually in this relationship as she seemed to be.

This mixture of admirable and sad factors got me through the early days following Dday. Through IC my WW started to understand just what terrible choices she had made and why she made them. Eventually she became remorseful and took responsibility. I started to trust that she could be the woman I loved again. And she did. But without the selfishness and conflict avoidance that was always an underlying the smart, funny, beautiful woman that I loved.

Love is not a healthy reason to stay.

I disagree. I would argue that love may be the only healthy reason to stay. That doesn't mean that someone should stay because they love someone who shows no true remorse, no care for understanding the whys and wherefores of the terrible harm they caused, or no acceptance of responsibility for it all. That person is almost certainly no longer the person that they loved. They just need to recognize that.

Was it the right decision? Or would you have done differently?

It was absolutely the right decision. We've had a very happy 18 years since.

But if I could go back and do it over, I would have stayed with my original therapist instead of using hers. Her therapist advised rug sweeping and discouraged me from getting the answers I needed. And I would have come here and figured out the whole "timeline" process to facilitate that.

[This message edited by Seeking2Forgive at 6:39 AM, Wednesday, December 15th]

Me: 60, BS
Her: 59, FWS
Dday: 11/15/03
Married 37 yrs
Reconciled

posts: 201   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2021
id 8704213
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Naamah ( new member #79634) posted at 6:42 AM on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

I had 2 DDs of the same event. After the first one I was shocked and didn't know what to do. I couldn't believe of what happened and was in complete limbo. Two weeks later I had the second DD. I found out when my WH was sleeping. Without waking him up I packed him a suitcase, set it up so that it would be the first thing he would see when he woke up, attached a letter in which I politely told him to "get the fuck out" and went to sleep. The next morning, he served me everything: an attempt to turn the situation into a joke, tears, pleas, blackmail, threats, and even requests for help in breaking up with OP. I was adamant. I informed him about the amount of alimony and other obligations, and he went to her. I didn't know what for, however he didn't take the suitcase. I had no idea what to expect. Suddenly, in all this emotional turmoil, our son's face appeared. I explained the situation to him as gently as possible, but when I saw his suffering and fear, something broke inside of me... My husband came back two hours later, and told me about meeting her and breaking up. He took the lock off his phone, shared his accounts etc and just stayed. I didn't have the strength to defend myself anymore. After all the previous determination, I fell into limbo again. 18 months have passed since then. He's done a lot of work, (maybe not quite as he should in my opinion, but in the other hand I'm not an expert) he tries, apologizes, talks to me more openly, pampers, cares for me and my son etc. Even though I wanted to run away more than once, I'm still here and I'm trying to fix myself. However, I did not take myself the right to a possible departure at a later date away. Whether or not this happens now depends only on him and his development.

Naamah

posts: 27   ·   registered: Nov. 29th, 2021   ·   location: UK
id 8704214
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OneInTheSame ( member #49854) posted at 9:23 AM on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

It’s been six years since I was faced with the fact of infidelity. I stayed, in spite of TT, defensiveness that seemed it would never end, and lots of damaging poor communication. My wife hasn’t really done the work. I’m disabled and in poor health, and financially we would not survive if we separated, and I didn’t want to. I had committed to our relationship, and I didn’t want to give up. And I knew my wife didn’t really want to throw away everything for a nothing.

She ended the affair immediately, but was not forthright with the truth and facts as readily. The stress was terrible. But the idea of being just like the ex who kicked her out, and then almost two decades later became her AP m, was repugnant to me. She had become so much more in the healthier relationship we had, and I knew it was a matter of time and of seeing how far she, and we, had come, and she would finally have her wake-up moment.

Had she not been capable of letting go of this clinging, selfish, messed-up ex — who had dragged her through foreclosure, bankruptcy, and homelessness — she knows I would not have stayed. She now sees that she destroyed my peace, and that she will live with the consequences of the damage she did to us and to my spirit. She knows that she must translate her guilt and shame into getting back on track to becoming the best she can be.

It has not been easy. It will never be the same. I can’t say that I think it will be better. But we will make our senior years count.

(I edit to correct typos)
I am the BS in a lesbian marriage. My WW's ex-girlfriend was the AP.
D-day of the 6 mo A was 10/04/15
We are doing okay, but by now I wanted it to be better

posts: 2500   ·   registered: Oct. 6th, 2015   ·   location: Pacific Northwest
id 8704219
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