Your marriage and your career have many things in common. Both require hard work, passion, and good communication skills to be successful. As the saying goes, “Grass grows where you water it.” Depending on the industry or career, you may have to choose which is more important to you – your job or your marriage.
You spend eight hours (or more) at work every day – and usually, the rest of your day is dedicated to your marriage and your family. Unfortunately, in our demanding market, trying to balance your career with marriage is becoming harder and harder.
Companies are insisting on longer working hours, and we often bring work home with us. Our managers and bosses can email us at any hour, and we’re expected to be “on-call” even when we’re on vacation. We’re expected to give 110% every day in both our professional life and our personal life.
For some men, this is great. They thrive off of the challenge their work brings. They find that their work brings them meaning to their life and they enjoy that – maybe even more than their married life. For other men, the never-ending workload creates extra stress and depression, and they would prefer to spend more quality time to hang out, travel, and relax with their wives and families. Of course, everyone has different priorities and things that bring them happiness.
So sit down and think deeply about it. Ultimately you need to decide. Which is more important, your career or your marriage? If it came down to it and you had to choose just one, what would it be?
I choose my job!
So, you’ve asked yourself if you would rather keep your job or your marriage, and you’ve decided that your job brings you more fulfillment. There are many reasons you might feel this way. You might feel that you’ve worked harder in your career and have gotten further than you could have ever imagined. You might feel that you spend most of your weekends wanting to work. Maybe you’re a certified workaholic that loves the challenges that work brings to you. Perhaps you’ve started your own business, and you’re passionate about seeing your hard work pay off. Whatever the reason, your job feels more important to you than your marriage right now.
Obviously, this is affecting your marriage. You wouldn’t be here if it weren’t. You’ve been juggling too many things at once, and you’ve dropped the ball a few times. I’m sure this has created immense stress on your marriage. Probably one of the reasons this is happening is because you haven’t been honest with yourself or your wife. You didn’t want to admit out loud that your job is more important to you than your marriage.
So, how can you fix this?
Step 1: Acknowledge the situation
The solution starts by admitting to your wife that your priority at the moment is your work. I know that sounds crazy but honestly, you can’t start solving these issues until you come clean with her. Like with work, clear and direct communication is the backbone of a healthy marriage. Should you say: “Honey, I love you, but I love work more.”? Not unless you’re already done with the marriage and ready for a fight. Instead, go into this conversation with compassion. Sit her down and tell her, “Honey, I’ve realized that my career brings me a lot of happiness and fulfillment. I know I’ve been focusing a lot on my career, but the reason I’m doing that is because of reasons X, Y, and Z. With that said, I know that my work has caused some issues in our marriage and I would like to talk about that.”
This is a good way to start the conversation because it shows her that your career is important to you beyond just the money aspect. If you both have a reasonably healthy relationship, she’ll want you to be happy in your job. It’s also good to acknowledge that you’ve been spending more mental energy and effort on your career than your marriage. Everyone can appreciate the person who is introspective enough to look at the situation and admit that there are problems that need to be addressed.
Step 2: Come up with a game plan
Now that you both know where you’re both at, you need to come up with a game plan. If you’re still looking to stay married, you need to compromise. The reason there is so much struggle is probably because your wife feels unappreciated and forgotten. Ask her about ways that you could improve the situation. What does she need to make her feel better about your work schedule? Maybe she would prefer if you didn’t talk about work all the time or maybe she wants you to stop working six days a week and stick to a Monday to Friday schedule. You get the idea. Be open to her suggestions. You don’t need to agree on every little thing, and of course, stick to your boundaries, but also try to see where she’s coming from. She married you because she liked spending time with you, exploring new places and things with you, and enjoyed your company. She didn’t expect to marry someone who only focused on their career.
With that said, you are looking for tangible goals you can accomplish. Don’t be vague. If you both agree to go on a date night once a week – pick a day! If it helps, pick out the activity and make reservations ahead of time. If she wants you home for supper, then have her give you a call at 5 pm to remind you to head home. It’s hard when you have to choose between your job or your marriage, but it’s easier when you can have a bit of both. If she respects you and your grind, and you respect her and her needs, then you can both work together to get through it. Balance is essential.
Step 3: Look into divorce
So, you’ve tried talking to your wife and explaining the situation, and you’ve tried making game plans. You’ve tried to leave work early and not bring it home with you. You’ve tried to cut back on emails and late night work dinners. Unfortunately, your job is just too demanding, and you’re not willing to give it up. It’s something you enjoy and something you take pride in.
There is nothing wrong with that.
With that said, you have to realize that your wife deserves someone who is present in her life. Ultimately, if you both can’t compromise the struggle will continue indefinitely. If your career is that important to you and the stress of the marriage is becoming too much, it’s time for you to begin to look into finding a lawyer to discuss your options. Some issues in relationships are irreconcilable and making the decision between your job or your marriage might be one. If all else fails, then you need to follow the thing that brings you the most joy and fulfillment.
I choose my Marriage!
So, you’ve thought about it, and you’ve realized that your career is hurting your marriage. If this is you, you’re not alone. The stress of the job, the commute, the long hours working in front of computer screens, and the stress of never having a minute to decompress can wreak havoc on a marriage. If you add in children and your wife also dealing with work, it can seem overwhelming. Of course, emotions are going to run high and passion cold when you’re dealing with chronic everyday stress. In fact, it’s been reported that 64 percent of working parents revealed that they’re too stressed from work and taking care of families to have sex with their partner. But what can you do to change this?
Step One: Find a new direction
The first thing you and your wife need to do is take a very introspective look into your life together. Sit down at the kitchen table and hash everything out. Focus on the solution and don’t point fingers. Both of you have created your life together, and both of you are to blame for things going sideways. So rather than focus on that, focus on how you can work together as a team to get through it. Some questions you might want to ask are things like: What are your priorities as a couple? What would you like to have more time to do together? How are your jobs affecting your marriage? Do you travel too much for work? Are you working in a stressful work environment?
Once you have answered these questions, you can start working towards your goal. If your commute is destroying you and eating into family time, then maybe you need to consider looking into getting a new job or moving closer to work. If your work is too stressful, then maybe you need to find a new team, go back to school, or talk to someone about changing positions. If you find that you don’t have time to de-stress before you get home, maybe plan to take a walk or go to the gym before coming home.
Step 2: Gain financial independence
Of course, sometimes it’s hard to switch your job or get out of a situation that is making you miserable. If you absolutely can’t fix your issue, you and your wife should try your best to gain financial independence. Cut down significantly on costs, create a budget, and begin to pay off debts. This may not seem like it will help your marriage, but a lot of marital stress comes from financial issues and the stress that comes from living paycheck to paycheck. When you are that swamped in debt, you have no options and no bargaining chips. When you’ve gotten your finances in order, lots of money in your emergency fund, and your retirement all paid for, you can look into working at jobs that make less money but give you more time.
A good place to start would be talking to a financial advisor about your options. You could also look into books or blogs that could help you with saving and paying off debt. If you have thrifty friends that seem to have vast financial knowledge, ask them also. It’s not easy to change old spending habits, but you and your wife will breathe a lot easier knowing that everything is in order. Create a plan and stick to it.According to Forbes, small steps will get you there much faster than having a big vague goal in front of you.
Step 3: Change your situation
Another great option is to talk to your company or job about the situation at work and try to change it. The company that you’re working for may have a few different options for you depending on your situation. Many people now work from home a few days a week. It’s been reported that individuals who work remotely are more satisfied with their jobs and also feel less stress from their jobs. Another option is asking to change from a job where you spend a lot of time traveling, to something that has more of a home base. With so many different ways to connect, its so easy to stay in one location and work from there.
Talk to your HR department or supervisors and see what they say. If you’re working for a good company, they’ll want to keep you around, and they’ll want you both to be happy about the situation. They can help you come up with a plan and execution to satisfy both of your needs. In the meantime, you’ll have more time and energy to spend with your wife and family and less stress to deal with. Which is what both you and your wife wanted to begin with.
Choosing Between Your Job or Your Marriage is Hard
All in all, deciding whether to choose between your job or your marriage is hard. There aren’t very many clear cut answers. What is most important though, is that you do what feels right to you. Don’t feel ashamed if you’d prefer to be at work than at home, and vice versa, don’t feel ashamed to prefer to be at home than at work. Neither is better – they’re just better for you. It’s your life – live it the way you want.
Help a workaholic.
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Just because women are typically more emotional than men doesn’t mean divorce is harder on them. In fact, it’s been found that divorce is harder on men for man y reasons. Throw in the fact that 69 percent of women in the United States initiate divorce, compared to 31 percent of men, and it’s not surprising that men have a harder time recovering from a divorce .
Take a look at six reasons why divor ce is harder on men than women, and what to do about it.
1.They Skip the Grieving Period
Divorce is one of the most stressful life experiences, second only to experiencing a death. You’re losing someone that was a major part of your life, and whether you’re the one who initiated the divorce or not, grief is only natural. Not only are you experiencing the loss of someone you once loved, but you’re also experiencing a deviat ion from your life plan, your dreams and goals, and where you envisioned your life to go.
To properly work through your divorce, there must be a grieving period. Instead of coming to terms with their emotions, men are more likely to bottle their feelings up, resulting in anxiety and depression. They try to do everything themselves, whereas women are more comfortable going to friends and family to seek advice and comfort them when they’re feeling low. The lack of communication and refusal to grieve is the main reason why divorce is harder on men than women.
2. They Lose Their Identity
As a married man, you had an identity as a husband to a wife, and whether you realized it or not, that identity became a huge part of who you were. On a day to day basis, whether you were chatting with colleagues, filling out forms, or celebrating a marriage milestone, your marital status was one of the key ways you identified yourself and how people came to see you.
When you go through a divorce, your identity as a husband is lost. You’re no longer one-half of a partnership, and it can hurt your confidence to lose such a big part of what made you whole. Women, in general, are more likely to join activities and be part of social groups when they’re married, so it’s easier for them to find a sense of belonging and identity during a divorce. Most men need to take it upon themselves to get involved in a new activity or organization to grow a new sense of identity.
3. They’re Health Goes Downhill
Compared to women, men are exceedingly prone to experiencing health problems during and after a divorce. From depression and anxiety to insomnia and weight fluctuations, divorce can have major health effects on men. The stress of finances, insecurity, dating, and identity loss makes men more susceptible to heart disease and stroke. Men are also more likely to turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with their emotions rather than seeking out therapy or conversations with friends and loved ones.
4. They Feel a Loss of Masculinity
After a divorce, you may feel a loss of masculinity and wonder why you couldn’t change things or make your marriage right. It’s common to develop feelings of shame and humiliation as well as a loss of power. A lack of confidence is typical for men during and after divorce as they feel a sense of failure. Society teaches us that we’re supposed to get married and raise a family, and there’s a sense of inadequacy when a marriage ends in divorce. The family dynamic is disrupted, and sometimes men feel like the family doesn’t need him for stability or protection.
5. They’re More Likely to Rush Into a New Relationship
After ending a marriage it’s tough to be alone, and men are more likely to jump into a relationship before they’re ready. Since men are less open with their feelings and emotions than women, they’re more likely to suppress their emotions about the divorce and move on too soon. In doing this, they never really come to terms with their feelings about the divorce and their ex. This can result in confusion as well as troubled relationships down the road.
Women, on the other hand, are more likely to take their time to grieve and deal with their emotions thoroughly. They’re less likely to rush into a new relationship when they’re not ready, which makes their new relationships stronger when they do take that step.
6. They’re Less Likely to Live With Their Children
After a divorce, children typically stay with the mother. It doesn’t happen 100% of the time, but it seems to be an unspoken rule. Even if you share child care and see your children every weekend or a few days during the week, it’s a significant c hange from seeing them every day. You may not realize how much you miss your children until you don’t come home to them every day. An empty home is harder to cope with, whereas the woman will feel more fulfilled and distracted having the children there.
There’s a strong sense of missing out and wondering what’s going on with your children if you’re not there in the house with them. It can be hard to come to terms with having to call your children to ask what they’ve been up to or schedule times to see them, and since the children often stay with the mother, men feel the hit.
Divorce is Harder on Men: What to Do
Breaking up is hard on both parties, but for all the reasons listed above, divorce is harder on men. So, what can you do to make it an easier process? While it’s never going to be completely stress-free, there are certain things you can do to minimize the negative effects of divorce. Socializing and talking about how you’re feeling is essential. You need to grieve, and whether you talk to a therapist or join a support group, the weight of the divorce will lift more easily with communication.
It’s also important to join more activities or organizations. Especially if you didn’t do many social things before your divorce, you should start filling your calendar rather than spending all your time alone. It not only helps to take your mind off your divorce and feeling lonely, but it also gives you a sense of purpose and identity.
Focus on seeing and talking to your kids as much as you can. Try not to concentrate on the fact that you don’t see them as often, and put your energy into planning fun things to do with them when you do see them and calling them to catch up on the days when you don’t see them. It will mean a lot to them and make it easier for you to cope with missing them.
If you’re taking your divorce hard, try taking these steps to ease the pain. There’s no secret to an easy divorce, but implementing these strategies can take the sting off, at least a bit more than before.
Have you experienced any of the hardships we talked about in this article? Let us know how you’re dealing with it in the comment section.
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(c) Can Stock Photo / ajfile
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Much has changed in your life as of late. No one can come through a divorce and argue that point. But despite everything that has happened, one thing you can count on is your ability to take care of yourself. That starts with cleaning up your life, by cleaning out your space.
So take solace as you ease back into your own self-sufficiency. Mundane tasks such as scrubbing the floor can be therapeutic. And who knows, you may have your next fantastic idea while cleaning the tub, right?
Cleaning Up and Organizing Create Control
Besides giving your mind time to wander, cleanliness and organization will give you an added sense of control in other areas of your life. Last-minute company wants to pop by? Great, you don’t have to be embarrassed by the condition of your place. Someone needs to use the bathroom? No worries, you won’t have to offer them a hazmat suit and a GPS on their way in. Your life has changed drastically, but something as simple as laundry can help you find peace again.
Routines Are Your Friend
The first step to finding inner peace through cleaning up is to find a routine. Find your rhythm and pay attention to what works for you. If you operate best doing a quick clean up on your way out the door on Thursdays, roll with that.
Do you prefer a Saturday morning run, reading the paper and then a solid, two hour deep clean while the game is on? Great. Throw dinner on the grille and invite friends over at 5 so you’re sure to be done; we all know a job will expand to the time allowed it.
Just find and stick with whatever routine works for you, it will help your sanity when everything else feels crazy. Plus, you’ll be able to count on yourself to be there for yourself. It may sound silly but a routine will give you confidence. Don’t believe it? Do your laundry on the same day every week and see how good it feels to know you always have clean underwear. Travel a lot or have a crazy work schedule? Set an alarm on your phone to go off weekly for certain tasks, like washing your car or mowing the lawn. It helps to provide you with a known set of activities.
What Stays or Goes is Your Choice
The second step involves discovering your taste again. This means that if you are folding sheets and towels, they may as well be ones you like. Revel in the choices you now are able to make. Do you want to buy gigantic bath towels? Do it! Feel like sleeping on sheets made from organic hemp cotton grown on a vertical rooftop farm in the Bronx? Do it!
Your home is your personal space, and you now have both the final choice and final control over what stays and goes. Personal items that you touch and feel every day are there to serve a purpose. If they are bringing you pain or unhappiness, give them away, or at least pack them away until the pain is not so fresh. You’ve accomplished this step when your place feels like you, your taste and your style.
Make It Smell Good For You
Keep peace and comfort in mind when considering scents as a part of your routine. There is a bountiful buffet of scents from which to choose when selecting even the most mundane things. Dish soap, fabric softener, dryer sheets, floor cleaner, the works. Scent is incredibly personal, try a few different things in moderation and see what works for you. You won’t be the only guy unscrewing the cap and taking a whiff in Aisle Six. When you’re folding your laundry it should smell clean and comforting. You don’t have to throw it up in the air and roll around in it on the bed like the bear in that one ad, but the option is there.
Just an Everyday Apocalypse
Once you have your routine established and your signature scents worked out, the last bit of advice in attaining inner peace is simply: prepare for the apocalypse. Stock up on household supplies and give yourself time to adjust to your new rhythm. It’s incredibly difficult to achieve equilibrium when you are indisposed and there is not one square of any paper in the place, toilet or otherwise.
Inner peace can’t be reached when you have an incredibly important, potentially game-changing meeting in the morning and you’re out of laundry soap. These are the times that will test even the most patient of mens’ souls, and could lead to a small meltdown, especially if she was the one that used to take care of these things for you.
Avoid the potentially catastrophic domino effect and simply buy in bulk. Give yourself time to get your strength back. Fortify yourself with laundry soap.
Using a Maid Service
You could outsource every single aspect of this routine. But that’s not the point. Finding peace in your routine has nothing to do with money or convenience, it’s about finding your rhythm and gaining confidence in your self-sufficiency. Because you want to, not because you have to.
At the very least, give yourself 90 days and then treat yourself to a maid. You can always hand her your cleaning list!
How did you adjust to housework after divorce? Tell us in the comments below.
Know any guys having difficulty cleaning up?
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- 1 pound dry ziti pasta
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
- 6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Do NOT follow the instructions on the seasoning packet. It’s not that good (in my opinion).
- Pour 1 cup of rice into your rice cooker and fill with water to the appropriate mark (following the instructions for your rice cooker). Mix the seasoning packet into the rice and water. Close the lid and let it cook.
- Turn on you skillet to a medium-low heat (cast iron) or medium heat (non-cast iron). Drop a little oil or butter into the pan and let it heat up.
- While the pan is heating, turn to your cutting board and let’s do some chopping. Start with your garlic and mince it, then chop your onion, roughly chop your cilantro, if your cashews are already broken in pieces–great, if not, chop them; lastly cut your chicken into bite size pieces.
- Your pan is plenty hot and your rice should only have about 12 minutes left to cook, it’s time to start cooking. Add the garlic to the pan and stir. As it starts to brown, add the onion.
- Once the garlic and onion have started to brown and smell really nice, add in the cilantro, cashews, and the chicken.
- If you need a little more oil or butter, add it now (but you may be okay). Add the curry powder to the skillet and stir occasionally as it cooks.
- When the chicken has cooked for 7 or so minutes and is mostly done (no longer pink in the center) reduce your heat to low and simmer until the rice is done.
- When the rice is finished, scoop into a bowl and combine with the chicken mixture from the skillet, finally top with a little bit of yogurt; and enjoy.
When you decide it’s time for some cinematic therapy, start with our picks for movies about divorce, the top ten of the best laughers and criers about breaking up. And don’t forget the popcorn.
We love stories because they are cathartic. There is something about seeing the struggle and pain of life reflected on the big screen that lets us we know we are not alone. Movies are a reminder that even when we feel helplessly mired in darkness, if we keep going we will reach eventually reach the light. The resolution of the third act always follows the crisis of Act II
Comedy Movies About Divorce
- War of the Roses (1989)
Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner are divorcing couple, Mr. and Mrs. Rose. The wealthy, ambitious Roses go to war when they split up and neither can abide the other getting their masterpiece of yuppie, aspirational, architecture. The battles escalate into increasing levels of madness.
The masterful trio—Douglas, Turner and Danny DeVito—take you on a ride to the hilariously extreme of a bitter, petty divorce. This black comedy is an emotional release that reassures us, it could always be worse.
- Defintely Maybe (2008)
This rosy, father-daughter comedy shows that sometimes our best days are waiting on the other side of our greatest hardships. Ryan Reynolds plays single dad, Will, whose ten-year-old daughter forces him to give up the goods on why her parents called it quits on their marriage.
Forced to face the reality of his failed marriage, and his relationship with two other women, Reynolds gains clarity. His divorce opens the path for him to pursue lasting love with the woman he is truly meant to be with. This film gives hope that every ending gradually gives way to a new, better beginning.
- Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
The incomparable Robin Williams plays a divorced dad who comes up with an outrageous strategy to be in his kids’ lives, full-time. Daniel reinserts himself into his children’s home incognito as Mrs. Doubtfire, a robust, elderly, British nanny. Through his ruse, Daniel learns how to be the amazing parent he never was when he was married and took his family for granted.
Divorced dads can relate to the hardships of shared custody, and the insecurity of a new father-figure entering the picture. This fun, family film about divorce lets you vicariously release your co-parenting stresses by enjoying the hilarious antics of one of the best comedians of our time.
- Crazy Stupid Love (2011)
Steve Carell and Julianne Moore’s twenty-year marriage hits the rocks in this divorce comedy. Ryan Gosling comes to the rescue of the clueless Carell after he is thrown back into the dating pool and starts to sink, rather than swim. Gosling’s character turns the drowning dunce into a suave player. At turns funny and sweet, this is the feel-good medicine to improve your melancholy mood.
- Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
A jaded, sharp Beverly Hills divorce attorney (George Clooney) is bowled over when he finally meets his match in a stunning, crafty gold digger (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Clooney’s character knows he should know better, but he can’t help himself from falling for the conniving bombshell. The Cohen Brothers’ take on divorce is as inventive, fun and clever as you would expect from the Oscar winners. You owe yourself these raucous laughs, and the healing that comes from them.
- Bye Bye Love (1995)
Bye Bye Love follows the trials and triumphs of divorced dads Randy Quaid, Rob Reiner, Paul Riser, and Matthew Modine. The laughs roll as these A-list funnymen tackle single parenthood, dating, and dealing with the exes. Just like life itself, the film is not all laughs. This flick also touches on the emotional process of moving on as these men navigate to the best of their varying abilities.
Dramas About Divorce
Diving into the deep end of divorce are four critically acclaimed dramatic films. We provide the titles, you bring the tissues.
- Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
One of the best movies about divorce ever made pits Meryl Streep against Dustin Hoffman in an agonizing custody battle over their six-year-old son. This story takes you on an emotional jaunt that is, at turns, overwhelmingly sad, and touchingly funny. Racking up five Academy Awards, this is a must-see for any film lover, but a truly essential cinematic journey for anyone touched by divorce.
- Irreconcilable Differences (1984)
Irreconcilable Differences is another movie that explores the toll of divorce on the most vulnerable and innocent participant, the child. Stellar performances by Shelley Long and Ryan O’Neal as spouses that are so self-serving, and self-absorbed, they constantly throw their daughter (played masterfully by a young Drew Barrymore) in the middle of their own acrimony.
Fed up with her parents’ blindness to how they are damaging her at the expense of their own pettiness, she decides to seek a divorce…from them. Drew’s character is the hero of this poignant film that puts into perspective the collateral damage of divorce.
- The Squid and the Whale (2005)
This artsy, indie dramedy features a hip, Brooklyn couple whose marriage falls apart. Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney are so caught up in their own career aspirations and dating lives that their two sons take a back seat to their own needs. Their 16 and 12-year-old sons bear the brunt of their parents’ skewed priorities and start acting out in troubling ways.
A break out Sundance film, The Squid and the Whale nabbed the Grand Jury Prize and Best Dramatic Direction and Screenwriting awards. It went on to get Hollywood cred with an Academy Award nom for Best Original Screenplay.
This indie darling gone mainstream is a brilliant take on divorce and co-parenting.
- What Maisie Knew (2012)
We see the fall out of divorce from the point-of-view of six-year-old Maisie for most of this film. Passed between a Rockstar mother (played by the incomparable Julianne Moore) and a businessman always on the go (Steve Coogan), Maisie is left mostly to her own devices to figure out what divorce means for the future of her broken family.
An artful balance between harsh reality and stirring sentiment, this movie is powerfully moving without being sappy
Breaking Up On the Big Screen
There are few things as emotionally liberating as a sad song, or a tender film, when you are down in the doldrums of life’s troubles. Movies have the power to let us process our feelings by getting out of our own heads, and away from our own difficulties, even if only temporarily. Whether you need a good laugh, or to let a few tears flow, these ten films will get you there. What movies about divorce do you go to when you need a lift, or an escape?
Tell us your fave flicks about divorce in the comments below.
Share this list on your social media – you might end up with a movie date!
(c) Can Stock Photo / alinoubigh
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