Relationships and Romance

ayase

State Alchemist
I reckon no. I asked my girlfriend about this, too, and she thought the same. (We're still long-distance at this time, ever since meeting on this very forum.) She says that the time difference between Japan and the UK must play a factor, but reckons that unless it's a mutually agreed thing, it'd be unusual to not check in with at least a quick message each day. By mutually agreed, she means that, say, if you'd been chatting a lot lately and both just fancied a bit of breathing space, for example.
I don’t really want to make Vash overthink this any more than he is already, but I’d say that’s VERY dependent on people’s personalities and attitudes. I had a family member who was in a relationship that sounds very much like yours Neil, they would definitely talk or message every day. And that’s wonderful, if that’s the kind of person you are and the kind of relationship you enjoy.

However. Would I do that? No. Definitely not. As much as I might love someone, I don’t feel the need to be in constant contact with them. It’s not uncommon for me to go for months without speaking to a member of my family. Do I love them? Yeah. Might they like me to be in more regular contact? Yeah, I’m pretty sure they would. But do I actually feel like speaking to them if I don’t really have anything to say? No. I’m not one for small talk. I don’t really enjoy regurgitating the details of what I’ve been doing day to day and to be brutally honest, I’m not really that interested in the mundane things other people are doing either. If there are practical things to talk about or I want to share and discuss ideas and opinions, I love that. Otherwise I'm comfortable with my own thoughts and don't really need the distraction of discussing what, to me, seem quite insignificant things.

I know a lot of people do like that stuff, and do things like talk about their day with each other every night when they get home; I'm willing to concede that my dislike of this behaviour probably makes me a bit abnormal. But I do exist, and I presume other people with similar attitudes must also exist, though we're probably not the easiest people to conduct relationships with, especially not with people who do enjoy that constant attention or engagement. To someone like you Neil (or to Vash perhaps) an attitude like mine might seem a bit cold or distant. But I'm absolutely still capable of loving and caring about people, just in my own way. So while I don't really wish to colour Vash's judgment one way or the other (mainly because I'm not personally familiar with the person he's been communicating with) I'm not sure taken by itself lack of communication should have much read into it at all.
 

Vashdaman

Za Warudo
Yeah, I'm just trying to be as cool and patient as I can about things while also trying to be positive and honest. Trying my best not to overthink.

I agree with ayase about some people (many probably) being less into loquacious small talk than I am. It's kind of tricky if I start thinking too much about it though, because I know at one point she also enjoyed daily small talk with me, seemingly very much, which is why it worried me when it went a bit quiet. But I get the feeling that she's definitely not a natural small talker, she's said her friends remark that she's "strange" because of her lack of frequent contact, she searched out a silent hairdresser to avoid having to small talk in the salon ect. The very first time we skyped ages ago, she hung up on me suddenly after 15 minutes and then emailed to apologise for it. She's not a garrulous person, sometimes shy, and I think she's also not confident in openly expressing her deeper personal feelings either. I think it will take more time until she can do so easily with me. But she's simultaneously strong and a pretty cool cucumber at times, so I can kind of sometimes forget her shyness. She told me once her soul animal would probably be a tortoise because she's slow and likes turtleneck sweaters, but the more I think about it it's spot on, she is definitely a tortoise, and that's great.

But yeah, even though I do sometimes love a bit of shooting the breeze, I would be fine with just a couple emails a week and a skype, as long as I know it's just their nature and not an indication of withering feelings. Damn, now I feel sure it's just her nature and I feel so stupid for worrying myself about it so much.


Her English is pretty good and I say the important bits in both languages to be clear. I always write my messages twice in both languages too.

Thanks for the input, this helps me unpack things.
 
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Neil.T

Time-Traveller
I’d say that’s VERY dependent on people’s personalities and attitudes.
Indeed so; as I said in my post: "Everyone is different, and different things work for different people". At the end of the day, anyone can only comment based on their own experiences and knowledge. I'm the same, and can offer some input based on positive experience, in terms of what proved successful in my own circumstances. 🙂

Following on from that, if I may contrast your own words, ayase, with those of Aya's in my post...
If there are practical things to talk about or I want to share and discuss ideas and opinions

[Emphasis added]
unless it's a mutually agreed thing
This is another place where our views very much diverge, ayase. I agree with Aya that things are better when they're mutually agreed. Sometimes something needs to be conceded by one side in the interests of balance; each person is no more and no less that 50 percent of the equation when it comes down to it, and if only one person was calling the shots, then it's not very collaborative.

Don't get me wrong, though: that can probably work for some people to a degree, but the person who would be always giving ground in this case would surely have to be somewhat lacking in self-respect, and I'm not sure how sustainable (or even healthy) that really is.

But then again, perhaps in that case the aim might not be what's healthy or sustainable in the first place — for either party. I accept that.

I'm certainly not claiming to have all the answers here; just thinking out loud, really.
¯\(ツ)
 

Vashdaman

Za Warudo
So this agony has just been continuing as it had been, but now it's been a whole week without any email from her, that's the longest it's ever been since we've known each other. Although I messaged her the other day to ask if she's ok and she said she's well just busy and she thanked me for caring about her. I feel that the most likely answer is that all the affection I've been pouring out in my recent emails (and poem)has scared her away a bit, and that's understandable and I want to be patient and give her time to feel comfortable again, and I'll stop being so intense and stop doing my best impersonation of Shakespeare and I'll be chilled out. But what really really scares me, is if it's not even that, but what if she has simply got bored of talking to me, or bored of emailing with me anyway. Because this slow erosion of our email correspondence began about two months ago now, before I even told her my feelings, and nothing I've tried yet has managed to stop or reverse the process. We've never really messaged much in messengers, just when it's been necessary on skype, I don't have her LINE or anything, so I'm not sure whether it's worth asking her if she prefers talking on messengers or not. Our emails didn't have to be super long though or anything, sometimes they were quite short and that was fine.

Our email correspondence was so lovely and those were some of the most consistently happy days of my life. I feel like I've lost something so precious. And it's so hard to go an entire week with no word from her. I just don't know what to do. I love her and I feel I would wait for her as long as I have to and as long as I have hope, and only a week and a half ago she gave me so much reason for hope too in the things she said to me.

I'm hoping we'll skype this weekend. I'm not planing to talk about any of this with her though, because I worry that will make things worse, I'm just going to try and be chilled out and relaxed and talk as we normally do. But it will be really nice to see her.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
I know at one point she also enjoyed daily small talk with me, seemingly very much, which is why it worried me when it went a bit quiet.
This sounds depressingly familiar, but kinda from both side of the fence. It's not uncommon for me to drift away from people when I run out of things to talk about with them, if I feel like I have to put on a bit of a facade in order to keep conversation going, or if either of us seem to run out of stimulating conversation. Sometimes I feel like a bit of a mental vampire who drains people of their interesting thoughts and then moves on. That's not a good feeling, but at the same time I don't feel obliged to maintain relationships if I'm not really getting much out of them any more (that's its own kind of one sided-ness). Not trying to project onto your girl here Vash, nobody really knows how anybody else's mind works, but this thread is hopefully useful from the point of view of people thinking about and trying to understand themselves and others, that's the underpinnings of any relationship, no? Like Neil I'm mostly just thinking out loud.
[Emphasis added]
Freudian slip? I will admit to being pretty preoccupied with my own thoughts a lot of the time, but of course if another party brings something interesting to discuss to me I'm happy to oblige. It's the mundane stuff, the small talk, but more than anything else it's the gossip. So many people seem to love talking about their experiences with and opinions of other people in their day-to-day life, something I really could not care less about. If I meet someone who's able to regularly generate actually stimulating conversation I can talk all day, however in my experience such people are few and far between (also predominantly male, which doesn't make them good romantic prospects for me personally).
This is another place where our views very much diverge, ayase. I agree with Aya that things are better when they're mutually agreed. Sometimes something needs to be conceded by one side in the interests of balance; each person is no more and no less that 50 percent of the equation when it comes down to it, and if only one person was calling the shots, then it's not very collaborative.

Don't get me wrong, though: that can probably work for some people to a degree, but the person who would be always giving ground in this case would surely have to be somewhat lacking in self-respect, and I'm not sure how sustainable (or even healthy) that really is.
Eh, I think you're perhaps presuming here that at least one person in the equation is always going to be (for want of a better word and no slight intended) a more needy kind of person. Relationships between two people who aren't particularly needy are totally possible (and totally preferable for me personally) but you may not be wrong in identifying that this discrepancy between attitudes could be what Vash is experiencing here, to some degree. Which I guess would come with its own challenges, but it still doesn't mean that a less communicative partner is any less capable of having strong loving feelings, that's what I was really getting at.
 

Vashdaman

Za Warudo
Yeah, I don't want her to feel like she has to talk to me when she doesn't want to, even though obviously I wish she would want to. And one thing I've always liked about her is that (probably similar to you, ayase) she does exactly what she wants with her life, she doesn't even waste time on the polite superfluities that most people do, she's never once apologised for a late reply or for cancelling our plans to skype if she has something else she wants to do, but she would always explain. I guess that is what I just wish she would do now, just explain to me how she feels so that I can understand. Obviously no one is obliged to explain anything, but it's very painful to feel like you're just being ignored when you're at your most vulnerable and have put your heart out there on the line and on your sleeve.

But you're right I'm not one these people who get bored of people, so I find it difficult to fully understand. When I become close to someone and like that person I become attached to someone, I don't really ever tire of them. I have never given up a close friendship. But I suppose that's easy since I've had so few of them to give up. Of course I've been given up plenty of times, and I really don't blame those people, they can't help how they feel, but it's the most horrible experience in the world and it never gets less painful.
 
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Vashdaman

Za Warudo
It's true that I am being needy though, and yeah it seems like she's the least needy person in the world seemingly. I suppose if I'm going to stand any chance of potentially being in a relationship with her I'm going to have to try to become as not needy as her. I think she's really worth it. But it's hard to know if she's just not needy or just simply isn't that into me, I think there's a distinction between the two.

I think most people would want at least one message a week from their partner, wouldn't they?

Edit: I need to be more patient. Give her more time to figure out how she feels. And just see how the following weeks unfold. It's just hard to distract myself from this subject what with all the isolation and everything.
 
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Vashdaman

Za Warudo
This morning it has really hit me, I've been totally overwhelming the poor girl. I would have overwhelmed a more ardent lover type let alone a girl like her who really shies away from that stuff in general. I've been a brute without fully realising it. She said we might skype this weekend, and I've promised her I will be really normal from now on and apologised for being so inconsiderate. I hope she accepts my apology. No more Shakespeare rip offs!
 

Chrono7

Completely Average High School Student
Hey, it sounds like you are dragging yourself through the mental ringer a bit! I've been in your shoes a bit before and know it's a difficult mindset to get out of. Good to see that you've taken a mental step back a bit though. Maybe take some time to look after yourself a bit though. I know it's a bit difficult at the minute, being on lockdown and all, but you will just end up making yourself ill with worry. The distance thing must be tough. Have you made plans to go out to see her once this whole thing has blown over? I'm sure when she's ready, she will reach out to you to chat. I think you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself to be the cool person who always knows what to do and say, but I'm presuming she likes you for you! So maybe try not to be so hard on yourself!
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
I've been a brute without fully realising it.
I really wouldn't say you've been a brute, Vash, but I would say that you've been rather guilty of overcooking things. "Using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut" is the phrase that springs to mind.

I mean, you and I know that you mean no harm, but there are just some things that can ring alarm bells, like a sudden intense outpouring of feelings.

I think you're perhaps presuming here that at least one person in the equation is always going to be (for want of a better word and no slight intended) a more needy kind of person. Relationships between two people who aren't particularly needy are totally possible
Again, in my own view, ayase, there's a big difference between neediness and wanting to be together. If both partners had the kind of outlook that you describe there, it would feel to me like the glue you'd want to bond those two people together is somehow missing. Aya's take on it was that it was like "two ships passing in the night".

I can't help but think that things just work so much better when two people have a degree of what I would term "complementary differences". That way, your differing dispositions mean that both are unlikely to react exactly the same way to any given situation, and — I think — are better able to support each other and compensate for each others' relative shortcomings. It also allows for different ways of looking at things, and for learning from each other.

Again, I can only speak from my own experience, but I tend towards seeing your example more as two magnets repelling.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Again, in my own view, ayase, there's a big difference between neediness and wanting to be together. If both partners had the kind of outlook that you describe there, it would feel to me like the glue you'd want to bond those two people together is somehow missing. Aya's take on it was that it was like "two ships passing in the night".

I can't help but think that things just work so much better when two people have a degree of what I would term "complementary differences". That way, your differing dispositions mean that both are unlikely to react exactly the same way to any given situation, and — I think — are better able to support each other and compensate for each others' relative shortcomings. It also allows for different ways of looking at things, and for learning from each other.

Again, I can only speak from my own experience, but I tend towards seeing your example more as two magnets repelling.
I think love takes as many forms as there are personalities, personally I don't think there's any particular right way of going about it. People can of course only speak from their own experiences, but I certainly know couples (mainly older ones) who love each other very deeply but spend a lot of time doing their own things. Long-distance relationships can be very difficult for some people, especially if they're used to having their own time and setting their own agenda. I've come to the conclusion over the years they're probably not for me, as a big part of what I want from a relationship is to share experiences; things like going for a day out, going to a concert or a movie (and the more base things as well I suppose, I don't think there's any shame in appreciating the physical side of relationships). Enjoying myself while also enjoying someone else's enjoyment is probably the best way to put it, if that makes sense. Just seeing and hopefully making someone happy. And that doesn't necessarily need a lot of words to be said.

If people are sharing the same physical space that's easy and comes naturally, but if someone's half the world away then that's not really possible. All you have is words. And eventually (or relatively quickly, speaking from personal experience) people who aren't into the small talk will probably run out of those. I've tried to compensate for that in the past by writing at length about something that interests me and which I believe will interest someone else and provoke a discussion, only to receive a couple of lines in response that don't really provide any opening to continue the discussion (Hell, that still happens semi-regularly with my AUKN posts, at least you engage with me Neil :p). How do you deal with that? I usually give up, because at that point it starts to feel draining. Suffering this kind of experience on more than one occasion is one of the ways in which I feel for Vash. But it's why I also understand people going quiet.

I totally agree on the complimentary differences front by the way, I don't think people need to be alike, but if they are different they do need to accept those differences and allow each other to be themselves. If someone expects certain attitudes or behaviours from their partner that don't come naturally to them, I think that way lies misery, frankly.
 
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Vashdaman

Za Warudo
I think long distances relationships aren't a problem for me. I mean I want to share those physical experiences too of course, as much as anyone does trust me, but I can wait for those to come in the future when we are together, and it might be hard to get into a position where we are living in the same place together, but if two people love each other they'll find a way even if it takes years. And I think it's pretty easy to get a visa teaching English in Japan, at least for a while. So I don't think it'd be that hard. One of my friends, she's married to an Indian guy from a low caste, so she had to leave to the UK and go to Australia and go through hell for a couple years, but now they are together, she got him an Aussie visa. That's what love is capable of. And finding someone you love and who loves you is so hard, so if I find someone like that distance is nothing.

Of course it has to be someone you enjoy talking with though, long distance really foregrounds conversation and communication. The funny thing is, when I was with my ex, I know it wasn't for long, but when we were together in London we mainly shared physical experiences: going places and eating and seeing things and touching and love making. But when she went back to Japan, those five or six weeks were the best weeks of the whole relationship. We talked so much, we had to as we skyped everyday and really got to know each other so much better and had so many laughs. I saw sides to her I didn't know existed when she was in London.

But if it's not someone you relish talking with, then yeah it's not going to work, but that's the only kind of person I want to be with anyway. The funny thing with this girl who is breaking my heart right now, is that I never felt that "end of the conversation" feeling that you describe, ayase. As someone who loves talking I know that feeling well, but I really didn't think me and her ever came close to that "what do we talk about" stage, I didn't think we'd ever come to that stage, we have so much in common that conversation could be endless. Though maybe she feels differently and maybe she has tired of me.

edit: I have no idea how she feels or what she is going through. All I know is I am baffled.
 
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Vashdaman

Za Warudo
Ok I'm going to write out that part that I edited out again, kind of.

So when I apologised for if my affectionate poem made her uncomfortable and asked if we could skype and I promised I would be normal and just talk as we used to, she replied saying my poem didn't make her uncomfortable and we could skype this weekend and that she's looking forward to it. I was so happy. But when we were supposed to skype tonight she messaged me saying "I can't skype, I have to go out from now on, I'll send you a message if I have time". Initially I thought that she must be avoiding me and fobbing me off and still feeling uncomfortable, but now, after reading ayase's post, I'm wondering if she really is just so used to doing exactly what she wants and setting her own agenda in the real world, that she really isn't uncomfortable and her feelings haven't changed from what she stated they were two weeks ago, but simply an internet boyfriend like me is nothing more than an afterthought in her clearly mental schedule (I have no idea what she is doing! Maybe she is Abe Shinzo after he's let his hair down in his rare off duty moments which he chooses to share with me on skype, except she's not ring wing so she can't be Abe?)?

Can that really be? it's true I'm not a busy person, now more than ever obviously, but how can someone realistically be so busy that they can't send a message to their lover in over a week? It boggles my mind. And also considering for the first few months of our friendship it was so much the opposite of this state of sluggish correspondence.

After she cancelled our skype tonight I sent a message asking if anything is wrong and saying that I feel something has changed and she's not comfortable with me anymore. But I'm kind of expecting her to reply with "nope I'm not uncomfortable, just busy" or some such. I love her and I feel like I would be patient for her and endure anything for her, but I'm worried this purgatory has no end in sight. I'll get one message from her a month and keep praying things get better, But will they get better? Has anyone been through this? @ayase any insight here? I am desperate, I can't give up my hope for her while there is still hope.
 
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ayase

State Alchemist
I'm worried this purgatory has no end in sight. I'll get one message from her a month and keep praying things get better, But will they get better? Has anyone been through this? @ayase any insight here? I am desperate, I can't give up my hope while there is still hope.
I wish I could be of more help to you Vash. I am genuinely rooting for you but I think I should try and avoid getting into a position of trying to give advice. I'm happy to be open about my own personal experiences from my side, but I wouldn't really feel comfortable getting into the specifics of any other parties involved. There's also the brutal fact that I've never had it end happily, which makes me somewhat unqualified to guide anyone else through treacherous waters I've failed to navigate.

All I feel I can really say, which is probably a bit of a rehash of my earlier post, is that it's very hard to know what's going on in someone else's mind. Especially at a distance. Especially when they're not of a mind or in a position or a mood to want to open up to you. And yes, that can be agonising and lead you to make all sorts of assumptions and imagine a million different scenarios that run the gamut from wonderful to horrible. From what you've said (and bearing in mind I don't know her at all let alone as well as you do) it sounds like the ball is firmly in her court and there's not much you can do but wait. I feel your pain over wanting that response and agonising over whether there's anything you can do to make that happen sooner, but if you'll allow me one singular assumption (and it is an assumption, so feel free to ignore or disregard it) I think it's unlikely there is.
 

burtkenobi

Brigade Leader
@Vashdaman It doesn't sound like she is considerate or respectful of your time, energy, emotions and wellbeing. It's absolutely fine to have different needs and levels of investment, but that comes with a responsibility to understand that other people are not the same, and to be considerate of their feelings too.

Either she understands how painful cancelling the Skype would be for you - which is cruel and clearly a message to you, or she doesn't, which is unintentionally cruel and says a lot about her emotional intelligence.

I think you can probably guess where I'm going with this so I'll stop there.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Either she understands how painful cancelling the Skype would be for you - which is cruel and clearly a message to you, or she doesn't, which is unintentionally cruel and says a lot about her emotional intelligence.
I'll just say it again, I think it's a mistake to presume to know the workings of anybody else's mind or circumstances, especially anyone you don't actually know personally. If the situation was clear to anyone it would be Vash, who actually knows her, not me or you.

Full on projection time: Another possibility is understanding that it would be hurtful and not wanting to hurt someone, but also not knowing what to say or how to respond and avoiding the situation until coming to a conclusion. I can think of an almost infinite number of potential reasons this situation could arise, and I think (correct me if I'm wrong here Vash) that's the thing that's worrying and upsetting. The not knowing. But you'll never know anyone's true reasons or feelings until they tell you, and I think trying to imagine them beforehand is just a form of self-torture.
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
I'll just say it again, I think it's a mistake to presume to know the workings of anybody else's mind
. . .
If the situation was clear to anyone it would be Vash
Ironically, that last bit seems itself rather a presumption to me; I really think @burtkenobi's input is pretty solid.

As I might put it, quoting a Chinese proverb: "A spectator sees more than a player in the heat of a game."
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Ironically, that last bit seems itself rather a presumption to me; I really think @burtkenobi's input is pretty solid.

As I might put it, quoting a Chinese proverb: "A spectator sees more than a player in the heat of a game."
I'm less than convinced that anyone can accurately judge the actions and motivations of someone they've never met or interacted with based on second hand information from someone with very strong feelings for that person who is in an emotionally vulnerable state.

I'm not trying to argue that other people's assessments are definitely wrong, the bottom line for me is that I care more about Vash than I care about being right. I'm not sure anybody else's assessment of the situation (including my own, which is why I'm trying my hardest not to make any judgements about it) will really do much good until he actually knows first hand from the girl he's talking to what's going on.
 

Neil.T

Time-Traveller
I'm not sure anybody else's assessment of the situation (including my own, which is why I'm trying my hardest not to make any judgements about it) will really do much good
I think, at the end of the day (and this is my take on the beginnings of this whole discussion), if you make the conscious effort to type up a post on an Internet forum and apparently seek input, one of two things is going to happen: your post is either going to get ignored or you're gonna get input.

Personally, when I did this same thing here a few years ago, I was very grateful for the response from yourself, ayase, and from @Rui and from Vash and others, too. I felt like I at least wasn't screaming into a void, which was the outcome I was most dreading at the time.

In some cases, the input might not be what you were expecting or even wanting to hear, but it's definitely infinitely better than a void. In my opinion it is, anyway. That's why I think that having input from different sources is so valuable.
 

Vashdaman

Za Warudo
I can understand what everyone here is saying, I've had those feelings of hurt flash through me over the last couple of weeks plenty, but I think I'm more inclined to agree with ayase in that I don't know what the heck is going through her mind and I don't think it's fair to assume that she's being cruel, indifferent or doesn't have her reasons for acting this way. There is an instinctive part of you that does scream out "THE INJUSTICE" when you are on the receiving end of what seems like a cold shoulder and when someone treats you in a way you couldn't imagine yourself treating another (I don't think I would ever go for quite the route she's chosen here, to me it seems hard to imagine a more potentially inadvertently confusing/hurtful path). But I can still imagine how this could possibly seem like the best path or only path in her mind, as ayase said, there are so many possible reasons why she chose this, her reasoning will be totally different to mine.

One reason that I suspect, is simply that she doesn't know how to break the bad news to me and doesn't have much practice in doing this kind of thing, and I understand, it takes a lot of courage to tell someone you've suddenly got cold feet and don't feel quite the way you said you did or thought you did and have been a bit put off by the strange solemn ebullience that person displayed. I wouldn't want to be the one to have to let that guy (me) down, so I feel for her and understand it could seem easier and even kinder in a certain light to just keep palming them off until they get the message. But that's assuming she's even sure how she feels herself, which she might not be, and it's probably harder yet for her to imagine a way of saying "I don't know how I feel".

I remember her once telling me of a book she read about a person whose occupation was writing important emotional letters for other people, and according to her there are still people in Japan who are employed to put into words the feelings their clients can't articulate. I don't really know how that works, as how do you even get your point across to the ghost writer, but it strikes me now (as it kind of struck me then) that she would be a prospective client to these ghost writers. I can't blame her if she struggles with the kind of emotional articulation I totally take for granted.

Anyway, I've all but completely given up hope for a romance at this stage, even if it's just for the sake of my sanity, I've realised I can't keep living on those tenterhooks, it wasn't good for me. I've accepted this is not destined to be a romance. I feel pretty much at peace about the whole thing now.
 
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