34 answers

Husband Leaving Me for Another Woman, How Do I Deal with Her in My Kids Life?

I've recently learned 6 months ago that my husband has been having an affair for 2 years. As a result we are getting a divorce. he has already told me that he plans to be with her after (she is also getting a divorce and has 2 kids). I don't know how to deal with the fact that eventually she will be some part of my 2 kids (3 and 8 months)lives. That is my biggest fear that she will be part of their life. It just isn't fair to my 3 year old to explain who she is. i know the kids are young enough to not be as affected, but this just kills me. Any advice?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

good luck. I have been there and had to deal with this myself. I had spoken with the other women and set limits a first on how to get the kids to know her. She was also given what was expected of her aound my child.

Good for you to reach out for personal suppport. Get counseling if you and the children need it. There are books and on-line help too. Here are some examples:

Lists of books about divorce for children:

What a chanllenge! Good luck to you. You've received a lot of good advice.

Take care : ) (A smile to give you some sunshine in these tough times.)

More Answers

The first thought that came to mind when I read your request was How very selfish of your Husband to give into his needs at the sacrafice of his children. Whether he knows it or not he will scare them for ever with this one. How does one tell a 3 year old that the first man in her life is gone to live with another woman and leave her. What message is being sent. Your Husband should be ashamed of himself. I know that every marriage has problems but the giving in to ones own desires proves to be nothing but self centeredness. That is why the world is what it is today. Personal desire and satisfaction at any cost. He will regret it one day. However, you still have rights in this matter and you can if you want to request that his visitation does not include her. You need to think about your children as he clearly is not. I do not know if you can talk with him about this or not but if you can then point out how this will effect the children if you can not talk to him about it then let the lawyer address it. I have a child who's Father is not in his life and beleive me your children will ask questions and as they grow older they will suffer because of this. Be prepared at any time to answer questions that they will have. My Son is 10 and has self-esteen issues because of his Father. Adults just do not think about how these things effect there children. They just care about there own current happiness and that is so wrong. I wish you God's Blessings on your journey with this man. In one way you are will rid of him but you will never be rid of him because of your children. May you get through this hurdle with peace in your heart.

2 moms found this helpful

R., I am so sorry for what you are going through. I am writing to you today not as a mother but as an adult child of a father who had an affair and married the "other woman." It really just sucks. I was much older than your children (I was about 12). Although my mother was expecting a divorce she was not prepared for the affair. It was devastating and embarrassing for her. It was incredibly painful for me to watch her go through this. She was even suicidal for a brief time. My mother did a great job reassuring me that it had nothing to do with me. It was good for me to know the pain that being unfaithful caused but I really saw too much. Even as an older child it was scary. When my Dad remarried I chose to go to the wedding and it just about killed my mother. I cried through the wedding, hated my step mom, and was furious with my Dad but I knew enough to know that it would be important for me to be there. I remember my Mom telling me once that she wouldn't be able to attend my wedding if my father was there. She just never thought she could be around him. That hurt. I was 12 and remember it like it was yesterday. My advice. Remember that you kids are entitled to their relationship with their father. It is OK to tell them you are sad, mad, or jealous but then add that it is something you will work through as a family. Tell them that sad things happen but together we learn to get through it. I was an adult before I had a good relationship with my father. I was so angry but eventually decided that if he had know better he would have done better. I am sure that my mom wouldn't agree, but we have separate relationships/realities with my Dad. I lived with my mother through high school but I longed to be a part of a "family". I married young and then divorced young. Make sure that you have special family traditions and family times so your children know that they are still part of a family. I remarried but was fearful of divorce. I am sure my parents thought their marriage was going to last so how did I know mine was going to be different. I decided that love isn't a feeling but action. You love someone when you work on the relationship. You love someone when you are faithful. You love someone through your everyday actions and decisions. It has changed my whole perspective on being a wife and a mother. I think it is a good lesson to learn early on in life.

I know this rambled a bit and for that I apologize. Feel free to contact me if you have specific questions. Children can come through divorce (and affairs) OK. Be thoughtful of you actions and you will be OK. Just like with a plane oxygen mask you must first take care of yourself so you are able to take care of you children. A good read is "Adult Children of Divorce" or something like that. It might not be an immediate read but something you should read when you get through the immediate phase. You and your children will get through it. You really will.


P.S. My mother eventually met a wonderful man and remarried as well. Through that relationship I was able to see what a healthy marriage looked like which helped me put an end to my bad marriage and gave me the foundation for my current very happy marriage. I have never seen either of my parents happier. I would never wish them married to each other but I will always regret the painful way the marriage ended. Best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful

Wow! I am soooo sorry you are going through this! I can understand the fear of this woman being a part of your precious children's lives - it is so unfair! Maybe you should talk to your ex about not involving her at all in the kids lives, let them get used to the idea of dad being out of the house. Then if it is indeed serious and they get married, then she can be slowly introduced. Good luck and God bless!

First, I want to tell you how sorry I am. Unfortunately, if the children's father is going to be a part of their life so is she. It will make you look bad if you try to keep her out of their lives. They will grow up and eventually see that you were the one that kept her away. If she's a good person, they will see it. If she's not a good person, they will see that. Let them make the choice.

It's going to take some time. I highly recommend the father not to introduce her right away. They need to deal with not having him around at home first. Over time she can be introduced into their lives.

As for you, you are going to need support from your friends and family. It will be hard for you to not bad mouth both of them...they hurt you in the worst possible way. Over time you will heal and eventually be able to move on. But you need the time to heal...give it to yourself.

Above all...remember it takes more energy and life out of you to hate...trust me, I've been there.

Best of luck to you. My thoughts and best wishes are with you.

I am so sorry for you and your children, this is really hard. Have both of you sat down with the kids and told them you are getting divorced?, that should be the first thing you do. I think it is your husbands responsibility to introduce the new woman in his life to your children. He is the one who needs to explain himself, not you. Your job is to be supportive for your kids, do not bad mouth dad or the new woman, do not use your children as pawns to get back at your ex, listen to your kids, keep an eye on them and let them know you are there for them. You really need to find a way to release your anger without getting the kids involved at all. Show your kids you can be strong and mature, so they know you are stable enough to come to you if they need to talk about this. If you show them you are fragile in dealing with the divorce and the new woman they will not want to talk to you about it, because they will not want to upset you. You can do this, you do not need a man in your life that treats women the way he has treated you. The way he has gone about this is so boyish and immature. If he was unhappy, he should have left you before getting into an affair. Focus on your kids and what is best for them and try not to worry about what their father and his new woman are doing. Know that you can always vent on this forum and hang tough!!

I know you've heard this from about 20 other people on this board, but do get therapy and support to help you cope with this situation. My heart just breaks for you & your kids.

If you work, see if your job has an EAP benefit that can provide you with a referral to a good therapist for you & your kids. Otherwise, it looks like some others have offered some really good websites & resources.

Take care of yourself & your kids - put yourselves first.

I hope you weather this storm.
All the best,


I'm so sorry that you have to go through such a terrible experience. The same thing happened to a very good friend of mine a few years ago. In the beginning it was extremely difficult - the feelings and emotions were so raw. It was hard on me and my husband too because we were such good friends with them - our hearts broke for them and their children. I have to say though that my girlfriend was always very good about not talking negatively about her husband and the other woman in front of the children. It can be so easy to say nasty things about the guilty parties to the kids or in front of them, but I think that will do a lot of damage to the children. The children are the most important thing and they need to feel as secure as possible and that they're loved by both parents. As far as my friend goes - he ended up marrying the other woman and they have their typical visits with his kids, every other weekend, etc. My friend is doing very well. I think that somewhere along the line, she made her peace with the situation. Whether she likes it or not, this other woman is her children's step mother and she does love her step children. They're all civil to eachother and can be in the same room together now. When the children are as young as yours, you have to realize that this woman is going to be part of your life for a long time. There will be school plays and sports, birthdays, holidays, etc. Somehow just work towards making peace, it will take time and a lot of you biting your tongue, but you can do it eventually. I wish you all the best.


R. . i feel so bad for you. your baby is onley 8 monthd old. i have been there my self. i went to court and ask onele dady can see them . there is no neet for her to be in your childrens life. thats what i did she had no part of my kids life. its time there dad makes up his ming give up his kids. or visit with them alone. let him make the choise. if he loves his kids . he can spent time with them alone . i feel so very sory for you . keep in touch

Hi R.,
I am very sorry that this is happening to you. I can speak from the child's perspective-my parents divorced when I was 3. My mother was fabulous-she told me at first that my new stepmother was a very close friend of Daddy's (I don't remember how she explained that we wouldn't be living together anymore). But the big thing was-she never-even when I would complain about him-never said anything negative about my Father or my Step-mother. The best thing you can do is stay neutral-even if there is just a slight chance your kids will hear you.
If you don't, it may not be them they end up resenting. I don't know how you should handle having her in your kids life, but my best advice, is to try to find a common ground you can talk about-I can tell you that my Mom and Step-Mom have gotten along for years-and they think they just started by talking about me.
Good luck,

fisrt of all. I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I hope you have lots of friends and family support. And you always have us. Sometimes its easier to talk to strangers . As far as the kids go they are so young so I wouldnt bring it up unless you abso,lutely have to . Hopefully you will have a civil relationship with your ex and he wont be rubbing her in their faces. What in the world is she going to tell her kids? I dont understand how people can do this to people they (supposedly) love. Good luck and if you ever need an ear dont hesitate!

Good for you R.. Getting a divorce is the best thing you can do for yourself and your children! He will eventually do this again to his current! I can offer you some advice as I am in the divorce process too (suspect cheating, no proof) Anyway try to keep your sanity - by not letting the little stuff overwhelm you. The big picture is what you need to focus on. Get out the situation. Keep your children safe. Move on to a more wonderful life. Pray.

You cannot control what other people do. You can only prepare your children. Teach them the difference between right and wrong. Teach them good behavior and bad behavior. Let them know that mommy knows best and if they have any questions or feel in danger tell you. Make the older one memorize your phone number. Try to keep them busy so they can spend less time with dad. Dad probably won't be around much anyway. He will be too busy raising the other children.(sorry, it's true)
He will parent your children out of guilt - meaning (he will not be a good parent that will discipline with love)

Try to get sole custody - your husband sounds like a moralless scum bag, that who's moral ground is not healthy or safe for your children to be around. Good Luck R. -
God Bless you and your children. My prayers are with you.

I agree with the others, stay neutral, don't badmouth etc... My mother let me find out for myself who my father really was inside. Unfortunately she was right. But as you know, they are young enough that in a few short years they really won't remember you two being together. It will be "normal" to them.

As far as dealing with her: Come up with a list of thing you'd like to see happen and ask to discuss it with your ex. Try to find a neutral place or with a Mediator. Hopefully he is not like some who distance themselves and focus on their new "family".

My thoughts are with you!!

First off, let me say how terrible I feel for you. I can't imagine the pain your feeling. However, as a child of (badly)divorced parents, the best thing you can do for both of your children is to make this transition as easy as possible for them. Unfortunately, that means swallowing your own pain and putting as positive a spin on this as possible. If you can, try and get all of you together for events (her children too--remember they're dealing with the same situation as your own kids). No matter how much ill will you hold towards your husband and this woman, please don't let your children know about it. It will only make them feel guilty when they have to leave you to go spend time with their dad. It will also make their transition into a blended family (which is not easy to begin with) harder. I wish my parents had been more sensitive to mine and my brothers' needs when we were young. It would have made accepting my step-father and step-brother and sister that much easier. As it is, we (all of us)still don't have a great relationship with each other. One of the toughest things about being a parent is putting our children's needs above our own. Don't forget to grieve for yourself and your lost marriage, but don't put that sadness on your kids. This needs to as positive an experience as possible. Try to keep the lines of communication open with your husband, and if possible, this woman as well. She's a mom too, and will want to know the routines, likes and dislikes your son and daughter have. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.

About me: Happily married, full-time working mom of a 22-month-old boy, and expecting baby#2 in October


Your husband is a DIRTBAG! There - I got that off my chest! I had to - As a child from a divorce (My dad cheated on my mom) and having gone through a divorce myself (abusive husband), I've been there and I truly know how you feel.

Take comfort in knowing that when a relationship that develops like these circumstances, I think the failure rate is about 95%, if I'm not mistaken. If he re-marries eventually, its something like 80%. So, he truly has a slightly warped sense of perception if he thinks for one second that this "new" relationship is going to last. Actually reading what you wrote, I almost want to bang some sense into the girlfriend too, as she is way off in her thinking as well to even get up with a married man. But I digress.

I agree with the poster who said "The best thing you and your soon-to-be X can do is NOT introduce your children to anyone you are dating until it's evident that they are going to become a permanent part of your life." Take heart in knowing, it probably won't last.

Now the hard part: Prepare yourself for him to NOT keep any obligations he might commit to. Most men do not, and they are few and far between who do. He may not pick the kids up when he says he will, he may not pay child support or pay it sporadically, cover the children's expenses, etc. Hopefully he will, but statistically, he wont.

Get yourself a lawyer and file for divorce. Get a custody order in place immediately as well as a child support order. If you wait, it will only prolong the enivitable. Prepare yourself for the fight of your life - and again, I don't know your husband, I'm going by statistics and personal experience. He might not be this way. But a lot of us say "My ex won't do that..." and eventually they do.

Whatever you do, don't badmouth or talk negative about him in front of the kids, as HARD as this will be at times, and I'm sure you'll slip up, but you have to try. This will backfire in your face. My mom always told me "Love him, he's your father." over and over, and as I got older and found out the truth about how she felt, I was shocked.

I tell my boys this constantly "Love him, he is your father." Children are perceptive and as they get older, they are going to make up their own minds about the situation. I did when I was young, and my boys are doing that now.

If you feel yourself getting depressed, ask for help! Start building a support network now, family, friends, etc. You will have to go to work if you are not already. Theres plenty of state help, if you need it. Don't be proud, it's for your kids health and safety. Get a therapist if you can afford it, but good friends and a cup of coffee sometimes works just as good if not better!

R., I feel for you, I really do! The situation really sucks right now, but I promise you, it WILL and DOES get better, but it takes a LOT of time. I am over 6 years out of my divorce and I still have days that the animosity is there. But remember every thing happens for a reason, and you will get through it.

Good luck to you and please send me a message personally if you need an ear! Do keep us posted!!!

I am so sorry, this must be so hard for you! I hate to say this the children will be just fine, they are so little that it will all be good. For you, the hardest part is you never asked for this and she will always be a reminder of the whole thing and you are going to get past it. I know you live kind of far away but I really feel you need to check out this site: http://www.divorcestep.com/ Michele Diamond is a great Therapist and she is involved with the state of MA. When there are children involved you really need to be realistic. Just always be the bigger person and don't be negative because it will be a miserable life for all. Love your children (they didn't ask for this either), time will heal but be sure you take care of yourself because this could get the best of you if you don't take care of you. Best wishes to you and your children.

I have been there, one daughter was a month old and the other was 19 months. Best you can do is concentrate on you and the kids and never bad mouth their dad, they will figure it all out themselves, mine did. It is now 34 years later, he is still married to her although I am not sure just how happy, we have three shared grandchildren and he has grown up and been a good part of their life. She is good to my children and grandchildren and that is all I can ask. I know it seems impossible now but really it is not, one day at a time is the best.

Good for you to reach out for personal suppport. Get counseling if you and the children need it. There are books and on-line help too. Here are some examples:

Lists of books about divorce for children:

What a chanllenge! Good luck to you. You've received a lot of good advice.

Take care : ) (A smile to give you some sunshine in these tough times.)

I can speak as a kid who was in that scenario. My father married the woman that he cheated on my mother with. I was only 3yrs old at the time and at that age did not and could not understand. Understandably my stepsiblings could not either, they were 1, 5, and 8 yrs old at the time. As I was growing up all I knew was that my mother hated my step-mother and dad and I did not know why and was sad about it. Of course now I know. I have conflicted feelings about all of it now. All of these years my step-mother has been kind to me and I have loved her, but knowing what she did to my mother and to me in effect has changed my view of her. She has since asked my father for a divorce after 28 yrs of marriage. I am close with my step siblings and my half-brother. My mother moved me across the country in an effort to get me away from all of them when I was 6 yrs old and it only made me feel like an outside when I did visit and made me miss my dad terribly and resent her. I moved in with my dad when I was 15 and did not talk to my mom for 3 years. I don't know if this helps at all, but thought you might like to see the view from a child's prespective.

Although I have not personally experienced this I am so sorry it must be extremely painful.I do have a good friend who this did happen to.It took her a long time to move on.I am a stepparent and I do know this woman will never take your place.The best thing you can do for your kids is to take the high road and never let them see you fight or talk bad about their dad (very hard at times to do).It really is the best thing for them to feel like they don't have to choose. She may become a friend and they may love her eventually.But I do know for sure they will never feel about her the way they do about you.They will respect you for sure for never badmouthing their dad.Just make it easy for them as possible. You won't be able to control them hanging around with her unless of course she is not stable.Hopefully your husband also keeps their best interrest in mind and doesn't do sleepovers with them and her for a long time.Good luck. T.

Hi R.,
I had the same feelings when my wife and I were divorced.
Someone else being involved in my precious childrens lives was a hard thing to deal with.
I hope you get some counseling and talk it over with family and friends because they will hopefully guide you through this very difficult time.
A lot of things in life are not fair and your stbx will have the children part of the time but you will always be their Mother and you are very special person in their lives.
Looking back it's easy for me to say this now but please take my word for it that things will be better in time.
Good luck and I hope this helps.

I 100% agree with the other 2 posts,you have to put on a smiley face for your children(unfortunatly)and just hope this other woman is good to your children.As for your husband,i bet you want to do very mean things to him...But maybe get some therapy to help yourself through this,did you see this coming??Oh im so sorry.I give you so much credit,keep your head up and be strong-he's a jerk.Do something nice for yourself,go get a massage or shopping(on his credit card!!)Thinking of you!!Good Luck!!Hugs!!

I know this must be hard for you especially when you just had the little one. Some time has to pass for you to heal. You should try not to concentrate so much on what your ex is doing and try to do healthy things that focus on you and your kids. Get involved with some meet up groups for mothers online join a gym. If you want to chat you can find me at www.myspace.com/tooezmom

I am truly sorry for the pain that you and your children are going through. Unfortunately if this woman is going to be a part of their lives, they have to know about it. It's sad to think that you'll have to explain this to them at such young ages because they won't understand, especially your youngest one. I wouldn't sugar coat who she is though and say she is "daddy's friend" or anything like that, I would explain it to her the best way a 3 year old can understand... it will not be easy because where she is 3, she'll ask a lot of questions at first and don't be alarmed if at first she doesn't seem to care. It will be a tough transition for you all and my heart goes out to you and your family. Wishing you the best of luck.

This is actually a husband that just stumbled on his wife's page cuz it was there and I read your problem. First of all...I'm sorry, this man is obviously not one...cuz he would've found a way to make things work between you...secondly, the only thing you can do is to make the transition seemless. No matter how much it hurts, everything is about the children, so if you act like everything is normal with this new woman, they (the kids) will grow to like and respect her, which is what you really want...even though you dont feel that way. Unfortunately, its always up to the slighted person to act like an adult and take the higher road, but when your kids are older they will understand that you put everything aside that bothered you, to make a better life for them, and thats when it pays off. So, just be kind and cooperative now, and you will come out the better person eventually, its hard and tedious but completely worth it. Oh, and by they way, find yourself a nice man who wants so spend his time with you children and with you, it will make the transmission that much easier. from ____@____.com

Hi R.- sorry to hear of your troubles. Unfortunately,you are part of a sorority of women who have found themselves in the very same situation...alone you're not.
As for this female...well,she will never love your children as her own[no matter how much she swears to it].But remember-you don't need for her to.Your children are already deeply loved by their mother and presumably,their father.Everything else is icing on the cake. It's hard right now to give this woman the benefit of the doubt,but let's assume that she also loves her children just as deeply.Let us also assume that she is coming into this acknowledging that her new-love was ill-gotten.Other people paid a high price so she "could find happiness"[gag me!]. Maybe this will make her more humble??Maybe she'll try harder.
Please do not fall into the quicksand of becoming chummy too quickly!! [if indeed you're able to ever forgive her at all]It is not your responsability to show THEM how well adjusted you are.However-you must remember that your children will be the ones who suffer from prolonged or overt hostility.Many would argue that to let go of your anger would be to make things too easy for the "happy new couple".But you may consider not making it the largest part of your life...
After all,you're still the mother of a beautiful girl and adorable boy,right?? Don't put them on the back burner for anyone. good luck,I've been there.

Why is this burden put on you? Shouldn't your husband be the one to explain?

Grieve the loss.... of your husband.... of the dream of perfection for your children. Get support from family, church, friends, co-workers if you have them, daycare providers and professional mental health experts. You will need them all to cope with this. You must move on and deal with the facts despite not liking them. I wish I could tell you otherwise. I am saying a prayer for you right now to find peace in your heart and head to deal with this ugly situation.

HI R.!
I am so sorry you are having to go through this. For the most part you have gotten really good advice from the other responders but I did want to add something. Just because your husband says he plans to be with this woman after all is said and done doesn't mean that it will happen. Life is very different when the "secret" is no longer there holding them together and the chances of them staying together is extremely slim. Think about it...if they each cheated on their spouses what says that they won't cheat on each other at some point in their relationship???? I wouldn't worry too much right now about what her place is going to be in your kid's lives. The best thing you and your soon-to-be X can do is NOT introduce your children to anyone you are dating until it's evident that they are going to become a permanent part of your life. Right now she's got her own mess to deal with and she doesn't need to be involved any more than she has to in yours.

Good luck to you! Things will turn out ok.

I am not sure what to tell you, but I did want to reassure you that the overwhelming majority of relationship begun out of adultery DO NOT LAST - so you may be surprised to find that in a few months or years, this woman is not actually part of your childrens' lives. Unfortunately, it doesn't help a lot now, but often the bloom is off the rose after people who started an affair actually marry each other and see how they really are.

Hey R.!
Be strong,brave and honest for you and your children.I'll keep you in my thoughts-you'll get through this and be your childrens biggest hero!

i'm so sorrry to hear of your situation. it must be devestating for you. please seek out some professional advice and a counselor. not only for you but the children anger is the first stage of healing and the fear this women will be involved in their lives can be enraging. as bad as the situation is take time and think about everything you do and how will effect your children. i'm so sorry god bless and i will pray for you K. d one end note god doesn't give you anything you can't handle..... seek he's guidance

Oh my goodness. I am shocked by some of the venemous and presumptive advice on this list. Acting out of hatred can only generate more pain. I grieve for you and know you have the strength and love to get through this and move on to happier days. The biggest advice - don't take this out on your kids by driving a wedge between them and their father, asking them to choose, or asking them to adopt your own anger and vengance. Your question is right, you have to get the support to deal with it yourself, apart from how your kids deal with it. All they know is that mom and dad are seperating - they shouldn't know why. dad is living with a new woman who will be in their lives. as far as they know, they can have loving and positive relationships with everyone, and if that's possible, it is absolutely the best thing for them. there doesn't have to be conflict or competition unless the adults bring that in and the mature thing would be to keep it out of how you all present it to the kids. it's not a matter of it being fair to explain. it has to be explained, in the way that benefits your kids the most. who is she? dad's new partner. that doesn't have to be as painful to them as it is to you, maybe even not painful at all, unless you make it so by adding your own attitude to it! you can do this is a way that doesn't harm them. we don't know from your description whether or not your husband and his girlfriend can do that too, but I hope so. good luck and much love.

Hi R.,
I want to start by saying my heart goes out to you! With that said, believe it or not, how you handle this will have the biggest impact on the kids. I am speaking from experience. There will come many time where you just have to tell yourself, "I am the bigger person!" There will be many times you will want to vent out loud and your kids will overhear and, again, you will have to stop yourself and tell yourself "I am the bigger person!" My ex's girlfriend hated me from the get go and there was so much negativity. I'll give you an example of ONE incident. My nieces and nephews came down to visit me. It was my ex's weekend with the kids. Of course, they wanted to come by and see their cousins, which they did. It was fun until she came to my door and said "you should not have family visit when it is not your weekend with the kids." Of course, we had planned so far in advance, at the time, I didn't know who's weekend it would actually be. I was furious. Thankfully, they are no longer together and he has a wonderful girlfriend now. We keep our distance but are polite when we see one another. I look back and realize the kids feed so much off our reaction as they know we are the ones who have been wronged! I would suggest a good therapist for yourself and a bestfriend who you can vent all your frustrations and you will be fine. Remember, right now is the most painful part. It will get easier!! Pray for strength as you will need it!

good luck. I have been there and had to deal with this myself. I had spoken with the other women and set limits a first on how to get the kids to know her. She was also given what was expected of her aound my child.

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