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I vant to be alone!

Posted by Rosarugosa1 (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 13:23

I am about to be an empty-nester and just crossed into my 50s. I have mostly been a stay at home mom over the last 20 years with stints of part-time work and volunteer work always done to fit around the needs of my family. I have a husband whose career has involved lots of travel meaning he's been away and I've been holding it together at home. I have a college degree and some grad school (fwiw!) but never prioritized career or earnings (dumb!) I think I am just really tired of having my life revolve around other people's needs. As of this September (2014) my youngest is leaving for college. I have been a hands-on mom and taken care of the household for years and I feel like I need time alone to sort out what I want to do next. I'm confused and wanting to change everything. My husband doesn't quite understand this urge to up and 'find myself" and my turning things upside down at home but to his credit, he is trying. Over the years I have traveled alone by myself on and off so this is not a sudden development but these have been short trips with a purpose, professional conferences or yoga retreats and the like. Here's the question. Have you or has anyone you know ever just up and left, moved into a little house or apartment somewhere for an extended time period, say 3 - 6 months to sort things out? If so, what was it like?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I vant to be alone!

A neighbor (friend) of mine who lived 6 doors up the street did EXACTLY that. Turned out her DH didn't like being left alone, so he found a girlfriend. The wife didn't even go that far away...to an apartment less than a half mile away. Her DH seems happier...not sure about my friend. Maybe the grass wasn't greener. Family members didn't much care one way or the other, which surprised me.


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RE: I vant to be alone!

I haven't done or considered this specifically, but I know from experience, research and conversations that often for women midlife is a period of questioning our lives and our settled-into-routine patterns. Even my hairdresser has commented that she sees an incredible number of women at this point who tell her that they are no longer happy or content with the status quo. I can say that a few years ago I came to a turning point in my marriage and although we are together and life is very good (better than before the crisis hit), I considered leaving if some relationship changes weren't made.

I've linked below to a book about taking a marriage sabbatical. If you google the term itself, there's a lot out there. It isn't unheard of and it seems it can often lead to a deeper and fuller relationship. Maybe it will lead to other outcomes, but I hope you find what you are seeking.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Marriage Sabbatical


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RE: I vant to be alone!

Well, if your DH travels a lot and the youngest is going off to college in September won't you have enough alone time then to figure out what you want for the second half of your life without having to move to an apartment? Unless of course what you actually want is a trial separation from your husband. These are two different things.

My oldest friend had been in an unhappy marriage for years. When her kids were college age, she had had enough and moved (in her mid 50's) from Alaska (which she never liked) back to our hometown in southern California. Im not sure if when she left,in her mind, it was just a trial or for good...but being back in the sun and familiar surroundings rejuvenated her. She didnt have much $, couldnt find a full time job so worked part time jobs she could find here and there. She went through a very nasty divorce and walked away with almost nothing. She has just enough $ to get by living very frugally. Last summer she moved to Kauai to be near her son. She has a small, furnished apartment, lives very simply and seems happy....although she never envisioned herself being alone and barely getting by as she approached her senior years.

BTW---I am 61 and still havent figured out what I want to be/do when I grow up!

Good luck with your decision.....I think we've all had the same thoughts or felt at a crossroads...you'll get through it...but do remember as redcurls pointed out...the grass isn't always greener.


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I speak from experience~evaluate your true feeings for your husband. You're at a time in your life where you need to think about you and what makes you happy. There are people who live together for 40-50 years~i've actually know a few~but one or the other partner seems to do a lot of giving in to 'keep the piece'~this isn't doing anyone a favor. After 25 years, and 5 children, I chose to leave my marriage, my youngest child was 15. I knew for years I wasn't happy, but was *content* with the way thing were. I didn't have to worry about money, since my husband had a good job and was climbing the 'corporate ladder', which was a biggie in those days. When I left I took all my clothes, one of the nightstands in the MB, a chair my parents were given as a wedding gift, and withdrew $25.000 out of a bank account, a thousand dollars for each year of marriage. Even though I told my husband I would be leaving on a certain day, he didn't believe me. I had found a condo, not even a mile from my former house, mainly because my DD had friends in the neighborhood, and thought this would be a time she might be needing them even more.

I have never been sorry, and it's been 20 years! My ex and I remained good friends, since family was important to both of us. All holidays were spent together, and I would even go to his home and put up his Christmas tree as well as my own in the condo. Since he had a bigger house, I would do the cooking there also, and all the kids came for the holiday dinners, as well as friends we had together stopping by. Same for birthdays, 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Labor day. Birthday were usually dinner out, but other holidays were a bar-b-q at his house! I made the decision to move to Austin when DD/DH took a transfer, and my ex would have regular visits staying with me, a house he helped me design. In all the years apart he was respectful and there was never any 'hanky panky' or even an attempt. I would give him a hug when I would see him, and when he left, but that was it. Unfortunately, he found out he had cancer 2 weeks before he retired, and died 7 months later in Austin, where he came to spend his final time with me. I took him to doctor appointments, made him special meals, scratched his back, bathed, him, and anything else I could do to make him comfortable and happy. In my younger days, he had been my rock, my cheerleader, and always good to me. Not only did I 'owe' him, but wanted to be there for him as much as I could. We had a beautiful memorial with a video, family pictures included. During all those years, not one person ever questioned our decision, or said, 'what in the hell are you 2 doing, get a divorce.' I knew that if I had ever waned to remarry, or vice versa, it was then we would have taken legal action, but didn't see the need otherwise.

You never expect to fall out of love, but sometimes life gets in the way and the person you chose in your 20's(or 30's/40's)doesn't 'fit' anymore, but life does have to go on. Remaining friends is a way of keeping a family together and intact and that was the most important thing to me~little did I know I was also doing it for the kids who didn't realize until they were older.

In looking back, I realize how much I 've been blessed, even though there have been some bumps in the road. Life really is what *you* make it, so don't expect others to make your happiness. Go out and make it for yourself, even it it means being alone.


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RE: I vant to be alone!

Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts.

patty-cakes, are you saying you were still legally married until he passed?

joanie-poanie, he has now decided he's had it with travel and is home!


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Yes Judith, we were still married, and everything was still in both our names(except my personal checking account), including his house in SD and my house in Austin. We also had a trust set up about 7 years earlier, which was also in my name, leaving me the executor and beneficiary of the portfolio. He was an only child whose parents had passed, and our children, myself, and my siblings were really all he had.

At one time I though I would re-marry as I had met someone, but that didn't work out. He would have given me a divorce, and I even asked him to remove me from the trust, leaving our kids as beneficiaries. At 71 years old, and because of the way things worked out, i'm very comfortable in my life, can afford to travel, and pretty much do whatever and whenever I please. Like I said, i've been blessed, and this man made it all possible, and I feel we were both happier living apart, yet still involved in each others life.


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RE: I vant to be alone!

One of my close friends has been living very much the way Patty Cakes describes. She married in her 20's after college, taught for a few years, had 4 children and decided after 15 years that she was unhappy. She and the kids moved back to her home town but they didn't divorce and remained close friends.

When the kids were younger they shared child expenses, got together for vacations and special occasions and seem to have evolved a way of living that works for all of them. Neither has wanted to remarry but if that were to happen they'd both readily agree to finalize an official divorce.

My friend never felt unfulfilled while married or raising her kids. She didn't give up her own interests nor sacrifice so much of 'herself' that she felt her life revolved around others. Obviously when the kids are young they do command a good portion of your time, energy and thoughts - but she still gardened, volunteered, traveled (with and without the kids) and maintained a wide range of interests and good friends.

She didn't have a nanny and for the most part raised the children herself since her husband lived on the other side of the country. She didn't have to worry about getting a job which made things much easier. She'd be the first to admit that being financially secure has made all the difference.


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WOW, your subject speaks to me...That is what I am always saying! (literally, I say "I vant to be alone") I keep saying that I want my own apartment. I am very much like you... put my career on the back burner when it became clear that both of us having full time, demanding jobs would not work for our kids/us. I went from college to a year living at home while saving for my wedding to living with my husband...so I regret not having the experience of having my own space. My husband also travels frequently so I get a "break" almost weekly...but my kids are still here. My oldest has a disability so I don't see him leaving for a long time (though I would like to see him settled in some type of group home before it is necessary in a crisis). My younger son is planning to move out this summer when he finishes an educational program he is doing. Overall I am happy, but I yearn for the experience of living for just myself, on my schedule, on my agenda...I think it is something I may never really get to experience because I can't imagine how it would ever be possible. But maybe, just maybe I could find a way to take a sabbatical from family life. Never thought of it that way but just having that language for it makes it seem more doable. My motto this year is "life begins at the end of your comfort zone" so perhaps I will do more soul searching on this. So glad you brought it up, OP.
Judy


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RE: I vant to be alone!

It is quite normal for a woman going or near going through the physical change to also want to go through a lifestyle change. It happened to me and I ended up retiring early as, after 33 years at work, I'd had enough.

However, only you can evaluate your marriage and the costs/benefits of pursuing it. I think it's important to figure out how much is "the shift" (as dr. wayne dyer calls it) and how much is unhappiness with the marriage...because if you move out, it will put your marriage at risk.

If it's not the marriage, but just a need to enter a new phase of your life and to realign your activities to your life's purpose, then that kind of examination can be accomplished at home in your quiet time, and by pursuing something new outside the home be it schooling, a job, whatever. Much too depends on how accommodating your husband will be to your desire to change the focus of your life.

A retreat, a spa vacation, or whatever might be helpful, but that's completely different from a longer term separation which puts the marriage in a completely different and more tentative position.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Shift


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RE: I vant to be alone!

I completely understand the desire as that is my biggest fantasy. It is a craving deep within my soul (and at 36, I am fairly confident it is not due to the shift for me). Thank you for putting this out here because I now have a name for my future hope of a sabbatical and a book to read (wish it were on the kindle though). I have mentioned alone time to DH in the past and the need for a break but he takes it as me looking for someone new and the last thing I want in my life would be another man at this point. I wish I could get him to visit his parents for just a few days with the kids. My youngest is 7 and in the first grade so I have a few years yet...Please report back on what decisions you make, if possible.


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RE: I vant to be alone!

You're not alone.....

Here is a link that might be useful: Great Article

This post was edited by bestyears on Tue, Jan 28, 14 at 0:16


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RE: I vant to be alone!

My husband and I have been married successfully for 56 years. We have 3 children and I always worked but I went from the top bunk bed to the wedding bed and always felt I wanted space of my own sooooo we bought our first lake house in Maine and I could got there with friends on weekends and he could stay home. When we met and he asked me to marry him, I told him I'm not going to marry and not do what my mate doesn't want to do. I want to be free to do what I want and he agreed so I traveled and developed my art to the point that he built me my own studio both at our house and in Maine. The reason I say this is to illustrate that many women have that feeling and deal with it in different ways. When asked what is the secret to a long happy marriage, I always respond, having two houses. Maybe four to six times a year we are apart in separate houses for no more than a week. He with his friends and I with mine and it really enriches our lives. There was never a question of trust, we're both extremely devoted to each other. I have seen so many women who were dying to travel and never got to do it as their husband didn't want to go. I went and I don't regret a moment of it. I've had a great life, seen so much and have wonderful friends but I base most of my happiness on my DH. He's the best.


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RE: I vant to be alone!

I am so glad that you brought this up. We have several friends in the 50ish age range where they want different things and their marriages are collapsing. I am similar to you in that I have always been there for my family and gotten part time-gigs and done volunteer work through my church while my husband is the breadwinner. That has worked for us in that I keep things running at home while he makes the money. However, sometimes I feel like a single parent handling EVERYTHING while he just works. His job involves a lot of travel. I know he doesn't have time while working to sight see, but at least he gets out of town. I'm doing the same mundane things. Our youngest is 11. I feel like by the time she is grown and gone he wont want to travel, he will be sick of it and I will be the one who wants to get up and go. He also has some medical problems that actually makes traveling very difficult for him. All of this time, I could be accompanying him on wonderful trips if it weren't for the kids keeping me here. Yet, my kids are my life. There is no one to watch our kids for us so here we are.
Financially, it is getting more difficult too. Our lifestyle is the same, we are frugal and smart but things are getting more expensive. We don't have the disposable income that we had before. In fact, this time of year we have a hard time paying all of our bills. It makes me a bit nervous about the future wondering what, if anything we will be able to afford, and I will want to get up and go and see the world, and do everything and he will be sick, and sick of traveling.
So glad you brought up this topic.


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RE: I vant to be alone!

Who would pay for your apartment, travel, and expenses while you are "finding yourself," your husband? Will he feel put upon because he's still on the corporate treadmill and you are free to explore becoming a new you, perhaps at his financial expense? Pattie_cakes speaks wisely when she says you need to evaluate your true feelings towards your husband, but also his towards you. If you both still care for each other, he may feel terribly abandoned after having been tethered to the corporate ball and chain all his adult life in order to provide for the family. If the feeling's gone, then that's another matter.

I would advise waiting to see how life turns out after a year of empty nesting. Since becoming empty nesters, DH & I have rediscovered how to have fun together, now that life is more relaxed. We are more emotionally available to each other too. It didn't happen overnight; it was a gradual process.

I opted not to go back to work, having had enough with schedules and regimentation, bad work colleagues, and had no desire to fit in. I've been exploring classes at a local art center (haven't got a lick of artistic sense, but, hey, it's a good brain exercise) & would like to take some literature or history classes at the community college. I work out with friends, bike, read widely, volunteer at church, and am slowly getting back that sense of self that diminished during the mommy years. I travel with DH on business too now. He does his work, and I wander around with a camera as I've taken up photography. He's glad to have me along -- it's calming for him.

My husband is wanting some freedom of his own to explore new interests. Will be interesting to see where all this leads our lives, but we definitely want to journey together.

In short, give empty nesting in your own nest a try first. You have much in place already and someone who can share tasks, freeing up time and energy for you to explore interests.


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RE: I vant to be alone!

I am a little older than you and I sometimes feel the same way. But, since I had midlife twins...I will not be an empty nester for a long time. My dh may feel the same way. I'm not sure being alone would be that great. A couple of weeks would be nice.

I know my mother felt the same way after raising five kids. But, I remember her telling me that no one else would enjoy her children and grandchildren with her as much as my dad.

I am not being judgemental. I am a true introvert. I love my alone time. But, IMHO I think you should consider talking this out with someone before you make a decision that may be irreversible and regrettable.

This is not an easy time of life. As someone above said, the grass is not always greener on the other side. On the other hand, maybe you will be happier on your own. Weigh the options carefully.


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RE: I vant to be alone!

awm03 - so glad to see your thoughts. Some of this thread has been sad to me.

I've been married almost 33 years (next month). My husband and I both enjoy time on our own and have interests of our own but we have many joint interests and joint friends too. We are partners and I cannot imagine the rest of my life without him. He is my rock and I hope I am his. We are there for each other through thick or thin. We have never had children so no adjustments to having children or having them leave (empty nest), maybe that has been a benefit. Regardless, to the OP, I hope you think very long and hard on this before making a decision. I do agree with taking some time. Empty nest is a big change/adjustment.

tina


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RE: I vant to be alone!

I've known a couple of women who wanted to travel but their husbands didn't, so instead found female traveling companions...in one case, it was her MIL...and got to enjoy so much of the world they otherwise wouldn't have seen.


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RE: I vant to be alone!

I was inspired by Joan Anderson who went away for a year to figure out what she wanted to do with her life and as she puts it "clear the clutter out of her mind." She ended up writing several books about it. I put the link to one of them below.

I do agree with the idea of waiting to see what the empty nest brings and not making any irreversible moves just yet. It is just another half a year or so before that happens. That is wise advice. Thank you.

And how would DH would feel about footing the bill -- well, maybe this comment wasn't meant to suggest that DHs work is "real" and all my years of service as a maid, chauffeur, childminder, cook, not to mention travel agent, personal assistant, tutor, PTA volunteer, laundress, seamstress, tour guide, and curator of everything etc., are worthless but I would say MY work is how he's been able to do his and at the level he's done it at. It's not his money, it's OUR money.

I'm not saying there haven't been rewards in being at home but without me he couldn't have risen in his profession and still have the family and home life he's had. He's paid for it, true. But so have I.

Here is a link that might be useful: A Year by the Sea


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RE: I vant to be alone!

You may be interested in reading a book that I just finished recently, Pavilion of Women by Pearl S. Buck. There is a lot of questioning of what it means to be a woman and there is some examination of how it is viewed within the more traditional Chinese culture. I have my own reservations about the resolution for the main character, but it did bring up some interesting things to ponder.


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RE: I vant to be alone!

Of course my comment wasn't meant to imply his work is "real" and yours wasn't. I'm in the same financial situation -- stayed home to manage the home & family while DH slugged it out in the corporate world to earn the money. No need to explain how your work is real too.

I just see that being a breadwinner is no lark in the park either: performance pressures, stress, tedium, self sacrifice, regimentation, hiding one's true feelings, dealing with office politics, abusive supervisors, & backstabbers, forced camaraderie, airports, cramped planes, deadlines, endless meetings. You have to perform whether you feel like it or not. And at home, there's lawn care, handyman chores, investment/financial/insurance decisions, and all the attendant parenting duties. Not saying your job or his job is harder than the other, just saying neither is easy.

Unless you can forgo a paycheck for an extended period, your husband doesn't have the luxury of taking time out to find himself such as you are wanting for yourself, so I think there's some unfairness here. Maybe he feels differently. But if he could take time off, how would you feel if he came home and said he wanted to take six months to go find himself? Could you say, "Sure, go ahead. I'll take care of all the work at home as usual, plus all the chores you normally do, and will find a way to finance your sabbatical while you're not earning anything. I'll be here to greet you with love and understanding when you come back a changed person."?


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RE: I vant to be alone!

It’s a funny thing having a family. Sometimes people will just keep on sucking the life out of you IF YOU LET THEM. Very often throughout my time as the “everything” wife and mother, I really had to fight for me time. I was even taunted about going to the gym and making a time for that (how dare I). Or, it seemed to be a big inconvenience for all when I wanted to do my art work. You just have to let it roll off your back. Sometimes it’s not about being alone, sometimes it’s about branching out and finding different interests to do on your own and not putting up with slack about it. Your description of your child rearing life and spousal support sounds very much like mine. Have you tried getting involved in some interests that would not have been possible when raising your family? Could you take a week away to think of those possibilities? We are empty nesters now and plan on traveling more. We are remodeling a smaller home of which one room will be designated to my art room. I may get a part time job that doesn’t pay much but it’s something I would enjoy. The rest of the time I’m going to sit and paint with NO interruptions from kids and teens.


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RE: I vant to be alone!

Excellent point, jterrilynn.

Rosarugosa, perhaps instead of spending money on a place to live separately, you could use the money for a weekly or biweekly cleaning service. That sounds odd now that the kids are leaving! But there is still housework to be done, and you are getting older (well, at least that's my excuse for using a service!). It would free up a lot of your time & energy to pursue other things, and you & DH both can relax more since you won't have so many house chores hanging over your heads. It might be a good compromise that is less threatening to your husband than going off on your own for 6 months.

This post was edited by awm03 on Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 8:35


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RE: I vant to be alone!

If this is about a trial separation from your husband as opposed to reinventing the second half of your life, I'm reminded of an old Dear Abby column where she advised to ask yourself....are you better off with or without him/her?

No marriage is smooth sailing and there were times I didnt think we'd make it....but I would ask myself the above question and I always came up with better off "with" and I just don't mean monitarily. He wasn't always the best husband, and I had to admit to myself I wasnt always the best wife either. He was/is a great dad, true blue, and worked hard to provide for us. Yes, when we became empty nesters, I think we both looked at each other and thought "who the heck are you and what was I thinking when I married you 30+ years ago?" Years of attention diverted to kids, finances, careers will do that to you. Like AWM, it's been a process but we are in a "happy place" now with the kids gone, more disposable income and looking to retire sooner than we had planned.

Tish---when my kids were 12, 10, and 8 DH took a consultant job and was gone all week..I was a single mom Mon-Fri. Not all the time, but frequently enough that I remember, DH would take the kids out on weekends to give me a breather...even if it was just to a park for an hour or to a movie. Once or twice a year he would take them camping(which I dont like) for the weekend or some other little trip---I got a break and he got alone time with the kids. So, maybe start small and ask DH to take them to the park or to a movie...then build up to overnight trips. He needs that time with the kids after being gone all week and you need the break.

And while we did not have two houses like Yayagal, we always maintained separate activities and were never joined at the hip constantly...this is so important. So go take a class on something that interests you, join a book club, take a part time job doing something you love even if it pays minimum wage, or volunteer/intern. This is a very freeing time with the kids gone and I sincerely hope you will figure out what will make these some of the best years of your life.


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RE: I vant to be alone!

Second pavillion of women... Love that book


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RE: I vant to be alone!

When I hear “marriage sabbatical” it reminds me of when someone would tell their partner that they need “space”, which usually was code for “ I want to break up but don’t want to say that.” Rosarugosa, I don’t know you, but this is what I’m hearing from you: an empty nest on the horizon, a husband that is done with work travel so he’s going to be around more, and you want to move out.

What would you think if your husband suggested to you that he wanted to go live in his own apartment for 6 months? Maybe your answer would be that it would be great, and I’d say the problem might be your marriage, and not so much that you have lost yourself. There’s that other breakup cliché -- it’s not you, it’s me.

If the marriage wasn’t the problem, then right now you would be eagerly planning your next chapter with your husband, who is now going to be available and kid-free.

I’m not saying that you are wrong to want this, I felt the same way in my first marriage when I was 40 and a SAHM.I went on my own trips with friends, and things like an Outward Bound Mountaineering trip for 14 days, and my husband also travelled by himself with his friends. We ended up divorcing because at the end of the day, it wasn’t about being apart, it was about being together.


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I have to disagree with the sentiment that this means there are serious flaws in the marriage. Many of us are on the tail end of a 25-30 year hitch focused on the hardwork and sacrifice that comes with raising a family. I think it is reasonable for two adults to say, "You know what, I love you to pieces, and raising a family with you will always be the best part of my life. But now that we're older and wiser, and cognizant of how quickly time passes, there are things we each want to experience. Where there isn't an overlap, can we love each other enough to create some freedom in this arrangement?"


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