When Talking Is Just Too Hard

Dad,

I’m writing this letter because I don’t know how else to talk to you. Over the years I’ve tried talking, and it’s never worked. So, today, I’m trying a new route, a route that will allow me to say what I need to say.

The point of this letter is simple, I’m hurting. And while nothing may change, I need to at least explain why. If for no other reason than I deserve to try to find peace and acceptance in what our relationship is.

A few years ago, while we were actively going through our third miscarriage, I told you I was disappointed with our relationship. Disappointed that you’d drive past our house on the way to see a sibling and did not stop by. Disappointed that it feels like you make no effort to be part of our lives, when we want you and your wife to be in our lives. However when you tried to talk about it more I responded that today is not the day for that conversation, we simply don’t have the emotional capacity as we are currently waiting for our child to die. We said nothing more about it because we were focused on telling you about our current medical situation and our struggle to conceive a healthy child. You respected my request, and now a few years later we have never discussed it.

Right after that conversation you made an attempt. Sometimes you called me. Your wife even called a few times. You stopped by on your way to visit the other sibling. We continued to visit for family events even though our dog isn’t welcome in your home and it meant we had to drive 6 hours both way in one day because of our dog. The odd time we even paid for a dog sitter and spent the night.

But, old patterns die hard.  Now, you stopped visiting and you rarely call. I cannot even remember the last time your wife phone me. Heck, you both missed my birthday last year. And so, we’ve slowly stopped coming to as many family events. We’re tired of the driving 6 hours in one day. And, as our adoption costs are going to be well over $80,000 USD, in part to a falling Canadian dollar, things like dog sitting bills and huge fuel bills are expenses we can do without.

However, I still desperately want to be at family events. We may not be the perfect family, but I love our family. So, I keep trying. Like a few weeks before thanksgiving I called and told you our schedule, because I really wanted to be there. And you proceeded to tell me in no uncertain terms that the date has been set and if we want to be there we’ll change our plans.

But, all of this aside, what motivated me to write you today is your email about Christmas. You sent an email to the 4 kids. In that email you explained that you spoke with A, B, and C and they are available on December 24th and you are hosting dinner. If that doesn’t work for everyone then the kids need to find another date. But it’s actually what you didn’t say that spoke louder. No-where in your note did you mention me, because you chose not to ask me or mention that we don’t travel at Christmas and haven’t for 5 years now so we need to look for a date that works to include us. It’s frustrating that you try to work with everyone’s schedule but do not even acknowledge ours.

I respect that you don’t like our long standing decision not to travel on Christmas, you’ve made that clear on more then one occasion. However, your decision in regards to how to deal with this in front of all my siblings indicates a lack of respect towards me, my husband and our family unit. This is both troubling and hurtful.

I suspect, you chose to avoid talking to me because you hate disagreements and confrontations just as much as I do. And you chose to send the email right before you were leaving for a few week vacation so that we couldn’t talk about it. But, by avoiding talking to me and maybe even directly inquiring about the possibility of us travelling on the 24th and writing the email as you did, just put me on the spot with all my siblings. I’m very disappointed that you decided to state that the 24th works for you, A, B and C, but if it doesn’t work for everyone then we kids need to find an alternate date. This sets up a situation of A, B and C vs. me. A situation I am not looking forward to and clearly leaves me on the outside. Again, by what you didn’t say, you clearly said that the we are the problem.

I’m struggling with the fact that I spent part of thanksgiving crying about not being with my family because they wouldn’t even try to include us. And now I’m struggling with how Christmas is likely to be a repeat. I’m already anticipating countless tears because either we compromise ourselves to attend or we disappoint by not attending.

But, you know what, beyond just this Christmas email and thanksgiving, the issues between us are bigger. I’m struggling with feeling like the 4th class member of our family. I’m struggling with the recurrent theme which is you and your wife not making an effort to including us and accommodate our needs.

I’m also deeply struggling with just our tarnished and broken our relationship feels. The fact that you won’t even speak to me about Christmas plans, be respectful towards my family and our decisions just goes to show how distant we’ve become.  And, I acknowledge I am part of the problem, I’m choosing to write a letter rather then just pick up the phone.  I’ve joked for years that if we don’t speak for weeks at a time it means things are good between us, but honestly the silence is deafening and my jokes is just a sad attempt to mask the pain I’ve been experiencing for years.

Since I’m laying it all out, I need to add that I’m fed up with the fact that I’m spending my life trying to deal with lose and grief that has been my entire life. First, know that I do not and have never blamed you for the accident.  But, after mom and my sister died, within months I lost my Dad too. That was your decision, and unfortunately our ways of grieving did not coincide – you went outwards to your new family when I needed to hold onto what I had left.  And so, today I am still grieving that our relationship is nothing like my childhood memories. I am still hurting. The layers of grief I’m dealing with are complex and immense as I’m also grieving the loss of our children and learning to live with all this reality on a daily basis. And at the same time my husband and I are working to build our own family, working harder than most people ever have to. This struggle, which you know about and never ask about, has afforded us the opportunity to have countless hours to ponder family and parenthood in a way very few people do. This has reinforced how much I miss the father I once had, because that’s the relationship I hope to cultivate with my own children. I want nothing more to be just like the parents I remember you and Mom were.

I’m honestly just tired of trying to accept our relationship for what it is, and feeling like I’m getting no-where. It’s a constant internal battle for me. I just want to be part of your life; in-fact, I desperately want to be a meaningful part of your life probably more then almost anything in the world.

And yet, at this point in my life and in large part due to hours of counselling, I also realize I need to respect my personal needs. And, right now I need to put myself and my growing family first.

So, will we join you on December 24th to celebrate Christmas as a family?  As much as it pains me to say it, probably not. We made a promise to ourselves years ago that we would not travel over Christmas due to the stress it put on us trying to please both of our families. It got so bad that we began to hate Christmas, and that’s just not a way to spend the holidays. And, so we are committed to our decision to have a quiet Christmas at home with our small growing family. I’m sorry this decision is something you don’t seem to understand, support and/or respect.

All this said, please know that I do love you.  I love you from the bottom of my heart and the depths of my soul.  I’m sorry that I don’t have the magical answer to fix our relationship. The hurt I feel rests deep within my soul and I suspect you have your own complicated emotions too. Maybe one day we’ll be able to talk about this in a civilized manner. I hope for that day, as I want nothing more than to be the daddies little girl I once was.

Love,

Me

* I did not and do not plan to send this letter. Maybe one day I will, but right now, I just cannot bear the thought of the potential fallout. I’m deeply afraid that the consequences of pushing send will be worse than the hurt I experience today. By writing this, my hope is that I will at least be able to let go of some of the hurt and accept what is.

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54 Comments on “When Talking Is Just Too Hard

  1. Ack, this made me so sad. I know you don’t want to send this, but what about sending a pared down version? I think it might not be bad to clear the air. Or maybe try having a talk again? It seemed to have helped last time, at least for a little. I just hate to think of you suffering in silence. Sending hugs. I so wish things were better between you two. ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • While I rationally agree wit you that it might not be bad to clear the air, right now I just cannot bring myself to do it. Every single time since the car accident that I’ve tried it’s turned ugly – we fought like cats and dogs and I just don’t have the energy or desire for that anymore. Even when I told him when we were going through our third loss, he started to turn it into an argument until I cut him off and said we cannot deal with that issue right now, because quite frankly we simply couldn’t. I guess, at some point I gave up. And I guess after years of being yelled at and told I’m wrong or told my opinions don’t matter, I just don’t want to go there. I guess, I’ve learned that it’s just easier this way.
      Anyways, thank you so much for your love and your support. It truly means the world to me.
      P.S. I’m thinking of you today!

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  2. My heart just aches for you as I read and re-read this. I know how it feels to be treated like a second class (or lower) citizen amongst your own family, and how even when you try to have a reasonable conversation with them about how your needs aren’t being met, they somehow find ways to turn it around on you and make you the “bad guy” again. Sending so much love your way!!

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    • I am so sorry you also understand being the second class / lower class citizen in your own family. I will never understand why families doe this to each other, and there always seems to be one that’s the odd man out. I just don’t get it. Sending you love as well Anamarie!

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  3. I am so sorry you are going through this. While on a much lesser scale, I understand how trying to clear the air or fix a relationship can end up in an ugly fight wasting precious energy you need for self preservation. I just try to tell myself that often people are doing the best they know how which many times is not enough and can be very hurtful. My guess is your Dad definitely feels guilt around how you were treated right after the accident and later and seeing you just reminds him of the guilt and avoidance may be his tactic. Only my guess since of course I don’t really know all of you. My Dad left us all at a pivotal age and I know he carries guilt for that. He has recently finally attempted to amend instead of avoid and I hope that for you one day. I do know that you are lovely and strong and are going to create the most beautiful family with Mr. MPB. Xo

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  4. Hugs.
    To be honest, I don’t think you need any further negativity. He has clearly made his choice and I think its only fair that you make yours. Your dad chose to move on and unfortunately he never considered you while you were still trying to understand the what and why of what happened. No matter what anyone says, it stings for sure and I know how much ever you try to “ignore”, it will sting. Do what you feel is right in your heart, no point living life constantly thinking of the “what ifs”. At least you can go to bed each night guilt free. As for the pain, sweetie, you have been through enough of it to know that it will pass soon. But I would suggest one day to just speak to any sibling you consider close and ask them what they think you should do to bridge the gap. Ask them to step in your shoes and then see. you might see something that you can do perhaps, to solve the problem.

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  5. As I was reading this I thought about how brave you are to be telling your dad how you really feel, and that you feel like this because you do really love him. It’s not fair that you feel like an outsider to your family, but I am sure your dad has feelings of love he hasn’t been able to express either. I hope you guys do get to have that exchange before Christmas because I’d hate to see you feeling sad about it all before the holidays.
    But I totally get why you wrote this and decided not to send it. I have a hand written letter tucked away in my travel wallet to my biological father. Whenever I travel I have a quiet time to think about the lack of our relationship, so I tend to revisit this letter. But it stays in my wallet. I will probably never send it, but it helps to write it down, so I totally get your decision not to send your letter.
    Sending you hugs of strength!

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    • Thank you so very much for your love, understanding and compassion. It always makes me sad to hear that others have challenging relationships with their parents, but then I guess these complicated emotions is what makes us human.
      As for Christmas, I suspect if I don’t respond to the email (which I don’t plan to) then another date wont be scheduled because the email made it very clear that the 24th works for everyone mentioned. So, for now my goal is to find something super fun and Christmasy to do on the 24th for just Mr. MPB and I. And who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and we’ll have our child by then and this whole thing will be the furthest thing ever from my mind.

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  6. I can completely relate to this post. I wish I had the answer, my parents divorced, remarried, and both had other children. Incredibly painful and I surely feel the same with my dad. You always grieve and in my case it will never really be fixed, if my dad and stepmother were the kind of people who would fix this – it would have never happened in the first place – being the second class citizen. As my husband tells me, focus on the people who do care. Luckily I do have good people in my life, but that pain does sit there. Know you are not alone, it does happen to others, not a reflection of you or your value – I think when it comes to “Dads” they are somewhat clueless and unfortunately their current spouses may not be helping the situation. Concentrate on what’s good, and try not to take it all too personally.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so sorry that you understand this type of fractured relationship so well. I think your husband is a wise man, and he sounds a lot like mine. We work to focus on our chosen family, those people we know who do want us in their lives and treat us with love and respect. Sending love to you Catherine, thank you for sharing.

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  7. I think my heart just broke a little for you. I’m so sorry. Strained relationships are hard, broken ones with fathers can be so complex and take years to figure out. It did for me anyways. I had to get to the point of being ok with saying goodbye. But it’s been a long, arduous process with a lot of strain, negative energy, volatility. It’s just a lot so I really feel for you. And he forgot your birthday. That’s like the icing on the cake for me. I fully endorse letters when face to face or phone conversations don’t work. Some ppl need to time to process. Accepting another’s choices and behaviors doesn’t mean you actually accept them. It’s more like you acknowledge them and then based on their actions, you’re free to make yours with a clear conscience. Whatever choices you make, know that I’m thinking about you 🌼

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    • Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and understanding. I am sorry you understand this all too well, but you inspire me as I hope to one day also be in a place of clear conscience about all of this. I do think I’m getting there, slowly. Thank you again my friend.

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  8. I’m so sorry. I often struggle with my relationship with my parents, so I know how hard and painful it is. I could say you should send that letter, but I understand the fear of damaging the relationship even more, maybe beyond repairing, so I totally get it. I’ve found sometimes it’s best to try small improvements here and there to close the gap, instead of having a full blown all cards on the table conversation. I hope you will find a way to either improve your relationship or let it go. Sending you strength…

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    • Thank you for sharing. I am with you on trying to find small improvements here and there to close the gap. Right now, I think that’s all I can do. Who knows about the future, but for now, I’m not going to push it further then I’m comfortable.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. So sorry. This is just an awful situation. I have no wise words for you. But you have to do what is right for you and I think writing the letter was a healthy way to put your feelings out there without ever sending it. Hugs, friend. Lots of hugs!

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    • Thank you my friend. I so appreciate your support and love. I suspect this is one of those things I will spend my life trying to work through and finding healthy releases like writing (but not sending) this letter is one way for me to cope.

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  10. So sorry 😦 Maybe one day you will be able to send the letter because he needs to hear it. But I understand that it has to be the right time and right way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Wifey. I have no idea about the future, but I do hope one day whether it be via a letter or an in person conversation I hope we will be able to work through all of this. Until then, I am going to focus on my ability to cope and live a healthy life.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good plan. Your strength and ability to handle the tough stuff life has thrown you amazes and inspires me!

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  11. Hugs. 😦 Having a terrible relationship with my own father and trying without success letters like this over the years I totally understand how you feel and you have all my sympathy. Have you considered doing a rotational Xmas thing ever? There are a few in my FAM who do that: one year hubby’s fam, one year wife’s, the one year at home. We will be starting something similar once there are 2 kids in this house. Just a suggestion : ) I am sorry for you sadness xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am sorry to hear that you also have such a strained relationship with your father. Love to you my friend.
      As for alternating, we decided not to do it in part because of the travel required and the expense. Mr. MPB’s family lives far enough away that we have to fly in the winter (to be safe) so there’s an expense with that. We had a few years in a row where we ended up having beer and pizza for Christmas dinner in the airport waiting on massive flight delays due to winter storms. Oh, and you cannot fly animals at Christmas the airlines wont (not that I would anyways) and dog sitters are nearly impossible to find.
      So, we just decided to stay home and we love it now. When we started staying home we always made it clear that anyone in either of our families that they are welcome to join us at our home (and last year for the first time Mr. MPB’s parents did). My parents wont even entertain the idea of driving to see us anytime around the holidays, we invited them to join us for dinner one night (not on Christmas, but during the week Mr. MPB’s parents were here) and they declined.

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      • We actually invited my parents specifically last year to support us in telling Mr. MPB’s parents about our adoption plans because we knew it would be hard. I told them this and they still declined. Needless to say I was beyond disappointed.
        Needless to say, I agree, it makes no sense. But, hopefully one day I will be able to at least accept it.

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  12. I am so sorry you’re hurting. I’ve had to write a letter similar to this to my Dad but it pertained to how he treated my Sister and her kids after my parent’s divorce. Obviously there is way more gong on with you and your Dad and I honestly hope you’ll be able to send it one day (although I would do it via mail vs email). Mine did damage my relationship with my Dad but I’ve always stuck up for my big sister and I always will. We eventually got past it. I hate the way they treat you and wish I could magically make it better. Sending you much love and big hugs!

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    • Good for you for sticking up for your sister! I’m sorry that you ever had to and I’m sorry that it meant you also had a strained relationship with your father. I’m proud of you for always being there for your sister, I always like to think that’s how my sister and I would be if she were alive. 🙂
      Sending you love my friend.

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  13. Oh god. I am so sorry your Dad is so insensitive. It really breaks my heart 😦 I hope that this letter goes some way to healing some big hurts.

    With Christmas, I don’t know if this will work for you but in order to have our sanity we told our family that we do alternate years. So this year is Chippie’s family and next year will be mine. Usually what we do is that the year that I go to Chippie’s family we have a pre Xmas family lunch that I host at my house so I can see my family. We have been doing this now for 8 years now and it works really well. Anyway, just a possible alternative that you could think of in order to come to a resolution with your dad.

    Hugs, hugs and more super hugs.

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    • Thank you Chon, I really do appreciate your compassion and love. When we first stopped traveling for christmas we talked a lot about alternating years, but decided not to for a number of reasons. Mr. MPB’s family lives far enough away that we have to fly in the winter (to be safe) so there’s an expense with that. We had a few years in a row where we ended up having beer and pizza for Christmas dinner in the airport waiting on massive flight delays due to winter storms and missed the celebrations anyways. And none of the airlines here fly animals at Christmas the airlines (not that I would anyways, I’m crazy protective of my dog) and dog sitters are nearly impossible to find and have cost us more then the cost of the flights in the past.
      So, we just decided to stay home and we love it now. We spend time with friends and we relax. Naively we thought this would also be easier for when we had kids (just the kid part didn’t happen the way we envisioned). When we started staying home we always made it clear that anyone in either of our families that they are welcome to join us at our home (and last year for the first time Mr. MPB’s parents did). My parents wont even entertain the idea of driving to see us anytime around the holidays, we invited them to join us for dinner one night (not on Christmas, but during the week Mr. MPB’s parents were here) and they declined.
      Maybe it’s something worth revisiting, but right now finances simply dictate that we cannot afford to fly to Mr. MPB’s family and it wouldn’t be fair to always go to mine. And since mine are being less then nice, right now I’m not sure I’d even want to.
      Make sense?
      Thank you again Chon!

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  14. Family stuff is hard. And the answer always seems obvious on the outside but for me, calling my family and saying ‘you hurt my feelings and I need to tell you’ is the hardest thing in the world. I just can’t be that vulnerable with my sister, my cousins etc. It’s years of built up patterns and I just can’t have those frank discussions because they don’t end well. So I get it and I think it helps to write it out.

    I’m hoping you guys can resolve things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, family stuff is hard! Thank you for understanding, it sounds like we are of the same mind and same approach. Maybe one day, but for today I’m going to work to process the relationship for what it is and hope that one day things will change.
      Love to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m sorry that you struggle with this so much every day. It’s just not fair. he should put your first before everyone, because you were his first before everyone else. Though I would like to say that I wish you could find the strength to send this letter to him so that everything could hopefully be talked out…I’ve written letters like this in my head to multiple family members many times, but never sent them. (The only one I ever did was the one to my mom I posted a while back.) I understand the struggle…torn between wanting to lay it all out and figure things out, and being afraid to alienate someone forever. I know it doesn’t fix things, but I do understand how you’re feeling (to some extent) and I hope that you can figure out how to find some peace from the situation. Thinking about you *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you my friend. It was actually your letter to your mom that motivated me to write this! I knew I couldn’t send it, but I really thought writing it out would help me mentally. You are right about the fear of alienating someone forever, and for me that’s such a real fear right now that I cannot go there.
      Anyways, thank you again!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh! Well I’m glad I could inspire someone by it then! I totally understand your fear though. Did it at least help a little bit to get things down on paper?

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  16. I’ve sat with this post on my mind all day. As you know, I have very similar issues with my parents, my dad. I ached as I read this. I ached for you, I ached for me. I wish I had the strength to write and send something similar to my dad. I hope you have the courage soon to send this to your dad.

    He needs to read it.

    In the meantime, know I’m thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Courtney, thank you for this. I thought of you when I was writing this as I know we share in our strained father-daughter relationships. I wish this wasn’t the case for either of us and I hope one day things are different.

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  17. Hugs! I just typed up a novel about my own family problems and then realized you probably don’t want to read all of that on your blog. My heart goes out to you – I was crying with you as I read about your relationship with your father. I have my own set of family troubles like you and I think that makes struggling to have children even more painful. Sending you love and prayers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • First, thank you so much for your compassion and understanding. Like you, I really do think our struggle to have children has really impacted how I view my other family relationships. I am sorry you too understand all of these struggles.
      Also, I am always happy to read a novel, feel free to write anytime.

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  18. I can feel the pain in your words, and I’m sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sorry that your dad doesn’t seem to understand that what you need right now isn’t being tippy-toed around, but is to be embraced with warmth and inclusion. I suspect that you’re right- he just isn’t good with conflict and by avoiding talking to you directly, it kinda gets him off the hook. It’s a crappy situation, but it’s not the only family you have- you’re surrounded by people that love and support you, whether or not they’re related by blood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you my friend. Mr. MPB constantly reminds me that we have the power to choose who we spend time with and we can create our chosen family. And I have to say, adoption has completely reminded us that life is not about blood relationships, it’s about caring and supportive relationships.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. you are very strong for having written this, even if you don’t ever send it. i hope it brings you some peace and take comfort in the family you are building with your hubby.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so very much my friend. I’m used to just living with it, but moments like that email are the hardest and they seem to bring everything to the forefront. I hope one day that things will be different, but for now I guess it is what it is and I will continue to work towards acceptance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t understand completely, because of our different experiences, but I SO understand wanting life to be different and lighter soon. I feel a lot of compassion for you and everything you’ve been through and continue to go through. Xo

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  20. It always hurts my heart to hear you say that when you lost your mom and sister, you lost your dad too. It must be so painful to be treated almost as if you don’t exist. I’m sorry you have to go through this, and completely understand your hesitation in sending him this very well written, heartfelt, and emotionally draining letter. It’s one thing to FEEL like you’ve lost him, but it’s another thing to actually KNOW that you’ve lost him, and the truth is, it seems like a response can go either way. I’m sorry that you have to feel this pain too…

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  21. I’m sorry for your pain, my advice would be honest and say how you feel. Every day I see regret, things that weren’t said but then never mended. If it’s bad now it can’t get worse, honesty can only make it better xx

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