The way you talk, listen, look, hug, make love, move and react all speak volumes about the state of your emotions and what your body really wants to say. What silent signals are you sending?
Often it’s the things you don’t say that speak louder than what you do say. Most communication that we send and receive is wordlessly spoken through our facial expressions, body positioning, pace, intensity and tone of voice. Sometimes, your body language is quite obvious and conscious, such as when you scowl and/or give the finger to the driver who just cut you off and almost caused an accident.
But then there are those times when you think you’re giving your partner the glowing reassurance he needs and what you get back is “so you don’t really like it.” Huh? Or when you sincerely say “I want us to be closer” and he says “don’t look at me like that!” Like what? What your body language is conveying makes the difference between being heard, known and received or discounted, ignored and disbelieved.
When you improve your own body language awareness, your ability to effectively communicate, hear and be heard and get what you want will multiply tenfold.
Use this 60 second body language check-in to tune in and make sure your verbal and nonverbal signals are in sync:
My body is…
- Stiff, clenched, crossed, tight-fisted
- Swaying, rocking, fidgeting
- Fatigued, sleepy, droopy
- Comfortable and alert. Shoulders and back are relaxed. Body is open, uncrossed, slightly leaning forward.
My facial expression is…
- Angry and annoyed
- Tense and nervous
- Bored and disinterested
- Emotionally present, calm, friendly and interested
My eye contact is…
- Intense and aggressive
- Anxious and shifting
- Unfocused, unresponsive, looking away
- Focused and calm
My breathing is…
- Shallow and rapid
- Stressed and nervous
- Labored and difficult
- Deep, slow, full and relaxed
My tone is…
- Tight, forced or restricted
- Whining, sulking or shrill
- Angry, demanding or frustrated
- Loving, positive, confident and friendly
My reaction is…
- Too fast: I’m defensive and argumentative.
- Too slow: My attention is drifting in and out.
- Deflective: I’m turning away, blaming, not listening.
- Responsive and inquisitive: I’m emotionally available, listening, interested, wanting to understand.
Obviously, number four is the ideal state you want to be in.
Here’s a little secret: The messages your body sends are usually aligned with your emotions. You can begin to make your body and words more congruent by first asking yourself “what is my emotional state right now?” The minute you feel your shoulders tense, jaw tighten or fists clench, it’s time to do an emotional check-in.
And don’t forget to watch your breathing! Breathing deep and comfortably naturally influences your mood and thoughts, how your brain and body function and how sensitive your nerves are. Taking a few deep breaths can give you the pause you need to emotionally check in and purposely coordinate your body language with what your mouth (and heart) wants to say.
Knowing and dealing with your underlying emotions before speaking and reacting will help you avert miscommunication. When you match your body language with your words, you deliver a cohesive, congruent message that says what you mean and means what you say.
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This year, instead of a house filled with delight and stockings full of gifts, home for the holidays is taking on a new meaning. Your relationship has been given its walking papers, and suddenly, all you want for the holidays is a shelter from the storm and a soft place to curl up and retreat.
It doesn’t matter if it was a long marriage or a short-lived relationship, if you cared and connected, you may feel like you are on a sleigh ride without the runners, the snow, or even the bells. What was once a season that was joyful and bright has now lost all its charm!
Grieving over your love loss any time of the year is challenging enough, but the holidays bring another dimension of “shell-shock” and darkness to an already stressful time.
Trust me, as a relationship therapist, divorce mediator and a veteran of two divorces myself, I’ve seen it all and I get it. What works in getting over a breakup is a holistic approach addressing four core areas: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The following are highly effective strategies from the healing section my book Chatting or Cheating, using each of those four core areas to get you on the road to recovery from that breakup — fast.
1. Meditate, don’t medicate. Avoid overusing drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and coffee, and resist the urge to stuff down your feelings using chocolate and food. You’ll only end up feeling worse about yourself. In times of stress, having an extra drink or two, another piece of cake, or downing a quart of ice cream may be tempting, but doing so will only cause you to spiral down into a depression, lose sleep, and gain weight. Instead, take five minutes to sit quietly, meditate, practice yoga or pick up a book that gives you a gift of knowledge, hope or inspiration.
2. Eat healthfully and regularly. Your body can’t function properly without the proper nutrition. Don’t skip meals or resort to convenience food. Treat yourself well; eat wholesome meals that are balanced and freshly made.
3. Get plenty of sleep. There’s nothing better than the gift of sleep to refresh your brain and your perspective. If you’re struggling with punishing, pain-producing thoughts that keep you awake, try this: Keep a journal by your bed, write down your anxieties and imagine them flowing out of you and onto the paper. Say, “I fully release you and let you go. I give myself permission to peacefully sleep.”
4. Exercise your blues away. The absence of pleasure-producing endorphins after a break up can make you feel sluggish and miserable. Exercise increases your endorphins. Join a health club, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to work, do some yoga, or take a salsa lesson. Make a promise to do something active for 30 minutes a day for 30 days, no excuses.
5. First off, STOP scaring yourself! NO! Your divorce is not the end of your life. It’s not the end of your family. It’s not the end of your happiness, and it’s not the end of having cheerful holidays. Your body automatically responds to the messages you say to yourself. Replace your negative thoughts with positive responses. Think positive. Think opportunity. “I can do this.” “I’ll get through this and move on!” ‘What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger. I’m getting stronger and stronger.’
6. Feel your feelings. Don’t ignore or stuff them down. Let the tears flow and express your anger. Ignored emotions will only make you calloused and afraid. One way of unloading your feelings is to write out what might be too difficult to say out loud to others right now. Or better yet, start a dialogue with your broken heart, asking yourself questions and giving it the solace and attention it needs right now.
7. Surround yourself with smiles and happy vibes. Make time for uplifting things — anything from having a cup of tea with a friend, to appreciating the pretty lights on the houses and tress, to playing a round of golf or whatever you love to do. Be sure to surround yourself with people who are your true supporters. AND hang out with friends who make you laugh. Studies have shown that laughter, or just smiling, has a way of lifting your mood instantly. A funny movie or hilarious TV show is also good. It’s about making the conscious effort to choose activities and people that lift you up.
8. Stop obsessing. Yes! Right now! All those obsessive thoughts and instant replays of “…would have, could have, should have” head trips must stop NOW. The best way to do it is to say: “STOP!” If the thoughts won’t stop, then say, “NO! STOP NOW!” If they persist, then continue, “ENOUGH! NO MORE! STOP!”
Saying “STOP!” interrupts the obsessive thought process and breaks the cycle of pain. Immediately, redirect your thoughts away to something good that is happening in your life.
9. Take regular 60-second vacations. Relaxation is literally a breath away. Anytime you feel stressed, take a minute, slow down and breathe deeply. Thinking relaxing thoughts and verbalizing calming statements starts the healing process and helps you lessen anxiety. Take a deep breath and say out loud, “I am calm, I am safe and I can handle this.” Anything from smelling a flower to petting an animal can help take you away for even a minute, which starts the process of feeling free.
10. Set new goals. You have a brand new year ahead. Where do you want to be this time next year? Use some of your alone time and mental powers to set goals and make plans for getting what you want out of the coming year.
11. Give to others. When you’re depressed, anxious or stressed, there is a high degree of focus on the self. Focusing on the needs of others literally helps shift your thinking and your mood from victimhood to empowerment. Studies show that the happiest people are ones who give the most to others, and what better time of year to put that into practice? Spreading light in the darkness is a practical way of raising your spirits, too.
12. Gratitude is grounding. Have you ever noticed that it’s impossible to feel grateful and depressed at the same time? Gratitude can transform pain into love and bring peace to your emotional chaos. Remind yourself of all the things you’re grateful for. Better yet, write it down. This strategy works miracles for bringing you out of any gloomy mood.
Instead of allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by the breakup blues or thoughts of being newly single, choose to do the activities that will help you feel better: exercise, visiting friends, being kind to yourself and those in need, giving and receiving gifts, etc. The holidays aren’t wasted because you aren’t with your partner anymore. Instead, think of this time of year as an opportunity to reinvest in a healthier, more grounded and more spiritually enlightened YOU.
To see my original post of this article on Divorce Magazine, please click here.
Recovering from an Internet addiction is just like recovering from any other addiction. In addition to committing to Internet “rehab”, you’ll need to address the underlying problems that led to your becoming susceptible to it in the first place, such as boredom, anxiety and depression.
Tip #1: Build up your “real life” social network. Quality real life relationships can lessen your need for online relationships. Set aside time daily to spend totally UNPLUGGED with friends and family.
Tip #2: Set use goals and stick to them. Limit the amount of time you spend online with the help of a timer. Commit to turning off your computer, tablet or smartphone after a certain hour in the evenings and spend that time with your family instead.
Tip #3: Treat the Internet as a tool, not as a best friend. Technology has become an indispensible pipeline of information and interaction and thus, is hard, if not impossible to give it up entirely. Be mindful of the exact reason you’re getting online and stick to that reason. Don’t let a check of the weekend weather turn into a two-hour stint following threads on Facebook.
Tip #4: Alter your routine, break your usage patterns. Take note of the times of day you’re most vulnerable to mindlessly surfing the Internet and then take action to disrupt those habits with alternative behavior: take a walk, call a friend, play with your kids or pets, or run an errand.
Just like any other addiction, there will be withdrawal symptoms when you take away the drug of choice—in this case, the dopamine hit you get from Internet use. You’ll look for ways to justify going back to it, and you’ll have slip ups every now and then. The key is to not let small setbacks lead to a major failure. Be compassionate with yourself and ask for help when you need it. Take it one day at a time. Eventually, you’ll find yourself able to enjoy the Internet and social media for what it was intended to be—a tool that adds fun and interest to everyday life—and not something that it was never intended to be—an escape from everyday life.
Do you have any advice for overcoming addiction?
When does being constantly connected and forming cyber relationships cross the line between one of life’s little pleasures into a full-blown and dangerous cyber- addiction? Take this quiz to find out…
Ah…the allure of the Internet and social media. Nowadays, our computers, smart phones, gaming devices and tablets have become the virtual gateway and convenient one-stop wonderland for many of our personal, social, professional and recreational needs. Logging on can bring instant relief to feelings of loneliness, stress and boredom, supplying an unlimited source of entertainment and stimulation anytime, anyplace 24/7.
With every notification, tweet, comment or “like”, you get a little thrill in the form of a shot of dopamine, a feel-good brain chemical that is released during pleasurable experiences, such as falling in love or riding a roller coaster. That cocktail of brain chemistry can easily lead to a dangerous addiction, hazardous to your relationship as any substance abuse. Part stimulant, part emotional tranquilizer, it’s easy to get hooked.
GOING ONLINE IS LIKE GETTING HIGH ON A DRUG
You find yourself spending time more and more time online, triggering the click that will get that you that next “hit.” The time you spend online seems to fly. You tell yourself (and your family) that you’re just going to check your status, do some research, get some work done and hours later, you realize you’ve spent the entire evening online—AGAIN.
Meanwhile, you find yourself zoning out with your kids or spouse, thinking about the last thing you posted and whether anyone has read it. You can’t seem to tolerate boredom, and lately, your days feel more and more boring when you’re not online.
ARE YOU ADDICTED?
Take the Quiz and Find Out…
Answer one of three ways: Always Sometimes Never
1. How often do you check your e-mail, send a text, or make a post before doing something else that you really need to do?
2. How often do you choose the stimulation of the Internet to intimacy with your partner or spending quality time with your kids?
3. How often do you put aside other work, chores and responsibilities to spend more time online?
5. How often do you get angry or annoyed when a family member talks to you while you’re online?
6. How often do you feel anxious, unhappy, restless or moody when you are off-line, which disappears once you are back on-line?
7. How often do you turn to the Internet for soothing or distraction when you are upset, bored or lonely?
8. How often do you lose sleep or feel exhausted the next day because of late night log-ins or texting?
9. How often does your real life seem dull in comparison with how you feel when you are online?
10. How often do you stay online longer than you planned and keep telling yourself “just a few more minutes”?
11. How often have you promised to cut back on the time you spend online, texting, or emailing and failed?
12. How often do you minimize or deny the amount of time you spend online when asked by your partner, family or friends?
Tally up how many times you answered “always”, “sometimes” and “never.”
If you answered “never”, CONGRATULATIONS, you are NOT addicted to the Internet.
If you answered “always” to 2 or more OR “sometimes” to 4 or more of the above questions, it’s time to consider some Internet Rehab. Click HERE to read my recommendations to help you break your addiction and get your life back on track.
You just got dumped, or maybe you broke up with someone. You just want to curl up and retreat from the world.
It doesn’t matter if it was a long-term relationship, a short-lived cyber affair, an unrequited love or a good friends-with-benefits arrangement. If you cared and connected, you feel a deep and painful void where there was once laughter and affection. It’s like experiencing a small death.
Grieving over your lost love for a short time is understandable, but if you linger too long in the purgatory of how-it-used-to-be, your friends will eventually get tired of hearing you talk about your ex and advise you to “Get over it.”
You agree on some level. You know that you really ought to start getting on with life and move on. Every day starts with that intention. But every night ends with you wanting to call them, check out their Facebook page or look through old photos, just to feel closer to them.
Getting over it. Easy to say. Much harder to do.
Researchers who’ve looked at the brains of the lovelorn say that loss, especially rejection by a romantic partner, lights up areas of the brain that are associated with addiction. This can lead to psychological reactions that cause obsessive preoccupation with your partner, feelings of frenzied desperation, guilt over what you could have done differently and even physical pain. Letting go for good seems unimaginable.
Trust me, as both a relationship therapist and a veteran of countless breakups myself, I’ve seen it all and I get it. What I’ve discovered along the way is that you need a holistic approach to getting over a breakup, one that addresses the four core areas: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The following are highly effective strategies from the healing section my book using each of those four core areas to get you on the road to recovery from that breakup — fast.
1. Meditate, don’t medicate. Avoid overusing drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and coffee and resist the urge to stuff down your feelings using chocolate and food. You’ll only end up feeling worse about yourself. In times of stress, having a drink or eating a quart of ice cream may be tempting, but doing so will only cause you to spiral down into a depression, lose sleep and gain weight. Instead, take five minutes to sit quietly, meditate, practice yoga or deep breathing.
2. Eat healthfully and regularly. Your body can’t function properly without the proper nutrition. Don’t skip meals or resort to convenience food. Treat yourself as if you were your own child — eat wholesome meals that are balanced and freshly made.
3. Get plenty of sleep. There’s nothing more replenishing to your body than quality sleep. If you are having trouble going to sleep because of punishing, pain-producing thoughts, try this: Keep a journal by your bed, write down your anxieties and imagine them flowing out of you and onto the paper. Say, “I fully release you and let you go. I give myself permission to peacefully sleep.”
4. Exercise your blues away. The absence of pleasure-producing endorphins after a break up can make you feel sluggish and miserable. Exercise increases your endorphins. Join a health club, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to work, do some yoga or take a salsa lesson. Make a promise to do something active for 30 minutes a day for 30 days, no excuses.
5. Feel your feelings. Don’t ignore or stuff them down. Let the tears flow and express your anger. Ignored emotions will only make you calloused and afraid. One way of unloading your feelings is to write out what might be too difficult to say out loud to others right now. Or better yet, start a dialogue with your broken heart, asking this part of you questions and giving it the solace and attention it needs right now.
6. Surround yourself with smiles and happy vibes. Make time for some feel good activities — anything from having a cup of tea with a friend to taking the kids to the zoo to playing a round of golf. Be sure to surround yourself with people that will uplift you, not unhappy ones that will just drag you down. Studies have shown that laughter or just smiling has a way of lifting your mood instantly.
7. Stop obsessing. All those obsessive thoughts and instant replays of would of, could of, should of head trips must stop NOW. The best way to do it is to say, “STOP!” If the thoughts won’t stop, then say, “NO! STOP NOW!” If they persist, then continue, “ENOUGH! NO MORE! STOP!”
Saying “STOP!” interrupts the obsessive thought process and breaks the cycle of pain. Immediately, redirect your thoughts away to something good that is happening in your life.
8. Take a 60-second vacation. Thinking relaxing thoughts and verbalizing calming statements starts the healing process and helps you lessen anxiety. Take a deep breath and say out loud, “I am calm. I am safe and I can handle this.” Anything from smelling a flower to petting an animal can help take you away for even a minute, which starts the process of feeling free.
9. Gratitude is grounding. Have you ever noticed that it’s impossible to feel grateful and depressed at the same time? Gratitude can transform pain into love and bring peace to your emotional chaos. Remind yourself of all the things you’re grateful for. Better yet, write it down. This strategy works miracles for bringing you out of any gloomy mood.
10. Give to others. Studies show that the happiest people are ones who give the most to others. When you’re depressed, anxious or stressed, there is a high degree of focus on the self. Focusing on the needs of others literally helps shift your thinking and your mood from victimhood to empowerment.
When you’re feeling down after a breakup, you may feel like you want to avoid the very activities that will actually make you feel better — exercise, visiting friends, being kind to those in need. As much as you might want to, avoid isolating yourself from others. Ask for help and talk to a friend who you know is a good listener. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Don’t think of this as time wasted because you aren’t with that special person, but as precious time you need to reinvest in a healthier, more grounded and more spiritually enlightened you.
These days, conveniences like email, texting and social media have made it easier than ever to connect with others. But for people who are married or are in committed relationships, it also means innocent communication can slip into flirting or emotional cheating– a betrayal even if there’s no physical contact involved. So where is the line between harmless chatting and harmful cheating? We asked Sheri Meyers Psy.D, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and author of “Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love and Affair-Proof Your Relationship.”
GalTime: What is “Emotional Sex?”
Sheri Meyers Psy.D: Emotional sex is an affair of the heart that feels the same as romantic love and can manifest itself in numerous ways—physically, romantically, emotionally, lustfully, verbally, or virtually. Once emotional sex kicks in, fantasy takes over. The brain chemicals activated in emotional sex create the illusion that a “perfect love” exists and “destiny” is knocking. Emotional sex is an insidious form of infidelity that frequently occurs between two people who at first call themselves ‘just friends.’
GT: Who is more likely to get involved in this type of relationship?
SM: Women tend to have emotional affairs. Men tend to have physical and cyber affairs. Having an affair is usually a symptom of an underlying problem in the relationship. Often we feel like something is missing and we may consciously or unconsciously seek that something in someone else.
GT: How do these situations start? When does it cross the line between chatting and cheating?
SM: Emotional sex usually starts innocently. You become Friends with the sexy co-worker and decide to carpool to work together, or you reunite with an ex on Facebook and start to share stories and photos from the past. You know you’re crossing the line when…
Signs Chatting is Becoming Cheating
• You start sharing more about yourself with your friend than your partner.
• You prefer talking to your ‘friend’ over your primary partner.
• You check for messages CONSTANTLY.
• You think about him or her more than your partner or your kids.
• Thoughts of your friend bring relief and an instant high.
GT: What if YOU are the person having the affair? How do you break the news?
SM: Before confessing to your partner, you must confess to yourself and take full responsibility. Forgive your partner for anything they did or didn’t do that may have influenced your choice to cheat. Do not blame your partner for the affair– now or ever!
Start and end your confession with love. It might go something like this: “ I love you with all of my heart. I really screwed up. I want to get this out in the open and tell you the truth so that we can move on and heal our relationship together.” Then tell what happened. And close with a lot of love.
GT: Is ending the affair always the right goal– or could it be that the person that you’re cheating with is actually a better relationship for you?
SM: While you may feel tempted to do something wild, crazy and risky, like leave your relationship for your emotional lover, this is a BIG mistake. Biochemical research has shown that the effect of ‘love chemicals’ is twofold: they are released in RESPONSE to your friend, and they BOND you to your friend. Letting go of such intoxicating nourishment seems unimaginable, but if you want your primary relationship to work, then you have to END the affair. The lover must go.
GT: If you think you are being cheated on… What are your tips for spotting a cheater?
SM: Here are some trumpet-blaring red flags…
Tips for Spotting a Cheater
- • Your partner starts withdrawing from normal activities, social plans and time with you.
• Your partner receives (or sends) regular texts at all hours from a ‘friend’ you don’t know or didn’t know your partner had.
• Your partner is taking mysterious calls in the other room and when you ask who called, they say “No one” “Wrong number” “It’s business,” or “Why do you ask?”
• Your partner is getting very secretive or defensive about how they are spending their time and money.
• Your partner’s desire to be ‘attractive’ is increasing, especially when leaving the house. This includes dressing differently when leaving the house, changing their style, losing weight, looking sexier.
• Your partner is running hot and cold when it comes to sex with you.
GT: Is there a “best way” to confront someone if you are having suspicions about them?
SM: It is essential that you have REAL, tangible proof, not assumptions. Preparation is being able to emotionally handle the truth. Have a plan in place in terms of the time and place you are going to have the discussion without interruption. When confronted, cheaters often lie or deny. Be prepared for escape clauses, denial, and dismissal of your claims, defensiveness, or distraction. These reactions come from fear. Being conversational rather than confrontational will allow your partner to feel safe enough to be honest.
GT: When do you cut your losses and move on…and when do you try and work it out?
SM: It’s not going to work if the cheater doesn’t give up the lover. That’s a non-negotiable.
If you are the cheater, it takes strength, patience, reliability and perseverance. You have to earn back the trust by being steadfast and resolute in your love and doing whatever it takes show your partner they are #1 and your relationship together is a #1 priority.
If you are the betrayed, it takes a willingness to heal, forgive and open up your heart again.
Together as a team, you can face the weaknesses and change the emotional climate between you. Channel your attention towards making your relationship strong. And keep saying these words to each other: “I love you,” “You are important,” “We matter,” “I want only you.”
This article written by Malia Karlinsky originally appeared on Galtime.
Recently, I appeared as a guest on the CBS New York talk show, “The Couch”, during which we discussed the red flags of infidelity with the three co-hosts. We had a great time playing a little game that I call “Chatting or Cheating?”
Here’s how it went: I presented a scenario, then the three co-hosts held up a sign to vote whether they thought the person discussed in the scenario was guilty of cheating or were just innocently chatting. They were right about half the time! It just goes to show you that there’s a fine line between a platonic friendship and a secretive affair. To a casual observer, it’s hard to tell what’s really going on.
Watch the video to see if you could tell.
Would YOU be able to tell if your partner was cheating? What would tip you off? What are the signs?
Want to give it a try for yourself?
Here are several other scenarios for you to consider. Read each one and ask yourself, is this cheating, or is it just chatting? Why or why not? Then scroll down to compare your answer with mine.
Ready? Here we go…
Scenario 1: Parent “Play Dates”
You strike up a conversation with another parent at your child’s baseball practice. You make plans to carpool to the games together. You begin to dress differently (more attractively) when you know you’re going to see this parent and think about ways to stretch the time you spend together. You often suggest taking the kids out after the games, or hanging out together during the kids’ extended play dates. You think about this parent often and wonder what life would be like if you were together.
Are you just chatting or crossing the line into cheating?
My Analysis: Scenario 1: Parent Play Dates
This is definitely a slippery slope for emotional sex and more!
You are finding yourself thinking more and more about this other parent, and you are going out of your way to figure out how to see more of them. You are trying to look more attractive, dressing better, perhaps wearing make-up at times you normally would not (if you’re a woman). It’s important to ask yourself why do you want to look so attractive to this person?
Plus, the more time you spend alone together, the better chance there is that you will cross the line from emotional sex to actual physical sex. When you begin to make excuses to yourself as to WHY you should spend more time with this person, while keeping your interactions secret from your primary partner, that’s when you know you’re headed down a slippery slope. (In Chapter 7 of my book, “Chatting or Cheating?” I discuss ways to stop obsessing and end the infatuation so that you don’t end up doing something you’ll regret later.)
Scenario 2: Flirting at Work
You started to work back at your old job and there is a co-worker there that you were seeing for a while before you met and (married or started dating) your partner. Although you feel like you are a faithful person and committed to your current partner and relationship, you are enjoying the sparks and chemistry you still feel between you. You go out to lunches together, laugh and mildly flirt but nothing MORE. You know in your heart that you’d never cheat but the feelings you have makes going to work a lot more fun.
When does the fun cross the line into cheating?
My Analysis: Scenario 2: Flirting at Work
It sounds like it’s just innocent mild flirting and probably nothing to worry about. Sometimes we can’t avoid being near people with whom we’ve had a former relationship, or whom we’ve dated in the past, especially if it’s someone we work with.
The red flag would be if you or your partner wasn’t being honest about the extent of the flirtation, or went on extended lunch dates so you could spend more time together, or you developing crush-like feelings and were being secretive about it.
Secrecy is a sign there’s something to hide and that you or your partner don’t want to stop doing what they’re doing with this other person because it feels good. That’s all part of the brain chemistry of cheating (the dopamine hit) and plays into why secrecy can actually INCREASE the likelihood that you or your partner will cheat. Keeping secrets can feel exciting! See Chapter 1 of my book, “Chatting or Cheating” for the full scoop on the brain chemicals that lead to the slippery slope of emotional sex.
Scenario 3: Sparking the Old Flame
You discover over 300+ private messages between your partner and their old flame from college (who is single) on Facebook. In addition, you now know that they also regularly call and text each other. You’ve hacked into your significant other’s e-mail account and read everything. Your partner tells this other person all about their problems (including your relationship problems) and goes on and on about how they wish they could be together. Your partner even proclaims that this other person is someone they’ve always dreamt of, but that they would never leave you.
Is this cheating, even though they haven’t had sex or even been physically together for years?
My Analysis: Scenario 3: Sparking the Old Flame
There are some big red flags that indicate the person is engaged in emotional sex. This scenario hits the 3 Big S’s of emotional sex– S#1-Secrecy, S#2- Shared Intimacy and S#3 -Sexual Chemistry. Let’s start with 300+ private messages that you didn’t know about. There is certainly a lot of S#1 going on. The husband or wife has been sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings with the other person, not you. Worse, they are discussing their problems about you and your relationship with this outside person and not you. Definitely S#2! This creates more emotional separation between you and more intimacy between them. They are looking to the other person to get their emotional needs met and there’s a lot of S#3 romantic fantasy and affection being exchanged. Even though there hasn’t been physical contact, there is an emotional bond and more being formed. It’s just a matter of time before the cyber relationship becomes a full-blown affair.
A huge breeding ground for infidelity is when we stop giving each other the 3 As: Affection, Attention and Appreciation at home and turn outside to get those needs met.
To learn more about the RED FLAGS and tell-tale signs that your partner is crossing the line into cheating, take a look at my book, “Chatting or Cheating” which can be found on Amazon & Barnes & Noble.
There are ways to protect your primary relationship from cheating that are fully in your control. You can stay alert for temptations and choose your friends wisely (in other words, if you know you’re vulnerable, stay away from attractive friends of the opposite sex, especially if they’re flirtatious!). You can keep your personal life personal when you’re chatting with a friend, and you can refrain from any kind of flirting. Flirting is how affairs start. It’s like a drug – once you get a hit, you keep wanting to come back for more and more. And if you find yourself attracted to someone, be honest about it to yourself and your primary partner. Getting these feelings out in the open can keep you from being tempted.
Put your energy and attention into making your primary relationship stronger by growing your emotional intimacy and friendship with your partner, not a stranger.
Wising you love and light,
This article was written by Dr. Sheri Meyers, America’s leading love and intimacy expert.
Editor’s note: I’m happy to have been asked by Nicole Cantanese @ Refinery 29.com to offer my opinion on social media. This article originally appeared on their site.
Ah, social media. You’ve got followers, friends, and even strangers liking what you did today. With every new notification, you get a little shot of dopamine (that’s the feel-good chemical that fires off in pleasure-seeking situations, as in jumping off a plane or, well, doing drugs). So, you want to keep pressing refresh to get another dose. And then, you realize that what’s happening in your real life isn’t nearly as exciting. “Social media—Twitter, Instagram, Facebook—can create a false sense of connection with people,” says Sheri Meyers, PsyD, a therapist in Los Angeles (and author of Chatting or Cheating) “And, it’s immediate and 24/7, so there isn’t as much of a need to reach out to those that are close to us.”
Eventually, real life pays the price — because when it’s not as satisfying as the cyber version, it can lead to feeling down about what you have going on (or don’t have going on). “The life we possess virtually can seem more exciting or interesting than what’s happening in real life and real time,” Meyers says. “Online, you’re constantly on the receiving end of a sense of approval, which feels really good. What isn’t healthy is when you turn more and more to your cyber friends for approval, satisfaction, and that dopamine hit. Then, you stop trying to connect and relate with the people closest to you.”
Remember when we mentioned the dopamine-narcotics connection? Turns out that you can actually get hooked on social media, too. “Internet addiction is real,” says Meyers. “The same brain chemicals that get activated from drugs or any pleasure-seeking behavior apply here, too.” When those happy chemicals plummet, you have to keep going back to the “drug” — i.e., picking up your iPhone to check the latest tweet — to get the boost again. And, it’s not doing any favors for your relationship, either: “Once you are spending time away from your partner and in social media, and you start getting your needs met there, then you are no longer seeking out that attention from your loved one,” she warns. “In the end, you will only feel lonelier.”
Social media aims to bring us closer, but too much of a good thing can be problematic. Rationally, we all know that comparing ourselves to others isn’t healthy, but with an endless stream of humblebrags and not-so-humble brags, it’s difficult not to do so. But, says Meyers, that’s a distorted view of reality, because people tend to broadcast the good stuff, not the bad. “When you begin to compare yourself with others, which is a natural human tendency, that creates a weak foundation to stand upon,” she says. “And when you think, ‘Look who liked my photo!’ or ‘Look how many friends or followers I have!’ you’re on shallow ground.” Eventually, you’ll possibly feel less-than, or you may develop a falsely boosted ego — neither of which are ideal.
Of course, social media isn’t all bad; constantly reaching for your iPhone does have its upsides. “In a way, it can be positive, since social media gives us a distraction from pain in our life,” says Meyers. “It could be a way to get our mind off of it, but you still need to cope with it.” And, if used to help others, a tweet can be a good thing indeed.
Beyond that, it’s important to set boundaries and rules. “Just like you are allowed a certain amount of chocolate, you can’t eat as much as you want,” says Meyers. “You need to feed your real life as much as your online social life.” So, maybe you put the iPad down while eating dinner, or take a weekend off from social media apps. It’s all part of shifting your focus. Instead of thinking ‘I’m so great! I have 20 new followers,’ be thankful for legitimate moments of happiness, not what’s found on your news feed. Get out into the real world, create a true memory without needing to broadcast it — and before you know it, you’ll be #lovingyourlife.
by Nicole Cantanese. Originally posted on Refinery 29
MORE ON THIS TOPIC: Here’s an interview I did with ABC on Internet Addiction
Editor’s note: I was thrilled to be asked to write an article on power struggles for the fine folks at SheKnows.com. I hope you enjoy my article.
ENOUGH FIGHTING, ALREADY!
by Sheri Meyers, Psy.D
You’re in the middle of another argument with your partner. They’re driving you crazy. Can’t they see that you’re obviously right, and they’re so totally wrong? Their sense of logic confounds you. You can hardly believe that they aren’t budging from their stance. Why don’t they see that your way makes total sense, and their way is just, well… stupid?
You know it’s bad when even the smallest things start another round of bickering, tension and eye rolling — where to eat, what movie to see, whose responsibility is this or that, when-this-or-that was supposed to occur. What starts as a small difference in viewpoint ends up becoming a righteous, no-win, my way-or-the-highway yelling and screaming temper tantrum or an icy-cold freeze out. It feels like just a matter of time before either one of you decides that they no longer want to stick around.
The more you clash, the less attractive your partner seems. Doubts and judgments arise: “Are you and I compatible anymore?” “What on earth did I ever see in you?” “Why is it so damn hard to work things out?” You’re beginning to wonder if all this arguing, frustration, angry glares and/or punishing silent treatment are signs that it’s time to give up the fight and move on from the relationship.
When winning and being right becomes more important than being in love, the victory and temporary sense of righteousness is hollow and short lived. Once the dust settles, these win-lose battles often leave both partners wondering, “Where the hell did our love go?”
You might think breaking up is the only answer, given that you clearly have different values and priorities. But is it? Is there a way out of this vicious cycle?
The good news is there is a way to fix things.
How to recognize a power struggle
Power struggles are poison to maintaining a healthy, happy, open relationship. I painfully admit that I’ve been there. And my guess is, so have you.
But how do you know whether you’re experiencing a power struggle or just not seeing something eye-to-eye?
A good rule of thumb is that if you and your partner both feel that yours is the only correct solution, no matter how much evidence is presented to dispute it, chances are you are in a power struggle.
Here are the behavioral clues and cues to watch out for…
- Not listening to each other.
- Becoming defensive.
- Feeling like you and your partner are on separate teams or planets.
- Emotionally freezing up and shutting down OR arming up and preparing for a war.
- Thinking “I’m right, you’re wrong.” “This is YOUR fault.” “YOU must change and do it my way or else.”
- Answering yes to more than one of the above is a pretty good indicator that you and your partner are in the midst of a power struggle.
Here’s a surprising fact: Power struggles usually have very little to do with what you are actually arguing about! They have everything to do with how each of you feels about your place and position in the relationship.
The power struggle’s secret agenda and your love opportunity
“Seeing others as basically compassionate instead of hostile and selfish helps us relax, trust, live at ease. It makes us happier.” — The 14th Dalai Lama
As a marriage and family therapist for over 20 years, I can tell you that most of the time, whatever is pushing your buttons is usually a reflection of your own unresolved hurts and beliefs that are silently screaming for attention and healing. No matter how distant, angry or closed you may be feeling in the moment, this can be a perfect opportunity to stop reacting and start reflecting on the source of your feelings.
To discontinue engaging in a power struggle, you need to move away from the adversarial energy of competition and control (Me vs. You, I’m the boss and you’re not, I’m better/smarter than you are) to one of cooperation and camaraderie (We are a team. We can work this out. I cherish you.).
Reconnection and the return to love can literally be just a heartbeat away. It involves taking a pause, becoming present and open to attune and commune in the spirit of curiosity, compassion and clemency. It’s about treating your partner as your best friend. It helps to remember a moment when you felt close and madly in love and begin to breathe that consciousness in.
Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself:
- Why do I NEED to be right?
- Is STICKING to my position that important?
- Would I rather be RIGHT or HAPPY?
- Is there room to LIGHTEN UP and relax about this?
- If I could transform this moment, how would I want it to be?
- If this was my BEST FRIEND, how would I behave?
- What would it be like if I chose to BE THE GENEROUS, LOVING ONE?
A shift immediately happens when you can find the place (however small it is) where you understand and agree with your partner’s point of view. When either one of you withdraws your energy from proving the other wrong to searching for where you agree, the power struggle crumbles.
Once you find that small place of agreement, you have a choice. You can change your mind, stop reacting or change the subject. You can choose to learn something about yourself instead of being hell-bent on making your partner wrong. You can choose to let these struggles be a road to ruin or a path to self-understanding, deeper love and security in your relationship.
The power struggle challenge becomes a blessing when you use it as a catalyst for self-awareness, a call to heal and a springboard into a new, mature, balanced way of communicating and loving.
A Note from Dr. Sheri: I’m thrilled to have been asked to participate in this fun, interesting, and uplifting article by “She Knows” writer Jamie Beckman. It certainly stimulated my bedroom creativity and I hope it does yours. Enjoy!
You handle work, family and finances with finesse. You’re an alpha woman and proud of it — but when it comes to hopping into the driver’s seat in the bedroom, maybe you’re a little rusty. When it comes to sex, sometimes the little
things like initiating, saying exactly what you want and planning a sexy (not cheesy) romantic night can be daunting. Here are some fun and sexy secrets on how to step up, speak up and get the sex you’ve always wanted. Plus, 10 girl-in-control sex positions that’ll leave his (and your) heads spinning.
HOW TO TAKE CHARGE BETWEEN THE SHEETS
When it comes to sex, sometimes the little things like initiating, saying exactly what you want and planning a sexy (not cheesy) romantic night can be daunting. Sheri Meyers, Psy. D, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of Chatting or Cheating, let us in on a few secrets on how to step up, speak up and get the sex you’ve always wanted.
Why it’s important to initiate sex
“If you’re normally the person who says ‘pass,’ ‘later’ or who rarely makes the first move, then your taking the action to initiate sex is often the biggest turn-on to your man because it communicates ‘I want you!'” Meyers says. “Most men say that being desired by their woman makes them [feel] cherished, manly and loved.
How to tell him what you want
“Show him,” Meyers says. “Men’s egos are often a little fragile in this area. So always start with a positive… what he does ‘oh so right,’ then show him via demonstrating on him or moving his hand to the place you want to be touched. Close it with a positive, letting him know he’s doing it right and it’s really turning you on. Men need reinforcement and positive feedback. Often, it’s our confidence and desire that is the sexiest thing a woman can wear to bed.
How to plan a special romp
Forget the to-dos. Postponing sex until all of the e-mails have been answered and the list of the day’s tasks has been checked off means you’ll never have sex. Instead, make a conscious effort to take a break for nookie.
“Put away the laptop and briefcase, turn off your cell phone, close the door to the day,” Meyers says. “Literally and figuratively hang a do-not-disturb sign to the world. Clearing the schedule is saying to yourself and your sweetheart, ‘Nothing is more important than you and us being together.'”
How to be more assertive in bed
Take your normal roles, and pull the old switcheroo to increase your pleasure, Meyers advises: “If you are an alpha woman in the work force, it’s important to let your man be the masculine/alpha in the bedroom.”
For better sex that you can suggest to him, think different. And if you shake things up, you have a better chance of return to that hot, hot sex you used to have — back before life got in the way.
“In [your] new relationship, spontaneous, all-consuming ‘I can’t keep my hands off of you,’ ‘I want you so bad’ steamy all-nighters full of curiosity, hunger and discovery were naturally built in to the sexual mix,” Meyers says. “Over time, we fall into habit patterns and complacency. That’s why it’s important to change it up and approach sex as a new adventure and opportunity to discover a new position, sensation and way to touch each other.”
How do you do that? Think about why he’s hot to you — and remember that when you feel good, he’ll feel good.
“Look at his body anew,” Meyers suggests. “Kiss him in a new way and find a place on his body that you’ve never kissed before. Put on some music and do a lap dance, whisper into his ear how hot he is and tell him some things you’d like to do to him and with him. Watch a porno film together and talk about what turns you on. Then try it in bed. Men really do want to know how to please you. It makes them feel good to bring you to orgasm. It makes him feel more powerful and successful.”
Sounds like a win-win to us.
So, with those tips in mind, try out these 10 sex positions that are ideal for female pleasure, making you feel like a queen while you’re getting your kicks.
10 “power” sex positions (plus one crazy bonus position)
#1 – Modified missionary
“Practically any classic pose can be fine-tuned to give her a thrill,” says Lisa Sweet, author of 365 Sex Thrills. “All she needs to do is have the desire to go after her own pleasure by making a few simple adjustments. Raising her legs so that her feet are planted on his bottom will graze his pubic bone against her clitoris. Or she can raise her legs up — the higher she lifts them, the deeper the penetration against the front wall of her vagina, which is where her G-spot is.”
#2 – Deeper rear-entry
“This always feels like a rough-and-ready move, but she can make it her own by lying on her stomach and have him gently lie on top of her,” Sweet says. “This deepens the penetration while creating some fiery G-spot and clitoral sparks at the same time.”
#3 – Spooning
“This cuddly move gets a bad rap on the thrillometer scale,” Sweet says. “To amp it up, he can slip his fingers between her legs and fiddle with her diddle as he thrusts into her. Or she can just take care of business herself. Squeezing her thighs will help crank up the pleasure.”
#4 – Yab yum
“Classically, the man sits in the lotus posture with the woman astride,” say Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson, authors of Great Sex Made Simple. “It can also be done cross-legged, and if that’s still uncomfortable, he can modify it further by sitting on a chair or the edge of a bed with his feet on the floor. This is a very intimate position because your bodies are aligned and close together. It’s great for gazing into each other’s eyes and for alternating between stillness and motion during lovemaking. Many people find it to be the most effective position for experiencing G-spot stimulation while having penetrative sex.”
#5 – Kali Asana
“This is a familiar female-superior position to many — the man lies on his back, and the woman sits astride,” says Michaels and Johnson. “It is often depicted in Tantric art, and its roots in the tradition are ancient. There are lots of ways to vary the experience and the sensations in this position — squatting, kneeling, keeping the body erect, leaning forward or slightly backward and kneeling on one side while keeping your foot flat on the other. A variety of movements are also possible — rocking, grinding or bouncing — and this too will produce different sensations. This position enables you to control the pace and also the depth of penetration. For many women, it provides the most direct clitoral stimulation, and it is also easy for the man to stimulate the clitoris, either manually or with a vibrator.”
#6 – Reverse cowgirl
“This is not really a traditional posture, but we like to think of it as a variant on Kali Asana,” say Michaels and Johnson. “This is a great one to use while facing a mirror, which will give you a clear view of what’s going on in the genital area while you’re making love, something that’s not easy in most positions. It’s also a position in which it’s easy to stimulate yourself manually. The angle of penetration and the stimulation it produces are also likely to give your partner some different sensations. Many men find reverse cowgirl to be very intense, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to how he’s responding.”
#7 – Taking a stand
“In this position, he braces his back against a wall, so she is ‘on top’ and moves up to him for entry — this is easier if she lifts one leg,” says Dr. Carol Queen, staff sexologist at Good Vibrations sex toy shop in San Francisco. “He can hold her leg up with one arm and embrace her (and help keep her pressed against him and in a stable position) with the other arm. If she arches back, she will bring their pelvises even closer together — and then he’ll be able to reach her breasts easily. Bonuses: great for eye contact, touch and kissing. Caution: When duration is desired, most people will decide to get horizontal eventually.” Bonus tip: “When he’s taller, he can spread his legs wider apart to lower his pelvis to a more accommodating height (or if they’re feeling pretty athletic, he can pick her up),” she says.
#8 – Head over heels
“Here’s an unusual and languid variation on the [woman on top] position,” says Dr. Queen. “From her perch kneeling on top of him, she places her ankles on his shoulders and lies back so she is either lying right on him (on her back — her back is on his thighs, her feet are on either side of his face), or, with a tilt to the side, this can become a variation on spooning: He’s tipped partly on his side, she is nestled up against him. Less eye contact in this position, but tons of opportunity to touch, especially clitoral touch. He can use her hips and thighs to pull her closer to him if deeper penetration or more vigorous movements are desired.” For more positions like described in numbers Seven and Eight, Dr. Queen recommends the book Hot Sex: Over 200 Things You Can Try Tonight.
#9 – Splitting the bamboo
“Another classic tantra position, this is a sort of a missionary position variant,” says Dr. Queen. “She lies on her back, but instead of lying on top of her, he kneels, his knees apart so his pelvis is low and he can enter her. She can reach his thighs to touch him (and use that grip as leverage to move) — her ankles on his shoulders, or one leg is bent so she can rest her foot flat on his chest and feel his heartbeat. Bonuses: great for eye contact, touch, toe- and foot-kissing.” For more like this position, she recommends the book The Modern Kama Sutra.
#10 – Sexy scissoring
“This is fab for its clitoral stimulation,” says Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright, Astroglide’s relationship and sexual wellness ambassador. “A gal starts in woman-on-top, but then lies back between her lover’s legs (which will arch her back). He can then easily stimulate her hot spots, working her more easily to orgasm.”
Crazy bonus position – Gyrating split
Difficulty: 10! Only for the strong-willed and adventurous!
“A flexible gal lies on top of her guy w/ both legs inside his,” says Dr. Fulbright. “She then gets into a split by bringing one leg up, putting half of her weight on her knee. She can then offer him her breast to kiss and suck on, which both will find super-hot.” You might want to do some deep stretching before trying this one on for size, but boy will his mind be blown…
This article is by Jamie Beckman and originally appeared on She Knows Love
Hey guys, want to know what it really takes to turn your woman on? Watch this.
Infidelity is as old as civilization. But in today’s technology-driven world staying connected, and getting intimate has never been easier or more dangerous. Thanks to smartphones and the internet, your love “fix” is never far away.
You become friends with the sexy co-worker and decide to carpool to work together. You become “friends” with an ex on Facebook and reminisce about the past. Pretty soon, you find yourself glowing every time you spend time with this person. They totally “get” you. You can talk about anything. You spend hours thinking about them and your heart races whenever you see a text from them. You feel more alive than you have in a long time.
There’s just one small problem. You’re married, or engaged, or you’re in a committed relationship. You tell yourself it’s ok because you’re not really cheating, you’re just chatting. You’re not having sex, you’re just friends. Right?
Okay, so you haven’t had sex. At least not yet. But you are having emotional sex, and that can be even more intense, sensual and all-consuming than physical sex.
What is emotional sex?
Emotional sex is a friendship that escalates into something that feels the same as romantic love and can manifest itself in numerous ways — physically, romantically, emotionally, lustfully, verbally, or virtually.
Friendship becomes emotional sex when the feel-good brain chemicals and hormones that are released when even thinking about that person take over. Any contact with the person becomes as potent as a drug addiction.
All those tingly feelings and the fantasies that perhaps a “perfect love” can really exist isn’t destiny knocking — they’re caused by “love chemicals” in your brain. Biochemical research has shown that the effect of these love chemicals is twofold: they are released in response to your friend, and they bond you to him or her. This is especially true of women who produce higher levels of oxytocin — the bonding hormone that enhances the feeling of having found your “soul mate” connection.
These addictive love chemicals feel so good that it’s difficult for you to even imagine ending contact with your friend. Your connection feels genuine and even life-sustaining. Letting go of such intoxicating nourishment seems unimaginable.
Before you are tempted to do something risky—like leave your stable, good relationship for your exciting emotional lover—it’s important to examine what’s really going on.
Has Your Platonic Friendship Crossed the Line?
There’s a huge difference between a platonic friendship and a friendship that has crossed the line into the emotional sex danger zone.
A platonic friendship doesn’t have elements of sexual chemistry or attraction.
You may love your friend, but you don’t fantasize or daydream about him or her. Everything is out in the open. Your partner can join in at any time.
In contrast, emotional sex is much more secretive and it drains energy from your primary relationship.
If you’re having intimate talks and sharing things you should only be sharing with your primary partner, or you’re sending late night ‘just thinking of you’ flirty texts, you’re not having just an innocent friendship. If you find yourself having sexual or romantic fantasies about your friend, you’ve crossed the line into emotional sex. You may argue you’re just Facebook friends, or you’re just innocently flirting and it means nothing. But no matter how you may rationalize it, these are huge trumpet blaring warning signs that your friendship is crossing the line into emotional sex, and therefore cheating.
The 5 Warning Signs That You’re Vulnerable to Cheating
Infidelity is as old as civilization. But in today’s technology-driven world, meeting, staying connected, and getting intimate has never been easier or more dangerous. Thanks to smartphones and the internet, your love “fix” is never far away.
In truth, most infidelity occurs not because it is planned, but because people find themselves in situations where their emotions completely overwhelm (and even surprise) them. While people trapped in troubled marriages are more vulnerable to infidelity, I’ve discovered that a surprising number of people in seemingly solid relationships also respond to the novelty of new love and end up getting swept away by an affair.
Having an affair is usually a symptom of an underlying problem in your life and in your relationship. Something is missing, and that missing element makes you vulnerable to temptation. You may turn to emotional intimacy with another to fill in the missing piece.
These are the five warning signs that your relationship is vulnerable to cheating:
- You feel lonely. You may share the same address but live in two different worlds. You’re spending less time together due to work, the children, or separate interests.
- Lack of communication. Small issues turn into disagreements and power struggles. You give each other the silent treatment. You may feel under-appreciated, bottled up, or like you’re walking on tiptoes not to rattle any cages.
- Lack of love, affection and intimacy. Things are feeling pretty dead at home and you find yourself resorting to some stimulation outside your relationship to shake things up.
- Boredom, complacency and emotional distance. Your relationship has become routine. You long for more emotional or sexual attention from your partner, but it feels like a wall exists between you.
- A sexual disconnect. You feel more like roommates than lovers. The attention and affection has dwindled, and you no longer see each other through the eyes of desire.
Affairs don’t have to be sexual to be destructive to your existing relationship. Emotional sex can be even more intense and all-consuming than physical sex. It can cause the same havoc, mistrust and betrayal in a relationship as sexual infidelity, often leading to a break-up.
The first step to healing is completely disengaging from your emotional lover, then recognizing the weaknesses in your primary relationship and addressing them immediately. Only then can you bring stable footing to your relationship and start infusing it with the love, attention, appreciation, and affection you and your partner both deserve.
Want to know more? Click here.
Why Your Relationship Needs a Social Media PreNup
After Infidelity - Can a Marriage Be Saved?
Chatting or Cheating: When Does it Start?
Dr. Sheri on CBS's "The Couch"
Cheating on the Web
Why Powerful Men Cheat
The Difference Between Chatting and Cheating
5 Reasons Why Men Cheat
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