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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Welcome! Please just skip to the last page(s) of this thread and introduce yourself. You will see there was much heated debate in the first weeks of
this thread form people outside of the support group. We have resolved this and are now safely tucked into the Finding Your Tribe forum, which does not permit debating about the intentions or general verbiage of this thread.


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As a support group we want to grow and learn, but also because most of us need to learn to create safe spaces for ourselves.

Living with a dp who has asperger's can be exhausting.

This exhaustion and frustration in no way reflects the love we have for our partners.

In order to maintain our physical and mental health, it has been stated by psychologists and by medical doctors that we must have a support network, free from criticism for our needs.

For this reason, if you are simply here to monitor our verbiage, please do not post here. Instead, speak with a mod without posting.

We require the same respect that everyone else with special needs or any other support requires. We have special needs and stressors not typically found in daily life.
 

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Hmmm. I've sometimes wondered if my dp's behavior could be explained by an autism spectrum disorder/Asperger's diagnosis. He's seldom described as rude or cold, but he does have difficulty reading subtle cues or detecting other's emotional states. He is also totally unable to look around and see what needs to be done to assist another or accomplish a common goal (or often to accomplish his own individual goals). If asked/told what to do he will do it (usually somewhat willingly), but he just cannot "see" or "notice" what to do to help (around house, with kids, in partnership, etc.). I used to think he was self-centered, uncaring and/or passive aggressive. I put it down to his being an only child, a "late bloomer," single into his 40's, disoriented by marriage and children. I thought it was a sexist thing, a generational thing. But in 14 years I've come to see that he literally can't see or hear what I see and hear. If a child is crying, he isn't torn up inside. If the children don't ask him for food or water he doesn't offer it to them unless he gets hungry or thirsty. If he has to take the kids somewhere, everything they need has to be handed to him because he won't think of it on his own. He needs/craves order but can't create/provide it for himself. He's made miserable and stressed by the mess in our house but he can't see what to do to fix it. When he does try to clean up he usually makes it worse. He can't tolerate overstimulation of any kind. He can't run simple errands without lots of instructions and reminders. Yet if you were to meet him, he looks and acts "normal" enough. Most people find him to be friendly, open and likable. Maybe a little tactless or naive, but I don't think he strikes people as pathological in any way. My friends are used to him now and are often astonished by his behavior as a partner/father, but always tell me they don't think it's mean or personal (!!!!!). I don't feel like I'm describing the situation adequately, but don't want to go on and on (oops I already have).

He works by himself and for himself, is actually in a healing profession and is committed to helping others through his work. His clients love him, find him to be sensitive and compassionate, though they are aware that he will "say anything to anybody" and seems oblivious to others' judgment or disapproval (maybe he's enlightened
?).

He's a good breadwinner. He takes excellent care of his own person and health. He functions well as long as he has a lot of support, meaning a host of specific physical needs have to be met before he can go out and win the bread, and I have to run all administrative aspects of our home and business life. He doesn't "get" holidays, birthdays, family get-togethers at all. He tolerates them but withdraws while we're preparing for them and rarely enjoys them.

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm just complaining about an unsupportive spouse and belittling the real suffering of those with Asperger's by suggesting dp has it or something similar. I just can't shake the conviction that there is REALLY something different about his brain and his perceptions when it comes to connecting/working/living intimately with other people.

Any comments?
 

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ds is starting the EI process for sensory issues and dp has just started realizing that he may very well have something like Aspergers as he reads over characteristcs and learns more about SPD and ASD.

Dp has always been labeled as "an a-hole" by peers (co-workers, classmates), but everyone who knows him well (me and his family) thinks of him as a very kind person. He has a hard time making eye contact with people he doesn't know extremely well. Everytime he starts a new job he feels like it is totally overwhelming getting to know all of the new people and tries to find jobs where he can just work by himself. He "has a low tolerance for incompetence" as he says and gets frustrated with people easily. He has a hard time handling stress and his emotions and could never be in social situations (like parties) in school/college without drinking/being stoned. He would rather stay home and play video games than go hang out with other people. He is very intelligent (the most intelligent person I know really.) He has told me "I just don't get anything out of hanging out with people" He told me the only person he has ever been able to relate to or enjoy being with is myself and our son.

I just wonder, what is there to be done (he is 26) with this realization so late in life? I love him dearly and I feel like we have a great relationship. He has such strong character and is the most trustworthy and honest person I've ever known. I just accept his quirks as who he is. It can be challenging sometimes to get him to understand when I am going through difficult emotions (like those that go along with post-partum baby blues or if I'm emotional after a hard day at work.)

For those of you who have a partner who has actually been diagnosed as aspie does my dp seem similar to yours? Does actually attaching a label to it help/hurt? What are the challenges you face and what are some ways to help them out in social situations? Are you worried that because your partner has the traits that your children will (do) as well? What is it like to have your whole family have SPD or ASD traits?
 

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I would tread really carefully in the territory where ASD is being used almost interchangeably for a*hole. I have known more than one woman convinced she was married to a man who was borderline Asperger's when in fact the man was manipulative and unkind in ways that would be very atypical for a person with the diagnosis because the negative behaviors they were exhibiting actually indicated a great deal of social understanding.

Yes, folks with ASD can have trouble reading social cues in ways that can be challenging in a relationship, but there are also people that are simply unkind jerks. I don't think it is helpful to the many kind people with ASD to lump it in with being a jerk.
 

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Yeah, how do you tell the difference between an Aspie and a jerk? I know my dh has a lot of Aspie traits, and Sensory issues, but it's hard to say definitely if he has it. I guess a doctor needs to diagnose it?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Pookietooth View Post
Yeah, how do you tell the difference between an Aspie and a jerk? I know my dh has a lot of Aspie traits, and Sensory issues, but it's hard to say definitely if he has it. I guess a doctor needs to diagnose it?
No, a doctor doesn't need to diagnose it. Many autistics are self-diagnosed. Being autistic is not about being "a jerk." Click the rainbow ribbon in my sig.
 

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My dh is neither an a*hole nor a jerk. He is gentle, sweet and kind. He is talented, gifted and committed to his family.

He is just really, really hard to live with if I expect him to behave in certain ways that many people consider "normal." I've lived with a number of adults in a number of different life situations, and have never before encountered anyone as apparently oblivious to group or partnership needs as he is. ANYTHING I want done in terms of parenting, housekeeping, or relationship nurturing has to be spelled out specifically and repeatedly in a direct request. It is actually good practice for all relationships to make those specific, direct requests, but even after more than a decade of partnering and parenting, there are few things I can count on him to do spontaneously without a specific request. This is not an "I do everything and my jerk of a spouse does nothing" kind of thing (though I know that feeling). This is not him being manipulative or passive aggressive (though I sure thought so in the beginning). This is my accepting certain things about him and adjusting accordingly.

I'm not sure how I think a diagnosis would help. He went to a developmental specialist a year ago who assesses and treats visual processing deficits, and refers people for auditory processing deficit assessment and treatment. I asked him to go because a friend whose son exhibits many of the same behaviors as my dh had been assessed and treated there with positive results. He did the assessment and the woman told him, "you're fine." When I talked to her, she said, "Of course his results revealed dysfunction, but what's the point of telling a 50-something-year-old, successful, highly functioning person he has sensory deficits? He's obviously coping well, and we treat children, not adults."

Maybe she's right. I just would sometimes like to talk to someone else who understands how different (not necessarily "bad" different) it is to be partnered with someone who can't do a number of things I would really like to be able to expect him to do.

When my friend's ds, who has a lot of behaviors similar to my dh's, grows up and partners up, I'd be more than happy to share with his dp some tips on how to cohabitate with these behaviors, especially when it comes to parenting (if h/she asked, of course).

I also wonder how to talk to my dc, especially ds, about some of dh's behaviors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was going to reply to these two but read the rest of the posts and want to say this:

For what it's worth, I firmly believe that the spouses of those who are borderline aspergers' (or whatever other level) deserve a place where they can learn, get support, grow, and vent without guilt or judgment or criticism for terminolgy. This is what I am asking for here.



Quote:

Originally Posted by peatmom View Post
Thank you for pointing that out to me. I apologize for my ignorance and any hurt or disrespect felt by readers of my post.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roar View Post
I would tread really carefully in the territory where ASD is being used almost interchangeably for a*hole. I have known more than one woman convinced she was married to a man who was borderline Asperger's when in fact the man was manipulative and unkind in ways that would be very atypical for a person with the diagnosis because the negative behaviors they were exhibiting actually indicated a great deal of social understanding.

Yes, folks with ASD can have trouble reading social cues in ways that can be challenging in a relationship, but there are also people that are simply unkind jerks. I don't think it is helpful to the many kind people with ASD to lump it in with being a jerk.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by beansavi View Post
I was going to reply to these two but read the rest of the posts and want to say this:

For what it's worth, I firmly believe that the spouses of those who are borderline aspergers' (or whatever other level) deserve a place where they can learn, get support, grow, and vent without guilt or judgment or criticism for terminolgy. This is what I am asking for here.


I also think that when people like me say "My dh can be an a-hole"...what we mean is that their behavior makes us feel hurt, alone, lonely, scared. And no matter how many years we have discussed this with dh, due to asperger's it doesn't really change. Our feelings have to be vented somewhere....it is healthy to do so.
 

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My son has Asperger's. He's 12, a long way from being in a marriage relationship (or at least I hope so!
), but I really worry what dating/marriage/parenting life will be like for him. Do you mind if I lurk here? His social skills are horrendous, but he's so snsitive with his feelings. The littlest things hurt him. Badly. All he wants to do when he grows up is to be a Daddy and have "a wife like Mommy".
 

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I suspect that my DH is on the spectrum, though he's extremely high-functioning. We own our own business, we've been married six years, he's well liked by most people, he's a computer genius, etc. However, he has some serious sensory issues - is it normal for a man to cuss out his wife when they're newlyweds because she put lotion on his face?
He also has a near pathological fear of pumpkin innards and mushrooms. He has told me that he finds eye contact "threatening," and his main response when I'm upset and crying is to either (1) walk out of the room, (2) tell me to just stop worrying about it, or (3) become really angry at me. However, he's very patient and kind when our kids are upset, even though if he's not dealing directly with them he doesn't notice they're upset (like the earlier poster mentioned, it doesn't tear him up to hear a baby crying from a room away). I think he can remain so calm because it doesn't particularly affect him because he doesn't feel empathy in general. His sister works at a school for autistic children and she agrees with me that he's probably an undiagnosed case of aspergers. He doesn't understand general conversational structure, and is very confused when strangers keep talking to him in stores or at restaurants - he just doesn't "get it" that when he continues to ask questions of them, they will continue to talk to him. When we have family over for dinner, he often has to go stand out in the yard by himself for awhile because he finds it overwhelming (this is our family of four plus my parents, grandmother and sister - so a group of eight total). We'd planned on having 4-5 kids, but he says he finds having two children "overwhelming" even though he works until 6pm every day and they go to bed at 8pm.

Its tough. When we were first married I chalked a lot of this up to the fact that he'd never had a roommate or apartment mate before me, he was the golden boy of his family and excused from most responsibilities, and the fact that he's a genius makes one often say "Oh, he's just somewhat eccentric because he's so much smarter than the rest of us!" Plus, I'm sure its helped that he's always been really freaking attractive!

Since we've gotten married I think I've helped teach him to observe some social "rules" and such, but its still surprising and a little upsetting to me when my three year old asks him how his day was at dinner and I then have to remind DH to ask DS how his day was in return... just the little basic social interactions like that are lost on him. I asked him every day for about the first four years of our marriage at dinner what the best part of his day was before he ever reciprocated!

So, others in relationships like this, how do you deal with always feeling like you're giving and giving and giving without getting much (emotionally) in return? Can you move past the loneliness? Do you just find ways to fill that need for intimacy through other relationships? For example, we recently moved cross country to be closer to my parents and his parents, partly because DH realized that he couldn't fulfill my emotional needs and was hoping that being near other family I wouldn't be so lonely. It has helped, but I still can't help feeling rejected that he never asks how I am or notices when I need help or offers any love or support without me specifically asking - but I am getting better about saying "hey! I really could use a hug and some support, I've having a tough day and that's why I'm crying right now." And, of course, part of me always wonders if I'm just a super-needy-totally-annoying bitch to want/need so much more attention than he's able to give.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Queen of Cups View Post
It has helped, but I still can't help feeling rejected that he never asks how I am or notices when I need help or offers any love or support without me specifically asking - but I am getting better about saying "hey! I really could use a hug and some support, I've having a tough day and that's why I'm crying right now." And, of course, part of me always wonders if I'm just a super-needy-totally-annoying bitch to want/need so much more attention than he's able to give.
Yep. That's just how I feel. And that's just what I wonder. We were in marriage counseling once and were referred to this MD who assessed environmental allergies (!??!?!,btw). She met us, assessed us, and then told me (in front of him), "this man will never hear you or see you the way you need to be seen and heard." He was totally unfazed by her comment. I was offended. I thought she was either judging him as inadequate or judging me as needy. Now I think she was just making an objective assessment of our neurological differences.

:

Also, you wrote: "I'm sure its helped that he's always been really freaking attractive!"

Yep to that too.
 

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I think this thread belongs here and I believe it is valid and that we deserve a place for support!

Believe it or not, people with Asperger's DO come across as being jerks sometimes. This is not a judgment so much as an observation. Sometimes, due to the fact that their brains process information differently which leads them to sometimes act in ways that are not collectively understood and agreed upon by society at large (when someone is crying you comfort them for instance), the behavior of Aspies *can* appear cold or unfeeling. I don't think the mamas here should be bashed for talking about and working through their feelings -- it is clear they love their partners and maybe getting some of these feelings out and not feeling so alone helps them be better partners!

Anyway, my husband is a self diagnosed Aspie and looking back on the last 10 years together and talking with his mom about his childhood, I am certain of it. It is a funny thing, this Aspergers -- because it has some very common, distinct traits, and then some completely unique traits --

I can relate to a lot of what has been said here. My husband seems *typical* to most people --- if a bit *eccentric* -- but as the posters above mentioned, his eccentricity has always been sort of accepted. My husband is extremely gifted both acedemically and especially musically (he can play ANY instrument...seriously...any) that his eccentricity is sort of a novelty that fits the notion that most people have of incredibly gifted musicians or intellectually gifted people.

He is funny, caring, loving, and a really great guy....

...but I do have to shake my head and laugh at some of the descriptions in this thread, because we have that in common too. My husband works well with detailed instructions. He always has to know what is coming, what is going on, what is to come. He feels very nervous with spontanaity (sp?). He craves order but is often pretty disorganized. He often wants me to basically navigate his life, but then seems resentful when I do -- we have been working on him taking more of a part in navigating his own life... My husband has sensory issues that aren't *too* severe, but that do affect some aspects of life.

He typically enjoys doing things alone or in very small groups with people he is comfortable with. On one hand he likes the *theory* of socializing, but sort of doesn't get it. Or rather, he gets how it is *supposed* to happen, but feels very nervous or pressured to perform or act a certain way --- he felt very early on in life that he was *different* but there was no name for it back then and his parents weren't very up to speed on things of that nature.

He calls me his occupational therapist
because I have been reading and researching this for years and we do exercises relating to it. I know it sounds funny
I don't mean we sit and work on it like we are in school or something, but just little things we do together that I believe (and he believes!) really help him -- things like if we order pizza, he calls and orders. That used to be a HUGE deal for him to do believe it or not, but now he does.... A lot of times, when I just step back and trust that he will do what needs to be done, he comes through --- although sometimes not in the way that I would have done it, but he does.

He can seem cold and apathetic sometimes, but I am realizing that he really isn't. I just think that he literally is unable to put himself in other people's shoes sometimes.

For instance, he is 37 -- and just the other day had a lightbulb moment. He was talking about how he had to break an appointment with someone he is playing music with.... and how the person came to his work (he teaches music) on his break and told him how he was upset because he was counting on my dh playing that day and etc... and my husband got this huge *a-ha* moment that other people feel the same way he feels when he gets disappointed. He was all happy he made that connection. I mean, he *knew* that in theory, but I don't know as he ever felt that connection -- whereas most typical people learn that at a very early age.

He connects well with humor -- I think he learned that as a coping mechanism early on. We both have very good senses of humor so that helps a lot because it helps with our connection to eachother and it helps to open some conversations. We laugh a lot which is awesome ... but then of course with an Aspie, you know they are going to make a joke at a REALLY inappropriate time occasionally (like if you are crying about something
). I try to understand that this is his way of connecting or breaking the ice or coping with a situation that is uncomfortable or overwhelming for him although it is hurtful sometimes.

I found that non-violent communication helps SO much with our relationship and I am glad I discovered it years ago. I just had to accept with my dh that I can not sit around waiting for him to read my mind (or even obvious hints
) about certain things. I have to state my needs and wants specifically and clearly. Like another poster said though, this benefits me in life too because it helps my communication with others.

We have had some rough patches -- but I will say that most of them revolved around me trying to make him into something that he isn't. To answer the pp question, no, most of us don't know when we marry an aspy. We may think they have a couple of *quirks* or that they are a bit *eccentric* but Aspies are good at fitting a *typical* mold while courting -- although it is a lot of pressure and stress for them to do so --

Also too, when you are in the courtship period (we ALL do this!) you tend to think the quirks and such are really *adorable* or whatever until you live with it every day for 10 years


All in all though, we have a very good relationship. Anytime I get down or frustrated I remember that my husband is loyal, decent, funny, good-hearted, talented, smart, and a bunch of other good things that offset many of the frustrating or annoying or hurtful things.

I mean, sure I may have to tell him I need a hug when I am crying
or give him detailed instructions for a simple errand.... but on the other hand, you will never catch him in a strip club or drinking or yelling at me so I count my blessings rather than my troubles (or at least I try!).
 

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i'm so glad to see this thread. both dh and i think he is an aspie, although he's never been formally diagnosed. he's very much like the other DP's in everyone's posts. he's a very loving father and spouse, a good provider, funny, handsome, artistic, extremely intelligent, and so much more.

he's really into collecting things. when we first got together, i was shocked to see all the crap he collected, from comic books, to sports cards, action figures, cds, etc. i could go on and on. he's very organized with his stored items (god forbid a cd is in the wrong spot), but everything else is sort of an organized chaos. messes drive him nuts, but he has a hard time just getting rid of stuff. he's not a pack rat, but i feel like there's a lot around the house that's just not necessary.

he's got some sensory issues that at first i thought he was exaggerating about. he will freak the heck out if he gets anything semi-permanent on his body. (want to see him fly off the handle--pretend you're going to write on him with a sharpie marker! he'll never talk to you again if you actually do it. seriously.) he hates putting lotion on, and in the winter time he will only allow me to put some on his hands when his knuckles are literally cracked and bleeding. he's really particular about clothing. it's gotta be just so, or he won't have anything to do with it. this in itself has presented a problem because he wears one particular item *to death* and really refuses to let it go/replace it until the item looks like shredded cheese cloth. i'm not joking. at first i thought it was just some sort of eccetricity, but now i worry that he would think it's acceptable to show up to a PTA meeting (or some other function for our dd) in a holey shirt and not understand why dd or i am embarrassed.

one of our biggest hurdles throughout our relationship has been his interactions with extended family members (i.e. our families of origin). it's so strange, because he really loves them so much, and wants to spend time around them. but when we're with them he's so anxious/overwhelmed and ends up getting angry over something that no one else gets, or just doesn't get it when he says something upsetting to someone else. he himself says he doesn't understand why family gatherings almost always seem to go awry and feels frustrated with the perception that he's a jerk. and i feel embarrassed that he seems like he just doesn't know how to act sometimes. he also has a really hard time making friends, which really bums me out, because he's such an awesome person and so deserving of friendships outside of our marriage.

dh wants to persue a professional dx, but i am reluctant. when we last discussed it (about a week ago) i told him i'm concerned that it would somehow hold him back or get him feeling down to have that official label. i also worry that it would become some sort of crutch for him. he feels like it would validate him and give him something more to work with, and just give him a better understanding of himself. the conversation ended with me saying, "i can see why you would want to be dx'd, and if that's what you choose, then i support you in that." i still have mixed emotions about it though.

please don't take this as me bashing him. i suffer from depression from time to time, and i would never be upset with him for needing a place to be able to talk openly about the struggles of being partnered with someone who has mood problems. that's what i see going on in this thread, not "bashing". thanks for starting this beansavi!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by captain crunchy View Post
For instance, he is 37 -- and just the other day had a lightbulb moment. He was talking about how he had to break an appointment with someone he is playing music with.... and how the person came to his work (he teaches music) on his break and told him how he was upset because he was counting on my dh playing that day and etc... and my husband got this huge *a-ha* moment that other people feel the same way he feels when he gets disappointed. He was all happy he made that connection. I mean, he *knew* that in theory, but I don't know as he ever felt that connection -- whereas most typical people learn that at a very early age.
I really like this story, it helps me understand HIM more, yk? Thank you for sharing.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by pazerific View Post

dh wants to persue a professional dx, but i am reluctant. when we last discussed it (about a week ago) i told him i'm concerned that it would somehow hold him back or get him feeling down to have that official label. i also worry that it would become some sort of crutch for him.
Has he had any kind of therapy? I would put the focus not so much on the diagnosis because that only provides so much information, but on identifying specific goals he has for himself and finding ways to get help working on those. I would suggest finding a therapist who has worked with people with autism spectrum concerns who is open to helping him. Cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful to many people.
 

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My husband and I believe he has aspergers. He blogged about it on my blog a couple weeks ago to give people an idea of how he feels.

I had someone tell me they think it's BS that I am excusing his bad behavior because he's just a jerk. She talked with HER councellor about it, and her therapist agreed with her. Besides their husband works with someone with Aspergers and he's very sweet and polite.

*sigh* Yeah, the fact that my huband's family uses snark and sarcasm as a way of communicating couldn't POSSIBLY make my husband seem like a jerk since SOOOOOOOOOO much of that type of communication is about reading people.

So, sometimes he seems like a jerk. It really bugs me. He is a very loving guy... in his own way. He feels things, he just isn't that good at seeing that I too feel things. Or that his mom feels things. Or his dad, or his brother.
 

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I am watching this thread with interest and empathy.

DH has no diagnosis... but he acts in ways that are very similar to what has already been posted by others. I don't want to post personal details unfortunately because he FREAKS about discussing his personal details with others and I understand that.

I wish I could talk to someone about some of these personal details, however, they are, after all, some of MY personal details now, being married to him for 7 years.

But this thread has given me the idea to start reading some books on high functinoing autism. I feel better already just knowing that there are others out there living with AND loving people like my DH and actually succeeding at it... because sometimes everything just feels impossible and I feel like a total failure at this marriage thing. Not to mention totally rejected and alone.
 
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