Laura Doyle is The New York Times best-selling author of The Surrendered Wife, The Surrendered Single and Things Will Get as Good as You Can Stand. Her books have been translated into 16 languages and published in 27 countries. Over 150,000 women credit her with not only saving their relationships, but also showing them how to become desired, cherished and adored.
She is the founder of Laura Doyle Connect, an international relationship coaching company that teaches women the intimacy skills they need to have passionate, peaceful relationships.
She has appeared on CBS Evening News, Dateline NBC, The Today Show, Good Morning America and The View. She has been written about in The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The London Telegraph and The New Yorker. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.
Laura lives in Newport Beach, California with her hilarious husband John Doyle, who has been dressing himself since before she was born. They have been married for 25 years.
Every relationship has its ups and downs, but a woman who is skilled in the feminine art of nurturing the intimacy typically has certain habits and practices that keep things tender, peaceful and passionate. Are you a wife who has the habits that lead to lifelong romance? Take this quiz and see how you rate.
You know what is the absolute worst? Remembering times when you were insufferable, pompous, belligerent and wrong, but too stubborn to admit it. I was often that person.
A few years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and silently went off the deep end. To say I was unpleasant would be an understatement. I began drinking even more heavily, which is really bad to do with Crohn’s. My liver was a mess as well, and getting worse. So I quit drinking, and I quit smoking cigarettes. And on the 15th of every month I started giving up another food that made me feel ill. My body started slowly feeling better.
My brain, however, became my enemy. All it saw was what it was missing and letting go of. I found myself with all these 5-10 minute holes to fill. And I did. I filled them with complaints, anger, loneliness. My man tried to comfort me. Small gestures, big gestures. And I appreciated them, truly I did. But what came out of my mouth was something like, “Oh roses are nice, but I like lilies better.” So I went online to look up ways to discipline myself to think before I speak, to be more productive and positive. That’s where I found The Surrendered Wife.
I’ve always identified as a more submissive person, but I felt like that made me wrong, weak, un-feminist. So I fought it. Reading The Surrendered Wife was like finally getting permission to be okay with those feelings. Because I am a feminist, because I know myself, my worth, because I chose a man worthy of my affections, it’s okay to surrender. In fact, it is beautiful. Suddenly where I used to prefer lilies to roses, I was just as happy when he simply came home from work-no flowers needed! I found myself going through my day wondering what things I could do to make him happy— like making the bed, tidying the kitchen, and even frequently wearing the skirts and dresses he loves to see me in. Every little thing made me feel closer to him, which made me happier and happier. Those empty little 5-10 minutes began filling up with ideas on how to be better.
Laura Doyle’s book was the ultimate jumping off point for me. It’s incredible how when you learn to communicate simply a want or a need, things are far less complicated. I know he appreciates not having to guess at what I want. I’ve finally learned that I DO NOT know how he is going to respond. I have started asking point blank for things with no predetermined outcome. He says yes way more than I ever thought he would! I also find I’m not even that disappointed when he says no to something now days.
Just a few days ago, he turns to me and says, “You asked me a few months ago what would I change about you. At the time I thought of a few things right off the bat. But now, I honestly can’t think of a single thing I would change because you’ve changed it all yourself, without me even asking, and even more than I ever would have asked. I’m so proud of you. I love you.”
When Laura and I first met, she was a 21-year old journalism student at San Jose State University. She had just gone to an event downtown and was dressed to the nines. Having just gotten back from the beach, I was gross and sandy. I had parked my pickup truck and was walking toward my front door and she was standing on her front porch.
Laura was the proverbial “girl next door.” Her apartment shared a wall with mine, and many times I could hear her talking on the phone or to her roommate, laughing at something. So even before I met her, I knew she loved to laugh.
In our conversation, I told her I liked to play guitar and participate in amateur theater plays. Now if you ask Laura, this is where the story diverges. Laura says that she said “I’d like to go to a play sometime.” My recollection is that Laura looked up to the sky and said “I wish someone would take me to a play.” I felt that the ball was in my court and I asked her out right then and there.
Perhaps there is a key to Laura’s philosophy from her book, First Kill All the Marriage Counselors: Modern Day Secrets to Becoming Desired, Cherished and Adored by a Man in that exchange. Laura was expressing her desire to go to a play in the near future. She didn’t say “we should go to a play” or “you should take me to a play.” She said “I’d like to go to a play sometime.” However I heard or interpreted the words, they instilled in me a sense of urgency to ask her on a date.
Before I met Laura, I hadn’t dated for over a year. I’d had a couple of long-term relationships, but I wasn’t ready to commit to a permanent one. At the time, my mother said that I hadn’t found someone I liked “better than yourself” yet, and that when I did, “you’ll chase her until she catches you.”
Much of what attracted me to Laura was that she smiled a lot, and seemed so happy when I would see her. We became boyfriend and girlfriend in March and were married in September the following year.
In August, the year we met, I surprised Laura by taking her on a trip to Hawaii. At first, we were having a great time, enjoying our vacation. Then one day she was upset that we weren’t doing something she wanted to do. She had wanted to go to the beach, but we were driving around inland. I was a little over hungry, and not very responsive. She started raging at me. Here we were in Hawaii, on a trip together that I took her on, and she was yelling and belligerent. But we were still new as a couple, and I thought that these few brief incidents were aberrations.
Most of the time in our relationship, things were good, and Laura was sweet and funny, and we got along really well. We were happy enough together that we wanted to get married. The wedding was really great, and our families were both there to bless us.
On our honeymoon, in Mexico, Laura was yelling at the staff because a 50 dollar coupon wasn’t honored for our ride from the airport. She was really angry and seemed a little out of control. The staff at the hotel seemed rather hurt by her berating them. The second part of our honeymoon was in Las Vegas, and everything went fine, with no raging or yelling.
As our marriage progressed, sometimes she would be nice, then angry and controlling. Seemed like this happy young woman I had married turned into an angry unhappy person. It was kind of a Jekyll and Hyde situation. Much of what I tried to do for her wasn’t good enough, and she would occasionally berate me for not being the husband she wanted me to be.
Laura is what you might call a feisty person, and most of the decisions I made were under her scrutiny and subject to her approval. It seemed like every step I would take required her observation and commentary. Just a simple decision I would make for myself usually was answered with an opposite suggestion, although I did not solicit her advice.
So we struggled along for a few years. Much of my energy was spent in conflict avoidance and hiding my opinions and preferences from Laura, just staying out of her way. There were a lot of arguments, and when I felt one coming on, I would run and hide to the safety of the TV or someplace out of the house.
Finally we were driving on a date to a restaurant near Disneyland (“the happiest place on earth”) and she was yelling at me about something, and I said “That’s it! Let’s go to counseling, if it will fix this! I don’t care if it’s all my fault!”
To make a long, expensive, frustrating story short, marriage counseling didn’t work. It made things worse. It was basically a complaint fest. I don’t feel like I was my best self when we were in counseling.
In counseling, I was encouraged to get in touch with my feelings, but my feelings had to coincide with the status quo of what I was supposed to feel, unless I wanted to be wrong, and confirm that I was a bad husband. I cooperated with the counselor as much as possible, but it was like there was the real world, and the world inside the counselor’s office. After two years we weren’t any better off than when we started. Laura and I would come home unhappy and angry from our counseling sessions. We decided that counseling was expensive, unworkable and a mess, so we quit.
Then something began to change. When Laura began experimenting and practicing her Six Intimacy Skills™, it was without my knowledge. She didn’t tell me that she was secretly plotting to make our marriage better.
I noticed that I would expect a fight and not get one. Where there used to be a big discussion about things, either around the house, our finances, or personal choices for my own life, she would just say “ok, that sounds good. “ That would be it. Because I was expecting a battle, it would throw me off.
She started saying things like “thank you for working so hard for us.” I would get a little scared because I worried that her expectations seemed high, and that I would screw up and she would be angry with me again. However, something about our relationship was definitely changing, I was sensing the change, and I liked it. .
As time went on, I started to feel less constricted, and I was able to think things through for myself, and act upon things without expecting to be second-guessed. This made a big change for me. I had worked a lot of mid-level office jobs that I would quit because they were too much drudgery. After Laura started using her intimacy skills, and because I felt more able, I stopped working for other people and started my own video business. It’s a lot of work, but I like working. Now I feel protective of Laura, and motivated to be the husband she deserves.
I know that no relationship is perfect, but ours has become as close to perfection as I can imagine. Laura and I don’t agree on everything, but we can discuss matters without me running and hiding, and without her bulldozing and crushing. I have learned that I can still be easy-going, yet stand firm about what I believe, and that Laura can still be strong, but not have to lose her vulnerable feminine ways, which are so attractive. This way we each get to be ourselves and also experience the person we love, and not lose them by my running away or her bulldozing. Because of the changes in our relationship, I’m more accomplished, I feel I can achieve more in my professional life. I’m closer to her, and I feel more respected. I still want to pursue her the way I did when we were dating.
Laura is the real thing, she’s the genuine article. She “walks the walk” of what she says. Every day I am grateful that we share our loving relationship together.
Whenever a women tells me that she’s having a lot of arguments in her relationship, one of the very first things I ask her is, “How’s your self-care?” Most of the time the response is that she hasn’t had the time to do much for her own enjoyment lately. That happens to all of us sometimes, but since self-care activities are such a vital part of keeping your relationship healthy and happy that’s the first thing I ask when peace in a relationship is missing. Self-care is perhaps the most important Intimacy Skill™ of all.
You may be wondering what the connection is between self-care and a happier relationship. Often when I’m short with my husband, what’s really going on is that I’m hungry, or tired, or have too much on my plate, or I just haven’t had any fun in a while. There’s a direct correlation between my self-care activities and my level of tolerance for my husband.
One way to give yourself the benefit of having those reserves is to proactively do at least three self-care activities every day. It could be something as simple as taking time to read, going for a walk, or calling a friend. The point is to do something for yourself every day to nurture your own spirit.
Just as a flight attendant will instruct you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, self-care works in the same principal. You can’t give to and take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself first. It sometimes seems counterintuitive in the moment–when your kids need your help with something, or there’s a big work project due–that the most urgent and vital thing to do next is to watch a cat video, for instance.
Regularly doing your self-care activities goes a long way towards making you more relaxed and all-around happier, which creates less stress and irritability in your relationship. Instead of fighting about how to address the unexpected plumbing problem, you and your husband can laugh about it. Instead of feeling irritated by his pile of dirty laundry on the floor, you’re still glowing from your long talk with your sister. In other words, when you feel good, things have a greater chance of going smoothly.
If you’re feeling frazzled, tired or frustrated with your husband, shifting your focus from whatever is driving you crazy to your own happiness and rest takes some effort. But by taking care of yourself, you not only gain a fresh perspective, you are also showing others–like your husband–how to treat you well. As an added benefit, showing your husband the respect he deserves–even if that’s just your silence while you’re out for a walk–, is a great way to let him know it’s ok to step in and help you out with whatever is causing you stress.
For more information about my Six Intimacy Skills™ or to book your own FREE Discovery Session, please click here.
Three years and two dismal divorces ago, I finally met the man of my dreams! Mike and I get along great, make each other laugh, thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, and my friends and family always comment on how happy we look. Nothing was really wrong with our relationship, and we could’ve continued this way, except my friend recommended a book titled The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle.
Even though everything was fine with Mike and I, this book started to change the way I thought about things–things like intimacy and vulnerability, being respectful and grateful, taking care of myself, and being more feminine at home compared to when I’m at work. One of the biggest benefits I received from practicing Laura’s Intimacy Skills is that I learned how to express myself to Mike without being attached to the outcome, or making him wrong for not doing what I thought he should do.
I knew very early on in our relationship that I wanted to marry Mike, but he felt that he would never get married again. I had resolved myself to the unhappy fact that I would either have to live with Mike’s decision and never be married again, or, at some point, I’d have to leave Mike and find a man who was willing to commit to marriage with me. Neither choice was ideal. I did not want to leave this man, so I procrastinated out of fear of losing him. After reading Laura’s book and thinking about what I really needed and wanted, Mike and I had a beautiful and intimate conversation one evening. I simply shared my desire to be married, without any attachment, and let him know I also understood his side of things. I literally had no expectation, I just wanted to be clear and honest with him, and I was more than a little terrified to be this vulnerable.
His response blew me away! He said that lately he had been thinking a lot about marrying me, and didn’t want to lose me because of things that had happened in the past, and he was struggling to resolve what he needed to resolve. He said he would do whatever it took. An impromptu-sort-of-proposal followed and, incredibly, we began that very evening making plans for our wedding! We got married less than 6 weeks later and couldn’t be happier!
Practicing the Intimacy Skills helps me to consciously choose intimacy with my husband rather than just letting the moments pass by as usual. Now, not only does my relationship have even more depth and meaning, I feel closer and more deeply in love with my husband than ever! There’s something in Laura’s work that’s available to every woman who’s interested in having a wonderful, close relationship with their husband or partner, or who’s interested in finding the man of their dreams. Laura describes it as being “cherished and adored for life.” If you are one of those women, I invite you to take a chance on these skills by contacting a Laura Doyle Certified Relationship Coach or booking your free Discovery Session here.
For a lot of us women, when it comes to our husbands, we have an unconscious refrain jingling in our heads that goes like this: “I know better than he does—I will help him do it right.” With this background music, we quickly develop an air of superiority. We feel qualified to instruct our husbands on how to vacuum the carpet, talk to the children, and negotiate with his colleagues. All the while we tell ourselves that we are simply helping. For years I truly believed if I could just get my husband to be tidier, more romantic, and more considerate everything would be fine. I told him as much, and while that didn’t improve things at all, it did create wall-to-wall hostility and tension in our home.
For a long time I didn’t even realize I was controlling. I thought I was just being helpful, acknowledging how I felt, and being honest. Little did I know I was shooting holes in the bucket of our intimacy and romance. On the road to learning how to stop being controlling, I tried to make modifications, tried to be more subtle and even thought I was improving at times. But all of it got me to the same lonely spot: wondering why my husband was withdrawn, distant and defensive. It wasn’t until I learned to recognize my controlling behavior and make a different choice that the romance returned.
So here’s the choice: You can choose intimacy, or you can choose control, or the illusion of control, but you can’t have both. If you choose to try to control someone, the intimacy will disappear. If you choose intimacy, you won’t be in control. Control and Intimacy are opposites. You can only ever have one or the other. Today I have the ability to ask myself, would I rather be intimate right now or would I rather try to control the situation? And most of the time, the answer is that I would rather have the intimacy.
The scariest part about surrendering to your husband is that it may seem like you’re never going to get your way, but just the opposite is true. When you give up unnecessary control of things your husband does-how he drives, what he wears, what he does at work, and how he loads the dishwasher-you actually gain power in the relationship and in your life. Doing all the work is not what makes you powerful-it’s what makes you exhausted. On the other hand, relaxing and enjoying yourself while someone else takes care of things is a very powerful position to be in. Certainly the VIP who rides in the limousine is more powerful than the chauffeur who controls the vehicle. Even if it’s just for a few days, or a week if you’re feeling brave, try to be the VIP instead of the chauffeur in your relationship by relinquishing control to your husband and see what happens. Let him do what he thinks is best and the respect he feels from you will foster more intimacy and romance than any amount of “just trying to help” ever could.
For more information about my Six Intimacy Skills™ or to book your own FREE Discovery Session, please click here.
Expressing gratitude in relationships is one of my favorite Intimacy Skills because it has so much power to change my life for the better. When I express gratitude, weather it’s toward my man or my life in general, my focus begins to shift dramatically. When I take time to look around at what I have, where I am, and who my husband is for me, my life seems instantly better. That’s the power of gratitude.
Expressing gratitude is one of the first skills we work on in my Coach Training Program, and for good reason. When you begin shifting your focus from what’s not working to what is working, what we don’t have enough of to what we have in abundance, you start to feel differently about those things. You begin to see things differently. An attitude of gratitude is empowering because it has you take stock of your life by focusing on the things that are good in your life, which makes those things increase. Gratitude has magical properties because it can turn an ordinary meal into a feast. And when you add gratitude to your relationship, your husband becomes your hero.
If you’re having trouble finding things to be grateful for, start with what’s right in front of you. If your husband has a job that allows you to stay home with your kids, you can be grateful for that. If he bathes the kids, takes out the trash, helps with the laundry, puts the dishes away, you can be grateful for all of that, too. Expressing gratitude acknowledges the things that your man does for you, even if he may not do them exactly the way you would like. When you find the courage to show how appreciative you are of him, without being critical or judgmental, your man will feel accomplished, helpful, and happy that the things that he does for you make a difference and make you happy.
The point is that the more you appreciate your husband’s efforts to help and please you, the more he wants to do things that make you happy. Even if you are doing your part in the relationship, thank your husband for the part he plays, too. Thanking him and expressing gratitude doesn’t invalidate or diminish what you’re doing. We all like to be appreciated. If you want to see your man as a hero again, take some time to list all of the things that he does for you, and you might just be surprised at the amazing guy you have right in front of you.
For more information about my Six Intimacy Skills or to book your own FREE Discovery Session, please click here.
A book called “The Surrendered Wife”? With a drawing of a woman in a bubble bath? No thank you.
At least that’s what I thought to myself a few years ago, as I browsed relationship books on Amazon.com, desperately trying to keep my end of the bargain my husband and I had entered into a few months before. That bargain came on the heels of an emotional re-commitment to one another after a few years of highs and lows. With two toddlers in tow, I had come to a point where I looked at my husband and wondered where the warm, romantic and loving man I had met 15 years before had gone. I saw this warmth from him with the people I loved, so I knew it was there…which was somewhat painful, but it also gave me a glimpse of hope.
I had read several academic-type books that appealed to the clever girl in me. And they were great in offering me a lot of theory, but offered no practical steps, which was what I really needed. Yet, something kept pulling me back to Laura Doyle’s book with the hideous title that went against everything I had been raised to be! I fought it; I talked myself out of it many times, thinking, there’s just no way! And still I went back, browsed the book again, then read the comments and was piqued. Then, I very quietly bought it.
I devoured it in two nights and kept to Laura’s Intimacy Skills. It only took about one week for my husband to caress me like the old days and lovingly say, “Wow. I want to thank you for coming back. I wondered where the girl was that I had fallen in love with.” That was it. I could hear the clang and “We have a winner!” being announced.
Since reading the book and practicing the Intimacy Skills, my life has changed. Where there was once ice-cold silence and times where Godzilla made appearances for major house violations (like a poorly loaded dishwasher), now warmth and love reigns in our home. We now share a level of intimacy so strong and binding that I have become an ardent believer in the power of being a Surrendered Wife. I discovered that learning a new way to communicate didn’t make me a Stepford Wife; instead, I became the best version of myself. My husband and I are back to being the lifetime lovers we set out to be.
I still consider myself a feminist, but I also know that my husband and I have different needs that feed into one common goal: forming an awesome couple that is crazy about each other.
And now, Laura and I can’t wait to help YOU experience that. It won’t be easy at first, but it will be worth it! If you would like to find out more about how a Laura Doyle Certified Relationship Coach like me can help you, simply click here to book your very own FREE Discovery Session.
With the holiday season upon us, I wanted to take a moment to tell you how much you’ve contributed to my life this year. I want to express my sincerest gratitude to all of the amazing women that have become part of the Surrendered community over the past year, and thank you for the wonderful, heartwarming, and inspiring stories that you have shared with me and my team here at Laura Doyle Connect. Through countless phone calls, an outpouring of testimonials and a multitude of emails, I’ve been touched and deeply moved by how many amazing women are in the world!
I also want to thank you for being so courageous and open with your lives, not only allowing the room for positive growth and change, but also for reaching out and sharing your stories with your own tribe of women —Thank you!
I can’t wait to get you my new book, First, Kill All the Marriage Counselors: Modern-Day Secrets To Being Desired, Cherished and Adored for Life, including The Six Intimacy Skills™, which thousands of women have used to repair broken relationships so they’re bursting with passion and intimacy. I especially want you to have the chapter on the feminine gifts so you’ll be able to start experiencing the connection and passion in your relationship while being completely authentic—and with a lot less effort.
I hand-picked this chapter to give to you because it contains one of the most crucial skills to having the kind of relationship where your husband puts his arm around your waist and pulls you in for a kiss while you’re passing in the hall. That’s what I want for you, and that’s what you deserve. Get your free preview chapter when you pre-order from any bookseller, online or in store, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, Chapters, or direct from the publisher BenBella Books.
I am so excited to start this next year with you! As you wrap up 2014, I encourage you to look back on your accomplishments and celebrate all of the hard work that you’ve done to enrich your life and your relationships. Well done! And when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, I know you’ll keep growing, keep nurturing yourself, and remember to take good care of YOU!
Warmest wishes for a Cherished, Adored, and Desired New Year,
“Rather than deny our vulnerability, we lean into both the beauty and agony of our shared humanity. Choosing courage does not mean that we’re unafraid, it means that we are brave enough to love despite the fear and uncertainty.”
Why is it so difficult to be vulnerable in a relationship? Perhaps it’s because we mistake being vulnerable with being weak. In this Intimacy Skill, vulnerability means opening yourself up emotionally to the most tender, fragile parts of yourself in order to allow your husband to truly see you. When it comes to your relationship, vulnerability may be the single most indispensable ingredient for creating intimacy. You simply cannot have intimacy without being vulnerable.
It’s scary to show our vulnerable side. That’s normal. It takes strength and courage to open up and expose the tender parts of our heart to someone else, but men have a much easier time stepping into the roles of provider and protector when we do. Men want the opportunity to make us happy, to make us feel protected and taken care of. Without vulnerability in a relationship, it’s hard for a man to know how he can serve and take care of his wife. When we let down our guard and show the vulnerable, exposed side of ourselves, we invite our husbands to come close and connect.
Being vulnerable is not being meek, submissive, or acting like a doormat. It does include letting go of thinking we should handle everything by ourselves. It includes saying ‘I can’t,’ which gives rise to the opportunity to receive help from your man, which in turn makes both you and him happy. It means that instead of getting angry with our husbands for spending too much time working or with friends, we simply say, “I miss you”. Being vulnerable in a relationship means that instead of masking our sadness or fear with anger, we tell our husband how we feel, even if it means we break down and cry. Being vulnerable allows our husbands to step in and take care of us with their own tenderness and kindness, rather than being that tough cookie that doesn’t need anyone.
Vulnerability reveals that feminine, tender side that your husband fell in love with. It lets other women in your circle–like friends and family–witness your beauty and tenderness. Consider showing your vulnerable side with your man and with the women in your life and see if there isn’t magic and beauty in being vulnerable.
For more information about my Six Intimacy Skills or to book your own FREE Discovery Session, please click here.
As a stay at home mom of two children, I am pretty good at putting them first and myself last. It seemed that being the best mom and wife were, at one time, my only priorities. I lived for my children and my husband, my entire life revolved around them for over ten years. It wasn’t until I stopped homeschooling and both of my children were in school that I realized how seldom I thought about my own needs. I had focused so much time and energy on them that I had lost myself in the process. It seemed that overnight my world had shifted and my role in it was unclear. If I wasn’t busy living and doing for my children and my husband, what was I actually here for?
In the book The Surrendered Wife, author Laura Doyle recommends doing three things every day for your own pleasure. Self-care, as it’s called, is apparently a very important first step in building and creating a close, intimate relationship. I wasn’t convinced that doing something that made me happy every day would impact my relationship with my kids or my husband, or help me figure out where I wanted my life to go now that I finally had the chance to think about it.
It turns out that I am really terrible at taking care of myself. I find tremendous joy and happiness doing for others- always knowing exactly what they needed at any given moment in any circumstance. How did I not know how to make me happy? I began to notice my down time, and committed to do something that made me happy when I had a chance. I devoured books. I drank coffee on my porch and watched the birds play. I taught my dogs some new tricks. I walked the river and through forrest trails. I taught myself how to grow a thriving garden. Gradually, I began to see Megan again. I grew to know this person inside whom I neglected and ignored for too many years. I noticed my days seemed brighter, my energy levels were much higher, and I was not as easily stressed out by daily life.
Admittedly, I have only been practicing self-care for a few months, and I am constantly reminding myself to take the time or make the time. It seems that I do well for a few days, then fall off into my old habits again. It is only when I find myself feeling cranky or snippy with my kids or my husband that I take a step back, and realize that I have neglected myself. Now I notice when I am lacking in self-care almost immediately, and it goes a long way in helping me see the benefit of taking care of me. I am not only a better me when I take care of myself, I am also a better mom and wife, which is something the whole family benefits from.
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