The Infidelity Car Crash; The Carnage of Infidelity

Photo by Dominika Kwiatkowska on Pexels.com

*Content warning; this is a creative writing piece describing how the first 18 months of recovery felt for me, I’ve used some strong imagery that may be an emotional trigger for others who are on a similar journey. Please proceed with caution.

You’re cruising down a long straight stretch of country road in this car called marriage. 

A familiar road, one you’ve both driven down a thousand times.

Sitting comfortably on 110kmph it’s a smooth open road, there’s no speed limit. 

Singing along to your favourite Spotify playlist, he’s humming in tune with the music.

Something catches his eye he becomes distracted, glancing sideward for a little too long his eyes fix on an object in his peripheral.

By the time he diverts his attention back to where it should be it’s too late. 

Over correcting, the marriage car slams into a tree.

There’s screeching of brakes, your song turns into a scream then a deathly thud, carnage is strewn across the road and into a paddock.

The marriage car is a mangled mess, your bodies lay motionless, barely a pulse. 

Plumes of smoke and dust billow from the wreckage.

Blood is pouring out of gaping wounds, you’ve been pierced by debris.

He’s not bleeding but he’s hurt, badly hurt.

Emergency services arrive and once you’ve been freed from the wreckage you’re both rushed into the ED.

Your condition is critical lapsing in and out of consciousness, suffering substantial injury you’re placed on life support in ICU. 

He’s ok but in a lot of pain, suffering concussion and a broken wrist. His body badly bruised, he’ll recover.

He watches you fighting for life, tubes helping you breathe, buzzers, monitors, Drs & Nurses fussing. 

You’ve lost a lot of blood they’ve stitched the wounds and you’ve stopped hemorrhaging for now.

No one is sure if you’ll make it through.

Sitting beside you, he’s wracked with guilt. 

He did this, if only he kept his eyes on the road, if only he didn’t get distracted, if only….

You wouldn’t be in this mess you wouldn’t be so broken.

Three to six months you’re in this state. 

It’s touch and go. 

He’s still there watching you, wishing he could fix it, wishing he could change the past, wishing he didn’t make such a bad decision, wishing he didn’t look sideways.

He can’t fix or change anything, he can just sit and be there hoping and praying you’ll recover. 

Surprisingly the marriage car is not a complete write off as first thought, it’s gone in for assessment, maybe it can be repaired?

After 6 months of critical care you’re moved to a ward. In the crash you received two broken legs, fractured ribs, punctured lung and broken ankles, crushed pelvis and both eye sockets were broken, your jaw was dislocated.

You were a mess, the recovery road is long, but you’ll make it, we think.

He’s been doing Physio to help himself heal and he’s been there with you.

He still beats himself up that he caused this, but he’s determined to help you heal too.

While you’re in the ward you’re beginning to sit up, you still need help showering and the Physio’s are helping you get out of bed each day. Plasters are off, you’re out of traction. You’ve kind of been wired back together with pins, it feels weird but at least you’re beginning to get sensation back.

For the next twelve months, you undergo intensive physiotherapy and as an outpatient, you’ll continue daily at home.

He picked you up from hospital in the remodelled marriage car.

You were really frightened to get in. Everything flashes before you. 

What if it happens again? 

What if it’s not safe? 

The kids are in the car this time. 

They want you to get in, they want to bring you home. 

Dads been fixing things around the house to make it safe for you too, it looks completely different, way better than before.

He opens the passenger side door for you, you tentatively hop in, he’s in the drivers’ seat.

As he cautiously pulls out of the hospital park, he tells you the panel beaters and mechanics worked hard repairing the mess.

They replaced every damaged component and it’s got a brand-new engine. 

There are even new leather seats. 

It’s a miracle they could make anything of it. 

He thinks the marriage car might even be better than before, you’re not so certain…

He’s still doing Physio, he wishes he could help you with yours, but he can’t, and you can’t help him with his. 

The best thing you can both do is your own work and encourage each other to keep going.

Some days you feel stronger than others.

Some days you get flashbacks of the crash and just want the world to swallow you up.

Some days you just want to die, some days you want to blame him, he did this to you, he caused you to feel so broken. 

You look at him and see the remorse in his face, you see pain and you see love.

You can do this.

After about 18 months you’re walking unaided, slowly and tentatively but look how far you’ve come. 

You run into an old acquaintance they’d heard you’d had a bit of an accident. 

They tell you you’re looking great, you thank them for being kind. 

Although the physical scars are all but healed the internal injuries have still got a way to go. You’re getting there, heading in the right direction, still doing what the Drs have said.

He’s still there too, he’s supported you when you’ve needed, encouraged you.

He’s also invested in assertive driving courses to make certain nothing like this will happen again.

He’s not taking his eyes off the road again.

Blind spot detectors and lane departure warning sensors have been installed.

You’re beginning to think that the marriage car is better than ever and you’re both committed to maintaining it, taking turns in booking services, keeping fuel in the tank and making sure it has regular tune-ups. 

You both want the marriage car to last a lifetime, with care, it will.

Infidelity hurts, really hurts. It’s not just the betrayal or betrayals that pierce you to the core, it’s all of the behaviours which accompany betrayal. The undermining, gaslighting, lies, secrets, sneaking around, deception, losses; an endless list of loss and grief.

There really are no winners in an affair fog, a delusional state of momentary fun, games and selfishness, deceit is a heavy burden to carry.

Beware the lure of greener pastures.

There are mountains to climb and valleys to sit in, no matter which road you take to recovery.

God Bless,

Noni & Dave xxx

The Secret Sexual Basement

What the heck is this you may ask?

The last three years have been quite the learning curve for us as we explore the complexities of infidelity, secrets, lies, duality, and narcissistic abusive behaviours.

It’s a learning curve that I never imagined I’d be on—in saying this—I’m thankful that both Dave and I possess a growth mindset that has worked well for us, especially in recovery.

So now as I prepare to launch Affair Recovery Counselling, I’m diving deep, not only out of personal interest but also from a clinical perspective, and I’ve come across some of the most fascinating discoveries.

One is this metaphor of the Secret Sexual Basement by Dr Omar Minwalla, it helps us to understand intimate betrayal and the trauma associated with it.

I guarantee that I’m going to fail to do justice trying to explain what the SSB is myself, but I’ll give it a shot and if you want you can listen on the Helping Couples Heal (pt 1) podcast. Even if you’re not impacted by infidelity yourself, his model is certainly enlightening for understanding betrayal trauma.

If you’ve read our story you’ll know that we had years and cycles of crazy-making behaviour. Years of me and the kids knowing that something was “off” but not being able to put a finger on it—the Secret Sexual Basement (pt 2) has made perfect sense of our experience, and with remarkable accuracy. It’s like Dr Minwalla has illuminated a brilliant spotlight on another overlooked aspect of infidelity. He has a couple of great acronyms that may become part of the DSM5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) IAD—Integrity Abuse Disorder and DCSR—Deceptive Compartmentalized Sexual-Relational Reality, he gives in-depth descriptions in the podcasts.

Here’s my abridged version of the SSB

There’s a house where the family live, Mum, Dad, kids, pets etc and in the house, normal life happens. There’s work, sport, church, celebrations, social life yadda yadda yadda, it all looks good and regular, just like everyone else in the community. No one from the outside would suspect that there is anything unusual about this family. But let’s say Dad (could be anyone but I’ll just use Dad as an example) decides he is going to build a basement that no one else is going to know about, it’s just for himself, somewhere for him to disappear to and visit when he wants—maybe it’s his own secret mancave? Not even his own family know that he’s going to build it. Anyway, in this secret place, he seeks pornography, emotional affairs, sexual acting out, prostitutes, online sexual/romantic chats etc. He’s messing with/altering the foundations of the home, this in itself becomes destabilising and traumatic. (pt 3).

At no time has he said, “Honey I’m thinking about building a special space for myself and this is what I want to use it for, what are your thoughts?”

The fact that he has done this without consulting the family is the very beginning of abuse. Why? Because once he has begun to plan this secret basement it is the beginning of deception and once he has gone down into the basement which is pretty dark, he will come up different. The family begin to sense that things are a little off, but of course, the basement world is secret and compartmentalized so they are unsure of what it is that they’re feeling. The gaslighting, manipulation, deflecting, withholding, defensiveness, minimisation and lying start—a cycle of psychological, emotional and relational abuse. Basement activities invoke feelings of deep shame and this shame sticks to the person who visits remaining with them when they go back upstairs.

It’s light and dark…

As a therapist and betrayal abuse victim, I believe that all acting out behaviours must be addressed with compassion and understanding.

Most unfaithful partners are willing to own the affairs or acting out yet are reluctant to label their actions as abusive. I get that, however we miss a vital part of recovery by overlooking the serious impact someones secret sexual basement-dwelling has on everyones’ life above floor level.

It’s not so much how often one goes down to the basement, it’s the fact that the basement even exists at all!

Makes good sense to me.

Noni XXX

P.S. Hey friend if you’re reading this and you can relate to any part, please reach out, you’re not crazy, you’re not alone, your feelings are valid and your well-being and safety is important. Denial is not a place you want stay…

The Role of Spirituality in Recovery

I’ve always believed that we humans are spiritual beings encompassed in a temporal body, a little similar to an envelope that carries a letter inside. The envelope has a purpose although it’s the letter that contains all of the really important stuff.

I’m unashamedly Christian and also unashamedly imperfect. My faith is what has sustained me throughout many of life’s storms, it hasn’t always been this way though. I literally had years where I thought I was—and very much wanted to be— completely in control. In control of circumstances, finances, relationships, decision making and the future. I was what I now know to be “psychologically inflexible.” I think that the type of control I grappled with was fear-based and most definitely reactive to external stimuli. I had no anchor to keep me grounded when the seas got rough and let’s face it, betrayal and infidelity is one mighty s’*^ storm to encounter!

Thankfully I discovered my spiritual anchor before I met Dave and that was when I began to really dig deep into my value and worth. Following what was almost our final D-Day in 2019 this revelation was my rock and Lauren Daigles’ You Say was my anthem. I would play on repeat…“Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low, remind me once again just who I am because I need to know.” More than ever I needed reminding—my identity and purpose was undergirded and solidified by who God says I am, and not by the actions of my husband or the opinions of others. The more I personally and intentionally sought solace in Jesus, the less I looked for any approval from man.

I’d really love to say that knowing Him, knowing my purpose, placing my future in His hands and trusting Him has made life easier and less painful, nope this isn’t the case. What I can say is that it allows me to make space for all that is unpleasant and uncomfortable, I can have peace, hope and joy despite what goes on around me. I can experience a range of emotions fully, I can feel to heal and drop the stuggle of needing to be attached to a certain outcome for me to be OK because I know, that “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 KJV

Whatever realm of faith you may or may not subscribe to, go deeper than just claiming a title of belonging to an organisation. Let your heart resound with a depth of spiritual connection that equips you to have peace despite every adversity, a love that is rich and fullfilling, and contentment whether you have a little or alot. Find that quiet place that is yours alone, your hiding place where you can draw strength and gather perserverance to run the race that is set out before you and gain a deep sense of belonging to a much bigger picture. Our circumstances do not define us.

Performing rituals and attending church doesn’t make me any more a Christian than working in Macdonalds would make me a hamburger. The outworkings and buildings are a part of a life of faith but they are the envelope, not the letter. Dig deep friends, seek and you shall find—you can do hard things!

An anchor won’t halt the storm but it will keep you stable until the storm passes.

Doesn’t it make sense to know how to best use an anchor before getting caught in the middle of a storm? As sure as the sun sets and rises—while ever there is breath— there will be more storms ahead.

And this too shall pass

Much Love

Noni XXX

Video by Kelly L from Pexels

Original Preface

Our harshest critic aka most constructive Beta Reader gave the feedback that this preface was “good but too long…” So although some of what you’re about to read is in our final copy, this is the entire unedited version that didn’t make the cut. I hope you can take something of value away from it.

“When I began writing in March 2019, I thought we had reached our D-day, I finally learned the full extent of my husband’s double life. However, like most who walk this harrowing road, another grenade detonated demolishing my heart only weeks in. 

Left wondering yet again, “Who the hell are you?”

A question we wondered when considering writing, do we need to wait until the end of a story before we start to write it or do we tell it from where we are at, right now…
We would like for readers to assume, at the time of writing this book, neither one of us have “arrived” anywhere.

We are both on a journey, in the process of and committed to our recovery and healing. 

Infidelity is an uncommon conversation amongst our friends most of whom are married for 20 plus years.

To our knowledge, they’ve dodged this bullet. 

Although aware of marriages ending after the discovery and fallout of an affair, when my reality imploded, the isolation experienced was staggering.

This wasn’t because I didn’t trust my friends, much of what I believed in came crashing down, preposterous. 

Their marriages were solid, was mine a counterfeit?
Who would possibly understand? 
And how could Dave, the person, claiming to love me, seem so hell-bent on destroying me? 

I wondered “Was there any hope?”

Where does a couple turn for counsel from someone who genuinely knows what this heartache is like?

Professionals without personal experience of infidelity, or at least a couple of decades specialising in affair recovery, may be ill-equipped in guiding a couple to successful reconciliation, they may also unknowingly cause incredible harm.

The extent and depth of pain, the decimation of love and marriage, is horrendous.

No one gets away unscathed.

We hope in our story you’ll find insight and understanding as to how and why we are navigating through such soul-destroying circumstances.

If someone had told the Twenty-Five-year-old me this was my cross to bear, I would have told them they were out of their minds. 

No way would I ever put up with an unfaithful partner. Their sorry butt would be kicked to the kerb. 

Who in their right mind would put up with it? 

If someone really loved me, they would never cheat!

Twenty-nine years later I’m here to tell the story of how wrong I was.

Infidelity is just one of the many injustices convinced I would never tolerate. 

We’ve included sections through the book and at the end which we’ve titled ‘Lessons from Beyond’ they’re an abbreviated list of aha’s or learnings, some which we gleaned from our own experiences and some we’ve taken from the wisdom of others. We hope you may find one or two useful nuggets in these. 

Any relationship can be a mixed bag of pleasure and pain, undoubtedly there is a myriad of reasons for this.

When two people unite in their mid to late twenties, they’ve most likely experienced at least one or more significant romantic attachments to another which will influence future relationships. The hurt and rejection experienced when discarded by a boyfriend at 16 had a disastrous effect on my sense of self-worth, governing my choices for years. 

Many choices were detrimental not only to myself but also to those around me.

We progress through life impacted by the nature or nurture of our family of origin, the environment we develop in, and our circumstances.

Behavioural patterns become entrenched. 

Like it or not, we mosey through life on autopilot not giving a second thought as to why we do things.

Results are both positive and negative. 

Although heavily influenced by the above, naturally defaulting to ingrained learnt responses, none of us is condemned to a life sentence of repeating destructive cycles. 

Our experiences didn’t make us the way we are, how we reacted to those experiences is what developed our character. 

No one else is to blame for us being who or how we are, it just is. Three people can experience the same event yet share completely different perspectives.

Every choice we make carries a consequence and while we are free to make choices, we are never free from the consequences of those choices.

We have the capacity to change and relearn new ways of relating. 

Once we feel the desire to change, take responsibility and are willing to explore options, our lives and futures can look vastly different from our past.

Although this is our story, it is not a story solely about us.
It is about enduring love, perseverance through trials and a love Dave nor I imagined possible when we met in 1990. 

We were merely two people full of imperfection and masked brokenness, bearing scars from failed relationships. 

Our journey of growth through unspeakable and unimaginable pain, to victory over adversity and into a deeper love and connection, has been worth every shattered dream and tear shed. 

We don’t expect everyone will share our views, nor understand many of the decisions we’ve made along the way. We also respectfully acknowledge that not all marriages can or will be saved. Every situation is different, we hope our story will enlighten readers to greater empathy and understanding about infidelity. 

Affairs will affect all of us in one way or another, being informed will help us to help those we love. 

Approaching infidelity empathically rather than judgmentally can radically transform relational outcomes and though I maintain this truth, words flow easier than action.

The bible says the standard we use to judge others is the standard by which we will be judged. I’ve done plenty in my life I’m less than proud of, nothing within me desires to be the yardstick for measuring moral failure.

After giving a draft copy of this to one of our dearest and closest loved ones, I asked, “Any surprises?” This is the response I received;

“My honest opinion. Knowing how strong you are as a person I think it shows real weakness. I don’t think anyone would put up with all you have and nor, should they. Also, on Dave’s side gross — I don’t have anything to say about that. Just disgusting.”


Although taken back a little, we understand this response may be shared by others who’ve never found themselves in our shoes.

There is a story in the bible illustrating Jesus’ reaction to the scribes and Pharisees confronting him with a woman caught in adultery. 

According to law, the punishment for this crime the culprit was to be stoned. The crowd wanted Jesus to enforce the law, instead, he showed mercy.

Crouching down He slowly began writing in the sand. Historically, the name of a guilty party was drawn in the sand. 

Jesus may have written her name, he may have written the names of her accusers, he may have drawn a line separating himself and the woman from her accusers. 

Whatever he wrote was powerful enough to spare her from condemnation.

He told them anyone who was without sin could cast the first stone, let the punishment begin.

One by one they walked away. 

Perhaps the sin in our own lives is not public knowledge, perhaps it is still hidden, but I promise you none of us is without it. 

One of my favourite definitions of sin is a snippet of wisdom from Oswald Chambers, he says sin is in fact, “every act of SELF will.” 

Until we find ourselves in a situation, we can never say for certain how we will handle it. 

When we did eventually discover affair specific resources in 2019, although abundantly helpful in the quality of information, the situations and examples we read about appeared neat, orderly and sensibly presented. 

Whether written from a clinical perspective or sometime after the dust had settled, there was nothing that came close to what we were going through at the moment.

We didn’t know what it felt like to be in the throes of trauma like this and none of the books we read adequately described it.

Everything we experienced at the time appeared completely out of control.

In the midst of our trauma, there was nothing remotely neat, orderly or sensible about us.

It was messy, volatile and unlike anything, we were equipped to deal with.

I remember feeling like perhaps we might be too damaged to come back from this, maybe we’d damaged our children to the point of no return, we did so much so wrong, but then again, what is right about abuse and betrayal? 

I entertained thoughts, am I just a little bit crazy or a whole lot crazy? 

I mean how does someone like me get sucked into something like this? How? 
Dave and I learn to roll with the emotion, opinion and feedback from others, we allow our skin not our hearts to grow tougher along the way.

The decisions and choices I made were based on the amount of information I had at any one time and the attempts Dave continually made to change. Even though progress laboured unfortunately clouded by years of lies; Dave always demonstrated a willingness to grow which kept me hanging on. Regardless of the limited transparency and knowledge I had, my decisions sit well with me.

Here’s a little food for thought;

What if perceived “weakness” was in fact strength? 
Could we have an open informed dialogue about what constitutes an affair, how and why they happen? Or do we already know?

Let’s add to this the other behaviours outworking when an unfaithful partner must juggle so many secrets. 

If the primary relationship is problematic, is an affair likely to make it less so?

Is it as simple as wanting to be with someone else? 

Why wouldn’t a person just end one relationship before embarking on another?

What if we were all totally accountable for our own thoughts, words and actions?

What if this accountability was met with extended grace and not a critical spirit? 
Do we realise that we are only responsible for decisions and choices we make throughout our lives and not responsible for the actions of others?

What if the shame surrounding infidelity became a bridge to healing rather than a barrier?

Could we not only accept our imperfect humanity but embrace the condition of brokenness and have greater compassion for one another? 

Is this possible?

We all bring baggage to relationships. When we met we were no different, Dave brought with him his brokenness and I mine, I also came with an active 2-year-old boy plus my newfound commitment, love and relationship with Jesus…… 

And, yes, it has felt like a very very long road to our “happily ever after”. We are works in progress, but we’re not quitters. 

Sometimes the heart simply sees what the mind cannot…

This story cannot be written without being completely authentic regarding the source of our enduring love. If you are of faith you will understand and if not, our desire is that you will take some hope and encouragement from our journey and believe, no matter how bleak your circumstances may appear at any given time, you too will know” 

“all things truly are possible and will work together for good.”

 Matt 19:26, Romans 8:28

Noni x

If you’d like to read our story there is a free Ebook offer below. This offer is valid from 9 am AEDT 19/2/2022 and is only available for the Ebook version. (Kindle & Paperback excluded from offer)

Becoming Safe

The only mistake that will destroy you, is the one you won’t admit to.

I’m the last one to call an affair a mistake, I mean earthquakes and cyclones happen, you accidentally step in dog poo or brush your teeth with shaving cream instead of toothpaste, but no one just happens to cheat on their partner without a whole series of choices to make it happen.

As an unfaithful husband, my efforts to avoid feeling the shame of my behaviours meant that I minimised, hid, rationalised and blamed others.  The effort I poured into not seeing myself was like cement being poured into the foundation of my problem.

The process solidified within and in time I became the master of self-deception and self-loathing.

Thirty plus years of internal conflict has been exhausting and damaging for myself and those closest to me, almost destroying my life and my family.

The emotional growth and revelation since 2019 have directed a ton of focus and energy into seeing myself as I truly am. A man whose hearts’ desire is to be accountable to that authentic person and his choices—someone determined to do the work for himself congruent with his own deep core values.  

Chipping away at all the concrete rot I’d allowed into my soul over many decades is slow and frustrating work—it’s difficult to do alone or by relying on any singular resource, counsellor, program or mentor. Clearing out the debris and rebuilding my life has required a monumentally holistic effort. The art of self-compassion and kindness is not easily accepted by those who think so poorly of themselves let alone the unconditional love, acceptance and unwavering grace Noni continues to bestow upon us.

A part of my recovery journey—which is arguably up there and an unexpected positive from my previous existence—is a weekly call that I am privileged to be on with other guys who have betrayed their partners. Each of these men are genuinely great blokes and we’ve developed friendships out of absolutely dismal circumstances.

The majority of men who are hiding secrets of lust, pornography, affairs or acting out usually have a limited social network where they can be completely understood and heaven forbid even vulnerable. Men—at the best of times—find it hard to open up so it’s kind of refreshing to have this safe space to meet void of judgement.

An interesting observation is that as the group progresses through our individual recovery, we regularly find ourselves in similar situations to each other, maybe not in regard to lapse or relapse but warning signals that a maladaptive coping mechanism might be presenting. All of us have familiar patterns of behaviour whether that be anger, entitlement, expectation, anxiety, you name it, there are many common threads that impact our intimate relationships and we get to share this during our calls with people who get it!

Without exception, each one of us still frustrates ourselves by repeating deeply ingrained reflexes, often “knowing” after the event what we did wrong. Sometimes the frustration spills into one of us saying, “I am just hopeless at this” “I can’t see how this will ever change” or ” I really felt so crap I didn’t feel like calling in this week”.  We’re all aware this could be dangerous territory because entertaining these thoughts has had dire consequences in the past. Thankfully what follows is a combination of supportive feedback and camaraderie.

Empathy “Yeah that’s really difficult and frustrating, I know how you feel.”
Accountability “What was actually going on with you at that time?”  “What is reality and what is perception?” “You are going to share these insights with your partner right?”
Encouragement –  “We can always get better, we can practice and look out for these situations and preceding thoughts.” “You’ve got this!” “It’s not easy but it’s worth it.”

We share healthy coping strategies and resources that we’ve found helpful and that work for us.

In recovery consistency and action count—not intentions.

If you know anyone who needs to hear this please share, get them to reach out, white-knuckling recovery just doesn’t cut it! Noni and I are more than happy to chat with anyone seeking support.

Cheers Dave

Who or What Do We Hang Our Hope On?

I’d love to begin with a Happy New Year blog but there’s a burden stirring within so I’m going with that!

Over the past twelve months, the world of affair recovery has seen three power couples (for the lack of a better term) sorrowfully reach a point of separation.

For those of us who have been encouraged and inspired by their stories, authenticity and commitment to overcome infidelity, these announcements weighed heavily on our hearts and we might wonder if our own relationships will make it.

Up until a couple of years ago, I’d never heard of James and Peggy Vaughan but way back in 1980 they were the first couple to ever openly share their story of overcoming infidelity on the Phil Donahue Show.

Forty-two years ago—could you imagine the mic drop after that segment!

Over the next 30 years, Peggy pioneered a way for couples, individuals and marriages to thrive and prosper despite intimate betrayal. Beyond Affairs Network was birthed following the public reaction they received and Peggy became known as an expert in the area of extramarital affairs.

Thankfully Peggy and James bravely gave voice to an unspoken and largely misunderstood human experience. Shattered marriages from all over finally found hope and a safe space to heal following the incapacitating damage of infidelity.

Brian and Anne Bercht stepped up to continue Peggy and James’ work after Peggy passed away in 2012. James and Peggy remained married for fifty-seven years until she died. Brian and Anne are thriving and continuing to support others on this journey.

For the hundreds of thousands of marriages around the globe impacted by infidelity, there is only a very small percentage of people who are prepared to go public in the hope that their stories might help others who are hurting—so when we hear of three very courageous and influential couples deciding to end their marriage, of course, we are devastated.

Ashlynn and Coby from The Betrayed, the Addicted and the Expert broke their news in May 2021 then Samuel shared that he and Samantha were parting ways not long after. Both of these announcements sent shockwaves through infidelity circles and speculation as to the reasons behind their decisions were rife in online forums.

The latest bombshell to drop has been that Lysa and Art Terkeurst have separated. After reading Lysa’s announcement yesterday, one might assume that Art has again betrayed Lysa in some form, “As many of you know, three years ago, Art and I renewed our marriage vows after a painful separation. It has crushed my heart to know that he has broken these vows.”

Here is where I want to add my two cents worth—and please note—these are just my personal thoughts…

As sad and disheartening as the break up news is, let’s take a moment to remember that there are literally thousands of couples in every country who are continuing to heal their relationships quietly.

To anyone facing these challenges, your recovery, healing and success are not reliant upon anything else apart from God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness and the relationship we have with Him, ourselves and others. He is love!

Our own marriages may or may not survive after infidelity but this is never dependent on anyone else’s experience.

We know that there are truckloads of destructive covert behaviours which accompany cheating, most of them driven by a false sense of identity.

Shame, entitlement and lack of self-worth can destroy any relationship. If a couple decides to split after infidelity, it may not necessarily be directly affair related. If Lysa’s husband has cheated again after being shown so much love and compassion, my flesh wants to scream “Art you absolute MORON!” But this is neither kind nor Christlike! No matter what has gone down, he is loved.

All of the people I’ve mentioned above plus the likes of Rick Reynolds, Wayne Baker and others have shared invaluable personal insight through their books, podcasts and socials. I for one am incredibly indebted to them and our marriage is blessed (not perfect) because of the vulnerability they exhibited and the truths they shared, even when exposing their own failings and shortcomings.

Sometimes hearing the truth can be brutal, we may not agree with the sentiment or ideas, we don’t have to but I believe that each one of these Bravehearts deserves gratitude and respect.

Take from their stories anything that resonates with you and is beneficial for you and your circumstances. Don’t judge anyone’s decision to stay or go, we don’t know what it took to make that decision, I’m 100% certain it was not done lightly and please, never base your own progress or outcome on theirs.

We may share similarities but the truth is we are all unique and no one has ever fully walked in your shoes. No one knows you or your situation as you know yourself, there is only one exception—Jesus. So fill your backpack with the tools you need for the marathon—humility, compassion, kindness, love, joy, peace, and patience—strap on your boots and keep walking towards your own victory!

Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow
Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead
Walk beside me… just be my friend”

― Albert Camus

For what it’s worth this much I know, regardless of any personal biases, every single person who has lived the gut-wrenching tumultuous pain of infidelity and continues on with their own healing and wholeness is a legend. I know that Ashlynn, Samuel, and in due time Lysa, will continue encouraging and inspiring people around the world to live their best lives regardless of the pain and calamity caused by infidelity.

For those of us who dare to go public in the hope of encouraging others with our testimony—please pray for us—there is plenty of opposition out there!

Peace, love, compassion and HNY!

Noni XXX

With Humility & Gratitude

This is our final blog post for 2021, and wow, what a year it’s been.

On top of becoming a first-time co-author, I studied full time and successfully completed a Diploma of Counselling through the Australian Institute of Family Counselling. I’m planning to put this to work in 2022! Here’s a sneak peek at my new website if you’re interested in taking a look.

We’re so incredibly blessed and thankful for the feedback received after publishing our memoir.

The initial stepping out was scary, to say the least.

A handful of reviews have literally brought us to tears (in a good way)—and although we are a long from quitting our day jobs—we are so many steps closer to us achieving what we set out to accomplish. (you can view this goal in the Q&A section)

Thank you to each and every person who has read, commented and shared our story with others, we appreciate you.

Dear Unfaithful and Dearest Betrayed received the most interaction out of all of the blog posts for the year. Every now and then I feel that God pours out a creative download upon me that undeniably has His fingerprint on it, and this was evident in the impact of these two letters.

We’ll leave with you what some have said about our story, and welcome you to add any thoughts of your own…

“It is so raw and authentic. So grateful for you being so open and vulnerable in sharing this – so profoundly touched. Whilst in some ways it remains an unfinished story, I’m not sure that any other story has so honestly and tangibly captured what healing (with the emphasis on ‘ing’) looks like.
So often those of us in this mess read about the healed – this book let me read about the heal’ing’ & walked right beside me (and us) through it. That being said, I look forward to the sequel in whatever form that may take😊.
It’s a story of a truly incredible woman and a man humbly opening his life. I doubt that putting it out there would have been easy for either of you, but am glad you did.
There’s a part near the end entitled “And the Questions I Ask of Myself on more than One Occasion” followed by ‘The Only Authentic Answer’ which was very meaningful to me, as was the Q&A at the start of those pages. I could hear my own wife speaking through those pages.
Thank you so much. Thank you both!”

It was great to have both of inside story. I’m faithful spouse. I understood of Noni’s reaction and raged that I’m not alone and am not crazy. My marriage is similar that I cannot read this without tears. I’m still struggle to accept what happen to my 31 years marriage and 4 years dated was lies and secrets, but this story give me a little hope. Thank you so much for both sharing honest thoughts and actions.” m4michiko

I read the book in a couple of days I could not put it down I felt like you were my friend I sat in the car in parking lots reading. It’s sad true and beautiful at the same time. Only someone like me that is walking in the same path can appreciate the honesty pain and destruction lies and infidelity bring to a human being. Thank you for sharing your story and making me feel less alone. I felt like I was being understood and my inner life is being seen through your heart of words poured in the page. I received an advance copy for free and leaving this review voluntarily. GOD bless you Noni” dan20ash5

This true and real story of Infidelity and Betrayal and the recovery and repair work that Noni and David Yates did to remain married to each other is inspiring. As one who has also been betrayed by their husband, I felt the depths of anger, disappointment and disbelief that Noni experienced. Reading their story has given me more hope that my marriage can become restored after so many disclosures, lies and deceptions from my husband. This should be required reading by all husbands and wives who want to stay married after they find themselves reeling from the shock of disclosure by their spouse. It’s refreshing that Noni and David chose to stay married after David’s many affairs.” tsa5atcha

We sincerely thank you and pray that you have a truly blessed and safe Christmas. Seek blessings in the small things and always remember that what you focus on expands.

We’ll be back in 2022 continuing to support and stand with others on this journey.

All Glory and honour to Jesus, the humblest king of all!

With love and gratitude,

Noni and Dave XXX

“though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” PHILIPPIANS 2:5-7

Anniversaries & Triggers

Anniversaries and triggers are a painful reality following any traumatic event.

Reactions can be variable depending on timing and circumstances, reminders are pretty much unavoidable—triggers may come from out of the blue and can be damn intense, to say the least.

We, humans, are an interesting species, we need to attach meaning to almost everything, it’s foundational in the human psyche, it’s just how we are geared though sometimes we’ll assign importance to things that are not necessarily healthy or real.

If you’ve read our Memoir you may recall that on Christmas Eve 2018 I had a missed call from Dave and unbeknownst to him he left a 5-minute voicemail of him speaking with another woman. He had just left our family home that afternoon after we had been planning our Christmas Day—we were in the process of reconciling after a recent separation which had nothing to do with him being unfaithful.

I remember that moment with crystal clear clarity—it was horrendous! Every maddening thought that you could begin to imagine pulsated through my body with a ferocious force. My mind and body went into full-on fight mode, I needed to protect myself, I had to find safety…

I can’t erase Christmas Eve from the Calendar but I can decide what meaning I assign to that date. I know it’s coming up and I have the ability to choose how I will approach it.

I have the power to choose what Christmas Eve 2021 will look like for me. Am I going to focus on the horrific mental anguish I was in on 24th Dec 2018? I could if I wanted to but I also know how that will end up and how far down the rabbit hole I might go—or am I going to adjust the narrative and be thankful that this date was also the catalyst for when Dave finally had to own his choices.

What I focus on becomes way more important and significant than what I choose to let go of.

The gift Dave gave me on Christmas Day is also somewhat of a reminder. He had been to a staff shop at the company he works for and did a little Christmas shopping. When he gave me a really lovely body wash I was happy with the simple and yummy smelling shower gel. After the year that we’d had, it was a nice gesture.

It was only on full disclosure did I learn that the pocket dial on Christmas Eve, was Dave gifting this other woman something small from the staff shop also. UGH!

Since then this fresh and pleasant smelling body wash has been purchased over and over and has a regular spot in our shower recess. Most days I don’t give it a second thought, it’s just a shower gel. There are other days though when it reminds me of that dreadful pocket dial—then I have fleeting thoughts of tossing it and replacing it with something else! I don’t though because, besides loving the freshness of the scent—any replacement would just be a reminder as to why I got rid of the other one and I’m not going to be beaten by an inanimate shower gel!

The power of the mind, do our thoughts control our actions or do our actions control our thoughts—I say both can be true.

Christmas can be a really tough time after betrayal, if it is for you, I encourage you to plan ahead. Have strategies in place to help you get through what you need to.

For some couples, family is unaware of what you’re going through and it can feel like a whole lot of pretending normal—you’re dreading the facade.

For others, you’re apart and trying to navigate juggling kids and pleasantries or you might be together but really struggling to stay afloat, the intensity of anger, pain, grief is all-encompassing.

It all hurts, I’m so sorry for this pain. If you are able to, give yourselves permission to put the affair thoughts and grief on hold for a period, allow yourselves to have a break from recovery work and try your hardest to access joy even if only for a little while. Take rest and promise yourself that you will get back to it. Keep that promise—don’t put your affair recovery work on hold forever, you deserve to heal fully.

There is no magic pill to ease or hasten the process but know that however and wherever you find yourself on a betrayal journey, you’ve already survived 100% of your worst days up until now and you’re still going!

The dates will come and they will go as sure as the sun rises and sets.

There is no denying that what happened to you is excruciatingly painful and traumatic for everyone involved, please be kind to yourselves, you can get through this season no matter what it throws at you.

God’s Richest Blessings to you and yours, stay safe and stay connected.

With love and gratitude

Noni & Dave

Dear Unfaithful

Dear unfaithful,

There’s probably a lot in this that you’re not going to want to hear—but you really need to if you want to begin to understand what’s happened.

Imagine that you’ve just dropped a nuclear bomb on your marriage, your spouse, yourself and your family. 

The world as you once knew has been annihilated—napalmed—and just like these catastrophic events, there’s going to be a massive fallout for the foreseeable future. 

You can’t stop the fallout from happening but you can safeguard yourself and your family against further destruction if you want to and are committed to doing whatever it takes—and believe me, it—takes—A LOT! 

A LOT of courage, accountability, honesty, transparency, ownership, determination, patience, perseverance, humility, compassion, grace, kindness, hope, forgiveness, vulnerability and just when you think you’ve run out of these you have to dig a little deeper to find more. Yes, the resourceful well of recovery love and care must be accessed continually, no matter how deep you have to dig! 

Sometimes it will feel like you are taking one step forward and ten steps backwards, keep going forward if you want to save your marriage. Once you rebuild what you’ve destroyed then you must be prepared to protect the restoration at all costs if you want your relationship to thrive. 

No one can erase what has happened even though we all wish we could, so please don’t expect or ask your spouse to forgive and forget. 

It is impossible to go back to what you had before because what you had before was not enough to keep you from making the choices you made. 

No, the reconciled relationship looks very different, and if you dare allow yourself to hope and get the right support, your post infidelity relationship can be infinitely better than the past. 

You can heal from and move beyond the pain of affairs even though in the initial stages this seems completely unattainable.

Unfaithful, here are some things you should know once your infidelity has come to light, and as much as they might be normal reactions after discovery, they are also massive barriers to healing:

You’ll try to convince your partner that you made a mistake, no Unfaithful you didn’t make a mistake, a mistake is filling the car with petrol when you should have used diesel. Cheating is a choice, please be brave enough to own the choice and call it for what it is.

You’re going to want your partner to “get over it and just move on” because “you’re sorry” and “it’s never going to happen again” that’s not how recovery works…

You’re going to get tired of talking about it and answering questions but you must do this until your partner arrives at a place where they are satisfied that they have sufficient information so they can process and heal themselves. I promise you this doesn’t go on forever although it can feel relentless. Your partner is not doing this to punish you, they’re just trying to figure out the mess for themselves, please be patient and gentle. The more you can empathise with your partner the safer they will feel. You may have been living in a fantasy for quite some time but for your partner, everything they held as being real has been demolished. Their own sense of reality is totally upended and they’re trying to piece together how this could have happened.

You might feel like your partner should trust you again because you never intended to hurt them—my friend, trust is a looooong way off, and this kind of thinking is pure arrogance and entitlement—it is also very unsafe for a betrayed partner. You’ve already demonstrated by your actions you were untrustworthy so until you’ve proven yourself trustworthy over and over you are not a safe person for your betrayed. Actions always speak louder than words. Compassion is a good substitute for trust so please give thanks for any compassion you’re shown, receive it as a precious gift.

You’ll likely attempt to attribute blame on some kind of lack in the relationship for your infidelity, or a deficiency in the marriage, maybe a need not being met, this kind of thinking only shatters your partner more and shifts blame onto the one whom you betrayed. Every relationship has its own set of issues and there are plenty of options to address these, cheating is not one…

It is also a complete lack of responsibility and ownership of your choices, but I get it, you don’t want to feel like a bad person so you’ll shift blame to take the pressure off yourself—this is called deflecting. You’ll probably deflect in many ways that you might be completely unaware of, the sooner you become aware that you’re doing this, the better.

You’ll feel immense shame, guess what, so will your partner and your family but wallowing in shame is not going to propel you into recovery, it will keep you a victim of your own making.

You’ll be defensive and you’ll minimise the length and degree of your betrayal, you’ll do this because you don’t want to face the cold harsh truth, and you’re trying to defend your own core values that you betrayed.

You will drip feed truth, trickle the truth out and be economical with the truth. There are a couple of reasons you’ll do this, one is mentioned above, the other is because you know that you’ve shattered the person you love and you think that by withholding some of the truth you are protecting them from more pain. 

Dear Unfaithful please hear me on this one—your spouse can handle the truth, they may still be hemorrhaging after the initial discovery or disclosure, but why would you want to re-open that wound when they’ve just begun to heal. New shards of glass piercing the broken heart afresh, it’s just too cruel.

I know this is terrifying, I know that you are thinking that they couldn’t possibly forgive you or love you if they knew the truth, maybe, maybe not? Please don’t use this as a weapon of control though, please love and respect them enough, tell the truth, please be brave enough to allow them to make decisions for themselves. The longer it takes for all of the truth to come out, the longer it takes to heal. Whenever a new piece of missing information is discovered, that’s the new ground zero.

A betrayed partner will likely get over the affair/s long before they will get over the lies, lying by omission and gaslighting that you mastered while you were cheating on them. Put an end to this now.

Offer information before you’re asked, don’t make it your partners job to extract important details. If you don’t think a detail is important share it anyway and let your spouse decide if it is or not. They will appreciate you prioritising their feelings.

One final thing and this is actually the first step in recovery; you must stop all contact with the affair partner—cease acting out—this may be easier said than done, but if you want to give your marriage a fighting chance, this is essential. 

Betrayal trauma is a form of PTSD—it’s a result of that bomb you dropped on your family. 

If you want your marriage then you have to find a way to end all contact, no one ever expects a soldier to get over their PTSD while they were still being shot at. You invited the intrusion in, you can find a way to lock them out, work together with your spouse and keep them updated!

You are probably wondering how long it will take to fully heal your marriage, well you’ll keep investing in your marriage for the rest of your life, not because you’re paying penance for the past but because you place the utmost highest value on that which you hold dearest yet almost lost.

Formerly unfaithful, you deserve to heal, for yourself. Do the work for yourself, live your best life and be the best version of yourself, and although you might not feel it you’re actually worth it.

Be a safe person for yourself and those around you, stay safe, you are loved and valued.


David and Noni have co-authored their memoir Beyond Betrayal 28 Years, Lies-Deceit-Infidelity you can get your copy here

There are a limited number of FREE downloads of our memoir Beyond Betrayal 28 Years; Lies-Deceit-Infidelity available, click here.

Dearest Betrayed

You didn’t deserve this…

You did nothing to cause it and there is nothing that you could have done differently to prevent it from happening.

Your partners’ betrayal had nothing to do with you, heck it didn’t even have anything to do with the other person/s or object/s they chose to betray you with. So please Beautiful Betrayed, don’t even begin to question whether or not you “measure up”, there is no comparison.

Your partners’ choices were all about t-h-e-m-s-e-l-v-e-s.

They used whoever or whatever they chose for their own selfish desires and insecurity.


I know that this is really hard for you to believe right now because your world has been completely shredded. You feel like a grenade has detonated inside your heart and you’re wondering how the person you loved and trusted the most in the entire universe was capable of pulling the pin.

I want you to know that you’re not alone.

I know that this pain is all-consuming, I know that you can’t even begin to imagine how the pieces will ever be put back together and I know that at times—you can barely breathe.

I know that the colour has been drained from your life, I know that you’ve been robbed of joy, I know that sometimes you just want to curl up and die and that some days you beg for the earth to just open up and swallow you whole.

I know that you’ll want to kick, punch and scream, hey—you should—go right ahead—find a safe place where you won’t hurt yourself or anyone else and just let it out. Howl and bellow and throw your fists into a pillow, rage until you’re spent, then pick yourself up and dust yourself off—because my friend you’ve got sh*^ to get done.

You’ll likely be facing the person you love and they’ll be feeling really sorry—sorry they got caught—sorry they hurt you—sorry that they might lose their partner, family, house, job, car etc. Sorry, yes they’ll be sorry alright, but please don’t mistake a quick sorry for true remorse.

The best apology is changed behaviour, any apology without this—is manipulation…


You might want to confront the piece of work that was a willing participant in the annihilation of your marriage, there may be more than just one. You might want to give your partner a taste of their own medicine and have a revenge affair, you might want to destroy property, you might want to announce your partners’ infidelity to all and sundry, publicly humiliate them on social media. Why not, they deserve it don’t they.

You want them to feel the same pain as you’re feeling, you want them to hurt because you’re hurting so, so bad. I get it, I truly do but please beautiful betrayed, this is where you need to show yourself the most love and compassion.

Are you really going to feel better if you go out and do any of these things? For how long? And what happens then? Do you land yourself in jail? End up on assault charges? Contract an STI? Carry the burden of guilt and shame on top of your insurmountable grief?

This is far too heavy for you to bear, the thoughts are normal however the actions will only bring more pain. You’ve got enough on your plate for now.

No Dearly Betrayed, you are going to show yourself true love and compassion—you’ll draw on every ounce of self-respect you can muster. You are going to have grace and dignity even though your insides are hemorrhaging, you’re going to get through this.

You’re going to learn a whole new vocabulary, you’ll develop skills for healthy boundaries and you’re going to become an expert in self care.

I’m not going to lie—the early days are excruciating. For the first 3-6 months you’re going to be in critical care mode. You’ll need a solid safety support system around you.

You’ll go through stages of not knowing whether you should leave or stay. You will hate your partner one minute and love them the next, you will want to be with them and also not want them anywhere in sight. You might want to be intimate with them and then be sickened by the thought of them touching you. You want to know everything, you want to know nothing. There’ll be crazy images playing over in your head that you’ll want to shut down but you can’t. You will feel like you’re going crazy, let me assure you that you’re not, I’m so sorry to say, this is all a normal part of the process after betrayal.

You will feel shame for what they have done and what others might know or think about you. You probably never thought that you’d be faced with this and in your mind, you determined that you’d always end a relationship if you were cheated on. But now, this is happening and you’re not so sure of anything anymore—you hate it.

You’ll be wishing that love had an off switch—you’re learning that it doesn’t…

It will be a time of intense confusion. You should hold off making any important decisions during this time because you might not be able to fully trust your emotions.

You’ll need the right guidance to help you through this. This is going to feel like some sick cruel joke, a living hell. There’ll be sleepless nights and aches in your body that you never noticed before. Some days are incredibly dark, remember though, it’s always darkest before the dawn. Other days you’re doing really well and then some ghastly reminder will send you spiralling back into the abyss. Hang in there, keep moving forward, it won’t always be like this.

If your partner has come clean and told you everything there is to know, they might feel great, they might be a whole lot lighter—meanwhile, the overwhelming weight of their secrets has been thrust onto you…and you’re buckling under the pressure. It sucks!

They might be asking for forgiveness, they might not, Lord knows surely they don’t deserve it. You’re the only one who can make this decision for you, and just as sorry should never be mistaken for remorse, forgiveness must never be mistaken for reconciliation.

None of this is fair, I get it and you didn’t ask for any of it, but one day in time to come you will wake up from this nightmare and realise that the pain is gone. You’ll be amazed at how strong you are and how you gained this superhuman strength while keeping your heart soft. Never allow your heart to become hard hoping that it’s going to save you from grief, a hard heart only promises a whole new level of torment.

We will become bitter or better, I pray that you choose better…

I’m so sorry that you are in so much pain right now, perhaps it feels like life will never be as sweet again, I promise it can and will be if you press into your healing journey. It might take a couple of years, it could take longer, the important thing is that you keep on doing the work you need to do to heal yourself. Time alone will not heal your wounds, it is what you do in the time which ushers healing.

Your marriage might be saved, maybe it won’t—know that you’ll be ok either way— determine to heal yourself for yourself regardless.

I understand that love won’t look the same as before, my prayer for you is that it isn’t. I want for you a better life, greater love and marriage than you could have ever thought possible.

Precious friend, prepare to be vulnerable—stay vulnerable and never ever compromise your core values just because the one you love has.

Remain true to yourself.

You are worthy to be loved, honoured and cherished.

You’ve got this!

Noni XXX

David and Noni have co-authored their memoir Beyond Betrayal 28 Years Lies-Deceit-Infidelity, you can get your copy here.

Buckle up and be kind to yourself friends, grief is not linear!

What is Infidelity?

Dr Frank Pittman describes infidelity as “the keeping of secrets”.

The longer Dave and I are on this recovery journey, the more we learn about ourselves and others, and the more we connect with betrayed or unfaithful men and women—the more we align with Frank’s description as being truth.

If you’ve read our Memoir you’ll recall that Dave kept plenty of secrets. Secret past times, secret “friendships”, secret communication—in fact so many secrets it’s crazy to imagine how this could have gone on for so long. What’s even crazier is the number of people around the globe who are living this reality and have done so for decades.

Dr Frank’s article “The Liberating Power of Honesty” is a brilliant and concise read on the impact these secrets have on the ones holding them and the ones who are being kept in the dark.

The long and the short of it is—secrets and lies kill relationships!

The person who shares your secrets owns your soul. You are bound to those who know your secrets and you are separated from those to whom you lie and from whom you hide yourself.

Frank Pittman “The Liberating Power of Honesty”

Let’s take a look at another secret—pornography for example—Dave and I are learning more and more that this seems to be extremely common amongst unfaithful men with most guys admitting that their first exposure to porn was at a very young age. (We’re talking early teens or pre-teen)

I guarantee that every betrayed woman I have spoken to has been completely blindsided by this revelation of their partners’ secret life. Maybe you’re of the mindset that pornography is completely normal and I’m just a straighty 180—everyone has a right to their own opinion but if you think that porn is harmless, I urge you to do a little more research, please.

Listen to the TEDx talk by Ran Gavrieli on why he stopped watching porn or at the very least watch this short doco, Raised On Porn—The New Sex Ed you might just reconsider the impact pornography has on yourself, your relationships, our communities and the generations.

However, if porn is your thing, my question to you is, is it shared with your partner or do you like to keep it to yourself?

How well do you know your partner or think you know them?

Do they keep things hidden from you? Are there secret fantasies, relationships, communication, or pastimes you know nothing about? Stupid question eh, if you don’t know you don’t know right? This is how most betrayed partners live, we thought that we knew our partners and never really felt the need to question until our worlds crumbled around us.

How about you though? Is there anything you keep anything hidden from your partner, finances, friendships, other?

If there is the withholding of information, keeping secrets or hiding friendships, questions to ask of yourself or your partner is why?

Why the need for secrecy? What are you/they afraid of?

These honest conversations are hard—*real hard—deep heart conversations are life-giving though, they lead to freedom and connection.

I promise you, they are nowhere near as hard or destructive as living a lie.

Noni XXX

*(In some situations it may be beneficial to have a therapist’s support)

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