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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:03 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:22 am
Posts: 36
Hi
I am new here. having found this site in a recommended book given to me from my councillor. It is extremely comforting to read the stories of others, as when you find yourself in this total dark mess, it feels as if you're the only one.

I will try to be brief, but brevity is not my strong point. I have been married for 27 years and with my husband for 29 years in total. Ours was a whirlwind love story, a strong attraction on both sides. We lived together after 10 months, married after two years and our Son was born after 5 years. Following the birth of our Son, I found porn material (this preceded the internet) I was upset, according to my husband overreacting. As far as sI new it didn't continue. In 2002 my father-in-law died and my husband took it badly. We decided to move house, out of the area for a new start. My husband suffered severe depression and anxiety, which I gave him total support with (he has had this throughout our whole marriage and seen various, psychiatrists etc, taken a cocktail of different drugs) However, our sexual relationship began to suffer, he blames me totally for this, say I pushed him away and made him feel worthless. I had a previous marriage which ended in my husband having an affair, so I have to think, although not intentional it may be true. He now says he felt bullied by me, this was never my intention.

From 2004-2011, he began to be watch porn continuously, this then moved to chat sites, web cams etc. In 2011, I asked him to leave so we could consider what we both wanted, he left for 6 months but came home due to financial reasons. We attended marriage guidance but the issues just weren't tackled, mainly because he did not think they were problems. He had always had a problem with drink, but the drinking got much worse, he became an alcoholic, something else he did not admit to,

In 2014, I found some very graphic photos of him, I asked if he was posted on websites, which he denied. We decided to separate, we both did not want this. We stayed in the family home, until it was sold and during this time he kept telling me how much he loved me, how I was the only one for him, how we shouldn't be apart, how I should just accept him for the way he was.

We separated in 2015 but after 8 months, I missed him so much I asked if we could talk and if there was a way forward. He agreed to attend counselling. We found a SA councillor and started a programme together, within only a couple of months, he appeared a changed man, totally loving, attentive, I could not have wished for more. He had disclosed and we had drawn a line. He kept telling me he wasn't looking at porn, he only drank when we were together. My Son lives with him and commented on how well he was doing with the drinking, but said to me a couple of times, ask Dad if he is being honest with you. Throughout the 10 months, clues arose to suggest the disclosure had been nothing but a pack of lies. He had said he had just met women on the internet but in fact he had been seeing a friend of ours for 5 months and continued to see her when we were together. We drew another line. I continued to find information, names, meeting times, parties etc that did not add up.

End of February we went on holiday for some Winter Sunshine. He asked me to look at something on his phone and I discovered he was back on chat rooms, he denied it even when I showed him the evidence (which I suspect he always planted).

I was devasted to think that he had so easily deceived me over the years. He has been a kind and loving husband and a great provider and Father, a real family man, whom all of my friends and family have loved.

Over the years there have been other women come into our lives where I have had my suspicion that sex between them had taken place. For one reason or another they were always flaunted in front of me and brought to our home. Then everything was denied and I was held and reassured that he understood my insecurity from my first marriage.

When my Son was at Uni, my husband spent time with him and mentioned that he had been in the bedroom of the women next door, just to see if the house was the same as my Sons. When I questioned this he said the woman was on her own and he felt awkward.

Over the past week I am now pretty certain that he has had sex with many women over the years. Sickeningly all these women have been in very vulnerable situations in their life, as was I when we met. I chased him in the beginning, because he always came over shy and not confident and told me he thought I was too good for him, he totally charmed me.

He has agreed to take a 12 step program. I hate myself for still thinking there is any hope. I have been totally used, abused and duped by this man. I am feeling pretty desperate. My whole married life has been a lie. My new dreams for the future are dashed and I know it sounds dramatic, but I just don't know how to go forward. There is no point in asking what has happened in the past because he will just lie. I am so sad that my Son is so involved but I don't know what I would do without him.

I am going to try and go with the flow before I make any decisions, but how many times can you forgive and move on, I really just want to get over him and walk away. This is difficult at 56, he has taken all of my young years. I am financially independent, which is a blessing and I own my own home. I have been given a month off work and I am in a very dark place.

I suppose I just needed to get this off my chest. I know lots of you are in a place of forgiveness, but I just feel I cant be there right now.

If you are reading this, thank you.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2008 2:21 pm
Posts: 166
English Patience (love your name!)

My heart goes out to you. I'm glad you found Recovery Nation; you will find amazing support and help here. I hope that you will decide to do the Partners' healing program and start a healing thread in the Partners' Healing section. Coaches and mentors will occasionally give you feedback on your work there. Here on the support forum you may get quicker responses from other partners.

It's very good that you own your own home and are financially independent, with time off work. This gives you infrastructure to support you while you rebuild your vision and your life.

Welcome to Recovery Nation. This is a good place to be.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:22 am
Posts: 36
Hi TaffyApple

Thank you for your support. I am already in a place where I am doubting my own judgement and making excuses for my H. I am still not in contact with him but it's difficult to keep it that way. I just want the truth, so I can choose how I move forward. I have already started the workshop and will continue. I am so amazed at the strength of all the women on here, working at their difficult lives each day. Many of you appear to deal with everything in a calm rational way, whereas I seem to deal with things in an overblown emotional way - I need to get a grip.

Best EnglishPatience


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 2:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2008 2:21 pm
Posts: 166
English Patience, please don't pressure yourself to "get a grip" prematurely! Every partner here understands the rollercoaster you are on, and dealing with things in a "calm, rational way" is not an expectation for early healing days!!

Your world has been shredded into threads after nearly 3 decades.... you don't get a grip on that kind of devastation in a mere few days or weeks. Or in another way of looking at it, you already have a grip. You know you need to heal, and you found RN. Yay! Within the safety of having that grip on sanity, you now get to process all the wild emotions that you fear would destroy you. They won't. You are safe here.

Big hugs to you, Taffy.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 190
English Patience, I'm also a long time partner who lived cluelessly for decades about the reality of my relationship. Like you, my relationship pre-dates the internet so my initial discovery were the porno mags. I didn't know it at the time but he began making repeated visits to bars to watch strippers. It wasn't until we had the internet at home that I had much of a clue. I couldn't stop him from watching porn, no matter how many times I "caught" him. It wasn't long before he learned how to eliminate (or hide) any evidence from his porn sessions so I didn't have any reason to confront him. His zero interest in sex was a huge clue. I knew that on the balance of probably he was using porn regularly and he didn't seem to care about our sexual relationship, or how I was feeling.

It's very telling that your husband seemed to be carrying out his addiction behaviours in plain sight. My husband did the very same. Early on in our relationship became involved with another woman, a red flag if ever there was one but more of that later. He actually took me along to a social event where I had to sit at a restaurant table with him, her and some other people. I remember feeling strangely uncomfortable but at that time I had no idea that something had gone on between them in recent weeks. All I know was that I was thinking "What am I doing here? I don't know these people. I don't like these people. Why did he drag me along?" By the time I found out we had been living together for maybe a year. Finding out was upsetting enough but even worse was that before he admitted to it he said over and over for about 2 or 3 days "Trust me. Nothing happened." It was this "trust me" thing and looking me right in the eyes that said it all. "Trust me, I'm telling you the truth." And "trust me, nothing happened." He would even check out strip bars when I was with him and I was totally oblivious to him even being interested in going to those places the first place. When I look back, I start to wonder what else was going on in plain sight.

The worst part is not ever knowing the full story. Once you know someone has lied to you repeatedly, even after agreeing to be honest, you can't really trust that person again. Or perhaps I should say, trust takes on a different meaning in a post-addiction relationship. I don't feel happy about saying this but I don't believe I know the full story. I don't believe I will ever have full disclosure from him. I don't believe that he will ever be honest. Yet I have chosen to stay. I stay because I believe he will stay away from internet porn and that his visits to strip bars are in the past. I believe he will be faithful. I don't know his true sexual history throughout our marriage. This is not a cop out but we can't change what's in the past. It's how he acts today and in the future that makes the difference.

I also have to say that his recovery has gone well but I don't believe it's as healthy a recovery as it could have been. He has a lot of difficulty with being honest. He is still very guarded in conversations and chooses his words very carefully. His communication skills are not as good as I hoped it would be. It's usually me who initiates the difficult conversations. I'm the one who identifies the problems and raises the difficult issues. I'm the one who talks about sex and issues relating to sex, whether it's sexual problems, frequency/infrequency, addiction related issues etc. He still tends towards saying as little as possible or nothing at all.

Make no mistake, it's very hard work to live with someone in recovery, even if it's a successful recovery. No addict has a perfect recovery. If they do, and "it's too good to be true" then it probably is. For the partner, it's exhausting. I lived with his issues for many years and although I was powerless in stopping his pornography addiction, it was still an enormous burden that took its toll on me. As life goes on, post recovery, the stresses don't go away. He is still not able to manage and regulate his emotions as well as he might. Emotionally, he is very demanding and very needy. I know that the skills do not appear magically overnight but it's almost 2 years now and I believe his progression in managing his emotions has stalled. He still caught up with 'intensity'. For example, in work, the business is always on the brink of collapse, there's always some impending crisis, there's always this apocalyptic gloom and doom, as if disaster is about to strike. But of course it never does. It is utterly exhausting, especially after and enduring the effects of his addiction for almost 2 decades. It's like I'm running out on my own internal reserves. It's tough. Every so often I have to withdraw from his intensity just to look after myself. Perhaps this is part and parcel of recovery. I don't know. But it's not easy.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:34 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
Painful. It's so painful. Stunningly painful. But we know. I'm so sorry. I send you my virtual embrace.

I really felt the memory of the "trust me. nothing happened." I remember the pain of how my husband and women who betrayed me would KNOWINGLY have me in their presence and hide it from me. The cruelty and disrespect of it all stuns me to this day. But I must remember, this is about their deficiencies; not mine.

I as well was in an over 30 year marriage before the truth, and most likely not all of it, started to be discovered by me. I think the longer the addiction goes on, the older the addicts are, the harder it is not to just get sober, but to grow up. It really is a matter of immaturity in so many ways. Not only did our partners not get the guidance and support they needed when they were young, they didn't have the capacity to learn lessons as they grew older. As the addiction took hold I see how basic skills my husband had further eroded over time. I saw it and felt it, but I didn't really understand it. My husband's communication skills, which were never adult at best, eroded even further over time. Jon has a good lesson about this; at some point there is a paralysis in communication. They use words to cover and deflect; to provide false images; to manage us and those around us; to protect and hide their addiction. They've lied so much and been so in authentic for so long that I see how words have lost meaning to my husband, and how he has little or no commitment to what he says or to really trying to convey something (feelings, thoughts) to me or others. It's sad, tragic, and destructive.

We have two monumental questions to be addressed with our partners: can they get sober? after that, can they grow up into healthy adults?

My husband is in active recovery for three years and he still can not initiate conversation; still struggles with MEANINGFUL conversation; still can't discuss sex or sexuality and makes it seem unpleasant (?!?!?!?!); still can't be authentic. He is better at understanding his emotions. He is better at managing his anger. He still blame shifts quite a bit and is working on the defensiveness.

It is exhausting. We were being depleted throughout our marriages and deprived of love, warmth, sensuality, dignity and connection...and then the shock of discovery. I do not underestimate our trauma.

So where does that leave us? We need to heal. It's not fair, but it is our job to heal. The good news is...it is up to us! We don't need our partners, who couldn't manage their own lives in a healthy way, to heal us. But I could not do it alone. I became isolated. That was the worst thing I could do, but understandable. I found RN; other support groups of women who experienced what I had experienced; and a very good trauma counselor. The more and more I detached from my husband, and the more and more I focused on me, the better I felt. I've come a long way. I still have a ways to go. I will be scarred, no doubt about that. But that doesn't mean I should give up on peace, joy and a meaningful life.

I feel compassion for my husband and wish him success in his journey to recovery and health. I don't know his future. I don't know our future. I do know that the most important question for me is what about MY future. As exhausted as we are, our limited energy must go to ourselves and our children if they still live with us. I have dogs now, and I focus on them as well. They are dependent on me.

I believe that in the depths of addiction, people are unable to feel empathy and love for anyone. Not even themselves. Their extreme self-centeredness and self-absorption doesn't provide them joy. It's so destructive, this addiction. I think my husband actually has to learn empathy and compassion.

I don't have to learn it. I have it and had it. My problem was that I didn't have enough for myself. I'm fairly certain that is the situation for all of the partners here.

dnell


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:08 am 
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Posts: 36
Blue in Paradise, thank you so much for your reply and sharing your thoughts with me. It is so very reassuring to be able to hear from others in the same situation who understand the pain and confusion of our situation. I am just sorry that you, and the many others on here are going through the same. I look at the positives of my situation, I am already living in my own home, I am financially secure. However, that does not make up for the emotional turmoil I experience on a daily basis. It all sounds so dramatic, but it is traumatic. I have met with my husband who is making good effort in seeing his counsellor and attending an SA group. He does open up to me and tell me his feelings of worthlessness and shame. He also says he doesn't think he can ever change how he feels about himself, although he believes he can manage his addiction. There are many ways he is still in denial - he doesn't believe he ever 'flirted' with women, he thought he was just being nice. As I and men at the group says it was flirting, he says he must accept it. He still tells me he was never unfaithful while we were together. He admits he was addicted to porn and that he was on chat rooms and webcams. He did not see this as being unfaithful, I don't think he still does, just accepts that I feel that way. I am still unsure if he wants to change for himself or me. I feel that he is just trying to manage his way out of the current crisis. To his credit he tells me he has not gone back to drinking. He has also taken up old hobbies. I don't know what our future holds, whether I can trust a future together. I do know I am not ready to walk away. I am trying to put myself first in all of this but i find that difficult. I guess we both have changing to do. My best wishes to you.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:26 am 
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Dnell. Thank you so much for your reply. You make many comments which totally hit the spot for my situation. Yes, our partners do have to get sober and also grow up. The immaturity has been ever present throughout our relationship, just not being reliable, excuses and lies. I understand your comment about words having no meaning, because they have been twisted and skewed for so many years. I hear very strong women in these posts - so why do we stay? People leave relationships for far less on a daily basis. For me i can only explain it with Jekyll and Hyde, the opposite side of my husbands addicted, heartless personality is a wonderful loving man who has provided a good life for his family. I believe this has been a struggle for him and that he did keep it at bay for a long while. Yes, we have much compassion for others and we need it for ourselves. Funny you should say that because last week I planted a beautiful rose in my garden called Compassion. It is now dedicated to all of the women here!! I understand that building a life for myself is important and that is what I am working on. You have the joy of your dogs, which is such a pleasure. I am so glad I found RN. Apart from my family I do not have anyone else I would tell about this. I find your comments reassuring and thank you for taking the time to reply. With best wishes


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:22 am
Posts: 163
I have been married 34 years..together 36,
I find myself in an impossible position now my husband says we should move ,
I have found out my husband many times over the years..always blamed myself..backed up by my husband..
Rn opened my eyes, I found validation, I wasn't needy,ott, melodramatic...
I have learnt so much about myself,
But my husband is still totally unavailable to discussion about any problems..he didn't want me talking to anyone about this, and still hasn't spoken about my counselling, he still attibutes "experts" for planting thoughts in my head,
He didn't do anything..hr has never been unfaithful he said, and any talk about any relationship,emotion, intimacy issues is cut off immediately.
I feel so sad,reading how other husbands are in recovery etc, as mine seems shut off, disconnected sith his emotions. Its as if he is a petulant child..I am becoming so aware of the deeper issues, past the Sa.
I was told by my counsellor not to move while I felt this way..of course I haven't told husband this, but the longer this goes on, the more I find and understand myself,my needs, the more I feel the personal issues my husband have are not good for me. Its not all bad, but the thought of retirement with an angry man who doesn't show his emotions, and doesn't appear to want to reflect or have any personal awareness..
At 56,going on 57. I feel so sad that I should have a close relationship with trust by now, If I had k own then what I know now I wouldn't have married him..


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:10 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
jenny, I moved right after discovery. Trust your feelings on this. Moving tore me away from all my support--friends, activities, my home, my garden. I moved to a beautiful place that would have been a retirement dream IF I was with a loving husband. My harsh reality, though, was that I actually needed to move since I held a prominent elected position in my community (Which I loved!) and my husband's acting out was getting more and more public. I had just discovered the porn, but was not aware of the full extent and depth and progression of my husband's acting out. I had that sick feeling of fear and dread about him and if my friends and neighbors really knew.....I shudder to think about what would have happened. I would have been a pariah. There isn't much understanding about this addiction and there would have been tremendous fear of my husband AND me. So I had to move.

The downside is that I became even more isolated.

Your husband's continued denial and inability to communicate with you in an adult way is very sad. I'm turning 60 this year. I know how you feel.

I send you my love and compassion.

dnell


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 515
Hi Jenny,
When I moved to a very isolated place with my husband, I didn't know the extent of his issues and his addiction. I was young and held the belief he would outgrow things after marriage, and that was around the time we moved to a place where I had -- literally -- no support system, very little autonomy, and a limited life of my own.

Thankfully today I live back in my hometown. At some point my survival instincts kicked in and I insisted to my husband we move back here.

My life before that move and after is like night and day. I have a life now. Friends. Nature. Autonomy. Being here showed me I can stand on my own if it comes to it.

My point:
Your husband's lack of consideration for your needs and feelings in suggesting this move, combined with his ongoing denial and manipulative tactics, raises big red flags. I am concerned for you. I am concerned about how this move may adversely impact your life.

Do you currently have, if not a strong support system, at least a routine and structure in your life?

Because moving upends that.

It's one thing to move with a stable, healthy partner, where each person manages their respective life responsibly, and each also help the other out emotionally and otherwise with the stresses that come with moving.

This is not the scenario you're in. You'd be moving with what sounds like an addict in active addiction. The potential upheaval on your life and the impact on your emotional, physical and psychological health cannot be understated.

I do not like to speak of regrets. But if I have one regret, it is that I moved with my husband years ago to such an isolated country and culture. This, for me, is an even bigger regret than marrying him. The move set me back years. I believe that if I had not moved, I would have had the strength a lot sooner to enforce boundaries and focus on myself and my needs.

You are still working your way through the workshop, learning about yourself and the impact of you husband's addiction on your life and his life. So, I recognize you may not be in a place where you have the fortitude to do this, but have you considered the possibility of simply telling your husband he is welcome to move. And that you will stay right where you are.

No discussion needed. And no trying to control him. But rather, drawing a line as to what you will and won't do in your own life. He will likely try to engage you further into what becomes a manipulative discussion on his part. You can choose to opt out of that. YOu don't need to explain yourself or justify your choice in any way.

You have the right to live a life that is in the best interest of your health, values, and needs.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:28 am 
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Posts: 36
Hello Jenny, I do not have the wherewithal to offer any advice on your situation. Meepmeep's advice is constructive and there is a lot to take from it. I do hear your sadness and desperation in your post and my thoughts are with you. I am also 57 next birthday so I understand your fears as we move towards retirement. You deserve a safe and contended life and I hope that things change for you.
Englishpatience


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:28 am 
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Hello Jenny, I do not have the wherewithal to offer any advice on your situation. Meepmeep's advice is constructive and there is a lot to take from it. I do hear your sadness and desperation in your post and my thoughts are with you. I am also 57 next birthday so I understand your fears as we move towards retirement. You deserve a safe and contended life and I hope that things change for you.
Englishpatience


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:06 am 
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Posts: 163
Thanks, its amazing how many women find themselves still struggling after so long. I am finding myself again as i realised i was co dependant..probably due to his behaviour towards me, that's what i am working on , changing my self,detaching. but the sadness that husband has no interest in any connection on any level about any of this is taking time to lessen. And moving is not the way of making a new start for sure.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:20 am
Posts: 131
Like dnell, all I can say is this is so painful. "Stunningly painful"......and yet I, too, stay. I am seeing my husband with new eyes this past 2 1/2 years and sometimes feel great compassion for him as his friend....but I'm not his friend, I'm the wife he betrayed for 20 years. On the surface, his nurturing behavior so impressed me and countless others that he still looks like such the good guy. Yet, all those nurturing behaviors now are just triggers for me. Who is he, really??? Yes, he still filters his communication with me and no wonder....he sees me as the one who is 'judging' his recovery and as long as we are living together, it all seems to be about whether I believe he is different!!!
One of the steps I have taken recently is to get my self a dog....a therapy dog so to speak!! He is arriving today and I'm using this as my turning the corner to have someone I can love unconditionally and who will not betray that love!!!
Blessings to each of us on this journey we didn't even know we were on..........

_________________
It is always OK in the end...if it's not OK, it's not the end!


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