Forgetting my fiances past

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I'm a returned missionary. I've been home 1 year today. I'm engaged to a girl I met at college at the beginning of the year. After dating for a short time she confessed to me her sexual past with her boyfriend from high school. The last time was a month and a half before I met her. I was the first she ever told and so obviously she had not repented. She began her repentance process and things felt really good. I was willing to overlook the past as long as she was showing sincere repentance and she was. I love her so much. Now that we're engaged and making wedding plans her past has begun to haunt me like it never did before. I can't go a minute without it putting me through hell. I saw a post on the family discussion board about a man who was having trouble with his wife's sexual past years into their marriage. I don't want the same to happen to me, but I don't know how to avoid that other than breaking up. I've read all kinds of articles about forgiving and forgetting. I'm reading books about it. I pray for the ability to not think of those thoughts and memories. I feel like I need to just have faith and look to the future but I fear what I might go through and her as well (knowing I didn't let go of her past) proceeding with the marriage. I want to be with her. She's my best friend. Please help me out! How do I just "let go"? Anyone else going/gone through this?

Edited by acerola
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Free advice, worth the sum you paid for it:

You cannot "forget" her past. It is a part of her.

What if your fiancee had made a foolish decision in the past that cost her her arm? She could repent of her foolishness, grow up, and get past such things...but she would still lack the arm. Repentence from sin does not remove all the life effects of the transgression, only the moral stain.

When/if your finacee fully repents of her fornication -- and that is not something you will ever be in a position to judge; for example, she may have already done so -- then God will no longer hold her responsible for that fornication. She is/will be perfectly clean in the blood of Christ, as if she had never sinned. But her virginity per se will not magically be restored. Her experiences in sex with her boyfriend or boyfriends won't suddenly vanish from the chemical structure and neuronal interactions of her brain. In her body, her mind, and her personality, she will bear the imprints of the actions she took and the decisions she made.

Just as we all do for everything we have ever done, good or bad. In this, she is no different from you or me or the rest of the world. Surely you do not want to be rejected because of that scar on your forehead that you got when you were twelve and fell off your bike onto the iron grate, EVEN THOUGH your mother had explicitly told you not to ride your bike there.

If you really can't get past that she has had sex with another man -- and remember, that will never, ever, ever change, and will always and forever be the case -- then do yourself and her a favor and break off your engagement. She deserves a man who won't continually condemn her for past foolish decisions, and honestly, you deserve a woman with whom you feel comfortable. If she's not that woman, and if you lack the spiritual strength and emotional maturity to let this issue go and take joy in being married to her, don't let pride push you into a relationship that may be doomed from the start. Get out now, before any lasting damage is done to either of you.

On the other hand, if you can find the strength and maturity to have a Christlike outlook on this, then she just may be the person who can help you to find eternal life and with whom you can share untold blessings, in this life and the next.

But as long as you feel the way you presently do, by all means, do both of you a favor and GET OUT of the engagement.

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There is, of course, a spiritual sense in which your fiance sinned against you. Whenever gospel-believing young people give in to sexual temptation they rob their future spouses of a purity we should all hope to have. However, the level of personal offense would be similar to the offense of a spouse having lustful thoughts. Jesus said that it is akin to adultery. However, we would never recommend divorce because someone gave in to the temptation of lustful thoughts. Likewise, she did not know you when she did what she did. Her repentence process is with God, through the Church. Your primary interest is in supporting the spiritual health of your intended. So, what may help is for you to engage in special prayer for her spiritual recovery. You might even go through a short season of fasting prayer for her well being. My guess is that as you focus on protecting and supporting her spiritual wellbeing, you will find yourself being delivered as well.

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Think about your own sins of the past, both big and small. Chances are you've done a few foolish things that could have gotten you arrested. Then think about how fortunate you are that Christ is willing to fully forgive you and embrace you as you are, even with all of your current flaws and weaknesses.

You have to decide whether you are mature enough to be in a relationship with someone who made a bad choice in her youth, and then sought to repent of it. Don't string her along. Don't marry her if you cannot truly forgive this and just love her. It would be best for you to move on. But just remember something: she may end up being fully faithful in her testimony, while the one you end up with may choose to rebel at a later point. How will you ever know if the person you marry was, is, or will be faithful? You don't. This young girl honestly shared with you her past. She didn't have to do so. She could have lied, and you would not have known about it. That alone shows she should be trustworthy.

I know a guy in his early 30s that did heavy drugs and sex as a youth. He was converted by a seminary teacher. Repented of his sins at the age of 17. He served a mission. In the military, he met the LDS chaplain's daughter and fell in love. He told her of his past, and she took a week to pray and ponder about if she could live with that knowledge. She took it to the Lord, and the Lord told her that HE had forgiven this young man and trusted him. That was all she needed. They have now been happily and faithfully married for several years, with several kids. He didn't have to tell her about his past. But he wanted to be truly honest with her. He wanted to be trustworthy. He took the chance and the Lord blessed him.

IMO, if God says a person is forgiven and worthy, then that person is forgiven and worthy. I WOULD forget about the issue of the past, as well as forgive it. But if you are not able to do so, then kindly walk away from this relationship and allow her to find a better person who is willing to forgive and forget her past.

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thank you all for the replies so far. It helps a lot. I know I'm a sinner and I'm full of pride. Thanks for the story rameumptom. I think maybe that is what I need to do. I can't even say how badly I want to be with this girl and how badly I want this to not be an issue for me. I know she has changed. I don't doubt that. She has expressed and shown through the way she lives now that she wants to do everything in her power to help our kids avoid the same trap she was in. I know God can help me with this.

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The fact that you were okay with it at first and only started feeling doubts and uncertainties once you were engaged, I think, is a sign that you are simply afraid of making the commitment of marriage. You are getting closer to tying the knot, and now you are getting uncertainty and cold feet. Maybe its for a reason, and maybe it's just pre-wedding jitters. You should take some time to pray and ask for confirmation in your decision. A spiritual witness that you are not making a "wrong" decision may be just what you need to move on.

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acerola, you have the right to choose to marry whomever you wish, and for whatever reasons seem good to you. If you don't want to marry a girl because she's too tall or too fat or her hair is too long or too brown or her teeth are crooked or you don't like her grammar -- don't marry her. Even trivial reasons like these, however stupid they may be, count.

Of course, ideally, you would not be bothered by such trivialities. Ideally, you would be above caring about unimportant things and focus on the person. But for most of us, that's an ideal we rarely reach in this lifetime, and almost never by the time we reach marrying age.

Fornication is not a trivial reason like hair color or dress size, but in the long view, if repented of, it is equally unimportant. It is unimportant because it is irrelevant. You are marrying the 24-year-old of today, not the 16-year-old of eight years ago.

But of course, people don't completely change. She is the same person as eight years ago, basically. She's older, hopefully wiser, hopefully more repentant, hopefully humbler. But if you think she is not the same person, you are mistaken. If you think her children will not inherit many of her personality characteristics, including those she manifest at sixteen years old, you should probably think again.

In the same way, you are basically who you were as a child and young adult. People don't completely change. Growing up is as much a process of revealing one's personality as molding it.

It sounds like I'm telling you to run away, but I am not. In fact, this girl may well be the best person for you to marry, for your sake as well as hers. What I am saying is that you must know yourself, what you're willing to accept, and what you can't or won't. Even trivial things count. If you don't like the whistling noise she makes when she breathes, forty years of marriage may not be sufficient to make you change your mind. And if the unchangeable fact of her having had sex with another man is simply too much for you to get over, then it's far better you realize that now, before any more commitments have been made, than that you deal with those consequences later.

Actually, this applies to her, as well. Can she accept being married to a man who struggles with her sexual past? She might say, "I don't blame him," but whether she blames you or not, can she live with it? Is she okay watching her fiance and, perhaps, husband struggle with past actions that she cannot do anything about? Because if she is not okay with that, perhaps she needs to break it off.

Sorry for not being all happiness and light. There is probably better advice for you than mine. Remember that I'm just an anonymous message board voice, not someone who knows and loves you and your fiancee. I am telling you what I think I would tell my own children under such circumstances.

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As a newish convert who lived like an @$$hole for 30 years before converting, I can tell you that my wife got a full disclosure about my relationship history and the nature of those relationships before we ever got close to a wedding. She listened and understood and it's never been an issue. As far as I know anyway, but I have a great amount of confidence in that.

If she struggled with the things I had done, I would have more than understood and I would have done whatever I had to and given her whatever she needed to figure things out. She is amazing and I am still baffled as to how I ended up worthy to have her. But it didn't phase her. We've been married for a few months now and life is awesome.

But if it all of a sudden became so severe a problem in the way you are describing, I don't know if I would be able to sympathize with her like I would have 6 months ago. There was a time and a place for those things, and it came and went. If she is going through a repentance process for this or has completed one, you don't have a leg to stand on for a redress in these matters. In my limited and clearly biased view, I would struggle with that.

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What if she had confessed to you she had been raped in the past and how much it had hurt her and how hard it was to even think of being that close to you, but that she loved you enough to put that experience in the past. Could you? would you understand how hard it was for her to admit it to you, to deal with how you might react and most of all would you still want her after knowing this about her past?

Not one of us in this life has not sinned period. What is important is what we do about the sin and that we never return to it. Now from what you have said she is doing everything she can to correct the situation and now it is up to you to prayerfully find the answer that is right for you concerning this relationship.

None of us here can tell you what you should or should not do in this matter as it is you and only you that has to live with your decision and your girl friend. We can give you ideas but the bottom line is you and your girl friend and God have to come to a decision that you both can accept.

You will always know that she had someone before you but that would be true if she was divorced also, she didn't pick you first but again same with a divorced person, and lastly what is more important the person you see today or the person she or you were in the past?

What I am getting at here is yes she did something wrong, is paying for it and working on fixing it as best she can but can you accept that she has done all she could to fix the issue, are you mature enough to see past the mistake and see the person that is in your life now and wants to be with you enough to tell you of this event when she was really under no obligation to tell you ever?

Here is what I would do if it were me, talk to my lady about my feelings, pray about the issue and seek

pre-marriage counseling so that you start off on the right foot. Find a good counselor that you both like as you are going to discuss some sensitive issues in marriage and need the right counselor to help you both through this challenge in your lives. It is far better to deal with it before marriage and it gets distorted way out of proportion after marriage and ends in a divorce neither of you wanted but just can't find that common ground to continue being married.

Just a little about me I am recently divorced because a life issue with me came to a head and I finally went and found someone who could help me. What happened was my wife at the time just gave up on me and went and found a new man while still married to me. You see when I needed her most she just washed her hands and feelings of me and was able to find a new love and was remarried 24 hours after our divorce was final. Did it leaves scars for me yes, has it hurt me in finding a new relationship?, yes and will I marry again? I really don't know as marriage doesn't scare me but divorce has me climbing the walls as I never want to enjoy that mess again ever and would rather be alone and lonely then to ever go through another divorce. So now you know why I say to get this issue taken care of before marriage as it is so much less painful than later

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I'm putting my money on cold feet here. Your posts reveal that you are in so many ways okay with her past. Engagement time is often a time of panicking. Pray and ponder this. Is it just nerves, that little voice reminding you to be 100% sure of the girl you are going to marry and you wondering if you are 100% sure? Or is it this a real problem for you?

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while i have nothing to say concerning TC as good enough advice has been given already. i do want to say the first few posts of advice really struck a nerve with me. as a person who has done drugs, cut myself, seen way too much porn, didnt goto church for 7 years, and has a full memory of pure evil coursing through my veins even on my best days i feel unpure no matter the previous repentance i always have a looming memory of darkness and darker times.

but those first few posts of advice stuck hit home for me. my blessing says ill meet a young lady that will be pure and in every way worthy to goto the house of The Lord. ive always thought that will mean this particular person will be somebody that hasnt struggled as much as i. but you folks made me realize if ive repented then i should be pure so that sentence can very much mean this particular person whoever it ends up being could be just as equally scarred as me but if repented is pure and every way worthy to enter the house of The Lord. why this never dawned on me till now i havent a clue. im not sure why i always read that part like that but now i think i have a better understanding of it. and i used to kick myself thinking what pure person will want to be with me a very very scarred person. but now i see because ive made amends for most of these past sins i am that pure person as well and am striving to make amends for what sins i havent been able to make amends for yet.

i also like the part about this stuff is us it is who we are. while we might be clean by the blood of Christ we still stuff the side effects of said sins. kind of reminds i dont know where i heard it but it was said somewhere that each person that receives eternal life is like a uniquely sculptured statue by Christ. no one got there the same way. none of us were perfect. but through sins and repentance the statue was made uniquely and each one of us will stand up there that get eternal life with different shades of color. different marble maybe. maybe little gold here someone else maybe more silver here because we are each unique and we arent all the same standard gold statue.

that analogy always held two meanings and now i think it applies here perfectly i guess i just never realized it till now. the first is Christ is a master scuplter or creator. all his creations are unique. and secondly all our journeys are unique and no one person is the same. and i suppose a third point i just thought of our eternal life glorifies the Father. well does art work not glorify the artist that made it? and is art not a creation? so are perfect statues do they not also glorify the master artist?

odd TC needed to post on here online and get sound advice but also give me great advice too and put a lot together that i had never put together before.

so thanks TC your thread gave me a lot of advice i really needed to look at things much differently and i hope you can forgive your fiance for her past actions i know whenever that day comes for me ill certainly be asking my fiance to be quite forgiving of my past actions.

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acerola I totally get what you are going through, and I'm sure many people who have had to suck up a sin their partner has done which effects them has had a point where it is just churning constantly in their mind and niggling continually at them no matter what they do!

You know who is doing this though? It is the adversary, if they have repented and moved on, Satan wants YOU to rub it in their face even more and cause contention between the two of you. Pray pray pray for help!

I remember one day thinking about my husbands past mistakes and couldn't shake it and felt so low. I knew this was not good! I prayed my heart out for strength to overcome it. Time will heal wounds, trust me, and at the end of it all, believe me, you both will be stronger people!

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Just for a different perspective:

2,545 American adults surveyed by the National Survey of Family Growth between 2006 and 2008 reported having been sexually active at some point in their life. Of these, 85% of them reported that they were sexually active before they were married.

The situation you find yourself in is not an uncommon one and it's a situation that the majority of married couples in the United States come to terms with when they get married. I don't want to say that it isn't a big deal, but it isn't as big a deal as your mind is making it.

Stick with your initial instinct--it's the repentance that counts; the present and the outlook for the future. The past is just the canvas on which the painting of your future is created.

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  • 3 months later...

The sorrows of sin =(

The way I see it is thus. Either she has repented or she has not. If she has repented then she is pure and clean and to the Lord it is as if it never happened. Likewise it should be with you.

The concern I therefore see you having is whether or not she has truly repented and received forgiveness for her past sins.

Again I say either she has repented or she has not.

Consider all the evidence in her favor and any evidence against her. Then take it to the Lord asking for a confirmation that in his eyes she is clean from this stain. Is not one of the primary roles of the Holy Ghost to confirm truth? If it is true then can you not receive a witness of it?

There is also this to consider. Imagine yourself in her shoes. I expect that had you so sinned and then repented, you would feel eternally grateful to her and have even more love than you would otherwise to her for looking past... your past.

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Acerola... here's your problem in a nutshell:

"Forgetting my fiance's past".

That's your problem.

Forgetting is impossible.

What you're supposed to be doing is this:

"Accepting my fiance for everything that she is - the good, the bad, the ugly".

If you can't do that, get out now. If you can... I expect an invitation to the wedding.

Because, brother, this will not be the only thing that's going to come up in your marriage. Pretty soon, you may realize she grinds her teeth when she sleeps and it literally gives you insomnia. Then what? You're going to divorce her for it? Nope - you figure out a way to accept it. Or, a few years from now, you'll notice she is struggling with her testimony and becomes inactive. Then what? You're goint to divorce her for it? Nope - you figure out a way to accept it and help her overcome it.

This is no different. The only consideration is - before the wedding - you still have a window of opportunity to completely reject it instead of accept it without major eternal consequence.

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I'll give you my opinion. I had some things I had to overcome with my wife's past when we initially started dating. She was not a member at this point and had committed a serious sin a few months prior to us meeting. I remember after she told me what she had done, I sat there and thought, "HOW COULD SHE DO THIS?" I had a moment when I had to decide whether I was going to define her by this transgression or see it as a mistake that she made in her past. Immediately, I knew I could not define her by her past. She ended up getting baptized and when she came up out of the waters, she had a clean slate. She had been forgiven.

In the 11 years of the marriage, I did not bring up this event. Did I remember it sometimes ? Sure I did. But I decided early on before we seriously started dating that I would not define her by her poor decision. I think you need to decide if you will define your fiance by some sexual transgressions she committed in her past or will you forgive/forget (as best as possible) and accept her for the love of your life that she is ?

The choice is yours. You will make the right choice. The atonement is a wonderful thing. Sometimes only those that have made mistakes realize how poor of a choice they previously made. I wish you the best.

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Okay so I want to put in my 2 cents...maybe you are self conscious and wondering if you will measure up to that fellow who trod where you dare not go? Maybe you are worried that somehow you cannot compare to her first? I can tell you something from my experience with this concern. My husband and I are both adult converts. We have both had experiences with several people before we were married. In fact we have both been divorced, (he was married to her for 8 years for crying out loud) so I did worry if I could be his favorite ever. I used to be really stressed about it, and wondered if I should up my game a little.

But I giggle at my younger self, I have nothing to worry about. We have been sealed as eternal companions, our level of harmony, intmacy, and love unfettered by guilt or pride is so beyond anything we ever had before. We love each other unconditionally, and we will do so for eternity. What does 8 little o years have compared to eternity? She is the one he regrets, a dark sadness that overshadows him at times. I am the one that will be his reward in the celestial kingdom, the one that comforts him, the one he reaches for at night, the one he tells his deepest worries to, the one he shares his joys with.

Think how happy you'll be when she is carrying your baby....her round tummy...she has lots of firsts ahead of her too.

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First of all, how do YOU feel regarding all of the advice that you have been given here? And if you think it has then I think you're doing just fine, and if you think it hasn't then again I think you're doing just fine. And I tend to step on peoples' toes because I say what I believe and I'm outspoken, so, with that and like everyone else I'm going to drop a few ideas on things and you can take it or leave it, like Vort said above it's free advice so its worth what you paid for it.

1. Vort said that what we do in the past is essentially a part of us forever - TRUE

2. Many have stated that she doesn't deserve to be condemned by you, which is true, God will do that enough on his own depending on her forgiveness (or otherwise, I nor anyone else I know has gone through the final judgement). However, don't feel like you have to be condemned by me or anyone else here for what you believe. I think what they are trying to say in a round-about way is try not to be too judgmental since we are all sinners.

3. However, what you and she deserve is another matter. And I think that we really do deserve what we are willing to do and keep ourselves. If I am an alcoholic, then I cannot condemn someone else for being one, or hating them for it, or disliking them for it (that's the whole "mote in the eye" thing . . . sorry for the misquote). So you decide what you deserve through your actions just as much as your "wants."

4. Vort mentioned "emotional maturity" . . . hmm . . . tough one, but just because you don't want to be with someone because they have showed sexual promiscuity in their past, doesn't make you emotional mature or immature. Maybe (in my case) it could be insecure (insecurity) perhaps in your manhood (which I'll address here in a second) but not immaturity or lack thereof. In fact, I think that if you have actually saved yourself for marriage (knowing that you should, I'm not talking about non-members having joined the church later, etc.) then I think you are very emotionally mature. You chose to save yourself, you chose not to put yourself in dangerous situations, you chose to control rather than to let loose, you chose, actually, to keep your pants on. And I applaud you for that if that's what you did as I applaud anyone who has done that. And keep up the good work if that's the case.

5. I often find people fall under the obvious two categories: those that care and those that don't. The people that don't care are often those that are virgins (in this case) and just don't care about the past of another which is totally their choice, and there are those that don't care because they themselves have sinned in this manner. And they find that they must rationalize their sin to someone too often enough. I know of too many cases where they were at fault for doing what they did knowing that they would be punished but they were too foolish thinking that they could "just repent" of it. Sorry folks, don't expect everyone to just be okay with your sin in the future. Punishment isn't meted out by men but God sure knows what he's doing, and God does work through men whilst they may not know it. Don't feel like you deserve a whole lot when you have shown God you aren't willing to follow a commandment. When you play with fire, you get burned, and that's the way it is. For those that do care, I believe that they have the right to know of sexual past sins, and I'm mostly talking about sex (intercourse) and not masturbation and pornography but those are important as well. And for those that are still virgins waiting, by saving themselves completely for marriage, I think you have the right to decide! YOU decide whether or not you want to marry a virgin or a non-virgin, and big deal if you do! So she's a virgin, so she isn't, what do you feel? Then go with it. I find too many bucking for the "repent" and then "it shouldn't matter" or the "don't put her through it" stuff. True, repent . . . it shouldn't, but it does often enough . . . and yeah, don't put her through it. Too many people have problems with it later in the marriage. Nip it in the bud and take care of it now, please. End it if you have to. Start a healing process to move on, heaven knows life is too short so we must move on with our lives.

6. And now about the "manhood." I myself find it very disturbing to know when men and women are sexual promiscuous. It shows a lack of moral confinement. It shows lack of self control and letting go of that "natural man." Trust me, as a man sex is very prevalent and on my mind all of the time. Its natural and its hormones, but I don't need to be an animal and treat the most precious gift of God as a token at some cheap casino. Control yourself and if you can't, seek counseling, talk to a therapist, a bishop, stake president, a friend, a parent, or even a spouse in some cases. But most men do see things as competing and as ranking although I wish it weren't so. I do see it as "she's had sex with another man". I would compare myself to him. I would ask myself if I was better in bed than he was, I would compare even my physical anatomy to his, well, mentally at least (if you know what I mean). And so yes, its disturbing to know that my woman was with another man. And it would be especially disturbing to know this if I was a virgin and she wasn't. So yes, I am insecure, and that's okay, so I'd like someone just as insecure/naive as I am. And if you can honestly say that you WOULDN'T do this (be insecure) then that's fantastic! I just know that I can't and so I accept it and move on, I look for someone more like me, someone on my level, and that's fine. I just can't ask to receive what I'm not willing to do myself, there's no room for being hypocritical.

Ultimately, its up to you. Let us people on here rant and rave. Some will tell you they like those with sexual experience because it makes life more interesting, some will tell you they want to wait for that someone, but ultimately, you're the one that makes that decision. Make it, but please, with no regrets.

I can only imagine some of the responses to this now . . . and hopefully none of them involve those stupid quotes or flaming retorts. Here they come . . . haha And best wishes to you and here in your immediate future if a decision hasn't been made already, and if it has, I still wish you the best.

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  • 4 years later...
  • 8 months later...

Adding a link to this excellent book:

Humanity invented the concepts of the past and future, but when they aren't bridled appropriately they can enslave us.

I have received PMs about this topic, so please feel free to message me if you also find yourself in a similar boat.

I would love to help rid the world of the "chewed gum" analogy.

Edited by acerola
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