Surviving Your Relationship During the Pandemic

Many of us are still coming to grips with the surreal experience of living through a pandemic. Yet, here we all are grappling with many of the same questions and concerns, from basic ones, “Are we going to be able to find toilet paper?” to more existential ones, “What is life going to look like in three (or six or nine) months from now?”

Over the past week, a recurrent conversation I have had with friends, family, and colleagues is how we plan to use this time as an opportunity for growth. Whether it be chipping away at our ever-expanding reading list or reconnecting (or connecting more deeply) with loved ones, how will we expand? For couples whose relationships were strained before the implementation of social distancing measures, this may be a fork-in-the-road moment. One path takes the couple down further disconnection that will make salvaging the relationship more difficult; the other road offers opportunities for couples to build a stronger relationship in potentially profound ways.

This blog will focus on two broad opportunities associated with taking the latter path:

  1. The first is for couples to learn/re-learn how to work together effectively as a team. This moment in history has brought one thing into crystal clear focus: we all rely and depend on each other. Indeed, the effectiveness of my efforts in socially distancing depends on whether those around me do the same. Often, as couples become disconnected over time, their ability to work as a team is compromised. Differences in how to load the dishwasher, for example, become a place of further division and alienation. As social distancing measures continue to be in effect, and some of us are forced into close quarters with our partners, problem-solving and finding solutions that work for the couple is critical. Problems that will naturally arise include: Who is going to get groceries? How many hours of screen time for the children is acceptable? What are the meal plans going to look like? To effectively address all these questions and more, couples have no choice but to keep the lines of communication open. Relying on assumptions and hiding from your partner is no longer an option for the time being.

Here are some tips for couples trying to work together:

  • Be flexible, do not nitpick. It is okay to have standards, but you are sharing a smaller, more contained, world with someone, so your ability to compromise is essential. Your place may be messier than usual. Permit yourselves to relax those standards.
  • Pause heated conversations and make a plan to return to them at a later time. Set aside time consistently to review any issues or concerns that need to be addressed.
  • If you are upset, refrain from criticizing your partner or making “always” or “never” statements (e.g., “You never help out” or “You always do it wrong”). Focus on the challenge right in front of you. Avoid “kitchen sinking” each problem by referring to all your past conflicts.
  1. Another opportunity for couples during the pandemic is to reconnect through openness and curiosity about each other’s experiences. Couple partners presenting to treatment often struggle to be open and curious about their partner’s experience because they can assume that they’re going to hear something critical or something that implicates wrongdoing on their part. In this situation, partners will often become angry or withdraw from each other, creating a self-perpetuating cycle that leaves all parties feeling frustrated and invalidated.

Questions you could ask your partner might include:

  • What is this like for you?
  • What are you scared/hopeful about?
  • How effective do you think the government response has been?

If you feel that your partner is open and curious about your experience, you will be more likely to feel validated and understood. This is important because the process of feeling heard by someone is a salve for our emotional distress and helps to build intimacy and connection. This might inject goodwill into the cycle mentioned above that strengthens the foundation of the relationship for other changes to take hold.

Taking these steps to improve the relationship will no doubt present some challenges. Psychologists and therapists at CFIR that work with couples are here to help you and your partner implement these necessary changes and to process and work through any issues that might arise. During the pandemic, we offer telepsychotherapy services (e.g., video, telephone) to support you and your partner to overcome challenges and build intimacy and connection.

Dr. Sela Kleiman, C.Psych. is a psychologist in supervised practice at CFIR’s Toronto office. He has provided clinical and assessment services in a variety of settings such as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the McGill Psychoeducational and Counselling Clinic, and the Health and Wellness Centre within the University of Toronto. He has also completed his Ph.D. in clinical and counselling psychology at the University of Toronto. In individual therapy, he help adults struggling with depression, anxiety, grief, as well as those trying to cope with the effects of past and/or current verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.

5 Ways to Connect Socially During COVID-19 Self-Isolation

Opportunities for ‘Distant Socializing’ in the Time of Social Distancing

With the state of emergency declared in Ontario because of COVID-19, many are self-isolating to protect themselves and others. While isolating or ‘socially distancing’ ourselves can limit the spread of the virus, it can also lead to feelings of loneliness. Humans are inherently social creatures. In a time where most of our basic needs are met with the click of a button or a trip to the store, we continue to strive for comfort, reassurance, self-esteem needs, and to feel worthwhile. Research shows that social support from valued others increases our life satisfaction, self-confidence, ability to cope with distress, and mitigates stress and negative mental health symptoms.

As many of us take shelter in our homes during this unexpected period in history, we can find solace in the fact that we are in an unprecedented age of social connection. Social media has allowed us the ability to connect in new and creative ways. At the same time, it can be a tiring and limiting way to socialize, especially when we find ourselves scrolling mindlessly on Instagram for hours. Here are some new, old, and forgotten methods of socializing from a distance.  

Seeking Innovative Interactions Online

Perhaps one of the consolations in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic is the knowledge that everybody is experiencing the same variations of loneliness, isolation, and boredom. A lot of your self-isolated friends are likely desperate for interaction! If you’re a gamer, multiplayer games that allow voice-chatting are a great way to amuse yourselves, work towards a shared goal and connect with others all at once. If you are less of a gamer and more of a Netflix fan, bond over your shared love of content-consumption using websites like Netflix Party. This site allows friends to chat while watching Netflix content together online, and is becoming a popular platform to socialize from a distance.

Normalize the Video Call

When people think of video calling, they often think of one of two scenarios: either they’re enrapt in an urgent conference call, or they’re talking to their parents, who are usually sitting much too close to the camera. We often forget that video calling can be useful for everyday check-ins. Your distant family members aren’t the only ones who enjoy seeing your face! Try replacing your 10 a.m. coffee chat with your coworker with an informal video call. If you have switched to at-home workouts, try video-chatting your gym buddy as you sweat through a cardio routine in your living room. Don’t be afraid to normalize video-calling by reaching out to those in your life you typically wouldn’t think to Facetime. 

Revive the Pen Pal

Letter-writing may seem like an outdated means of communication, but it can foster deep and meaningful connections with your loved ones. Unlike the average text message, writing a letter involves considerably more time and reflection, and the topics you discuss are usually more deliberate. It can thus be a profoundly introspective activity, much like writing in a journal. Sending mail is a thoughtful way of showing someone they’re on your mind while providing you with the opportunity to organize ideas and understand your experience. Older individuals who are more at risk of COVID19 and are likely also bored at home may appreciate your reaching out. 

Engage with Pets

Those of us self-isolating with a pet are in good company! The presence of an animal can be very therapeutic during times of fear and uncertainty. Cuddling your pet is a great way to release endorphins and oxytocin, which foster feelings of happiness and connection. 

In this period of social distancing, some pets can provide a great excuse to momentarily get outside from time to time. Walking your dog can become a healthy routine that allows you to check-in with yourself, get some fresh air, and catch up with neighbours (from a safe distance).

Connect with a Therapist Online

Self-isolating without family or roommates can be a lonely and emotionally-taxing experience. Self-isolating with panicked family and friends can be just as anxiety-inducing and draining. Virtual psychotherapy can allow individuals who are distressed, struggling, or who need someone to talk to, to connect with therapists from the comfort of their home. Reach out to CFIR online for secure video and teletherapy sessions. 

Nisha Mohan, B.A. is a counsellor at CFIR (Ottawa) and is currently in her final year of a Master of Arts program in Counselling Psychology at the University of Ottawa, pursuing research on the intersecting experiences of biculturalism and emerging adulthood. At the time of this publication, she is under the supervision of Dr. Aleks Milosevic, C.Psych. Nisha provides therapy and assessment to adults for difficulties related to anxiety and stress, depression and mood, anger and emotion regulation, grief and loss, learning challenges, life transitions, personal growth, existential meaning and purpose, and relationship struggles. 

 

Signs that Your Friendship Needs a Closer Look

Friendships tend to bring people a lot of fulfillment and joy. From vulnerable self-disclosures to inside jokes, there are many benefits to acquiring a confidant. But, similar to some romantic relationships, not all friendships were meant to thrive. Being aware of the roles we play in our connections and how they, in turn, affect our mental wellbeing can be crucial information. Listed below are signs to take notice of to analyze your friendships a bit closer.

You’re always there for them, but you feel like they’re never there for you.

“What ways would I like to be supported in my friendship?”

“I always put the needs of others before my own?”  

  • You’re there for every phone call, there to support when they’re not feeling their best, you even check-in, to see if they are doing okay. But you never feel as if your friend is as concerned about you as you are about them. Assess your needs for connection in the friendship, and whether or not they are being met.
  • Use this opportunity to notice whether you tend to over-extend yourself within your friendships.

They don’t want to hear about what is troubling you. 

“Do I feel about the lack of support I am experiencing?”

  • When you need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to vent to, are your friends there for you? You call them, but they don’t pick up. Whenever you text, but they consistently reply hours later. You start to wonder whether you are a priority for them or not. You almost begin to feel alone, within your friendship. Tune into your experience and assess how you feel about the situation.

They criticize you or shame you.

“What ways does this person make me feel as if I am not good enough?”

  • You feel like your friend always has something negative to say something about how you look, how you’re acting, your lifestyle (if not harmful), and more. You feel tense, and like you always have to maintain a false persona. You perceive judgment when you share something personal with them and are often met with unsolicited and/or subtle criticisms. Reflect on your experiences as they pertain to feeling shame within your friendship.

They don’t celebrate your successes.

“Do I feel uncomfortable sharing my success stories with my friend?”

  • You achieve something significant to you, and share the news with your friend, hoping they will be as happy as you. But they’re not. They either dismiss or minimize your successes. You feel uncomfortable sharing your accomplishments and gains because you anticipate an expression of disapproval from your friend. In this case, it’s essential to assess how this makes you feel.

They only communicate with you when they need something. 

“How do I feel about only being important to this friend when they need something?”

  • Your friend reaches out, and you immediately sense that they’re going to ask you for a favour or some tangible assistance.
  • It seems like they no longer want to invest time in getting to know you better. You feel like a resource that serves one purpose. In this case, it’s essential to evaluate how you think about your role in the friendship.

If anything noted above resonates with your experiences, it may be helpful to evaluate how your friendship makes you feel—assessing your cognitive, emotional, and physiological states when you’re around this person or when you think about your relationship with them. It may also be necessary to initiate a conversation with the friend you’re thinking of surrounding your concerns. Doing so may help open a new, insightful dialogue or help you re-assess your boundaries, expectations, and understanding of friendships.

Clinicians at CFIR can support you to find and build relationships by enriching your interpersonal skills. Book an appointment today and start your journey to learning how to communicate and connect emotionally!

Nereah Felix, B.A. is a counsellor at Centre for Interpersonal Relationships (CFIR) in Ottawa and is under the supervision of Dr. Aleks Milosevic, C.Psych. The clients who come to see her are provided with an authentic, non-judgmental, safe, and supportive environment to share their experiences and improve their wellbeing. Nereah is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology at the University of Ottawa.

Passionate Love, Lust, and Attachment: The Neurochemistry of Falling in Love, Bonding, and Staying Lustful!

We are all hardwired to fall in love, share lustful moments, and bond with others. In fact, there are complex neurochemicals that are released during all of these different phases of relationship development. In this 2-part blog series, I will share important information with you about the neurochemistry of falling in love, how falling in love influences lust, how lust influences falling in love, and how all of this leads to attachment bonding in relationships!

Passionate Love, Lust, and Attachment: The Neurochemistry of Romantic Passionate Love (Blog 1 of 2)

Have you ever found yourself tightly gripping and constantly checking your cellphone awaiting contact from your new love interest? If so, you may be in the phase of the universal experience of adult romantic passionate love. Across history and cultures, we have fallen in love, lusted for others, and attached to them as a result of innate emotion-motivation systems in the brain that drive us to create relationships. In her book Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, Helen Fisher (2004) describes the adult romantic passionate love phase as an initial phase in the formation of an adult attachment bond. Read on to find out how the neurotransmitters in our brain – dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin – are implicated in you falling in love.

First, Fisher described the universal experience of romantic love based on her research. When falling in love, our new partner is imbued with special meaning (i.e., unique, all-important, novel). We also develop strong focus as our beloved becomes the centre of our attention and we pay special notice of our shared events, messages, music, etc. During this period, we also aggrandize our new love. We may magnify positive aspects of our adored one while minimizing flaws and exaggerating our similarities. We experience intrusive thoughts as we just cannot stop thinking about our new loved one. Emotionally, Fisher describes us as being “on fire.” We experience intense emotions and find ourselves feeling anxious, shy, and awkward at times. We have an increase in energy as well. All of a sudden we find ourselves staying up late, having sex all night, and still making it to work … then doing it all over again the next day. This energy burst also comes with a loss of appetite and sleeplessness. Driven by a deep stirring to connect, our moods can shift rapidly from ecstasy to despair depending on whether our beloved is as responsive to us as we would like. We also become hypersensitive looking for clues about whether our beloved is into us or not! Finally, Fisher noted that when we are infatuated, we are more likely to change elements of our personal identity like clothing and music preferences, alter our mannerisms and habits, and even take on new values, all to win over our new love interest.

Once you fall in love, it is hard to turn back, as a result of the numerous neurotransmitters at play. Fisher’s research using fMRI studies found that dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are the neurotransmitters at the root of passion for our new love. She found elevated levels of dopamine, which is at the root of the hyper focus, high motivation, high energy, and exhilaration, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite. She claims that this neurotransmitter, when heightened during romantic passionate love, creates something within us similar to an addiction process, intense dependency, and cravings to be with our lover. High levels of dopamine are also found in fMRI studies of individuals experiencing a drug addiction. Love becomes so addictive at this point that when you do not have access to your new loved one, more dopamine is released to energize you to focus on further pursuing the reward of being with them. Testosterone, the hormone at the root of sexual desire, is also increased in our bodies as a result of the higher levels of dopamine. In other words, increases in dopamine come with novelty and passionate love, which then increases sexual desire through a heightening of testosterone.

Finally, the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin are also implicated in romantic passionate love. Increased norepinephrine adds to the high, exhilaration, energy, and sleeplessness we experience, and fuels us to remember the smallest details about our lover. Serotonin is lowered, which results in the obsessiveness and racing thoughts we experience. With increases in dopamine and norepinephrine, and decreases in serotonin, we enter into positive states of mind about the other and obscure negative aspects of the beloved. We are neurochemically primed through these transmitters to also experience a sense of oneness based on exaggeration of similarities and minimization of difference. These effects facilitate a sense of symbiosis, which eventually wanes after about 8 to 12 months when the tidal wave of neurochemicals subsides. At this point, we begin to realize our differences with our beloved, which can then bring on more conflict for some couples. Fisher’s conclusion based on fMRI studies was that adult romantic passionate love is a primary motivation system in the brain and stems from the changes in neurotransmitters summarized in this blog post.

Fisher’s research studies explain why in the early stages of a relationship, particularly during the adult romantic passionate love phase, many partners will describe having had “tons of great sex” and then later wonder “where did it go?!” For those of you who wondered, this chemically heightened period that revs your sexual motor only lasts for about one year. After this period, sex within the context of an attachment bond becomes motivated by different goals. See my other blogs on attachment and sex, including Part 2 of this blog series, to see what happens to couple sexuality once couples move from romantic passionate love to a more stable long-term bond.

Clinicians at CFIR work to support clients to develop passionate relationships and secure attachment bonds. We recognize that novelty and a connection are important contributors to a lifetime of passion. We also support our clients to recognize that falling in love might be a different experience from the process of establishing a secure attachment bond with a partner. Once the adult romantic passionate love phase ends, usually within one year, the dust settles and our self and relationship experience can shift. Learn how to recognize the telltale signs of whether you have found Mr./Ms. Right in a future blog post titled “Is This Mr./Ms. Right or Wrong?: Consider This Dating and Relationship Screener Before You Say ‘I Do’”, so that when the adult romantic passionate love phase settles, you will be ready for a lifetime of love.

Dr. Dino Zuccarini, C.Psych. is CEO and co-founder of the CFIR. He has published book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles on the subject of attachment, attachment injuries in couples, and attachment and sexuality. He has taught courses at the University of Ottawa in Interpersonal Relationships, Family Psychology, and Human Sexual Behaviour. He has a thriving clinical practice in which he treats individuals suffering from complex attachment-related trauma, difficult family of origin issues that have affected self and relationship development, depression and anxiety, personality disorders, sex and sexuality-related issues, and couple relationships. At CFIR, he also supports the professional development of counsellors, psychotherapists, and supervised practice psychologists by providing clinical supervision.

Can You Fall Out of Love?

My colleague and friend, Genevieve Boudreault, and I were interviewed for a university podcast. At one point, the show host asked us, “Can you fall out of love?

Gen and I are therapists who specialize in working with both couples and individuals who come to us facing loneliness, heartbreak, and uncertainty whether they can make their relationship last.

Gen remarked: “No, I don’t think that you can fall out of love…” She seemed so confident in her answer. It made me pause.

Can you fall out of love?

I pondered this question for a while, thinking about the clients who come to me for help – many who have scars based on past relationships, showing that the effects of loving another are far-reaching.

Love changes your body chemistry. It can change the way you see the world and, conversely, when love ends, the world can feel like it is falling apart. The wounds of lost love can feel devastating. Therefore, when I was asked, “Can you fall out of love?” I responded that despite whether you can or can’t ‘fall out’ of love, there are some essential ways to keep yourself together if a relationship ends:

  • Talk to someone. Often when we are hurt, it can be a tendency to keep out feelings bottled up, to slink further into ourselves. Opening up about our heartache can lessen its effects.
  • Realize that love can come from more than a romantic partner. Friends, family, and colleagues can give fulfillment and a sense of security.
  • Take time to write out a letter to yourself about why things ended. This exercise has been incredibly useful for my clients who have had recent heartbreaks. Writing a loving letter can help keep perspective when we start to miss this person and wonder why it is over.
  • Talk to a therapist. While friends can offer love and comfort, therapists are skilled at seeing patterns of relating and can help guide you to feeling worth within yourself, so when you love again, you can feel stronger.

Psychologists and clinicians at CFIR help individuals and couples discover how to identify and express their selves in their relationships with others. We also support individuals and partners on how to exit from challenging relationship patterns and become more accessible and responsive to one another. Healthy relationship functioning is essential in maintaining a good sense of ourselves.

Jess A.L. Erb, D.Psychotherapy, R.P. (Qualifying) is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) who believes that the best therapy happens when a deep trust can form between counsellor and client. She works with adults and adolescents in an array of issues such as depression/suicidal ideation, anxiety/panic disorders, grief and loneliness, as well as all forms of abuse – emotional, physical, sexual, self-harm, and eating disorders. Before working as an associate at CFIR, she trained as a doctor in psychotherapy at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Emotional Dialogues in Couples: 9 Steps to Greater Emotional Communication and Connection!

Learning how to experience and express our emotions and needs to a partner can be very difficult, particularly if in our own family of origin, our inner feelings and needs were not addressed. Working through feelings and emotions requires adequate time and space to complete these types of interactions.  Couples often struggle and elevate distress when trying to engage in discussions of feelings and needs while multi-tasking (e.g., cooking, driving, shopping, taking care of the children). 

Discovering how to efficiently and effectively process your partner’s and your emotional experience is essential, so each of you feels understood and seen by the other. Picking the right time to have these dialogues is crucial, taking turns so that each partner feels sufficiently validated in their experience and their needs resolved is also important. Emotional accessibility and responsiveness to our partner’s emotional experiences and needs help our partners distress to lower and deepens the connection between partners. To be accessibility means to be able to be present and engaged sufficiently with your partner’s emotional experience. Responsiveness involves interest and engagement in identifying and resolving the underlying needs associated with emotions. These types of interactions are the essence of secure attachment.

The clinicians at CFIR support couple clients to develop emotional attunement through nine different steps. Learning how to complete these types of emotional interactions can lower distress and stress levels when partners have a guide to help them to process their emotions and needs. Come learn how to emotionally communicate and connect using steps developed by clinicians at CFIR’s offices.

Attachment Injuries in Couples: Healing After Betrayals

by: Dr. Dino Zuccarini, C.Psych.

An attachment injury occurs when a partner is betrayed or abandoned, and trust is violated at a moment of critical need for support and care. The injury can be traumatic as the injured partner is left with a sense of helplessness, isolation, and intense fear about the other’s availability (Johnson et al. 2001; Zuccarini et al. 2013). These traumatic incidents occur when a partner’s belief and faith in the reliability and dependability of the partner is shattered. Examples of these types of injuries include marital affairs, emotional affairs, money mismanagement, violation of boundaries, abandonment at times of need during pregnancy, alignment with parents over partner, child-rearing conflicts, and lack of support during illness, among others. These traumatic incidences become a barometer of the offending partner’s trustworthiness, dependability, and reliability. The attachment bond between partners becomes frayed as a result of these injuries.

In these instances, clinicians at CFIR will address the lingering hurt and anger and heal the frayed bond. The emotional processing of these events is essential to the healing process.  Attachment bonds are emotional bonds.  The emotional accessibility and responsiveness to the injured partner’s experience facilitates recovery and healing.

Relationship Therapy for LGBTQ+

by: Dr. Dino Zuccarini, C.Psych.

Living and loving in the social margins of a heteronormative world can create complexity in the relationships of individuals from the LGBTQ+ community.  In our early years, recognition of being different than members of your family of origin and peers can create significant attachment and self fears. We all need a sense of acceptance, emotional validation, approval, and admiration if we are to develop a strong sense of self and connection to others. Individuals from LGBTQ+, in many instances, may face abandonment, rejection, punishment, and abuse just for being different. These types of traumatic experiences create fears and distrust in others, mainly when early attachment figures are the individuals who are the source of rejection, punishment, and abandonment. Rejection also fills individuals with a deep sense of shame that comes with deep feelings of unlovability, insignificance, and worthlessness.  

The internalization of these experiences can create difficulties when fears, shame, and past hurts limit the capacity to trust and connect others. The clinicians at CFIR work to build more secure, resilient identities and strengthen interpersonal relationships in the LGBTQ+.  They support you to unpack the emotional residue of early distress in attachment and/or with pears and the impact of this residue on your attachments.

Attachment Style and Couple Sexual Issues

According to attachment theory, as a result of early year interactions with caregivers, we either become securely attached or insecurely attached—either anxiously or avoidantly attached.  Attachment style then influences sexuality in complex ways. Anxiously attached partners in the bedroom might be seeking out sex for reassurance of self or attachment fears.  For example, they may feel less positive about themselves (e.g., undesirable or unattractive), and/or have worries about the availability, accessibility, and responsiveness of their partner.  Strong sexual desire is fuelled by the need for self and attachment reassurance. Avoidantly attached partners are not motivated sexually in the same way.  These partners are more likely to focus on the pleasure-oriented aspects of sex only and have difficulties with feelings of closeness.  Some avoidantly attached partners will have sex for duty’s sake. Arousal and desire problems arise when anxiously or avoidantly attached partners are unable to fulfill these goals.  

The clinicians at CFIR support couple partners to discover the multiple ways in which securely attached partners experience and explore sexuality. The couple and sex therapy clinicians at CFIR use a wide variety of strategies to support couple partners to build more confidence in their sexuality, greater eroticism, and desire.

Forgiveness and Reconciliation for Couples Post Affairs

Forgiveness and reconciliation after an extramarital affair is a complex process. Forgiveness occurs when there is an experiential shift in the injured partner toward the betraying partner— a movement toward softer feelings. This experiential shift requires an unpacking of different types of emotional reactions associated with these types of relationship traumas. The shattering of one’s sense of self, the other, and one’s sense of future identity in the aftermath of an affair can create instability and insecurity in one’s self and the relationship. These types of injuries result in complex emotional reactions that require resolution. Reconciliation, the next step in recovery, occurs when steps are taken to rebuild trust and restore the relationship after a forgiveness process. These steps are essential for the restoration of security.

The team of psychologists, psychotherapists, and counsellors at CFIR employ evidence-based interventions to support relationship partners beleaguered by emotional injuries in the aftermath of an affair. Steps to forgiveness and reconciliation and the interventions required for successful resolution of an extramarital affair have been delineated in research conducted by Dr. Zuccarini, C.Psych., co-founder of the Centre for Interpersonal Relationships. (Zuccarini et al., 2013). Clinicians at CFIR are prepared to support you in promoting healing in your relationship.

CFIR OTTAWA moved to its new home on JULY 4TH, 2022. Click here for more details.