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I saw my friends yesterday and they told me they were going to divorce, it was weird because I had seen them before and I had always thought they were a happy couple. I was shocked.

Is the second had necessary? I think it is because at the end of my last visit I did not think anymore that they were a happy couple. And if I don't use past perfect the reader could understand I was shocked because I still thought they were a happy couple .

Am I right?

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    It sounds a bit as repetition, although it isn't one of "had". If you feel you need to drop something, drop the second "I", making it "it was weird because I had seen them before and had always thought they were..." Oct 17, 2015 at 17:32

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Yes, you don't need the second had in that sentence.

Skip the I too.

I had seen them before and always thought they were a happy couple

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