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You did not let go when you should have, and I proceeded into the world pulling against a tether that ought not to have been there. I resented it, as you did, but I loved you still.

I love you still. Each time, I am paralysed, watching as the vessel fragments into shards that explode, zooming away from one another, taking my memories with them and splintering them across the room. While large, shrapnel-like ceramic shapes clink and rattle against the baseboard beneath the kitchen cupboards, tiny particles of the shattered cup float like dust into the cracks in the floor and waft away on the air, gone forever.

They are imperceptible to the human eye, and squint after them as I might, I know that I cannot get them back again. A broken cup is a different kind of object to a cup; its essence is somehow fractured along with its form, and it becomes disunified, robbed of its true purpose, even if you manage to force its parts to embrace one another again, and hold fast.

I cannot fix the things I break completely, so I thought that I might as well honour the damage. I bought a Japanese Kintsugi kit to help me fuse the cups back together. To do it, you mix lacquer with a gold powder, and use it to fuse broken pottery back together. It means that I can drink from the cups again, and the golden veins that shiver through the floral pattern serve as evidence that the memories I keep, though they may crack and change with time, still keep a part of you here, with me.

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Book Review: The Gift of Betrayal

You took my clumsy steps into adulthood as a betrayal, a heartbreak of your own Memories I keep, though they crack and change with time, keep a part of you here, with me Wed, Jun 26, , Laura Kennedy. More from The Irish Times Fashion. Sponsored Free workshops at your Local Enterprise Office will prepare your business for customs. Ireland must prepare for international tax turbulence. Employers are recognising the importance of supporting employees' mental health. Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.

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Rejection of the Gift

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I could not concentrate on our coupled life and frankly did not care to. I had to enlist my husband, to tell him so that we could battle this together.

So I admitted to the affair one evening after dinner. Almost 20 years after that confession I can still remember how the whole world narrowed down to the two of us sitting there, that new truth congealing between us. Once the affair is out in the open, you will strive mightily to justify yourself. You can both get over this, yes. But the innocence will have gone out of your union and it will seem as if a bone has been broken and healed, but one that rain or cold weather can set to throbbing again.

So, now take the other side. You discover your cheating spouse, as I once did, and what you experience is not far removed from post-traumatic stress.

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A Roomful of Yearning and Regret

It is a form of shock. Your fight-or-flight mechanism will go haywire. You will become consumed with where your spouse is at any moment, even if you see him in the pool with your children. View all New York Times newsletters. You will lose your appetite. Stress will blow out your metabolism. You will torture yourself with details known and imagined. You will fit together the mysteries of his daily patterns like a wicked puzzle.

Every absence or unexplained late night or new habit or sudden urge to join a gym, for instance, will suddenly make horrible sense.

"The Gift of Betrayal: How to Heal Your Life When Your World Explodes"

You will wonder why you were so stupid. Then detonated it. Sooner or later your illicit, once-beloved object of affection will become tawdry, wearying. You will come to long for simple, honest pleasures like making dinner with your sons or going out to the movies without having to look over your shoulder.

You will just want to be with someone who does what he says he is going to do, goes where he says he is going to go, and can be found any time you need him because he is not hiding. I say all this by way of hope, believe it or not. It has to burn out of you over months and months, flaming up and then subsiding as you get used to the fact. A great deal of comfort will come from your friends, many of whom will offer advice — hate him, leave him, move on — that you should listen to politely and then reject.

After all, the consequences of your decisions will be visited upon you, not your friends.

Treatment for Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

They will be only too happy to amplify your confusion, listen to you cry, and then get into the car and drive home to their own intact families. IN the end your marriage may not need to be trashed, though mine was. The affairs metastasized in our relationship from the inside out.

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By the time all was said and done, there was little left to save. Our marriage had become like a leaf eaten away by caterpillars, where the petiole and midrib remain with some ghostly connective tracery in between. Not enough to hold even a drop of rain. They have this marriage of some years behind them, and it is a monument to success. A few weeks or months of illicit passion could not hold a candle to it.


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If you imagine yourself in such a situation, where would you fit an affair in neatly? If you were 75, which would you rather have: years of steady if occasionally strained devotion, or something that looks a little bit like the Iraqi city of Fallujah, cratered with spent artillery? Tell us what you think.