His wife didn't know he was cheating until she taped his phone calls

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

Long before the days of cellphones, I had a family member who suspected her husband of cheating. She couldn't prove it, but something felt wrong.

My relative spoke to several of her coworkers about her suspicions, and one of them made a suggestion.

Why not record his phone conversations?

Just as there were no cellphones, there were no digital recorders. Recording her husband's phone calls required a plan that was a little more analog.

Following her coworker's instructions, she went to a now-defunct electronics store called Radio Shack to pick up the requisite equipment. She bought a cassette recorder that ran on batteries and took the same cassette tapes people frequently listened to in their cars prior to CDs and MP3s.

She also purchased a few extra wires and adapters to hook the cassette recorder onto one of the extensions of her landline phone. Of course, she also bought a big package of cassette tapes.

I helped her connect the cassette recorder with all its accessories and wires to the telephone extension in her daughter's bedroom. We snaked the wires behind the bedroom bureau and hid the whole shebang inside a dresser drawer.

My relative went to work that night. The following morning, she saw that the entire side of the first cassette tape was full.

Sure enough, the cassette tape held the evidence she dreaded. Her husband was indeed having an affair, and he and his lady friend had spent the previous evening chatting up a storm while my family member was at work.

She confronted her husband about his affair without telling him exactly how she had collected evidence against him.

Knowing nothing about the secret cassette recorder hidden in their daughter's bedroom, her husband assumed someone he knew had snitched on him. He couldn't figure out who it was, but it didn't stop him from making phone calls to his mistress night after night.

He never suspected that he himself was the source of the evidence his wife was compiling against him.

Finally, one night, she decided to tell him how she knew all about his affair. They argued, and she showed him the shoebox filled with cassette tapes full of conversations between him and his girlfriend.

He responded by running the tapes over with the tires of his truck.

She responded by buying more blank cassette tapes. Her husband still didn't know where the cassette recorder was hidden, and with no cellphones, he just kept using the landline at home to call his paramour.

This went on for days, maybe weeks, definitely not months. Finally, he got the message. If he was going to continue his affair, he was going to have to be a lot more discreet.

Believe it or not, they are still married today. They're older now, of course, and he has finally settled down. There are no more affairs and no more secret cassette tapes, just memories both good and bad of a marriage that has lasted more than fifty years and outlasted more than one extramarital affair.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

Massachusetts State

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