She didn't know her husband was cheating until he died in the arms of another woman

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission.

Fifty years ago, my parents knew a couple who lived next door. This couple came from the same village overseas where my mother lived as a little girl.

When the couple next door were still children, long before they were an official couple, their families were friends, and they were friends by extension. They spent all their time together until one day; he announced he had overheard his parents talking, and it sounded like they were going to move to the United States.

The two friends felt brokenhearted to learn they would have to live without each other. He promised her that if his family moved to the United States, he would come back for her. He told her he planned to marry her someday, and he would bring her back to America to live with him.

He said he couldn't see himself living without her.

She felt the same way.

He kept his promise. Just as he planned, he married her, and she moved to the United States to be with him. They became parents to two children, one boy and one girl. His bride was an exceptional wife and mother, just as he had expected her to be. Everyone said so.

Little by little, he started staying out late. On weekends, he wouldn't come home at all. He wouldn't call his wife or offer her any explanation about where he was or what he was doing. This went on for years.

Her friends told her his behavior was unacceptable, but she never complained.

She knew he must be having an affair, but she kept quiet. She may have suspected his infidelity, but she didn't know for sure.

His clothes often smelled like another woman's perfume, and he had lipstick stains on his shirts. Things didn't look good.

All the signs were there, but she ignored them.

The man told his wife he was taking a business trip on a weekend. Halfway through the weekend, two police officers appeared at the couple's door. They told the woman they needed her to identify her husband's body at the morgue, and she did.

It was him; her cheating husband was dead.

The troubling part about how he died was this. The man wasn't actually on a business trip at all. He was spending the weekend at a nearby romantic bed-and-breakfast with his affair partner when his heart stopped at a most inopportune time. His mistress was the one who called paramedics.

His wife and his mistress were both devastated. His wife was also furious, understandably so.

She didn't know her husband was cheating until he died in the arms of another woman.

According to my mother, who knew the couple well, the widow never remarried. She died a few years ago, still single.

As for the mistress, she moved away and no one ever heard from her again.

My mother told me this story as a cautionary tale about what can happen when you ignore the signs that something is wrong in your relationship.

It's a sad story, but it also serves as a reminder to be alert and stay attentive to what's happening in our relationships. If we notice something that seems amiss, we should speak up and take action, so the same thing doesn't happen to us.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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