Stories on this page have a married character who cheats or has cheated on their spouse, either secretly or openly.
The Five Forty-Eight | John Cheever
When Blake steps off the elevator after work, he sees a woman he had a brief affair with, but he doesn’t want to speak to her now. He realizes she is stalking him. He thinks about their relationship, and believes she will be easy to shake.
The Lady with the Pet Dog | Anton Chekhov
Dmitri is unhappily married, unfaithful to his wife, and has a low opinion of women. While on vacation he meets a young woman, also married, and they have an affair. After Dmitri returns to his routine he finds that he can’t stop thinking about her.
The Gilded Six-Bits | Zora Neale Hurston
Joe and Missie, happy newlyweds, live in a modest house in an all-black community. A new man in town, Otis, opens an ice cream parlor, and makes a show of his gold accessories. He talks about his money and his success with women. Joe and Missie’s marriage is put to the test.
The Difference | Ellen Glasgow
Margaret Fleming receives a letter from a woman, Rose, who says she is in love with Margaret’s husband, George, and that George loves her, too. A friend of Margaret’s, Dorothy, comes over and they have a debate about philandering husbands and love.
Sweat | Zora Neale Hurston
Delia supports her abusive, cheating husband by washing clothes. He comes up with a plan to get rid of her, to take up with his mistress.
The Doctor’s Son | John O’Hara
There is an outbreak of influenza and Dr. Malloy is sick. His son, Jimmy, drives the replacement, the medical student Dr. Myers, on his rounds. One of the stops is Mrs. Evans, whom Dr. Myers is attracted to.
The Painted Door | Sinclair Ross
John walks five miles from his farm to his father’s to help him with chores. His wife Ann doesn’t want him to go because they’re expecting a storm and she wants the company. He says he’ll ask their neighbor Steven to drop in to play cards while he’s gone. Ann decides to do some painting to pass the time. After a while the weather turns bad.
Read “The Painted Door” (Scroll down a bit)
Jaws | Donald Barthelme
William and Natasha tell a cashier at the A&P about their relationship, including money issues, an extra-marital affair, and Natasha’s biting problem.
The Storm | Kate Chopin
While her husband is waiting out a storm at a local store, Calixta is at home. She goes to bring in her laundry from the front porch when she sees an old love, Alcee. She invites him inside.
His Women | Alice Adams
Meredith wants to get back together with Carter. She says she isn’t seeing Adam anymore. He is unsure. He thinks about the women who have been in his life – Isabel, his first wife; Meredith, his second wife; and Chase, with whom he had his most recent serious relationship.
Janus | Anne Beattie
Andrea, a successful real estate agent, has a favorite bowl that she displays in homes she is selling. She feels the bowl is responsible for her success.
Shoe | Heidi Jon Schmidt
The narrator thinks about how she imagines her grandfather; she has never seen a picture of him. When she was a child she found a single shoe in her grandmother’s closet. It made her mother angry.
Mrs. Bathurst | Rudyard Kipling
The narrator gets the story of Mr. Vickery, a reticent man who deserted the navy. He became infatuated with Mrs. Bathurst, a hotel proprietor known for her generosity.
Residents and Transients | Bobbie Ann Mason
Mary is married and lives in Kentucky. She is in her parents place, selling it for them in their absence. Her husband is in Louisville, looking for a home for them. Mary has taken a lover and isn’t sure if she wants to leave.
The Cone | H. G. Wells
Raut, an artist, is sitting with Mrs. Horrocks in her home. Raut asks if her husband knows about them, but she assures him he doesn’t. As they talk about their feelings for each other, they hear the door click shut. Mr. Horrocks stands in front of them. They aren’t sure how much he has heard.
The Memento | John Collier
Eric is out walking in the country when he is called over by a neighbor, an old man. After making conversation about their community, the old man shows Eric his museum, a collection of items that all have something in common.
Read “The Memento” (Ctl + F the title, it’s near the top)