I have several for you. During the pandemic I've been spending time reading novels involving infidelity. Yep triggers, but it's somehow cathartic for me to yell and get angry with the cheater, usually wife. I find them quite entertaining when there's groveling and when the chickens come home to roost.
Cheat Day by Liv Stratman. A 30 yr old wife is unhappy, despite a loving husband. OK he works too much, but loves her, his family embraces her. But it's not enough, she's restless and dives into diet after diet searching for ??? Lady needs therapy. Begins affair with handsome carpenter renovating her sister's bakery. Has sex with this jerk during the day, then back to her husband at night. Thinks of leaving marriage, will she stay? This heroine made me very angry, well written story though. The book title is a play on words - cheating on her diets, cheating on her husband.
The Stuff That Never Happened by Maddie Dawson - This was quite good, skillfully weaving past and present together. He's a young professor of history, she's a young artist. Marriage of opposites. He works too hard, she has too much time on her hands. Starts affair with his best friend(!), a writer. She doesn't work, so she and hubby's BF have all day for well you know. Leaves husband for best friend, husband tells her don't come back (yea!). She goes to train station to run off with her lover, best friend never shows, he's staying in his marriage. And she's on her own. After 15 months? wins husband back. Husband insists they move from NYC so that they get away from best friend and so that he doesn't have to work so much to help their relaionship. Fast forward 23 years later, their daughter in NYC is having a baby, wife is restless (oh oh) and moves to NYC to 'look after daughter'. Runs into old AP, she promised her poor husband NC forever with this jerk, but you know it's been 20 years so statute of limitations is rationalized. Can their marriage survive this new 'friendship' 20+ years after she cheated on her husband with this same guy? Someone needed to shake sense into the husband for putting up with her and the wife for well everything.
Playing Away by Adele Parks. A golden couple in their late 20s. Married 9 months(!). He works way too much for a newlywed. She has a history prior to marriage of lots of men, lots of sex, and now gets itchy britches. Starts affair with someone like her, a player who seduces many women. She's head over heals for this asshole, he tires of her after seducing her, cools things off, calls her occasionally for a booty call when drunk. Wife is distraught her boyfriend doesn't love her enough. In a brilliant bit of writing by the author the wife wishes "if only he treated me as well as my husband does". Husband finds out. Oopsie. Leaves her. Can she win her husband back?
Any Way You Want Me by Lucy Diamond. The heroine in this story might the 'champ' when it comes to doing her man wrong. Whoa. 30 yr old woman has a newborn and a toddler with her partner, not married, but he really loves her and they've been a couple for 8 years. He's the breadwinner, she gave up work after their first was born. They've drifted a bit in their connection to each other. Never a good thing in stories of this genre. She's bored, starts trolling the internet for her old flames, on the lookout for a boyfriend. Finds one - the sexy, dreamy, architect husband... of her man's boss(!). Puts in jeopardy her man's job, and jeoparizes the future of her toddler kids. But you know a gal's gotta pursue what she wants. I won't go into all the nasty ways she betrays her husband, but it is very bad. Husband finds out. Oopsie. Can she win her husband back?
Running the Bulls by Cathie Pelletier. A long married couple, both just retired 55ish in age have 3 adult kids. Wife is restless with her marriage. Wakes up poor Howard her husband in middle of the night and tells him she had an affair 20 years ago. Gee thanks wife, crashes their retirement. Howard storms out of the house, can't stay with her. The rest of book is pretty much Howard stumbling about trying to look after his new bachelor self, because well, men just can't survive without their cheating wives. Will their marriage survive? Contains a very hurtful cheating episode, told in flashback from 20 years previous. Wife tells Howard she wants to spend a week out of town visiting her mother. Howard agrees and dutiful husband he is, drives her to the airport. It's a sham, she walks into the terminal, watches husband leave, then runs out and jumps in her boyfriend's car. They spend the week in a motel. End of week boyfriend returns her to the airport 1 hour before her return flight was scheduled to arrive. Husband shows up at airport to pick her up after her week 'visiting her mother'. The sham is complete, she's cuckolded poor Howard.
Here's two other stories with a plot close to what you're looking for. I enjoyed them both, in each story the married couple agrees to an open marriage. In both cases it goes sideways big time, what train wrecks you get to see here, lots of angst.
The Intermission by Elyssa Friedland. Cass and Jonathan have been married 6 years, golden couple, brilliant future ahead of them. He wants children. They've had one miscarriage, she's hesitant, not only of becoming a mother, but her doubts snowball into just how much does she love her husband, her husband now seems boring and unsexy. He on the other hand really loves her and is afraid to lose her. Cass is pretty selfish, she leverages his love and his fear of losing her when she fast talks him into staying married with her while they (meaning she) takes a 6 month 'Intermission' from their marriage. She's gone, flies from NYC to LA and lives like a single woman. Can their marriage survive? A lot of fun to read, I was torn between hoping they'd get back together and Jonathan telling his wife that his life was now better off without her.
The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn. A couple in their early 30s see all their friends' marriages falling apart. One couple seem to have the solution, they describe how wonderful their open marriage is. These two dummies think their friends' open marriage is the answer for them, too - have some fun, some extra romance now and so preserve their marriage long term. Complications - they have a young autistic son who requires both their care, so there's no question they must live together... I mean they're happily married, they'll just chug along as they always have, what could go wrong? Oopsie, things don't quite go as planned. Liked this book a lot, what a train wreck. Both of them evolved into being quite cruel to one another, the husband in the beginning of their 'Arrangement', later on the wife returns the favour, with interest.
[This message edited by SnowToArmPits at 12:35 PM, Wednesday, February 2nd]