My Husband Says His Cheating Was Really A Form Of Soul-Searching

By: Katie Lersch:  Some husbands who get caught cheating have very creative explanations as to why the cheating took place.  This can be especially true if there were no obvious cracks in an otherwise happy marriage.

So instead of telling his wife that he cheated because he no longer loved her or wasn’t happy in his marriage (neither of which were true) he may give you sort of vague excuses like: “I was struggling within myself,” or “I was trying to find myself again, or “I was soul – searching.”

To a hurting wife, these type of excuse are just bound to sound like a load of nonsense.  A wife might say: “frankly, I thought that I had a wonderful marriage until I found out that my husband had slept with a waitress from the restaurant down the street.  She’s not that pretty.  And she’s clearly not that accomplished.  So I don’t get it.  My husband swears that he still wants our marriage and that he still loves me.  If this is true (and I honestly believe that it is,) then I really don’t understand.  I explained this to my husband and his response was ‘well, I don’t completely get it either.  I went through this phrase where I was kind of soul-searching and trying to determine the meaning of life.  And during that time, I sort of went crazy.  I don’t have any other way to explain it and I know that it doesn’t make sense.  But that is what happened.’  Is this whole soul – searching theory a common excuse?”

Yes, it is.  This excuse kind of goes hand in hand with a mid-life crisis, usually. A man has to confront aging and what he has accomplished.  Many people begin to wonder ‘is there all there is?’ while having to face their own mortality.  And this can be quite painful.  In order to ease that pain, they may begin to participate in risky behaviors that aren’t like them.  Some will buy a new car or start to dress differently.  Others will take up ‘extreme adventure’ type of hobbies like skydiving.  When a man is acting this way, he is more vulnerable to having an affair, at least in my opinion.  Because he is seeking out experiences meant to make him feel more ‘alive.’  And it is during this time period that many men are not thinking clearly.  They may do things that are completely out of character for them.

Of course, that doesn’t excuse them.  Even though they were struggling, obviously they still had the use of their brain and their conscience.  And regardless of the reasoning, you now have to pick up the pieces because of what he did.

But yes, the soul – searching theory is quite common and, as painful as it is, it does give you important clues and a starting place that will be very helpful in recovery, if you choose to go that route.  Because some husbands will tell you that they have absolutely no idea why they cheated.  Yours is at least trying to understand his motivations.

And if you are going to do counseling, this will give your therapist a very good start in helping to determine what void he was trying to fill.  Because until you can do that, you can’t really have confidence that this is all over for good.  People don’t always just resolve their soul – searching immediately and on their own.

Sure, he may see the trouble that all of this has caused and then vow not to be dissatisfied with middle-age or to not question things anymore, but this is easier said than done.  He may try to put a lid on his feelings, but when he does, this might bring about a sense of restlessness and disappointment  – two additional things that make him vulnerable to risky behaviors.

So by no means am I saying that you have to buy the soul – searching excuse.  But it is a common one.  And it can be a useful one because it can give you a starting point on finding the exact void that he was trying to fill.  Because they are more constructive ways to attempt to fill it than by having an affair.

I know that it’s hard to hear what sound like lame excuses.  I raged against my own husband when he gave me the same.  But, if you are going to go the recovery route, you do have to start somewhere.  And for many, recovery is possible with a lot of work and willingness.  The epilogue is on my blog at

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