Wandering Eyes?
May 15, 2007 10:36 AM   Subscribe

What if your girlfriend frequently accuses me of looking at other women when I'm most certainly not?

I am in the unfortunate position of having a girlfriend that I love very much but is frequently under the impression that I'm checking out other women, while I'm with her. Yes, like any guy I look at women. Not leering, no catcalls, just looking. However, I have enough consideration and sense to not do this while I'm with the one I love. I often look around at stuff when I'm with anyone, or with my girl. I'm a visual person, light flickering on a wall is interesting to me, a person walking by, birds flying, whatever. I don't have my eyes locked onto hers the entire time I'm with her. That would be strange. These accusations leave me feeling bad and my only comeback is that I'm not doing what she thinks I'm doing and she has a streak of paranoia around this issue. What can one do? How can I convince my girlfriend that I'm not doing this? Is this some kind of disorder I haven't heard about? No one has ever accused me of this before and I'm 51 years old.
posted by philmas to Human Relations (53 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps actually start checking out the ladies. That way she'll see the difference.
posted by zeoslap at 10:42 AM on May 15, 2007 [2 favorites]

There is a short documentary about some guy that was so brow beaten about this same issue that he looked at the ground ALL the time. He could no longer look people in the eye.

Show her that movie. It sends an effective message without being confrontational.
posted by markovich at 10:42 AM on May 15, 2007

I know you said you're NOT looking, and I believe you, but you might still find some of the comments in this thread helpful.
posted by JanetLand at 10:43 AM on May 15, 2007

How can I convince my girlfriend that I'm not doing this?

You can't, because you are doing it- you said so yourself. Your insisting "I am not looking at anything but you!!!" is not going to get you anywhere. You need to talk to her and figure out what exactly about your behavior is bothering her- why does what you're doing now hurt her feelings? what does she expect of you? And also, how do you expect her to act when she's feeling hurt by you- what's the best way to resolve this conflict? There's a whole range of ways to deal with this issue; I imagine you could probably find a compromise where both parties are satisfied.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:44 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Forgive my blunt, insensitive, and un-PC response:

Admit to the fact that you *are* checking out other women. It's how we are programmed.

Men look at breasts (or legs, or butts, or ears, or whatever turns you on) and women look at babies. They also look at other men, but are generally more subtle in doing so.

If she expects you to stop looking at other women, how dare she *ever* again drool over some other male's offspring.

While you should be sensitive and subtle, having a girlfriend should not require you to shut off your nervous system.
posted by doctorcurly at 10:46 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Just last night I was talking with my boyfriend about looking at women....I told him that, frankly, the more women he looks at and the more hot and bothered he gets, the more I benefit from said hotness when he gets home! So, maybe reframe it for her (even if you aren't doing it you may not be able to convince her of that)?
posted by tristeza at 10:46 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have no idea how much you truly look at other women, so take this with a grain of salt...

Your ladyfriend might be suffering from some low self-esteem issues. Not only would looking cause her emotional pain, the merest hint of you doing such does. This causes her to lash out at your for the most minor of infractions.

There's not much help for this sort of stuff - only she can rebuild her self-esteem.
posted by unixrat at 10:49 AM on May 15, 2007

to be blunt:

I promise you it's not going to get better unless you take the bull by the horns. Make it clear that you're not putting up with it, explain that it's insulting and that you've CHOSEN to be with HER.

If you don't confront it, forcefully and obviously stating that there will be no compromise, it will never EVER get better, it will only get worse, and you'll be miserable forever.

Be honest, direct, and drop her like a bad habit if she doesn't acquiesce.
posted by TomMelee at 11:00 AM on May 15, 2007 [2 favorites]

Seriously. Danger, Will Robinson. You love her very much, but this sounds like the precursor to a relationship where you'll always have to defend yourself against accusations of cheating and other high crimes if she's THAT sensitive about you even looking at other women. Relationships require trust, and this doesn't sound like she trusts you to be faithful to her.
posted by SpecialK at 11:00 AM on May 15, 2007

What if your girlfriend frequently accuses me of looking at other women when I'm most certainly not?
*looks around* Last I checked, I don’t have a girlfriend, so what’s she doing accusing you of things? Come hang out with me, imaginary girlfriend!

If your question reflects what’s actually happening—that at specific times and places she’s accusing you of looking at other women there and then and you’re sure you’re not—I agree with zeoslap, that you should offer her the chance to calibrate her judgement, and I think ThePinkSuperhero’s suggestion is wrongheaded.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 11:03 AM on May 15, 2007

My wife always points out hot chicks that she thinks I may have missed. Now *that's* a real friend!
posted by luriete at 11:07 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Is this some kind of disorder I haven't heard about?

Yep, it's called "picking a fight."
posted by desuetude at 11:12 AM on May 15, 2007

If she expects you to stop looking at other women, how dare she *ever* again drool over some other male's offspring.

While you should be sensitive and subtle, having a girlfriend should not require you to shut off your nervous system.

What a... weird, weird comparison. Threads like this are so... tense and full of people who are looking for gender warfare.

In this thread, you are going to get a lot of answers along the lines of "Women are nags!" or "You should break up with her!" and stuff. I encourage you not to listen to them. This sounds like a very minor communication problem, and one you could easily address with your girlfriend.

It sounds like your girlfriend is saying: "I don't feel like you're giving me your full attention."

You may not agree with her assessment, but you should not argue with how she feels - and if you want to make headway on this issue, you will immediately stop implying that she's paranoid.

My relationship advice is almost always the same: STOP TRYING TO BE RIGHT. Start trying to talk about what's really going on. Leave your ego out of it. You can be right, and single, or you can get to the bottom of the problem and be happy.

For you, perhaps this would look like:

"You're looking at other women!"

You take a breath and say - WITHOUT SARCASM - "Can you explain to me why you think that? Because I was actually looking at that dog over there. I feel uncomfortable when I maintain prolonged eye contact, so sometimes it may seem like I'm not paying attention, but I promise I am."

And she might say "Well, I was telling you a story about what my day at work was like, and you just stopped looking at me. So it seemed like you weren't listening, and I saw that woman walk by over there, so I thought that you were looking at her instead."

And you might say "But I was listening. This is interesting. Clearly my "I'm Listening To You, Honey" signals aren't clear enough. How can they be more clear? Let's think about this."

And then you go back and forth - non-confrontationally - until you arrive at some conclusion.

I have obviously not seen you and your ladyfriend interact, but I'm going to suggest that you practice more active forms of listening. I bet you five dollars this issue would fade away if your girlfriend felt your attention more clearly. This can be as simple as "Uhuh?" and "Then what happened?"

Good luck, and don't listen to the people telling you to dump her! It's a lot easier to correct a communications problem than it is to find a new person to adore.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 11:13 AM on May 15, 2007 [7 favorites]

Run. Run away. This woman doesn't want a boyfriend, she wants a manservant.

Get out now.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:13 AM on May 15, 2007

To all:

Please note that the original poster said he is NOT looking at women when he is with his girlfriend.

The problem is that she's accusing him of looking at other women, when he is with her, even though he writes "I have enough consideration and sense to not do this while I'm with the one I love".

To the original poster:
Dump her. You've tried to assure her, she doesn't listen and makes you feel bad. You're 51 and don't need the high school drama.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:15 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

When she confronts you, look at her straight in the eye and ask her "what's wrong?" and then listen to her. She's telling you that something is bothering her - maybe she's not feeling loved enough, maybe she misses how you behaved at the beginning of the relationship, maybe she's starting to feel insecure about 'us as a couple' and she's having a hard time being blunt about it. Maybe she's not feeling special at the moment. It could be anything, but there is something wrong. Ask her and listen.
posted by Stynxno at 11:23 AM on May 15, 2007 [2 favorites]

I'm more or less in agreement with hmsbeagle. Things like this are generally concealing some unrelated or barely related issue. Not sure if it is girlfriend feeling lack of attention, insecurity, or what, but it's something else, and you need to hash it out with her.

Eventually you will be able to tell quickly when her complaint about X is really a problem with Y, and you'll be able to get her to focus on the real issue. After that, she'll start to catch herself, and handle the redirect internally, so you can proceed directly to Y.
posted by adamrice at 11:26 AM on May 15, 2007

I think you should have a talk with her about the issue - what makes her think you are checking out other women, how she expects you to behave, how this differs from your opinion about how you are behaving etc. But I will caution that she sounds very, very insecure, and you may not be able to resolve this satisfactorily. It is unreasonable (IMHO) to expect a) that a man may not look at any other women while in the presence of his girlfriend/wife. It is reasonable to expect that b) he will not drool, stop listening/engaging in conversation and other completely over the top responses. You need to make sure that she is expecting b) and not a).
posted by Joh at 11:27 AM on May 15, 2007

What if your girlfriend frequently accuses me of looking at other women when I'm most certainly not?

why you hangin' with my girlfriend?
wait, I don't have a girlfriend.

your gf sounds a bit paranoid from the way you present it, but of course, that's your presentation of the matter. You mostly should be trying to work this out with her... Don't make it just a "no I'm not" "yes you are" argument; try to find out what exactly is making her unhappy or feeling unloved or unattended to, or whatever it is she needs. Once you know what the other wants and what the other is doing, you can work out if there's a compromise you can make or if you're just incompatible.

I've actually recently been dating a guy who thought it was creepy or a sign of dishonesty that I don't always look into his eyes when I'm talking to him, but until he told me that, it had simply never occurred to me. I just like looking around (like you said you do) and it wouldn't have crossed my mind that someone else would be made uncomfortable by that. Now I try to look at him a bit more during conversation, and he also knows that when I do this it isn't personal (he now notices I do it with other people, for instance). Try just talking about the specifics of the actions which are making her uncomfortable and see if there are impressions you're giving her that aren't related to your intentions.
posted by mdn at 11:37 AM on May 15, 2007

My grandfather has always been fond of the explanation, "I'm married, not dead."

My grandmother could easily laugh off the response because she was secure in the relationship, and she knew he was just looking, and not even thinking about acting.
posted by nadise at 11:45 AM on May 15, 2007

Just like the "does this dress make me look fat" question, it is not a simple yes/no question, although on the surface it appears to be. An emotional-worldview person is attempting to verify your integrity by asking an emotional question to a yes/no-worldview person who notes key words that automatically makes it seem like a yes/no question. It is like asking her "Do you feel like eating Chinese tonight?" A yes/no person asking this would automatically see the yes/no aspect of this, while the emotional person would automatically interpret the "feel" into "answers must be 50 words or more" requirement at the heading.

You must therefore answer this fake yes/no question with an "emotional no" by using many words to describe the way you feel when you are very clearly checking them out. You might even throw in some feelings-words that confirm her fears, assures that they are legitimate fears, but at the same time eases them by building up confidence in your devotion. Your tone of voice matters a lot.

Perhaps, "I have about the same degree of control over how I look at women, as much as you have control over how much you're worried I'll find someone else that I like better. I worry sometimes that you'll be talking with some guy and start to like him better because of his clever moves -- but I trust you to make the right decision. The entire time I see some other lady I'm thinking, 'my girlfriend is so much better than all of them' (and perhaps point out ways she is better). It means a lot to me that you trust me that I am not looking for anyone better, because I know there isn't any."
posted by Quarter Pincher at 11:54 AM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Geez, have the members of the "RUN! DUMP HER! GET OUT NOW!" camp ever, y'know, been in a relationship?

thehmsbeagle's advice is outstanding, assuming the OP is interested in establishing good communication with his girlfriend about this.
posted by hollisimo at 11:57 AM on May 15, 2007

There's an Interesting dilemma here that's reflected in the the two strains of advice:

Either you can make an extra effort although you are being falsely accused to find out the real issue and repair communication. Beagles advice sounds like a good approach. This would be the way to take if this is not a communication pattern and you love her.

Or you could take the route of discouraging her communicating so indirectly. That might be wise if she has a tendency to make you feel guilty about complicated emotional needs of hers that you should just magically know and cater to in complicated unending ways. Maybe a few guys here advise the second road because they have been led down that road.
posted by jouke at 12:38 PM on May 15, 2007


You can't change her.

You can't convince her.

Time to go.
posted by friarjohn at 12:43 PM on May 15, 2007

This is definitely surface communication that's being used to indicate a more subtle underlying issue. The underlying issue is that she's insecure.
posted by anildash at 12:44 PM on May 15, 2007

Geez, have the members of the "RUN! DUMP HER! GET OUT NOW!" camp ever, y'know, been in a relationship?

Yes some of us have, and we've been in similar relationships with high maintenance, non-rational women. And some of us dropped them like a hot rock, found low maintenance rational women whom we've married and are blissfully happy with.

Now, I won't say you should dump her philmas because I only have very limited information on the situation, but for me this would be a huge warning light. This is either a self-esteem issue, a redirected anger issue or some of both. You don't say how old she is, but if she's anywhere near your age she really should've worked through these issues decades ago and stopped pulling crap like this.
posted by TungstenChef at 12:53 PM on May 15, 2007 [2 favorites]

I think mdn gets it about right. She is insecure and jealous and you need to find out why. If she can't get beyond that (and it may not be all her) then this is a relationship killer. Oh, and keep letting her know that you are with her and not going anywhere. It's best to do this with action, not words.
posted by caddis at 1:22 PM on May 15, 2007

thehmsbeagle's advice is outstanding, assuming the OP is interested in establishing good communication with his girlfriend about this.

She's not listening. She is putting her ego into it and insisting on being right.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:24 PM on May 15, 2007

One of the most frustrating things in life is when someone refuses to believe you about something you can't prove. I've learned the hard way that arguing you case leads no where. You can't prove that you're not checking out the girls; she can't prove that you are. It sucks!

So what do you do when you have an unsolvable problem? If you're smart, you don't try to solve it. You can't solve an unsolvable problem.

Assuming you want to stay in the relationship, I suggest you try instead to solve other problems that orbit around this one (which, might, in fact be the REAL problems -- this problem may be more symptom than cause.)

"I love you, and I want us to get past this. It makes me sad that you think I'm cheating on you in some way. I'm not, but I'm going to stop trying to convince you that I'm not. I don't think I can convince you.

"I worry that you don't think I love you as much as I do. I'm going to work really hard to show you that I do, and that even if you're right and I occasionally glance as another girl, you're the one I want to be with. You're the most beautiful girl in the world to me.

"It's my responsibility to make you feel loved, and maybe I've been remiss in letting my feelings show. I'll do better, but let me know if there's any special attention you want from me. I love giving you attention, so I'm always happy to give you more.

"In the meantime... [hug/kiss]."

By the way, I assume you do your relationship job: find a way, each week, to show your girlfriend how special she is. (Notes placed in her handbag, massages, cooked dinners...) You do that. Right?
posted by grumblebee at 1:34 PM on May 15, 2007 [2 favorites]

What an excellent short story! Thank you for the link-- I'd never read it.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 1:51 PM on May 15, 2007

My suggested reply is, "so what if I am?"
posted by rhizome at 2:09 PM on May 15, 2007

How could you even want to be with somebody who calls you a liar with some frequency?

Dump the psycho before she cooks your rabbit or something.
posted by Megafly at 2:25 PM on May 15, 2007

There's probably larger issues at work here. Try paying more attention to her. When you're talking to her touch her. On her hands, her face, her arms, wherever. Just touch her to make the link explicit. Compliment her. On her clothes, her hair, and whatever else. You don't have to overdo it but make it clear that you like what she's got. Heck, make it clear which clothes you like her in. Set aside some time to be alone with her. Some people want things spelled out for them., that's just the way they are.

If she keeps it up then you have to tell her that it hurts you when she does this and you want her to stop immediately. The next time she accuses you of doing such, lean over and whisper in her air that you're not looking at anybody but her and it really hurts that she thinks so lowly of you. Express your displeasure at this each and every time. Either she will respect your feelings and stop this charade or she won't and you'll have to decide what to do next. But just because you're the man doesn't mean you have to sit back and suffer in silence.
posted by nixerman at 2:37 PM on May 15, 2007


Sorry to over-react. But this was one of the danger signs I should have seen with my now-ex wife. It was only the tip of the jealousy iceberg.

It never got better. For over 20 years.

Any time I was greeted by women who knew me from work or elsewhere, I got the "Who is she?" third degree. We discussed this in counseling over many years. It created such anxiety in me that I was afraid to talk to any woman about anything.

It never got better.

One more thing: It never got any better.
posted by The Deej at 4:04 PM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

She's psycho. Cut your losses and move on.
posted by bshort at 4:53 PM on May 15, 2007

If you really do love her, try to get to the bottom of this. It's worth a shot.
posted by christinetheslp at 4:53 PM on May 15, 2007

Hell, even Jimmy Carter said he'd lusted in his heart.

Maybe you need to start checking out men and women, and encourage her to do the same. My partner and I check out others of both sexes, and point out the really hot ones (of either sex) to each other.
posted by phliar at 5:11 PM on May 15, 2007

When was the last time she got dumped by some guy who was always checking out the competition?

It might just take her a while to figure out that you're not that guy.

Meanwhile, keep using your eyes in whatever way you personally feel comfortable with, and do what thehmsbeagle said.
posted by flabdablet at 5:41 PM on May 15, 2007

"You were checking her out!"
"Yeah! and did you see her SHOES! OMG! Hey, oh check that guy out.. not bad eh"

Good luck :)
posted by lundman at 5:45 PM on May 15, 2007

Tell her that if she's going to continue to accuse you of something you're not doing, it significantly reduces your incentive to not do it anymore. In other words, you're going to be punished for ogling at other women whether you do it or not, might as well go ahead and do it. At least you'd get some pleasure out of the situation that way.
posted by kindall at 6:08 PM on May 15, 2007

If it truly is like you describe, and that's all there is to it, you shouldn't stay with her. It's just not cool for a woman to be like that. A teenager, perhaps, but not a grown woman. That sort of obvious mistrust only breeds resentment, and ends up in the partners no longer being together several years down the line.

A friend of mine had a wife like that. He dealt with it admirably for some time, until she got to the point where he couldn't even have friend who were women. That was the final straw. The eventually broke it off and now she's living with one of his best friends, who is much more of a pushover, and will take that sort of thing indefinitely. Of course, he never leaves the house, so there aren't other women to look at anyway, so I guess it works out.

That said, I suspect (as others do) that there is more to it, in which case you need to talk about it.

My SO points out the good looking women to me, and couldn't care less whether I look at them, because at the end of the day, I go home with her, and have been for 10 years now. ;)

Actually, it kind of makes me uncomfortable when she does that, since I don't spend my time in public just looking at all the women. It's far better than the alternative, though!
posted by wierdo at 6:20 PM on May 15, 2007

At 51, you certainly don't need anyone's permission to be yourself.

Are you aware of the world around you? Does it interest you? Would you like to see it, even if sometimes it has women in your field of view?

philmas... it is OK to be philmas. Philmas is a looking person, it appears. No big deal.

The one opinion that resounds with me here is that your GF sounds highly insecure. If you've made reasonable attempts to deal with that, being sensitive to whatever it is that originates this insecurity, you've done the responsible thing. At some point, you may have to decide between being yourself and being the person she wants you to be.

In the long term, the latter is not a tenable recipe for happiness. If you are comfortable in your own skin, and you are ethical and kind, you don't have to answer to anyone for their insecurities. Try to be gentle, perhaps, but realize that this may be the tip of a big, big problem for you. At 51, it's time to get it right in the "How I choose someone" arena. Use those observation skills to critically examine this woman and see if she stacks up as a permanent partner or not.
posted by FauxScot at 6:32 PM on May 15, 2007

Dump her. That really is insecure high school girl behavior. And you're 51.

Seriously, life is too short to put up with shit like that.
posted by drstein at 7:01 PM on May 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

doctorcurly: "Men look at breasts (or legs, or butts, or ears, or whatever turns you on) and women look at babies."

Um. I find this gross generalisation a bit offensive for (hopefully) obvious reasons.

What hasn't been said in this thread is that this kind of jealous behaviour is not the sole territory of the woman. Judging by some of the comments made it seems many don't realise this.

I always get a bit scared to open threads like this because I know I'm going to have to wade through a couple of dozen borderline-hateful posts that are obviously projections of the poster's own trials in life.

OP: this is almost certainly a self-worth issue that you can not cure with any modification of your behaviour. She has to do the work. It sounds to me like you're not doing anything wrong, so I think you should rationally and calmly stand your ground. Give her an opportunity to articulate what she's really upset about if you think it's just a communication problem. At some point you'll need to decide if you can tolerate being accused of [not listening|admiring other women|whatever]. Personally I think a woman your age should have come to terms with herself long ago, and I find it hard to imagine handling it for long. If she doesn't see a problem with this, then there's nothing wrong with saying that it's intolerable for you.
posted by loiseau at 7:30 PM on May 15, 2007

we've been in similar relationships with high maintenance, non-rational women. And some of us dropped them like a hot rock, found low maintenance rational women

Yeh, I've been with a girl who did this from time to time, most notably in public places after a few drinks. That kind of baseless, embarassing public shaming is one of the things I definitely don't miss about that relationship.

Other than that, I don't think I can add much to what has been said above, exept that I sympathise, and this snippet from another AskMe thread:

...that's points against her. Same for insecurity and jealousy. You want someone who is interesting to talk to, and who challenges you, but you don't want someone with whom the challenges consist of "putting up with stupid shit", such as dramatic reactions to situations, obsession over body image, possessiveness, excessive neediness or inability to do things for and by herself.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:09 PM on May 15, 2007

Yes, I did mean to say "What if MY (not your) girlfriend frequently accuses me of looking at other women when I'm most certainly not?"

With that sillinesss out of the way, I am floored by the amount of good feedback I've gotten. I think my assessment of my girl did sound more harsh (i.e. paranoia) that I really feel. I do think as many said, it is a communication problem and a self image problem. I don't think I'm doing anything wrong but that doesn't mean I want to just walk away. I love her very much, despite any issues, and working it out will be worth our troubles.

I already do try to communicate with her about the "story behind the story" because I think there is something other than the accusation of me looking that is really going on.

To make things more interesting she says that she has never been left by previous partners and has never accused other partners of looking at other women. She also gushes over me physically (this has never happened to me before and as I said I'm 51), is a 40 years old Latin girl, and is beautiful. She says she knows that I love her. I feel very fortunate, but we need to work this one area out. I've got a lot to go on now. Thank you to everyone and especially to thehmsbeagle.
posted by philmas at 5:18 AM on May 16, 2007

One thing that some convey (with some lovely wit) is the simple fact that people, especially male people, look at what they like. Maybe it's easier for male couples, since they both enjoy looking. I have heard it said that men are more this way than women, but can make no claim of direct knowledge.

You might make some comment to the effect that, looking at other women makes it more mind-blowing when you look at her, and see all over how beautiful she is. It sounds cheesy, perhaps, but in my experience (and I'm 10-years hitched to a beautiful guy), it can also be totally a true statement.
posted by Goofyy at 6:35 AM on May 16, 2007

Despite all the posts here, I think the biggest thing to watch out for is if she suddenly goes the other way and starts pointing out women for you... often it doesn't really mean someone is comfortable, it just means they're closeted, compensating, and building up a huge pile of resentment. (Just in my experience, mind, the really comfortable ones aren't pointing out other people to look at because they're not even thinking about what you're looking at in the first place. Also because staring is rude.)
posted by anaelith at 11:58 AM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Anaelith, I'm not closeted, resentful or compensating.

It's very simple. I love looking at beautiful young people and I want my beloved to share my pleasure. If there's a BYP I think my beloved would particularly appreciate, I point them out.

Jealousy and raised hackles is not the only possible outcome of allowing women visual contact with one another. Some of us like other women. Some of us even like them that way. And in our forties, some of us get all fond and maternal around dewy youth (cute! adorable!) the way we got fond and maternal around babies (cute! adorable!) when we were in our teens.
posted by kika at 12:50 PM on May 16, 2007

Admit to the fact that you *are* checking out other women. It's how we are programmed.

Men look at breasts (or legs, or butts, or ears, or whatever turns you on) and women look at babies. They also look at other men, but are generally more subtle in doing so.

If she expects you to stop looking at other women, how dare she *ever* again drool over some other male's offspring

The babies/women comparison is dumb, because a man is not going to feel jealous of a baby. There is no reason for someone to not look at someone else's offspring (although, I am female & not a baby-looker, so your premise is false to start with, but, anyway). You even state that women "look at other men but are generally more subtle" - why? because men get jealous, too. In the stereotypical example, the guy will take on the other guy, not his girlfriend, but a large portion of people of both genders experience jealousy when their SO seems interested in other options, to whatever degree. It does not matter how you are "wired". In a relationship, you agree to guide your impulses for each other sometimes. Some men will feel inadequate when their gf scopes out the hot young bodybuilder and his 6 pck abs, and some won't mind. It's the same with women. If either party is uncomfortable with the other side "looking around" then don't do it.

I'm the kind of gf who would rather point out cute women, partly to make it ok for me to check out cute guys, partly because I also like to check out cute women, & partly to just downplay the importance of that aspect of the relationship. However, there are plenty of guys who do not share this attitude. It's complete crap to suggest that all guys would love to have a gf who points out other women - just like it's complete crap to say all guys consider fuck-buddy relationships the perfect ideal.

Guys may believe their own stereotypes about themselves, but behavior is behavior. Plenty of guys get jealous and insecure when too much attention is paid to sexual beings outside the relationship, just like plenty of guys get emotional and needy even after everyone's finished showering. They may not display these traits in exactly the same ways women do, but that doesn't mean they don't display them.
posted by mdn at 2:19 PM on May 16, 2007

Heh. I like other women, too. I wasn't talking about being a closeted homosexual, I was talking about being a closeted monogamous person. (And if you think about it, I bet you've seen them. Or at least read about them on AskMeFi... the kind who think that just because we have a television show called Sex and the City, asking your significant other to be monogamous is OMFG wrong, how could you, you're such a bad person restraining them like that!!oneoneone!)

...Which unfortunately encompasses most of the people I know who point out other people to their significant other... as opposed to people who, if asked, will admit "yeah she's pretty nice looking"...but they just don't spend that much time talking about how Joe/Jane Average on the metro looks, because you know, if you saw him/her that's nice, and if you didn't, that's nice, too, and who really cares about what you're looking at anyway?
posted by anaelith at 3:54 PM on May 16, 2007


This might be moderated out as chatfilter (but this is about the meaning of looking! relevant to someone trying to talk about looking! relevant!) but your e-mail isn't in your profile.

Anyway. I guess I have no problem sharing the BYPs who simply take my breath away (not Joe/Jane average) precisely because my beloved is not an ogler. If I were hanging out with a randy tomcat with a one-track mind my feelings would probably be different.
posted by kika at 7:07 AM on May 17, 2007

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