How Can I Stay Married To A Man Who Flirts With Other Women?

How Can I Stay Married To A Man Who Flirts With Other Women?

I have been married for 15 years and my husband has always been attracted to very beautiful women/young girls. When we first started dating, I felt uncomfortable at how he would leer at other women in my presence, which made me feel that he wanted more. He is also into a lot of porn and it is the sites of really young girls that bother me the most.

He is a salsa dancer and always chooses the young sexy girls to dance with. We are in our mid-forties and sometimes I find his behavior repulsive. I have chosen to no longer go out to these places with him because I feel like I cannot compete with young 20-somethings…nor do I want to and he loves the attention he gets from being a good dancer.

When I approach him on his flirty behavior with women, he claims it is a sexual energy on the dance floor that he finds exciting, but it does not mean that he wants to sleep with them. My fear is what happens when one of them wants to sleep with him? He does not want to stop, yet he wants to stay in this marriage.

I do not want to be in a relationship like this and have let him know that I want to leave the marriage. He wants us to stay together with our son, yet continue this lifestyle. My question is this…am I just insecure or is he crossing the line when it comes to dancing with other women? If we do stay together what are so me boundaries that will make me feel safe in this marriage? –Candace

I have written extensively about this, so you should probably read a few of these posts.

And as much as many of my readers would tend to disagree, this isn’t nearly as black and white you might think. You’re emotionally caught up right now, Candace, and it’s hard to find an objective point of view.

While infidelity itself may be an absolute deal-breaker for your relationship, flirting itself may not be – especially within the context of an otherwise good marriage.

Now, you’ve left a lot out of your email that is important to consider. Without this information, it would be impossible for me to tell you what to do. So before you file for divorce, you should probably consider these mitigating factors from your devil’s advocate dating coach:

First of all, how is your marriage? It may seem like a silly question, given how upset you are, but apart from his interest in looking at/dancing with pretty women, what does the rest of your relationship look like? Is he a good provider? Does he spend a lot of time with you? Is he a solid communicator? Is he an available father? Does he have anger issues? Has he ever actually cheated on you or talked about a divorce?

All of this stuff matters, in my humble opinion.

Because while infidelity itself may be an absolute deal-breaker for your relationship, flirting itself may not be – especially within the context of an otherwise good marriage. And yes, I say this as a flirt and a good husband as well.

Next, let’s dive into his actual offenses:

He’s a good salsa dancer. You used to go with him. Now you don’t because he enjoys dancing with and impressing younger women. That opens up the door to more questions: does he leave you sitting alone while you’re out dancing? That would be rude, but can’t you just as easily dance with other men? As a former salsa dancer, I know that partners generally rotate, instead of staying with each other all night – especially in classes.

Which makes me wonder: are you just getting upset at what could be considered normal behavior? After all, salsa is an inherently sexy dance. Should your husband refuse to dance with women who are younger and prettier than you? Should he pretend not to enjoy himself with them because you feel insecure?

One CAN watch porn with younger women (and enjoy it) without acting on it. It’s pretty normal, as long as he’s not a porn addict and it hasn’t killed your sex life.

I know it’s hard to field these questions because you want to assume he’s guilty. Still, in the interest of objectivity, I have to go under the presumption of innocence until he’s PROVEN guilty. So what exactly does your husband do that is so repulsive? Does he ask these younger women for their phone numbers? Do they sit on his lap after the dance? Does he kiss them or squeeze their asses? Or does he, you know, just dance and smile and hug them after they’re done, which is pretty standard practice. Unless he’s doing any of those overtly sexual things, I would be forced to conclude that he’s enjoying salsa dancing the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.

Understand, Candace:

One CAN flirt with someone else (and enjoy it) without acting on it. It’s pretty normal, especially if a couple is secure in their relationship.

One CAN watch porn with younger women (and enjoy it) without acting on it. It’s pretty normal, as long as he’s not a porn addict and it hasn’t killed your sex life.

So what we’re really talking about here is getting clarity on his actual flirtatious behavior and weighing your own insecurity. I don’t know the answers to either.

I do know you’re assuming his behaviors are bad because you’re hurt by them.

But I have to ask if you’re being hurt by behaviors that aren’t inherently hurtful.

Would a more secure woman, like, say, my wife, laugh off the same things that are causing you to consider a divorce?

I don’t know the answer, because I don’t know the answer to the questions I’ve asked you above. However, before you do anything rash, I think that you need to assess your own level of security and weigh it against his actual behaviors (not his fantasies). Your husband may be insensitive but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a cheater and that you should throw out your marriage because of it.

And before we get started with the comments – if any woman is going to disagree with me below, remember, you don’t know the answers to Candace’s questions either. You just know that you’re sensitive to her needs and less sympathetic to her husband. Try being impartial and attempt to see how he MIGHT be innocent before you react to my call for more answers.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Julia

    First of all, how is your marriage? It may seem like a silly question, given how upset you are, but apart from his interest in looking at/dancing with pretty women, what does the rest of your relationship look like? Is he a good provider? Does he spend a lot of time with you? Is he a solid communicator? Is he an available father? Does he have anger issues? Has he ever actually cheated on you or talked about a divorce?
     
    I think you forgot to ask how their sex life is. I think this is important. If her husband doesn’t show her much sexual attention and is dancing with these young and attractive women, I can understand how she might be hurt. Other than that its good advice.

  2. 2
    Selena

    I’m confused. Has he been actively doing these things for the last 15 years, or is the dancing/porn viewing something more recent?  If it has been typical for the last 15 years, why is the OP so upset now? Is there something else going on?
     
    In any event it sounds like he has made it clear he isn’t going to stop this behavior so it’s up to the OP to decide if she can live with it. Might want to give counseling a shot before calling an attorney.

  3. 3
    WhatsGoingOn

    I agree with Julia.  I feel that there must be some other underlying issues here that we don’t know about because I find both partners reactions rather extreme otherwise.  I mean if you were really in love with each other still then some compromise should occur – the husband should make some concession so as to not hurt his wife if it bothers her that much and certainly the wife should try to see why he needs this kind of interaction.  Neither wants to give up anything.
     
    I try to flip things around – if I liked to salsa dance and my husband says to me, “sweetie I know you like this but I can’t stand to watch you let strange men have their paws on you and leer at your boobs and butt and try to flirt with you.  It makes my brain shut down, I see red, and I just want to go over there and deck them.  I know there’s nothing going on and you are flattered by the attention but for the sake of my blood pressure can you please tone it down or maybe can we just find some other activity?”  How many of you would think that sounded unreasonable or overly jealous or controlling?  And certainly my response wouldn’t be, nope I like this, and I’m not gonna change.  Either deal with it or take a hike.  This marriage sounds like they’ve both lost connection and perspective!

    1. 3.1
      Sandy

      Agree totally WhatsGoingOn. Our society makes too many excuses for men who do this.

  4. 4
    Karmic Equation

    Agree with Evan’s advice. You should answer those questions before seeking a divorce.
     
    They say crazy people never question their sanity. Only sane people question their sanity. But it’s the opposite with insecurity. Secure people don’t question their insecurity because secure people almost always know when they’re being insecure. But those who are insecure don’t know for sure and always ask. So assume if you’re asking if you’re being insecure, that you are. And it’s OK to be insecure. But you do have a responsibility to address it WITHIN yourself. Either accept it and learn to control it. Or squash it like a bug! Takes effort.
     
    That said, you didn’t mention your age, or if you’ve recently had a child, etc. If you’ve recently given birth, your insecurity could be hormonal. And if you’re peri-menopausal as well.
     
    In addition to questioning whether it’s your husband’s behavior you might just want to check out if your dissatisfaction is caused by new, or more, hormones flowing through your body. They do affect your thoughts and feelings.
     
    Good luck.

  5. 5
    Jackie H.

    He should be more sensitive to her needs and insecurities…

  6. 6
    Sunflower

    Too many variables like Evan said.  However, I agree with Selena.  If OP new what he was like when she married him, then she’s getting exactly what she signed on for.  On the other hand, if his behavior has recently changed and progressed over time, then there’s cause for concern and you need to find out what might be behind it so it can be addressed. Good luck!

  7. 7
    Ana

    Here’s the thing: I believe in Evan when he says flirting can be innocent. It’s true, and some really secure women might put up with that and just let it go without really being affected. Great. BUT Candace is insecure, I don’t doubt it, and whether it’s herself or her insecurity is caused by her husband’s behavior he should definitely try to ease her and stop doing whatever is hurting her. Evan is right, he may not be a cheater and the husband may think it’s all ok, but WhatsGoingOn has a point: what if it was the other way around? Just stop it for the relationship’s sake and to not hurt you wife, even if you’re doing something innocent. What’s the point of hurting someone you really love? Relationships are hard work and sacrifice. Now, I would definitely not advice her to get a divorce, I see no reason, but some couple’s therapy could help. If does seem like there’s something else going on that could be talked about and fixed. Best of luck to Candace, her husband and their son.

  8. 8
    Ruby

    The OP wrote, “ He is also into a lot of porn and it is the sites of really young girls that bother me the most.”

     
    I get that men like to look at porn, but if I knew that my partner was looking at sites that featured underage girls, that would bother me. How young is “really young”? Is it child porn? Even if someone hasn’t cheated, living with a partner who constantly ogled other women/girls would be a huge turn-off. That said, I’d never marry someone who did something that made me uncomfortable from the get-go. She also writes, “He wants us to stay together with our son, yet continue this lifestyle.” What “lifestyle” is that? Sounds more like an ongoing behavior than a lifestyle. In any case, can’t the husband make an effort to tone down these behaviors for the sake of his marriage?
     
     

  9. 9
    Karl S

    I do Blues dancing, and like Salsa, it can look pretty racy. Even close to Dirty Dancing at times. However, for the people involved (except the odd creepy guy) it’s *just* dancing, and they are much more focused on enjoying the tiny weight shifts and movements of their partner than getting into their pants.

    1. 9.1
      Salsa girl

      I totally agree with this. I have been dancing salsa and bachata for many years and these dances are inherently sexual and romantic. I have always been somewhat of a flirt but my fiancé knows that that is just the type of dancer that I am. I have been like that long before he met me and the day he asked to date me, I said I would as long as he didn’t try to take away my dancing. If her husband has been acting like that even before they got together, why should she expect him to change? I can’t imagining not being able to go out dancing every week. It is my one time to feel innocently sexy and beautiful and connect with different partners on the dance floor. Even if someone turns me on at the club, it is my fiancé who gets to reap the benefits when I get home and rip his clothes off :)

  10. 10
    Karl R

    Ana said: (#7)
    “what if it was the other way around? Just stop it for the relationship’s sake and to not hurt you wife, even if you’re doing something innocent.”
     
    Think of the one thing you are most passionate about. Maybe it’s your job, your pet, your favorite hobby. Would you give that up for your husband or wife?
     
    If you’re asking (or demanding) that your partner give up their passion for the sake of the relationship, or if they are asking (demanding) that you give up your passion, then the relationship is highly likely to fail. I’ve seen several relationships fail specifically because of this.
     
    Perhaps Candace’s husband does need to be more sensitive to her insecurities, but if he ends up feeling stifled or suffocated by them, the marriage is going to end.
     
    Candace asked: (original post)
    “My fear is what happens when one of them wants to sleep with him?”
     
    Like your husband, I’m in my 40s. Like your husband, I’m a good dancer. There are no shortage of hot sexy 20-somethings who are happy to dance with me.
     
    None of them have expressed a desire to have sex with me. Either they aren’t interested in having sex with someone 20 years older, or they respect the fact that I’m married.
     
    Candace said: (original post)
    “he claims it is a sexual energy on the dance floor that he finds exciting, but it does not mean that he wants to sleep with them.”
     
    That’s certainly true for me. My wife (who is also a good dancer) implicitly understands this. But you appear to lack faith in your husband’s willingness to stay faithful.
     
    Candace said: (original post)
    “I have chosen to no longer go out to these places with him because I feel like I cannot compete with young 20-somethings…nor do I want to and he loves the attention he gets from being a good dancer.”
     
    He’s your husband. You already won that competition.
     
    The attention I get as a good dancer doesn’t just come from my dance partner. It also comes from whatever audience I have. My wife isn’t going to be able to compete with an audience. It’s a different kind of attention. (She sometimes shares in that attention, since she’s one of my dance partners.)
     
    I’m always going to have dance partners who are younger and more attractive than my wife. She’s always going to have dance partners who are younger and more attractive than me. If either of us wanted to compete that way, we both lost that competition long ago.
     
    The same thing is true when it comes to skill. One of my dance partners is a four-time international champion. My wife will never come close to her skill. And the same is true in reverse. If you think the four-time international champion is good, you should see her husband (whom my wife occasionally dances with).
     
    Why are you trying to compete? You’ve won the only competition that you need to. Any of the other competitions will just make you unhappy.
     
    Have you even tried to learn how to dance? While it’s unlikely that you would ever catch up to his skill level (he has a few years head start), I’ve seen dozens of spouses (or significant others) close the gap considerably.

  11. 11
    Valery North

    My fear is what happens when one of them wants to sleep with him
     
    I think this is the telling point.   The underlying (and false – I am sure I have seen EMK write about this before to discredit that myth) assumption is, if a woman offers sex to a man, then he can’t help himself and MUST say yes.   My advice to Candace is that, if that is genuinely the question that bothers you in all this, and the source of your discomfort over his flirting, then the answer is that a man is as capable of saying “no” as anyone else is.   Do you trust him to say “no” when a woman offers him sex?   If yes, then you have no problem.   If no, then it is worth asking yourself what the reasons for that distrust are.   If he has given you grounds to believe he would not (or is too impulsive to) say “no”, then that’s something to consider.   If he hasn’t given you reason to believe that, then maybe the reasons come from something you’ve been taught by society, or friends, or other men – something that may very well not be true of this man.

  12. 12
    Morgana Rae

    Here’s what stood out for me in her letter: she doesn’t want to be in this relationship.
    I think that says it all.
    It doesn’t matter whether he’s right or wrong, a good provider, father, or husband. She doesn’t want to be in this relationship.
    I think 15 years is plenty of time to figure out if this is what you want. And she has.
    So she should end it.
     

    1. 12.1
      Candace

      You are wrong.  I do want to be in this relationship as I love my husband very much. Information that I left out was that my husband had an emotional affair on me when my son was born, and this was a woman who he was doing a dance performance with.  I forgave him, and tried to move on, however the trust is still not there!  I am also a very good dancer who loves to dance, but just not as much as my husband.  Don’t be so quick to judge!

  13. 13
    Angie

    OP, I’ll echo some of the other posters. Certain types of dancing are sexual. flirtatious in nature.  I also wouldn’t have cause for alarm.  If you had instead written that he’s been doing this for the past 6 months, but he recently hones in on one woman who has 2 left feet but is gorgeous and decides to hang out with his dance buddies afterwards for drinks and doesn’t come home… yes, red flags, but this is how he has been for 15 years.
     
    I don’t know.  The other thing you may want to watch out for is avoiding John Gottman’s “Four Horsemen” (of the Relationship Appocalypse).
     
    I know that I’ve dated an insecure person before who consistently hounded me for behaviors he deemed me flirting with other men… Laughing at jokes or chatting with them, etc.  People can only give the same response to the same question or criticism so many times before they start to resent you for continuing to ask it.
     
    If his behavior has been the same for the past 15 years, then that’s all there is to it.  That is who he is.
     
    Perhaps there is something in your life that is causing you to feel insecure?  Has something happened with you that is making you feel “old” or unattractive?  (Have you felt this way the entire time you’ve been married?)
     
    In Lori Gottlieb’s book, she wrote something like the average happily married person can list 20 “flaws” with their partner, but they choose to accept them and love them despite all of this.  I’d look inward before looking outward.  Maybe this DOES have to do all with you… Like, did a previous boyfriend ever cheat on you with a girl you felt was hotter than you?

    (EMK Note: Gottlieb was quoting ME, thank you!)

  14. 14
    Cassie

    I think the dancing and the porn stimulate him sexually, making him feel virile and alive.  He may be feeling less than “up to par” in some areas of life so he is excelling in this area;  These areas stimulate him.  He likes to be stimulated.  Sometimes as men get older and their testosterone decreases a bit (it rages when they are 16…) they need more stimulation to feel sexy and even perform sexually. Maybe his ego needs to be pampered a bit by someone.  It would be good if he felt stimulated and had his ego lifted by you. Is there a way for you to participate in any of this with him?  He may find it stimulating to see you dancing and looking sexy with another man. Men are visual.  He may also find it stimulating to watch porn with you. Perhaps there is some form of porn that the two of you could watch together?  You might find it stimulating, too. Just a few thoughts…

  15. 15
    WhatsGoingOn

    Karl R. – you argue poignantly that this guy shouldn’t have to give up his passion, his hobbies, because they could be his raison d’être. So let’s say he can’t give up salsa dancing. Let’s say he’s a poor misunderstood soul. What about his hobby of leering at other women? Or his hobby of going to porn sites with very young girls? That would sap his will to live too? What I’m saying is he wants to have her stay but sounds unwilling to give up anything at all. Doesn’t sound like a particularly savory relationship to me.

  16. 16
    Treifalicious

    “When we first started dating, I felt uncomfortable at how he would leer at other women in my presence, which made me feel that he wanted more. He is also into a lot of porn and it is the sites of really young girls that bother me the most.”
    I Don’t Understand How No One Has Addressed This Part. he has been making her feel unatractive from day 1. She is probably sick of it.

  17. 17
    Kiki

    I was once upon a time in a 5 year relationship with someone who was a huge flirt. He would hit on anything that moved, my friends and my sister included. He was in the military at the time, and explained to me that this is because he was so deprived of female company most of the time, that he needed to compensate whenever there were women around. We were both very young (late teens/early 20s).  I must say that he was also very alfa: good looking, intelligent, and extremely charismatic, and my mom adored him. I tried to break up with him several times, and my mom would encourage me to make up because she thought he was such a great catch.
    Our relationship did not survive; years later I realized he also was a serial cheater, and that due to my own inexperience I failed to see some obvious signs.  Later in life, I made a point of dating (and eventually marrying) a man who was the exact opposite – introvert and really unskilled with women, just to avoid being so humiliated ever again.
    I think that men who are big flirts are, more often than not, cheaters.  My dad was one, and this ex-boyfriend I was telling you about, and many guys I have known socially.  For Evan and Karl S and all the guys on this blog who state that you can be a huge flirt and perfectly monogamous – I take you at your word, but my real life experience shows differently.
    To the OP I would say – sister – one very big reason for you to stay in this marriage is because you have a child, who needs to have both parents fully available to him. From what you descriebe, your husband is never going to change. You have already threatened him with divorce but he doesn’t care because the pleasure he gets from doing what he does significantly outweighs the discomfort of your nagging. 
    If you decide that it is worth keeping the marriage for the sake of your son, or for whatever personal reasons you have (like if he has other qualities that make it worthwile for you to stay or you still love him inspite of everything or whatever) you will have to give him the freedom to do whatever pleases him. Some people choose to have open marriages, and you may wish to consider this as an extreme option.  Either way, if you wish to be together with him for the long haul, you have to give him his freedom to do whaterver entertainment he has which makes him feel good. You will have to find your own, individual sources of pleasure – for example a hobby of your own which you can do while he is away. From what I have seen in life, men choose to stay with the women who give them great tollerance, freedom and acceptance for all their flaws, but also have a full life themselves.  I think it is less about your boundaries (what you would and what you would not tollerate) but about your ability to find and have  other sources of personal joy and fulfillment beside your role as a wife.  If you manage to do this (mind you it is not easy and I am still working cultivating these qualities in myself) no 20 year old will steal him.  And if she does, and meanwhile you have your own fullfilling life – let her and the porn industry have him forever.
     

  18. 18
    Clare

    What’sGoingOn #3
     
    “I try to flip things around – if I liked to salsa dance and my husband says to me, “sweetie I know you like this but I can’t stand to watch you let strange men have their paws on you and leer at your boobs and butt and try to flirt with you.  It makes my brain shut down, I see red, and I just want to go over there and deck them.  I know there’s nothing going on and you are flattered by the attention but for the sake of my blood pressure can you please tone it down or maybe can we just find some other activity?”  ”
     
    If a guy said this to me, it would push me away. Not because I don’t inherently want to compromise for the sake of a relationship, but because I want to be trusted, and because I feel that his reaction is his own issue.
     
    That said, I am sensitive to a guy’s possible feelings of jealousy and I would never go out of my way to behave in a way that would make him feel uncomfortable, but if he is asking me to *change* who I am, I’m just not going to be happy.  I’m not saying his feelings are wrong, but that is just not a relationship I’d want to be in.
     
    I have also noticed how a relationship tends to open and flourish when you actively choose to trust your partner – they actually tend to behave in a more trustworthy manner.  Law of Attraction – what you focus on grows.

  19. 19
    Androgynous

    I have been married for 15 years and my husband has always been attracted to very beautiful women/young girls”
    It seems the husband has always been like this and I think they got married due to unplanned pregnancy or lack of other options. What was tolerated before seems to have become intolerable, particularly as children grow up and people approach mid life realising they don’t want another 15 years of this. People, particularly women tend to become more confident and assertive later in life. The husband seems to want to stay together only for their son, which is quite telling. To be honest, I think they are done.  
     

  20. 20
    Sparkling Emerald

    From the OP – I have chosen to no longer go out to these places with him because I feel like I cannot compete with young 20-somethings…nor do I want to and he loves the attention he gets from being a good dancer.
    This stuck out like a sore thumb for me.  She used to go out dancing with him, now SHE has withdrawn from what was once a shared activity.  Not an effective way to build or maintain a close relationship IMHO.  She doesn’t feel like she can compete with the 20 years olds ?  That competition was over the day she signed the marriage license and she WON ! Other girls get to dance with him as a consolation prize, she’s the one he married, she’s the winner ! He loves the attention he gets from being a good dancer.  So GIVE HIM attention for being a good dancer !  There is nothing to fear in this type of activity where changing partners is part and parcel of the activity.  If he goes HOME with HER, then she has already won.  If she’s stays home and pouts, she loses.  She should get herself a sexy dancing dress, put on her high heels, give him the attention he loves on the dance floor, and make HIM feel like he’s the one going home with the prize !

  21. 21
    Karl R

    WhatsGoingOn asked: (#15)
    “What about his hobby of leering at other women?”
    Candace said: (original post)
    “When we first started dating, I felt uncomfortable at how he would leer at other women in my presence,”
     
    WhatsGoingOn,
    What hobby? Candace described it as a behavior that he did in the past, not a behavior that he engages in currently.
     
    While Candace chose a loaded word to describe her husband’s behavior, she didn’t give enough specific details to indicate whether he stared at women more than other men do.
     
    Furthermore, she said her husband is very popular with women in the dance community. There are a few men in the dance community who blatantly stare at women’s breasts. Those men are quite unpopular because of this behavior. The popular men are invariably a bit more circumspect.
     
    WhatsGoingOn asked: (#15)
    “Or his hobby of going to porn sites with very young girls?”
     
    Candace appears to use the terms “young 20-somethings” and “young sexy girls” interchangeably. Most porn has women in their 20s. Unless a man searches for niche porn categories (MILFs, mature, GILFs, grannies), he’s going to see women between 18 and mid-20s. That might bother Candace, but it’s just the middle-of-the-road porn that’s out there.
     
    If he’s looking a girls under the age of 18 (which is illegal), then that’s a separate problem. But Candace doesn’t even indicate that porn is the big problem (to her). She primarily seems to object to the dancing.

  22. 22
    Joe

    “Leering” is often in the eye of the beholder.  One person’s “leering” can be another person’s “appreciation.”  Evan has more than one blog post about this: “my boyfriend likes to look at other women” or something like that.
     
    And with the exception of MILF and granny porn, ALL the women in porn are young (certainly younger than the LW’s mid-40).
     
    As another dancer, I agree with Karl R.  There are tons of hot 20-somethings in the dance scene.  Very few of them have an active interest in sleeping with a mid-40s bloke.

    We do need more (objective) answers about the LW’s and her husband’s situation before making pronouncements about his guilt.

  23. 23
    Selena

    @ Treifalicious #16
    I don’t know if he’s actually made her feel unattractive since day one, but if he’s been doing things that make her feel uncomfortable all along… yeah, I can see how she might be sick of it after 15 years.
     
    Sounds like they got together when they were around 30ish and are now in middle age. Perhaps she thought he’d outgrow the flirting/leering/porn whatever and he never did. And perhaps she has simply outgrown him.

  24. 24
    Karmic Equation

    Treifalicious & Selena,
     
    I think you’re jumping to the conclusions and picking a side automatically…hers.
     
    If in fact he made her feel unacctractive SINCE DAY ONE, then why did she choose to be with him on DAY TWO. She should have walked LONG BEFORE she got married. She had the power to walk away and she didn’t. So now she wants HIM to change because HER feelings have changed. You don’t see anything blatantly unfair about that request.
     
    He’s been living the same life, doing the same thing for ~5475 days. But on day ~5476 she decides she doesn’t like it anymore so he should change. I’m being facetious here, but the sentiment is the real. Why wait 15 years or why did she stay with him once she decided she was uncomfortable? Changing the guy isn’t the real option, she needs to change herself. I always advocate the woman exercising her option to leave. That doesn’t mean he can’t change his mind and change after all or that she can’t change her mind and stay after all. But really, if she thinks this is a deal breaker. Her job is to break the deal. Then let the chips fall where they may.

  25. 25
    Androgynous

    Karmic Equation, I read Treifalicious and Selena’s posts and they did not say Candance should change her husband. They said Candace may have gotten to the point where she couldn’t accept it anymore. It sounds like Candace went into the marriage barely able to deal with it, but now after 15 years cannot deal with it anymore.
    Should Candace have gotten married to this guy ? I doubt very much so but no one knows the circumstances of how they got together and why they stayed together – possibly because of their son. All the signs are there that theirs has not been a happy marriage for a long time. Candace and her husband seem to only want the marriage to continue for the sake of their son, with Candace wanting her husband to keep up appearances (possiby for the sake of their son).
    It says a lot that Candace has withdrawn from her man’s life despite her so called concerns about “other women”. A woman who is truly jealous of her husbands attention and affection would not give him up like this, but would “compete” by doing her part in remaining vital and attractive to her husband.
     
     

  26. 26
    Selena

    @KE
     
    I’m not jumping to conclusions, I’m posing a possibility. I’ve never been on a date with a guy who leered at, or obviously flirted with other women. If I had there wouldn’t have been another date because I would have been turned off. I’d think the guy a) was rude and b) not very bright. I believe most men know it is not cool to leer and flirt with other women while on a date. Since the OP continued to date him, marry him and stay with him for 15 years apparantly she was not as put off initially as I would have been. Which is why I wondered in comment #2 if something else had happened more recently.
     
    An alternative explanation is she was never really *cool* with some of his behaviours but she put up with them because she was young/infatuated/loved him – take your pick. Perhaps what seemed “rake-ish” in a 30 yr. old became creepy embarrassing in a 45 yr. old. Who knows? But she’s not cool with it now.
     
    The fact is his behavior bothers her enough to tell him she is considering ending the marriage because of it. He tells her he wants to stay married because they have a child, but he ain’t changing anything. *I* think he might be a bit of a jackass, but ofcourse that’s just my own impression. You are absolutely right KE, if this is a deal breaker for her, she is going to have to be the one to break the deal.  

  27. 27
    Morris

    This is one of the hardest things about making a relationship work.  It comes down to the fact that you can only change yourself.  And you have to accept the person for who they are AND will become.  It’s not only the fact that you can’t expect a person to change for you later in life.(If he/she was a dancer when you met you can’t expect him/her to give it up later because it makes you feel insecure.)  You also have to accept that people CHANGE over time.  And as long as it’s relatively innocent you really can’t control other people.  If he/she recently picked up dancing and enjoys dancing… well you can’t tell him/her he/she can’t do that because it make you feel insecure.  Those are YOUR issues.  Of course there are limits.  If he/she only dances with young hot girls/boys etc I can understand that.  He/She should be more accommodating and dance with a variety of people.(Including young hot girls/boys.  Can’t take away all the fun because of your insecurities.)

  28. 28
    Henriette

    I’m curious, too, how much of her pain is caused by her truly thinking that her husband might sleep with another woman and how much, feeling disrespected by her husband’s behaviour.   When I’m with a man who constantly leers at other women, I’m far less upset by the notion that he would actually bed one of these young beauties and than by the fact that it really seems rude and thoughtless to not consider how it makes me feel. 

  29. 29
    WhatsGoingOn

    @ Karl R. and Joe – I respect the fact that the two of you like to dance and probably identify with the husband’s situation. I don’t know much about Joe but it sounds like Karl R. Has picked a wife who enjoys it as much as he does and doesn’t mind it. The OP used to go dancing with him too.

    But over time her views have evolved. She may be less pretty now and less immune to his flirting (she must have been somewhat immune if she married him). That’s what happens over time, people change, grow apart, age. The fear of an aging woman over time as she sees her husband dancing with younger women can be irrational and sometimes much stronger than any man can possibly understand. I pose a question and it’s not to be contrary but I want to know the guy’s perspective. If your wife in 15 years feels bad about how you dance (even if you didn’t really do anything differently) and wants you to alter your lifestyle, would you tell her you can’t do it, it’s your passion, and she has to get over her insecurities because they’re hers and not yours? But what if she can’t? Is it over?

    I think the OP writes about a very real situation that happens in the mid 40’s of many marriages and can precipitate a divorce. It makes me wonder if I get to that point how I would react. I am confident in my looks and attractiveness now, and in our relationship. But in 15 years how would I feel? Would my husband be sensitive? Or blow me off? Even if the OP is just acting insecure, it comes from a well of deep hurt. Why can’t her husband just understand and empathize with her? Make some gesture? Maybe stop dancing for a bit to work on the marriage. I feel bad for her. She must feel very alone in her marriage. Why does he have to? Because he is 50% of this marriage and if he loves her he should want to protect her from hurt and make her feel safer.

  30. 30
    Joe

    Let’s also not forget that flirting is also in the eye of the beholder.  What one person might just consider mere friendliness, an insecure person might consider flirting.

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