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. 61
    Karl R

    Gina said: (#55)
    “I am a bubbly, outgoing person, and my friendliness has sometimes been misinterpreted as being flirtatious.”
     
    People who flirt make a distinction between “flirting with intention” and “flirting without intention”. The two appear the same, but the former is trying to accomplish something (usually a sexual or romantic relationship). The latter seeks no goal beyond the immediate entertainment of the flirting.
     
    As someone who regularly flirts, I see zero distinction between flirting (without intention), friendly banter and friendliness. They’re the same thing.
     
    When you get married, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re not going to stop being friendly with other people. You’re not going to avoid friendly banter. You’re going to behave the same way with others that you do right now.
     
    Feel free to correct me if you expect to change.
     
    Diane said: (#57)
    “Throughout her long marriage her husband has made her feel uncomfortable by flirting with younger women.”
     
    Would it be fair for one of Gina’s boyfriends (#57) to insist that she stop engaging in friendly banter with other men? Would it be fair for her future husband to start insisting that she stop engaging in friendly banter with other men after they got married?
     
    If Candace expected her husband to change the way he speaks with women after they got married, then she entered the marriage with delusions. She should have married a shy introvert instead.
     
    Candace created her own distress when she chose to marry a flirt. My wife (and Evan’s wife) decided that they didn’t mind if we continued to flirt. Alternatively, my wife could have married someone who isn’t a flirt. There was a man (who doesn’t know how to flirt) who was pursuing her when we started dating. People still laugh about how I stole her from under his nose.
     
    Would it be rational for my wife to spend the next 15 years being upset over my flirtatiousness? That’s part of the reason she chose me over him.
     
    When a man shows you who he is, BELIEVE HIM. Do you really think that Candace’s husband didn’t flirt during their courtship?
     
    Kiki said: (#56)
    “I believe that in a marriage, sexuality and experiences of strong physical attraction should be an area reserved for the spouse.”
     
    My eyesight didn’t deteriorate when I made my wedding vows. If I found a woman physically attractive before I met my wife, then the woman is still physically attractive.
     
    You’re holding a belief that is contradicted by reality. Look up the definition of “delusion”. If you’re entering marriage with delusions of what marriage is going to be like, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
     
    My wife and I still feel physical attraction to other people. By getting married, we agreed not to act on that physical attraction. If I’m out dancing in a public place with a group of people who know I’m married, there’s no danger of me acting on any attraction that I feel.
     
    Kiki said: (#56)
    “Unless you want to have an open marriage (I would not) and are willing to explicitly grant each other a carte blanche for whatever.”
     
    My wife and I don’t have an open marriage. (Neither of us wants one.) Each of us is free do dance with whomever we want. Each of us can hug, stare at, or flirt with members of the opposite sex. There are a range of boundaries that couples can agree to. It’s not all or nothing.
     
    However, my wife and I explicitly agreed to our boundaries before we got serious. It sounds like Candace and her husband didn’t even discuss that before they got married.
     
    josavant said: (#53)
    “we didn’t in fact establish that Candace is insecure, or if her concerns are valid.”
    Candace said: (original post)
    “My fear is what happens when one of them [the young sexy girls] wants to sleep with him [the mid-forties husband]?”
     
    Is that your idea of a valid concern? Sexy 20-somethings will want to have sex with mid-40s married men? (She said “when” not “if”.)
     
    There are clearly problems in the marriage. There is almost certainly something valid she should be concerned about. But the stuff she put in her letter is based on insecurities.

    1. 61.1
      Candace

      Since my salsa dancing husband did have an affair with a woman who he did a performance with, then tell me how is one to feel comfortable and not feel insecure when he goes out dancing until 3 or 4 am in the morning ???  I wonder how your wife will feel when you do eventually cross the line…. because no matter how much we love our partners, putting yourself in theses situations creates opportunities.  No one is immune to that!! 

  2. 62
    Ruby

    Candace isn’t asking her husband to give up dancing, she’s asking him to give up leering, ogling, and flirting. Yes, people may be attracted to members of the opposite sex even though they are married. They may even engage in mild flirtation, but there are degrees. Sorry, folks, I don’t see this as about “passion” for dancing, but more about a “passion” for flirting, ogling, and leering at other women, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes Candace feel.
     
    Should she have married the guy in the first place? Maybe not. Can he change? Maybe not. But that doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t express her displeasure with his behavior even at this late date. And it doesn’t mean that it’s perfectly okay for him to ignore her concerns.

  3. 63
    Karmic Equation

    @Skaramouche 60

    “It may well be, I can’t know one way or another. What I do know is that she is no longer comfortable with the way her man is behaving.”

    And he’s clearly said that he’s comfortable being as he is and doesn’t intend to change. Why does HE have to change instead of HER? Are you saying HE should be uncomfortable so that SHE can be? And that is right because why?

    For the record, I didn’t say she was wrong to dislike his behavior. She was wrong to have accepted it before she was married. Now that she’s married she believes she has the right to change him. WRONG. She should have had the guts to try to change him BEFORE they were married. Maybe she wouldn’t be married right now, because he would have nexted her. That’s why she accepted his behavior BEFORE they married. Now she’s holding his son hostage to get him to change. “Change or I’ll leave with your son.” Please. I’m a woman. I know how this game is played. I never play it and I can always see right through women who do.

    “I also think drawing a parallel between the twin girls and a husband/wife pair is very unfair. Some of the sentiments are the same but I think you’re trivializing the situation and addressing only one facet.”

    I’m not trivializing, you’re over-analyzing. A passion is a passion whether one is 6 or 96. What I took out was the gender bias that Selena couldn’t get over. All Selena saw was “dancing” over “family”. Why should Maria’s desire for family override Mina’s desire for dancing? It’s tough to argue when we’re talking about kids, isn’t it? But why is it so easy to argue when it’s a man’s desire over a woman’s?

    Let’s use our imagination one more time, and change the LW from a woman to a man…

    “I have been married for 15 years and my wife has always been attracted to very handsome young men. When we first started dating, I felt uncomfortable at how she would *stare* [women don't leer, so had to change this] at other men in my presence, which made me feel that she wanted more. She is also into a lot of porn and it is the sites of really young men that bother me the most.

    She is a salsa dancer and always chooses the young sexy men to dance with. We are in our mid-forties and sometimes I find her behavior repulsive…

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

    You know what you would be saying to this guy?

    - Why don’t you trust your wife?

    - Why did you marry her if you didn’t trust her?

    - Why don’t you leave her then if you don’t like her dancing?

    - Why do you want her to give up something she likes just because you don’t like? How selfish!

    - Grow some, buddy!

    And you know what none of you would have said?

    “You’re right, she should give up dancing to make you happy.”

    (Amen – EMK)

  4. 64
    Karmic Equation

    @Ruby 62

    “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?”

    I don’t believe leering, ogling, and flirting constitute a “lifestyle”.

    She wants him to quit dancing.

  5. 65
    Ruby

    KE #64
     
    I’ve had salsa dance lessons and danced with several different men. None of them ever flirted or made me uncomfortable. My impression is that it’s not just that the OP’s husband is dancing with other women, it’s that he’s engaging in suggestive behaviors with them as well.

  6. 66
    Karl S

    Like Karl R said earlier, the extent to which is he actually “ogling” and “leering” might not be so serious if he is popular with the ladies. Why would he be popular if he comes across as this sleazy older man who is obviously trying to get into your pants?

  7. 67
    josavant

    62 Ruby, hear hear. It’s not about the dancing itself. Some of the comments set up a strawman of sorts, which go something like this. “Do you believe he should give up dancing?” “No of course not.” “Well, then, he’s doing nothing wrong.” Which is all beside the point. It’s the whole flipping package, people. If he otherwise behaved in a way that made his wife comfortable, almost surely she wouldn’t care about his “passion” for dancing. (Btw there’s no statement in her letter that he has a passion for dancing. This is something that other commenters implied, and somehow now we’re talking as though dancing was his passion, which we have no proof of.)
     
    Trust is everything in a relationship. Like the example Evan gave of his wife askin him if he was crushing on someone – she wouldn’t be OK with that if she didn’t trust him, but because she trusts him, just about everything is OK. Trust is hard to gain and even harder to re-gain once it’s lost. Again, I don’t think this couple will have a happy marriage anytime soon regardless of who’s to blame.

  8. 68
    Nicole

    It must be exhausting to be an insecure wife.  And I think anyone, man or woman, who is forced to give up a fulfilling hobby b/c of an insecure spouse might be better sticking with the hobby.  
    I’m not sure how people can argue how much happier life is for women like Karl R’s and Evan’s wives.  
    And I’m not sure how people lept from dancing to the husband sleeping with 20 year olds.  Is there an equivalent saying for men to the saying “Happy wife, happy life”?  B/c it would seem like a man who is happy is going to work harder to make you happy if you let him, not less.  And if trying to dictate what hobbies is want makes you happy you might need therapy.  

  9. 69
    Skaramouche

    @Karmic #63
    >>  Are you saying HE should be uncomfortable so that SHE can be? And that is right because why?
     
    Nope, not saying that at all.  I’m not defending her.  I’m simply saying that both he and she have a right to feel the way that they feel.  She finds his behaviour unacceptable and he has no desire to change.  Something’s going to have to give.  Either they find a compromise or the marriage is over.  It is important to state again that we don’t know who changed.  We can be certain that she did based on her comments.  She’s going to have to come to terms with that one way or another.  It is also possible that he changed.  Maybe what seemed okay when they were 20 now just seems inappropriate to her.  Or maybe he’s a little more “outgoing” now than he was.  *I don’t know*.  That’s the point. The only thing I found interesting and was trying to point out is that you told Selena that she was blaming the man when you are, in effect, blaming the woman.  That’s all.
     
    >> Now she’s holding his son hostage to get him to change.
     
    Yes, it could be that.  It’s a dirty game and it’s horrible when women play it.  OR it could also be that he wants to have his cake and eat it too.  He has no desire to change his behaviour in any way at all and wants his wife to be happy with this status quo.  Before you misunderstand me, I am not taking sides.  Either scenario is equally likely.
     
    My thoughts on reading her letter, based purely on gut?  She shouldn’t have married him in the first place.  I think we are in agreement there.  BUT she married him and he married her.  Unless she pretended to be someone completely different from who she is (it’s possible), he had to have had some idea of her personality.  There is so much information she has left out of her letter.  Does he compete?  Does he go to salsa clubs where the objective is for dancers to get together and do what they love?  Is he going to salsa (night)clubs night after night?  Has he always been a (salsa) dancer?  All of these will have a bearing on how and why she feels the way she does.  Maybe she’s just insecure.  Or maybe he’s giving her reasons to be.
     
    >> What I took out was the gender bias that Selena couldn’t get over.
     
    Again, I hate to speak for Selena but I have to in order to respond to your comment.  I don’t think she said “dancing” over “family”.  She said “dancing” over “wife” and “wife” includes said wife’s feelings.  It’s less about the activity itself and more about how he conducts himself.  And no, you didn’t just take out the gender bias.  You changed the nature of the relationship altogether.  This is NOT about a man’s desire over a woman’s.  Also no, it’s not difficult to argue when it’s children.  Maria’s desire absolutely does not trump Mina’s, unless of course Maria is married to Mina and has concerns that her sister’s “sexual energy” may go beyond the dance floor.  If that’s the case, then maybe they have to talk about it.  See how absurd that is.
     
    >> Let’s use our imagination one more time, and change the LW from a woman to a man…
     
    Yes, let’s.  I would say the exact same thing.  Maybe the husband is just insecure.  Or maybe the wife is giving him reasons to be.

  10. 70
    Karmic Equation

    @Skaramouche 69

    We’re going to go back and fourth and never agree. I think the problem is simple because the woman can solve her problem herself. You think the problem is complex because the problem is with the man and not the woman.

    The only thing I can say is that we cannot change other people, we can only change ourselves.

    Let’s just say her husband is a leering, ogling, too sexual 40-something. If that’s what she believes he is, then why is she with this buffoon? Because he’s the father of her child? So she wants her son to have this leering, ogling, too sexual man being in his life and being his role model? In addition, this man is not willing to make her happy. Why is she still with him?

    Her husband already said he’s not changing, meaning he’s not going to give up his dancing. I doubt she’s said to him “You’re a leering, ogling, overly sexual man and I find your behavior repulsive. So if you want me to remain in your life, you need to stop leering, ogling, and being overly sexual when you dance.” Because if he said to that statement “No, I’m not changing my leering, ogling, sexual ways,” why hasn’t she run for the hills? What exactly does staying in this marriage salvage?

    He said he wasn’t giving up dancing because that was what she said was her problem.

    If in fact his leering, ogling, and overt sexuality are her issues she needs to tell him that’s what she has a problem with. Then she has a fighting chance of engaging him to fix the REAL problem. She’s not willing to accuse him of that to his face because why? Probably because he’d next her. She doesn’t want the relationship to end, she wants him to change. That is not within her control.

    However you want to slice this, the solution to Candace’ unhappiness is within her own control. Either get her feelings out on the table honestly and let the cards fall where they may; address her insecurity HERSELF – asking him to cater to her insecurity is not the answer; or walk away if she really believes he’s a buffoon. Changing him is outside her control. Not only that, if he is indeed such an ass, then the change will be temporary, and he’ll revert in short order.

    She wins the battle but loses the war.

  11. 71
    J

    Karmic- I think you are putting words in people’s mouths. The OP is prepared to leave the marriage- the husband doesn’t want it to end and doesnt  want to change anything. The OP also didn’t say or imply she was using the son as a pawn. Hell, it doesn’t look like she even said ‘change or else!’. She simply said she was ready to leave. 

  12. 72
    Fusee

    I agree with the following comments:
    - we can’t change anyone who does not want to change
    - we should not cater to someone’s insecurities
    - we can’t protect someone against themselves
    - we are responsible for our own happiness
     
    (Thanks to Karmic Equation and Karl R!)
     
    But I disagree with the fact that each time a woman feels uncomfortable with a man’s behavior towards other women, it means that she is insecure. I also disagree that the only solution is to walk away when you do not like it.
     
    Some commenters are addressing the issue as if it was dating. It’s not. It’s marriage, guys. Sure, in marriage you should not try to change the other or cater to your partner’s insecurities either, but compared to dating you made a promise that involves a lot of responsability, so walking away when there are still plenty of options to try is irresponsible.
     
    In the situation described by the Letter Writer, either the husband has always behaved this way, and although the Letter Writer never liked it, she married him nevertheless and it has now become a source of increased pain for whatever reason (aging, lack of affirming loving actions, etc), or the husband’s behavior changed for the worse over the years, and in a way that was not part of the initial “deal”. If it’s the former, she made a mistake, if it’s the latter, he made a mistake. At the end of the day, it does not really matter who did what. They face a crisis and they have to figure out if they can salvage their marriage or if they should get a divorce.
     
    The difference between dating and marriage is that in marriage there is a vow. There is a promise to grow together through good and bad. Simply stating that she can leave if she does not like it is the reason why the divorce rate is what it is. Indeed, most people can’t grow together through good and bad. They want their cake and eat it too. They want to be able do to whatever they want. They do not want to restrict their freedom. It’s not how marriage works for most people. Unless you’re married to an exceptionally easy-going partner, most people will at some point have to/choose to restrict their choices for the sake of the marriage, and ideally they would start doing so while dating and adjusting to one another. They will choose to favor the marriage over individual priorities. Oviously, it’s essential to marry someone compatible, so that when we do restrict some of our options, it does not involve negating our deep values or long-time passions.
     
    In this situation, there are many conversations that could be had and compromises that could be done, and the first one I would suggest is – before even addressing the dancing issue – assessing whether they can recommit to being loving towards one another. After all, the Letter Writer might not be insecure in herself, but instead feel mistrust in her marriage because of things that happened and things that did not happen. If they could both recommit to fulfill one another’s needs for love and respect, the husband could very well get his wife’s blessing to continue dancing and enjoying fun times with the younger ladies while the Letter Writer gets her weekly pillow talks/hot dates where her husband reaffirm his love and devotion.
     
    Being sensitive to one another is key to a happy marriage, and this can be done in many ways. It takes commitment, communication, and creativity to get out of these painful times, but it can be done when both parties agree to make a sacrifice to meet somewhere in the middle. Insensitivity, stonewalling, and walking away are not the solution. Willingness of BOTH parties to evolve is, and sometimes it takes a woman to initiate change. Not by demanding but by expressing legitimate needs and offering her own sacrifice. It is certainly the case in my relationship.

  13. 73
    Marguerite

    I read Evan’s blog frequently and the responses. I have never felt compelled before to comment.but I do today.
    I was married to a man for almost 25 yrs and made the choice to ignore certain behaviors. Partly do to being secure and partly do to having 4 children.
    There is a difference between leering and looking. Just ask my daughters,they can explain it.
    I should of paid more attention to my concerns about his behavior.He would flirt with any woman.No age discrimination.
    What led to our divorce? It was revealed that he had molested my daughters,at least 2 of them,the other 2 deny it but also have very poor memories of their childhoods. My ex admitted to the above in a therapy session attended by us both. in further discussion with the therapist it became clear to me he was not just a pedophile but was sexually perverted in general. I am not saying that all men that flirt are sexually perverted but I go back to my original point,there is a difference between leering and looking.We ALL know the difference. Red flag behavior.
    If he can’t control his leering or flirting I think he has issues probably stemming from his childhood and has extreme insecurities himself and unless he is willing to examine this,things will not change,

  14. 74
    JoeK

    As you alluded Evan, many women automatically assumed the worst of the husband, despite any real information.
     
    My god, the apologists.
     
    We simply don’t know exactly what occurred when they dated, or when they went dancing, the OP didn’t clarify.
     
    And again, only commenters like Karmic and Karl are focusing on what we do know, while others are filling in the blanks with “the man is at fault”.
     
    No wonder there’s so much difficulty in dating, if many women automatically assume men are wrong all the time.
     
    As a 40+ man who’s dated them, I can say many women do automatically blame men for every perceived slight…god knows I’ve walked away from many of them.
     
    Take responsibility for your actions. The OP did not – she admits he was this way when they married, but is only NOW (FIFTEEN YEARS LATER!) making an issue of it. He should divorce her and move on.

    1. 74.1
      Candace

      And I guess that I should also turn a blind eye to all the pictures that he secretly takes of other woman’s crotches and breasts , including my sisters and two of my colleagues 15 year old daughters??  Yup, I am very delusional and insecure and he should divorce me!!

      1. 74.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        No. You shouldn’t. I presume you’re bright enough to see the difference between him deleting pictures of a girlfriend from 10 years ago and secretly taking pictures of your sister’s crotches.

  15. 75
    Karl T

    JoeK #74,
    Well spoken.  Also, how many times have we seen before in a thread where the OP came to the comments section and elaborated more and it basically changed the whole story around!!  We know nothing and I find it funny how the OP just jumps 15 years ahead without bothering to explain anything in the middle!!!  If the OP is out there reading this, please come back and fill in more details!!!  Short of that, we have to go by what she said and I agree with you- how could she start complaining about this now after 15 years.  

  16. 76
    Karmic Equation

    Fusee 72 wrote:

    “Being sensitive to one another is key to a happy marriage, and this can be done in many ways. It takes commitment, communication, and creativity to get out of these painful times, but it can be done when both parties agree to make a sacrifice to meet somewhere in the middle. Insensitivity, stonewalling, and walking away are not the solution. “

    I agree. As a woman who was with her man for 11 years, 2 yrs engaged, 9 married. If there was a chance for Candace to address her perceived issues of her husband being a leering, ogling, flirt it was was during the first few years of her marriage when both parties are feeling that they are both in-it-to-win-it and willing to work and adjust to each other.

    The problem is that once an issue is unaddressed for 15 years it does come down to accept it or leave it or go to counseling. Unfortunately, the problem is that issues in a relationship are normally raised by the woman, so the man is seen as insensitive if he doesn’t want to “work it out.” — Actual cheating is a true issue that needs counseling; PERCEIVED “possibility to cheat” is not a real issue and the issue is with the person who thinks their S.0. might cheat.

    My motto is that before asking a man to work it out, work it out in your (the woman’s) own mind. Many women mistakenly believe that whatever they believe of a man’s actions is the reality. If she perceives his actions as “leering, ogling, or flirting” then he must indeed be leering, ogling, or flirting. She couldn’t possibly have the wrong perception. She rarely seeks the opinions of other MEN about her man’s perceived behavior. She MIGHT seek opinions from other women, particularly her friends, most of whom are going to be like the women on this board and agree with her simply because she’s a woman. They enable her.

    Most of my friends are men. If I have an issue with my man, I ask the men, and they’re awesomely supportive while being HONEST about the situation, but they DON’T enable me. They’ll call me paranoid, over reacting, they’ve even asked “Have you TALKED to him about this?”, etc. They’ll also tell me when HE’s the one being an ass and I’m justified in feeling what I’m feeling.

    I’m also secure. I notice my man noticing other women. All the men I date notice other women, because I like men who appreciate women’s beauty. There’s a HUGE difference between

    A) men in a relationship  who look at and APPRECIATE other beautiful women. ALL heterosexual men fall into this category. These men are normal, and

    B) men in relationships who look at and CHASE what they appreciate. This is a subset of men. These men are asses.

    After 15 years in a relationship, accept the men who appreciate other women. Dump those who are asses. Even if you’re married to them.

  17. 77
    Dawn

    Candace… get out there and flirt your ass off, girl.  Don’t sit in a corner and pout.  Let your husband do what he does… get the focus off of him, get it back on to you.  And I wouldn’t even think about the negatives (divorce), just do for you now.  All about you.  I know what you mean about the younger girls, etc… but it doesn’t mean that you’re not beautiful.  Get out there, change your routine… get up early… hit the gym, charge some new clothes, make up and perfume on the hubby’s credit card… (haha) and instead of gong Salsa with him, give him a kiss before you go out (looking hot as hell), and tell him your going Salsa (somewhere else) with the girls. 
    I don’t see anything wrong with that :) 

  18. 78
    LifeReel

    My two cents worth… I think it is always a priority to take care of yourself, above all else, above the relationship, another person. Because if you are unwell, then there is no possibility for you to take care of other things else. If the husband’s behaviour has been constantly bothering the wife, sure all this advice might help, but realistically may take a while to digest, act on. And constant irritation, sadness etc, can lead into other worse things.
    I suggest to stay away from the situation, go about your daily life, try to take as much time to quieten down, rise above the situation, and ask yourself what you would do for yourself to be happy. Your feeling irritated may be a sign to look into your own belief systems, re-examine your own perspectives, or it may be a sign that the relationship is coming to an end – realistically can you change your perspective? or do you think you might be happier in another situation?. know that you always have control over yourself, not others. be gentle with yourself and the situation, take one step at a time and do what feels natural – the answers will come one after another… 

  19. 79
    Karmic Equation

    @Dawn 77

    Good advice if the husband is a good man who is distancing himself from his wife emotionally, etc. And she wants to pull him back and regain his attention. However, I’d say what you suggest is wrong for a woman to do if she finds her husband’s behavior “repulsive”. Why would you want your a repulsive man to come back to you? Let him go.

  20. 80
    Joe

    @ Dawn #77:
     
    “Anything wrong” other than being passive-aggressive?

  21. 81
    Karmic Equation

    @Joe 80
     
    What Dawn suggests isn’t passive-aggressive. It’s mirroring. What’s sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose. She has every right to behave as he’s behaving. If he has an issue with that, he can change HIS behavior and the wife can change to mirror that as well.
     
    What Candace is doing now is much more what I would consider passive-aggressive.

  22. 82
    Karl S

    I’m +1 for saying that’s a passive aggressive route. Mirroring is a dating strategy that is about positive actions in equal measure to the person you’re dating. You shouldn’t do things out of spite.

  23. 83
    Karmic Equation

    Karl S 82
     
    I disagree. It’s passive aggressive if she stays home and pouts. If she goes out to have the same good time he’s having, it’s called putting the shoe on the other foot.
     
    There’s nothing wrong with putting the shoe on the other foot.
     
    You may not like it, but that doesn’t make Dawn’s suggestion “passive-aggressive.” In fact it is a VERY positive way for the wife to behave to regain her sense of self-worth and fun, while re-training her husband. It’s more like “killing two birds with one stone” than “passive aggressive.”
     
    But again, that’s only a good idea if the husband is worth keeping. If he’s a lecherous, ogling, repulsive man. OP should let him go.
     

  24. 84
    Dawn

    Funny how only the male gender finds my comment as “passive-aggressive”, haha. 
    Label it however you want. 
    Can everyone agree that this woman needs to get back to herself and find some happiness?  Let her husband do whatever he wants, it’s not about him. 
    However, while they are still married, and he’s still choosing to salsa his little balls off with other women while his wife sits there, and watches it go down… hurt, and feeling insecure.  And first of all, what the hell is so wrong about feeling a little insecure about that? doesn’t mean she’s “unwell”, she feels how she feels.  There’s no right or wrong. 
    That is why I suggest she takes her energy and focus off of him, and bring it back to herself.  She’s too wrapped up in the ‘idea’ that he is doing something unpleasant, he may or may not be.  Either way, as a woman… she needs to feel wanted, appreciated, and needed.  He basically said, ‘umm… eff you, hun… I’m going to continue grinding with these young girls cause I want to, and get away with it because it’s Salsa, after all.’
    Yea, okay.  haha.  She needs to feel good about herself, he’s obviously not cutting the mustard with that.  So, she should go out, make herself pretty, feel confident… and work the room like it’s nobody’s business.  Regardless of what her husband does or thinks.  It’s her life.  This woman should not be sitting in a corner feeling bad about herself.  And her husband doesn’t seem to give a rat’s butt, either.
    She needs to distance herself from the situation that is bringing her down, she can still be pleasant with her husband… she can come back to it, or decide she’s having too much fun and is happier not watching her husband grind on other women.  That’s not passive-aggressive, that’s called being an emotionally mature, confident woman… who needs to take care of herself.
     

  25. 85
    Karl R

    Joe (#80) and Karl S (#82),
    I don’t see Dawn’s suggestion (#77) as being passive-aggressive. For a couple who dances, going out, looking hot, dancing and flirting are really normal behaviors. Dancing at a different venue than your significant other … less normal, but it happens. (And under the circumstances, it may be easier for Candace to stop dwelling on her husband’s behavior if she’s dancing at a different location.)
     
    Karmic Equation said: (#83)
    “There’s nothing wrong with putting the shoe on the other foot.”
     
    I’m not sure that’s going to have the effect you’re expecting. In the dance community, most of the men are happy if their wife/girlfriend starts dancing and enjoys it. They end up going dancing more often. There’s less friction in the relationship. It’s all good.
     
    The goal isn’t to retrain her husband. It’s to retrain the way she views the situation.
     
    If the husband gets upset because the wife’s enjoying dancing as much as he is, then he is a really lousy husband. (I strongly believe that the same rules should apply to both partners in a relationship.)
     
    Furthermore, I wouldn’t call this behavior “mirroring” (at least not in the way Evan describes it).

  26. 86
    Karl T

    I don’t really care what term you label it- I’m not sure passive-aggressive is the right term, but I do know that I totally disagree with Dawn’s advice.  I would never recommend someone to go out and do the same thing if they are upset by something.  Dawn, if you think what the husband is doing is bad then why would you suggest the wife go out and do the same thing?  If he was a cheater, would you advise her to go out and cheat too?  That’s asinine advice in my opinion.  You either do something about it- have a talk with him or leave the relationship if it is truly a conflict after you speak about it and have counseling about it.  Lastly, you let your true feminine biased colors fly in you post in #84.  You called the husband lots of vulgar names and got rifling angry over it, yet you and everyone else here practically knows NOTHING about the situation since the wife omitted 15 WHOLE YEARS from the story.  You have no clue, but yet you still ready to hang the guy.

  27. 87
    Joe

    If it’s done with a “what’s good for the good is good for the gander” motive, it’s not mirroring.

  28. 88
    Selena

    @ Dawn #84
     
    REALLY enjoyed reading your post. I’m still smiling.  I hope Candace reads and considers doing it .  :)

  29. 89
    Karl T

    Selena #88
    Do you strongly believe that Candace’s husband is a being a loser by acting this way (I’m not saying he is or isn’t since I do not have enough info)??  If so, then basically your advising Candace to become a loser, too.  I don’t get your advice at all- it contradicts your own opinion.  If you think the guy is scum than Candace will equally become scum (in your eyes) if she follows your advice.  My advice agrees with Karmic- if he truly is scum (requires more info to know this) then she should let him go.
    Not sure how you enjoyed reading Dawn’s post at #84 unless you’re just against men??  Dawn basically made up her own version and filled in 15 years of facts in her own head and created a fictionary story line in her head where everything was 100% the man’s fault, even though the actual story is missing 85% of the real information…..I can make up my own version too showing the nut bag wife to be an obsessive, overly jealous, control freak who is schitzophrenic and delusional….but why would I care about anything, but the truth??

  30. 90
    Karmic Equation

    @Karl R 85, Karl S 86, Joe 87:
     
    If you guys don’t use the words “passive-aggressive”, I won’t use the word “mirroring.”
     
    Sometimes women don’t like to admit they need to overcome their insecurities and men shouldn’t cater to them; sometimes men don’t realize they’re being either stubborn or insensitive (or both) until they get smacked (figuratively) in back of the head with a similar situation by their women. You guys can call that figurative smacking whatever you like. I call it training. Men don’t want to think they’re being trained; women don’t want to think they’re being insecure. Equivalent. I’m breaking the sister code for you guys. Don’t flame ME for that!

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