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. 91
    Dawn

    Yes… @ Karl R “(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.)” that’s exactly where I was going with that.  And even if it was just one night with the girls.. not ALL the time.  She needs to temporarily ‘detach’ from the situation… and go feel good about herself! :)
    @ Karl T - “vulgar names”, seriously? I did not call anyone any vulgar names, I said “little balls”… whoop there it is… haha.  Really? would you have felt better if I said ‘testicles’.  Some of the blog posts on here, even Evan curses here and there, we’re all adults.. aren’t we…? get over it. 
    She’s upset because her husband is completely disregarding how she feels about him grinding on every young woman within his reach on the dance floor.  That’s the impression I got from her post.  And she’s sitting there, feeling like crap because of it.  Maybe her feelings are misplaced, maybe she’s assuming his intentions are not innocent, which… they very well may be, or not.  Who cares about their history, only the present issue at hand matters.  She did talk to him.  He says he’s not changing.  So much for communication on that matter.
    So, really now, what other options does this woman have except to go out for a girls night ‘detach’ from focusing on her hubby too much, get dressed up, let her hair down and get some innocent male attention? she obviously needs it cause her hubby’s not doing the job.  She is there for him, she’s the one who respects him enough to not go grinding on every young buck that enters the dance floor.  Maybe she should… maybe she’d enjoy it… maybe they’d both enjoy it.  Or not.  All I did was ‘suggest’.
    Looking good, and feeling like a confident, sexy woman… and having some innocent flirting would be a nice ‘boost’ for her… I said nothing about cheating.  Where do you get “rifling anger” out of that?  Perhaps you’re ‘projecting’ whatever anger issues you have about this topic on to others (me)…
    Get a grip.

  2. 92
    Dawn

    @ Karl T – did we skip our meds today or something? I didn’t state any facts about anyone’s marriage.  What the heck are you talking about?  I gave my suggestions and opinions… that’s it.  I didn’t say anything about it being 100 % of the mans fault….?
    Those are your perceptions about what I said.  Funny how no one else is having quite the reaction you are… my perception… you’re still burned by your ex wife and have some anger issues of your own.  I am in a wonderful relationship, and enjoy my man immensely.  No man hating going on here.  You don’t like my comments, don’t comment.  But don’t go claiming I’m stating “facts” or making up stories.. when I’m not.  You’re whacky perceptions are actually amusing… :)
     

  3. 93
    Selena

    Karl T. – we will never get “both sides” from reading letters on this forum. We can speculate all we like, but we only have the Letter Writer’s words to go by.
     
    In this letter a woman describes her husband’s behavior that makes her unhappy. So unhappy in fact she’s considering ending a 15 yr. marriage because of it. His response is he wants to stay married because they have a child, but he is unwilling to change anything about his ‘lifestyle’.
     
    Karl, I don’t believe people are quick to end a 15+ yr relationship on a whim. I doubt this woman suddendly became “insecure”. She’s know him to be a flirt for over 15 yrs. I don’t know if his behavior has actually escalated, or if perhaps she has become alienated by his attitude toward her. If your partner of over 15 yrs essentially told you they were only staying married for you child- not YOU- how do you think you might feel? I have a sense -based only on what was written – that this husband disregards his wife’s feelings and stays married because it is convenient for him. I suspect that is a deeper issue beyond the dancing. But since I don’t know these people, all I can do is speculate. Just like you Karl.
     
    Dawn’s post amused me because it expressed my take on what I read more colorfully than I would ever write on this blog.
     
    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.’
    And:
     
    “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.”
     
    Yup.
     
    And if it was a husband writing in describing the same behavior of his wife? I’d feel the same. She didn’t give a rat’s butt about him.
     
    My suggestion waaay back in #2 was might give counseling a shot beyond calling an attorney. This is what I would say to the woman (or man) in that situation if they talked about it to me.
     
    Dawn’s suggestion: “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. ”
    I think might be worth a shot too. :)
     
    I hope this clears it up for you Karl T. You, me,  and everyone else who was interested, has already given their opinions – some of us at length. Getting tedious to read the same people writing the same things over and over. At least for me.

  4. 94
    Karl S

    You’re right, it’s not actually passive aggressive if she’s doing things for herself to feel good and not as an indirect ploy to make her husband feel bad. I think I misread or misunderstood how the advice was framed, but re-reading I see it’s not so.

  5. 95
    Karl R

    Dawn said: (#91)
    “She’s upset because her husband is completely disregarding how she feels about him grinding on every young woman within his reach on the dance floor.”
     
    You don’t grind against your partner in Salsa. Are you perhaps getting confused with Lambada?
     
    Karmic Equation said: (#90)
    “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.”
     
    Why are you assuming that Candace’s husband would be bothered by Candace dancing with other men? Her letter gave no indication of that attitude.
     
    My wife went out dancing Friday night. She was wearing something sexy. She danced with lots of men, flirted and enjoyed herself immensely. Terrific! Since she enjoyed herself, she didn’t care that I danced with lots of women, flirted and enjoyed myself immensely. If my wife doesn’t dance much, then she gets bored and starts complaining.
     
    When my wife dances more, she’s happier. It doesn’t teach me a damn thing (except to ask a few of my friends to dance with her if it’s a slow night).
     
    I’m not sure that’s the smack in the head that you’re anticipating.

  6. 96
    josavant

    Dawn and Selena have the right idea. It’s not about Candace trying to get back at her husband, make him suffer, or anything like that. It’s about taking back control of her own life. Dawn’s advice is along the lines of what everyone keeps writing here, that you can’t change another person (Candace’s husband), but you can change yourself (Candace). It’s not about taking revenge, and there’s nothing passive-aggressive about it. Her happiness can only make the relationship better.
     

  7. 97
    Karl T

    Selena,
    If I were giving the same advice to a man writing this in the reverse situation, I would never advise to go out and do the same thing as what he is complaining about especially if I thought it was wrong! Sorry I don’t work that way.  If I find something to be hurtful, then I certainly don’t go out and do it myself.  I address the problem and yes I mentioned counseling included.  At the end if it still doesn’t work then you leave the marriage.  I shouldn’t even reply to Dawn because she is delusional and can not even understand what she writes.  I do NOT make assumptions about anything.  If she bothered to read half of my posts I said I do not know about many things because there is not enough info.
    Dawn, go ahead and make up more of your soap opera stories.  I never got burned by any exes nor hold any ill will against any of them, but why would you care?  You’re Dawn the storyteller, you make up whatever you want.  15 years go by in this woman’s life and suddenly she is complaining??  

  8. 98
    marymary

    At least it’s not argentine tango.
     
     

  9. 99
    Karmic Equation

    @Karl R 95
     
    You know I hate it when you cherry pick to make an argument. Cherry picking to elucidate is one thing but when you cherry pick and take things out of context you change the meaning of the original argument.
     
    You’re not Candace’s husband. You appear to be sensitive and empathetic and you are a good communicator. I would imagine if your wife came to you to ask you to stop going to salsa dancing, you would ask her “Why? What’s the matter?” and have a discussion about it. From the letter, it appears that Candace asked, and he said, “No” without discussion. Of course there could have been a whole lot of discussion that Candace didn’t include in her letter. 
     
    So for an IN-sensitive man like Candace’s husband (and, alas, way too  many out there in the world), talking does no good. He doesn’t hear you. — I can say this because my player ex was exactly like that. He wouldn’t listen to my words, but he heard me loud and clear whenever I slammed out of his condo because he was behaving badly. Usually a week or two goes by and then he’d invite me over and the bad behavior is gone. Of course NEW bad behaviors would arise and then we would start the door slamming again if he didn’t listen…again.
     
    In any case my point is that men don’t always hear you, and the only way to make those men listen is to do unto them what they’ve done unto you. Not cheating…because if OP believes he’s cheating…and that’s a deal breaker…she needs to break the deal.
     
    Dawn’s suggestion has merit for those men who lack empathy and are insensitive. but are men worth keeping. These men only “get it” if THEY themselves are put in a similar situation. You are not those men, so what YOU would do or feel under the same circumstances is not relevant to this particular discussion about “training”.
     
    Now, I’m sure you have male friends who are insensitive and un-empathetic…If you survey them and use their examples of how they’d handle this, that would be more relevant.
     
    Um…For example, John’s take on this would be most interesting, if you know what I mean ;-)

  10. 100
    Joe

    @ Karmic #90:
     
    You said that “what’s sauce for the gander is what’s sauce for the goose,” the inference being that she should give him a taste of his own medicine (you said “she has every right to behave as he’s behaving”).  Given that the medicine he’s been giving her is unpleasant, that is an indication that what you want her to do something that will be unpleasant to him.

  11. 101
    Julia

    @Joe
    It seems that everyone agree that if he is only dancing then she is being insecure. Dancing and flirting are relatively harmless actions as long as one keeps up physical and emotional intimacy with one’s partner. So since its fine to dance and flirt, why shouldn’t she do the same? Maybe she will start to feel better about herself and bring her new found positivity into her relationship, hell she might even reignite the flame her husband has for her. I sense a real hypocrisy from the men here who run to the defense of men for flirting but become up in arms about spiteful women out to seek revenge by doing the same. Hence why KE said “what’s sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose.”

  12. 102
    Karmic Equation

    Joe 100,
     
    Correct. You think a person would come to understand that what he’s doing is unpleasant if we give him/her PLEASANT medicine?
     
    The husband doesn’t think that what he’s doing is unpleasant. If she does it and he finds it unpleasant, then he “gets it” without her having to say a word. He’ll change if he gets it.
     
    Now, if the husband DOESN’T end up caring that his wife is out dancing her heart out without him, the wife either continues because now she’s having fun and SHE now “gets it” that it’s harmless fun OR she decides that he doesn’t care and she STILL doesn’t like dancing…well then SHE has a decision to make…Accept or move on.

    1. 102.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Karmic – I usually agree with you but think this method of teaching her husband a lesson is asinine. An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. Adults – especially couples – can talk about things, without leveling accusations, without getting emotional, without making threats. None of us can say whether the OP is being hypersensitive or not. If she is, the issue is in her control. If she’s not, it’s her husband’s responsibility to be more sensitive. But if you want to know one surefire way to make a bad situation worse, tell her to repeat the same bad behavior she decries. She not only loses any moral high ground she may have, but she’s only eroding their already shaky trust. If she has a husband she can’t talk to, who won’t compromise, she needs to leave him – not start dry-humping men on the dance floor to prove a point. I can’t think of a single argument that is solved by acting out the way you suggest.

  13. 103
    Karl R

    Karmic Equation said: (#99)
    “the only way to make those men listen is to do unto them what they’ve done unto you.”
     
    You’re missing the entire point of what I was saying. I’m not criticizing the idea of getting someone to listen to your actions. (They frequently speak louder than words.) I’m criticizing the method.
     
    A clearer example of the problem:
    My father-in-law habitually speeds. My wife hates it. She’s talked to him. She’s yelled at him. He still speeds, even when she’s in the car.
     
    Do you think my wife should do unto her father what he’s done to her? Do you think my wife should drive 80 mph the next time she’s driving and her father is in the car with her?
     
    That’s not going to cause my father-in-law to change his ways. He’s just going to think he’s converted my wife to seeing things his way.
     
    Actions speak louder than words, but the message can get muddled.
     
    You’re expecting Candace’s husband to get jealous/insecure and suddenly realize how Candace must feel. The people in the dance community don’t tend to be jealous or insecure. It’s fairly likely that he’ll see the situation the way my father-in-law would. “Do unto others” only works with people who feel the same way you do.
     
    Heck. You’re not even taking your own advice. Unless your boyfriend’s bad behavior was slamming doors, then you were engaging in a completely different action when you slammed out of his apartment.

  14. 104
    Fusee

    @Karmic Equation:
     
    Although I usually agree with your philosophy on how to treat people as shared in previous comments of yours on other threads, I absolutely, completely disagree with your perspective on “training” and “giving a taste of his own medicine”.
     
    Why? Because this is not treating people respectfully and this is not the way to improve yourself and others. This is not the way to retain healthy people in our lives. What you have consitently described with your ex player is exactly what women should NOT do if they are looking for a healthy relationship with a healthy partner. What “unempathetic and insensitive” man is worth keeping? Even for just sex, I’d want someone a little sensitive! What man who can not listen to your calmly and respectfully explaining legitimate needs is worth keeping? Even for just sex, I’d want someone who can listen!
     
    It’s kind of ironic that you keep saying that women should not try to change men, when you keep “training” your ex player. As you can see, that kind of training does not work, and it’s because it’s based on ego gratification. He misbehaves. She leaves. He calls again. She comes back. Misbehavior rewarded. Lather, rinse, repeat.
     
    If what (generic) you wants the hottest sex with the hottest body, and (generic) you does not care about how he treats you even for just sex (when you ask him to stop something for example), then go ahead, and slam doors, “mirror” immature and disrespectful behaviors. But from what I get from people who succeed at long-term and HAPPY relationships, this is no way to deal with disagreements and conflicts.
     
    Yes, normal people, those with normal humble egos who have learned to communicate adequately, respond better to pleasant medicine. It involves calm discussions, the willigness to grow even if it hurts, and compromises, and sometimes sacrifices. It might require learning these skills with a therapist.
     
    Each time I take the higher road in my relationship, I inspire my husband to do the same, not only with me, but with others as well. And this, folks, is how you “train” yourself and others. Be the change you want to see in the world – Ghandi.

  15. 105
    Karmic Equation

    @EMK 103

    “But if you want to know one surefire way to make a bad situation worse, tell her to repeat the same bad behavior she decries.”

    That’s actually the point. *I’m* not convinced that OP’s assertions that her husband is leering, ogling, or “being repulsive” to anyone on the dance floor are true. I think those labels may be a product of her insecurity.

    Therefore, if SHE goes out, albeit with the intention to teach her husband a lesson, SHE might end up with a few lessons she didn’t intend to learn

    1) Dancing may be enjoyable in and of itself; and the sexuality of the dances might actually be invigorating if one is participating with the intention of enjoying oneself — and there is NO HARM in enjoying a sensual dance — and that sensual dancing does not mean the people dancing will end up having sex

    2) She regains her own sense of self-worth because SHE’s now achieving something, e.g., being a good dancer

    3) Should her husband realize he’s not enjoying her dancing without him, HE can go with HER to the classes SHE’s enjoying

    4) Her husband doesn’t give a darn…now she knows he doesn’t give a darn and her options should be clearer

    It all depends on whether you believe the husband is indeed misbehaving on the dance floor or just plain insensitive but still cares for her.

    If he still loves her and is plain insensitive, seeing her enjoying herself is

    1) going to make him HAPPY for her because SHE is happy. That happiness is bound to do good things for their marriage OR

    2) going make him concerned because he doesn’t want his wife out dancing without him OR

    3) going to remain indifferent

    Scenario 1 is positive for them both.

    Scenario 2 is good because it makes him see the light — and hopefully ignites some positive male behaviors…He insists on going dancing with her to check out what’s making her happy…or even insists that she only go out with HIM to HIS dance classes. Either way, he’s demonstrating some male concern and if she’s smart, she leverages this concern into a healthy discussion.

    Scenario 3 is good, because now she’s clear on his feelings. He doesn’t care the way she wants him to care. And she needs to evaluate her options under that circumstance.

    To Dawn (and me) — As long as the wife is doing something to focus on herself — she doesn’t actually need to go dancing, she can go to a cooking class or something else that she feels good about succeeding at — she’s going to end up in a better mental place.

    If you believe her husband is WRONG to continue salsa dancing in light of her objections, then you should have said so in your reply.

    But like me, you thought she could be insecure. Men and women on this thread agree he’s–at least–being insensitive.

    So what’s the harm in lighting a fire under his feet by being a little unpredictable…and enjoying herself in the process?

    The worst that can happen is that he continues to be insensitive and indifferent. The best that can happen is she realizes can have fun without him. If something else happens in between, they break their stalemate. A good thing.

    And remember YOU are also a good communicator, sensitive, and empathetic. Dawn’s suggestion WOULDN’T work for you and men like you. But I’d bet a few bucks that it would work on OP’s husband because he’s NOT like you.

  16. 106
    Selena

    If the husband doesn’t care his wife is considering DIVORCING HIM - what makes anyone think he would care if she “worked the room like nobody’s business”?
     
    Like Julia in #101, I think it’s interesting that the commenters who think the man isn’t doing anything wrong are aghast at the woman possibly doing the same thing. What lesson is there to ‘teach’ if he is so blameless – just following his “passion”, etc, etc.? The dancing/flirting/porn viewing is harmless right? So why wouldn’t it be harmless if she did it too?
     
    Wouldn’t be able to call her insecure/ trying to *change* her husband if that were the case. Hmmm. 
     
     

  17. 107
    Karmic Equation

    @Karl R 104

    “My father-in-law habitually speeds. My wife hates it. She’s talked to him. She’s yelled at him. He still speeds, even when she’s in the car…Do you think my wife should do unto her father what he’s done to her?”

    Karl, you need a better example than that! Speeding is life threatening and potentially wallet-lightening…you can’t compare that to salsa dancing, which is neither…unless you see me do it and then you might want to pay me stop. lol

    I don’t think you’d object to the wife going to cooking class while the husband is out salsa dancing. She can still get dressed up and look hot at cooking class :) The idea is look hot, feel hot, and then do something she takes pride in. But really, she doesn’t NEED to tell her husband that she’s going to cooking class, if she doesn’t want to. I wouldn’t suggest she lie. If he asks, she needs to tell the truth.

    “You’re not even taking your own advice. Unless your boyfriend’s bad behavior was slamming doors, then you were engaging in a completely different action when you slammed out of his apartment.”

    You got me there. “Do unto others” is not what I was trying to convey with this example. This example is “actions speak louder than words.”

    My bf wouldn’t listen to my WORDS, he listened to my actions, which was silence/absence. Believe me I TRIED to out-yell him a few times. Never succeeded. My silence and my absence forced him to re-evaluate his position (but the silence and absence had to be timed PERFECTLY with the misbehavior, not 15 years later). He always came around after I made myself scarce.
     
    @Fusee 105

    I think you may have missed my original posts, where I pretty much kept asking “Why is she with this guy if he’s a leering, ogling buffoon?” — We are in agreement that if his behavior is disrepectful and he refuses to change, she needs to next him.

    Then Dawn 77 wrote suggested she put the shoe on the other foot…and I thought about it…and agreed that it COULD work, provided that the husband was worth keeping and not an insensitive, leering, ogling, dry-humping repulsive man.

    I don’t have a “type” of man that I gravitate towards, other than “interesting”. Some are intellectual and “evolved” (read that as intellectual, empathetic, and sensitive”), and others are blue collar and not so evolved. With the not-so-evolved guys I have to go the actions speak louder than words route. With the evolved ones I go the discussion route. I use the most effective communication method for the guy I’m dating. It’s not one-size fits all for me because I don’t choose the same size all the time.

    We still agree :)

  18. 108
    Goldie

    I’ve skimmed through the comments and gotten so intrigued that I went back and carefully re-read the original post. Well sue me, but try as I can, I cannot find anything wrong with what the husband is doing, based on what the letter says. He’s a dancer, he likes to dance. He dances with women. He chooses women that are good dancers. They also happen to be young and fit. Isn’t all this part of being a dancer? A guy can’t very well dance salsa on a somewhat competitive level (as, it sounds like, he’s doing) with 70-year-old men. Just like I, for example, like hiking, specifically medium to difficult/difficult level of hiking. I am a member of hiking meetup groups, and when I RSVP to a difficult-level hike, odds are high that I will be hiking with a good number of young, fit men (and women). I can go on an easier, recreational hike that only women or much older men sign up for, but then I won’t get the workout I want. All of my SOs seemed to understand that, though, and not give me a hard time about it.
     
    To everyone asking why the wife shouldn’t do the same — she should do the same if salsa dancing is what she likes. She should not do the same if she does not like it and does it only as a passive-aggressive way to get back at him. Besides, odds are, she won’t get back at him that way at all! More likely than not, he’ll see her on the dance floor with younger guys, breathe a sign of relief, and go, “Finally, she’s seen things my way!”

  19. 109
    Karmic Equation

    @Selena 107
     
    +1…Very astute observation. Interesting and amusing. And you should file away in the databanks for when your man misbehaves ;)
     
    @Julia 101
     
    Exactly! Well said.

  20. 110
    Rose

    Re the car speding examples and the dancing, flirting porn examples.
    This is how I see it if they bother me.
    If my father in law wants to speed then it’s up to him. His life his choice.If I don’t feel safe and feel scared and don’t want to be on a car with somone who speeds, I tell them straight, I am honest. If they continue to speed I take care of myself and again tell them straight. I don’t to be a passenger in a car with someone who is speeding as I feel scared and unsafe, so if you want to speed which you are entitled to do it feel best to me to no longer be a passenger. He then chooses and does what he wants. I have no expectation and I let go of trying to control him by telling him off or lecturing. Lecturing, debating or yelling will get me nowhere.
    Same things re the flirting and looking at porn with young girls in it. If this is making me feel deeply unhappy then again he is entitled to do what he wants, but I don’t want to be in a marraige where  my husband flirts excessivly on the dance floor and looks at porn with young girls in it. Either these things upset someone enough to be dealbreakers to me or they are not He then has to make a choice if he wants me or to carry on doing he things that make me deeply unhappy. And if they upset me enough I have to take personal responsibility for my feelings of unhappiness and get myself out of those situations. Getting out of a car is easier then getting out of a marraige especially where children are involved, so it would be taking small steps to get to that point. Or you accept these things and live with them.
    We have no control over other peoples life choices. We only have control of our own.
     
     

  21. 111
    Rose

    Karl R, I feel curious and would like to ask your wife, Why is she choosing to put herself in the same situation over and over that causes her distress and is is harmful to herself by still getting in the car with him? Or does she not get in the car with him anymore?
     

  22. 112
    Joe

    @ Selena #107:
     
    It’s not that we’re aghast at the LW doing the same thing.  We’re aghast because those who are suggesting the LW do that are suggesting it to “teach the guy a lesson,” which is not something a person should want in a healthy relationship (aside from being passive-aggressive).  If the LW wants to go out dancing on her own because it’s something she enjoys, I would wholeheartedly advocate that.  If she goes out dancing because she wants to elicit a certain reaction from her husband, that is the wrong motivation, IMO.

  23. 113
    Selena

    @Joe #113
     
    Again I ask, if the husband isn’t doing anything wrong, what lesson is there to teach? So what if she does the same thing he does?
     
    And if her dancing and flirting were to get a reaction out of him?  The maybe he would have to concede what he was doing was not so kosher after all, hmm.
     
    I agree that in a healthy relationship people talk and try to understand each others feelings.  The LW has already tried that and to seemingly no effect. At this point she could try counseling (with or without him), she could go out dancing and flirting (if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em), or she could just call an attorney.

  24. 114
    Karl T

    Selena#114,
    That is still terrible advice.  You’re telling the woman to stoop to his level.  If SHE is in belief that what the husband is doing is wrong then by doing the same thing herself she is a hypocrite.  You know full well that your asking the OP to behave badly herself.  You’re just trying to come up with fake excuses to mask everything and justify it.  Come on…..you don’t really expect us to believe your explanation in #114, do you???

  25. 115
    Karmic Equation

    @Karl T 115

    There’s a saying “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” So there has to be an opposite, right?

    “Sometimes good things happen even with the worst of intentions.” (I made that up).

    So if OP goes dancing or out with the girls to have harmless girl fun and enjoys herself, that’s all that matters. If the husband is enjoying salsa while she’s enjoying girls’ night out, they’re both happy.

    Now if th husband decides that he doesn’t like her going out with the girls while he’s out dancing, but she decides that she really enjoys her time with her friends, then she can say no, just like he did to stopping going to dancing. Or she can say, ok, let’s negotiate and have a discussion and forge a new deal.

    All good.

    It’s not a bad idea, if the husband is worth keeping. It’s a waste of energy if he’s an ass. She should just dump him if that were the case.

  26. 116
    Karl T

    KE #116,
    I refer you to Joe’s post at #113.  If she’s doing it with intention then she’s a hypocrite.  

  27. 117
    Dawn

    Jeez… we’re still commenting on this?

  28. 118
    Karmic Equation

    @Karl T 117
     
    That would be one interpretation.
     
    The other is “If you can’t beat, join them.” So all folks who do that are hypocrites? Or are they trying something different, because the “evolved” way to solve the problem (communication) didn’t work?

  29. 119
    starthrower68

    I personally don’t get quite enough information from the post to say the right or wrong thing is for her to divorce or stay married. There have been marriage that appear to be broken beyond repair that have been mended. I am getting the sense though that popular opinion is she should just turn a blind eye?  

  30. 120
    Karl S

    Part of the problem with this debate is over what people consider to be a good intention. Karmic has argued that action used to make someone see the error of their ways is actually a good intention – “My silence and my absence forced him to re-evaluate his position”.
    What some of us are arguing is that if you act with the expectation that somebody might see the error of their ways, your action is actually a  negative one. The very fact that you felt you had to do something because clear communication had failed was not a good sign for the relationship.
    It’s not really tenable to argue that the OP would be doing something for her own enjoyment and empowerment that might also still cause the husband to see he is wrong/get annoyed/feel jealous. That’s still effectively banking on a possible outcome that would change the action into a negative one. It also shows you’re still judging your partner’s behavior.
    The only way for it to be a genuinely positive action is to say “I’m going dancing for myself, with no expectations of what my partner will do or how they will feel.”

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