My Husband Openly Talks About Other Attractive Women To Me

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Dear Evan,

I have been married for two years. I am 26 years old and my husband is 12 years older than me. He is very nice to me and always tells me how beautiful I am and how lucky he is to have me. He loves me. He seems to know what to say to me most of the times.

Now, here is the problem… We are both going to separate colleges.   The problem is that at the end of the day when he tells me about his daily class events, he goes on and on about this hot, extremely hot, f#$$g hot, sultry looking girl in one of his classes… His friends tell me how “he is married, but not dead” and “there is nothing wrong with noticing other women”!! He also tells me that he can fantasize about his cute 30 years old teacher… I asked him if he ever found me ‘sultry’? His response was just plain ‘NO’. He told me that I was beautiful and very sexual, but never sultry.  

What is your opinion about this whole mess? I AM a jealous person, but I try to control my jealousy. I try very hard to not show anger, but I really don’t feel loved. I don’t want to tell him that he can’t come talk to me about other females (well, I see other guys too in my school but I don’t go on and on about them when I get home. I desire my husband and no other man)

What do I do?   How do I talk to him about this?

Jazz

Dear Jazz,

Your husband’s biggest problem isn’t that he’s a loser who will most certainly cheat on you one of these days (although an argument can certainly be made). No, your husband’s big problem is that he has an extraordinarily big yap which lands him somewhere in that gray area between insensitive and stupid.

I’m going to take this moment to strike a hard line in defense of LYING. Yes, LYING. Because right now, ladies and gentlemen, you are hearing a first-hand account of the devastation wreaked by a man who can’t help but to TELL THE TRUTH. Because, to be perfectly blunt with you, Jazz, his friends are 100% right. He IS married but not dead. There IS nothing wrong with noticing other women. Where your husband comes up incredibly short — as if he were somewhat autistic — in his ability to HIDE his attraction to other women for your sake.

Where your husband comes up incredibly short — as if he were somewhat autistic — in his ability to HIDE his attraction to other women for your sake.

Now, we’ve tackled this before here. And my sentiments, controversial though they may seem, remain the same. Flirty people flirt. It’s a personality trait, not a choice. Still, there ARE societal boundaries to be maintained, and there are certainly sensitivities that have to be considered. And your husband is failing on every account. Factor in your innate jealousy and your husband going on and on about his f#$$g hot lab partner, well, you’ve got a recipe for disaster on your hands. And it ain’t going away all that soon.

Because what you might be surprised to learn, Jazz, is that your husband probably feels that he just can’t help himself.

Which is why comparing your attraction to other men is irrelevant. Leering is somewhat accepted among men, and, to a degree, even encouraged…. I recall a conversation I had with a close friend. He was raised in a Southern feminist household and was taught ultimate respect for women. (This is a GOOD thing, by the way. I ain’t arguing with it.) But what my friend failed to understand when we were drinking and woman-watching in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was WHY we did it. “I don’t see why you would alert me to look at a woman’s body from across the room if I didn’t already see it. It’s disrespectful.” My defense: “It’s like a rainbow. If it’s beautiful, I feel it’s my job to point it out to my friends around me.” Hey, it was the best I could do after a dozen beers.

Again, Jazz, I’m not blindly defending lecherous men — nor encouraging this behavior in general. I’m pointing out that it happens, it’s common, and it requires a lot of rewiring to get men to be sensitive to women when they’re accustomed to being boorish around other men.

While he should be letting off steam to his friends exclusively, he’s including you in on his act — possibly to absolve his guilt.

One other point: talking about other women is also your husband’s way of staying sane in a monogamous relationship (monogamy being a choice, but not a natural state). Unfortunately, while he should be letting off steam to his friends exclusively, he’s including you in on his act — possibly to absolve his guilt. It’s foolish, destructive and short-sighted, no doubt about it.

Thus you need to have a conversation with your husband before you boil over. As always, focus on how his words make you FEEL instead of telling him that he’s a psychotic pervert. It may be true, but it accomplishes nothing. If he loves you — and as your husband, I believe he does — he doesn’t want to hurt you, and is open to learning how his visceral reactions to women are actually damaging your relationship.

Please write back and let us know how it goes. We’re pulling for you…

 

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Comments:

  1. 21
    hunter

    to delia,

    …”cool guys never do that”….these cool guys are most likely institutionalized(married)….probably have someone better looking at home, or tired of quarreling about whether or not they are allowed to ogle…………..

  2. 22
    hunter

    to delia,

    …some men are dogs, but, at the same time, most dogs can be trained….LOL!….

  3. 23
    Steve


    Selena
    I wonder if he is doing this deliberately to get a rise out of Jazz. She wrote she was a jealous person who works to control it. I have a hard time believing a 38 yr. old man would go on and on about this hot, extremely hot, f#$$g hot, sultry looking girl to his wife in any kind of innocense. I suspect he knows exactly what he’s doing when he says these things and gets off on it.

    Men I have encountered who do that sort of thing usually tend to be immature and/or socially clueless. At least I hope that is the case. I think it would be worse for Jazz if that was calculated, don’t you?

  4. 24
    Li-Ann

    It depends upon the personality of the man whether they’ll react positively to a carefully worded and diplomatic request to tone it down.

    If you are dealing with someone who is self-centred or lacks empathy, they often really don’t care about hurting your feelings, so there is no incentive for them to change. A nice guy would of course feel badly about hurting you and take action to improve his conduct.

    Of course, I will point out that the VAST MAJORITY of men are not like this and I have spoken with many friends who have glowing reports about their husbands or boyfriends. So it really is possibly to tone down a natural instinct if you want to. I worked as a waitress once too, and I also recall that the really hot cool guys did not leer openly at women.

    As for the “I can’t help it”, that is not entirely true. You will probably find that a man who can easily criticize his wife or girlfriend is on the other hand unlikely to tell his boss his tie is ugly, or his wife is fat, under the “just being honest” guise. In that case he would suddenly be able to hold his tongue.

    Your husband sounds like a nice guy on other counts, so perhaps it will work for you. I wish you the best.

  5. 25
    Steve


    As for the I can’t help it, that is not entirely true. You will probably find that a man who can easily criticize his wife or girlfriend is on the other hand unlikely to tell his boss his tie is ugly, or his wife is fat, under the just being honest guise.

    My apologies for going off topic, but I just have to tell Li-Ann how insightful that sounds. I think those guys act way with their families because they don’t have guts to face down people out in the world.

  6. 26
    Selena

    Steve,
    It’s the on and on and “f#$$g hot” part that makes me think it might be more than basic immaturity/cluelessness. That kind of *overboard* smacks of antagonizing to me. Maybe the guy is insecure or something and wants to make his young wife jealous, who knows?

  7. 27
    Delia

    Lynn Mar 3rd 2008 at 10:46 pm 12
    That seems to be the way they are wired, i.e. from visual cues directly to the penis

    I feel that if I thought that ALL men acted that way then I really wouldn’t want to have anything to do with any of them! Men that is! I think that a woman who is willing to put up with boorish behavior such as the original letter writer might want to take a look at herself.

  8. 28
    Delia

    to hunter
    these cool guys are most likely institutionalized(married). probably have someone better looking at home, or tired of quarreling about whether or not they are allowed to ogle..

    NOPE has nothing to do with being married or not married. I’ve entertained all of the above as a Casino Dealer countless times. Some people just have CLASS. And others just DON’T!!!* Sometimes I’ve made a comment to the boors. “Are you saying she’s better looking than me”? And they DO get the point, and they do discontinue the behavior because they can see its just Not Cool!

  9. 29
    Delia

    to hunter

    I think you have to be pretty desperate to have to deliberately make comments about women in public places. Once again cool Guys just don’t do it.

  10. 30
    Lynn

    Steve,

    My apologies for for offending your sensibilities. I hold men in high regard, and I want to respect the physiological differences between men and women.

    Was it the word “penis” that bothered you? Or the fact that a woman actually wrote it?

    1. 30.1
      Aurora

      Men and women are different physiologically, not sexually. As time goes on women are proving more and more that they get just as turned on by visual stimulation. Sexual incompatibility does not help a relationship last. The problem is the stigmatization of female sexuality which artificially trains women to be less sexual.

  11. 31
    Mike

    As I see it, when a man and woman get married, there is no social contact with the opposite sex. None. Zero. Business only and then minimize it. I don’t hold conversations with women, except to return a polite courtesy. Likewise my wife with men. Polite and respectful and that’s it. We also make sure we are not secluded with another man or woman, innocent or not. He has no business looking at other women much less hurting his wifes feelings about it. A little self control, please. Let him look at his wife. Let him tell her how attractive she is. Every day. She won’t mind.

    1. 31.1
      Nan

      Mike,

      You are a wonderful man. And, your wife is very lucky!

       

    2. 31.2
      Kim Walsh

      You sound like a wonderful man Mike   and your wife is one very lucky woman do you have any brothers

    3. 31.3
      La la P

      Mike

      You are going to make me cry you are so sweet. My spouse is one insensitive jerk. Always telling how pretty this co worker is and how beautiful her smile is. It just hurt my soul when he said he looks for her smile(this young girl that works at the same company) I had foot injury as a child and my spouse came and sat by me one day and told me if I knew you feet looked liked that before I met you this (meaning us)wouldn’t be happening. Someone pull the knife out my heart and let me die

  12. 32
    Lance

    Delia, those are terrific comments about the cool guys in the casino. I agree with that. All straight men look and fantasize about other women, or at least the guys with a reasonable sex drive, which ought to be most of us. Doesn’t matter if you’re happily married or the worse perv in the world. If you’re secure, cool, experienced, classy, etc then you can EASILY control your primal urges and not get demonstrative, esp. to your wife.

    This chick’s husband is 38 and she’s 26. Also, is he still an undergrad in college? They go to separate colleges? Umm, hello, red flag. How about transferring? You’re married, fuckwad. WTF?? I’m all about getting a college degree, but the guy is a complete douchebag and she’s naive. He’s almost certainly skeezing around at the other campus, although he’s probably such a utter chode that he can’t close with other women, thus he can’t actually commit adultery. Yuck.

    @EMK: your line: (monogamy being a choice, but not a natural state). I love it. You’re stuff just keeps getting edgier.

    1. 32.1
      Mary

      Yes monogamy is a learned behavior.   Using a toilet is also learned behavior.   We have many learned behaviors that keep things going in a pleasant direction.

  13. 33
    Steve


    Mike Mar 4th 2008 at 10:01 pm 31
    As I see it, when a man and woman get married, there is no social contact with the opposite sex. None. Zero. Business only and then minimize it.

    Married people can’t have friends of the opposite sex?

  14. 34
    JerseyGirl

    Geez Mike, you wouldn’t have a single brother would you?

  15. 35
    Lance

    @Mike: That’s ridiculous. If you’re married and a socialite, you’re going to have to talk to women, and a lot. Same thing if you’re in any position of leadership. Also, isolating yourself from other women? Please. Get out of the house every once and a while and realize that it’s okay to talk to the opposite sex. It’s hardly disrespectful, and they aren’t temptresses. It’s also perfectly okay to talk ABOUT sex with women, just know the bounds.

    The issue isn’t avoiding temptation, but rather having the security and coolness to be around the opposite sex, esp. fairer examples of them, and be easily and unconsciously able to control your longings. And you MUST have longings and fantasies, because it’s a part of your masculinity; a man who doesn’t admit to attraction is the man I fear for being a pervert and sex offender. If you admit to attraction and surround yourself by it, celebrate it, and ultimately control it, then you’ve mastered your masculinity.

    Jazz’s hubby admits to the attraction, but he’s going way overboard and being boorish and vulgar.. There’s a power and respect issue there also, my guess caused by the age and experience difference.

  16. 36
    JuJu

    Both my best friends are male.

    It would be unacceptable if my mate decided he can tell me with whom I can be friends.

  17. 37
    AT

    What Mike says (comment #31) bothers me but I realize that it’s a divisive issue and a personal one. Some people hold that attitude and sometimes a cultural or religious issue.

    Personally, I think it’s healthy to have an opposite sex best friend (along with same sex ones), one that the spouse gets along with. Close opposite sex friends are like siblings. It’s not a sexual thing. Respecting the boundaries of friendship and marriage is something that all parties (friends and spouses) are accountable for. It’s implied in the vows of marriage and implied in the concept of friendship.

    I couldn’t marry anyone who disapproved of me having opposite sex friends. This is non-negotiable. I would think that any man who voiced such disapproval was insecure and controlling with trust issues and even if that wasn’t the case, it would indicate a belief system unlike my own. As well, I would find it strange if the man I married didn’t have close friends of the opposite sex. For one thing, it would make me wonder about his ability to interact and connect with women. I might wonder why women didn’t want to be friends with him.

    There is so much to be learned from friends of the opposite sex. Guy friends help me develop my relationship skills. They help me translate guy-speak and behavior. They tell me what I’m doing wrong when I’m dating. They validate when a guy that I’m dating is being a dick and tell me when the guy isn’t being a dick but I’m misinterpreting. It’s great.

    I want to directly state that this is NOT a judgment on Mike. I am not telling him that he is wrong. These comments reflect my personal opinion and as long as he and his wife share the same views on the matter, I don’t see a problem with it within the context of their marriage.

    Sorry for the long comment. This time I had something of substance to say.

  18. 38
    AT

    Also – I like Lance’s comment from this morning. I missed it before posting mine because I had this page open for hours with an unfinished comment while I went about my work day.
    (Is it 5:00 Eastern time yet?)

  19. 39
    Mike

    Steve,
    There are billions of men for men to choose friends from, billions of women for women to choose friends from. So no shortage of friends for you to make.

    Ju Ju,
    Marriage means not only loyalty, but never giving your partner even a reason to suspect. There are many reasons for this.
    1. Any marriage has its ups and downs. If you are during a down, even “friendly” contact with the opposite sex is going to hurt your spouse.
    2. JuJu, marriage, by definition, is an exclusive relationship. For women, emotional relationships, even talking, really any form of attention from a man, is like sex, only to a lesser degree. So maintaining your attention from other men is disloyal to your husband. If you want to have your male friends, don’t marry.

    AT:
    Marriage is hard enough without adding opposite sex best friends into the mix. Keep things simple. That’s what is really healthy. That’s what really works. Modern ideas about marriage have a terrible track record…

    Lance:
    You bring up many points which I will try to address later. I don’t doubt that my ideas seem strange to you. But they would seem strange to your grandparents or even most people in the world today. Marriage is not a new thing and what I’m saying is not at all new. Your ideas are more modern and it seems to me that they have a poor track record.

  20. 40
    Mike

    Lance,
    Correction “They would not seem strange to your grandparents etc”

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