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My boyfriend keeps looking at attractive women no matter where we are and its making me lose my self-confidence

Tagged as: Dating, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (14 June 2014) 7 Answers - (Newest, 14 June 2014)
A female United Kingdom age 41-50, anonymous writes:

I have been dating a guy for two months who I get on well with and really fancy. However, when we are out together he seems to notice every young attractive woman in sight. He doesn't stare but he does notice them and keep looking at them if we are in a pub or restaurant. Its really bugging me. He also notices every attractive young woman in the car and looks them up and down. I talked to him about it and he said a couple of his ex's complained about the same thing but he doesn't mean to. I'm finding this difficult and am losing my self confidence. I didn't want to go out with him tonight. I can't see it getting better as I think he is just a very 'visual' guy. Is this a deal breaker. It feels like it is for me. I have only dated one other guy like him in my teens and his appreciation of women made me feel bery anxious over time.

View related questions: confidence, his ex

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A female reader, eyeswideopen United States +, writes (14 June 2014):

eyeswideopen agony auntTell him in no uncertain terms that if he can't refrain from this behavior when you two are out and about together, it's over. Repeated rudeness is most definitely a deal breaker in my book.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (14 June 2014):

I think it's really normal to notice attractive people.. but.... when a partner stares, ogles, drools, rubbernecks, endlessly turns to check out another man or woman when out with their significant other, then it says a lot about how they feel about you, whether you have supermodel looks or not... It basically says they have zero respect for you.

I was with a guy who did this pretty much from the word go and when I called him out on it, he would deny it. He rubbernecked, commented, did the long, slow stare up and down, followed women across the street with his eyes like he was a sniper. He told me I was too sensitive and that I shouldn't expect him to stare at the ground. But if I did it to him, he got mad! AND I've dated men who never did this. Crunch came when he actually hurt himself because he wasn't looking where he was going. That was it.. he turned out to be incredibly abusive in other areas too.

Now then, if he had simply looked once or twice, glanced at someone, not ogled, googled, examined, that would be normal. Had he been kind and sensitive when I told him he was being disrespectful and changed his behaviour, different story. Where I went wrong was that I stayed with him too long and he was basically showing me this behaviour at a very early stage in our "relationship", i.e. 2 weeks in. My advice to you would be to trust your gut instinct, if you feel it's inappropriate and too much, then it probably is. A guy shouldn't be undressing someone else with his eyes or "window shopping" when he's with someone who is supposed to be his significant other. If this persists and you have already flagged it, I'd say leave him. If he keeps doing it in front of you, he doesn't respect you. If he doesn't respect you, there can be no relationship....

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A reader, anonymous, writes (14 June 2014):

My husband does this in the car in a shopping centre or basically anywhere. He will stop in mid conversation if he sees an attractive young girl and actually loses his train of thought. I find it infuriating and disrespectful. He thinks it is funny and that I am making a fuss over nothing. He too is very visual but I still don't like it. There is not much you can do here other than say that you don't like it and explain why. If he doesn't stop everytime you see him do it just get up and leave. I have done this numerous times. i don't even explain why anymore I just pick my bag up and go home. It is really hard when it gets to that level but when your partner does not see the seriousness of how much something is upsetting you and doesn't change then you need to make them take notice. Please don't lose your self confidence over this. Men look at young women not because they no longer find you attractive but because they like the look of their young skin, normally shorter clothes, bare legs and tops etc. It's a sexual thing. They know that unless they are driving a Ferrari that the young girls will not be interested but they live in hope!

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A female reader, cattycakes United Kingdom +, writes (14 June 2014):

It is horrible to be with someone who does this. When I was 42, I had a boyfriend who was like that. Often the girls would notice as well, which made me wonder whether they felt sorry for me!

I discovered later that he was a bit of a porn lover and had got used to looking at women a certain way. Then I found out on business trips he paid for sex.... Not while we were together, but still.. I felt his staring was wrong intuitively and that is was telling me something I could not put my finger on. Once I got the sole picture I realised I was right.

He looked like a rabbit stunned in the headlights when he saw an attractive woman. I felt I wanted to snap my fingers in front of his eyes.

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A female reader, llifton United States +, writes (14 June 2014):

llifton agony auntI don't blame you at all. I think it's incredibly rude and disrespectful. Call me old fashioned, but I think it's completely tasteless to stare at other women like that when you are in a relationship.

To say that he doesn't mean to do it is a cop out. I truly despise that excuse. It's basically admitting he has no self control over his penis. I'm sorry, but you CAN look away. It's called discipline.

I practice what I preach every day. I NEVER look at another person around my partner. I look away if an attractive person walks by, just out of respect. I don't think people should necessarily have to do this. However, not blatantly staring someone up and down isn't too much to ask. For me, it would be an absolute deal breaker. I don't blame you.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (14 June 2014):

CindyCares agony aunt I think it's normal noticing attractive people , if you don't ,either you have eyesight problems , or no esthetic sense. It's sort of authomatic and as long as one keeps is discrete , polite and unobtrusive, what's the harm.

I can't exactly place your bf on a scale from just normally looking at ,to staring googly -eyed.

You say that he does not stare, then though you say he KEEPS looking at them. He just " notices " attractive women ( ok ) but then " looks them up and down " (not ok ) So I am really not sure if he is being inappropriate and lecherous, or if you just are very sensitive to the direction and length of his glances because of your personal insecurities.

At the end of the day, I would tell you not to worry about it too much, and maybe to start yourself to " noticing 2 attractive handsome men , at least it will keep you busy if he is too busy looking around to give you his attention :).

But, then again, it is also true that dealbreakers are subjective and personal, and in this case I am afraid you answered your own question : to you it feels this is like a deal breaker. Even if he is just a very visual guy... if it bothers you that much, maybe you'd be best suited with someone who is less visual.

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A male reader, WandersAndWonders United States +, writes (14 June 2014):

I think that every guy does this. As you said, this is discouraging or makes you feel less wanted by your partner, it shouldn't. Think of it like this, every guy no matter what age is like a 14 yr old girl who "loves" Justin Bieber, they just want to feel noticed which in some weird way boosts guys self-esteem. Not the greatest example but I'm just trying to lighten the mood because I believe no harm was done. You shouldn't be less confident because he decided, no dedicated himself to you. I personally suggest but don't take my word for this next part because as a youngin' it works swell but, maybe start looking at guys or talk about it more openly as if people were art walking around. I do this often as a game, point out the good looking girl, make a light joke about her then find a guy and do the same. If this doesn't appeal to you at all, I apologize but also encourage you to be yourself and don't let your boyfriend looking around keep you down.

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