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My new boyfriend TELLS ME that he looks at beautiful women.

Tagged as: Dating, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (7 August 2015) 5 Answers - (Newest, 13 September 2015)
A female France age , anonymous writes:

I started dating a man 3 months ago and we were madly in love with each other. I never noticed he ever looked at other women; there was no cause for jealousy...when he asked me if I went hiking with another man in my hiking club, I reassured him and told him no. Then after about three weeks into our sexal relationship, one evening we were discussing harrassment; he was harrassed at work and I told him that I was once sexually harrassed. He immediately butted in to say that he is attracted to colleagues at his office but that is not a reason to harrass them. So I said, "You are attracted to women at your office?" And he said, "Well I like beautiful women, I'm a normal man." I felt quite put out by this and told him so. He told me I should make sure it wouldn't become an obsession. One week later, in another conversation, he started up again, as if he hadn't paid attention to what I had said the first time. He said that he was attracted to other women, that it was OK for each of us to look at other beautiful men and women, and that he sometimes wondered about other women but decided not to act on it. From this point on I started becoming extremely jealous (while he actually never looks at other women while he is with me; I really don't understand what he is getting at). I actually became a little hysterical, and he told me I was developing a neurosis. He told me that he wasn't really attracted to other women but that he just liked looking at beautiful women, it didn't mean anything. He insisted that it would be hypocritical not to say that he liked looking at beautiful women. (I had never asked him for ANY of this information). We are both 60 years old and I suppose the women he is checking out are under 40 and I told him so. After one week of this nonsense I told him he was pushing me to find comfort in other men, I mean I seriously started looking at other men after this and seeking out their company, for reassurance and maybe a touch of revenge. He immediately denied everything he had said; in fact he didn't even remember what he had said. A week later, he said that the town we were going to visit was known for its particularly beautiful women. I got so fed up I told him that I would leave him, after which he said, "But you look at other men too", which I don't really do much of, and certainly not when with him. Anyway, the end result is that we are madly in love when we are together (and he says he thinks about me all the time - but insists that it is normal to look at other women), but when I am not with him, I feel insecure and in any case not in love anymore. I told him this, and he looks a little sad for a second but brushes it off. Now he is gone on holiday for 5 weeks with his son, so I'm not worried about him meeting other women, and it is actually a relief for me. If I didn't find him such an interesting man, I would have dumped him...Now I really don't know what to do, I feel insecure and unhappy, whereas before these conversations took place, I felt sooooo happy with and without him. I am actually trying to date other men, and trying to write a thriller about this story...not sure that I will manage. I have felt quite depressed and insecure since all these comments. Actually I never thought before that he never looked at other women, but since he has highlighted it, I have become very obsessed about it. He is afraid of losing me and so half-denies it. The truth is that he is an intellectual and usually is reading while walking, but since he has been alone without a woman for so many years, I suspect he has been looking at women a lot, and still does when I am not with him. So a kind of poison has entered this relationship that started out so well. Actually a lot of people tell me I look much younger for my age, and that I'm beautiful, I still weigh the same as when I was 26 so I didn't have issues about my looks, although I did when I was younger and I think that his comments hit that sensitive spot. When I'm with him, I melt and forget everything he has said, but as soon as I leave him, this obsessional jealousy starts up again...I distance myself from him to stop these feelings, and then he reproaches me for being not affectionate on the phone, in emails, etc. He is on holiday now and asked me to call him, but I just don't feel like it. I am American, he is Italian, I think this might have something to do with his macho need to control me. I suggested Couples therapy; he said no way... As he is a poet, I have tried writing poems about my feelings. He says they are good poems but actually he doesn't understand, or try to understand them. It's all a shame, this is the first man I have been attracted to in such a longtime, and who has been attracted to me. Any advice?

View related questions: at work, depressed, insecure, jealous, on holiday, revenge

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A reader, anonymous, writes (13 September 2015):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

One month later: What has finally happened: I felt so uncomfortable about his continuous statements about his looking at beautiful women that after 5 weeks of holiday during which we didn't see or contact each other I ditched him. ( I felt better without him). I didn't answer his phone calls or emails for several days, fearing that he would continue to say unpleasant things to me, but just sent him one email telling him that it was finished because I was not comfortable in this relationship. When I finally listened to one of his phone messages, he was extremely upset, said that he was devastated, women had always cheated on him (not quite sure I believe this version), and he was the one who should be suspicious of women and not the other way around. He hadn't realized that he had hurt me (he said that they were only words that weren't important, how could I take that so seriously? and that didn't correspond to his actual behaviour, that he had said them because he thought that our relationship was temporary because I was attractive and I might meet another man, and that only he realized (after I ditched him) that he had said them because he was just being honest, although it was an excess of stupidity, that he was the neurotic one, not me, and that he wants to stay with me forever. He said that he was definitely not a manipulator, it is impossible for him to manipulate (which I find hard to believe)...He feels so unsettled now that he wants to see me every day. So I am giving this relationship another chance. After all I did like him a lot...

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (9 August 2015):

YouWish agony auntActually, he's doing much more than try to make you jealous. Yes, he is trying to make you jealous, but what he's really trying to do is manipulate you into giving him the dominant position in the relationship. He told you he loves you at only the 3-month mark in your relationship, and he's asking you directly about hiking with another man. At that point, he revealed his insecurity. He reinforced it by butting into your sexual harassment story because all he could think of was other men desiring you.

His gushing about being attracted to other women has a twofold purpose:

The main one is because his feelings for you make him feel out of control, and he wants to regain it by knocking you down emotionally. He WANTS you to feel off-balance, hysterical, and "neurotic" as he put it. Even his calling you "neurotic" was a put-down. He succeeded in what he did to you, and you totally fell for it.

He KNOWS you attract attention. He feels insecure and inadequate, that much is obvious, which brings me to the second reason why he's saying all of this to you:

Listen carefully at this one! He's trying to self-soothe by saying ALL men are attracted to beautiful women, so even though he's using it to knock you off-balance, he's trying to reassure himself that other guys are attracted to you, but they don't pose the threat he's terrified it does. If he didn't care, why the hell would he be interested about your hiking with another guy? Why would he stumble all over himself like a pimply teenager when you mentioned sexual harassment, which conveys your desirability (albeit the gross kind that causes unwanted and inappropriate attention)?? Before you get all hysterical, you need to ask yourself this:

Why would a guy who just started acting jealous and professing love early in the relationship suddenly become so intent on driving home the point of his own desireability? Think of this:

What is the difference between what you told him, and what he told you? You told him of another guy acting out HIS attraction to you. Does he start talking about other women fawning all over him?? Nope. He keeps bringing up HIS attraction towards other women as if he's clutching for a security blanket. He also is feeling territorial because if HE "can't stop thinking" about you, and trust me, he's OBSESSING about you, I'd bet ANYTHING...he's torturing himself with what other men are thinking about when they see you. He's going crazy.

He sounds desperate and pathetic. This is not a guy you get nervous, hysterical, and jealous about. This is a guy who you call his bluff about you on. He's not going out looking at other women. He's not wondering about other women like he TRIED to get you to think. He's obsessing over you. He's obsessing over the other guys he believes are attracted to you. He's worried you'll start thinking about them, and he's happy if you're jealous and upset, because if you're those things, he's got the control and the power, and he's got you off-balance, and that hides his insecurity, and it boosts his ego, which is feeling desperate and pathetic because he's a slobbering, obsessed, jealous, insecure pimply teenager he doesn't want you to see when you're with him. He's professing LOVE to you. At 3 months, he's GOTTA feel out of control if he's at that point.

Pull yourself together. I mean NOW. Stop ALL of the jealousy, insecurity, neurotic stuff, hysteria, and pull yourself back into balance. Do not let his drivel and smoke screen knock you off, because that is all it is. Smoke and mirrors. I think you know it too.

In fact, when he launches into that stuff, in your mind, treat all of those words like noise, as if he just passed gas. Embarrassing. Let him finish, smile a mysterious smile, and then change the subject. He'll try to change it back. Don't let him. Talk about other things. Ignore that whole thing. It won't take long before he'll act worried about you and other guys again. Do not feed his manipulation. He needs to feel in control. It's good for him not to feel that way.

One word - if his control desire manifests in other ways, don't stay with him. It's possible. Don't accept put downs, criticisms about your shortcomings, none of that. Guys who are insecure and acting like this one sometimes go to that point. Don't reward him by going hysterical. He does NOT have other women desiring him.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 August 2015):

Also, I'd like to add that his telling me that he looks at beautiful women is reinforcing just what you say: the superficial attachment to beauty...I now catch myself wondering if I should wear this or something sexier...He also told me that I was beautiful (only to say a few days later that he looks at other beautiful women too...yet he didn't listen to me (which is why he repeated it)...I want him to focus on something deeper and want to be reassured that he doesn't want to see me in a submissive sex-object role.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 August 2015):

I realize that we look at attractive people but since he has pointed it out several times I can't stop thinking about it.

I no longer feel very good about it (especially since saw all the very attractive women at his work). I have just met a man on a dating site (these things my boyfriend has been pointing out to me is just scaring me towards other men - I have no problem in attracting men)...and I will tell my boyfriend whom I actually dearly love, that I have met a man in whom I can confide and who understands me (which is half-true - I don't know the man so well yet), while reassuring him that the relationship with this other man is only a friendship.

I think my boyfriend has been trying to make me jealous, he actually liked to see me jealous - until I told him that I would leave him -..so now it's his turn to be jealous - of men who listen to and understand women. Maybe he needs this kind of boost.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (7 August 2015):

He is correct, all men (and women) will always notice other attractive people. However, he has made his point, and now he needs to not bring it up again. It's going to do nothing but hurt you. It's a good sign that he respects you enough to not look at other women while you are together. Too many men aren't so considerate. It's also good that he reassured you he's only looking, and he has no plans to act on it.

You have to realize the scenarios you create in your head are all based on your jealousy, and not reality. You imagine he only checks out women under 40, but do you actually know this for sure? Did he say that? Even if he did, it's not the truth. If he only looked at women under 40, how is it he noticed you? And not just noticed you, but pursued a relationship with you over all those younger women?

I would continue writing the poems as it's a good way to vent your feelings. I do feel he should try and understand where you're coming from. Being an American woman myself, I admit it's difficult to feel attractive enough even at 26 (my age). Our country places too much importance on our exterior, and basically tells us if we don't fit a certain mold we are ugly and undesirable. Ads for cosmetics are actually designed to make us feel this way, so we will buy their products. We end up obsessing over the way we look to the point we forget most men look at more than just our exterior.

So as our looks decline with age, we assume we would be worthless to men, but this is not the case. Sure, some men feel that way, but there aren't as many as you'd think.

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