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What can I do to stop my bad habit of ogling other women?

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Question - (16 August 2005) 17 Answers - (Newest, 25 August 2015)
A male , anonymous writes:

I've spent my entire life hoping to find my girlfriend and feel like the luckiest man on the planet having found my one true love. We were to be married last Saturday but she called it off a while back. We're still together and hoping that one day we'll marry.

Here's the problem. It's all my fault. I've never been a cheater. I'm not a bad guy. Really. However, somewhere along the road in this life, I've apparently developed a habit of ogling women. And I'm doing it while we're together in public.

She says it's disrespectful and I could not agree more. Ogling women is just flat-out wrong. And disrepecting her is the LAST thing I want to do. I want the world to know how proud I am to be with her. I want the world to see our love and say, "Wow, would ya look at that." She's everything to me and I absolutely adore her.

It's dumbfounded me that I've done this, and in talking to people that have known me for a long time (I'm 36), they've never seen me do this. I'm really a good guy. However, I accept responsibility that I'm doing it. I just want to know how to fix it. I want to know how to get it out of my system and just be done with it. I'm trying all possible avenues; I've seen a couple of psychiatrists and am following up.

The thing is, my girlfriend tells me I'm doing it after the fact and I don't even know what's happened or what I saw. How do I stop doing this?? I'm not a bad guy; I've apparently just developed a really bad habit over time and I don't want to do this. She's everything to me and I can't stand the thought of losing my one true love because of something stupid that I can fix.


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A reader, anonymous, writes (25 August 2015):

Your experience sounds very familiar to me. I have had the same issue, the same struggle.

I love my wife more than I ever thought I could love anyone, and yet she has noticed how I look at women. It was the same situation -- I did not even realize I was doing it most of the time. It turns out that disassociation is a common element of addiction.

I can't speak for you; in my case it turns out that I have a sex and lust addiction. For many years it was porn, which made it far too easy for me to objectify women. And I didn't even know I was doing it. Going to a 12 Step program has given me tools to help break the cycle of addiction. I also find that meditation helps enormously.

Starting a mindfulness practice can help you be more "in the moment" so you become more aware of what you are doing. And admitting that I am powerless over lust and that I need help from a higher power has been the most effective tool by far. I just tell my higher power that "I don't have this. You need to take control, because I am not running the show right now."

Thinking that you can fix everything yourself, figure it all out, and take care of it all is a recipe for disaster, at least in my case. Try out a meeting like Sexaholics Anonymous and see what you think.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (25 August 2013):

Hi I know this is an old post, I am currently in a three year relationship with a man such as yourself. He adores me and I him , yet our marriage has been postponed because of this issue. I have read hundreds of articles on it and some suggest a link between porn and the objectification of women as a result of porn addiction. The man I am with was on a loveless marriage with no intimacy for 12 years and links this habits beginning around the time he got deep into porn.

I am so curious if you ever found resolve and if you and your fiancé ever got past this. I am tormented by this issue myself. I am hoping there is some hope.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (23 May 2011):

I must say I can totally relate to your gal.

I was married for 17 years and am very amicable with my ex. I never felt jealous of other women, in fact I was mystified by people who were expressed jealousy. My subsequent two serious relationships, also no problem with my self esteem or jealousy. Some COMMON THREADS these men had:

1.They treated me (for the most part) like they were lucky to have me. 3. They did not look at others in a habitual form...whatsoever. 2. They TOLD me how much they loved me, appreciated me & thought i was beautiful even when I'm sure i was fugly. 3. They craved and desired me sexually like I was IT.

I am getting hit on daily by men ages 20-60 when I am out in public which makes me feel good. However I don't want to go anywhere with my man because of his behaviors.

I have been with my man 2 years in July. We are both in our mid 40s, both considered attractive, in shape, outgoing and friendly. When we first dated he only had eyes for me-that lasted 2 months. I am considered very attractive outwardly, petite athletic build, nice figure and a GOOD HEART. I thought I was it for him, he says it all the time however his actions did not show that sentiment. We moved in together after those 2 months (I was sure HE was the one) and I was made well aware he didn't have eyes for only me. The first morning I woke up here and was talking with him, he said as he stared at the TV "I'm sorry I didn't hear what you said, the weather girl was distracting me." The weather girl with double DD's. I was stunned. This was just the beginning. Looking at chests at the gym, making SOUNDS and GRUNTS at women on TV (I can't fricken watch DWTS with him because of this), making comments about YOUNG women on TV or YOUNG women in general, acting like he's NOT with me in public, all within the first month of changing my life for him and moving in. I have been pressed to the point I DON"T WANT TO GO IN PUBLIC with him anymore because of his actions that he 'deny's' doing and says I am imagining. I have never, ever felt as unattractive and suffer from low -self esteem because this man has disrespected me so much and made me feel like I am just one of many...NOT his one and only.

Focus on her when you're with her, give her attention, tell her she's beautiful when you think it, let her know she is the one and only and make her feel like it genuinely. Look at her when a pretty woman approaches, ask God for the strength and wisdom to do the right thing.

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A male reader, pepelepew50 United States +, writes (5 April 2011):

I think you need to stop and consider some important factors in your behavior. With homo sapien, whom is a species within the animal kingdom class of mammals. There are around 5,500 species within that ecosystem. The two major factors in this situation is mental process (thinking) and behavior ( your actions).

Biologically, human males and females behavior is determined by their ability to receive distol stimulus or the environmental stimulus and process those stimulus with in their brain. There are five sensory organs or tools that humans have: sight, sound, smell, taste, and feel.

Your brain then takes these lower sensory stimulus and process it or them in lower brain areas; thalamus and hippocampus region. Also, then higher functions of the occipital , parietal, infertemporal and cerebral cortexs.

When your body reacts to a female stimulus, there are several acts going on in the visual, audio, and oral-factory areas of the brain. The turning and looking is a reflexive reaction or your attention. The brain will automatically respond to unknown stimulus to your neurons. In fact, the more you stimulate your neurons to look at females ormthe same females, your brain or neurons will automatically habituate to the stimulus, and you will naturally become board of it.

So your reflexive action is more of a automatic response or behavior of your brain because, you are a human being. She does it too.

What you need to develop is self-control to moderate the time you spend looking at woman, and that takes practice.

Also, I think the failure of the relationship was a result of both you and her. I suspect that there are some secure-attachment issues going on with her; such as anxious-avoidant attachment and anxious-resistant attachment.

There are two people in a relationship, and it takes work on both persons involved. There is no such thing as a perfect gentleman or a perfect lady. What we do have as people is called 'maturity.' Maturity is not a static state of being. It is in constant motion. I think the attitude that you can never reflexively look at women is not pragmatic at all.

Pragmatic is mainly a term used by Developmental Psychologist to refer to language skills or factors. It is the one communication skill many people over look. Pragmatics deals with thenpropermuse of communication skills in a given social situation. When to use then proper words and dialog and also when to use the proper gestures and behavior.

On a date, you are suppose to be working on strengthening your relationship. In human social interaction this involves communication. Communication does not just refer to the spoken word or speech. In a relationship " is cheap...and actions speak louder than words."

The first step in your relationship you two should work on is getting to know who you two really are, and not the illusion you two as individuals have developed in your mind. I recommend you two read a book written by David Burns called 'Intimate Connections.' It is an excellent read.

If your relationship broke up because you look at woman, thatmis reallly a 'cheap excuse' and she was looking for a way out long before that. Because the reality is you would never have met her if you never looked at her. People have to see, unless you are blind.

I hope this helps...

Thank you


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A reader, anonymous, writes (28 February 2011):

I have the same problem with my husband of 24 years. He doesn't admit he's ogling. Either he doesn't want to admit it or he doesn't realize he's doing it. The only type he ogles is the very curvy, slightly chubby ladies and of course it bothers me since I'm not like that.

I don't think it's just because he's been with me so long that he wants to look at something different - he's been like that since we were dating. I have come to realize in reading some of the previous answers that a man can ogle women without realizing it. Never would have figured that. Also, a previous answer stated that a man is of course going to stare/look at/ogle women from time to time.

I agree, but I don't think that's the discussion problem - "from time to time" - the guy with the problem and some of the people answering are talking about guys CONSTANTLY ogling women wherever they go - not just "occasionally". It gets very embarrassing to the wife/girlfriend. Who the heck wants a guy who acts like a 19 year old who's never seen a girl before?

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A male reader, AaronAgassi United States +, writes (9 August 2008):

In the nineteenth century, men overflowed with effusive gratitude to receive painful surgical operations to stop them from masturbation. And that's entirely private! It would seem that time has come again, that we all need to loosen up.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (20 April 2008):

I am 68 years old, white-haired and therefore not exactly of an age where I am likely to spark immediate interest and response from passing women. I have never in my life, up to now, been accused of ogling females. To be accused of it I find not just insulting but disgusting as well. My partner and I have been together for just over two years although we have known each other for more than 45. I thought that we had discovered in one another an almost idyllic companion in our later years. There was only one small incident very early in our relationship which, at the time, I laughed about: I went out to collect the morning paper when staying with friends in the country. For some reason I was delayed and, instead of taking ten or fifteen minutes, I took about thirty. When I got back I found her in an uproar that I had been engaged in an assignation with an old girlfriend. Please understand that I had been living abroad for more than 30 years and returned to this country after suffering severe injuries in an accident. It was after we moved in together that, one day, out of the blue, she asked my if I would mind not looking at other girls in an amorous way ... I should try to be more 'avuncular' was the word used. I was amazed I had no idea what she meant. Since then the whole matter has become progressively worse until today our relationship hangs by a thread. I am devoted to her and am more than grateful for all that she has done for me since my return to England in 2005. But I cannot stand being continuously accused of something that I am perfectly certain I am not doing. It has come to the stage where she tells me beforehand not to 'ogle' some female or other, and so I make a definite point of not looking at that person but, after the meal or whatever the situation has been, I am STILL accused of eyeing this female even though I have made a conscious effort not to look at her and to avoid all eye contact of any sort. I want to say, repeating what another replier has already said, I am not a 'bad guy' and I would never knowingly hurt my partner, but we seem to be coming to an inevitable parting that neither of us wants. I cannot stop doing what I am not doing ... but she is equally adamant that I am doing it! All I can conclude that I must be doing something that she mistakes for ogling when I am not. It has got to the stage where if I look up because someone walks past then I can feel her accusing eyes upon me. In the dark the other night, she was driving when a car drew up close beside us at some traffic lights for no more than a couple of seconds. The fact that I made some remark about that 'woman driver' produced another tirade that 'of COURSE you would notice that it was a woman' etc etc. All I can conclude is that I must be doing something that,to her, translates as my ogling but, mostly, her certainty is validated by the way she 'knows' how women react when they are being watched. We were in a small plane the other day, I was sitting in the window seat when two oriental teenagers, giggling to each other, changed their seats while we were in the air and came and sat in the row in front of us so, presumably, that they could look out of the window. After we landed I was accused of having leered at them so that, on purpose, they came over to be closer to me. As I said at the beginning I am nearly 70 years old! Young girls do not go chasing after old men ESPECIALLY if he leers at them. If anyone can come up with some advice as to a solution to our problem I would be truly grateful because I love my partner dearly and would not hurt her for the world, but this insanity cannot continue.

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A female reader, twiga United Kingdom +, writes (18 April 2008):

I think that 17th Nov 2007 was correct. The sexual thrill of the eye contact with a stranger is addictive. Try teaching yourself to look women flat in the face, like a sister, instead of eye-contacting them. Look up. Clear your eyes.

Each time you do it, it is a little easier the next time.

Also, look into your girlfriends eyes, give and get thrills with her, across a room, and so on. Tell her looking into her eyes gives you a better thrill. It does, after all.

Tell us if this works, please.

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A female reader, twiga United Kingdom +, writes (18 April 2008):

I am struggling to find a way to stay with my companion in spite of his ogling amorous looks at any woman in his sights.

All the things I read in this column tie in with my experience - this is the third ogler I have dated, but this man was my dream come true, until this nightmare situation.

At home all is more than fine, but the moment we are out of the door....

What no-one has mentioned is the effect even the oldest ogler has on other women. They come and hover, they send their children over to play close, they ogle back, use attention-seeking behaviour, talk loudly, giggle, twiddle their hair and so on.

One woman all but pushed me out of her way to get to him in a department store.

And for the letter-writers who are good looking,remember, this is a more worthwhile victory for our deluded sisters..

I feel like printing up a t-shirt with 'My man is an ogler - please ignore' on it, but perhaps that will only make them worse, make it more of a challenge.

I too no longer wish to drive or walk or go to parties with him. It tears me up. The electricity between us fizzles out,

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (26 January 2008):

Listen, How many men are anwsering this question? I'll tell all women who look at this write to it. Every man looks at other women- period. It is driven by the same need to have sex or to hit someone when you are mad, to cry when your sad. Now what separates us from a bunch of monkeys in the trees is the fact of conscience.That is the choice we make to not swing our fist at someone just because we are mad and not engage in sex with every one we are attracted to.That is the true sign of love. Listen man, if your girlfriend leaves because you look at other women from time to time, she is going to be a very unhappy person because every guy does it. Women are not typically driven by the same libido man have, and the one who do - look too. I mean how many women look at Brad Pitt and don't fantize, is that any different? I think the answer your looking for is to be honest with your partner. Tell her you look but she is the one you choose to love and be with, not only because you find her sexy but also because of who she is, tell her you love her companionship and relationships are hard work. Relationships take lots of time and effort, and just because a girl catches your eye from time to time, that is a lot different then creating what you both have together. Reassure her that she is the one for you, if that is not enough for her then maybe you need to take a look at your relationship- because if she still does not understand it, I think it has much more to do with her insecurity than anything. Relationships are hard and they are not about meeting your sole mate and riding off into the sunset in bliss. They are based on TRUST! Forcing yourself to hide your drives, is way more of a lie to her then to have a conversation about them.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (26 July 2007):

Try reading the book- Every Man's Battle That should help! and give you an understanding of how powerful your actions can be... you have hurt your girls spirit at this point.. and you can make it better hopefully... if you make a decision to...

The new man I am dating checked out this woman last night in front of me at least four times... it hurt inside to watch it and know that I am also very attractive and he was so disrespectful to her that much power between us.... it ruined the night because although I said nothing to him...I was not as nice as I usually am and I didn't care at that point... he knew I was upset.. and didn't address it...I may be looking for a new dating partner who can control his poor behavior! We shall see if it continues...and yes, I will recommend the book to him as well.... ;) I deserve to be the "focus" of him...not some stranger walking down the street....

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (30 October 2006):

I have been searching the web for awhile now to find help for this exact problem. The situation you describe is almost exactly where I'm at. I am admitting that I do glance at other women (I really don't think it classifies as ogling but that really doesn't matter. It is still hurtful). I want to stop. Have you found anything that helps? I'm open to anything. I'm starting counseling, but seriously would consider other options... Shock therapy??

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (28 October 2006):

I have been married for 18 years, we have 3 children, but if I see a lovely lady walking down, of course I am going to look at her, it does not mean that I want to bed her or have some sought of relationship with her. But you must ask yourself a question.. why do women wear short skirts, why do women put make up on, it is to get attention.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 August 2005):

Thanks for the responses so far. I think I've made a mistake in posting this here, though. Charliesgirl, you were insightful in your assessment; it is imagined, at least *sometimes*. The other times, I still don't know I do it. And THAT'S the problem I need help with. There have been two instances which I've never even been told what they were. And there's been at least two instances that have been dismissed by her; one she conceded that it was imagined when the absurdity of it was brought to light (she thought I was ogling 14yo girls while we were out with my kids). There are 5 or 6 instances in total. So it's a little more complicated than just bad behavior. But still, I've done it and I don't want to ever do it again.

The other responses: I know it's bad behavior. I really didn't need to be told that again. I loathe the behavior. In anyone, especially me. I know the ramifications and how it makes her feel and everything surrounding it. And I know how to love. What we share is truly once in a lifetime and we both feel that way. I wasn't really looking for advice on how to love someone. In my mind, when we're together, I see nothing but her; I feel nothing but pure love for her. She's blindingly beautiful and when she's near, just the presence of her makes the world a blur. She's absolutely perfect inside and out. She's everything. In my life, I've never seen any couple with something as pure as what we have. I feel incredibly lucky.

But anyway, I accept that I do this thing. I don't accept it because I'm aware of it. Ogling may be fine for some but I don't live by that creed. I accept that I do this thing because she's told me I do it; if she's seen me do it, then I do. I accept that I'm an ogler, unaware, but nevertheless. I can't stand even the thought of me being the very one to hurt her. Yet I have. I love her and the last thing I want to do is hurt or disrepect her or have her feel anything less than perfect love from my heart.

I have always tried to live my life by doing the right thing. And ogling is something that I find repulsive and most certainly in the presence of the one you love. It's just upsetting from so many different angles, not just to her but to me. It disturbs me that I do something so vulgar. I don't want to do this!

I just want to know how to stop a vulgar behavior that you don't know you do. I can't seem to find an answer anywhere. The counselors I've seen don't seem to know how to approach it. I just need to know how to stop it. Which is why I'm trying as many avenues as I can.

I love her. Before we ever met. It's always been her. That's all. And this is the only thing that stands between us. My stupid problem. Please. Help. Refer me to someone that's dealt with this before. Anything.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (17 August 2005):

Men are easily visually stimulated and some say, this tendency is prewired into men's brains-it is an irresistible impulse. Good for you in taking steps to curb this habit of yours. By what you are do take your "girl watching" tendencies to the extreme and she's

having doubts about your feelings toward her. Can you blame her?

If you ogle/leer/stare/gawk at other women and engage in this conduct repeatedly-with no regard to her feelings-naturally, she's gotten very hypersensitive to it, because you are "overdoing" it, guy! She probably understands that men respond to visual stimuli, but she also knows that you have a freedom of choice, and by ogling others openly, rather than respecting her feelings, you are making a poor choice on your part—one that she can't abide by. You need to modify your girl-watching behavior, a lot. I'm not saying to stop but covert, discreet, short glances is okay. But openly and blatantly "ogling" women will continue to result in resentment from her—and as a woman, I understand it from her point of view. You need to know, she's your date and you have to pay attention to her, or she'll be out the door, leaving you to spend the evening alone.

She's teaching you how to treat her and I give her credit for setting boundries with you. By calling off the wedding-it's her way of letting you know-that she's unsure of your committment to her. You will risk losing her if you continue-you need to find a solution and you need to modify this behaviour. One way is to become diligent and very, very aware of what you are doing-and resisting the urge to "ogle". Hopefully over time, it will become a good habit. Really work hard at this and remember you have choices and you are in control of your own actions. Good luck to the both of you.

Hugs & Smiles, Irish

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A female reader, charliesgirl +, writes (16 August 2005):

Looking at the opposite sex is a perfectly natural part of life. Appreciating an attractive person is normal. One quote I always remember is "When you stop looking you're dead." However, there is world of difference between an appreciative glance and blatant leering.

However, have you looked at this from another angle? Have you considered that just perhaps your beloved girlfriend is imagining that you are ogling other women?

The reason I ask you this question is in your words- you claim that you cannot even remember the alleged "ogling" incidents. Surely if you were purposefully eyeing up ladies then you'd at least remember some detail about them? The other indicator is your friend's reactions. They claim that they have never seen you ogling other women- are they trying to protect your feelings or telling the truth? Have they made any other comments about your behaviour whilst you are together? If they are telling the truth and you genuinely cannot remember checking out other women, it may be that your girlfriend is insecure and fears losing you.

If this is the case, then you will need to give her plenty of reassurance and love to gain her absolute trust and confidence, which I have no doubt you can provide her with.

Ask a trusted friend for their absolute honest opinion. A female friend would give you an opinion from a woman's point of view. If it transpires that you have been checking out other women then obviously your girlfriend will be hurt. You are obviously very aware of this, and I am sure that if this is the case you will take all necessary steps to rectify your behaviour.

I am a little concerned that your girlfriend called off your wedding though. I think that you need to work together through any issues that you have before making the commitment on the big day.

Good luck!

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A female reader, amiee United Kingdom +, writes (16 August 2005):

amiee agony auntheya, personaly i think you have completed the first step already which is well ... was admitting it to yourself that one you were doing it and two it was wrong. but what i feel you need to to do now is try your best to make it up to your other half. after all you said it to yourself she means everything to you. when you go out with her every time you see another women that you would go for turn and look at her and say something about how much she means to you 1 this gets your mind focused and 2 it makes her feel special.

what your going through is a fantacy and its not unusual it is quite common but determination and realising what a special man you are to have this beautiful women in your life will beat that. and soon enough youll stop and your relationship will be back on the rails again.

remember when you see other women weather she is there or not think i have a lovely women at home/next to me i dont want to ruin that and i love her. say something nice or make a romantic gesture

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