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Does he have a wandering eye or am I just being paranoid & insecure?! #413933
09/17/16 10:38 AM
09/17/16 10:38 AM
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Tigerbug Offline OP
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Hello everyone --
I've been struggling with an issue in my marriage for the past few years and we have been through some pretty rocky times BUT only on this particular topic. If we could fix this issue I'd say I have about as close to a perfect marriage as anyone could.
The issue is that I think he has a "wandering eye" and he thinks he's being completely normal. I've explained to him many times how him checking out other women is like driving a daggar through my heart. At this point, he trys to protect me from it by avoiding situations or places, and by hiding the iPad screen from me when I walk into the same room. I don't want it to be this way. I want us to be in a room full of super models and for him to only *see* me. What girl doesn't want her man to "only have eyes for her"?!
I've been to lots of therapists; some good, some horrible. I've read books, completed some self-help programs, and while I can say that my level of anxiety is MUCH better, this is still an issue that I have to confront on almost a daily basis. Just last night, we were shopping at a high-end grocery store. There was a VERY attractive young lady manning a wine sampling booth. I was thankful every time we went down an isle that took us away from her. I kept thinking in my head about my husband "PLEASE don't see her, PLEASE don't see her". Then, while we were waiting in the checkout line, he saw her. He kept looking and looking. He struggled to take his eyes off her. My insides were doing somersaults, I got a lump in my throat, and my heart crumbled into a million pieces; I no longer existed in his world, he was so into her. I couldn't wait to get out of there.

I'm always online searching and I came across an article on this website written a few years ago. Someone commented on the article and her words hit so close to home I was crying as I read them. It is so very lonely to feel like you're the only one with this struggle; to read her comments made me feel like I wrote them myself.

Here's a link to the article: http://www.marriageadvocates.com/2012/02...-your-marriage/

Here are some of her comments that explain exactly my situation and how I feel:
-I know that my insecurity puts tremendous stress on my marriage. My husband and I have a great marriage otherwise.
-Im not saying hes an ogler or is constantly looking or drooling or flirting, and the rational part of me realizes that the occasional look is going to happen. Yet even just reading the article, I get a huge knot in my stomach reading that a secure woman would be okay with hearing her husband comment about an attractive woman...I could not even imagine feeling okay with that.
-I fully admit that I dont want him to be attracted to anyone else. I want to feel like he has enough respect and love for me that he doesnt notice others, at least no more than a fleeting glance.
-I am fully aware that men are visually stimulatedand that is what bothers me. No matter how strong our relationship is, hell still be turned on by other women. Just great.
-...I feel when he looks at other women, hes satisfying some need that I cannot satisfy, and that I am supposed to just accept it...
-...he filters what he says and does around me because he does not want to set me off so that just makes me wonder what else he censors. And I HATE that he has to do that. I want us to be able to be honest with each other, and I know that I have completely ruined that.
-I worry that he finds it exhausting to maintain me.
-I guess my point is, in everything I read on this subject, I feel like it is suggesting that I am supposed to just accept that my husband is going to be attracted to other women and that when I am jealous I am being controlling, trying to dominate his thoughts and feelings, which I really dont want to do, but I seriously cannot fathom the thought of being okay with it.
-I want my husband to be physically attracted to me.

Ugh, reading her comments again and summarizing them for this post put a knot in my stomach!

I feel like I live in a time when it's socially acceptable for men to give in to their animal instincts and we women just have to accept it; and I don't know how to accept it!

Any guidance on this would be much appreciated and/or if anyone reading this can relate I'd love to chat.

Thank you for listening!

Re: Does he have a wandering eye or am I just being paranoid & insecure?! [Re: Tigerbug] #413934
09/17/16 11:36 AM
09/17/16 11:36 AM
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Hi Tigerbug,

Welcome to MA. I usually don't frequent this particular forum but saw your post.

I'd say you probably have reason to be concerned and here's the deficiency: Lack of trust.

Now is that lack of trust on your side, his side, both sides? It might be good to seek out a IC/MC in your area. We have threads on how to find a good one.

In addition to that we can help you work through some things on your side. I recommend you read the book: His Needs/Her Needs by Dr. Harley. It's an old book but it helped me learn how to communicate with my H. It also helped me define what were my problems to work on and what were truly his issues and our M issues.

My H became a WS (wayward spouse), it included a change of character of sorts which included an expansion of an existing selfish soul that lead him to not only have an A but blame me for it while justifying it. It allowed him to be sneaky and yes, I often felt ignored.

I think you want to avoid having to experience such treatment, so let's get you started on what is good for you. In addition to the Dr. Harley book His Needs/Her Needs, I recommend a book called: Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. It is also an old book but it helps us see the need have reasonable boundaries for ourselves and our M. You both need them.

I recommend you work on yourself 1st. Then see if your H is willing to work on himself, then u 2 can work on your M.

If your H has a wandering eye and your boundaries are found to not be able to handle his life choices and he is refusing to change, you have to be strong enough to make changes you can live with. In other words, letting go of him if he doesn't respect and love you enough to not have a wandering eye, is critical.

If you allow him to disrespect you, he may continue to do so. When my H was a raging WS, he often spewed many lies. In between those lies came some harsh truths. I had to be smart enough to recognize them. One of them was when he told me 'that as long as I was willing to pay for everything (family bills & all his 6+ credit cards), he could continue the A, forever.'

Wow, that was an eye-opener for me. I knew I had to pay the bills and I was the primary income earner. He was self-employed and I had a steady management level income. Yet he was the one spending and having the A like he felt he deserved.

I was barely keeping us afloat. His A put him in debt over $20K and he certainly didn't have the $$$ to pay for it.

Reading both books helped me. I was able to establish a way to communicate with him to where he would hear me and respond. Establishing my boundaries came easier when he let it slip that he knew he was using me to enable his A. Once I realized that, I stopped what I could and let him flounder in debt. He certainly couldn't prance around the OW without cash in his pocket. One of his many hard learned lessons.

Please ask your questions, in a M there is a lot to learn.

We have quite a seasoned group of posters who volunteer their time and energy to help others. We continue to learn ourselves and this site has helped many of us on a regular basis.

Take care,
Orchid

Re: Does he have a wandering eye or am I just being paranoid & insecure?! [Re: Tigerbug] #413937
09/17/16 03:42 PM
09/17/16 03:42 PM
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SmilingWife Offline
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Originally Posted By: Tigerbug
Hello everyone --
I've been struggling with an issue in my marriage for the past few years and we have been through some pretty rocky times BUT only on this particular topic. If we could fix this issue I'd say I have about as close to a perfect marriage as anyone could.
The issue is that I think he has a "wandering eye" and he thinks he's being completely normal. I've explained to him many times how him checking out other women is like driving a daggar through my heart. At this point, he trys to protect me from it by avoiding situations or places, and by hiding the iPad screen from me when I walk into the same room. I don't want it to be this way. I want us to be in a room full of super models and for him to only *see* me. What girl doesn't want her man to "only have eyes for her"?!
I've been to lots of therapists; some good, some horrible. I've read books, completed some self-help programs, and while I can say that my level of anxiety is MUCH better, this is still an issue that I have to confront on almost a daily basis. Just last night, we were shopping at a high-end grocery store. There was a VERY attractive young lady manning a wine sampling booth. I was thankful every time we went down an isle that took us away from her. I kept thinking in my head about my husband "PLEASE don't see her, PLEASE don't see her". Then, while we were waiting in the checkout line, he saw her. He kept looking and looking. He struggled to take his eyes off her. My insides were doing somersaults, I got a lump in my throat, and my heart crumbled into a million pieces; I no longer existed in his world, he was so into her. I couldn't wait to get out of there.

I'm always online searching and I came across an article on this website written a few years ago. Someone commented on the article and her words hit so close to home I was crying as I read them. It is so very lonely to feel like you're the only one with this struggle; to read her comments made me feel like I wrote them myself.

Here's a link to the article: http://www.marriageadvocates.com/2012/02...-your-marriage/

Here are some of her comments that explain exactly my situation and how I feel:
-I know that my insecurity puts tremendous stress on my marriage. My husband and I have a great marriage otherwise.
-Im not saying hes an ogler or is constantly looking or drooling or flirting, and the rational part of me realizes that the occasional look is going to happen. Yet even just reading the article, I get a huge knot in my stomach reading that a secure woman would be okay with hearing her husband comment about an attractive woman...I could not even imagine feeling okay with that.
-I fully admit that I dont want him to be attracted to anyone else. I want to feel like he has enough respect and love for me that he doesnt notice others, at least no more than a fleeting glance.
-I am fully aware that men are visually stimulatedand that is what bothers me. No matter how strong our relationship is, hell still be turned on by other women. Just great.
-...I feel when he looks at other women, hes satisfying some need that I cannot satisfy, and that I am supposed to just accept it...
-...he filters what he says and does around me because he does not want to set me off so that just makes me wonder what else he censors. And I HATE that he has to do that. I want us to be able to be honest with each other, and I know that I have completely ruined that.
-I worry that he finds it exhausting to maintain me.
-I guess my point is, in everything I read on this subject, I feel like it is suggesting that I am supposed to just accept that my husband is going to be attracted to other women and that when I am jealous I am being controlling, trying to dominate his thoughts and feelings, which I really dont want to do, but I seriously cannot fathom the thought of being okay with it.
-I want my husband to be physically attracted to me.

Ugh, reading her comments again and summarizing them for this post put a knot in my stomach!

I feel like I live in a time when it's socially acceptable for men to give in to their animal instincts and we women just have to accept it; and I don't know how to accept it!

Any guidance on this would be much appreciated and/or if anyone reading this can relate I'd love to chat.

Thank you for listening!


Reading your post put knots in my stomach too. Yes, he has a wandering eye. Yes you have a right to feel uoset about it. He is being highly disrespectful and 'hiding the IPad' (porn?) or avoiding certain places and situations doesn't make him more respectful. It makes him sneaky which further erodes trust.

My xh was like that. I was /am very secure in my own appearance......so it took me a long time to understand how disrespectful he was being. I didn't feel like I might lose him over it...I felt like I wanted to get rid of him over it! It was disgusting to me that he had so little control over himself or maybe so little regard for me.

I have No real solution for you. Because you can't change him and you shouldn't change your reaction to it.

My new husband is highly visual as most men are. But he reserves strong reactions for ME. When we are out he does not do double takes or ogle other women. He and I sometimes comment on how beautiful a woman is...,but the whole feel is so different from my first marriage. When current husband and I were first dating I carefully watched him.....and it was just not like my xh. So not all men are like your husband, therefore he doesn't have to behave that way. He can control himself even gasp! Even When he sees a beautiful woman.

Re: Does he have a wandering eye or am I just being paranoid & insecure?! [Re: SmilingWife] #413945
09/17/16 09:24 PM
09/17/16 09:24 PM
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Hi Tigerbug,

It is entirely normal to want your husband to not behave in a way that makes you upset. Especially when we're talking about checking out other women.

In my opinion, it is not normal to expect him to not find any other women attractive. I mention this because that is the general tenor of the post that you cited, and that, you said, spoke to you so powerfully. You can wish for that, of course, but to expect it is almost certainly to set yourself up either to (a) have your husband lie to you or (b) have your husband admit things that will hurt you very deeply.

I would also caution you against jumping to the worst conclusions ie., that your husband is ripe for an affair. He may be, of course, but I think we would need more information than what you provided. That doesn't mean that you can't take steps to safeguard your marriage against infidelity. Trying to change his innermost feelings, though, is not one of them.

Anyway, I am sure you will find much support here and I'm glad you posted.

Last edited by kerala; 09/17/16 09:24 PM.
Re: Does he have a wandering eye or am I just being paranoid & insecure?! [Re: kerala] #413965
09/18/16 09:39 PM
09/18/16 09:39 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
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SmilingWife Offline
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I read your post to my husband and we talked a long time about it. I thought you might like to hear his opinion. Yes, he told me, he does notice other women. There are a lot of beautiful women in the world. But there is a valve in his brain that just shuts off and prevents him from ogling other women or doing double takes or certainly looking at porn. He considers this a dignity thing.....that if he were to behave as your husband ( and my xh ) does it would demean him and show him to be insecure ( as in omg, she is so hot I just can't control myself) with himself to the point he would be letting the physical looks of another control,him.

Just so you dont think my husband is some uptight prudish man....he is very very verbal and physically affectionate with me. He behaves with me the way you describe your husband does other women. At least ten times a day he tells me how sexy I am or how beautiful or he hangs his tongue out when he looks at me or when I take my hair down...I really really appreciate this about him. I am 51.....he and I both know there will always be a younger more beautiful woman at this point. But love and respect and appreciation for the life we have make him have eyes only for me.

Re: Does he have a wandering eye or am I just being paranoid & insecure?! [Re: Orchid2] #414019
09/20/16 04:19 PM
09/20/16 04:19 PM
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Tigerbug Offline OP
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Hi Orchid,

Thank you for the warm welcome and for your thoughts on this. And also for you openness about your own past hurts; I know how hard it is to share and appreciate it.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that one or both of us has lack of trust. I know for sure that I lack trust. He has lied to me and covered things up so many times in the past, I really don't trust him. I'm always suspicious.

I *think* he totally and completely trusts me. If not, he has never said otherwise. In fact, when it comes to our marriage he tells me that he is 100% satisfied, and wouldn't change a single thing. That sounds great but doesn't give me the warm fuzzies. How can he be so happy while I'm so tied up inside? Wouldn't the mere fact that he has an unhappy wife give him concern, realize that our marriage is not 100%, and want to make things better? I dunno...

I've read, and thoroughly enjoyed, both books that you mentioned. They both hit on some real issues. And I've tried implementing some of the things I've learned but it feels like I'm going down a path all by myself. I'm so unhappy and trying to fix an issue but since he's so content he doesn't see the need to put the time and effort into fixing anything since nothing is "broken".

I will say, however, the one thing that HAS helped him understand a little better is some material that I found by Alison Armstrong. She is fantastic at communicating to both men and women. He really enjoyed listening to her ebooks with me. But even after that, he seemed to slowly revert back to his old self and stop trying. It's like he doesn't understand that this is a DAILY on-going struggle for me and that I really need his help, his partnership. It seems like it's just too much effort for him.

Regarding boundaries, the thought of leaving him in order to avoid this pain, causes a whole new kind of pain. I'm not sure one is any better than the other. I feel stuck...

Thanks, again, for listening and offering advice,
~[edited real name for privacy]

Last edited by right here waiting; 09/22/16 03:11 AM. Reason: Privacy
Re: Does he have a wandering eye or am I just being paranoid & insecure?! [Re: SmilingWife] #414020
09/20/16 04:34 PM
09/20/16 04:34 PM
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Tigerbug Offline OP
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Hi SmilingWife,

Thank you for your insight on this and I REALLY appreciate your husbands point of view. I'm always curious about how other men feel about this topic. Please let him know how much I respect this thoughts and opinion on this and thank him for me.

As I mentioned in my response to Orchid, the idea of ever separating myself from my husband brings an equal amount of pain that this issue causes, which leads me to a place of feeling stuck. [I just paused and had a nice cry. Ugh.]

We have been married for almost 19 years. I feel like he has it in him to be a better man and I hate to just give up after so much time. And I also feel somewhat to blame because this has been an issue ever since we were dating! And I just brought it to light several years ago; it was as if I took it and took it until I couldn't take it anymore, thereby allowing him to develop this behavior with me in the first place.

Had I had the ability to look into the future at my life right now, before saying "I do", I'm not so sure I would have gone through with it. But now that I'm here...???

And don't get me wrong. He really is a good man. I Love everything else about him. Part of me feels like in order to have all the other wonderful things that I have in life, I need to just deal with this one thing. It's just that this one thing isn't merely annoying (that I could live with); this one thing brings immense hurt.

I love that your husband is very verbal. Mine is not, naturally, and we have been working on that. He is getting better but I have to remind him all the time to tell me nice things and that he can never over-communicate! He tells me that the thoughts are there, they just don't come out of his mouth. It's nice to know that the thoughts are at least there!!

Re: Does he have a wandering eye or am I just being paranoid & insecure?! [Re: kerala] #414022
09/20/16 04:45 PM
09/20/16 04:45 PM
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Tigerbug Offline OP
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Hi Kerala,

My conscious mind totally gets that it's unrealistic to expect him to never find other women attractive. Heck, even I find other men attractive.
The expectation that I have, though, is to have enough self-control, self-respect, and respect for me, to take one quick look and return to what he was doing, just as he does when he looks at other people in public. I really don't think that is too much to ask. I realize that it might be HARD, but he's not an animal merely reacting to his environment; he has a brain and morals I expect him to use them.

He has expressed how happy he is with our marriage and I really don't think he is "ripe for an affair". That is not ever a concern of mine and I've shared confidence in that with him. He's human and anything can happen but I know that he has no desire to have a full on affair. BUT he is very comfortable with gray areas and telling "little white lies" about anything and everything and I think this is where the lack of trust comes in to play.

Anyway, clearly we have some work to do and I thank you again for your response.

Have a great day,
~[Name edited]

Last edited by right here waiting; 09/22/16 03:54 AM. Reason: Privacy
Re: Does he have a wandering eye or am I just being paranoid & insecure?! [Re: Tigerbug] #414033
09/21/16 05:26 AM
09/21/16 05:26 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
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Orchid2 Offline
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TB,

Good to hear from you and your efforts into reading and research is paying off. Believe it or not, you would be a world of greater hurt than you currently are if you were to react without control.

I will tell you that your definitions of certain words like: Love, Care, Responsibility, Trust, Attitude may not be the same when your H has the WS mindset. So don't 'assume' you are communicating on the same plan much less at all.

This piece of knowledge is critical and where many a BS get stuck thinking their WS spouse understands what is being said when in reality, the words are heard but in the mindset of the WS it gets twisted to mean some pretty wild and crazy things.

Example: Love - this word gets frequently misused. The spouse says I love you. Let's define it:

BS to WS: I love you.

Meaning to the BS: Ws will care and put the interests of the BS and family 1st.

Meaning to the WS: My BS loves me enough to enable my A. Tells the OP, 'my BS loves me', now let's make plans to be together because my BS love me.

WS to BS: I love you.

Meaning to the BS: He loves me.....he doesn't love the OP, he loves me. I can see how he loves me but he must love me because he said he loves me. He's having an A but he really loves me. He is hurting our finances and our family but at least he says he loves me. (let's call this delusional).

Meaning to the WS: Yea, I said it. Don't mean it but if I can get her to keep plugging along and assisting me in having the A, well I'll say it again. It might upset the OP but who cares? I'm getting my needs met all over the place, some of it just by saying a few words. Don't have to show actions but I'm powerful, I can just say a couple of well placed words and wahlla....... I get my A enabled and the OP is just there waiting for me to display my great self.

Let these scenarios sink in. Come back and let's talk once the shock of it simmers down. It is mind boggling and cruel. When the BS learns how the WS talks and defines their words, it will help the BS learn how to define and communicate with the WS on a level that will not misconstrue either side.

This is no easy task. It defies logic but if applied correctly it will protect the BS and family. What is does to a WS is not meant to help the WS be a WS. In fact it is more designed to destroy the WS as a WS and give your spouse the opportunity to return to being a good spouse, parent and person. But remember, that is their choice. The BS can learn what their choices are and make them to the benefit of the BS and family.

jmo,
Orchid

Re: Does he have a wandering eye or am I just being paranoid & insecure?! [Re: Tigerbug] #414063
09/22/16 04:10 AM
09/22/16 04:10 AM
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right here waiting Offline
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Good to hear your H is wonderful in so many other ways. Might he then be willing to attend a few sessions with a marriage counselor in order to make you as happy as he is with the marriage? (Or a pastor, if that would be more appropriate.)

That might be the way to approach him...let him know you're glad he has nothing limiting his satisfaction, but there is this one thing that has been causing you pain and you'd like to be able to count on him to help you with it... (It just now occurred to me to ask if you've ever mentioned the distress this causes you. Have you had those discussions?)

If he agrees to try ("for you," of course :D), contact a few counselors and briefly explain the issue. Their reaction to that should let you know whether they see it as a serious problem that needs to be sorted out. Some marriage counselors have some squirrelly ideas. The last thing you'd want is to have the person you're hoping to get through to your H say, "Well, that's normal...nothing to worry about. " shocked

Unfortunately, you can't completely rule out the possibility.


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