My husband constantly checks out other women in front of me – am I the fool for letting it slide?

Here’s the situation – I’ve been with my husband for 10 years now, and since the beginning, he’s checked out other women. It wasn’t as bad when we were younger, only if someone really attractive walked by but it didn’t used to bother me so much. We have the rule, “Look but don’t touch” and I do trust that he’s remained faithful to me in these 10 years. The problem now is that he’s doing it all the time. In the supermarket, at the cinema, when we pick the kids up from school. I’ve started wondering if he is bored at home and doesn’t find me very attractive anymore. I’ve put on weight since having our 2 children and I know my body isn’t what it used to be. So I guess my question is, should I finally call my husband out on this behavior? Or keep letting it slide? I feel like a fool because I could have addressed it earlier but I didn’t want to rock the boat and thought this habit of his would go away with time (not increase!). – Alayna, SA 

Dear Alayna, 

With all my sympathy and respect, yes, you should have nipped this habit in the bud when you first got together! But we live and learn.

It’s time to confront this issue head-on, not just for the sake of addressing his wandering eyes but for the health and integrity of your relationship. You mentioned that initially, this behavior didn’t bother you much, suggesting a level of tolerance and understanding in your relationship’s dynamics. However, feelings and circumstances evolve, and what was once acceptable can become intolerable—this is normal.

Your concern about whether he finds you attractive or if he’s bored at home touches on deeper issues of self-esteem and relationship security. It’s crucial to address these thoughts directly with him, not just to assuage your fears but to actively engage in shaping the kind of relationship you both deserve. It’s not just about his looking; it’s about how it makes you feel and the implications it has on your self-worth and your view of the marriage.

You aren’t a fool for having let this behavior slide in the past. Relationships are often about picking battles and making compromises. However, what’s important is recognizing when a previously minor annoyance transforms into significant distress, necessitating action. 

When you discuss this with him, be clear about how his actions affect you. Explain that while the “look but don’t touch” rule was established, the frequency and context of his looking have created feelings of insecurity and discomfort for you. It’s essential to express that this isn’t just about what he’s doing, but how what he’s doing makes you feel. This conversation could be an opportunity for growth in your relationship, where both your needs are communicated and met more effectively.

It’s also an opportunity to think about your own self-image – you mentioned your body having changed since having kids. That’s completely normal and something to be celebrated. But remember – looking good isn’t just for your husband, it’s for yourself. If you need to spend some quality time alone, start a yoga or exercise class, or treat yourself to some new clothes, go for it. As much as your husband can reduce your feelings of insecurity from his end, you can do the same by investing in yourself and getting back to a place where you feel confident and comfortable in your skin again. 

Wishing you luck,

Evie 

Do you have a question for Evie? If you would like advice from Evie, fill out the form here or send your problem to askevie@ideapod.com.

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Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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