In this column, the writer was asking what it meant by her husband continually looking at other women. The reason this rings so true with me is because it's a topic my husband and I continually discuss. Having said that, I also recognize we are the kind of couple that would drive a "relationship expert" like these ones over the brink. Pretty much every rule these so-called professionals expect couples to follow we have thrown out, twisted, bent and manipulated for our own devious pleasure. Our happiness and togetherness is not influenced by some all-encompassing moral standards that “relationship experts” in trashy women's magazines recommend.
To her credit though, this expert pointed out that we are humans with an instinctive curiosity about others. Personally, I like to see it as a healthy dose of voyeurism. Without question, we each have unique tastes and appeal, so when in social settings, it can be quite natural to “people watch.”
Then the good stuff all falls apart; the expert goes on to talk about her own past relationship with a man she referred to as "The Ogler." OK, you lost me right there – can you say "personal agenda." She has clearly indicated that she has her own deep-rooted – and potentially jealous – bias underlining any advice she has to offer on this subject.
For me, the writer’s issue is more about the exclusion of the partner in the natural habits of the other.
Maybe I'm the strange one for hoping I am one of those women that attracts a man's attention. I certainly invest enough effort into being a bit of a distraction and it would be disappointing to discover it was all a figment of my over-active imagination. At the same time, I can appreciate why my significant other likes to look at other women – heck, I like to look at other women! Does this suggest he is seeking a replacement for me? I doubt it ... because we don't misinterpret each others' "people watching" as a threat to our marriage.
The key, in my definitely-no-expert opinion, goes back to the one topic I continually harp on: communication.
The woman asking the question obviously has some jealousy issues, or feels threatened by her husband’s noticing of other women ... which seem to indicate deeper problems in the relationship than just noticing a "hot babe" at the next table. It appears they are just not able to express a part of themselves in a marriage that needs to be nurtured more than one's ability to balance a chequebook or mow the lawn.
The emotional passion and desires need to be in bigger focus than anything else. I don't know about you, but it's not the material things that fuel my relationship with my husband ... it's knowing who he is, his desires, lusts, passions, ambitions, dreams and fantasies that make up a core part of it. If I know and am in tune with all that, then we sail through the moments of economic recession, mortgage re-negotiations, bills, etc.
Then, of course, we are able to relish those more "sexually charged" moments when his (and my) gaze is turned to a stunning set of legs in a short skirt. I say that because, truly, we both appreciate that. I also know him well enough to say he would never be distracted by a set of tight buns or rock-hard abs on a fit guy at the beach … but he doesn’t dwell on me taking a moment to enjoy the view.
The expert says this woman "must not tolerate" her husband's ogling any longer – clearly suggesting something akin to a showdown at the OK Corral. Like that will turn out positive.
Do I have an answer? Not really, other than if you can’t talk to your spouse about something as natural as admiring the human form, then you should expect bigger issues on the horizon.
Oops! I have to run. The really hot EMS guy just showed up!