6 Min Read
- The Way A Woman Looks At A Man Is Different
- Why Women Look At Other Men (Or Women)
- What To Do When Your Wife Looks
- What To Take Away
What does it mean when your wife looks at other men while with you?
Many men have suffered a chilly ride home and a cold bed for having been caught checking out other women in the presence of wives or girlfriends. And no wonder - it’s understood to be insulting and bad manners for a man to allow his eyes to wander.
But what about when a woman does it? Should you react in the same way?
If your wife is looking at other men when she’s with you, it should be considered in the same light, but it can be a confusing situation.
Many women feel bold and empowered by admiring other men in the presence of their husbands or boyfriends. Some women even openly admire other women, making it even more confusing for the men involved. Should they feel slighted or turned on?
Men are often at a loss as to the right way to handle a woman who clearly looks at other guys when they’re together. It doesn’t help that the manner in which women do this can be slightly different and therefore create more complicated feelings.
The Way A Woman Looks At Men Is Different
As a man, you know what it’s like to look at a woman appraisingly. Generally, it’s a glance, perhaps an eye swipe from head to toe. Men with poor self-control or bad manners may allow the gaze to linger in certain areas - you know what I mean.
Women are a bit different.
Although a woman may appreciate the physical attributes of a man, if she’s going to look at other men, she usually looks at his face and makes eye contact.
It’s not a long stare, but more of a brief connection that you and the man she’s looked at may each question. That’s often part of the point.
- “Did that just happen?”
- “Did she just look at him?”
- “Did that look mean something?”
How a woman looks at another man sends a clear message - “I see you”- and simultaneously offers plausible deniability.
- “What are you talking about? I was looking out the window.”
- “I was just hoping you never wear your hair that way.”
- “He just looks familiar.”
Women rarely openly evaluate another man’s appearance in front of their man, and even more rarely make comments. But when they look, it can leave you feeling uncomfortable, insecure, and slightly jealous.
When a woman may make direct comments, however, is when she’s looking at another woman.
Men have difficulty relating to this scenario because a man would almost never appraise another man’s appearance and make suggestive comments. A woman, though, may look at another woman and say things like,
- “Her breasts are amazing.”
- “Her behind is perfect.”
- “She’s gorgeous.”
Leaving you wondering how to react. Do you,
- Say you didn’t notice?
- Say that woman is nothing compared to the present company?
It can feel like a minefield of wrong responses.
Why Women Look At Other Men (Or Women)
A big part of knowing how to respond and what to do when your wife is looking at other men is understanding why she’s looking in the first place.
Let’s first acknowledge that the world is filled with beautiful and alluring people. There shouldn’t be any harm in acknowledging beauty so long as it’s not done disrespectfully. What we’re discussing here is the implied comparison between present company and someone else, or a clear attraction that’s indicated by gratuitously evaluating someone else.
We know why men look at other women – they’re pretty, and they might want to see them naked. Simple.
Women, on the other hand, have different motivations.
Although women are more visually stimulated than they’re often given credit for, most of the time, looking at another man has nothing to do with wanting to undress him or even being interested in having sex with him.
In fact, when a woman looks at another man in your presence, it’s generally about one of the following (sometimes both):
A deeper dive on each of these is below. But in other words, her open admiration of other men (or women) isn’t about someone else or wanting to be with someone else.
The most common factors that drive a woman to openly look at other men include:
- Power. Because it’s historically been men who do the obvious looking, some women feel it’s taking back a particular type of power by doing it themselves. It can create an assertive feeling of confidence, as though she’s turned the tables. This is about her.
- Validation. It’s also possible that she’s feeling insecure, and looking from a distance and eliciting a response (from him and/or you) makes her feel attractive. Some women crave the attention of men, in general, to help them feel worthy, interesting, desirable, and as though they have options.
This is a form of feminine narcissism that often operates in its own zone under the radar. She’s not cheating on you, and she could be altruistic in every other aspect of her life, but when it comes to men, she needs to know she can still get their attention. This is about her.
- Getting your attention. While checking out other men may have nothing to do with you and her love and attraction to you, it’s entirely possible she’s trying to get a response from you.
If things have been stagnant between you two and she’s feeling overlooked and ignored, she might be trying to get your attention. The message she’s sending is,
“I see other attractive men around me, and they see me too. I have options if you don’t want me. What are you going to do about it?”
This is about you.
Do any of these reasons make checking out other men appropriate? No.
Is this the way to handle feeling neglected by you? Nope.
Should you pay attention to the message? You bet.
What To Do When Your Wife Looks
Her behavior is inappropriate, hurtful, and absolutely out-of-bounds. It’s also a neon sign flashing the words, “Something’s Not Right – Pay attention. Now!”
This isn’t to say you need to excuse her behavior and start coddling her, but it is time for you to take action.
Dr. Kurt counsels couples each week and “looking” is a common issue. According to him,
Noticing the opposite sex really can be a minefield in many relationships. And while just noticing shouldn't cause harm, it often does. Even if there isn't any comparing or even attraction. Insecurities by either partner are what make this topic such a problem and one that's so explosive. I counsel couples on this subject every week and discovering the underlying issues about 'why' is so important to fixing the problem - both why she looks and why it bothers you so much. So, if your wife looks at other men you really need to learn the why."
If your wife is looking at other men, the action you need to take starts with asking yourself these questions:
- How are things going between the two of you?
- Have you been paying attention to her?
- Do your eyes wander as well?
- Could you be doing anything that makes her feel unwanted?
- Has she been acting differently lately?
- Is she insecure? Is that new, or has she always been so?
Answering these questions will help you plan for the next thing you’ll need to do – have a conversation with her.
Regardless of the reasons for her wandering eyes, her behavior needs to change, and that change should begin when you explain how it makes you feel.
However, where the conversation goes after this will depend on the additional changes that need to be made in your relationship. And yes, there are almost certainly changes required.
When you examine what’s going on in your relationship, you’re likely to find things you both need to work on. Being open with her about your feelings and recognizing anything you may be doing (or not doing) that’s contributed to fissures in your relationship will get you started on the right path to positive changes.
What To Take Away
Whether you’re a man or a woman, looking at others in a way that has a sexual undercurrent while in the company of your significant other (or not) is inappropriate and disrespectful. It’s also a form of micro-cheating. The reasons you’re doing it don’t really matter.
But it can be confusing if you’re a man and it’s your wife with a wandering eye. So, if you’re one of the men wondering why your wife is looking at other men, keep the following in mind:
- The reasons she’s looking generally differ from those that might motivate you to look.
- Her reasons for looking at other men are often about her feelings about herself or her desire to get your attention.
- If it makes you uncomfortable, it needs to stop.
After considering the state of your relationship (see the evaluative questions above), have a direct conversation with her about your feelings related to her behavior and what else may need to be addressed between the two of you.
One of the cornerstones of a strong relationship is respect. When your wife looks at other men, it undermines that respect and chips away at the foundation of your relationship. The same is true for you and your behavior as well. When it comes to checking out members of the opposite sex, turnabout really isn’t fair play. It’s just destructive.
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