5 Min Read
- Why Men Talk About Other Women
- When Women Look And Talk About The Opposite Sex Too
- Is It Okay For Men To Look At Other Women - And Talk About Them?
- What To Take Away
- Comments (99+)
When you get married you want to believe that you’re the only person your spouse has eyes for. Yes, there are many attractive people in the world and it’s natural for all of us to notice them. But what about talking about them – to your spouse?
Is it okay for men to talk about other women to their wives?
We get a lot of questions, and work with a lot of couples, who are having problems because the men in the relationship are blatant about their admiration of other women.
And many not only look, but they also talk to their wives about the attractiveness of the women they see.
Why Men Talk About Other Women
There can be many aspects of male behavior that raise eyebrows and cause irritation, sometimes even pain for their partners. Looking at other women has long been one of them, and talking about these women can push things right over the edge.
The reader below is one of the many women who’d like to know why this happens and what she can do about it.
"Why do men talk about other women to their wife? And is it insensitive for a guy to tell their wife that another woman is hot and sexy?" -Alyson P
As I’ve said, Alyson isn’t alone in her questions and opinion.
There are a number of men who believe it’s perfectly fine to look at and talk about other women to their wives. Unfortunately, those who do this don’t seem to realize how insulting this can be and the damage it can do to their marriage.
Here’s my response to Alyson.
Those are great questions.
First of all, not all men do this -- in fact, despite common assumptions, most men don't.
Men who do talk about other women with their wives are not being respectful or empathetic toward their wives. So, yes, it is insensitive to tell your wife another woman is “hot and sexy.”
What underlies your questions is the nearly universal habit of men noticing other women.
This issue comes up regularly in my counseling for men and their partners. Men being visually attracted to other women, even just by noticing them, can take several forms:
- Noticing other women to such a degree that it bothers your wife. The wife of one man I counsel describes this behavior by her husband as "gawking," another wife of a husband in counseling is uncomfortable with his longer than just a passing glance at other women.
- Talking about the sexual attractiveness of other women with your partner, like you describe.
- Watching TV shows or movies that are highly sexual, or viewing internet porn.
I'm a guy, so I know what a challenge this can be for men, especially because we’re wired to be visually stimulated and we live in such a sexually orientated world. I would ask for some empathy from women about how hard this can be for us.
Nevertheless, we men need to control our behavior because the above actions are:
When Women Look And Talk About The Opposite Sex Too
Although it’s most often men who are the culprits, it’s not always the men who are doing the looking.
I’ve worked with men whose wives also openly look at, and talk about, the attractiveness of other men (and sometimes other women) as well. As humiliated and disrespected as women can feel when their husband looks and talks about other women, men can feel equally so when their wives do it.
It’s important, however, to understand that looking, for either men or women, doesn’t mean cheating. Yes, it can feel like that’s what it will lead to, but generally speaking, that’s not the case.
And, although I wouldn’t advise it or say it’s appropriate behavior in any way, openly appreciating the attractiveness of other people may speak to a level of comfort and security in yourself and your relationship, especially in women. The mindset being that those other people don’t pose any threat to your relationship because your relationship is strong.
Of course, we know that’s not always true.
There’s also a possibility that talking about other attractive people to a partner is an effort to seek validation or reassurance for yourself. Discussing other people can be a misguided way to gauge their partner’s reaction and provoke jealousy. This isn’t healthy behavior for either men or women.
Is It Okay For Men To Look At Other Women – And Talk About Them?
We all have insecurities about how we look and how attractive we are. And it's easy for these to be triggered by more attractive people, especially people our partner notices. When our partner then talks about them and their attractiveness it can amplify our perceived deficiencies even more.
For most men it's not their intent to make their wife feel insecure, unattractive, inferior, or unwanted. But it's often what results by their talking to them about other women, especially how attractive they find these women.
It's just not necessary or considerate to talk to your wife the way you might talk to a buddy about a woman. Our love for our wives should produce a level of respect in which we restrain ourselves from making unnecessary comments.
The bottom line is that if it makes you uncomfortable you need to speak up and tell him, and your husband (or wife) should be willing to respect and respond to your feelings. You should ask and expect him to as well.
Unfortunately, a lot of women struggle with having a healthy and accurate view of themselves and their appearance, and so they don't value themselves enough to have the courage to expect different behavior from their partners.
They may have also been conditioned to find it normal that a man they’re with looks at other women and thus hide their discomfort. This doesn’t have to be the case – if you feel like it’s disrespectful, it probably is.
What To Take Away
It can be uncomfortable and even painful when your spouse overtly notices attractive people of the opposite sex. And when a man not only notices but then talks about other women to his wife, these feelings are only multiplied.
If your husband is looking and then talking about other women to you, keep the following in mind:
- It’s natural for both men and women to notice attractive people. There’s really nothing wrong with recognizing the physical appeal of others.
- Noticing attractive women doesn’t have to mean your husband wants to sleep with them or is inclined to cheat.
- Being overt about looking and talking about other women to your partner is disrespectful.
- To change this behavior, couples need to communicate openly and honestly about this topic and establish boundaries on their conduct that respects each other’s feelings.
- Women don’t have to tolerate their husbands discussing other women with them or in front of them.
Don’t be the kind of wife who allows bad behavior to continue, you deserve to be treated better.
If your husband doesn’t know how to change his behavior, that’s okay. He can learn how by going to marriage counseling designed for men where better behavior is taught.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published May 15, 2010 and on November 26, 2019, and updated again with new information for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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