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Just Looking?

Question:

Today me and my boyfriend went to the store…and i saw a girl who was picking up som things bending down so that you could see her ass/thong. So i looked at my boyfriend (for 3 years and we live together) and he was looking at the girls ass! I confronted him and he admitted to "just looking, not even that, it was a glance". It got to me and very mad I took the car and left him in the shop. I didn’t think this would hurt so much but to me it shows that he has no respect for me, watching at other girls while I’m there. It make me wanna disrespect him to, like flirt with another guy and then tell him about it, so he gets hurt. I dont even want to go home (im at a cybercafe). what do i do?

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

I’m of two minds about this sort of issue. On the one hand, sexually mature heterosexual men are attracted to women’s bodies; this is built into them at a very basic evolutionary reproductive urge level. When a woman wears revealing clothing, she is showing off her body, almost as if to say, "over here – look at me – pay attention to me". And assuming her basic attributes are pleasing to a given male’s eye, he’s going to look. Some men I’ve spoken with about this say that the looking has an involuntary quality to it. The looking itself can be suppressed, but the urge to look has an involuntary, "ooh – shiny!" quality to it.

On the other hand, I, like you, would like to feel a special connection with someone I’m in an exclusive and romantic relationship. I too would feel offended if I saw my partner obviously scanning other women in my presence. His simple act of looking would wound me to some extent.

It is important that you put what you’ve observed into perspective. If this is the worst sort of infidelity you experience, I think you and the relationship are doing fine, without significant problems. If this is the tip of the iceburg, and you go on to find out that your guy is actively cheating on you, you’ve got a really significant problem and the relationship is in trouble. In any event, I think it is appropriate for you to have a talk with your boyfriend and tell him how you felt – the anger, the hurt, whatever your reaction was. Speak about your feelings and not about what a jerk he is. If you attack him and call him names, he will go on the defensive and not hear you very well. If you call his attention to the fact that you’ve been wounded by your actions you stand a better chance of getting through to him. You cannot change his nature, but you can bring to his attention that you did not appreciate his behavior. If he is a good guy who values you, he’ll make a note of that and be more careful next time.

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