Patricia Redlich

Friday, January 22, 2010

Flirting Eyes

I'm a guy who is having a problem with a wandering eye. Not because I don't love the lady I'm with, but more because I cannot help it. Eyeing up other women is an unconscious action. I have tried to look for something to help, but what I keep getting is that men are dogs and should never be allowed to exist if we do this.

I do wish I could stop and never look at any woman other than the one I love. But, to be honest, I don't know where to start. I have tried, but then slipped back into the old habit. It makes for a lot of rough times in my relationship.

Whatever happened to looking at both sides of the problem? Sure guys like me are doing the looking. But are we doing it as a way of getting at the woman we love? Is it really a problem? That argument gets me nowhere of course. So I'm back to trying to find a way of stopping this wandering eye before I lose the woman who is my world.

Let's slow down here. You're not going to lose the woman you love because you eye other women up. A girlfriend might not like it, but a roving eye, in and of itself, never sent any relationship into a tailspin. It could, of course, be a trigger for a break-up. Or it might even be an excuse. But in that scenario, other far more fundamental issues would certainly be at work.

A work colleague of mine used to argue that he measured his daily stress levels by the number of attractive women he noticed. High stress, no roving eye, he reckoned. Unsophisticated perhaps, but he had a point. When we stop responding to sexual stimuli we're dead, even if our hearts are still beating. I suspect this may be particularly true of men, but it's basically true of everyone. That doesn't make men dogs, it makes them human.

Bad manners, however, is an entirely different thing. If your girlfriend is talking to you in a restaurant and you're obviously checking out the talent instead of listening, that's just plain bad manners. It may also signal a problematic shortcoming, namely poor listening skills. Eye-contact is an essential part of good communication. Looking at the football on TV over her shoulder while she tells you of her troubles is not the path to happiness. It's an emotional impoverishment on your part. It's also disrespectful. And it's basically the same thing as paying attention to other women at your girlfriend's expense.

This is not a feminist statement. Women do it too. Only they look at themselves in the mirror, or go on sweeping the floor, or allow their minds and their gaze wander to other tasks, or yes, check out the talent - when you want tea and sympathy and intelligent attention to something that is seriously bothering you at work.

Like most things in life, it's a matter of measure, a question of the extent of the behaviour, rather than the behaviour itself. It's good you're a full-blooded male. It's bad if you lose the run of yourself and act like a child in a sweetshop. Occasional glances rather than a constantly swivelling head would be more dignified, and certainly more courteous. You're a grown man aren't you? You can do that.
Irish based professional therapist and journalist. Website By : Deise Design