My Husband Flirts with Other Women
Greg Baer helps a woman whose husband flirts with other women n this "nugget" from Video Chat 321.
I received a letter from a woman who said, “Everywhere we go, my husband looks at other women. I don't mean that he's just glancing at them. I mean that he mentally undresses them. I'm surprised he doesn't injure his neck sometimes the way he snaps his head around to look at them. When we go to a party, you can always find him talking to a pretty woman or a group of them. I don't think he's having an affair or anything, but I still feel like he's cheating on me. And it's not like he gives me the same attention at home. He hardly ever looks at me or touches me. I've tried to talk to him about all this, but he says I'm making a big deal out of nothing. I feel hurt and angry.”
Well, you're quite right. Your husband is cheating on you. When you were married, he made a commitment that you would from that time be the central focus of his emotional and sexual energy, including his thoughts. You both made this agreement. He made it. You made it. When he looks at other women or flirts with them, his emotional and sexual energy is obviously not focused on you, and he is being unfaithful.
Understanding Why Your Husband Flirts
But let's not get distracted here with blaming and attacking him. We're just correctly identifying what he's doing. You've already proven that blaming your husband and trying to control him are a complete waste of time and energy. It will be much more helpful for you to understand why he's behaving as he does.
So, let's imagine that your husband is out in the middle of the desert and he's starving to death. He comes across a truck filled with cotton candy. What does he do? He eats some of it. Of course, it tastes good. It gives him energy. It fills his belly. Now, it's not genuinely nourishing, in fact, on a diet of cotton candy alone, he'll die, but he eats it because temporarily it tastes and feels a lot better than nothing. And emotionally speaking, your husband is starving not for food in this case, but for Real Love, unconditional love.
From the time he was a small child, people loved him when he was good, but disapproved of him when he made mistakes and got in their way. He was loved conditionally and that left him feeling empty, alone, and afraid. Without Real Love, the pain in our lives is intense and we reach out for whatever will make us feel better for a moment.
We use Imitation Love and that's just what your husband is doing when he looks at other women and fantasizes about them sexually. He gets a sense of physical and emotional pleasure that temporarily makes him feel good. He also feels validated and worthwhile when pretty women are willing to talk with him. He uses women to briefly help him feel less empty and alone in the absence of Real Love.
Finding a Solution for a Husband Who Flirts
Now that doesn't justify what he's doing, but it does explain it in a way that we can now approach it in a much more meaningful way and find a solution. Don't waste your time and happiness trying to control him or by comparing yourself to these other women or feeling offended that he's cheating on you. None of this is really about you. Instead, understand that he's just empty and alone and he needs more Real Love in his life.
And don't feel guilty about his not feeling loved. He felt that way long before he met you as a result of a lifetime of conditional love from his parents and others. But do make a commitment to learn how to better give him the love he needs, Real Love. Read the book Real Love, The Truth about finding unconditional love and fulfilling relationships and learn how to find more Real Love in your own life, after which you'll be much better prepared to share it with your husband. Also read Real Love and Marriage. Both books are available here on the website. Learn how to be a better partner in your marriage.
In the meantime, you don't have to just stand by and say nothing while he's looking at other women and flirting with them. First, find some friends you can talk to about how you're feeling and talk to them about how the mistakes you have made have affected your marriage. Hopefully these are the kind of friends who will have some understanding of the principles of Real Love. People who will help you see your behavior clearly not who will be critical of your husband, which won't help anybody at this point. Describe the getting and protecting behaviors you use with him, like anger and acting like a victim, all of which communicate to him a lack of unconditional love.
What to Tell Your Husband Who Flirts
None of this is meant in any way to remotely justify his behavior, but you can't change him. You can only tell the truth about you. Get the Real Love you need and learn to better share that with him. Remember that he's behaving badly only because he doesn't feel loved. So, the only reasonable solution is for him to get more unconditional love. If you aren't willing to give him that, who will?
As you feel more unconditionally accepted and loved by these friends you find to talk to, probably other women, at least in the beginning, you won't feel empty and afraid and then you'll be able to talk to your husband about his behavior without being angry and demanding. If you're the least bit irritated or demanding when you talk to him, your conversation will go badly, and you don't really need another awful conversation, do you.
Tell your husband that you've come to realize that what he's always needed from you most is unconditional love and you have not done a great job of loving him in that way. Share with him that you're fully committed to learning how to love him better, but that in the process, you also need some help from him. Tell him that as you're learning how to love him, that it's really distracting to you that he lets his attention wander to other women.
It's important that you communicate that you realize that he isn't entirely aware of what he's doing because he's not. But when he looks at other women and falls all over them in public, you feel like he's telling you that you're just not important to him. If he doesn't understand how often he looks at other women and flirts with them, because he probably doesn't, you could offer to point it out to him in a gentle way at the times when he's doing it.
You could ask him what words you could use, saying things like, “Sweetie, remember we talked about my pointing out to you when your attention towards other women is distracting for me? Now is one of those times. I'm not telling you to do or not do anything. I'm just pointing it out.” Now, he'll fight you if you try to control him, something you've already discovered. I'm just pointing out what we talked about.
A Message for the Men
If he still doesn't understand what he's doing, have him watch this video clip because for a moment I'm going to talk just to the men. When we get married, we promised to be completely faithful to our wives, sexually, completely not 50% or 90% or even 99%. When we go out in public and look at other women or touch them or flirt with them, we're telling our partners that our sexual attention is wandering. It's the same when we look at other women's bodies on television, on the internet or wherever. There's no other way to interpret that were violating our promise.
Now, some of us are quick to justify our behavior. We say things like, well, it's just innocent or we’re being friendly or whatever. The bottom line being that it's not really a sexual thing. But before you try that justification, you have to ask yourself this— when you talk to other men, do you ever touch their hands or arms or shoulders or waist in the tender ways that you touch these other women's? Do you look at other men's chests or elsewhere on their bodies in the same way you look at other women? Not a chance. It is about sex and our partners sense our disloyalty. No kidding.
Now, back to the woman who asked the question that started all this. Be understanding of your husband rather than critical or angry. Talk to him to explain how you feel and to commit to love him better rather than to make demands and control him. If you can talk to him without any irritation whatever, it's very likely that he'll hear you. As you learn to accept and love him, you will be rewarded beyond your ability to imagine.
Find genuine happiness now and forever.
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