The Wandering Eye

Among the many things that can ignite a heated discussion on an otherwise peaceful day is the issue of the ‘wandering eye’. Our make-believe couple, Jim and Heather, are walking down the street hand in hand on a Saturday afternoon. As Heather is talking about the various things that went on during the week Jim turns his head to take an extended look at the pretty girl who just walked by. Heather catches him, Jim denies it and next thing you know Jim’s wandering eye has just earned him Heather’s cold shoulder.

Before I say anything I would like to preface it with the statement that I do not believe in stereotypes. I firmly believe that for every ‘generality’ that applies to either sex there are many people who do not fall into those same generalities. However, as a whole, there are some basic differences between men and women that apply to the majority. If this were not the case then men and women would not have so many challenges facing them trying to understand each other in a relationship.

One of these differences is in the area of ‘initial attraction’. Again, generally speaking, most women are initially attracted to their perception of who a man is, rather than what he looks like. The two are obviously tied together since she appraises what a man ‘is all about’ at first by the type of clothes he wears, the condition of his car, his speech, mannerisms, job, hobbies, etc. But it is not so much his physical ‘appearance’, but his physical ‘presence’ that she is interested in. “Does he seem responsible? Is he a flake? Is he a goal-oriented, independent individual? Is he a total loser?” These are the sort of first impressions many, though not all, women are seeking out when they find their curiosity peaked about a new man.

Men, however, are not quite so involved or complicated when it comes to that first ‘initial attraction’. I have known many, many a scoundrel and almost as many good-hearted, moral men but one thing I have found to be a common denominator amongst all from the most upright of men to the committed heathen of lowest grade… they are all at a weakness when it comes to noticing a woman’s body. This is so true that it strikes me strangely ironic that women spend so much time picking out what shoes to wear when it is not shoes that attract a man’s attention. (Personally I think it is other women they are worried about, but that’s another issue.) No, instead the first impression being surmised by most men is that of physical appearance. The old ‘bust-waist-hip’ formula along with a particular man’s fancy are the first things he will find himself entranced by when a woman with those parameters passes his way.

Now, the thing to keep in mind is that these are only the ‘initial’, first, things we tend to notice. This is not how normal, healthy people make sound decisions about relationships from beginning to end. The items mentioned are only our basic ‘instinctual’ responses. With time a responsible woman will investigate a man’s personality and heart aside from whether his car is waxed or not. And likewise a responsible man will take the time to see whether personality and heart are present in a woman aside from whether or not she appears to be the ‘ideal dream girl’ he’s been seeking since puberty.

With these premises in mind, let’s return to the issue of the ‘wandering eye’. Yes, it is true most men have this habitual instinct that infuriates the average woman. But this does not let the man off the hook or give him license to disrespect his girlfriend or spouse with such behavior. Meanwhile, even though a woman has every right to feel offended by such behavior, it would be unreasonable to expect a man to never again notice a cute girl that passes into his line of vision.

So where then do we find some working rule-of-thumb that takes each side’s perspective into account? On a woman’s side, she needs to talk to her spouse/boyfriend at a time when she has his undivided attention. Let him know that you are offended and ask him how he’d feel if you spent time alone talking to other men she might find attractive. I say this because if you ask him, “How would you like it if I looked at other men?”, chances are this won’t phase him in the least. Most observant men know it is not the guy who -looks- at his girlfriend he needs to worry about, it’s the guy who gets his girlfriend’s ear that he has to worry about. (Remember, a man’s imagination is stirred by what he ‘sees’. A woman’s imagination is stirred by what she hears, or perceives.) After making your feelings known it comes down to what sort of man you have on your hands. The type who will just make excuses for himself or the type who will hear what you’re saying and try to curb his behavior for your benefit.

As to the man’s side.. I know what you’re thinking. “It’s impossible! There’s no way I’ll never again notice some ‘babe’ walking in front of me.” Take a moment to look at the issue. Your girlfriend/spouse is upset not because she thinks you’re going to run down the sidewalk with some total stranger just because of large breasts. (But if you did, she’d count herself better off without you.) No, instead she’s offended because it is disrespectful of her in front of everyone else around you. She’s concerned about all those people nearby who are going to whisper, “I feel sorry for her.. look at how her boyfriend is drooling over every other girl but her.” Even when I’m with a “friend who is a girl, but not my girlfriend” they are apt to feel that same insecurity, even though I’m not in a relationship with them.

Instead, men, you have a two-phase plan to carry out unless you really DO want to hear your girlfriend/spouse give you this lecture every time you go out. First phase is ‘notice, but don’t dwell’. Spend the same amount of nanoseconds looking at that gorgeous woman as you would spend looking at some fat guy with a bad haircut. And then look somewhere else. If there’s a plethora of women around, such as at the beach, then look at your girlfriend while she’s talking to you. (This earns you points in her favor by the way.) Yes, you’re just pretending you don’t want to look.. but with your girlfriend/spouse they aren’t interested in whether you -want- to look (they already know that much).. they are interested in whether or not you are going to -actually- look. By ‘notice, but don’t dwell’ what I mean is a simple “no second look and no single long fixation”. It’s the second look and long look that are getting you into trouble. Excuses and denial won’t get you anywhere with your girlfriend/spouse.. so don’t even think you can talk your way out of it if you keep it up.

Second phase is more pro-active. Almost extra-credit. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of excuses you might say. Knowing that you are naturally drawn to notice attractive women (hence they are called ‘attractive’, for they ‘attract’ you, do they not?)… next time it is obvious to you and your spouse that there is one of these ‘eye-targets’ in view, maneuver you body in such a way that it is obvious to your girlfriend you are not looking. Subtle, but effective. It may take a while before your significant other realizes you really are trying your best, which is about all you can do. Some women are more sensitive about this than others. My girlfriend and I have talked openly about this issue before and she knows it’s normal that I would ‘notice’ a woman (or any person for that matter) without having to ‘dwell’ or fixate about it.

A closing note about the tension this issue often brings up. It is normal for a woman to feel offended and make her feelings known when she catches you ‘eye-groping’ some other woman. But when this same argument is used when you are simply conversing with a female friend from work, or other acquaintance, then it may be worth looking into the ‘Jealosy’ article written previously.

All in all it must be remembered that you can show your love for your girlfriend/spouse not only by getting her flowers, leaving her little notes in her purse and such.. but also by also by putting in some effort to curb this natural habit most men have which bothers her more than you might imagine. By doing so you’ve again told her you love her by your actions and not just your words. For those who insist on ignoring or excusing themselves from the issue it will only be a matter of short time before it becomes yet another brick in the wall that can divide you from your mate.

Author: Reekay

Henry Velez is a writer, traveler and vlogger currently living in the Philippines. He has written extensively on social issues, relationships and travel.

10 comments

  1. Interesting! My thoughts are, first an “Extended” look is a choice. Anyone at any time can pass by an get your attention just because they walked by, nothing more. So, an extended look to me is saying I would rather spend my time looking at him/her than listening to you. There is something wrong with that kind of relationship. Secondly, men have been fooled. There is a rumor that women aren’t as visual as men, Untrue! It’s just easier for men’s egos to believe that. This is especially true with the new younger generation of women. Everything in life comes down to choices. If a man or woman chooses an extended look at another, I think they have to look at what’s going on inside them, and the relationship.

    Hannah

  2. As a clarification, it’s not that women don’t visually enjoy seeing a good looking man. Women enjoy male strippers.. often getting far more out of control than men. Women check out men all the time.

    Where men differ in their visual motivation is that a man is enticed by what he sees far more than a woman. Conversely, women are far more enticed by what they hear or perceive than by what they see. A woman seeking to lure a man into an affair will have more succcess if she can visually excite him rather than with any verbal approach. However, if a man were to lure a woman into an affair.. he would do so with a verbal approach and the way he projects himself to her rather than focusing on showing himself in a visual way.

    So, both sexes are visual when it comes to noticing the opposite sex.. however they are excited, enticed, lured either (men) visually or (women) audibly.

    As I mentioned, most men are not worried about their wife or girlfriend ‘seeing’ a good looking man visually.. they know the one to worry about is the average looking man who ‘talks’ to his woman on a daily basis at work, school, etc.

  3. Hello, I happened upon your article regarding men and the wandering eye…it addresses the problem I have had for a long time….I am wondering if you would share your opinion if you would be so kind. I am so glad I read it.

    Four years ago, I met a young man very very much younger than myself.he is 35..I look young, he looks older…he is spanish..I am american…….he is a permanent resident and so goes back and forth to his country……it was a very physical relationship and we got married…he moved into my home and worked very hard around my house doing all the landscaping…he gave me very little money because I felt sorry for him that he didn’t have much and so let him to put most of his money in his own bank acct..no rent, no utilities, no contribution except labor in the yard. I then traveled to his country with him and found that he has many properties there….several more than I have here………I continued to foot the cost of his living with me and my bank account suffered……… his constant wandering eye became so disruptive and made me so nervous we began arguing constantly ..I felt very hurt and even ugly……. we would have terrible fights but always made up at the end….his claiming he does nothing wrong so how could he stop doing something he wasn’t doing? that I needed to stop accusing him……
    I just went along with the emotional ups and downs and the girl watching, flirting, and embarrassment of not being able to go anywhere with him in public because he would stop at nothing to give girls the eye in a most seductive way and get other women’s attention..even my sister’s and best friends’…….he told me in his culture it’s accepted and that no one thinks it’s wrong…..and so blamed me for fighting with him about it saying I’m insecure…..we went to counseling…nothing helped……..I begged, and cried and he didn’t stop so I divorced him……..if that isn’t enough we separated for awhile and then went back together and are now living together again with him saying that the breakup was all my fault because I started fights over something he was not doing. Every time I do something that he doesn’t like he brings up the fact that he will stay with me only if I don’t make any fights because he has done nothing wrong to upset me and I am the only one who has caused problems by fighting over a stupid issue……….he went back home to his country for 2 months but came right back to me recently appearing at my door in the wee hours of the a.m. when I least expected him. …….I am totally confused by what he says and what he does. He said he came back because he wanted to see me, but now has decided he doesn’t want to live together and will be moving out again and asked why I want to continue the relationship when I know he has nothing to offer me. I told him that I am not in a relationship looking for anything except truth and respect. I find it very hard to walk away…I feel very used and disrespected…he said in his culture older women are very grateful to have a younger man and they take care of them….oh there’s so much more, I could write a book….what is your take on this whole thing?

    1. Carrie,

      Let me begin by saying that I, too, am in a serious relationship with a woman who is 11 years younger than myself. The reason I never took on dating someone younger than me by more than 4 years was because, usually, they still had some maturing to do. Thankfully, I’m now with a woman who, at her age, is more mature than some older women I’ve met. As you may have noticed, I am Hispanic and familiar with the Mexican culture as well, having spent time with in-laws and relatives there.

      A couple things stand out. First, age is not the issue here. That being said, his immaturity and selfishness are the issue. What he says is true.. in much of Latin America it is not only common for the men to flirt with younger women but to also have mistresses while expecting their wife to be faithful and hold the home together. It’s a double-standard that has long been in the culture. However.. a mature man, a man who is truly in love with his wife will not use that as an excuse to constantly disregard and disrespect his own wife. What you had on your hands was a selfish, immature man who did not have YOU as his priority. His consistent decisions to put his own comfort ahead of yours.. whether it was in love, money or society tells you this.

      You may have lost some time with him. You may have invested yourself emotionally and lost a dream of what you’d hoped for with him. But what you did not lose is a good man. He is selfish. From what I gather, you want real love. Well, real love can only exist between TWO unselfish persons.

      So don’t mourn him long. Five minutes should cover it, then move on. Some men understand what it takes to truly make a woman happy.. to win their heart fully and forever. Most men don’t because they still, just like an adolescent, think that love is all about themselves. So.. move forward and next time seek out a man who understands this principle already. Because, as you’ve experience, trying to teach it is a very, very difficult task.

      Henry Velez
      http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lifestuff

  4. Henry, thank you for your valuable comments….I have read it over and over and realize that I need to make it my mantra if I am ever to get over this traumatic period of my life.
    just for the record he is ecuadorian and I’ve heard that they are notorious for being tough with women…he is by all counts passive aggressive…in his very quiet way, he manipulates the situations.
    I forgot to mention one more thing….on the third day he was back at my house he proceeded to tell me that he met a woman Quito and that she is “just like him, hard working, poor(???), doesn’t go out with men, and told him that she works 10 hours a day and if it’s meant to be when he returns home next year, they will get together” that she has no time for dating anyway…..when I asked him why he made a love connection while I was home waiting for him, he said it’s because I was so bad to him and started so many fights over nothing. (Just about a week before he met her, he told me he was dreaming about me and looking at my picture of us together)….I have never met a person in my entire life who changes their mind day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute….it has made me absolutely crazy. perhaps I should be posting these comments to another area instead of your comment section…pls let me know….feel free to edit and only post what you think is appropriate….if you would like to comment to me another way pls send to carriesegor@aol.com…..much appreciate you help

    1. Hello Carrie. Since others are also in your situation I am sure it is helpful that you are willing to share your experience.

      Regarding his other romance while planning a return to you.. it only confirms what I wrote earlier. This man does not love you. In fact, he seems far too immature to know what it is to truly love someone in a relationship. He is still viewing the whole matter from the selfish perspective of, “how does it benefit ME?” rather than, “how can I love this other person?”

      You want real love and this man is currently incapable of a loving relationship. As a result he is unstable, untrustworthy and unable to make firm commitments. In addition he is unwilling to take responsibility for his decisions and instead shifts blame over to you for his own actions. Think about it, Carrie.. is that the sort of man you want in your life? Of course not. Forget him, move on and look for a man who has ‘loving you’ as his first priority and love him in return. Only then will you have the beginnings of a real love relationship.

  5. Dear Henry, thanks to your wake up call, counseling and convictions, I have thrown this guy out, literally, Sunday after a final conversation we had after an entire weekend of my trying to please him in every way possible only to have him casually say to me that there is a 50% chance that he will marry this new girl in ecuador (that supposedly he met and spoke to for only 30 minutes)…what sent me over the edge is that I asked him how he can say this and even meet someone after telling me only a week before he returned here that he was dreaming of me and looking at my picture, he denied even saying that to me, saying he dreams of a lot of people and that he was looking at my picture along with all the rest of the pictures not just mine and didn’t mean to make me think he meant just me, I just totally exploded and ordered him out of my home…..I have spent the last 23 days helping him fill out job applications, spell simple english words, follow up with human resources people for him, interrupt my day working at my office to fill out simple online applications for him, make endless calls for jobs for him….only to acquire a giant headache, pains in my chest, heartburn and lack of sleep…..I had had enough……I ordered him out and when he hesitated, I pushed him out of the door and slammed it hard…like a scene from the movies…….I am deeply deeply hurt and angry, but I think it’s good to feel anger for awhile, it’s protecting me and making me strong…..and even though I’m not sleeping, my headache is gone…..I need to pray from strength and peace of mind….you are my angel and have no idea how important your words are to me. Thank you for helping me do something I couldn’t do alone..he brainwashed me into thinking I was the evil one. I know that God sent me to you for help and I don’t know how you did it, but you gave me the impetus to act in order to save my sanity and dignity…I hope I can speak with you someday. Carrie

    1. Carrie.. I am so glad to hear you have broken the cycle with this loser. And yes, it is right to have anger at a person who has wronged you. Eventually that anger will pass and you will be wiser next time around.

      I have just recently done several radio episodes on-line on the subjects of infidelity and bad relationships. If you’d care to hear them they are at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lifestuff . Again, so very happy to hear you are making a new start without that loser. He is an extremely selfish person who, if he does not change his ways, will likely continue to be thrown out of many more homes.

      You however are free to find and embrace a give-give relationship with a mature, giving, loving person and enjoy those benefits. 🙂

  6. Dear Henry, I checked out your blogtalk radio site and I’m going to sit down this weekend and really get into the topics. There seem to be so many great subjects…I really found you at the right moment in my life…I can’t believe it…….I can benefit by so many of the disucssions….needless to say I feel a little sick to my stomach these days because of what just happened, kind of like the empty nest syndrome, but I feel stronger than in the past, more deep seated rational anger instead of rage, so I hope it just dissipates into indifference after a time toward this guy …hopefully eventually I will feel absolutely nothing for him…..I told my friends how I found your site and they are interested in it…..they said I should print out all our correspondence and put it somewhere on display in my house so I can refer back to it so that I don’t ever forget what I just went through…and never forget your advice. I feel so blessed that you have such insight into where I was with this….in the darkest of places….you’ve made me feel that there is hope that I should go on with my life knowing “it wasn’t my fault”….thank you my friend. Carrie

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