Wise Guys: He Looks at Other Women But Gets Jealous If I Ogle Men

man_ogles_women_cropphoto by makelessnoise

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: My boyfriend claims it means nothing when he looks at other women, and yet he gets jealous when I look at other men. Why is that?

joel_derfner_100Gay Engaged Guy (Joel Derfner, author of Swish): It’s a combination of insecurity and a double standard. When your boyfriend looks at a woman who isn’t you, chances are he’s really just appreciating her, like you might appreciate a strawberry-rhubarb pie on the table — even though you’re really enjoying the piece of red velvet cake you’re already eating. But when you look at someone who isn’t your boyfriend, he can’t see that you’re probably just appreciating too, because he’s terrified that you might decide the other guy is better — that you might realize the strawberry-rhubarb pie is smarter than the red velvet cake, or makes more money, or has a bigger penis — and dump him, half-eaten, in the trash, so you can ride off into the sunset with the pie.

anonymous_suitStraight Married Guy (Figleaf): Funny you should mention that. I’ve got a woman friend who flirts shamelessly but almost blacks out with jealousy when her partner so much as asks another woman to pass the salt. Her answer for the double standard is a lot like men’s:  She knows she’s not looking to change relationships, so it’s okay for her, but not having the same insider information about what her partner’s thinking, she sees it as a total threat. Something similar is probably going though your partner’s head.

But that’s just the general case — there’s a more specific case related to what we “know” about men and women in relationships. We “know” that women are all “naturally” monogamous and men are just as “naturally” promiscuous, right? And so all your boyfriend’s cultural messages are that it’s really harmless for him to eye other women. He’d at most want a one-night stand, but we all “know” he wouldn’t want an emotional attachment. Meanwhile, though, all the cultural messages about you as a woman say that if you’re looking, it’s because you’d rather be with them. Forever! So he “knows” you’d really “only” want an emotional attachment and not a one-night stand. And as Em & Lo’s survey showed back in September, both men and women feel way more threatened by emotional infidelity than sexual infidelity. Is it fair that women are thought to be “naturally” monogamous and men are thought to be “naturally” promiscuous? No, but a lot of things aren’t fair, and jealousy will probably always be with us. The bigger question is whether it’s true? No, it’s not. Which is a bigger problem, but one that, unlike jealousy, we can get over.

anonymous_suitStraight Single Guy (L.A. Chris): That’s because men are, in general, babies. I think almost every guy has this double standard when it comes to jealousy. He’s jealous because he’s jealous, but he’s telling the truth when he says it means nothing. Men deeply believe that sex and love are unrelated. Totally separate. Like apples and roller coasters. When a man ogles another woman, it has nothing to do with how he feels about his girlfriend or his relationship. A guy may stare excitedly at a bulldozer or a flame-thrower, but it doesn’t mean he wants to own one. So if you catch him glancing at a passing hottie, don’t feel threatened. He’s not shopping for a new girlfriend and he doesn’t love you any less. However, I think that most guys suspect, deep-down, that when a woman looks around, she is probably shopping around for something better.

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Gay Engaged Guy is Joel Derfner, author of Swish, and our Straight Married Guy is Figleaf, the guy behind RealAdultSex.com. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

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17 Comments on "Wise Guys: He Looks at Other Women But Gets Jealous If I Ogle Men"

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My man admits that he looks at other women, but it seems like he is not looking her way and he is not really looking at her. He thinks I am cheating on him because I get along with guys more and his friends check me out or look at me, so he thinks I am cheating on him. Sometimes he looks at other women to make me jealous. He said when I get a lot of money then I am going to cheat on you with money and he said that you are probably happy that I am his… Read more »
Ro (female)
I think that both men and women experience the same thing. You know what’s going on in your own head, which is “he is pleasant to look at” while you talk to him, but you would be just as happy talking to a pleasant looking female. It really is all the same to you because you aren’t interested in him. But you don’t know what the other is thinking when they’re talking to someone attractive. As a protective mechanism, people naturally assume the worst. That way, they will act to prevent anything from happening. When you SO is talking to… Read more »
I used to be one of those females, when I was younger, who would fly off the handle if I saw my boyfriend looking at another women. After going through a terrible marriage, I realize there are far worse things out there your man could do. As long as my boyfriend doesn’t stare for a longer period of time then normal, or try and talk or smile at the other women, I’m o.k. Let’s be real ladies, we look at men just as much as men look at women and our “girl talks” would make any man blush if they… Read more »
Ro (female)

I think women talk about men in “girl talks” to try to take the sting out of what they feel their men are doing. I would never enjoy such a discussion about how hot a guy is or whatever. I can see the appeal though if you feel like you’re trying to level the playing field and feel less bad they are doing that behind your back. Literally looking at a woman is one thing, but being distracted from a conversation with your S/O is something else.

So many soft, kill the relationship, kill the filing here. People are jealous because we know when people are shopping, I mean looking it will result in them becoming disconent and judgemental about what they are missing out on – grass is greener. Doesn’t hurt? You are only fooling yourself at the expense of your eventually ruined relationship. When it comes to sex and infedelity – the blah, blah, blah about men say it is just sex and they still love their partner – Good golly what a line of BS. Yes, I still love my ex but I also… Read more »
I had, had the same problem with my ex. We went to the zoo and some woman was jogging and in mid sentence I was intereupted by “oh a woman with bouncing boobs”. I said what? after I had seen this woman coming closer to us. I had stopped the woman and asked if she cared that my fiance was checking her t*ts out while bouncing and asked her if she wouldn’t mind lifting her shirt so he could have a picture of what intriged him so much that my talking to him about our wedding plans took second place.… Read more »
Ro (female)
I would also break up with my S/O if he did that. It is so tempting as to distract him from your conversation? That’s ridiculous. Who hasn’t seen bouncing boobs before? Someone who doesn’t have the internet? And someone who doesn’t have the internet would not even realize they’re a sexualized body part. 1. That is really inconsiderate of him 2. Why on earth is he even with you if he finds other women so compelling? I mean if I was drooling over a ripped man jogging with his shirt off, I would really take a minute to reconsider my… Read more »
Ok…all this being said…I get it. I know men look. Women feel threatened by the possibility that their partners will throw them out in favour of the piece of pie that just walked by. Women look…some men don’t care, some get jealous and feel threatened for the same reason. What fans the flame of jealousy is the unknown…if that’ what I’m understanding…we get jealous because we also get afraid…because we don’t know what’s going on inside the other’s mind. So our mind messes with us – whether we are men or women….but my problem isn’t that he looks…it’s in the… Read more »
I agree with Julie. Oggling in public or around a partner who wouldn’t be comfortable with it is quite disrespectful, even though it can be quite harmless. Also fantasizing and checking someone out are two very different things. One may admire the features or sexual air of another without necessarily including that person in their fantasies. Lastly: Damn, reading this post makes me feel like I’m totally weird. Not everyone fantasize about people other than their significant other. I don’t. I’ve even tried to, and found that I can get as far as a kiss before I find myself feeling… Read more »
Ro (female)
A man admiring or noticing another woman is one thing. It being a distraction from his S/O in any situation is another. Women are not actually worried about a man actually leaving them. The sad thing is that they know that the man wouldn’t leave them for this more attractive person simply because that other woman would be out of their league. Or they are tied to them for other reasons, like long-term relationships. The problem is the desire. How would you feel if your husband told you, I can’t leave you because the divorce would be messy and I… Read more »