Don’t Validate Her “I’m Not Beautiful” Belief

Last Friday I posted Shopping On An Empty Stomach over on The XY code. The comments on that post have been painful. So many women are convinced they’re too old, fat, or too ugly for their husband to have any interest in them. They assume he says nice things about their looks because he feels he has to, not because he actually likes how she looks. So many wives are convinced they must compete with all the sexy beautiful women out there for their husband’s desire. That is a problem for the women, their marriage, and their sex life.

No doubt you have experienced this with your wife. I’d like to tell you I know an easy fix, but I don’t. Telling her over and over how much you like how she looks might help, but it’s slow at best.

What I can tell you is how to not make it worse.

Don't Validate Her "I'm Not Beautiful" Belief

Your wife knows when your eyes follow a woman’s butt as she walks away. She sees when you look, and when you look at other women that says to her that she is ugly in your eyes. She doesn’t understand how sexual images grab you, and she can’t accept that your knee-jerk reaction is not you saying “I wish my wife looked like that!” As far as she is concerned you vote with your eyes, and if you cast even a few votes for other women she loses.

The corollary to this is porn. And by porn, I mean everything from naked writhing bodies on the Internet to magazines with scantily clad women every few pages. And yes, that includes the cable shows with plenty of nudity and sex. We know the women shown in such things are usually very good looking, and you watching such women can only make your wife feel ugly in your eyes.

What your eyes do can feel like a slap in the face or a fist to the stomach for your wife. Choose to bless her by having eyes for her alone.

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64 Comments on “Don’t Validate Her “I’m Not Beautiful” Belief

  1. We accommodate this insecurity and allow it to persist way too much. Women look too, I was watching 300 last night….my wife stopped what she was doing to ogle Gerard Butler’s abs for a bit. Should I be able to cry into my pillow and pout all night about it? Or I can just point out when something she might enjoy looking at comes on, she’s a human so am I….getting wrapped around the axle about looking at attractive people is dumb.

    • @mykidsmademedoit – There is vert much a double standard on this one. If he looks at other women she says he can’t enjoy sex with her. But her looking at other men doesn’t mean she is not enjoying sex with her hubby.

      • Ok, y’all can’t write all you do about men and women being different and then complain about a societal double standard in this of all areas.

        • Differences are fine, but I’m not willing to listen to a woman whine about her husband looking at hot girls when she ogles hot guys.

          • Except I don’t ogle hot guys. My husband still watched porn for years behind my back, made out with a coworker last month, has lunch dates with single women, and denies me sex because it’s too much effort and he doesn’t like sex (with me — he loves sex with other people).

            I will tell you EXACTLY where you can put your justification on “other standards.”

            Also, even if women look, only an insane person would say that women are visually stimulated the way that men are. For 99% of women, that’s not the case — sex is more of an emotional thing. So, women “ogling” actually isn’t the same as men ogling.

  2. I’ve seen a few FB posts from married women about how hot the guy in the meme is. These women’s husbands are also on FB. Blows my mind that the wife thinks that’s okay and the husband just has to suck it up. And at least in one particular case, the husband is a highly devoted husband and respected man who treats his wife like a queen on FB and whenever I see them in person.

    I’m human, I look. But I try really hard not to and when I fail, I feel terrible and pray for God to help me see the escape route from the temptation more quickly and take it without hesitation.

    • I don’t do that. I don’t watch such movies. I don’t think celebs are hot. I don’t crank my head or make comments or otherwise disrespect my husband. I don’t like it when he does it to me, so why would I do it to him? And I hate when other women, Christian married women, especially, do that. It is so vulgar. Have a little decorum and stop acting like 14 year old girls.

      • When I was teaching high school, I would hear many comments from girls about boys (He’s got such a cute butt, etc.) I thought then, and still do, that this kind of double standard spells trouble, especially in marriage. I agree with Libl. This is maybe to be expected from kids, but married adults should be better than that.

        I don’t want to hurt my wife with wandering eyes, and I would be very troubled, to say the least, if she did that to me. I can’t completely avoid seeing things I don’t want to see, and I can’t “unsee” things that come into my environs. But I don’t have to dwell on them and pursue the thoughts, and I can avoid situations where I’m going to be in trouble.

    • I don’t think this bothers guys like it seems to bother women. If she’s shooting me down but checking out others maybe, but if her watching a movie with Channing Tatum gets her in the mood and I am not having to try and negotiate sex, I’m all for it

      • @mykidsmademedoit – Which is the exact reason some guys like to watch porn with their wife – it gets her going and makes it easier for him. It’s nice in the moment, but I doubt it’s good for the couple’s relationship or sex life in the long run.

        • Or could it also be that every once in awhile he’d like to experience the joy of his wife being super turned on when most of the time she has no clue how to ever get there?!
          Honestly, I’ve experienced that once with my wife. Best night of my life! 😉
          What’s worse is, once you know it actually works, most men would do whatever it takes to go there again. Kind off contradicts that we are looking for the easiest route. Maybe we’re just looking for one that works.
          But I agree, porn would be a poor route to choose. I was talking about a “hot romantic movie”.

          • “Hot romantic movie” i.e. “Chick porn”

            For my wife, it is Outlander on the Starz network, although she insists she fast-forwards through the sex scenes. What’s really depressing to me, is that I believe her. She hates watching anything sexual on TV but loves the sappy romance. Just like in real life with me. Closed mouth kissing and romantic dates ending in a night of Hallmark Channel and falling asleep early.

  3. mykidsmademedoit makes it super obvious that some men simply cannot understand how incredibly painful this can be to some women.

    I totally agree with Iris!

    And I agree with Libl. I don’t ogle men, it doesn’t even cross my mind. Maybe I’m odd.

    But yes, when another woman catches – and holds – my husbands eyes…when he looks at her with an interest I have never seen him have in me…when he loses track of what I’m saying because a better woman is a few tables away – it absolutely validates the fact that I am not beautiful. It negates any sweet words he ever says. Any man can say anything. It is their eyes and their actions that tell the true story.

    • I think that it is far worse for a man to look at another woman than vice versa, so yes I believe in the double standard. Women do not process the vision of another man the same way. Shaunti Feldhaun has talked about how men actually imprint the images of other women whereas women tend to look and forget.

      On the other hand, a far better comparison in terms of damage to self esteem is when women start comparing their husband’s job to the job of another woman’s husband or make complaints about financial status relative to other people. This attacks a man at his weak point.

      So men – stop ogling other women. Women – stop lusting after another man’s paycheck.

      • @Mitch – I agree it’s usually not the same thing in a woman’s mind that it is in a man’s. Probably exceptions on both sides, but that’s not the norm. Still, a smaller wrong is still a wrong!

        • What I learned about men is that it goes pretty quickly to the “sexual cortext” of the brain, and if not checked they violate her privacy and human,dignity by imagining her naked and/or doing sexual things to her.

          Now, I know a man can simply admire outer beauty without going to sexual matters.

          I can’t speak for all women, but it is very rare that my mind goes to the sexual when I see someone attractive. Like, I can remember may be 1 or 2 times in my life. If I find a man attractive, I see them more as a pleasing work of art than a sexual being. If I take it a step farther, it goes into wanting to get to know them, not have sex with them. I certainly don’t want to see them naked!!

          I think you could correlate it this way: (generalization ahead) men see women’s bodies as sexual and what they do with them,even more sexual.

          Women don’t see men’s bodies as sexual, but can see what they do with them as sexual.

          A guy gyrating and dancing and muscle flexing on stage is not sexy. It is gross and vulgar and a complete waste. Seeing hubby play with the kids, wash dishes for me, or crawl on top of me in bed is super sexy…sigh…give me a moment.

          I hate watching movies and a naked guy butt comes across the screen. I’m like, “geez, I didn’t need to see that. Gag.” It doesn’t matter that it is toned and muscular. I don’t want to see that. I bet my favorite pet that hubby doesn’t feel that way if a gal’s butt comes on the screen. I’m quite sure that even when he is guarding his eyes and respectfullt looking away, he gets pleasure from seeing her naked backside.

          • @Libl, your comments are disrespectful of male sexuality, which is a gift from God. I can admire female beauty without going to sexual matters, but the fact that my brain is wired to go to sexual matters is not, in and of itself, the problem. And to say my imagination violates her privacy and dignity is ridiculous. I am accountable to God for my thoughts, not you. You are not morally superior to men because your brain is wired differently.

            God designed the male brain to initiate sexual responses because he intended men to be the primary initiator of sex. We HAVE to be programmed this way, if the species is to survive. Somebody has to ask the woman out on the date. Somebody has to start the courtship process. Somebody has to be the one to buy the ring and get on one knee. Somebody has to be responsible for protection and caring. That takes initiation. It takes testosterone. It takes a man with his sexuality intact.

            As an older man undergoing testosterone replacement therapy, I can testify of the differences between men with low T and men with high T. Low T Me was emotional and cried a lot more easily. I certainly never objectified attractive women. I never “violated their dignity”. I was affectionate with my wife in a non-sexual way, just the way she likes it. I was probably the best girlfriend she ever had.

            At work I was friendly but not quite as productive. I was more easily distracted and less focused on my work. My annual reviews were good but not great. My pay raises flattened. My physical energy was less and my muscles softened. I was exactly the kind of man you would feel completely safe alone with in a motel in a distant city. I wouldn’t have objectified you no matter what. I would have preferred a hug and maybe a game of Yahtzee before going to bed early.

            High T Me is more energetic. My last review at work was better and I just finished a very difficult project with great feedback. I am less patient but I am more focused and directed in life. I also want more sex. A lot more sex. My wife is quite annoyed. Probably doesn’t like me objectifying her or violating her dignity. I guess you would feel the same. Because I am a man again. And I have testosterone. Just the way God made me.

            • Geez, Mitch. I said that is what I was taught, not what I believe!

              • No, you said it was what you LEARNED. So am I to understand you do not agree with what you learned? And if so, in what way do you disagree with it? I would hate to attribute misandry to you unjustly.

                • @Mitch – Her second paragraph said “Now, I know…” I take that to mean her first paragraph what what she was taught, but now she knows better.

                  • I will give her the benefit of the doubt and choose to believe she has completely disavowed what she was taught.

    • @B – “…makes it super obvious that some men simply cannot understand how incredibly painful this can be to some women.”

      I’m a man and I find it painful. I remember vividly at one party where my wife commented out loud about how good-looking one of the male performers on the television was, in front of other couples and all our kids. She saw nothing wrong with what she said (her words were somewhat to the effect of “Man, so and so is one good-looking man!”), but I was not only hurt, but ashamed that my friends, their wives, and all our kids heard it (there was an awkward silence after she said it, so I’m pretty sure everyone else was a little surprised as well). Maybe I’m oversensitive or lack self-confidence, but I could not imagine me saying that about a woman in front of other Christian couples, our kids and with my wife there. I talked with her about it afterward, and though she didn’t think it was a big deal, she understood that it bothered me and said she’d make efforts to improve in that area. Honestly, I think part of her was upset that I was oppressing her honest expression of opinion. She says there was nothing sexual behind the comment, that she was just making an honest observation.

      The real issue for me was, my wife and I have a lot less intimacy than I’d like. She has the lower drive and controls when we get together. When my “low drive” wife comments about how attractive another man is, my male mind automatically jumps to conclusions, even if they are wrong. Conclusions about her low drive having more to do with me than herself.

      • The issue is your wife rationing sex, I bet if she was screwing your brains out you wouldn’t care one bit about the comment

        • The comedian Daniel Tosh had a funny bit about how impossible it is for anyone to be unhappy while driving a Jet Ski. I think the same is true for any man who is well sexed by his wife. Shaunti Feldhaun also talks a lot about how important sex is to a man and how damaging sexual rationing is to his self worth. If my wife talks favorably about Chris Hemsworth or Chris Pine or Ryan Gosling, I guarantee it is going to hurt a lot worse when our sex life is bad. But the same comments when the sex is frequent are like water off a duck’s back.

          By contrast, I will never be able to say nice things about Kate Upton, Charlotte McKinney or that hispanic woman from Baby Driver without my wife freaking out. Two dozen roses and 45 foot massages later she will still be angry.

          • I find it very funny that you mention Kate and Charlotte. I was under the distinct impression that men did not find those women attractive. My husband doesn’t seem to and that makes me kinda sad because they are who I resemble. I’m nowhere near as beautiful as they, of course, but if you added ten pounds and some post baby stretch marks…

            Anyhow, my husband seems much more drawn to tiny, perfect, petite brunettes. I’m not really sure why he even ever started dating me if I do not fit his standard of beauty.

            And in an effort to grasp at some straw that I might not be completely ugly, I’ve googled those two ladies, and most things I’ve read are about why men do not find them attractive. Yes, yes, yes I know I can’t believe everything I google. However, based on those articles, and the better women who catch my husbands eye, I figured there was simply no hope for my husband to find me even a tiny bit attractive.

            • @B – Maybe looks are not that important to your husband, and what he loved about who you are inside is why he married you.

              My wife is closer to my list of outward preferences than anyone else I was ever interested in. Had any of those other women been like Lori inside I’ve have married them, or at least made an effort to do so. How they looked would have been irrelevant because I would have found the kind of woman I wanted on the inside.

            • @B – “I was under the distinct impression that men did not find those women attractive.”

              I just about spit out my coffee on that one. Just for the record, those two women are considered VERY attractive by most men. But I am guessing that they are also the kind of women (Re: Boobs) that men are embarrassed to admit they like. So they fake it. It reminds me of National Lampoon’s Vacation where Clark Griswold (AKA Chevy Chase) assures his wife that he is not attracted to the blonde woman in the Ferrari (AKA Christy Brinkley). “She’s ugly” he told her. That was truly a funny line.

              While there are women that are most commonly identified as beautiful, the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” has aspects of truth. Men can train their eyes to appreciate the beauty in a lot of women, especially their wives. This is why regular sexual relations in marriage are so critical to a man’s ability to focus only on his wife’s beauty. The eyes of a man are important. But a wife who takes care of the rest of his body is going to get his eyes as well.

              • I had no idea who these women were, so I looked them up. Yes, they are attractive, but definitely not my type. I tend to gravitate more towards personalities and faces and prefer a more natural-looking body, rather than a super “cultivated” looking body. For example, I find plus size model Ashley Graham more attractive than either Kate or Charlotte. I’m also drawn to more exotic (dark skinned) or unusual (natural blondes and redheads) looks. And I also don’t fall into your Testosterone stereotype – I’m very sensitive, cry more easily than most men, not very aggressive, but still have a super high sex drive. I was always uncomfortable in male locker rooms and found it to be a bunch of fake posturing. I find it much easier to small talk at gatherings with women than men and generally get along with women better than men. But again, much higher sex drive than my wife. I don’t know if I’m that far off from typical, or your definition of typical is a little off.

                • Hormones are not the whole picture, obviously. But the sex drive was the biggest difference. Now that my testosterone levels are back to normal, my intolerance of my sexless marriage has now reached a crisis point. Either I back off my meds and go back to the dreary muddle or I seek some kind of dramatic action. I am actually considering going to the pastor at church and forcing an intervention. It will probably completely blow up in my face and the elders will tell me I have to do all the changing and leave my wife completely alone. I have found that my worst expectations about my sex life always end up being realized no matter what I do. But I am also praying and maybe God just wants other parts of my life to be fixed first. Maybe this is a faith building process that ultimately results in no sex but more rewards in heaven when I die.

    • @B – And your reply to mykidsmademedoit makes it super obvious that some women can’t understand how incredibly painful it is to a man when his wife shows no interest in sex.

      I’ve already challenged him on that comment, but I do get it. For some men “I’m having sex because some other guy got her going” is far better than not having sex. I can’t imagine a woman feeling the same way, but it’s not unheard of for men.

      • Except, I’ve never withheld sex from my husband. I am the one who was often refused, supposedly due to “stress”. Not super encouraging to a woman with already low self esteem.

        How can he expect me to feel beautiful when everything I read tells me all men love and crave sex, and would be thrilled if their wives initiated – and my man seems disinterested. Lack of attraction seems the obvious answer.

        Things have gotten better this past year, but it was a stretch of many years where I was the one being refused. Thus making my feelings of worthlessness all the more valid.

        So my reply to his comment cannot make anything super obvious about women not understanding how painful it is to a man when she shows no interest in sex, because our situation was reversed! I had the interest, he did not. A double whammy for any woman.

        • My husband has never really had a hard time performing, but this past year he’s had some trouble. We thought it was because he’s getting older, but then i realized it was only in the morning before work. He was carpooling at the time. I think it’s because he couldn’t concentrate on me because he was against the clock. So i think stress really really plays into sex for a man.

          • @Molly – Yeah stress can be a big problem. It can keep a man from getting a full erection, and it can make it difficult to climax. When we are young our raw desire can overcome that, but as age lessens the desire it can become a problem.

            • Tell him to get his testosterone checked. I have real life experience with this stuff and I am not trying to sell anything, unlike most of the spam out there pushing low T solutions. In addition to low T, high blood pressure can be a problem and the medications used (Re: Lisinopril) can also affect sexual performance. Age and stress introduce a boatload of medical issues. Don’t let him delay seeking help because your sex life is too important to neglect.

              • He stopped getting rides from his co-worker and he also stopped trying to race the clock. He’s fine now but I’ll keep that in mind for the future.

  4. If I were to talk about how good a guy looks or follow him with my eyes, I don’t think it would hurt my husband the way it hurts me when he does the same. I think he doesn’t like the “double standard” that is created by us simply being affected differently by this stuff. His past use of porn makes this even more painful to me.

    But, I respect that it appears as a double standard to him, so I’m always extra careful. I don’t stare guys down, I don’t comment even on celebrities, etc. I try to avoid questions other women like to ask about how hot a certain celebrity is. I just decided early on in our marriage that if I was going to ask him to not do such things that I gain nothing by doing those things myself. It may not hurt him as much as it hurts me, but that doesn’t matter (and I don’t know that I can even prove that fact).

  5. In reading comments on this post (and other posts here, on XY Code, and other blogs, I’ve been struck by the “types” of situations the various couples find themselves in. I’m not criticizing anyone or pointing fingers, but some recurring themes appear in comments, so I’m trying to get a better handle on where people are in these matters. Help me out if I’m wrong or missing something.

    #1: Wife has terrible self-image issues, probably formed from childhood, probably long before she met her husband. No matter what he says or does, she will not believe that he finds her beautiful and desirable. She can’t accept his avowals of his passion for her. He, in turn finds it frustrating to be told that either (A) he’s not telling her the truth and is in effect a liar, (B) he’s saying these things only because he has to, or (C) he really deserve someone better and, poor schlubb, is stuck with her.

    #2: Wife has terrible self-image problems, again probably formed before she met her husband. She doesn’t believe it when he says he finds her beautiful or desirable be cause he, a real jerk, uses porn, flirts with other women, maybe goes so far as to have an affair. Now I’m no fan of divorce, but I wonder why she’s still with the guy. She definitely deserves better.

    #3: Wife has terrible self-image problems, again probably formed before she met her husband. But she and he have worked through these and she has come to understand that her husband really doesn’t want someone else, real or imagined. He tries to honor her with his thoughts, words, and actions. He, as a fallen man in a fallen world, doesn’t always get it right , but they have learned to treat each other generously and with grace, kindness, and forgiveness.

    Some of the comments I read make my sad. I’m burdened for anyone, but in this context, especially professing Christians who are having really serious marriage troubles, as evidenced by the way they treat each other. I found out today that a couple in my church, who live only four houses down from us, are in serious marriage trouble. I hope and pray that they will really turn to God, who alone can change the hearts of those involved.

    My marriage isn’t perfect, but when I think about where we were two years ago, I know that God can do the impossible. In fact, when healing for a marriage seems impossible, that’s precisely the time to turn it all over to God and submit your marriage to His divine surgery. It’s not easy, it may be painful, but it’s really the only hope when an husband’s or wife’s (or both) heart is hardened.

    • Its interesting that all 3 of your scenarios start with the woman having poor self image issues that probably started in childhood. I agree with you. I have 2 girls and I’m trying so hard to prepare them and not contribute to a negative self image in their future.

  6. @Molly – I know my list isn’t comprehensive by any means, but these patterns appear so frequently. There is a huge double standard about appearance, especially weight. Until a man gets extremely obese, it isn’t an issue with others. But let a woman put on 20 pounds and she becomes a pariah. Some of this is from expectations, true or false, of what men find desirable. And some of it is from what other women expect, especially if those women are close, like family.

    My wife had a lot of cruel things said and done to her by total strangers when she was a girl and young woman, but by far the worst things were from her family. Things like: You’ll never get married unless you lose the weight; Nobody will love you with all that extra weight; What’s wrong with you, can’t you just stop overeating? And the worst one, from her mother a day before our wedding: He should get a medal for marrying you.

    Where men get in knots usually isn’t in their appearance. It’s more often a question of: Do I measure up? Do I have what it takes? That may include sexual performance, but more often it’s a matter of life in general. Can I provide for my family? Can I be successful in my job? Can I live a life of integrity? And the big one: What if people find out that I’m a phony?

    From my own life, and what I’ve heard from many other men over the years, is that we learn we don’t measure up, or even matter much, from our fathers more than our mothers. From my wife’s experience and what I’ve heard from others, women seem to get most of their self-image problems from mother AND father.

    My father never could measure up to his dad, and that’s what he brought into marriage and parenthood. Same with my wife’s father. Her mother was not an overweight child, but she learned very quickly after gaining weight with children that she was now a second-class woman. Not from her husband, who adored her, but from other family. Add to that societal expectations, and she went downhill fast. By the time I met her, she had become a very bitter, angry woman.

    All this to say that when a man and woman marry, they are bringing so much baggage with them. Not necessarily a bad thing, because by growing with their mate, people can change and learn that there is someone who loves and accepts them. But sometimes the baggage gets in the way, even feeding off each other and spiraling downward out of control. Counseling may help, but only God’s touch can really make the changes needed.

    I really appreciate blogs like this one, and I appreciate the honesty in what is shared. Christians tends to sweep personal problems under the rug, especially when it’s a very sensitive area like marriage, and especially the area of sex in marriage.

    • Well Bob, i can say from reading your comments, you are not a phony. I’m a pretty good judge of character and you are a great guy, in all the things that are important.

      My husband and i have a weird combination. I barely knew my dad and the abandonment from him has eaten me alive. I’m almost 40 and i still struggle. I’m just now realizing its him and not me. I met him when i was 10and hes ignored me every day since. He’s a master manipulator and HaTes me because i call him out on his BS. I was told i was a mistake from the minute i was born by everyone else and i can’t get it out of my head. It’s only by the grace of God that i turned out ok.

      My husband was raised by his dad, after his dad basically legally kidnapped him. He saw his mother 1 time before we got married. He has no relationship with either of his parents except for phone calls on some holidays.

      His father had told my husband some nasty things about never measuring up and how he’ll always be a loser. Jokes on him, because my husband has a successful career and a beautiful family with a girl he met at a fast food store. But i know my husband still carries those lies his father tells him.

      But there are definite patterns. People in general are downright cruel to girls. I see it everywhere. People make comments about girls and to girls. Is just crazy.

    • Bobthemusicguy- “And the big one: What if people find out that I’m a phony?”
      So true! But it’s not just guys that ask this question. Women do too. But you know what’s funny? This is one of the biggest fears of doctors. They are some of the most educated, brightest of our society and they still wonder if someone is gonna find out that they are not as authentic as they’d like to be. Believe me, I know this first hand.
      Great thoughts!

  7. Here’s a weird thing my husband said. Recently he shared with me that it “hurts him that he cannot make me feel beautiful.” I don’t get that. He didn’t create me. He doesn’t decide how much I work out. He really has no control over what I look like. That’s how God created me and the best I can do. So why would he feel any responsibility at all?

    I can see him feeling sad that he doesn’t have a more beautiful wife. But why would he feel responsible, other than feeling that he should have waited for someone he did find more attractive?

    • @B I can’t speak for all men, but I love the idea of giving my wife a look of adoration and showing her my attraction towards her and her feeling beautiful because of it. When I believe that she is beautiful but she does not, I’d like to think I could sway her opinion of herself by demonstrating how attractive I find her.

    • It hurts me when my wife doesn’t believe she is beautiful. We have talked about this a fair amount and she is growing in receiving my compliments. But when she doesn’t believe me, she is saying that her opinion of her appearance based on comparison to cultural beauty standards is correct and my opinion based on what I choose to see is wrong. This does not happen as often anymore, but when it does it is like she is not believing me while she is believing a lie that hurts our marriage and our sex life. She is my standard of beauty; if I compared her to other women and decided she didn’t stack up, it would obviously damage our marriage. So, why would it be ok for her to compare herself to other women?

  8. Something else has occurred to me about this. When someone doesn’t accept an honest compliment and deprecates himself or herself, I’ve always wondered whether it’s true bad self-image or someone, out of conceit, fishing for compliments. As a musician, I’ve heard performers receive raves after a truly stellar performance, only to say that it wasn’t that great, etc. Some of these I’ve known for their huge egos and surmised that they were just fishing for more.

    But then an experience with a student changed my mind. She sang the socks off her solo at a competition. The judge asked her how she thought she had done, and even after he said she had done so well and asked her to say she had done well, she couldn’t bring herself to say that she had done well. I knew this student’s personal situation enough to know that she had been put down a lot at home and school, so the negative self image wasn’t a put on.

    When I first met my wife in college, I took at least some of her self put-downs to be dishonest compliment fishing expeditions. As I got to know her, I realized that her bad self image was real. After we married, when things were going well between us, I was pretty good about trying to build her up. But sometimes when things weren’t so great, mainly when I was going through a lot of self doubt myself, I would talk myself into thinking that her bad comments about herself were insincere. My anger over her not accepting my compliments and support were more about my own self image problems.

    • @Bobthemusicguy – Fishing for more, of if they are Christians doing what they think is expected of them.
      Most women have significant self-doubts about how they look, so I doubt what you suggest is a major part of it for many.

  9. This happened to me tonight. As I feared, I allowed myself to be lulled into a false sense of security. To be fooled. Again. Unattractive, unworthy of love. THAT is how my husband sees me, regardless of what he says.

    I’ve been reading here, and on the XY Code and also reading the comments. I thought I’d made some progress. I thought I’d take a chance and believe maybe my husband did love me. Maybe when he called me pretty he wasn’t just lying. My husband seemed very happy that I was starting to feel loved. Well guess what? I was a fool for ever thinking I might be worth anything to him.

    This might not sound like a big deal to some of you, but it’s almost like he wants to make sure I don’t get too confident, or happy, or too secure. And worse, afterwards, HE doesn’t talk to ME! Like I’m the one who wronged HIM.

    So we went to see a play. We had a great time. (We had a great morning the other morning and I really allowed myself to believe – foolishly – that he was sexually attracted to me and was thinking of me while we were together) So we’ve been in a bit of a better place. So I guess he thought it would be a good idea to crush me completely.

    He knows I am self conscious of my very small butt. He knows I know that he absolutely adores a nice curvy butt. He knows it hurts me when he openly stares at better women with desire, in front of me. He constantly lies and says he loves ME, when we both know I do not have what he likes.

    So he went out into the lobby first. I was still inside talking to friends. When I went out into the lobby he was openly gawking at a young woman in tight pants standing in front of him – a woman with a much better body than I could ever have. (And yes, he saw me coming. He had to. But her butt was far more important than his wife’s heart). A woman he obviously was highly attracted to, craved, desired, and thought was better than me. I’m sure if I had been kidnapped at that moment he would have never even noticed I was gone and then would have happily gone home without me. Because I will never be what he wants.

    You wrote:
    “Your wife knows when your eyes follow a woman’s butt as she walks away. She sees when you look, and when you look at other women that says to her that she is ugly in your eyes.”

    And you are right! He thinks I am ugly and repulsive. Not only is he telling me I’m ugly, he is also telling me he DOES. NOT. LOVE. ME. AT. ALL.

    And then after he saw my face, he stopped talking to me. He didn’t talk to me the whole way home, or even once we got home. Because he doesn’t think I’m worth squat. I find it unfair how he thinks he can just hurt my feelings, which tells me I’m ugly, tells me he hates me, and then give me the silent treatment.

    So I’ll sleep on the couch. Even though I’m getting over a cold, and I’m tired, and he tries to act like he cares about me – I know he doesn’t care at all and he doesn’t think I’m worth sleeping in our bed. Tomorrow he’ll probably ask me “why didn’t you come to bed” and I’ll tell him “because we both know you don’t really want me there. I just cramp your style.” And he’ll get mad at me and continue to punish me because it rips my heart out that he thinks I’m disgusting compared to the better women he chooses to stare at. And he wonders why I don’t feel beautiful. Maybe because he has NEVER looked at me with desire. And the whole “your husband wants to see you naked” – in my marriage that’s a lie. He might say it because he thinks it’s what a husband is supposed to say, but his roaming eyes shout much louder.

    I was smarter when I knew he didn’t like me and I didn’t get sucked into believing otherwise.

    Do husbands even care about the magnitude of pain they cause? I doubt it. Not mine anyway.

    And before you tell me I’m over sensitive, keep in mind you don’t know our whole history. But he does. And her butt being more special to him than his wife’s heart proves everything I’ve ever believed.

    And really, should we even stay together? I mean if it’s that hard for him to control his urges, or care about me, maybe I should let him go. Why keep him saddled with a woman who obviously isn’t good enough for him. Maybe I should set him free to pursue his interests. He shouldn’t have to be stuck with a woman he cannot love.

  10. @B – you’re right, we don’t know your whole history. But being a guy, I can take a guess at what might be going through his mind. He knew he shouldn’t have been ogling the other woman and he saw you catch him at it. He was ashamed, that’s why he didn’t talk to you on the way home. Inside, he probably felt like he failed AGAIN at keeping his eyes to himself, felt horrible, but powerless, and felt terrible that he hurt you. Beating himself up inside, not knowing what to say to you for fear of saying the wrong thing and making things worse. Maybe he realizes he needs help but does not want to deal with it because of the shame it would cause.

    Actually, the conclusion you draw (that he thinks you’re ugly and does not love you) is the last thing I’d imagine he’s actually thinking.

    • @B – I also said “She doesn’t understand how sexual images grab you, and she can’t accept that your knee-jerk reaction is not you saying “I wish my wife looked like that!””

      So I don’t blame you for how you feel, but it’s not what he was saying.

      • Yes, you did say that. You also said
        “As far as she is concerned you vote with your eyes, and if you cast even a few votes for other women she loses.”

        Agreed. And because he has voted against me about 1000 times (and that only counts the times it’s been done in front of me) – I’ve lost over 1000 times. And what man loves or wants to be married to the woman who loses every time?

        You also said:
        “What your eyes do can feel like a slap in the face or a fist to the stomach for your wife.”

        Again – agreed. And if he really loved me, would he enjoy slapping me in the face over and over and over again? I’ve told him before “if you beat me with a 2 x 4, it would hurt less.” But does he care? Obviously not. It is what it is. It hurts. It stinks. But I need to accept it.

    • @closertotheheart, well, he definitely thinks I’m ugly. He lies and calls me pretty, which we both know isn’t true, and acts like he wants me to believe it. He knows, from the past, that staring at better women (which I understand most women are better than me in his eyes) – but staring at them with desire – in front of me – is like a knife to my gut. He, at times, makes an attempt to not stare at them too much, and sometimes I feel bad for taking away his joy of checking out and dreaming about better women. But I can’t help it, it hurts me. It hurts knowing I am ugly, his love is a lie, and I will never be good enough for him, or even on par with these other women that are everywhere. Objectively, I am not that ugly, just an average mom. But I am not interesting, or the least bit attractive to my husband. He never looks at me the way he looks at better women. I have never seen him admire, appreciate, or desire me. It’s very hurtful knowing the man I love and who claims to love me, desires most other women he sees much more than me. I’m learning I will never be special or know what it’s like to be deeply loved by anyone (except God). My husband acts like this upsets him, and he wants me to feel loved, and he says the right things like “I love your body.” But we both know it’s all lies. How? By what he actually DOES and where he chooses to look. And it’s never at me.

      As for the silent treatment. Was it guilt? Maybe. He’s now kind of acting like he feels badly that he did this in front of me (and I mean really, if he has to stare at better women, can he just do it when I am not around??) That would be so helpful to me. I wouldn’t even know about it, it wouldn’t hurt half as badly. And I’m not stupid. If he’s staring at them with desire when I am around, I can only image what he does or how he feels about these better women when I am not around.

      Anyway, to me, his being silent was to punish me. He knew I was upset. But I didn’t say anything, or nag him, or anything. This has happened enough that he knows he hurt me. Obviously doesn’t care, but he knows. So his staying silent says to me “you are unimportant. Your feelings are meaningless. You are ugly so I have to stare at better women, and I think so little of you that I’m not going to waste my breath speaking to you. You do not deserve to have feelings, or emotions, and you certainly do not deserve to feel hurt. You are simply not worth my love and you are too ugly to be admired by me.” That is what his silence says to me.

      Because really, how is it fair that he can do something that hurts me so much, something he knows hurts me, something he KNOWS will instantly tear down all of the confidence in his love of me that he CLAIMS he has been trying to build in me – how can he crush every bit of confidence I was slowly starting to have – make me KNOW I’ve been a fool for ever believing he even liked me a little bit. He isn’t interested in me. He doesn’t love me. He doesn’t think I’m pretty. He doesn’t love my body. He isn’t sexually attracted to me. He proved that by his insatiable need to crush my heart AGAIN by openly staring at, desiring, loving, wanting, needing, desiring the much better woman!

      And then he gives me the silent treatment as if I’m the one who did something wrong. That is not love. That is hatred. And I know he hates me and he gets so upset when I ask, politely even, will you please just tell me why you hate me so much? What is it that is so wrong, so ugly, so unloveable. And he claims none of that is true and he does love me and is attracted to me and blah, blah, blah and stupid me FINALLY gives in and starts to believe it and WHAM! He sees a better woman and can’t help himself but love and desire her more AND be sure, be SURE to let me know about it. To be SURE to hurt me as deeply as he can. And then not want to talk about it because he feels I deserve the pain because I will never be woman enough.

      Honestly, he loves me a little. Like an aunt, or a sister. But as a wife and a lover? No way. I was foolishly starting to believe him, but as I said, I was a fool. An ugly, worthless fool. And that’s why he gave me the silent treatment. Because he doesn’t think I was worth the breath he’d have to expend talking to me. Because if you truly love someone you don’t ignore them. That is an indicator of hatred. As is always being on the lookout for a better woman. There is no love.

  11. @B – It sounds to me like you are projecting a lot of your own conclusions onto your husband’s actions. I can’t pretend to know what he’s thinking, but when you say things like “well, he definitely thinks I’m ugly. He lies and calls me pretty, which we both know isn’t true, and acts like he wants me to believe it.” I have a really hard time believing that he actually thinks what you think he thinks.

    Consider this: I love my wife incredibly! I’m in love with her and I find her very attractive and arousing. Yet I STILL have to work at not focusing too much on other attractive women when they are in view. And I think just about any man would be lying if they didn’t think along similar lines. There are exceptions, I’m sure, but most men will have to work at not doing a double-take when they see an attractive woman. And it’s harder to succeed at avoiding those double-takes when your relationship with the woman you love is hurting. Maybe your relationship has been hurting so long that he’s gradually become desensitized to making the effort.

    • @closertotheheart, maybe I am projecting conclusions, but I think it’s pretty obvious what he must be thinking. He knows how deeply it hurts me, and yet he does it anyway.

      I get that most men enjoy looking at better women. I’d even be okay with the double take. This is outright, blatant staring, with eyes lit up with desire, I felt like I could almost see the drool.

      I wish he found me 1/10th as attractive as he found better women. Not just say it, but actually think it. But I cannot force him to feel things he obviously does not feel.

      Now he’s acting like he feels sad that he hurt me. I’m trying to just forget about it. But if he didn’t want to hurt me he simply could’ve not drooled over the better woman in front of me. He knows he swiftly undid all the work we’ve done regarding our issues. The other woman’s body was much more important than his wife’s heart.

      So I’m staying out of his way. Sleeping in the living room, not being affectionate or flirty. I’m not bothering him with hugs or kisses. He asked for a hug today, for what I have no idea (probably to close his eyes and imagine a better woman) and so I complied but made it a quick one. I’ve kind of lost the will to try again. I’m just leaving him alone, not bringing it up. You think he’d be happier.

      And that’s what is sad. Our relationship had been hurting for a long time, but I stood by him through some tough stuff, and he tried to help me learn to believe in love. We were starting to be happy again. And he chose to undo that just because a better woman came into view. He chose her. I was a fool to believe in love. I’m not good enough for him, and so I’ll stay out of his way.

      • @B – I see a constant theme in your posts here and elsewhere: You keep referring to “better women” and put yourself down.

        Now, I don’t want to make light of your struggles in your marriage. I get it that you husband’s actions and words don’t match, and that causes real heartache for you. I just want to encourage you to look past the pain and hurt and see the reality of who you are in Christ: a woman created in the image of God and worthy of better treatment.

        Your husband appears to have real problems that are beyond you, and probably any human, to deal with. I pray that God will somehow bring someone or something into his life so that he will have to face his sin and let God change him. My wife and I are living testimony to the power of God when it comes to changing and healing marriages.

        In the meanwhile, try to keep before your mind’s eye who you are in Christ. Remember that while there are “other women” out there, there are not “better women.”

        • @B, I agree with Bobthemusicguy. You are projecting that your husband would only ogle at a woman because he finds her more attractive (you even take a step further and call her “better”) than you. Yet you’ve said things about him that indicate he is trying to improve your marriage (feeling bad, asking for a hug, etc), which leads me to believe that he WANTS to improve but does not know how. Look at the photo that Paul chose for this blog post. Personally, I find the woman that is with the ogling man to be highly attractive. So why is he still ogling if he’s got someone so attractive at his side? I believe men are hardwired to notice beauty. And beauty is NOT absolute. I have caught myself noticing women *that I find MUCH LESS attractive than my wife*. It sucks, and it’s an unwanted behavior that I’m trying really hard to learn to stop. I would guess your husband may think along similar lines, but he may be at a point where there’s enough hopelessness that it doesn’t seem to matter as much if he gets caught. Maybe he’s given up trying for some reason or it’s just physiologically or psychologically harder for him. Or like Bobthemusicguy suggested, he may have serious issues that require outside help (deeper relationship with God or at least counseling). Maybe he physically can’t help himself? Would it hurt to ask him if this is a really hard struggle for him? I mean, get to a place where you can ask him this in a compassionate (not angry or hurtful) way? If you can provide a safe place for him to open up to you (without lashing out or throwing up all over him), you may be surprised at what comes out. And it could be good for both of you.

  12. @Bobthemusicguy and @closertotheheart, thank you for your input. Maybe I’m being too hard on my husband. Maybe it’s completely natural for a man to be captivated by better women, but it just makes me so sad. I know you say they might not be better, but honestly, why would he risk hurting me so deeply if she weren’t worth far more to him than me?

    I know it sounds like I think I should be the only woman in the world to him, but that’s not so. I get that there are many more attractive women and he’s going to notice. But if he would just tell me what is so wrong with me that he never feels the need to look at me with admiration, I would try anything he asked to change into what he wants. I also wish he would do his best not to notice so obviously while I am standing right there.

    It’s funny you mentioned the picture in this post. I was going to mention it. Yes, the woman with the man might be attractive (to us) but she is obviously not good enough for him. You can tell by his face that he is enamored with the woman walking by. He is so attracted to the woman walking by that he has completely forgotten all about the woman at the table. He could care less if she notices or is hurt. The woman at the table has become ugly to him, and unworthy of his time. He hopes she gets upset and walks away so that he can pursue the much better woman walking past the table. He is upset to be out with the woman he is with. He feels like if he had just waited something better would have come along. He will tolerate the woman at the table, but for the rest of the night and who knows how long thereafter his thoughts and desires will be only for the woman he is looking at with love and admiration (the woman walking by). The woman at the table would be smart to realize he isn’t interested in her at all anymore. The picture makes that incredibly clear. If he ever claimed to love her it is obvious that he no longer even likes her, let alone loved her. He has moved on.

    I’m tired of feeling sad. I’m tired of feeling unworthy. I’m tired of not deserving to be loved. I’m tired of wasting my time lamenting about this. I’m mad that I allowed him to fool me into finally believing he did love me, only to get smacked down again so quickly. I think I finally believed he loved and was attracted to me for three weeks before he decided he was more interested in the woman at the play. I was a fool for believing in his love. What’s worse is he knew I feared his Love was untrue. He knew I knew I wasn’t good enough for him. He was so happy when I finally became a fool and believed he really did love me. When I finally believed him when he said he found me beautiful. And yet he chose to throw it all away for the thrill of dreaming about a better woman. And he did it in front of me to crush me on purpose. Now he’s trying to act like he cares. These things do not all work together!

    And so, Bob, you’re right. I need to focus on the fact that God loves me no matter what I look like. Even if I’m worthless to my husband, God created me and at least He loves me and I have to let that be enough. Thanks for listening.

    • @B “Maybe it’s completely natural for a man to be captivated by better women…”

      That is ALMOST right. It’s natural for a man to be captivated by women in general. A man doesn’t notice a woman because she looks better than his wife, he notices her because she is a woman. A man married to a “10” who is given to lust will happily lust after a woman who is a 5 or a 7. His lusting doesn’t mean he thinks the other women is better looking, and it certainly doesn’t mean he doesn’t love his wife. I’m not excusing lust, which is rude and wrong. However, lust is far simpler and means far less than you think.

      Beyond lust there is noticing, which is far less than lust. Like lust it is not about someone looking better, and it has nothing to do with a man’s love for his wife.

      I don’t know if your husband is lusting or just noticing. I do know that which ever it is it doesn’t mean what you have convinced yourself it means.

    • @B – I was talking with my wife this evening about your situation, and something occurred to me which might help. Earlier today I was reading a commentary about Romans chapters 7 and 8. The writer was discussing the phrase “there is no condemnation” and pointed out that there is not only no divine condemnation, but there should also be no self condemnation. This really struck home to me, because many times in my life, I have become my own worst enemy when I condemned myself, instead of accepting God’s forgiveness and His definition of who I am in Christ.

      Whoever said “sticks and stones, etc., but words can never hurt you” must never have had anything cruel said to them. Words are powerful, for good or ill. (Check out Paul’s recent post about how words matter,) Whatever your husband’s words or actions (or lack of words or actions) may be, you need to not use those words about yourself. Every time you say or write the words “better women” than yourself, you’re doing what my wife calls “believing Satan’s bad press” about yourself. Please try to eliminate those words from your vocabulary.

      I hope your marriage will be healed. I know God can do that, but His means and time are often hidden from us until He reveals them. In the meantime, maybe God is using this hurt to draw you to Himself, to show that His love is unfailing and unconditional, and that you are who He says you are. Do whatever God calls you to do to work on your marriage, lift up your husband and leave him in God’s hands, and above all, don’t accept “Satan’s bad press” about yourself.

      • Thank you @Bobthemusicguy. You’re probably correct, but it is a very hard habit to break. It is also hard not to believe that the other women ARE better. And selfishly, that’s part of what upsets me. I wish I were at least ON the list, or in the running, but I feel like I’m just not good enough.

        Plus I feel like we are trying to undo everything I was taught. Every time anything good ever happened to me and I felt good about it, I was told I was being conceited. I was told to keep in mind that even if I won the game, someone better would beat me next time. Even if I got a 100, it wasn’t good enough because guaranteed there was someone else who got a 100 on all the tests.

        I never really understood why it was okay for my friends to be happy when good things happened to them, but not okay for me. And sometimes my friends would get annoyed with me or think I was MORE of a snob for not being happy if I succeeded at something. A lot of mixed messages.

        In fact, even as an adult who teaches theatre, I wrote a mini musical. The teens loved it, the audience loved it, and it had the gospel in it. My mom kept telling me there was no way I wrote it. She would not believe it. She insists I had someone else do it and I just say I did it. It was fun while it lasted, but after hearing how there was no way it was my work about 100 times I gave up writing. I have more stories in my head, but I don’t have the emotional energy to follow through. It obviously wasn’t worth it.

        Even something as simple as keeping score at my sons ball games. My mom is sure I must be doing it wrong. The coaches seem pleased, but she insists I shouldn’t be doing it because there’s no way I can possibly know how. It’s very annoying being constantly reminded how inept you are (Although I do still keep score because it’s not rocket science and I actually enjoy it).

        And yet, it is constantly pointed out all of the amazing things my sister and my niece have accomplished. How beautiful they are, how intelligent, how wonderful. How petite and adorable. So my mom and my sister do see worthiness in people, just not me. My sister in law also constantly points out how “giant” I am (I’m 5’9”, she’s 5’1”) – what a “Big girl” I am with “man-sized” feet. She also always points out how old I am (which is weird cause she’s older). She even tells her 7 year old daughter to tease me about what an old lady I am. Anyhow, if it were just one of them, maybe I’d think they were just annoying, but they can’t all be wrong. So there must be some truth to the things they say.

        So as you can see, most women ARE better. And that’s okay. God made me this way and I need to learn to be content.

        I’m working on that. I’m finally realizing I MUST learn to be content that God made me who I am on purpose and I must learn to be content with His love, even if I never measure up according to other humans.

        • @B – Some people are so sure they are worthless that they only way they can feel good about themselves is to make others look bad. It sounds like you got a lot of that growing up. I realise they don’t look like they are down on themselves, but they are. They put on a good face and attack others. Because you’ve been a willing victim they gang up on you.

          The truth is they are wrong. They are wrong about themselves, and they are wrong about you. I doubt any of them will ever see the truth, but you have a chance. Reject the lies B, and find God’s truth about who you are.

  13. @B:
    “But if he would just tell me what is so wrong with me that he never feels the need to look at me with admiration, I would try anything he asked to change into what he wants. I also wish he would do his best not to notice so obviously while I am standing right there.”

    Have you asked him? If so, what was his response? If not, then, I alluded to this in my previous post. Try to get to a place where you can ask him these questions without coming off as accusatory. If he does not feel safe in responding honestly, you’ll just continue to get a self-preserving runaround.

    “Yes, the woman with the man might be attractive (to us) but she is obviously not good enough for him. You can tell by his face that he is enamored with the woman walking by. He is so attracted to the woman walking by that he has completely forgotten all about the woman at the table. He could care less if she notices or is hurt. The woman at the table has become ugly to him, and unworthy of his time. He hopes she gets upset and walks away so that he can pursue the much better woman walking past the table. He is upset to be out with the woman he is with. He feels like if he had just waited something better would have come along. He will tolerate the woman at the table, but for the rest of the night and who knows how long thereafter his thoughts and desires will be only for the woman he is looking at with love and admiration (the woman walking by). The woman at the table would be smart to realize he isn’t interested in her at all anymore. The picture makes that incredibly clear. If he ever claimed to love her it is obvious that he no longer even likes her, let alone loved her. He has moved on.”

    Wow, that is an incredible amount of detail you’ve read into this picture. Way more than you could ever justify, IMO. From my perspective, this is part of the issue – you’ve come to your own conclusion in your head without having a reasonable discussion with your husband in which he actually says any of the things you’ve judged him on. Granted, if your husband is regularly ogling women in front of you without even trying to hide it, he has a serious problem. But on the other hand, you’ve said that he appears to feel bad about it after the fact. That to me indicates he does have a problem beyond his control and he needs help and may not know how to get that help. You can’t come to your own conclusion about what that problem is and try and convict him on what you imagine he might be thinking. You both have to discuss it and he has to tell you his honest feelings.

    • @closertotheheart, I have asked him, about a zillion times, and he always says he doesn’t want me to change anything. All he says he wants is for me to “let him love me” and “believe he is attracted to me.” But I see where his eyes go, and it is never on me, or anyone who resembles me. He definitely has a type that I do not fit.

      I cannot do anything about my height. I keep my weight under control, but I do have a large frame. Even if I were to develop an eating disorder and drop a ton of weight, I would never be a size 2 or 4 based on the size of my skeleton alone. I’m just not a tiny person. I don’t have a weight issue, but I’d never be considered petite, or dainty, or feminine, even if I dropped down to 99 pounds.

      I have offered to dye my hair brown. I even did it once. He didn’t really like it. I bought a brunette wig, he got mad. I think he thinks I’m not attractive enough to be a beautiful brunette.

      I’ve offered to get butt implants. Again, he gets mad. He says he loves me the way I am. But that’s not true. He is very interested in the butts on better women. I don’t blame him. I cannot provide that view. And yes, I’ve tried every butt workout there is. My butt does not grow. It just will not no matter how hard I try.

      I’m okay up top, kind of blessed in that area, but I don’t think he even notices. He says he loves it, but he never looks at me, and he notices butts on other women far more that breasts. I’ve read 100 times online that most guys don’t care about breasts anymore, it’s all about the butt. Which I don’t have. Poor man.

      I’ve apologized to him that he’s stuck with me, but he gets annoyed. He says he’s not “stuck”.

      We went through a period of about 5 years where he was usually too “stressed” to have sex. Funny, he was never too “stressed” to notice a better woman that he was attracted to and felt desire for. He just couldn’t bring himself to feel desire for me. He says he absolutely did, but he never initiated anything. I initiated almost every encounter, and got rejected probably 60% of the time. Not a real good way to help your wife feel good about herself.

      Things got better for a bit, our intimate life finally inmproved. I guess he found a way to force himself to at least fake desire for me. So that’s a big part of why him noticing another woman in front of me and looking at her with such interest hurts so very badly. It’s an interest that I have never seen (Although he’d tell you I am crazy and he is more attracted to me now than ever) but I am telling you I see the way he looks at them and the way he never looks at me, and his eyes are more believable than his words.

      So to answer your question I’ve tried changing into what he wants, and it annoys him. I ask him what he wants me to change and he says nothing. He won’t even let me try to compete with these other ladies. He just doesn’t want me to be special to him, I guess. I’m actually very confused.

      But as I mentioned to Bob above, I’ve finally decided I NEED to learn to be content in God’s love and not give a hoot about anything else. So I’m going to try to learn how to do that.

  14. @B – it doesn’t sound like you are getting (or refusing to accept) that men can be captivated by all types of women. Both Paul and I have expressed that a man can be married to a “10” and still be tempted ogle a “5” (and succumb to that temptation). It sounds like he either never learned, or has stopped trying to control a natural tendency to ogle. There could be other relationship issues (completely unrelated to your physical appearance) that are contributing to this. What I mean is, there could be strain on other parts of the marriage that contribute to him feeling “hopeless” about it ever working out, and the hopelessness makes it harder for him to try to stop ogling.

    You are also judging him by your own standards. Just because you think that he wouldn’t ogle unless he weren’t in love or attracted to you does not make that fact. It DOES make it harder for you two to ever have hope of getting past this though. Here’s what I would ask him if I could:

    “I want you to understand that when I catch you ogling another woman, it hurts me a lot. You want me to let you love me and believe that you are attracted to me, but as often as I see you ogling other women, can you understand how this would make it hard for me to believe you? It seems almost like a compulsion–that you can’t help yourself. Can you try and help me understand what causes you to look at other women in front of me? I’d like us to be able to work through this together. Help me understand what you’re going through.”

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