Why do men look at other women? It’s a question plaguing countless women.
I understand how hurtful it can be. You’re out with your guy, you’re having a nice time, and suddenly you notice his attention has shifted. You look around and see his eyes are fixed on a gorgeous girl walking nearby. And with that, the entire mood shifts.
You suddenly feel unattractive and low. You’re no longer having an enjoyable time with him, you just want to ring his neck. You may tell him outright that you’re upset, or you may go the passive-aggressive route and insist nothing is wrong when clearly something is. And with that, the evening takes a swift turn downhill.
So is he just a big jerk who can’t control himself? Is he a sex-crazed deviant? Or maybe you’re just not hot enough for him, is that it?
No. None of these are the case.
Here is the truth about why men look at other women:
Take The Quiz: Is He Losing Interest?
Why Do We Look?
Honestly, it’s more of a reflex than anything else. There isn’t much thought that goes into it. We’re not looking at some other girl thinking, “Man, I wish my girl looked like that.” We’re not really thinking anything, we’re just reacting and it’s really not much more sinister than that.
We’re more visual. It starts when we hit puberty and basically never stops. There’s something exciting about seeing an attractive new face… or attractive new body, something we haven’t seen before. In fact, science proves that men prefer novelty while women prefer familiarity. That means women are attracted to faces they’ve seen before while men are most attracted to faces they’ve never seen before. All it takes is seeing that face again for his interest to drop, so the girl he’s checking out right now won’t ever be as appealing as she is right now.
We didn’t choose our sexuality. At age 12 or 13 no one sat us down and asked, “Hey, what do you want your turn-ons to be? How do you want to respond sexually?”
These things are biologically programmed into us the same way chickens are programmed to freak out if they see a shadow of a hawk (even if they or their parents or their parent’s parents never saw a hawk in their life).
A man’s biologically programmed sex responses are deliberately triggered by advertisers every day. Our society has been unnaturally sexualized and sexual imagery (which exploits a biological response) is everywhere today, used and exploited by every one of the world’s largest corporations to sell products. Men love women and they love sex, but men didn’t ask to be in a world that exploits their biology at every opportunity for corporate profit.
That’s not to say that men are without responsibility (we’ll get to that), but it makes sense to point out where men didn’t have a choice in the circumstances into which they’re expected to live.
Take a situation of a guy is trying to pick a fight with another guy. Sure, he might want to hit him… and there might be a biological underpinning for why he wants to hit him … but that doesn’t excuse him if he actually gives into that urge and hits the guy! Same goes for this. At the bottom of this article, I’ll talk about where it makes sense to cut him some slack and where to draw the line.
In terms of how you respond to him looking at another woman…
What You Should Do
Here are a few things not to do.
- Don’t react impulsively. Your knee-jerk reaction is probably the wrong way to handle this. Yelling at him or berating him won’t do anything and will just make things worse.
- Don’t dress extra sexy to keep his eyes on you. If you want to up your sex appeal, then by all means! Just don’t do it in an attempt to keep him from ever looking at another woman, because like I said… men love novelty.
- Practice acceptance. In a relationship, it’s OK to give people to have space to have the reaction they’re having to something… especially if it’s biologically based.
Examine Why It’s Making You Upset
Women react in different ways when their guy looks at other women.
Some don’t care that much, others find it egregiously offensive and fall into a pit of despair. It’s not the action itself that’s the problem, it’s your perception of it and the meaning you attach to it.
If you can understand that it’s a man’s nature to look, it won’t bother you so much. If you take it personally and think he no longer finds you attractive and you create a whole narrative about how you’re unworthy of him, then yeah, you’ll feel really terrible anytime he glances in another woman’s direction.
This can also happen if you’re insecure in the relationship or you don’t trust him. If this is the case, you need to examine why that is. Has he done things to break your trust? Or, has your trust already been broken in the past and you’re carrying that into this new relationship?
Before you say anything to him, it’s important to get clear on exactly how you feel and why you feel that way.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is he just looking, or is he doing something that is clearly disrespectful (like full on staring with drool pooling out of his mouth, or taking it a step farther and flirting with other women right in front of you or behind your back)?
- Is this the only issue you have in the relationship or is something else going on?
- How do you feel about yourself? Do you feel good about yourself and your appearance, or do you feel insecure and rely on him to give you validation?
How to Deal
Work on yourself
First, if you have thought about it and realized that the problem is really your own insecurities, it’s essential that you get a handle on it and work on yourself. He can’t repair your broken self-esteem, only you can do that. If you don’t feel good about yourself, then find ways to fix that!
If you don’t like your body, spend more time at the gym or commit to a healthier lifestyle. If you don’t like how you look, try changing your style. Try a new haircut or different makeup or a different way of dressing. Keep experimenting until you find something that makes you feel really great about yourself.
MORE: 3 Reasons People Cheat
Talk to him
If you already feel good about yourself, but him looking at other women is still really troubling to you, then talk to him about it. However, be mindful of how you approach the subject. Don’t shame him for the behavior, chances are he didn’t even realize he was doing anything wrong and has no idea what kind of effect it’s having on you.
Calling him a pig or a jerk won’t help anything here and will only make the problem worse. You should also avoid blaming him for “making you” feel this way. Take responsibility for how you feel and explain where you’re coming from in an open and honest way.
Above all, try to accept that this isn’t personal and it doesn’t mean he’s bored with you and he wants to cheat. It doesn’t mean he finds you unattractive and wishes you looked different. This is just how the male brain is wired and it’s very hard to go completely against your nature.
There is a biological component to this that he didn’t choose and he can’t always control. So accepting and loving a man is accepting that biological truth of how a man’s designed. I don’t want to sound rude, but when women have their monthly cycle and their hormones fly off the charts, I understand that she might be really uncomfortable and lash out, say things she doesn’t mean, be in a bad mood, etc. I understand that she didn’t choose the biological realities of being female and her hormone shifts are supposed to be there. They’re put there by nature.
So just like I wouldn’t blame a woman for being moody on her period, I wouldn’t blame a guy for looking at another pretty woman as she passes by… or thinking a woman in a movie is hot… or being unable to smile if a pretty girl smiles at him…
Can he tone it down? Sure. And if you bring it up to him in a kind and loving way I’m sure he’ll be more conscious of it and will try his best to not to look, but the chances of him never, ever looking at another woman again are pretty low so you will have to come to terms with it on some level unless you want to feel chronically upset in your relationship.
Know your limits
Know yourself and know your boundaries. Here’s where I draw my line: it’s totally OK for someone to have a natural, biological response to something biologically programmed. The question is: do they feed into it? Does the guy who wants to hit the guy actually hit the guy? Does the guy who looks at a pretty woman passing by actually try to pick up that woman? Did he acknowledge that a woman is pretty or is the guy actually going on and on about how hot some other woman is? Does he smile back when a pretty woman smiles at him, or is this guy actually trying to pick up women on Facebook, sliding into the DMs of as many women as he can, etc.?
It’s easy and fair to forgive biological responses… it’s when a person is feeding into it and deliberately pursuing other women that it crosses a line.
I hope this article helped you better understand why men look at other women. The fact is, it’s also very possible that your relationship has his that inevitable point where he may start to be losing interest and he may start pulling away as a result. If you’ve noticed that he seems less engaged, less excited by you, less “in” the relationship, then read this: If He’s Pulling Away, Do This...
Another issue that can arise is when a man starts to wonder: Is this the woman I want to spend my life with? (And all men will ask themselves this question). Do you know what inspires a man to commit? Do you know what makes him see you as a long-term partner? If not, read this next: The #1 Things Men Desire in a Woman
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