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Wandering Eyes

Perfectly Normal Behavior or Insensitive Behavior?

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Photo: Michael Blann / Getty Images / Digital Vision Photo: Michael Blann / Getty Images / Digital Vision

When talking about the issue of wandering eyes, people have two general responses. People either think wandering eyes are nothing to be concerned about or they think wandering eyes hurt a marriage and are disrespectful.

Pros

  • Having a wandering eye is a normal behavior.
  • Looking at a beautiful person is as natural as breathing.
  • A person with wandering eyes is a normal individual who appreciates beauty.
  • There is no cause for concern about your spouse's wandering eyes if all that is involved is a quick glance and not an all out ogle, 30-second dress down, lascivious leering, or a lingering flirting stare.
Gail Saltz, M.D.: "First off, it is worth saying that humans all have some measure of voyeurism and exhibitionism: we like to look and we like to show ... Still, there is looking and there is LOOKING. Most people are not very bothered by the occasional glance. But blatantly checking out, commenting on, repeated admiring of and certainly flirting or touching usually feel quite undermining to a partner. Such behavior makes one feel unappreciated, and even threatened in the relationship. Unless both parties are confident of the others' affection, appearance, and fidelity it generally will stir envy and hurt."

Cons

  • Having a wandering eye is not only sinful, looking at other people is a sign of disrespect to your spouse, shows a lack of caring, and is insensitive behavior.
  • A wandering eye is offensive and can erode a marriage relationship.
  • Having wandering eyes is a first sign of cheating and a sign that a person is looking for another relationship.

What to Do If Your Spouse Has Wandering Eyes

  • Don't try to police your spouse's wandering eyes.
  • Accept that there will always be individuals who are sexier, prettier, more handsome, younger, etc. than you are.
  • Ask yourself why your spouse's wandering eyes bother you. Do you have self esteem issues? Are you jealous or possessive? Are you worried about your spouse being faithful to you? Are you insecure about your relationship? Is there a deeper issue going on in your marriage?
  • Remember that your spouse's wandering eyes is no reflection on your own attractiveness.
  • Acknowledge when a beautiful person comes into view.
  • If your spouse's wandering eyes create a problem in your marriage, discuss the issue with your spouse.
  • Gail Saltz, M.D.: "Make it clear: you don't expect them to wear blinders, or stare at the ground; just don't ogle. If your partner really won't make any effort to change and doesn't appear to care how it makes you feel, it's likely you have other such issues and couples therapy may be in order. Most important is to be rational and reasonable in your request. Being unreasonably jealous with unreasonable requests is likely to make your partner throw out the baby with the bathwater and pay you no heed."

Wandering Eyes Trivia

Peggy Trowbridge Filippone of Homecooking at About.com notes that in Haitian lore, basil "was used for centuries to keep wandering eyes at home. Wives with straying husbands powdered their breasts with this pulverized herb."

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