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My husband flirts with other women

Dear Dr. Ellen,
I am sad and angry at the same time. My husband is constantly looking at pictures of unclothed women in magazines and wherever we go he flirts with other women. If we are at a party he ignores me and spends the whole evening talking to a pretty woman. If we are in a restaurant he flirts with the waitress or someone sitting at another table. We are only married for a year and he didn't do that when we were dating. It seemed then that he only had eyes for me and no one else existed. I find it very hard to make love to him because I feel so awful. He brushes my hurt feelings off as silly and tells me all men are like that. What can I do to convince him that my feelings count?
- Gina

Dear Gina,
Most men enjoy looking at beautiful women. However, once a man falls in love and gets married, he has more than himself to consider. My definition of true love is, "When someone else's happiness and well-being is just as important as your own." The fact that you have told him how unhappy his behavior makes you feel, means that he either doesn't take you seriously or he doesn't care. I can't help you if he doesn't care but I can help you learn how to show him that you are serious. Make one more attempt to sit him down and tell him how deeply hurt you are when he looks at other women in a magazine or flirts with other women. Ask him how he would like it if you stared flirting and looking at other men? If he lies and says it wouldn't bother him, then you really have to question this marriage.

The other thing that I want you to do in that same conversation is to tell him that the next time he stares at another woman when he is with you, you will leave immediately. Your job is to follow through. If you are at a restaurant, do not say a word, just get up and call a cab and go home. If you are at a party, ask someone if they could give you a ride home or call a cab. You have to act immediately with no more explanations. You have already told him what you would do, so in order for him to take you seriously, you have to follow through. It is the only way his behavior will change. You do not want to turn into a nag.

The truth is that if he continues this behavior, you will turn into an angry, cold, bitter and unresponsive woman. A mature and loving man knows that he has to sacrifice certain things for the sake of a marriage. When you become parents, there are even more sacrifices for the sake of the children. You may want to "party" till 4:00 a.m. but, if you are a responsible and loving parent, you know that your child needs you to be alert the next day, so you don't! If looking at women in magazines and flirting with strangers hurts your partner, then you simply control your impulse and do not do it! By the way, you can't stop him from looking at other women when he is not with you, but out of love and respect, he can and should not do that when he is with you. As for the pictures, if he truly cares about your happiness, then he will get rid of them as well.
- Dr. Ellen




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