Men in Relationships: Is It Normal to Look at Other Women?

Man gawking at another woman

Man gawking at another woman |

It’s a common problem in relationships: A man staring longingly at another attractive woman while in the presence of his partner. Depending on how it’s done, it can be hurtful and possibly lead to a relationship-ending argument. It tends to happen a lot in relationships, but is it normal? Should you just accept this behavior and reason guys will be guys?

According to Patrick Kenger, a male image consultant for Pivot Male Image Consulting, a man should aim to make his partner feel valued. Although it’s not abnormal for a man in a committed relationship to notice another woman, it’s unacceptable for him to do it in a way that makes his lady feel bad about herself. “A gentleman never lets his woman feel inferior based upon their surroundings,” Kenger said. “If you [a guy] are with your girl, be present with your girl. Even if you quickly notice another attractive woman, show that you are a creature of higher cognition by avoiding eye contact with attractive strangers in exchange for romantic, locked eye contact with your partner. She will notice and you will be rewarded.”

The Cheat Sheet reached out to Joshua Klapow, PhD, a clinical psychologist and host of The Web on Cumulus WZRR 99.5 FM, for more insight concerning men and relationships. Here’s what he had to say.


woman in a black dress

woman in a black dress |

The Cheat Sheet: Is it normal and expected for men to look at other women even if they’re in a committed relationship?

Joshua Klapow: We are all attracted to other humans; that is completely normal. Noticing someone, noticing someone is attractive, and making a mental note is normal. However, it is not OK for men to stare, gawk, or let eyes wander for prolonged periods of time if they are in a committed relationship.  The noticing is normal, the rest is merely a sign of disrespect to their partner and potentially to the woman they are looking at.

The whole notion that men can’t control their attraction, or that they can’t control their behavior around other women because they are men is complete BS. Men can be attracted, can notice, and can remind themselves of the pleasure they get out of their committed relationship. Men can also choose not to be in a committed relationship, and then are free to look as much as they like. No grey areas here. No excuses.

CS: What advice would you give to the partner of a man who feels bad whenever their boyfriend or spouse is looking at another woman?

JK: Do not tolerate it. Let him know you see it, it is hurtful and disrespectful, and you do not appreciate it.  The more you allow it to happen, the more you give him the permission to do it. It should not be sugar-coated, and he should not protest. If he does, if he has excuses, then he’s telling you how he really feels about you. Think about the absurdity of it. If he cares about you, he should not be staring at other women.


Couple talking

Young couple talking |

CS: What advice would you give to men on being respectful about looking at another woman?

JK: Notice, appreciate, and move on. If you can’t or won’t, get out of the committed relationship.

CS: When is it not OK to look at other women?

JK: It is always OK to notice an attractive woman. But if you are in a committed relationship, it is never OK to do more than that. Moreover, my word of advice to men is that women don’t always find staring a compliment. If she is hot and you are committed to someone else, move on. If you are not and she is hot, notice and then approach in a polite, respectful manner. You are more likely to score than if you gawk, stare, and communicate a lack of respect.

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