Wandering eye worrying wife
By Annie Lane
Dear Annie: I would love to hear your comments on my situation. My husband, “Craig,” is an attentive, considerate and truly loving partner. The one quality that causes me to lose sleep is this: He is in his late 70s, yet he enjoys the attention of young women, ranging in age from their 20s to their 60s. When he and I spend time alone, we get along very well. However, almost every time we are in public, if he sees an attractive woman, his eyes rest on her with obvious interest. Then he may look for an excuse to pass near her or somehow engage her in lighthearted conversation.
Recently, we were on a train. On his way back from the washroom, when the train swayed a bit, he accidentally (or on purpose) lost his balance and heavily leaned on the table of the foursome across the aisle — high school or early college-aged ladies, and apologized.
Did he want their attention?
Last evening, we went to a lovely restaurant for dinner. Craig commented on the long red hair of a young woman whose back he was facing. Craig and I continued to enjoy our dinner together. Then Craig excused himself to go to the washroom. On his way back, he went out of his way to go toward the table of the redheaded young lady, pretending to check out her meal selection, until he caught my eye. He then returned to our table.
It is similar with my friends. They love his attention. He is charming and smart, qualities I love about him, too. He is flattered that they respond to his attention, and they in turn show that they are flattered by his attention to them. They’re so happy to “bond” with him.
Perhaps I am digressing, but I feel this next incident is linked. Last year, Craig was out of town on business. As he was planning his trip, he had mentioned to me, that, unfortunately, he had two days in between assignments that were unscheduled. He was worried he’d be bored. The next thing I knew, he had let a young colleague from a nearby town know that he had a couple of free days, and she joined him, and they spent those two days touring together.
I can understand Craig being friendly with my friends, but I feel he encourages a friendship beyond what I am comfortable with. As I have mentioned the inappropriateness of his staring at women when I am with him, he has definitely tried to curb it. But with the train incident (I said nothing because I was sure he would insist he lost his balance), the restaurant incident, which was rather obvious (he later admitted being curious about how she looked), and the two days shared with his vivacious colleague, I feel a bit humiliated.
As a result, I avoid making plans with friends as couples, and do so on my own. I very much look forward to your comments. Thank you kindly. — Aggravated
Dear Aggravated: Jealousy might be a green-eyed monster, but you are entitled to feel it right now. It’s one thing to admire an attractive woman, or man, for that matter, but it is quite another for your husband to undress them with his eyes. Furthermore, and perhaps the most concerning part of your letter, is that he invited another woman on a trip with him. That woman should be you, and you need to make that very clear to him. I’m not sure if it’s his own insecurity or if he is being a scoundrel, but regardless of the cause, you deserve better.
He needs to shape up and stop ogling other women or he is going to be shipped out to another house; yes, even in his late 70s. Don’t rule out talking this over as a couple with a professional counselor.