I'd greatly appreciate any insight you would share about my question:
How do I respond when the guy I am with is flirting and/or staring at other women when we are in situations such as dinner with just the two of us in a restaurant? I see it as a red flag and dismiss the potential for a relationship with men who do this at any relationship stage, and try to accept that they are just not interested enough in me by displaying such disrespect. How do I conduct myself with dignity when this happens? In such situations, I never confronted them about it, I just stopped looking at them, tried to get the meal to end rapidly, and distanced myself by pretty much ignoring them afterwards. Please let me know what I can specifically say or do to address the disrespect I feel when placed in that situation, to potentially give the relationship a chance, depending on how the man conducts himself afterwards. Thank you so much.
- First, recognize that men are always going to be attracted to other women and will look at them, whether or not you see them doing it. The real problem (in most instances) is not his sexual interest in other women, but his lack of discretion and his carelessness about your feelings or reputation.
- Realize that your leverage over the situation depends on how serious your relationship with the guy is. If it is just a date with someone new, there is nothing you can or should do about it other than suffer through it and let it influence your decision to accept or reject him the next time he asks you out. If he is a boyfriend or spouse, however, you have the right to demand that he stops (see below).
- Realize that you have a right to a man's attention when he has chosen to be with you. He shouldn't be letting his eyes wander or flirt with other girls when he is with you. If it happens occasionally, by accident, fine; but if he isn't attracted to you enough to keep his eyes in one place, he should break up with you. He is a coward if he does not.
- Very few men look at other women without any regard for the girl they are with. Usually, this is what happens: an incredibly attractive women walks by, and the guy you are with slips up. Despite his efforts to resist, he looks, taking the risk that you might see him. Although I don't think women can completely understand the temptation of visual stimuli for men, his temptation to look is similar to your temptation to bend the rules on your diet once in a while - it is hard to resist.
- Flirting takes greater intention, is much easier for a man to resist, and should therefore be treated with greater severity.
- Your first move should be to point it out to him: "You realize that I see you checking out all these girls right? Do you know how that makes me feel?" This should be a rhetorical question, but if he answers "no," tell him honestly how you feel.
- If that doesn't stop him (which it probably won't, but at least he will be primed for this next step), you should make a demand: "Look, [his name], it makes me look bad when you are checking out every girl that walks by, and it doesn't do anything for my self-esteem either. You need to stop." Again, I am assuming you are in a relationship with the guy in question here, which gives you the leverage to make a demand like this.
- That might have an effect. If it continues further, tell him the same thing again, but add "...if you don't like me enough to keep your eyes off other women, at least have the balls to break up with me and go chase them like a real man. Don't just stare at them from the safety of a relationship that you clearly don't want." That should get his attention.
- If at that point he still doesn't stop, break up with him. End of story. You don't deserve a man who constantly reminds you of your inadequacies, or, more importantly, one who disregards your feelings when you openly tell him they are being hurt.