DEAR CAROLYN: After two years of dating and now nearly two years of living together, my boyfriend can’t seem to stop ogling women. Almost from the beginning, he has taken to giving women in his line of vision a good up and down look – sometimes in the middle of our conversations. He thinks it’s jealousy that makes me so upset when watching him in ogle mode. But it has occurred so often that I feel disrespected, and I’ve told him so. He says he loves me, but with this continued ogling, I’m questioning if he cares for me.
What’s a woman to do with a man who likes to look so much?
Sad in Chicago
DEAR SAD: You take him – as-is – or leave him, that’s what. You’ve got four years of experience with him to tell you whether he is a good person, whether you suit each other and whether he treats you well overall, so make up your mind.
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We don’t have license to correct, correct, correct people who aren’t behaving exactly as we think they should. I also suggest you read this:
DEAR CAROLYN: My girlfriend forwarded me the question she sent to you, and I would like to add my perspective to hers.
Girlfriend monitors me continuously when we’re in public together. If I chat with a female at a party, even at church, she likely will get upset. I’ve learned to become a student of my shoes! Once at a baseball game, there was a young woman sitting next to her. To ensure that she wouldn’t think I was ogling, I made sure that at no point did I ever so much as glance at the woman. But sure enough, around the seventh inning, she thought I was glancing at the woman – I wasn’t – and abruptly left the game.
I love her totally, and generally she tells me she feels the same about me. Help!
DEAR A.: She said, he said, I say: One of you has to be right. Right?
If your account is accurate, then she’s calling you rude, inappropriate, a dog, even though you’ve policed your gaze so severely to protect her feelings that you’re at risk of walking into a pole. If her account is accurate, then you’re a creep.
And that means I can’t figure out why either of you has stuck with the other. She is sure. You are sure. And what you’re both sure of is bad.
You, Ms. Sad, will have to trust that you are enough, not just for this man or any other, but for yourself, so that you don’t see every purse or ponytail as an existential threat.
And you, Mr. A., need to trust that if your heart is true, then you don’t have to prove and reprove yourself to anyone.