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Why can’t I look at beautiful women?


Dear Arie:

Looking at Magazines Is Not the Issue

I've addressed my opinions on pornographic magazines in previous responses, so I won't address that here. My views haven't changed and I personally see nothing wrong with looking at magazines. But honestly, MY opinion and feelings on that matter aren't really the point here.

You Can't Change How She Views Things

Survivor Yes, she will never understand because it's a woman thing.

Just as your girlfriend cannot convince you that you are wrong, neither can you convince her that she is wrong. Therein lies the first of your decisions. Your girlfriend's issues with the magazines or the web-sites exist as they are, and they are not likely to change any time soon. People tend to have very defined views on what they think of pornography, and I see that you and your girlfriend are at opposite ends of the spectrum. I'm not sure that there is really anything you could do that would help her see this in a different light because ultimately this is something about her, not you.

Withholding Sex or Love from a Partner Destroys Trust

Given that, you may have to decide if that's something you can live with. And while you are considering this, you might want to consider if staying with a woman who will withhold sex to get her way is really your best option. Sex is to a guy like love is to a woman - and when either one of them are withheld in a relationship to "get what you want" - it's an immediate track to losing trust in your relationship.

Is the Relationship Worth It?

If this relationship is worth the effort to you (and it must be worth something, or you wouldn't be writing to the Panel about it), then you should try and look at this from her perspective instead of your own. There is absolutely no way that you can tell your girlfriend that the way she feels is wrong and she needs to accept it.

Respect Her Feelings

By doing that, you are completely invalidating a part of her because to HER, it is wrong. You may understand why YOU look at beautiful women, you may see it in an entirely different light...but it might be a devastating hurt to her. You should try to respect her feelings about it, even if they aren't the same as your own.

My Friend's Low Self-Worth

I have a friend who found Playboy magazines in her husband's closet; he would look at beautiful women who walked by, and these actions so offended and hurt her, that she separated from him and almost divorced him. With her, it was an underlying issue (as I assume it is with your girlfriend) about her own self-worth. She already had a belief inside of herself that she wasn't good enough. It existed already, as I would imagine it does with your girlfriend.

When her husband looked at other women or enjoyed the perfectly airbrushed bodies in the magazines, it only furthered her deep-seated belief that she wasn't attractive.

It wouldn't have mattered what he said to her because the issue was (and still is) within herself.

The Seeds Will Grow

If you plant a tree and continue to give it water, it's going to grow. Her low self-belief in her own personal beauty was planted inside of her, and with every picture that her husband looked at, it grew larger.

Reader Emily Absolutely not! Her husband is contributing to, and worsening, the negative images about women which made her insecure in the first place.

The underlying issue was hers to deal with, and his actions became what she reacted to instead.

It's Hurting Her

The plain and simple truth is that this is hurting your girlfriend. WHY it hurts her is only a part of the issue and perhaps the two of you can dig a little deeper to figure that one out. The fact that it does hurt her is the part you two should deal with together.

Charlie Part of the confusion is that we are not making a distinction between looking at women and needing porno. They are NOT the same thing.

It feels demeaning, it feels hurtful and painful to her to know that you look at other women, and that you look at magazines. She feels inadequate, she feels unloved, it certainly doesn't help her feel like the most amazing and beautiful woman on earth. Though she may listen to you say that you love her above all women and that looking at the magazines is a "male" response - what she will be hearing and feeling is something entirely different.

Show, Not Tell

She may be reacting to your actions, because your actions are intensifying something she believes about herself. You asked what you could say to get her to understand your point of view. I don't think there is anything you can say to her to change her feelings. There is nothing wrong with how she feels - it becomes an issue when the two of you step on opposite sides of the battles lines and THAT becomes the issue, that she isn't worth enough for you to let go of the magazines. The battle itself is adding some more water and growing her feelings. You can only show her that you love her, that you desire her, that you respect her.

JeannieYou Might Have Bigger Problems Than Magazines

The decision becomes yours; if letting go of the magazines is the right way to do that, and if that is something you can choose to live with. Ultimately, it probably isn't about the magazines for you either - if they are THAT important to you, you might have bigger problems to deal with. :)

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