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Anti-Love Myth # 2: You Will Have Eyes Only for Me

Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson starts with some shock and dismay examples; goes on to examples of the ‘totally opposite’; then asks some intimate questions; gives intimate and surprising answers; discusses unnecessary breakups; and ends with ideas of what to do if this love myth is giving you trouble.

Examples of Shock and Dismay

Angela crashed into despair!  She just had discovered porn on her fiancé’s computer. Along with her shock and dismay her self-esteem was blown away by this revelation.  She was sure that if her man wanted to look at other women it must mean he did not really love her.  It also must mean her looks were insufficient and inadequate to hold her lover’s interest and keep him attracted.  She wondered how she could have been so gullible and naïve as to believe her fiancé when he told her he “ had eyes only for her”.

Bradford first became furious, then hurt and then confused after he found his new wife reading a trashy, super-sexual romance novel and sexually pleasuring herself.  He lamented that he had thought only he could get her ‘turned on’.  He wondered, was she secretly a ‘bad woman’ and not ‘good’ like he had thought?  Had she purposely deceived him?  Did she really not love him?  Had he married the wrong woman?  Previously Bradford was sure women were different from men, and a woman who loved him would “have eyes only for him”.

Caroline intimately revealed to Derek, her lover, that she wanted him to take her to a nudist beach because she wanted to see naked men and their “special parts” which “secretly fascinated” her.  Derek couldn’t handle it and broke up with her knowing that he had to have a woman that would “have eyes only for him” and his special parts.

Eleanor and Flynn got into big fights every time they went out in public because she repeatedly caught him secretly ogling other females.  Flynn explained he couldn’t help it and Eleanor accused him of being a sex addict, and not really loving her because if he did he would “have eyes only for her”.

Those Totally Opposite

Contrast the above situations with these.  Helen described feeling really intimately close and wonderfully naughty when her husband was able to tell her about his sex fantasies concerning other females.  She began pointing out sexy looking women in crowds and asking him what he imagined when he saw them.  Then he started doing the same with her which led to them rushing home to have all sorts of sexy times together.

Isaac bragged that he knew he really had a special wife when early in their marriage she got him  subscriptions to Playboy and Penthouse magazines, and they began looking at the sexy pictures together.  Later they got into Internet couples porn.  Isaac was sure that helped he and his wife be more emotionally close and intimate than many couples achieve.

Wanda advised her friends that in her opinion “a man who doesn’t look and lust at lots of different women isn’t a real man and, therefore, wasn’t worth having”.

Kevin explained that he discovered his wife was very sexual when she shared her orgy dreams with him.  Sometimes they role-played the orgy dreams, each acting like they were various other people, some of whom they actually knew.

Intimate Questions

How is it that one woman loses her self-confidence when her guy looks at other women, while another feels more intimately special and connected to her guy when he shares doing the same thing?  Why is it one guy gets angry when his wife enjoys looking at other men, while another guy gets turned on by that?  Why does one couple grow closer when they openly lust for others while another couple breaks up over this sort of thing?

Please note:  In this mini-love-lesson about a love myth we are discussing ‘looking’ and ‘sharing’, ‘not acting upon’ the lusty thoughts with someone outside the couple relationship.

Intimate And Surprising Answers

One answer to the above questions comes from the world of ‘positive psychology and psychotherapy’.  As people develop healthy self-love, self appreciation, self-esteem and self-confidence they come to trust their own attraction power more, and more.  Consequently, they are not much threatened with the fear of a lover being attracted away to someone else.  If it were to happen, their solid sense of being attractive and worthy helps them know they would tend to attract new, quality lovers, if they want to.

Some, more psycho-pathologically oriented, posit the ‘issue of projection’ to answer these questions.  Sometimes what we see in others is actually what is more true of ourselves. Fearing someone will be attracted away or cheat because of looks or other attraction issues may mean the one having the fear might do the same thing.  They project onto another what could be secretly true of themselves.

The social sciences offer another approach to answering these questions.  There is evidence suggesting it’s ‘all in the culture and family influences’ that get inside our heads as we grow up.  If you are brought up believing “my lover will have eyes only for me” you may be severely disappointed if it doesn’t work out that way.  If, however, your upbringing teaches you something like “looks do not determine love”, your lover looking with lust at others is likely not to mean so much to you.  Were you to be brought up in a culture that says “looking is part of the fun and to be shared with your love-mate” you probably would look forward to it.

We have the brain sciences to thank for providing the most recent answer to these types of questions.  Brain functioning evidence points to some very intriguing facts.  It seems that most men, and quite a few women, are neurologically ‘hardwired’ to enjoy looking at a variety of sexy appearing and acting people whenever they can.  That has nothing to do with love or commitment.  It’s just a natural, automatic, neurologically-caused phenomenon.  Apparently more women than men are auditorily or tactically, sexually stimulated, so for them the sounds of voices, the spoken word and various kinds of touch will be noticed more than good looks.

Unnecessary Breakups

Sadly a lot of relationships breakup over the “you look at others” issue.  It appears that highly, visually-oriented people will look at others they find attractive, no matter what.  It seems it’s just in their nature to do so.  By itself this behavior is not a threat to a relationship.  What is a threat is the interpretation that ‘looking’ behavior gets.  If the interpreter is insecure about their own attraction power, the interpretation is likely to be negative and fear-based.  That, in turn, probably will cause relationship difficulties.  With more self security and ‘owning’ one’s okayness, things usually get better.  If the person doing the looking tries to hide it, lies about it, promises not to do it again but does, things in the relationship are likely to get worse.

What to Do

If you are upset because your love-mate ‘looks’ at others, maybe it’s you and your relationship that needs some help.  So get some!   If your love-mate has trouble because you are ‘looking’ and that’s leading to relationship difficulties, be kind and loving about your love-mate’s possible insecurity.  Then go get some help.  We can de-program and re-program and get past this sort of love myth problem, and usually it’s faster with good help.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question If you have a ‘looking’ issue, what is your attitude about getting the coaching help that can come with relationship counseling?

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