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Friday, October 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Carolyn Hax: Handling ogling mate takes conviction

Washington Post

Hi, Carolyn: My husband and I have been married for 35 years and get along well. He is very affectionate and complimentary to me, but practically goes into a trance if he sees an attractive woman – even stopping in mid-conversation.

I’ve told him it bothers me, but he continues.

I can’t tell if he’s doing it more or I have just begun to notice. How should I handle this? – Bugged in MI

It’s hard to pull off without conviction, but the couples least dogged by this problem are willing to acknowledge, openly, mutually, and with good cheer, that they still have eyes, no matter how married they are:

Husband: … trails off mid-sentence.

Wife: “Yes, she’s lovely/hot/your type. You were saying?”

Like I said, it takes conviction.

It’s not all on you, though, to be the cool and collected mate. A gawker has an equal responsibility not to be rude – to you or the object of his amorous catatonia – and to show unequivocally that you remain the sole object of his affection. You do suggest you have that.

You also suggest, though, that this behavior may not be new. If it turns out you’re just waking up to a long history of disrespectful treatment, then that’s a bigger issue demanding bigger remedies, starting with careful thought and possibly good counsel(ing).

If this behavior is a marked change in his personality, and especially if he starts ignoring other societal norms, then please get him in for a full physical. Standard procedure for any major behavioral shift.

E-mail Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, or chat with her online at 9 a.m. noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washington post.com.
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