What Does It Mean When Your Boyfriend Finds Other Women Attractive?

Relationships can be hard. One of the reasons for this is that there aren’t always black-and-white answers for your partner’s behavior. When he checks out other women, for example, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he’d rather be going home with them or that he’s not feeling your relationship anymore. It could be a variety of other things that are going on, and just to add to your confusion, some are totally benign and nothing to worry about. Here’s what’s up with a guy who’s coupled up but still finds other women attractive.

  1. He thinks it’s no big deal. Maybe he thinks that you should have a totally open and transparent relationship. If you think a certain guy is hot, he wants to know. Likewise, when he sees an attractive woman, he wants to share it with you. He might think it’s interesting for you to talk about these types of things to strengthen your bond. It can also be thought of as a way of breaking down the fear of any threat. If a guy really wanted to hook up with another woman, chances are he wouldn’t be drawing attention to her.
  2. He finds other women attractive, period. He’s in a relationship, but that doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate the beauty around him. He might not actually tell you that the brunette in the catsuit who’s just walked into the restaurant is hot as hell, but the way he’s looking at her tells you everything you need to know. It doesn’t have to be a problem. Of course it hurts in that moment, but it doesn’t mean anything other than that he finds her attraction.
  3. He’s not really looking at her. While you might think that he’s looking at an attractive woman in public, he might not even be really looking at her. She might have been walking past just as he was letting his mind wander. This can happen, so don’t immediately jump to the worst-case scenario that’s being fed to you by your insecurity, such as that he finds her more attractive than you.
  4. He’s doing the equivalent of looking at celebs. When a shirtless Brad Pitt appears on the TV screen during a movie, chances are you look. Even if your boyfriend is in the room. Maybe you try to look away quickly in case your boyfreind notices. How is looking at a hot celebrity different from looking at someone attractive in real life? It doesn’t mean you’d cheat on your partner by having a long look at someone who’s attractive.
  5. He’s being disrespectful. Now, there are times when a guy who’s checking out another woman can feel like a red flag, like if you’ve just made your relationship official and he’s practically ogling other women to the point where you feel like you’ve disappeared ’cause he’s so focused on women around you. Or he’s going to drool into your cappuccino. If a guy’s looking at another woman in a way that feels disrespectful to you, you’ll see how he’s got lust and desire in his eyes. This is more than an innocent look.
  6. He’s getting ready to cheat. If he’s telling you how beautiful his co-worker’s eyes or, or singing the praises of a friend you’d assumed was platonic, that’s taking the whole “finding other women attractive” discussion to another level of disrespect. If your boyfriend does this kind of thing, I’d seriously worry that he’s getting ready to leave or betray you.
  7. He’s keeping things casual with you. Sometimes, if a guy’s always checking out other women when you’re together, it might be that he’s curious about other women or looking for his next date. The thing is, if this is the case you’ll probably be noticing other signs that he’s keen to open up his dating playing field, like if he’s not prioritizing your relationship or runs from any talk about commitment.
  8. He likes something about her. He might not want to sleep with a woman he’s looking at, but maybe he just finds something about her interesting. You can’t assume that he wants to bed every woman who walks past that catches his eye or that he has cheating tendencies across the board. Maybe her graphic tee or tattoo caught his eye.
  9. He’s curious about a scene. If a woman who happens to be attractive is involved in a scene in public, like a heated argument or disorderly drunk behavior, your boyfriend might be looking in her direction to see what’s going on. It doesn’t mean he finds her attractive.
  10. He’s attracted to novelty. One recent study found that there are differences in how men and women feel attracted to people. Men are attracted to novelty, while women are attracted to familiarity. So, when he checks out a woman who looks nothing like you, this is just because she represents something different from what he’s got at home. It doesn’t, however, mean that he wants to be with her instead.

Your boyfriend finds other women attractive: What now?

Even if your boyfriend’s habit of looking at other women when you’re around might be innocent on his part, it’s not something you should ignore if it upsets you. Here are some tips to help you deal with it.

  1. Be honest with him. Tell him that it makes you feel uncomfortable. You could tell him that when he looks at other women, it makes you feel anxious/upset/irritated. Explain that it makes you feel invisible around him or like he’s not interested in you anymore. You can also follow these tips to get him to open up so you can understand where he’s coming from.
  2. Speak calmly. Avoid getting angry or expressing a lot of jealousy when confronting your boyfriend about how his behavior hurts you. This will help you to get your message across clearly without seeming like you’re making a big deal out of it. He’ll also be more likely to listen to you and change his behavior if you’re not shouting at him like he’s a little kid.
  3. Set some boundaries. If you want to ask your boyfriend to stop looking at other women when he’s with you, this could help you to feel better. It sets boundaries around your relationship, sort of like when you ask your boyfriend not to use his phone so much when you’re supposed to be having a date night. However, bear in mind that asking him not to look at other women when you’re around doesn’t guarantee he’ll stop altogether. He might still do this when he’s alone, but you can’t control that.
  4. Focus on deeper issues. Is the real issue that he’s looking at other attractive women, or is there something else at play? Maybe you don’t feel you can trust him, or you’re dealing with insecurities in the relationship because of other reasons and his behavior is intensifying those feelings. It’s crucial to dig deeper into this issue and really pick apart what about it bothers you so much. This will help you work through any feelings, and will improve how you can communicate to him about it.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.