The Wandering Eye
Without fail, it makes its way into every relationship at some point. The kind of wandering eye I’ll be referring to is from someone else looking at your significant other. Discussing a wandering eye from within the relationship would take countless articles, discussions, and slaps over the head, so we won’t get into that just yet.
Whether it’s from a stranger, a coworker, or even a friend, at some point, you and your significant other have probably experienced this. You know how it goes. You catch a guy looking at her for one second too long. She thinks the waitress is flirting with you (Note: It doesn’t help that men tend to flirt with waitresses, and “I’m sweet enough already” is not the correct answer to, “Are you interested in dessert?”!). Usually, it’s nothing more than a swift glance or a flirty giggle, but once you’ve continued walking or paid the check, the eye wanderer is never seen again. Crisis averted.
Sometimes, however, it isn’t so simple. I recently moved out of state to begin a new job and live closer to my boyfriend of more than three years, B. We were in a long distance relationship for about nine months, and, apparently, during this time, an eye had wandered in his direction. After I moved here, I came to find out that a mutual friend had developed a crush on B and had discussed these feeling…with everyone but him—typical female. From what I was told, she talked about it more than she acted on it, and her friends had been the roots of encouragement, telling her how “cute” they would be together, if only I was out of the picture—ouch (I know you guys don’t understand this, but “stupid girl stuff” never stops.) Regardless, B and I have a strong relationship, built on the foundation of trust (and breakfast for dinner…we eat a lot of breakfast for dinner), that he never treated her as anything more than a friend. In fact, in typical male fashion, he had absolutely no idea what was going on. Totally oblivious.
Although a seemingly innocent crush, it’s been enough to make me feel uncomfortable. B and I have had our fair share of talks about this, usually beginning with me saying, “I know I said I wouldn’t bring this up again, but…”, followed by an eye roll from him, and ending with me promising to never bring it up again. Wait 24 hours, and repeat.
I’ve finally accepted the crush for what it is. After all, a crush is just a crush. We’ve all had them. These things happen. The biggest issue is what it’s done for B’s ego. When he found out that her friends had said they’d be cute together, he responded, “I’m so good looking, who wouldn’t be cute with me?” Obviously, the statement was followed by a dramatic hair flip (with the little bit of hair he has) and a smirk that lasted the rest of the day.
B dealt with this dilemma with charisma (inflated ego aside) and patience. Unfortunately, as in the case of a mutual friend, sometimes this type of wandering eye is unavoidable. Whether it’s from a friend or a coworker, you may have to see this person on a regular basis, which brings me to my next point:
5 Ways for Dealing with an Wandering Eye…That Isn’t Yours:
- It’s important to recognize and be aware of the situation, especially if this is an individual that you will see on a regular basis. These things are going to happen. You can’t control the feelings or attractions of someone else, but you can control your own actions. Although I know you men wouldn’t behave inappropriately, it’s crucial that you never put yourself in any questionable situations. Sometimes, this person can’t be avoided in public outings, butyou can ensure that you are never alone together.
- Be mindful of how you act. If you have a naturally friendly or outgoing personality, this is often misconstrued as being flirtatious. Although it is most important that you are faithful in every way to your significant other, leading someone on, even unintentionally, will lead to more difficulties, hurt feelings, and stress in the future.
- Listen to your significant other. Some women are bulldogs when it comes to other women looking at their men. If they’re like me, however, it’s enough to know that your behavior is always appropriate and respectful. For this reason, if your significant other wants to discuss the situation or seems to be feeling insecure about it, try to figure out why she feels uncomfortable. Explain that, although seeing this other individual will be unavoidable, you will always behave with her best interest in mind.
- If the person becomes forward or aggressive with their feelings, say something. It’s one thing for a coworker to have confided to someone that she thinks you’re attractive. It’s something entirely different if she invites you to a party, and you show up to discover you’re the only guest…
- The first five tips were given in the case that seeing this individual is absolutely unavoidable. If, however, it is avoidable, it might be best for all parties to consider keeping your distance or at least avoid all forms of unnecessary communication.
Please send any questions or comments to Hayley’s Corner.