I don’t know how many times I have been in relationships where the object of my affection felt the need to stray visually. I have tried to be a “one-stop shop” in my relationships however it seems that the men I date are visually hard wired to look at other men with lust and desire spewing from their gaze. I get it we are guys, we are visual, we look, blah blah blah. However we are human beings with the built in capacity for self-control and empathy.
It’s really heartbreaking and mildly confusing knowing that the one you want to be with wants to be with someone else. This is the message sent when your partner looks at another person with lust in their eyes.
I am of the belief that a wandering eye leads to a wandering heart and where the heart goes the body is sure to follow and to be honest I was spot on in my assessment. Those who I dated that possessed a wandering eye inevitably cheated on me. Now based on my tried and true lived-through relational traumas, a wandering eye is just an early sign of relational doom. The beginning of the end if you will. Where there is smoke, there is usually fire and I try my best now to abandon those emotional burning buildings before they go up in flames.
A relationship with a person who has a wandering eye is really no relationship at all. It is really just two people killing time trying to be less alone justifying love in an effort to avoid psychosocial failures.
Our culture has done extensive research on the costs of physical infidelity as well as emotional infidelity however we have rarely, if ever heard about the consequences of what I’d like to call “visual infidelity” and what that does to a relationship. We always tend to write it off as innocent curiosity and harmless fun. But looking at another with desire and lustful curiosity while in the confines of a mutually loving and supportive relationship can indeed erode the trust in our relationship and ultimately incite us to cheat on our partners.
Knowing that our partners find others attractive is completely understandable. We are human and are blessed with the ability to recognize and appreciate beauty. However when our gaze becomes lust-driven and is littered with a longing quality, this is when simple appreciation becomes complicated adoration.
Not only does it erode our satisfaction with our current relationship, it also makes our partners feel inadequate, unworthy and dangerously insufficient. It is the first sign of emotional abandonment and disengagement in a relationship and gradually erodes the trust we have in our partners ability to be faithful and loyal to us.
Oftentimes partners will try to justify their toxic gaze with attacks on their partner’s level of security within themselves and the relationship. They will claim that if their partners are bothered by their wandering eye, it is because they are somehow insecure and unsure of themselves. I will not rule this out as a possibility as sometimes our partners do struggle with feelings of low self-esteem and personal inadequacies that have nothing to do with our actions, however let me make it very clear: some behaviors such as looking at another person with lustful desire while in a perfectly healthy and functioning relationship is NOT ok. It can be triggering and can make our partners feel like they are not enough.
In a healthy relationship, our goal is to make our partners feel like they are valued, respected, cherished, wanted and loved.
It is not ok to blame them or shame them or make it seem as though it is “their feelings” that are the problem when in actuality it is the wandering eye that is the problem. Claiming that our partners are somehow insufficient because they refuse to tolerate such behaviors only creates a climate of emotional abandonment and works to perpetuate the cycle of distrust and only adds wood to the fires of insecurity and doubt within the relationship.
Truth is we all find people attractive in one way or another. We all can appreciate the fundamentals of beauty. However when we decide to be in a relationship with someone else, there are certain things that we must be willing to give up in order to realize the full potential of a loving and supportive bond.
One of those things is the nasty habit of looking at others with lust. We all want love however very few of us are willing to make the necessary sacrifices in order to get that love. As Reggae artist Peter Tosh so eloquently stated in his song “Equal Rights”, “Every man wan’ heaven no man wan’ die”. We as men who love men must be willing to kill off our toxic stares and realize that the grass we got is only as green as the water we provide it. An appreciative glance? Ok. A lustful stare? Not ok. Remember this and love considerately.