We are about to go on holiday but while I should be excited, I am dreading it. My husband and I are in our early 60s and have been married for 30 years. We’ve had a very happy marriage and as far as I know he has never been unfaithful, but he has always had a wandering eye – and it’s getting worse in his old age.
Whenever we go on holiday, he openly ogles women around the pool. He actually gapes and stares, turning his head as women walk by in their swimwear. While I might have been jealous 30 years ago, now it just makes me feel horribly embarrassed for him. I think it makes him look a fool.
He does this every time we go on holiday. But he also does it on the street. If we go shopping and young women walk by, he cranes his head to watch them. To make matters worse, we have a lovely 27-year-old daughter who we sometimes meet with her friends because she shares a flat with them.
My husband even ogles these girls, which I find cringe-worthy and incredibly uncomfortable. I have avoided meeting her on occasions when her friends might be present, simply because I feel so embarrassed by his behaviour.
The truth is, though, I honestly don’t think he knows he is doing it. And even stranger, his behaviour doesn’t match his “drive” behind closed doors. He has little interest in our love life. We have not been intimate for a few years now and he does not seem to show interest in that side of our marriage.
I have always kept myself fit and slim, do yoga and Pilates, and people tell me I look younger than I am. Yet he rarely makes advances towards me despite seeming so interested in women who are 20 years younger.
So if this side of marriage is not important to him, why is he so obviously staring at other women? There are laws against this kind of thing these days – quite rightly, too – and I’m worried that he might fall foul of them.
I’ve asked married friends of my age with similar-aged husbands. Some say it’s normal and “men are men” no matter their age. Others say their men don’t do it – or at least not so obviously. Another friend said she simply would not tolerate it and told me to have it out with my husband or even leave him. But I hate confrontation and I have never felt able to mention it.
On one summer holiday last year a young woman was readjusting her bikini on a sun lounger near to ours and my husband actually craned his neck to watch her – I’m sure the young woman’s partner saw him looking. I blushed and had to walk away and pretend I was getting a coffee because I was so ashamed.
I know I could sit and talk to him about it. But I’ve never actually confronted him because I don’t want to embarrass him or cause a row. I also can’t stand the idea of such a silly “jealous” argument when I truly do not feel jealous.
We get on very well in every other aspect of our marriage; we share the same sense of humour, beliefs and attitudes to life. He’s kind, helps around the house and has always been a wonderful provider financially. In every other respect than this he has always been a perfect gentleman. He’s someone I am happy to grow into old age with. I certainly wouldn’t consider risking our marriage over this. But this gawping at younger women gets on my nerves – and might get him into big trouble.
Read last week's column: My wife's reckless spending is ruining our sex life