Ask The Collective: Why Does a Man Talk About Other Women While In Relationship?

red heartA reader asks…

“Why do guys mention other women while in a relationship? I know this guy and he keeps mentioning other women. Oh this one fancies me, must phone her etc. I thought he liked me but am beginning to think the opposite…”

Two things that come to my mind. First he’s probably insecure. Anyone confident about their desirability has no need to broadcast this sort of thing. Feeling they are attractive, they assume this is apparent to others so there is no need to point it out over and over.

The other thing that stands out is the fact he tells you he’s going to call them. That’s a distancing mechanism. He is not committed to you. Feeling insecure, he is making you feel insecure as well.

As to whether he likes you, a better question to ask, is do you like him? Because he sounds like a flake to me.  It would be one thing if he were, 21 but when you’re nearing 40, so he must be of similar age and acting like this at this stage of life is telling.

Personally, I have Venus in Leo and if a man said this kind of thing to me, I’d hand him the phone and walk away, never to return.

How would you feel if your partner prattled on about others? And what would you do?

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Ask The Collective: Why Does a Man Talk About Other Women While In Relationship? — 42 Comments

  1. if my partner kept talking about other women, i’d think either that he’s insecure, he’s hung up on someone else, or he is hoping to make me jealous, depending upon the context.

    if we’d only started seeing each other, i’d probably just bail. if there was more of an investment, i imagine i would discuss it with him to let him know it bothered me and see if we could resolve it.

  2. With gemini venus I don’t talk about other guys to my sweetie, but when insecure I did and have tended to push guys away by ‘offering’ them an out by being disintestered (jup opposite venus and pluto sq both). This behavior did not honor either of us in any of my heartfelt situations….and my current sweetie called me on it a few weeks ago which has rendered my lips shut and heart open since. Even emboldened me to put myself out there. Oh we’ve been dating for a few months and he had a freak out, I had a freak out and now we will see what happens.

    If he talked about women like the question above postulates, it would irk me. And with he and I, we call each other on stuff like this…so not cool for either and neither would put up with it (and hasn’t).

  3. ugh… i hated it. he was always talking about the “cute young thing” that popped into his store, or the “gorgeous drink of water” who helped him at the pub. i was not insecure about my looks or his feelings, but it sure got old in a hurry – the rubber-necking at pretty girls walking by didn’t help, either. i talked to him about how it made me feel, and it didn’t stop, so i walked… i mean, there were other reasons too, but this really stung…

  4. I would ask him about it, after being hurt by it. No matter what answer I got, I’d probably still feel really bad about it and would probably never trust him fully. I agree with you that either he’s insecure, or more likely, trying to distance himself. Ughh. Why can’t people just be more straightforward?

  5. If he’s telling you how someone else fancies him and how he needs to call her, I’d tell him to make sure the door doesn’t hit him on the way out. If nothing else, it sounds like your man doesn’t know what he wants. Whether its insecurity or indecision, I’d give him the ol’ heave ho.

  6. If we were in a relationship, and he kept talking about calling some girl who fancied him… I’d take him for an idiot and cut him out.

    I might also get annoyed first and call him on it. If it didn’t stop, I’d leave.

  7. Who pulls this shit? The only person I have dated who has done this was an all-around idiot. I don’t even care enough to stick around to wonder why. See ya.

  8. ugh, I hate that. I do think lately when I’ve dealt with this the person in question felt insecure and wanted me to know others found him attractive. I don’t at this point consider it a threat… maybe an annoyance, but I brought it up and was genuinely assured that it didn’t mean anything. I guess that is a continuum we all have to gauge for ourselves: whether or not it’s simple insecurity or if it’s taken to a level that is genuinely disconcerting.

  9. If this relationship was just beginning obviously I wouldn’t like it. It’d make me feel ‘un-dateworthy’ and that this person had already relegated me to friend status (which he prob wouldn’t be anyways since this trait must go hand in hand with talking endlessly about oneself).

    It makes him sound gay or bi or at least Peter Pannish.

    I remember in a long term relationship that was fizzling, my b-friend doing this. Once. I found it amusing and didn’t care (although he didn’t add the part about calling the girl). It was followed by a dream where I found him with another woman in his place, I went casually to his desk, got his car keys as well as wallet, and drove nonchalantly away in his Jeep Cherokee. Guess my subconscious let me know what I was interested in him for by that point in time.

    I’d say a person doing this signals for whatever reason the relationship isn’t going anywhere or is on the rocks and dying.

  10. Satori, I didn’t mean it as bile. Trust me, I would be the first person in real life giving a guy like this too many chances and wasting my time and having my heart broken. That stupid Pisces Moon of mine has got me into a lot a lot of trouble by being too compassionate. If being more judgmental will help me stay out of trouble, then so be it.

  11. I am in a similar situation, he will say what is that womans name on tv and say she reminds me of someone, I havent heard from her in awhile.
    How should one react to this?

  12. Elsa, your blog is the truth! Your advice has been so blunt and to the point… you are like my virtual Mom keeping me on the right path :)

  13. Actually, when I met my husband, he did talk about another woman… his ex-wife, BUT- it was with respect. He spoke about what a wonderful mother she was, and how they had ‘each’ been responsible for the breakdown of their marraige, and how they had been able to remain friends and mutually raise their two children. This is a totally different scenerio than the questioner described, but thought it worth mentioning because, in this scenerio I learned some valuable information about him and it endeared me to him because of it.

  14. When in doubt, check the chart. Then you have a whole new passel of things to scratch the melon over! :)

    It is insecurity, but is it “gosh I like you but can’t say that every time I think it” or “I have an incurably stupid mouth” insecurity?

    Then, is it cute, and something you can fulfill for his needs, and you’ll have a disgustingly cute couples’ inside joke…or is he a bottomless need-box? This pertains to you, so make sure your assessment is also fair to what you want/need…even if he is a great guy. Is he YOUR guy? Pee on his leg, if he is! (Joking, but kinda not really.) He might be asking for more commitment, in a dumb way.

    You can go nuts wondering, but I would just ask him (nicely–make sure that you are feeling secure, not defensive!). If you don’t like the answer, then you have your answer! ;)

  15. I’ve been there. It took me a while, but I really got to see how insecure he truly was. Yep, very insecure individual. He would even talk about how sexy other women were right in front of me! I would never put up with that now of course, but back then it would enrage me and i would try to explain to him why it enraged me, and he never respected that.
    Men who are blathering on about other women are insecure and trying to make themselves look better, or they are trying to instill jealousy in the woman they are with. Its the sign of a very emotionally weak man. And who wants that? Remember what Maya Angelou always says….’when someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time!

  16. I vote insecurity.

    I actually just broke off a friendship with a Sadge friend (we had been on a few dates, but that’s a longer story) who couldn’t stop telling me about all the other women he was trying to get up with. (Sadge sun and Mars, IIRC)

    After many many many times of telling him that this was insulting to me, I finally said, essentially, that if he couldn’t share those triumphs with someone else instead of me, he should find someone else to pal around with because I am tired of getting my feelings hurt.

    He said “oh but you need to understand where I’m coming from – my ego has been battered for years and I want to celebrate every little victory.”

    Erm. Yeah. See ya.

  17. I had boyfriends years ago that did that to me – once…my response was “if she was that _______, why are you here with me?” – as I left his ass cold.

    Also, my current hubby did that to me when we were first dating. I told him once to cut it out, the second time I said “Now you’re on your own A.H.”. He apologized, never did it again, and we moved on.. My vote is for the insecurity.

  18. I think it’s insecurity, but I also think it might be lack of boundaries and the inability to understand what should and shouldn’t be mentioned.

    Third Date guy mentions women he’s gone out with and such things as “I had to learn to cook vegan because of my last girlfriend,” “yeah, when girls go on a date with try to drink as much as me, it ends badly,” “this one girl on the dating website wants only men from Queens for some reason” (why do I need to know you were on the website?!) He opens the ex box a lot mostly out of awkwardness, I think he doesn’t know protocol.

  19. I wouldn’t mind in the beginning,it is giving me valuable info… but if I didn’t want to hear it, I would just say ‘stop talking about those girls!’ if he didn’t it would be a problem.

  20. the man I’m dating now does something like this (he: gemini sun, merc, venus, jupiter). He will bring up some woman he dated 25 years ago and tell me how big her tits were or how she appreciated his sense of humor. I’ve asked him what the purpose of telling me this is. He says that he feels he should be able to tell/talk to me about anything. I don’t feel the same about this philosophy of his. I don’t feel the need to mention other men, although he says I should be able to if the situation arises. I don’t see how someone he used to date pertains to us, although I do not really get jealous, I do find him irritating when he mentions other women.

    Someone mentioned peter pan in an earlier post here, sometimes that describes him and his attitude to a tee.

  21. Nope. He has no sadge in his chart. I have Venus and Mars Sadge, But a stellium in scorpio and have learned to keep my bluntness(another sadge trait) to myself. He is also a scorpio rising like me. I should post his chart, it’s quite interesting.

  22. Too funny! The guy I broke up with was a Sag. Everyone says Libra and Sag r supposed to be compatible… but we are not! It took me some time, and this blog, to figure out that he is insecure and that’s why he wants the world to believe that he has all these women. Now that I don’t want him anymore, he’s always calling and texting …. but making the mistake of mentioning this girl and that girl… trying to make me jealous… it’s just a huge turnoff at this point… Ugh! By the way, I did the big ‘walk away’ thing to him on Sunday… he was floored… whatevs

  23. My former boyfriend spoke about his past relationships, but it was usually because I either asked him about what other girlfriends had been like, or he would mention a past girlfriend that did something like I do, or would agree with me, and I didn’t mind this at all.

    He only wanted me, and was pretty blunt about it, so I didn’t worry. As it was my first relationship, I was interested in learning what his past relationships had been like for him, and a little about the kinds of girls he dated before I came crashing into his life. : )

    I have to add, however, that I am a double Gemini, and he had Sun, Merc, Venus, and Mars in Gemini, sooo…..all four of us got along just fine, and had a good time messing with each others heads, and teasing harmlessly.

  24. If he compared me in a negative way, or seemed to want a past girlfriend, or wanted me to be more like her well……I’d tear him a new ego with my sharp little tongue, and leave him to his own misery.

  25. @mina. “I am a double Gemini, and he had Sun, Merc, Venus, and Mars in Gemini, sooo…..all four of us got along just fine, and had a good time messing with each others heads, and teasing harmlessly”

    I love this! hehe

  26. “Why do guys mention other women while in a relationship? I know this guy and he keeps mentioning other women.”

    Maybe the original email is more comprehensive and would clarify the context, but based solely on what’s provided I can’t help but find these two sentences a little…odd, alongside each other.

    The first suggests the problem is a general one, pertaining to relationships between individuals who understand that they’ve committed to each other…but the phrasing of the second sentence really suggests a far more casual, undefined ‘thing’, one where neither side is truly agreed on the status of what’s between them.

    If it is, indeed, the former, then I’d incline to view it as either a passive-aggressive distancing tactic to provoke a break-up, or an attempt to demonstrate social status. And dare I say, the latter might not be because he’s automatically a jerk – heck, he may even feel that it’s you who has the wandering eye or suspects you want to ‘trade up’…and, wishing to save this relationship, he’s hoping to prove he’s a great catch and, in fact, the best choice you could make.

    However, if it’s the latter, then perhaps it’s as simple as ‘he’s just not that into you’. He doesn’t find you attractive. You’re in the friend zone. In which case, might I suggest you blink, assess the situation realistically, decide whether that’s enough for you and if not, adopt a ‘move along, nothing to see here’ attitude as an appropriate course of action…?

  27. I would imagine that statement would come early in dating–when you don’t know the person–or near the end of a relationship where the guy was an abysmal communicator to begin with (IOW: for me, doomed from the start). that is just a hurtful way to express whatever the sentiment is.

    Early in dating, I would reply “go right ahead and call her but don’t call me anymore”. Hand him the phone, like Elsa said.
    I don’t need to hang around a guy who feels like or gives the impression that he’s “slumming it” with me until something better comes along. Been there, done that, ultimately told him where he could put the t-shirt. Anyone with that sort of passive-aggressive communication style, I wouldn’t want in my life anyway.

    I had something similar happen toward the end of a relationship when I was younger and it was his immaturity (in his early 30s, but lack of emotional intelligence) and his inability to communicate or take responsibility for his feelings that was the problem. He didn’t want to be the one to break up so was forcing my hand by making quietly, subtle, hurtful statements.

    Re: what Scot said. The guy’s fear that I may be thinking about Trading Up. I can see having that motivation. Maybe it’s my age, but I’d much prefer, and actually require, that a guy Talk if he feels that way rather than making a statement that is from my perspective, immature and potentially hurtful. I would definitely inquire as to Why he made the statement.

    In general, I make it known that I am “with” a guy when I am with him which I find most guys I’ve encountered sadly aren’t amenable to. Maybe it’s those who require the feeling of the Chase to be continuous. Anyway, any insecurity about the relationship would stem from the guy, not from inconsistent or questionable behavior on my part.

  28. He may be insecure; but for sure he’s trying to make you jealous. It may be that you are outstandingly attractive, and he finds you intimidating.

    It may however just be that he’s a jerk, and a commitment phobic to boot. Only you can judge! From the phrasing though, I’d guess he’s a jerk, and get the hell outta there

  29. Hi Elsa, big fan! Thanks for the welcome.

    Interesting observation, 22dreams. I’d agree, and I can assure you, the preference for forthright, direct communication over game-playing is just as appreciated on this side of the gender divide…yet alas, not necessarily more likely to happen in the reverse direction. Which means I, personally, like you, would definitely inquire as to why s/he made a statement of that kind.

    Breach the facade and broach the real issue.

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