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Wandering eyes can cause woes in relationship

Dear Annie: I just do not know the best way to handle this situation. I have been living happily with my partner for six years. He is kind and, for the most part, considerate. But the following scenario has been going on almost from the beginning.

Often when he notices a woman he finds attractive when we are in a restaurant or in a crowd, he does not take his eyes off her. He detaches himself from the conversation at hand and is obviously intrigued. Even if we are getting up to leave, he is gazing at her as he is doing up his coat.

Is it because he wants to be noticed by her? He claims not. But of course, it is inevitable that she does notice.

Each time he does this, I tell him I find it insulting and demeaning. And he says he'll try not to do it again. Is this something he cannot control? I try to swallow it, but instead I seethe inside. -- Distracted by His Distraction

Dear Distracted: Glancing at an attractive woman is OK and often hard to resist doing for a moment. Anything longer than that is leering, which is rude. And leering in front of one's girlfriend? "Sleazy" doesn't begin to cover it. It's downright disrespectful. While he's staring down some unwitting woman across the restaurant, you're sitting there not only ignored but also forced to watch the creep show.

The good news is that he is honest and has admitted he is doing it. To me, that says there is hope. It's time to have a very serious conversation about how this is impacting your relationship. If he truly cares, he'll work on breaking the habit. Whatever you do, stop swallowing your anger. It will burn you up inside.

Dear Annie: We live in cooperative housing, meaning all residents have a share in the financial investment of the cooperative. We are not a retired community, yet many of the residents are elderly women who really do not want to get involved or rock the boat. We have a manager who avoids confrontation, and we're not sure what our board of directors actually does, as when you ask the members of the board a question, they cannot give you a definite answer. The board appears very complacent and agrees with all that the manager does, even to the extent of paying the staff, including the manager, very well. The manager's report is all of one page long and is painted with such a broad brush that it is downright scary in how nontransparent it is.

Isn't it the job of the board to oversee the actions of the manager? No one wants to run for the board, because no one wants to work with the board members, as they seem to think they walk on water and buck any new ideas. At open meetings, board members often whisper among themselves, which is very rude when a resident is speaking. No class! What can be done short of voting the board of directors and manager out and seeking a company to run the community? -- Shareholders Who Are Fed Up

Dear Shareholders: The whole point of a cooperative is to give all members a voice. I encourage you and your allies to be the change you want to see in the community: Run for the board yourselves. If that's truly not feasible, visit the National Association of Housing Cooperatives website, at http://coophousing.org, for information about your rights as shareholders.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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