Do abusive men use the attractive appearance of other women as a form of emotional abuse to their partners?

Abuse is quite polymorphic, in that, it can assume many different forms depending on the circumstances, the cultural background, the history, and ofcourse, the individual quirks of the abuser. The bottom line in an abusive relationship is that the abuser says things that make the victim uncomfortable, confused, routinely unhappy, sad, and, most importantly, that lower the victim's self-esteem. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, cliched as it may sound. If a guy loves you, you are more beautiful to him than Cameron Diaz or Catherine Zeta Jones. And if he is an abusive ass, he will humiliate you even if you look like either of them. Occassionally reminding you that you need to trim your tummy is part of the constructive criticism constituting a healthy relationship. Comparing you unfavourably with other women just means he is out to humiliate and insult you. Don't put up with it, honey. You are a very attractive woman, I am sure, and there are enough guys around to appreciate that.

Comparing you unfavorably to other women is a form of verbal abuse. It is meant to hurt you, to prevent intimacy, to exert control, to make your relationship unpredictable.

Abuse is about controlling the other person. What better way to control a woman than to chip away at her self-esteem by comparing her to other women.

Some examples:

  1. 1. Almost every time you go to a movie together he tells you how stunning-beautiful-breathtaking he thinks one of the actresses is (this example doesn't mean an occasional mention of an actress, this is ongoing, repetitive behavior). When he talks about the celebrity, he will overembellish - she's not just "pretty" she's "gorgeous". The less you engage, the more he will try to get you to agree with him. If you finally mention that this talk makes you uncomfortable, he gets defensive or angry, but the behavior never changes. Or, he will make a joke about it and dismiss your feelings. Think about it - if he wanted you to feel special, he would be saying telling you how beautiful you are, not fixating on Julia Roberts or Halle Berry.
  2. 2. When you are in a public place or at a restaurant together, he is frequently and easily distracted by attractive women. If you are talking he will break eye contact to look at the other woman. Sometimes he will actually turn his neck to watch her walk away. If you comment on his behavior, he will tell you that it's "nothing," or that "all men look at other women," or that you look at other men, even if you never or seldom act this way, or he will get annoyed with you for catching him at his "game".
  3. 3. He asks you to cut your hair like a certain actress or celebrity. This is usually someone that he has referenced before in other conversation. Instead of accepting you as you are, he is trying to change you. To see how ridiculous this is, imagine yourself telling him to color his hair like Brad Pitt's or style it like Nicholas Cage.

Another sign of this type of abuse is that if you bring up his abusive behaviors, he will tell you that you are being too sensitive - in other words he twists it around so that it's your problem, not his.

If he truly loved and respected you, he would change the behavior.