Ask a Guy: When a Guy is Jealous… post image

Ask a Guy: When a Guy is Jealous…

I’ve been with my boyfriend for four months and he’s been acting more and more jealous.  At first, I found it sweet, but this weekend he snooped through my phone and accused me of talking to other men.

I can tell you with complete honesty that I haven’t talked to any other guys… the thought doesn’t even cross my mind.  I kept telling my boyfriend that I’m only interested in him, but he seems cold and withdrawn now. It’s like I’m being punished for a crime I didn’t commit.

Is this normal jealousy or is this something beyond? Can you tell me what to do when a guy is jealous?

Some jealousy  in a relationship can be fine. You could even go so far as to call jealousy a good sign in certain contexts.

The question is: When is jealousy appropriate, how much, and when is it a good sign?

One of the greatest gifts we get from being in a relationship is that it encourages us to grow in ways that we may not have grown if we were single.

Letting go of my own jealousy issues, insecurities, and fears was part of my own growth in relationships. In my early twenties, the thought of being cheated on was a nightmare scenario for me.

Obviously I wouldn’t be happy with being cheated on if it happened to me now, but I wouldn’t take it personally. I wouldn’t interpret it as meaning something about me, like I was less of a man, a fool, or a chump. It isn’t a worry or fear that keeps me up at night.

Part of my own growth was realizing (really realizing) that the actions of someone else have nothing to do with me… and no impact on my ability to experience happiness, peace or fulfillment.

As with all things in relationships, the most painful areas are the ones where we feel like another person’s actions mean something about us.

These days I have a motto about people and relationships: People will always do whatever they want.

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Sure, they might feel bad about it afterwards. Sure, they will have some elaborate rationalization for why they did what they did.

Regardless of how they feel afterwards or what they say to explain themselves, the fact remains true for all humans: People will always do whatever they want.

The reason I’m telling you all this is because, before I came to this realization myself, it would have been impossible for me to think about my jealousy rationally.

It is nearly every man’s worst fear to be the chump of a situation.

Sure, it’s true for all people, but it’s the deepest kind of pain for a man when he’s played for a fool, taken advantage of, or gives his heart to someone who toys with it. Most men would rather be single forever than be played as a fool by a woman.

I would even go so far as to say it’s biological.

In psychology studies, it’s been shown that men are most jealous when they believe there’s some physical connection between the woman they’re with and some other man. This could be triggered by that man touching her in some way or giving her a hug.

Women are most jealous when they perceive some sort of emotional connection between the man she’s with and another woman. This could be triggered by him worrying about the other woman’s feelings, him taking care of the other woman in some loving way, or saying something to the other woman in an affectionate manner.

Jealousy is biologically ingrained in us, but that does not absolve anyone from being completely responsible for their emotions and how they act on their feelings.

It is worth pointing out why  jealousy is part of our emotional makeup…

Biologically speaking, a man wouldn’t want to fall in love with a woman who cheats on him and is impregnated by another man, and then raise a child or children that are not his genetic seed.

From the perspective of evolution, that man’s genes become extinct from the gene pool. Genetically speaking, this is death – his genes do not pass on, he is weeded out from a future genetic legacy.

Similarly, a woman does not want to be impregnated by a man who then runs off with another woman, leaving her to raise the child on her own. In today’s world, this would be highly inconvenient. Hundreds or thousands of years ago, this was a guaranteed death sentence.

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While these scenarios might seem dramatic and extreme in today’s world, jealousy was designed as a guard against the very harsh realities of yesterday’s world.

Most women reading about the scenario of being impregnated and then abandoned would have some powerful emotional reaction to that thought. Maybe anger, maybe horror, maybe despair. In that same way, a man is equally horrified by the thought of raising some other man’s genetic seed.

Bottom line: Jealousy is programmed into us biologically.

At the same time, we learn as children that we can’t throw temper tantrums. We learn how to control our impulsive emotional reactions and respond to things effectively as adults.

In a relationship, it’s our greatest service to one another to compassionately guide our partner through this growth… and to allow them to guide us.

Ultimately, all of us must grow out of, and transcend, our impulsive jealous reactions. However, we might not be there yet… and our partner might not either. Being able to accept your partner where they are in their own growth is a huge part of having a successful relationship.

Furthermore, in my article about toxic relationship signs, I talk about the concept of emotional responsibility. In the article, I state that the only person who can be responsible for their emotions, actions, and reactions is that person and that person alone… nobody else.

So while I’m saying here that a good partnership involves having acceptance and compassion for where their partner is on the growth continuum of embracing complete emotional responsibility, in no way am I saying that their current inability to take total emotional responsibility somehow absolves them of the consequences.

MORE: How to Stop Being Jealous 

Like I say time and time again, the real world is the greatest teacher of all. Life has a way of teaching you that when you don’t take 100% responsibility for your emotions, actions, and reactions, you end up suffering… and when you do take 100% responsibility for your emotions, you open the path towards ending any and all self-induced suffering… this is true for every human on the planet, including your currently-jealous partner.

Next… you had asked if this is normal jealousy or something more.  So let’s talk about signs a guy is jealous and what is and isn’t normal jealousy, as well as where the line is between what’s healthy and unhealthy in a relationship.

In most cases, if a guy is going to show his jealousy, he’ll show it by making some sarcastic comment about another guy or “joking” about you hooking up with that other guy. Some guys will just have the jealous thought internally and then, as a reaction to their jealous thoughts, they go cold to you emotionally. You also might notice his demeanor and actions have a hostile or attacking quality towards you when he’s jealous.

(Note: I’m not saying these common expressions of jealousy are right or wrong… deserved or undeserved… justified or unjustified… I’m just pointing out how it typically shows up so we can talk about it.)

The question is: When is his jealousy going too far?  The answer is, when he tries to control you.

Men (or women for that matter) become controlling when they’re afraid of something happening. A guy might be afraid that you’ll cheat on him with a guy friend of yours… so he forbids you from talking to that guy. He might be afraid that guys are chatting with you on Facebook… so he forces you to constantly announce your relationship status on Facebook. He threatens one of your guy friends because he’s afraid you might be attracted to that guy.

Relationships are about guidance, not control. The moment that someone invades your privacy or threatens you with a punishment if you don’t do what they want you to, then they’re no longer a guiding companion in a relationship with you – they are allowing their out-of-control emotions to rule them and, by extension, rule you.

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Their emotions are their responsibility. It can’t be any other way.

If you do give in to their demands, you’ll end up losing a part of yourself. They will have effectively taken color out of your world and, as a result, color out of you.

You’ll lose a part of yourself (quite likely the part that attracted them in the first place) and, in an ultimate irony, they’ll end up feeling less attracted to you.

Additionally, you’ll resent them for controlling you, limiting you, and taking away something or someone that you enjoy in your life. That resentment will poison the relationship to some degree . The more control and limitation they successfully impose on you, the more you’ll resent them.

So really, allowing a jealous man to control you isn’t just a bad idea… it ceases to be a relationship at that point.

A relationship is only a relationship when both people realize that they themselves are responsible for their own emotions… and that no amount of control over another person  could ever put out the flames of raw, burning, unconscious emotions. The only solution to put out that fire is to shine the line of consciousness onto their own emotional restlessness… and make peace with it.

Relationships require that both people really are ready to have a relationship. It isn’t easy, but refusing to be controlled is actually what’s best for the relationship.

A child might whine and beg for their parent to give them candy all the time… but that’s not what’s best for the child. Sometimes denying what the other person wants is what’s best for the relationship. However, it’s certainly not the easiest choice.

The best choice is to continue being as you are. It’s best to be open to your relationship partner as much as you can be, but in the cases where they want to control you or change you, your best option is to see it as an opportunity to learn how to love and accept you as you are.

If they don’t want to lose you, they’ll grow. If they don’t care if they lose you and would prefer to cling to their emotional reactions/fears/worries, well, then you will have identified that they are not ready for a relationship with you.

Sure, you might have titles, celebrate anniversaries, and buy each other gifts on your birthdays, but those are just surface-level wrapping paper. True relationships require both people to be ready and to have the capacity to compassionately guide one another to grow… not to give into one another’s fear-based demands.

My central point is that you can’t allow controlling behavior into your relationship or it will very quickly lead your relationship into disaster.

When it comes to jealousy, it can be a huge warning sign when… (continued – Click to keep reading Ask a Guy: When a Guy is Jealous…)

Written by Eric Charles

I'm Eric Charles, the co-founder and co-editor of A New Mode. I love writing articles to help people free themselves from suffering and have clarity in their love life. I have a degree in Psychology and I've dedicated the last 20 years of my life to learning everything I can about human psychology and sharing what gets people out of struggling with life and into having the life they really want. If you want to contact me, feel free to reach out on Facebook or Twitter.

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Hi I’m asking this question to see if I’m just being overly sensitive or if my boyfriend was really trying to make me jealous for some strange reason. Ever see the commercial, the Axe commercial where the guy is chocolate after he sprays on the Axe Cologne and all the women are taking a piece of him and wanting him? …well he sent me link that out of the blue and said he just thought it was a funny commercial. I didn’t exactly see it that way and didn’t exactly understand why he would even send that to me. All it did was stir up questions in my head. Am I being too sensitive or was he insensitive to send this to me?
When I asked him how he would feel if I would have sent him if it were a woman in the commercial instead of a guy, he said it would be totally wrong as guys shouldn’t be grabbing women although that’s exactly what the women are doing to the ‘chocoate man’ in this commercial. Maybe I’m working, maybe I’m being too sensitive but I never would have sent something like this to him to give him any kind of a message.
Thank you for your input. I know this is petty but he does this things like this a lot and keeps telling me it’s all in my head and I’m starting to think that maybe is just him being very insensitive.

Reply November 2, 2018, 8:28 am

Vincenza Scazzi

I need some help here. I have two amazing male friends who work abroad. I talk with one of them regularly, you can say that we are buddies, but that’s it. The second friend has met me a few times for drinks and a concert. Phoned me to ask me what perfume I like and turned up with a bottle of wine. He also invited me to go on holiday with his friends, which I never commented on. What do you think? Oh, he often asks me if I have spoke to the other friend, its like he is jealous.

Reply July 23, 2018, 8:49 am

CC Coleman

I was obsessed with a woman that sent mixed signals. She was on and off again with a (ex)husband. She tried to be near me all the time when she was off her relationship but never indicated she was wanting something. Then she would get back with her on and off partner and rub him in my face. I ignored her and this made her crazy but never openly indicated what she wanted or did not want. Finally I avoided her all together. This made her more clingy. Then she went to touching my hands, rubbing my back, doing other things. She even had friends tell me how happy she was with her husband; over and over again. She had hurt me so I decided to end it. I told her I did not appreciate it and I wanted her to stay away from me, not to look at me, not to talk to me. When I told her this she whispered “No”. I took this as another twisted mind game. The next time she acted out I verbally attacked her. I told her to crawl back to her husband, that I knew her husband was abusive and I thought she liked that kind of thing, I told her she deserved him, that she deserved his drug use and drunken ways. She was horrified that I told her the truth. I was hurt and I wanted to be rid of her. A week or two later she moved. If she had been open about what she either wanted or not wanted everything would have been fine. I really hate her now and I once really loved her. She has suffered by her own decisions and I kind of like it. She made me hate her.

Reply June 20, 2018, 2:42 am


Okay so maybe you an give me some advice i want to be in a relationship but iv been single or in short relationships that my mind is like in that single mode.
Pretty much even though im interested in someone ill convince my self im better of with someone else .opinions issues anything
Thank you.

Reply October 30, 2015, 8:59 am


Eric, no doubt one of the best articles you have written! I learned a lot..

Reply October 29, 2015, 11:23 pm

Eric Charles

Thank you, I’m glad you liked it.

Reply October 29, 2015, 11:39 pm


This is one of the best written articles I have ever seen on a dating advice site.

Reply October 29, 2015, 8:43 pm

Eric Charles

Thanks a lot – I appreciate that.

Reply October 29, 2015, 9:06 pm

Eric Charles

No problem – I will clarify.

First, in my writing I explain that it’s the best strategy to be single and looking until a guy clearly and unambiguously locks you down in a relationship where you are both on the same page.

That doesn’t necessarily mean date different guys – it *can* mean that… but it doesn’t. The strategic power actually comes from you not acting like you’re locked down until you are… it’s a mindset.

I’m not sure where you think I say that I don’t think it’s right if the girl I’m seeing is seeing other guys. It actually did “work” on me, so to speak… it was only a problem when her actual boyfriend (who I didn’t know existed) showed up in the middle of the night while I was in her bed. That was a situation and that would be a situation to be avoided.

She wasn’t my girlfriend – she didn’t owe me anything and she wasn’t breaking any promises to me. Even with everything I understand about relationship dynamics, I still did “chase” her until I realized the situation – the particular girl I’m thinking of wasn’t going to leave her boyfriend for me so that was that.

Anyway… I’m kind of off on a tangent, but I hope that helps explain things…

Reply April 12, 2013, 9:22 pm

Cheeky Mary

Dating several men may include kissing them but it shouldn’t include sleeping with them. Until a man is exclusive with you, then you are free to do what you want (but a respectful girl wouldn’t be sleeping around if she wanted a long term relationship). Once he claims you (that sounds so caveman but oh so hot) then you eliminate all the other men and get exclusive with him (including sleeping with him).

Eric hates when we say this but dont sleep with a man until you’re exclusive. He is the gateway to a relationship and you are the gateway to sex….he wants the challenge, dont disappoint him like many women these days are doing.


Reply April 15, 2013, 8:12 pm

Eric Charles

Hmmm… that would be an inaccurate way to describe my stance (regarding your second paragraph).

An accurate way to describe my stance what you recommend is: I think it’s bad advice.

Reply April 15, 2013, 11:33 pm


Great article! If I’d known this when I was 21, I’ve have avoided wasting 5 years with a controlling, manipulative, lying, cheating ex. He was very jealous of me in waves – checked my accounts (email/FB), my phone, had me FOLLOWED a couple times, pushed me to act in ways that just aren’t ME (mostly dressing extra provocatively) because he liked the attention I got, but he was still paranoid I’d cheat on him. I found out after finding my self confidence and self-worth and leaving him that he’d cheated on me off and on throughout the relationship. And all the times he got super jealous over me were around times when he was cheating on me.

Not saying that someone who is paranoid you’re going to cheat is cheating themselves (especially if you know they were cheated on in the past since that is just as likely a cause of excessive jealousy in the next relationship), but it’s definitely something that would cross my mind.

I would never tolerate that from a guy these days. A little jealousy is normal and healthy, and can be a sign that a guy genuinely has feelings for you, but when a man starts trying to monitor you and tries to force you to change the way you act/dress/etc – that’s a line that should not be crossed (and that goes for women doing the same to men as well). A well-adjusted adult should be able to control their reactions to their emotions, and recognize if something is becoming an over-reaction.

Reply April 12, 2013, 2:27 pm

Eric Charles

Good comment – thanks for that.

Reply April 12, 2013, 9:10 pm


Oh, bumer! I am a jelous person myself. I really have to work on that! =/

thnk u, Eric for the insight! :)

Reply April 11, 2013, 6:50 pm

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