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8 Clear Signs He’s Trying to Make You Jealous

couple walking in the street, she has a little red dress, he wears a grey suit
Couple walking in the street

In this post we are going to talk about some of the clearest signs he’s trying to make you jealous and what you can do about it.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I thought jealousy was evidence that someone cared.

That phase lasted through adolescence, but by my early to mid-twenties, I managed to outgrow the outdated social norms of my youth. Jealousy is a red flag.

It’s toxic. It’s not a cute look or a way to verify that someone has feelings for you. It’s just … gross.

It feels gross to the person experiencing jealousy, but it can also be uncomfortable for the person who is trying to elicit a jealous response.

Either way, it’s a bad idea that still gets marketed as a good one by the rom-com industry, social media, and the culture in general.

It’s important to understand when someone is trying to make you jealous, but it’s equally important to understand why they do it and what you might want to do about it. 

8 Signs He’s Trying to Make You Jealous, According to a Former Therapist

Any gender can make any other gender jealous. Let’s clear that up from the start. But today, we’re focusing on men who do what they can to make their significant others jealous.

You might notice the following behaviors. 

Why listen to me? I’m Crystal Jackson and I was a master’s level licensed therapist. I worked with couples and individuals and specialized in trauma recovery and empowerment. I now write content about relationships, self-improvement, and psychology. My work has been featured in large publications such as Elite Daily, Your Tango, Positively Positive, and Mamamia.

He Tells You When People Flirt with Him

Even if you’re not there to witness someone else flirting with him, he’ll tell you all about it. He might act shy or self-deprecating, but he’s going out of his way to let you know that someone hit on him.

It could be because he wants to be completely honest.

He might even present it this way. But if he makes sure to rub in each and every single time someone makes an overture toward him even though it clearly makes you uncomfortable, he’s just trying to make you jealous. 

There’s honesty, and there’s honesty. He doesn’t have to tell you every single time it happens.

At a certain point, you might even wonder if he really gets hit on that often, or if he’s just trying to make you feel like he’s in demand.

Is he emphasizing how lucky you are to have him or how much other people want him? His reasons are his own, but he’s clearly trying to make you jealous. 

He Talks About Fond Memories of His Exes

Another way he might try to make you jealous is to try to cause you to have retroactive jealousy toward an ex.

If he goes on at length reminiscing about the good times he had with someone who is not you, it could be that he’s trying to elicit a jealous reaction to ascertain how much you care.

Clearly, he doesn’t have boundaries in the relationship that prevent him from sharing way too many details about his fond memories of past partners. 

He Flirts with Other People in Front of You

A more overt way to try to make you jealous happens when he flirts with other people right in front of you.

Some people have flirtatious personalities, but if he knows this makes you uncomfortable and does it anyway, this is a problem. It’s not about being naturally flirtatious in this case.

It’s about making a special effort to do something that makes you jealous and uncomfortable. 

He Ignores You at a Party 

Another behavior you might notice when he’s trying to make you jealous is that he ignores you when you’re in public socializing.

At a party, he might neglect you in favor of other company and make you feel like you don’t matter.

If he abandons you the second someone shows him the slightest bit of attention, it could be that he has no social graces whatsoever and even less emotional intelligence, or it’s possible this is a technique to make you jealous. 

man and woman kissing in red smoke
Photo by Radu Florin on Unsplash

He Tells You When Someone Likes Him

A behavior you’ll notice when he’s trying to make you jealous is that he tells you when other people have a crush on him. This is similar to when he tells you that someone flirted with him.

If someone likes him, you’re sure to know about it — not because you noticed but because he went out of his way to point it out. 

He Checks Out Other People in Front of You

Another way he may try to make you jealous is when he checks out other people right in front of you.

It’s normal to notice attractive people, but when he goes out of his way to do a double – and triple-take of an attractive person, it’s probably to make you jealous.

Surely no one is that emotionally unintelligent and socially inept that they would do this without realizing it’s inappropriate! 

He Compares You to Other People

One of the most obvious signs he’s trying to make you jealous is when he compares you to other people — either online or in real life — it’s possible that he wants you to feel jealous.

If other people are seen favorably whereas you’re criticized, you might begin to suspect that you aren’t his first choice. It’s a technique that could be used to elicit jealousy. Keep in mind that it might also be abusive

He Keeps You Guessing About Your Relationship 

A final way that he might try to make you jealous is to never give you any stability or security in the relationship.

He might keep you guessing about how he feels or when he’ll see you in hopes that absence, and inconsistency, will make the heart grow fonder.

It’s a gamble, but it might be one he’s willing to take if it’s worked before. He might keep you on your toes and give you the idea that he can’t quite decide to commit to you.

While there’s nothing wrong with dating other people when you’re not exclusive, that doesn’t mean your interest should regale you with all his other options or make you feel like you’re competing for his attention.

It’s a normal part of dating to take your time deciding, but a prolonged time dating other people could be a way of testing your jealousy and commitment to him — even if he’s not committed to you.

When He Tries to Make You Jealous: What To Do About It

If he’s trying to make you jealous, it puts you in the position to make some decisions. There are reasons he might be trying to do this. We’ll discuss them, and we’ll discuss some of your options for handling this. 

His Insecurity is Not Your Problem

Someone who tries to make you jealous might be insecure. This might be his way to ascertain how you feel about him. He might also need to stroke his own ego by entertaining multiple flirtations.

He might see jealousy as proof of how desirable he is — because he doesn’t feel desirable at all. 

The thing is — his insecurity is not your problem. It’s not your job to provide him with self-worth. That’s his job. Jealousy is an immature way of managing that insecurity, and he needs to cut it out.

Equally, if you frequently feel jealous and he’s not doing anything to try to elicit that response, your insecurity is not his problem. It’s not his job to provide you with a sense of self-worth.

You’re being immature. You need to learn to manage and regulate your feelings without taking it out on other people. 

His Immaturity is Not Your Problem

It’s also possible that he’s simply immature and thinks this is what people are supposed to do while dating.

He’s been socialized incorrectly and hasn’t grown up enough to realize this. His immaturity is, again, not your problem. If you’re the jealous type who is immature, then this is not his problem. 

Basically, trying to make someone jealous is an immature thing to do. If one or both of you are doing it, you need to see it as immature and then try to grow up a little. Might I suggest using your grown-up words and asking if they like you the same way you like them? It’s a start. 

Your Boundaries Are Your Problem 

Regardless of why he tries to make you jealous, you’ve clearly got a boundary problem. Why didn’t you call him out on this the first time he tried to make you jealous?

You’ve probably learned to doubt your own instincts even when they’re good.

Other people have made you doubt yourself. But your boundaries are too loose for your own good if you’re allowing this low-vibrational behavior in your life. 

It’s time to set some boundaries. Attempts to make you jealous should not be tolerated. And if you’re the one trying to make someone jealous, boundaries should be set so that you quit doing it.

I know how hard it is to set boundaries and maintain them, but it’s time. Tell them the expectation. let them know what you are and aren’t willing to tolerate. Then, stand by what you’ve said. 

Yes, maybe the relationship will end. But if it’s the right relationship, calling out his attempts to make you jealous won’t end it.

He might even appreciate your honesty — provided your communication was clear and respectful.

You’re Responsible for Communicating Clearly 

Sadly, most of us — in the words of Taylor Swift — get older but just never wiser.

It might be hard to communicate clearly, particularly when you’ve been raised in a society that preaches game playing and subterfuge to get what you want.

Asking for what you need and talking about how you feel might seem all too vulnerable. But it’s what needs to happen next.

If he’s trying to make you jealous, ask him why. Figure out what’s behind it. Maybe he needs reassurance of your feelings and doesn’t know how else to get it.

Maybe he really is considering other options and wants to see if you even care. Maybe he’s just a narcissistic prick, and you’ve been ignoring each and every obvious sign along the way. Whatever the reason, a conversation is in order. 

Plus, let him know how it makes you feel when he tries to make you jealous — or, worse, when he succeeds. Let him know that it doesn’t feel good, and it doesn’t make you value the relationship more.

Because you’ll need some boundaries, you might even need to let him know that you won’t continue to date him if he keeps trying to make you jealous.

It might scare you to be honest and speak up about how you’re feeling, but it’s what you need to do even if it ends the relationship. He needs to know this is not okay, and you need to know that you deserve better. 

Decide What You Want to Tolerate 

So, what will you do? What do you want to tolerate? Maybe you can think of 50 things this guy does in a day that make you happy. You can let this one thing slide and just chalk it up to a flaw in his makeup. That’s fine if you can live with that.

You might decide that this constant uncertainty that the jealousy invokes is just outside of what you want to deal with in a relationship.

You might need more security and a relationship with someone who isn’t insecure. You get to decide if his ongoing battle with his own inferiority is something you want to have to continue to manage because he won’t. If you want to decline that opportunity, no one would blame you.

After all, it’s not your responsibility, and there are other, more emotionally available people in the world. 

Jealousy in Relationships — A Conclusion

Jealousy isn’t a cute look for anyone. It erodes relationships. Eventually, the underlying insecurity, immaturity, or social ineptitude comes out in other ways. Are you willing to accept it as a part of your relationship, or are you ready to confront it? 

Jealousy goes back to trust in the end. They’ll tell you that if you trust them, it doesn’t matter if you get jealous. But it does matter.

They should trust you enough that they don’t resort to childish attempts to make you jealous to verify your feelings.

They should trust that you care without getting that sort of confirmation. That’s the trust that matters. A loving, healthy partner won’t try to make you feel the sting of jealousy. They’ll be too busy making you feel safe, loved, and secure. Anything else is so much less than you deserve. 

Featured Image by Alonso Reyes on Unsplash

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