You might think it’s cute that your guy gets jealous sometimes, but there’s a fine line between being crazy about you and being just plain crazy. While it’s natural to feel protective of someone you care about, it’s an entirely different thing to be possessive of them. If your boyfriend can’t seem to get his jealousy issues out of control, it’s probably time to run before things take a darker turn. Here’s why:
- Your guy friends matter. One of the first things a jealous guy is going to get upset about is how often you hang out with your guy friends. He’ll ask you how you feel about them, or if you know that one of them secretly has a crush on you (when he totally doesn’t). Because your boyfriend raises so much hell, you might be tempted to skip a few hangouts with them or put some distance between you to keep the peace, but screw that. You don’t want to push a good friend away because of a boyfriend’s unfounded jealousy issues. Your friends matter to you and they should matter to your boyfriend too. Besides, taking some distance from your guy friend is only reinforcing your boyfriend’s jealousy, not calming it down.
- No one has a right to invade your privacy. The minute that a jealous guy asks for the password for your phone or your social media accounts, there’s a serious red flag. When you refuse, which you should, he might ask what you have to hide, but don’t let that childish and manipulative crap fly. You have a right to privacy! You could explain that you’re having a private convo with your girlfriend about her ex, but guess what? You don’t owe him an explanation. Being part of a couple doesn’t mean giving up your right to have your own life and crap you don’t tell him.
- You shouldn’t have to give him a play-by-play of your night. So you got home an hour later than you said you’d be because you stayed late at work. Does that mean you need to explain yourself to him? Well, maybe — if he just seems like he’s asking out of curiosity and genuine interest in your life, that’s fine (and chances are, you’d offer this info voluntarily). If he makes it seem more like an interrogation or if he sounds upset, however, that’s a serious warning sign. He shouldn’t assume the worst or demand you recount your night to him.
- You don’t have to limit your life because he’s uncomfortable with it. Maybe he’s not over-the-top with his jealousy, he just seems upset or pouts when your guy friends are around or when you come home late. You might be tempted to change your habits just to calm him down, but don’t. You shouldn’t hold back in your life just because he’s too sensitive. Talk to him instead. Maybe all he needs is to be reassured when he gets worried. If his jealousy is this minor then he might calm down over the course of the relationship. If he doesn’t get his act together after you talk to him, however, maybe it’s time to let go.
- His expectations are unreasonable and need adjusting. Everyone has bouts of jealousy occasionally, but if he lives in a continual state of that emotion, nip it in the bud. Would he ever accept his behavior from you? If your answer is no, don’t waste your time with this guy. (If it’s yes, both of you need help.) If you confront him and he’s not able to see that he is holding you to a higher standard than he holds himself, run! Everyone in a healthy relationship needs to be at least a little self-aware.
- You can’t trust a jealous guy. If he’s asked to see your phone and you’ve refused, he might try to sneak onto it when you’re not around. If you’ve caught him snooping or if you simply find yourself unable to leave your phone next to him, it’s time to leave him. Keeping a guy in your life who won’t respect your personal boundaries is a great way to develop trust issues yourself. You deserve better.
- He’s over-sensitive about cheating. If he tries to convince you that your innocent behavior is cheating, you should leave him. Just because he doesn’t like something doesn’t make it wrong. If you’re not texting, actively flirting, making out with or sleeping with another guy, you’re being faithful — don’t let him convince you otherwise. You can’t trust a jealous person’s perspective on what is or is not normal.
- If he’s not already abusive, it could easily escalate. Usually, abusive guys seem super sweet for the first bit of a relationship. Then they slowly start trying to control you. In particular, they want to limit who you talk to and when, so that you don’t have anywhere to turn when they escalate their abuse. Some abusive people try to mask this behavior by convincing you that they’re just a jealous person who needs to know where you are at all times for their own peace of mind. If this sounds like your guy, he’s beginning a pattern of abuse and you need to leave as soon as you safely can.
- You can’t fix him. Honestly, nothing that you do will make a dent in his jealousy issues. If he was this way before you met him and you haven’t given him a serious reason to doubt you, then this issue is his and only he can solve it. It’s just not your problem to deal with.