Why Do Guys Get Jealous? His Behavior Explained

frustrated man sitting on couchA few weeks ago, a friend had a Facebook meltdown. He unfriended his wife, changed his profile photo to black, and announced he was “done.” His wife had gone out with a male friend and didn’t give him the attention he felt he deserved. He was jealous.

Jealousy has caused many problems in relationships throughout history, including murder and other violence. But, more often than not, jealousy simply ruins relationships.

Frustrated friends and coaching clients reach out to me and ask why do guys get jealous? This article will explain his behaviors and provide answers.

Immaturity

When I was in high school, my friend sat next to a girl whose boyfriend went to another school. He and this girl would talk and occasionally flirt, but nothing more happened. A few days later, her boyfriend called him up and wanted to fight him!

Jealousy is more common in adolescents, especially those with lower self-esteem. As guys mature, they usually develop greater confidence and emotional maturity. So, a lot of their teenage habits go by the wayside, including strong feelings of jealousy.

If your boyfriend is younger or generally more emotionally immature, then that could be why he gets jealous. As he matures, you’ll hopefully find that his feelings of jealousy fade. But, sadly, age doesn’t always lead to emotional maturity and people can experience extreme feelings of jealousy at any age.

Insecurity

My friend in the opening story had a history of emotional trauma in relationships. He had an ex-girlfriend who cheated on him when he was younger and he went through a nasty divorce that involved restraining orders and custody battles.

Jealousy not only stems from low self-esteem, but also feelings of insecurity in the relationship. He might feel like you could leave at moment, that you’re better than he is, or that you’re inevitably going to cheat.

Keep in mind, in most cases, insecurity comes from past experience. So, you might have a great bond and an amazing relationship, but his past trauma rears its ugly head in the form of insecurity and he gets jealous.

Let me give you an example. You love your boyfriend and have no desire to cheat. But, his previous girlfriend hooked up with a guy at a bar. So, if you go out to a bar with your girlfriends, he assumes that you are also going to cheat on him. Next thing you know, he gets jealous and ruins your evening with your friends.

Fear

Many people think jealousy is the same as envy, but that isn’t true. Envy is when you want what someone else has. Jealousy is fear that someone else will take what you already have. If you’re asking why do guys get jealous, the answer, at the root is fear, especially fear of being replaced.

man with finger in front of mouth in black and whiteHe is afraid, for whatever reason, that he is going to lose you to someone else. If you’re talking to a guy at work, he fears that you’ll like that guy better. If you go out without him, he worries that you’ll meet someone new. Ironically, when guys get jealous, they push the woman away and they end up losing her.

The opposite of fear in relationships is trust. If he can fully trust you, then most of the jealousy will fade. He won’t care if you go out with friends or meet a new guy at work because he has total faith that you will still come back to him and be loyal.

Like with insecurity, his trust issues might not have anything to do with you. Most problems with trust go back to the past. So, when he acts jealous, he’s taking all of his past experiences where trust was broken–parents, friends, lovers–and applying them to you and the relationship.

Your Past Behaviors

Jealousy can be very ugly and lead to ugly things. If he gets jealous for no good reason, it can lead to many problems in a relationship. And, no woman has to put up with an insecure, jealous jerk.

But, if you’re wondering why do men get jealous, your behavior might be contributing or have contributed in the past.

If you broke trust by lying to him about exes or even went so far as to cheat on him, that breach of trust won’t easily heal even if he says he’s “over it.” While he might have forgiven you, the worry that you will break trust again leads to jealousy in the present.

He also might feel jealous about aspects of your past behavior. For example, if he knew you cheated on someone else years ago or that you felt a deep love for an ex, those could make him guarded in the present. He fears he will lose you.

Brain Chemistry

Ultimately, jealousy is like anything else related to emotion: a function of brain chemistry. Emotions aren’t logical. When we see something infuriating, we don’t have to talk ourselves into anger. We just feel it. The same is true with love, sadness, and other feelings.

crying womanJealousy appears to come from the brain chemical oxytocin. Oddly enough, this is the “cuddle” chemical that creates loving bonds, like between lovers and even mother and child. However, research has shown that oxytocin can also lead to feelings of aggression and ultimately jealousy.

This research doesn’t surprise me at all. It makes total sense that a chemical that bonds would also make people want to preserve and protect that bond. So, when your bond with a guy is threatened (at least in his head), his brain releases chemicals that make him jealous and aggressive towards potential competition for your love.

In the end, excessive jealousy is toxic and brain chemistry is an explanation, not an excuse. If guys get jealous, they ultimately need to find ways to cope with their feelings, even if it involves getting outside help. Also, you don’t have to put up with toxic jealousy. In the end, it will destroy the relationship and make both partners unhappy.

About the Author

Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett is a writer, speaker, and dating/relationship expert. He's helped millions through his articles, speaking, consulting, and coaching. He's appeared in over 500 major publications, including Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal, and Psychology Today.

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