That period between hooking up, or even just chatting, and then actually dating can be quite confusing! The mixed signals, the awkwardness on how to act, and how serious the two of you actually are, can all be difficult to work through.
Going from just a friend to something more can be fun and exciting, but also extremely stressful!
One thing you might notice with the guy you are seeing is that he might become jealous of who you talk to or what you do, but because you aren’t dating yet, you aren’t quite sure what it might mean.
What does it mean if he gets jealous but he isn’t your boyfriend? Does a jealous guy. mean he likes you? Or is this just a thing guy friends do sometimes?!
There are many things it might mean if he acts jealous but he isn’t your boyfriend. In some cases, it can show that he really likes you, but in some other situations, it could be a red flag that you need to take notice of.
His jealousy might make you feel flattered, or it could make you feel uncomfortable. Wherever you stand, read on to find out why he might be acting jealous before the two of you are even official…
What Does It Mean When A Guy Gets Jealous?
First, it helps to understand what it might mean when a guy gets jealous. Most often, jealousy means that a guy really likes you, and he wants to keep you for yourself, and he doesn’t want other men to show an interest in you at all and vice versa.
It can be a sign he feels threatened when other men approach you, whether he is interested or not.
Jealousy is an absolutely natural emotion, and it can come from both platonic friends and lovers. No one is immune, and we all can be a bit jealous from time to time.
However, jealousy can show a darker side to his personality, it is a negative emotion, after all. A jealous man can be a subtle sign that he is controlling and possessive, and while you might think that this is flattering at first, it isn’t always a good sign. His controlling attitude will likely get worse as the relationship continues.
It can be difficult to understand jealousy properly because it is such a sliding scale. It could just be him caring for you, or it could be that he is too controlling.
Whichever way it goes, it’s important to notice signs and make smart judgments before you get romantically involved with these men..
Reasons Why A Guy Might Get Jealous When He Isn’t Your Boyfriend
If you find yourself in the position where you are seeing someone, but you aren’t dating yet, and he is showing signs of jealousy, you would obviously want to know where this comes from.
Some people think jealousy is absolutely fine, while others treat it as a blaring red flag to avoid at all costs.
Deciphering a man’s behavior can be extremely tricky, so we have rounded up some possible reasons why a guy would get jealous if you aren’t dating, so try and see which one seems closest to your relationship:
He Genuinely Likes You
One positive reason he might be showing signs of jealousy is that he genuinely likes you and sees a future with you.
His crush might be developing a little more than he expected, and seeing you interact with other guys might make him realize how much he does like you. This can be a sign a guy likes you and wants you for himself.
He might not even feel comfortable letting you know how he feels just yet, and jealousy is the first telltale signs he’ll show that he does like you.
However, make sure to look for other signs that he is into you as well. Don’t take his jealousy strictly at face value. Is he going out of his way to text you and see you? Doing things he knows will make you happy?
Make sure to notice such behaviors to be sure that his jealousy is coming for a good place, and it is not a red flag.
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He Has Insecurities
Jealousy very often stems from insecurities, he might have been hurt in the past, and that is why he is projecting his insecurities onto you before you even start dating.
His jealousy could be because of self-doubt and self-worth, and he might not feel good enough for you or sure of how you feel about him, so you speaking to other guys or even just being around friends could cause him to become worried.
A lot of jealous men naturally have a lot of insecurities. That’s why we always recommend you tread lightly when a guy is jealous as such behavior is rarely a good sign.
It can be difficult to deal with insecurities before you have even started dating. It can be a blaring image into the future of your relationship if you do begin a romantic relationship.
And there is an obvious worry that it could become worse and cause even more problems if your relationship does develop, so it is something to keep an eye on and possibly speak to him about it.
These subtle signs are never that subtle and (if you are interested in a romantic relationship) need to be addressed from the start.
You will always have other men in your life and having a partner who is insecure and can become passive aggressive is not fun. Don’t ask me how I know…
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He Wants You To Be Exclusive To Him
The period before dating can be so weird! Do you stay exclusive to each other? Can you speak to other people? All of these lines can be blurry, especially if the two of you don’t communicate well on these topics.
It can be natural to feel jealous in the early stages when you don’t exactly know where you stand with someone.
He might not ask you to be his girlfriend just yet, it’s too soon. Or maybe he does not even feel ready for a relationship, but he wants you to be exclusive, and he doesn’t want you to see other guys.
This is usually a normal step that happens right before dating, but you need to see where it comes from. If you think that he wants you to be exclusive because he likes you and wants to eventually date you, then it is fine.
However, if he expects you to be exclusive to him and he doesn’t offer any reassurance that he is doing the same for you, then it is a bad sign. Take cover!
The two of you should be on the same page, and nobody should have more commitment than the other. Plus you will always have other male friends in your life and talking to them shouldn’t be a big deal.
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You Were His Fallback Plan
Oh God!! This one get’s me so heated. This is one of the most selfish things human beings can do.
Unfortunately, you might not have been his first choice, and he is actually acting jealous because his plan B is now possibly interested in someone else.
Most men like to keep their options open when they aren’t serious about you. But the fact that your love life is taking off without him can spur up some very negative emotions.
In this case, he is worried that if his first choice doesn’t work out, he might not have you to fall back on anymore.
Plus it’s a huge blow to his ego.
This is definitely not a situation that you would want to be in, so you should look for other subtle signs that he is talking to other girls and maybe just messaging you when he needs some attention.
At the very least, if he starts acting passive aggressive or giving you the cold shoulder, these are clear indications that he isn’t very good at handling his emotions. Sometimes a jealous man will absolutely shut down and disengage.
Others may make snide remarks or even play mind games. Whatever his strategy may be, don’t engage and make sure to put up some clear boundaries.
He Has Trust Issues
If he has been hurt in the past and has had someone cheat on him, then it would cause him to have trust issues. This would not be something that you have done, but it would rather come from what he has experienced before, and his hesitation to trust someone.
To a certain extent, you should never take this personally. But remember, you don’t have to help anyone ‘heal’ or deal with the consequences of someone else actions. That’s isn’t fair to you as well.
Being hurt in the past definitely affects how you act in new relationships, and even though you have not started dating yet, his trust issues could start to show.
He needs to sort out his trust issues before the two of you start dating, as you should be judged on a clean sheet, and you don’t deserve to deal with any of the issues he might cause by showing jealousy for no reason.
It can be best if he remains a platonic friend until he learns to navigate these difficult emotions.
If you do choose to date, make sure to talk things out properly so you can start an exclusive relationship on the right foot.
he need to understand that you aren’t his ex or his past and be able to trust you around other guys.
He Has Commitment Issues
It isn’t uncommon for commitment issues to show up as some form of jealousy. This could frustrate him, as he doesn’t feel ready to commit to you and is scared of the commitment, but he finds himself falling for you and not wanting you to spend time with other people.
Commitment issues aren’t very fair to you, because he needs to decide what he wants and whether he wants to be exclusive with you. He can’t expect you to commit to him if he can’t do the same for you.
You also do not want to be dragged along waiting for him to decide when he is ready, and having to deal with his jealousy without all the other boyfriend benefits isn’t fair.
A lot of us are the classic hopeless romantic who watched too many rom-coms growing up. We see commitments issues as ‘quirky’ and a challenge.
But let me be a broken record here and remind you that most guys hide behind ‘commitment issues’ when they don’t want to commit to YOU. You and your love life deserve someone else who doesn’t play these manipulative games.
Plus, someone not wanting to commit to you creates a lot of self doubt and you may as well take a grenade to your self-esteem.
Even if his commitment issues are legit, take it as a definite sign to move on.
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He Is Showing Immaturity
Some guys just are not emotionally mature enough to deal with difficult dating situations, and even though everyone might experience jealousy, someone who is more immature might not know how to handle it, so he would display it more.
The problem is when his immaturity gets the better of him and he starts to act irrationally because of it. This can start even before you have begun dating.
This can even happen if you are just platonic friends and he gets jealous but doesn’t want to date you.
Sometimes, an immature jealous man will become protective of his girl friends simply because other men threaten him.
This is definitely something that you need to consider, as he won’t likely change any time soon. You need to think about whether he will be a good potential partner going forward or if his irrational behavior will end up turning things sour quickly.
Immature and jealous guys don’t often ‘outgrow’ this character flaw. Proceed with caution.
He Needs An Ego Boost
He could be approaching the budding relationship with bad intentions and seeing you as a bit of a boost to his ego.
This one is hard to read, as his body language might not give it away right off the bat. When you meet a new guy, you never know if he’s humble, has inflated ego, or falls somewhere in between (like most of us.)
When you show signs that you might be speaking to other people or just hanging around with other dudes, he could think that this shows you are losing interest in him. If he has a frafgile ego he will likely read into this and take it personally.
You deserve to be talking to someone and seeing someone, who has good intentions, and who is in it for you and not for the potential ego boost you might provide.
If he is only using you for this intention, then it likely isn’t going to lead to a healthy relationship.
He Is Protective
Some guys are naturally protective in nature, and this can be a good trait to have in a relationship, but sometimes it could be a little too much, and his possessiveness can turn into controlling behavior.
I had an ex boyfriend who was possessive. And at first I though that meant he cared.
Oh god. Young me was so naive! Don’t make MY mistakes. Possessive behavior can quickly become controlling behavior. Okay, mini rant over. Sorry for the slight pivot.
Even if the two of you have just started out as friends, his feelings could be progressing, and his protective nature could be coming out. This could and normally does lead to jealousy. The lines between feeling protective and feeling jealous are very thin, and the two often overlap.
It is best to try and control this (or completely avoid this male friend from the get-go) and not let possessiveness become the center of your relationship.
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He Thinks You’re His Only Shot
When a guy thinks that you are his only shot at hooking up with or for a potential relationship, he would not want you speaking to other people. Other men are automatically a threat to him.
This is probably low self-esteem or a fear of being left alone. He doesn’t want you to stray away from him and possibly find someone else. These jealous men that act as your ‘friends’ aren’t friends at all.
This isn’t fair to you, and he needs to make sure he is pursuing you because he likes you for who you are and not because he sees you as his only option.
You want to be someones priority, not their only option.
Of course, knowing whether you are his only priority or his only option are difficult to figure out.
Does he get a lot of attention from woman? Has he been single for a long time?
It’s hard to know whether to not to get romantically involved with someone, especially in the beginning. But trust your instinct here. Take things slow and see how they progress naturally.
He Is Over-Thinking Things
Sometimes, we can get into our own heads too much and overthink every little situation. If he is this type of person, then he could be reading into the things you do too much and be worried that you aren’t being open and honest with him or that you are looking elsewhere.
There is only so much that you can do to put his mind at ease. But at the end of the day, if he is not willing to get a hold of his thoughts, then it could be a sign that a relationship with him would be really hard work.
It’s normal and natural to feel jealous, but his actions following this emotion are more important than the emotion itself.
Some jealous men lash out, some get passive aggressive, and some even give you the cold shoulder. If he’s doing any (or all) of these things, these are clear signs he doesn’t know how to process his emotions and communicate properly.
Relationships with these types of jealous men are never worth it.
He Is Controlling
Oh My GOD! This one gets me heated.
If you have been reading this whole article (and not skimming, I appreciate you), you know I’ve dated controlling men in the past.
Being in a relationship with a controlling person never ever ends up well! They often show signs of this from early on, so it is worth paying attention to the blaring red flags.
If he is openly showing his jealousy to you and tries to restrict who you see or talk to, even before you are dating, then you need to be very careful.
Some of these men are incredibly manipulative and will appear to be excellent ‘communicators.’ They will voice their ‘concerns’ over your male friends in a way that seems logical.
You’ll think, ‘Oh! Maybe he’s right? I shouldn’t be hanging out with other men, even in a group environment.’ Or ‘I was acting flirty and that makes him uncomfortable’ when you were just making conversation.
Be very careful of these guys.
This will only get worse if you start dating, as he would feel like he has more ‘claim’ to you. He would try to restrict what you do, who you see, and how you act even more.
He Is Planning On Asking You Out
The two of you might have been seeing each other for quite some time, and he might be ready to ask you to be his girlfriend. The anxiety this brings could cause him to act strange, and he might become more jealous as he gets closer to asking you out.
Hopefully, in this case, he genuinely likes you and wants a relationship with you, and it is just nervousness causing him to act jealous.
If there is one thing I know it’s that life isn’t a straight line.
Sometime we are confident and nothing can get us down. And other times something triggers us and causes us to not be ‘ourselves.’
If his jealousy isn’t normal for him, then it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a data point to take note of.
Keep being friends and make a mental note of when younotice he feels jealous. If you are comfortable brining it up, do so.
Just always make sure it’s in a private setting and you aren’t ‘calling him out’ on his jealous behaviour.
It’s cliche, but use “I” statements instead of “you.” Example: ‘I feel like you were a bit different and perhaps even jealous when I was talking to Bob earlier’ comes out a lot more constructive than ‘you always get jealous and act weird when I talk to Bob!’
One builds bridges and the other burns them.
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He Gets Jealous But He Isn’t Your Boyfriend
No matter if his jealousy is harmless or if it is something to worry about, you should always take a step back and evaluate who he is as a person. Take note of what he might be like as a potential partner and whether or not the relationship will be healthy for you.
Jealousy is difficult to navigate. We all feel it from time to time.
However it can be a sign of something more. It’s especially bad if he gets jealous but doesn’t want a relationship with you.
These types of men are keeping you as an ‘option’ and use their jealousy as a manipulative tactic. Women think ‘oh! This guy is jealous, that must mean he cares!’
And they keep you on the hook. i.e. Breadcrumbing you.
Often, these tiny problems turn into bigger ones later on. It is better to notice them and see how it goes before making any commitments you might regret later on.
Date Smarter. Trust Your Gut. And Put Yourself First, Always.