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.
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?
There are many things it might mean if he acts jealous but he isn’t your boyfriend. In some cases, it shows 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.
However, jealousy can show a darker side to his personality, indicating that he is controlling and possessive, and while you might think that this is flattering at first, it isn’t always a good sign, and 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.
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.
Here are 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 why he might be showing signs of jealousy is that he genuinely does like you, and he 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, and that he wants you for himself.
He might even not feel comfortable letting you know how he feels just yet, and jealousy is the first sign he shows that he does like you.
However, make sure to look for other signs that he is into you as well, such as him going out of his way to text you and see you, and doing things he knows will make you happy, just 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, and 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.
It can be difficult to deal with insecurities before you have even started dating, and there is a 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.
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.
He might not ask you to be his girlfriend just yet, and he maybe does not even feel ready for a relationship, but he wants you to be exclusive and he doesn’t want you to see anyone else.
This is usually a normal step that happens 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 red flag. The two of you should be on the same page, and nobody should have more commitment than the other.
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You Were His Fallback Plan
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.
He is worried that if his first choice doesn’t work out, he might not have you to fall back on anymore. This is definitely not a situation that you would want to be in, so you should look for other red flags that he is talking to other girls and maybe just messaging you when he needs some attention.
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.
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.
He Has Commitment Issues
His commitment issues could show as some jealousy, and 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, and 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.
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He Is Showing Immaturity
Some guys just are not emotionally mature enough to deal with 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, and this is even before you have started dating.
This is definitely something that you need to consider, as he won’t likely change any time soon, and 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.
He Needs An Ego Boost
He could be approaching the budding relationship with bad intentions, and he could be seeing you as a bit of a boost to his ego.
When you show signs that you might be speaking to other people, or just hanging around with friends, he could think that this shows you are losing interest in him, which would obviously not be great for his ego!
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.
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, and this could lead to jealousy. The lines between feeling protective and feeling jealous is very thin, and the two often overlap.
It is best to try and control this, 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 or for a potential relationship, he would not want you speaking to other people, as this is a threat to him.
This is probably low self-esteem or a fear of being left alone, so he doesn’t want you to stray away from him and possibly find someone else.
This isn’t fair for 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.
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.
He Is Controlling
Being in a relationship with a controlling person hardly ever ends up well, and they often show signs of this from early on, so it is worth paying attention to the 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 careful.
This will only get worse if you start dating, as he would feel like he has more ‘claim’ to you, and he would try to restrict what you do 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 does like you and does want a relationship with you, and it is just nervousness that is causing him to act jealous.
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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, what he might be like as a potential partner, and whether or not the relationship will be healthy for you.
Often, these tiny problems turn into bigger red flags later on, so it is better to take notice of them and see how it goes before making any commitments that you might regret at a later stage.